Batter Licker

April 24, 2012

five spice marinated pork

I should probably re-title this post: “Pork Jay Will Happily Eat For 4+ Days in a Row Without Complaint, And Then Ask For More Next Week.”

That doesn’t sound impressive if you know that I will happily tuck into leftovers, eating the same thing over and over again for lunch and dinner for almost an entire week straight.

But Jay’s more of a one-and-done eater: not particularly keen on leftovers or repeats. So his desire to have this pork be a repeat player in multiple meals every single week says a lot, to me …

… as does the fact that, allegedly, my friend Joe’s first words the morning after a recent pork-featuring barbecue were, “That pork was delicious; I need the recipe.”

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Besides being addictively delicious and abundantly flavorful, this pork is super easy to make. (more…)

January 9, 2012

roasted chicken, cabbage and bosc pear

This might be the easiest dinner ever. Prep takes mmmmmmmm … maybe five minutes, involving only a little basic slicing and the rubbing and sprinkling of spices. Then the oven works its magic for 45 minutes or so while the scent of roasted chicken wafts through the air, tickling noses and taste buds alike.

And have you ever had roasted cabbage before? It’s heavenly. You should try it. Especially if you think you don’t like cabbage. The sweet cabbage develops this nutty, charred flavor and crispy edges that drive me so absolutely bonkers that I make brilliant decisions. Like roasting an entire, giant cabbage for just two people’s dinner. Operation Super Awesome Lunch Leftovers: Complete.

Thick slices of cabbage get layered across the bottom of a casserole dish, then topped with bosc pear halves and sprinkled with spices. Think of this as the platform for roasting the chicken legs.

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Chicken gets the spice rub-down. I chose a mix of coriander, ginger and just a little garlic to go with the pears. (more…)

January 4, 2012

project wedding dessert bar: part 14 (moroccan-spiced crispy chickpeas)

I’m a crispy chickpea addict. A year and a half ago, this snack ushered me through weeks of studying for the bar exam during Summer 2010, and (especially after passing the exam) I’ve felt indebted to it ever since.

So in some weird way, it made sense to include this snack – which stood by my side in my mouth during some of my more miserable moments – in the dessert bar I created for family and friends to enjoy on an evening celebrating one of the consistent sources of happiness during the past decade of my life: my relationship with Jay. But the inclusion of chickpeas also made sense from another perspective.

In retrospect, I realized that the desserts I chose to serve at my wedding very much reflected a sugary timeline of my life and development.

Fudge and toffee represented the beginning, when I learned my mother’s precision and the importance of following candy recipes exactly. Sometimes, my mind would wander, my wrist would ache from stirring, and I would lose focus. That’s code for: I burned and threw out quite a few bad batches along the way. But if I hadn’t learned then, I probably would have scorched a lot of chocolate instead of melting it into delightfully rich truffles.

Quite a few years later, I began experimenting with caramels, and after quite a bit of testing, I finally came up with my own basic recipe. Eventually, that recipe blossomed into the fleur de sel and bourbon spice caramels friends and family enjoyed at our wedding.

In the past year or two, I have taken more risks – in life and in the kitchen – which was reflected in the more innovative cashew-bacon brittle and s’mores brownie bites that disappeared so quickly.

But back to making crispy chickpeas … (more…)

December 9, 2011

ginger cinnamon tea

I’m sick. Again. Jay brought something home at the beginning of the week, and the stuffy nose, plugged up ears and sore throat are now launching a full attack on my immune system.

Anyone else think sore throats are the absolute worst? Even cough drops aren’t helping me out this time around. To feel any relief whatsoever, I have to keep pumping hot herbal tea down my throat.

Normally, that would mean quite a few bags of tea – not to mention trips to the restroom. But as I sucked down my initial mugful this morning, I boiled up a potful of homebrewed tea.

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It might sound complicated, but it’s not. For me, uncomplicated is key when I’m sick.

I had some cinnamon sticks and a leftover nub of ginger on hand, so I just boiled them with a lot of water while marking up a licensing agreement during the first 45 minutes of work this morning. And I’ve been going back to refill my mug ever since.

The spicy ginger and warming cinnamon, along with a squeeze of acidic lemon and several squeezes of honey, have given me so much relief from this horrible sore throat – way more effective than costly and, for me, ineffective cough drops. (more…)

November 22, 2011

butternut squash cupcakes with maple-sage goat cheese frosting

My butternut squash bonanza continues! Think of this as a play on pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Except way better.

Honestly, I thought these up a year ago and never got around to making them. But they haunted me through spring and summer, and now that we’re back to peak butternut squash season, I had to make it happen.

So when last weekend’s Friendsgiving dinner got scheduled, it was a no-brainer. I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

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That’s the beauty of Friendsgiving. My friends and I officially launched the make-whatever-you-want concept last year, after decades of being told by our families that, no, we could not make butternut squash soup as an appetizer instead of Bopop’s bowl full of grapefruit tradition, and no, we could not make a cornbread, sausage and peppers stuffing instead of the rustic bread, sausage, apple and onion standard. (more…)

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