Mom’s baked chicken

Adapted from somewhere…

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken drumsticks, skin-on
  • garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • a twig of fresh thyme (if dried thyme, about 1/2 teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Put 10″ cast iron pan into oven @ 450 degrees F.
  2. Mix garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt in a small bowl. Taste.
  3. Cover 6 chicken drumsticks with this spice mix.
  4. Take cast iron pan out of oven (leave oven on!) and put hot cast iron pan on the stovetop.
  5. Melt the 1/4 stick of butter (no need to light the stove because the pan is still extremely hot).
  6. Put a twig of fresh thyme (I use dried thyme, about 1/2 teaspoon that’s enough to cover the pan).
  7. Add the chicken into pan, coat the chicken with this butter-thyme sauce.
  8. Put the pan back into the hot oven, bake it for 15 minutes (no need to cover them), take the pan out and flip the chickens, then back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Take it out of oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so.
  10. Plate the chicken, then pour the pan sauce over and serve.

You won’t believe how juicy it is, and very tasty. I used smoked paprika because that is all I have. It’s really good, people who tried my chicken later on asked me for the recipe.  Good luck!

~Kailing

Chicken stew

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 kg / 3 lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 to 8 pieces)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 onions, halved and cut into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large carrots, cut thick end into 1.5cm / 3/5″ pieces, thin end 2.5cm/1″
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 2cm / 4/5″ chunks
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine (or water)
  • 3 tbsp (35g) flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 sprigs thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme (or other herb)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
  • 600 g / 1.2 lbs baby potatoes, halved (quarter large ones)
  • Warm crusty bread (homemade garlic bread!!)
  • OPTIONAL: Fresh thyme or parsley (chopped)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Brown chicken on both sides until light golden, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Remove from pot. (Do in 2 batches if pot not big enough).
  3. If there’s too much oil in the pot, discard some. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add carrots and celery, cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add wine. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the brown bits into the liquid. Cook for 1 minute until liquid is mostly gone.
  6. Sprinkle flour across surface, stir.
  7. Add broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaves. Stir to dissolve tomato paste.
  8. Place chicken on top, keeping the skin above the liquid level as much as you can.
  9. Bring to simmer then cover. Bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, remove lid. Add potatoes, pushing them into the liquid and rearranging chicken so they sit on top (for lovely crispy skin).
  11. Return to oven without the lid for a further 40 minutes until the chicken skin is deep golden and super crispy, the potatoes are soft and the sauce is thickened.
  12. Taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Serve with warm crusty bread on the side to dunk in the sauce – or go all the way with Garlic Bread! Optional: garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves or parsley.

Ingredients for Garlic Bread:

  • 1 French stick / baguette , ~ 60cm / 2ft long (I use half a loaf of Whole Foods peasant bread)
  • 125 g / 1 US stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic , minced (~3 – 4 cloves, pack the teaspoon)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley (optional)

Directions for Garlic Bread:

  1. Preheat oven. I left it at the same temperature as the chicken stew.
  2. Cut the French stick in half. Then cut the bread almost all the way through into 2cm / 4/5″ thick slices.
  3. Mix together the butter, garlic, salt and parsley. Taste to see if it’s salty / garlicky enough for your taste.
  4. Smear garlic butter over cut side of bread.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes until the crust is crispy (check through foil).

I wanted a Dutch oven for a long time, and my sister Jennifer recommended the affordable Lodge cast iron 6 quart. She also recommended this chef’s blog! This came out super tasty — and every reheated leftover tasted better and better. HIGHLY recommend. Perfect for cold winter’s days to heat up your whole apartment.

~ Jessie

Zucchini pepper soup

Adapted from Stella Cooks and the spring vegetable puree

perfect with a grilled cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 1 zucchini, washed and chopped
  • 2 bell pepper, washed and chopped (red is good)
  • 1 bunch of Korean leeks (Hmart)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch of salt, cracked pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin
  • ½ cup of heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, warm the butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic for a couple of minutes, then throw in the leeks (or onions if you have) and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and soft, stirring constantly.
  2. Add zucchini and peppers to skillet and saute for about ten minutes, or until they just begin to brown.
  3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (except the dairy) into the soup pot, including the vegetable broth, and heat just to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let cool a bit (to avoid heat splashing in the blender). Remove the soup, in batches if necessary, into a blender or large food processor and puree to desired thickness (I usually prefer smooth soups). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Taste. Stir in salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Make sure the soup is well mixed and heated throughout, then ladle out into serving bowls. Sprinkle some scallions or leeks greens on the top, add the cream (milk), and finish with a light dash of paprika. Serve immediately.

