Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finally... after nearly 8 months you get chicken!

I know... seriously.  Why did I name the blog Chaos&Chicken if I never cook chicken?  The same reason I cooked a $70 organic turkey two Thanksgivings ago and did not eat it.  Its simple, I really make no sense.

Tonight not only do I have one chicken recipe, I have two.  At Chaos on K we are feast or famine, all or nothing and just plain crazy in between, with little rhyme or reason. 

On a cold, rainy night after a very long weekend that included too much fun, too much work and too little holiday shopping, all this gal wants to do is relax, cook and listen to good tunes.  You know--- less chaos, more chicken.  To be true to this want, I purchased one rotisserie chicken* and turned it and the items in my fridge into two fabulous soups that I will take for lunch all week. So easy, fast, mostly healthy and I multi-tasked--- my fridge and kitchen are now clean!   

Ginger Chicken Soup
1/2 of rotisserie chicken, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 container of chicken stock
1 inch ginger, grated
5 stalks parsley
salt and pepper for taste

Saute carrots, celery, onion and garlic for both recipes.  Divide and add chicken stock, chicken, ginger and 1/2 of parsley.  Cook on low for 30 minutes.  Add remaining parsley, mushrooms and salt/pepper.  Cook for 10 more minutes.  Serve warm. 

White Bean Chicken Chili

1/2 of rotisserie chicken, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 clove garlic
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can cannelloni beans
1 sm can green chilis
salt and pepper for taste

Saute carrots, celery, onion and garlic for both recipes.  Divide and add cannelloni beans, tomatoes, green chilis, chicken, remaining stock and cream.  Cook on low for 10 minutes.   Serve warm.

*one of only two meats I will eat on bone, the other is lamb shank.  I will still never eat a wing, a chicken leg or even speak to you if you eat the large turkey legs served at festivals.  This is much, much progress in my neurotic, make-no-sense- type of world.  I know, I am very complicated and am not for figuring out.  Seriously, do not try, it is a lost cause!

Chaos&Christmas Mix, 2009

Finally, my friends, I have found my spirit!  Apparently it was covered in glitter, located right under my Warm Wishes Holiday Mix, circa 2006. 

While cleaning my apartment I found an old holiday mix CD.  As I listened and loved, I decided that it was time I quit my scroogey ways and start making my way down Christmas list.  Every year I try to make the holidays homemade, chaos style.   Friends and family get some sort of half purchased, half created gift most ALWAYS comprised of a mixed CD and cookies.  I am very predictable.   This is serious business as lots of thought goes into it into the right mix of ingredients and music.

It's too early to start on the cookies (Rach, I might use your nice oven when I dog sit) but I now have the makings of a Chaos&Christmas 2009 Mix.  The list needs some editing but here is what plays in the background as I make two fabulous soups in my apartment now filled with holiday spirit.  The melodies are comprised of familiar, new, upbeat and melancholy... just like 2009.

Jingle Bell Rock    The Ventures          
All I Want for Christmas    Matt Costa   
The Man With the Bag    Jane Monheit       
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow    Michael BublĂ©           
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer    Jack Johnson 
Pennies from Heaven    Louis Prima          
Merry Christmas Baby    Otis Redding          
No Christmas for Me    Zee Avi  
White Christmas    Sonya Kitchell            
Spotlight On Christmas    Rufus Wainwright 
Santa Baby    Eartha Kitt           
The Heartache Can Wait    Brandi Carlile        
2000 Miles (Live)    The Pretenders            
Baby, It’s Cold Outside    Dianne Reeves & Lou Rawls          
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm    Billie Holiday         
Winter Song    Sara Bareilles &Ingrid Michaelson
Christmas Song    Dave Matthews &Tim Reynolds   
River    Herbie Hancock Feat. Corinne Bailey Rae
Last Christmas    Coldplay

*Not all were available on iTunes, so iMix is missing several tracks*

Happy Holidays! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wheatberries are the new quinoa...

... and boots are the new pump. Seriously--- know it, believe it, love it.   It is the gospel, pass it on. 

You know how much I love Quinoa... well, I have found its cousin--- Wheatberry! Full of bran and protein, this grain makes a GREAT base for a salad and fits my scoopable meal concept perfect for packed lunch on the go.

Wheatberry Superfood Salad

2 cups cooked wheatberry (Cook for hour with 7 cups of water)
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
2 cups Chopped Kale
1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
Dried Cranberries
Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Massage Kale and Parsley with spoon of EVOO.  Add other ingredients.  Mix with salt, pepper and more EVOO and vinegar.  Serve room temperature. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chaos Christmas List

Dear Santa,
As the holidays approach, I am thankful for all I have but I realize that my new life at Chaos on K is without a couple of essential items. To humor the season of giving, here is one gal's 2009 Holiday Wishlist:

1. A food processor. Last week I was all set to make my Edamame Brushetta for an Anthro Happy Hour. Edamame- Present. Garlic- Present. Fresh Parsley- Present. Olive Oil and Spices- Present. A food processor to blend it with- Absent. I angered as I realized it lives in the 24141 zip. Luckily I can adapt, with my quick culinary wit I moved on to my emulsion blender which worked but is no replacement to my Stainless Steel Cuisinart.

2. A griddle. Just this Saturday morning I had a grand idea to entertain with my famous Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (see recipe at Chaos Breakfast in Bed entry, circa 2008) . Couldn't. No griddle. You can make lots of things on a snowy Saturday morning without a griddle but darn it, you cannot make pancakes. I'm just saying.