I used whole milk instead of heavy cream, but it was delicious before that. I also threw in a handful of pistachios and pancetta to clean out my cupboard (road trip coming up!), but this recipe would have been just as superb without them. I have perfected this soup, and the grilled cheese that complements it. Hooray!

~Jessica

Purée of spring vegetable soup

Adapted from Lisa KleypasDevil’s Daughter

Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 small summer squash
  • 2 carrots (I had not)
  • 1 red / yellow bell pepper (green was cheaper)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups (chicken) broth
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • pinch (tsp.) of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of oregano
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (or half and half)

Directions:

  1. Chop vegetables into ½ inch pieces, to cook evenly.
  2. Melt the butter in large pot, on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, then vegetables. Sauté 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, beans, seasonings, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until tender.
  4. Blend with a hand immersion blender (I have not, so I did it in batches).
  5. Add the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with buttered croutons, or a grilled cheese.

I had not carrots, but not a big enough pot anyhow. I had 3 on-the-vine tomatoes, so I used that instead of the tomato paste. I ran out of thyme! One of my favorite herbs! I think this is my favorite in the Ravenels series, but this recipe was extra sumptuous, and I had just collected the ingredients for ratatouille, thinking to make a pan satué version (baking is so hot in my apartment, and I haven’t a real baking dish in fact). I loved the description in the book where this dish was served. Can you imagine a 12 course meal? Now if I only had the makings for a grilled cheese…

~Jessie

British macaroni cheese

Adapted from Great British Chefs and British Food History

Ingredients:

  • 30 g plain flour 
  • 30 g butter 
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 400 ml hot full-fat milk 
  • 6g of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200-250 g macaroni 
  • 1 slice stale bread 
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves, or ¼ tsp fried rosemary (optional) 
  • 225 g Stilton cheese, grated 
  • 200 g Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 30g of Parmesan
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper or 20g of Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly-milled black pepper
  • 15 basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Start by cooking some pasta of your choice in a pan of boiling water. Once cooked, strain the pasta and set aside
  2. Place 50 mL milk into a pan over a low-medium heat and add the thyme and bay. Bring up to a warm heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place a separate pan over a low heat and add the 4 tbsp. butter and 4 cloves of garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the flour. Heat for for 2-3 minutes and stir constantly so the mixture comes together. –> Béchamel sauce
  4. Strain the milk, thyme and bay mixture so that you are just left with the infused milk. Gradually (over 5 minutes) add the infused milk to the other pan and stir with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer
  5. Take the pan off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cheese, mustard, basil and pasta to the pan and then pour the contents of the pan into a casserole dish. Cover with some extra cheese and place in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes (I prefer stovetop because I haven’t a baking dish currently).
  6. Remove the dish from the oven, divide the macaroni cheese into 4 portions and serve immediately.

My grandmother gave me a box of instant mac and cheese from her senior citizen community center (before the pandemic lockdown). Of course I didn’t want to eat that stuff straight, so I thought I would try to dress it up with some caramelized onions, garlic, herbs, and whatever else I might find in the pantry.

~Jessica

Eggs with mushrooms and spinach

Adapted from Damn Delicious and Food & Wine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I had white button)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry, but I used some rice wine

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of butter until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper flakes. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until softened, 4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion then garlic, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned, 3 minutes longer. Add the sherry and spinach, and cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
  3. In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Crack the eggs one at a time into a ramekin and then slip into the skillet. Cook the eggs, sunny-side up, until the whites are firm and the yolks runny, about 5 minutes.
  4. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto the toasts and top with the fried eggs. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

I was craving a change of pace for dinner, and what could be better than breakfast dinner? If you like breads, Four 1/2-inch-thick slices of rustic white bread are another way to go.

~Jessica

Garlic parmesan roasted sweet potatoes

Adapted from The Cooking Jar and Together as Family

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Peel and cut sweet potatoes into thin slices.
  2. Place garlic, oil, butter, salt, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a bowl and mix well. Throw in sweet potatoes and toss until well coated.
  3. Lightly butter a baking dish and arrange coated sweet potatoes into a spiral. Sprinkle with a little parmesan if you like.
  4. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Serve the garlic parmesan roasted sweet potatoes warm and sprinkle with thyme if desired.

Jennifer picked out a recipe she wanted to use 3 sweet potatoes she had on hand, for a dinner we were invited to. These definitely needed to be cooked longer, or cut thinner. My bad! Next time I’ll do slices, which bake deliciously and look fancy as heck. Also, plastic is evil — avoid at all costs.