3. Cable. I have fought it for long enough. I know, TV is bad. TV rots the brain. But tell me Santa, how is a gal that likes to cook to stay abreast of the latest and greatest if she does not have The Food Network. Not to mention my loss of Californiacation, Weeds, Entourage and a whole host of other mindless shows that can help me procrastinate.

It's that simple. Three things. That is all I, my kitchen and my little shoebox of an apartment need... well that, water pressure, consistent heat, a new pair of brown boots, unlimited iTunes gift card and extra money for a trip... but really, I will take what I get.

Cooking Gal @ Chaos that has been very good, circa 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Food Porn?!

Seriously. Seriously!!! Look at that picture.

I need to take a dish to event on Sunday and I am wondering if I should test my baking skills and temperamental oven for this one. Making the caramel can be precarious but I think I am up for the challenge. It is really all I can think about...If not this weekend then very, very soon.

Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 ½ tablespoon light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts

Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Put the pan on a baking sheet with edges.

To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Melt chocolate and butter together using a double boiler.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate. Still working with a whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. You will have a thick, smooth, shiny batter. Pour the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan a bit to even out the batter.

Bake the cake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out almost clean (what sticks should resemble sticky crumbs, not molten cake batter). Transfer the pan to a rack and cool he cake for 15 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan. During baking the cake probably will have puffed to the top of the pan don’t be concerned if tit sinks a little or it if develops a crater in the center. Cool the cake to room temperature.

When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right side up. Refasten the sides around the cake.

To make the topping:
Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber., 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps. Stir in the peanuts, and pour the caramel and peanuts into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or heat proof bowl.

Spoon the peanuts on top of the cake. Then spoon the caramel on top of those. You’ll have a layer about ¼ inch high. Allow the topping to set to room temperature-about 20 minutes before serving. Try to get all of the peanuts onto the cake, and reserve excess caramel for drizzling when serving.

To serve, run a blunt knife between the caramel and the pan and simply remove the sides of the springform. If this isn’t the case, hit the sides with some hot air from a hairdryer or wrap the sides in a towel moistened with hot water. Drizzle additional caramel over the cake and allow it to run over the sides.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Dip Down Memory Lane...

As I scavenged my computer this week for a dip recipe for a friend's beer club party, I came across six years worth of Encore Party Recipes. Ah the days of parties with staff to serve, bar tend and clean up, that you could also write off as advertising. I would throw a couple a year but always one big one during the holiday season. (Dear Vintage Cellar, Can you turn $200 into 10 cases of wine. XOXO, Stacey) They sure were fun and I did reward my ShopGals for working so hard... sometimes it was reward enough to see me relaxed with the Whos Who of the town buzzing with holiday cheer at the end of the evening. I am also sure that I gave away an outfit, bag or maybe a bonus to employees in my sheer Christmas delight on those evenings.

This year there will be no ShopGal holiday party or Festive Cookie exchange but there will be many functions that we all need to show up with a dish for. Wipe you tears, turn on the tunes and get to work... Here is my dish on the best, easiest and most liked dips to please the masses, ShopGal recommended:

*(recipes altered from Food &Wine, Cooking Light, sdp and jenny wagstaff of ShopGal Catering)

Asiago Dip with Crostini or Crackers
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato sprinkles
1 (8 ounce) carton low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
32 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette, toasted or crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl; spoon into a 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with 1tablespoon cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with toasted bread or crackers.

Blue Cheese-Walnut Dip
½ cup light cream cheese product
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
12 ounce carton 1% low-fat cheese
2 tbsp brandy
2tbsp finely chopped walnuts

Place first 3 ingredients in food processor. Process for 1 minute. Stir in brandy and walnuts. Serve with crackers, apples, pears etc.

Lemon Artichoke Dip
1 small lemon, halved
1 bag frozen artichokes
8 large unpeeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
Crackers or bagel chips, for serving

Dethaw artichokes.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Drain the artichokes and pat dry. Cut each
artichoke into eighths. Quarter the remaining lemon half and remove
the seeds. In the bowl, toss the artichokes with the lemon pieces,
garlic, olive oil and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and spread on
a large nonstick rimmed baking sheet. Bake the artichokes for about 40
minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender. Let cool
slightly and discard the thyme. Coarsely chop 8 of the roasted
artichoke pieces and reserve. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°.

Peel the garlic; place in a food processor. Add the remaining roasted
artichoke and lemon pieces; pulse until finely chopped. Add the
mayonnaise and cream cheese and process until smooth. Season with salt
and pepper. Add the reserved chopped artichokes and pulse just until
combined. Spread the dip in an even layer in a small shallow baking
In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over the
dip. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and the topping is
golden. Serve with crackers or bagel chips.

Garlic and Dill Feta Cheese Spread
8oz package of cream cheese softened
4oz package of feta cheese crumbled
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp fresh dill
½ tsp seasoned pepper
¼ tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in the food processor. Chill 8 hours. Serve with cucumber slices and crackers.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
16 ounces marinated artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Spiced Pita Chips, for serving

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the
chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until
softened, about 5 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring
occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the
white wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Add the spinach and cook,
stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cream cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and
lemon zest and season with Tabasco. Cook, stirring, until the dip is
creamy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and serve warm or at room
temperature with the Pita Chips.