~Jessie

Butter-basted bison ribeye steak with with crispy potatoes and roasted garlic

IMG_20180506_184215.jpg

Adapted from Serious Eats and Food & Wine and Red Cedar Bison Ranch

Ingredients:
8 oz. boneless bison ribeye
fresh parsley, chopped
rosemary and thyme, chopped
salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
unsalted butter
olive oil
clove of garlic
3 red potatoes

Directions:

  1. Remove meat from freezer, defrost for 30+ minutes. Meanwhile, place potatoes in a medium pot, cover with water, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes total. Drain and set aside.
  2. Finely chop thyme and rosemary. Cut cooled potatoes into quarters.
  3. Preheat your cast iron or non-stick pan on high heat. Coat with a thin layer of oil. Salt and pepper the meat liberally, then place in the pan just as the oil starts to smoke. Let it sear on the high heat for about 4 minutes. Do not move the meat!
  4. Turn steak once using tongs to flip. Continue cooking on medium-high heat for about another 3 minutes for a perfect medium steak, 2 minutes for rare.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons butter, garlic, whole rosemary sprigs, and whole thyme sprigs to the skillet and continue to cook, flipping steak occasionally, and basting any light spots with foaming butter. To baste, tilt pan slightly so that butter collects by the pan’s handle. Use a spoon to pick up butter and pour it over steak.
  6. Let meat rest 15 minutes before slicing. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add remaining butter. When foaming subsides, add potatoes, cut-side down. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until potatoes are deep golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Add chopped rosemary and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat potatoes. Cook, tossing and stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  7. Transfer potatoes to a serving platter with a slotted spoon, leaving excess fat behind. Increase heat to high until leftover fat is smoking. Pour over resting steak. Discard garlic, rosemary, and thyme sprigs. Place steak on serving platter and serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley.

The last of my precious upstate NY bison acquisition from my much-deserved Spring Break in Montreal. I overcooked the last bison steak, so this one had to be medium-rare for sure. If I had time and space, I would definitely roast a head of garlic in foil for 1 hour on 350 deg F. They’re utterly delightful — I still remember my first time at the tapas restaurant in Ithaca, Just a Taste.

~Jessica

Bison strip loin steaks

IMG_20180422_183840.jpgAdapted from Sayers Brook Bison Farm and The Bison Council and North Fork Bison

Ingredients:
vegetable oil
sea salt
black freshly ground peppercorns
butter
4 large shallots
2 garlic cloves, chopped
thyme leaves crushed from 2 sprigs
button mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoon of oil on medium-high. Add steaks and season with salt and pepper or your favorite herb.
  3. Sear on high heat for 1½ – 2.5 minutes per side (top and bottom only!). Set aside meat for a moment.
  4. Add mushrooms to the pan is smoking. Cook, about 10 minutes or until a pleasing golden colour. Add thyme and garlic, salt and pepper. Add butter, shallots, and peppercorns to cast iron skillet, and sauté until browned and caramelized. Stir often to prevent burning.
  5. Transfer meat to an oven-safe pan and roast 3-4 minutes.
  6. Rest for 5-10 minutes under tin foil. Serve with carbohydrates of your choice (I used Giovanni Rana spinach & ricotta ravioli).

~Jessica

P.S. I overcooked mine so it wa tough and barely edible, although flavorful. Next time I would only sear 1.5 minutes per side, and only top and bottom, not the sides, then I would only roast at 375 deg F for four minutes total, not four minutes per side and flip. Revised above to save you the trouble!

Seared bison sirloin steaks

IMG_20180414_194310.jpg

You can see we had to de-activate the smoke alarm in the background, because of all that sizzle.

Adapted from Marcus Samuelsson, Red Cedar Bison Ranch, and The Bison Council

Ingredients:
0.5 lbs of bison sirloin (purchased here!)
olive oil and butter
salt and cracked pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
thyme

Directions:
Defrost frozen bison meat at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Season both sides generously with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

Once you see light wisps of smoke rise from the pan, place the meat in the pan and sear 1 minute per side, making sure not to move the meat around too much, which prevents that delicious crust from forming.

Once seared on all sides, remove pan from heat. Add your crushed clove of garlic to the pan and thyme, rosemary, or sage. Add more olive oil if needed. Add butter, tilt the pan and baste the steak using the melted butter.

Place pan directly into the oven and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes for medium-rare, or until the internal temperature reads 120 degrees F.

Most important: Remove steaks from the pan and allow them to rest at least ten minutes.

The story to acquiring bison meat: I was visiting my Italian friend who I knew in Germany as she was doing a postdoc in Montreal, Canada. To get to and from, I booked rideshares from kangaride because it was cheaper and faster than bus, train, or plane. My driver on the way back back to NYC happened to know of a little bison farm. So we stopped by and I picked up every frozen cut of meat that wasn’t bison burger. And hence, this meal. Bison meat is leaner than beef, and definitely not a product of the meat industry. Bon appetit!

~Jessica