Weekend or Weeknight Chicken and Trying Out a New Coop

Just a little spicy

Just a little spicy

This recipe can be super simple or a little more involved, depending on whether you make your own ghee and garam masala. The spice mix only takes a few minutes to measure out and grind up, but making your own ghee is a little more involved.

The chicken was one of the tastiest we’ve had in awhile for two reasons. One: Our new recipe rocks. The chicken is flavorful, but the spice mix is subtle not overpowering. Two: The chicken was incredibly juicy and a really nice quality meat. It was provided by a friend of ours who recently asked if we’d be interested in trying out a chicken from the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative in exchange for blogging about it. We of course answered yes, but were secretly worried the chicken wouldn’t be remarkable. We shouldn’t have blinked, it was delicious. If you’re in Arkansas, check them out. They specialize in pastured poultry, forested pork and grass-fed lamb and beef. We’ve also tried their mild pork sausage (yummy) and are saving some of their beef for burgers. According to their website “The Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative is a farmer-owned and farmer-operated cooperative of Arkansas livestock farmers, all committed to the highest sustainable-farming standards: pasture-raised animals and environmentally friendly practices. We don’t use maintenance antibiotics, growth hormones, or GMO feed.”

Roasted Chicken with Ghee and Garam Masala

  • 1 3 1/2 to 4 lb whole chicken
  • 6 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup whole small sweet potatoes, or 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup baby turnips, or 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • salt/pepper

Toss vegetables with two tablespoons of ghee and one teaspoon of garam masala. Place in a single layer in a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken. Place the chicken on a rack in the middle of the pan. Shove the orange quarters in the cavity of the chicken. Sprinkle bird with salt and pepper. Mix the remaining ghee and garam masala in a small bowl. Separate the skin of the chicken from the meat but don’t remove. Using a pastry brush spread the ghee mix over the flesh under the skin. Once done, brush the outside of the chicken with the remaining mix. Roast at 365 until the chicken is done (the internal temperature should be 165) and the vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes a pound). No need to baste.


  • 1 lb butter cut into small chunks

In a three-quart saucepan melt butter over medium heat until it begins to foam. Turn heat down to medium low and continue to simmer until butter stops foaming, then foams again and turns a golden brown color. The milk solids will drop to the bottom and turn black. Remove from heat and let cool slightly then strain through cheesecloth in a wire strainer into a heat proof bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator forever.

Posted in Beef, Chicken, Food, Indian, Pork, Rants, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Our Kitchen: Presents

I almost have it figured out

I almost have it figured out

So the old Krupps dual coffee and espresso maker died after 12 years of service. In that time it seems that every dual coffee maker out there is over priced and poorly made. I don’t know if this is due to the single cup Keurig fad or that all coffee maker manufactures are trying to get everyone to own separate machines. Whatever the reason, I decided to try the aeropress system for 25 bucks. After a good amount of experimenting I have figured out a way to make an incredible cup of coffee, but it does not make true espresso. The trick is to use it inverted to brew the coffee, then hand press for 1 minute. There are a bunch of different videos and such out there and depending on the individual taste, time and coffee type will vary. The problem with this system is it only makes 1 cup at a time, so for parties or heavy coffee drinkers it requires some pre-planning.

I thought I had everything I needed for the kitchen

I thought I had everything I needed for the kitchen

I also got the Oxo slicing and grating tool. It works great for shredding and slicing but I do wish the container had a higher capacity since 2 cups fills up pretty fast when slicing a potato or onion.

Here is a spinach, bacon and pimento cheese pizza.



Posted in Rants | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Pimento Cheese Spread

So cheesy

So cheesy

The secret to this Southern staple is a mix of different cheddar cheeses.

Pimento Cheese

  • 8 oz extra sharp orange cheddar shredded
  • 8 oz mild English cheddar shredded
  • 4 oz sharp Vermont white cheddar shredded
  • 8 oz Neufchatel cream cheese room temperature
  • 2-8 dashes Louisiana hot sauce (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp minced pimiento peppers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil based mayonnaise
  • Salt/pepper

In a stand blender beat cream cheese until whipped. Add everything else and beat until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and chill for two hours before serving.

Posted in Appetizers, Food, Recipes, vegetarian | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Braised Ribs and Rigatoni

Use more cheese as needed

Use more cheese as needed

This recipe is adapted from Lidia’s Italy. It is a great way to cook ribs if you are tired of barbecue.

Braised Short Ribs

  • 1 rack pork spare ribs
  • 2 onions sliced thin
  • 1 head garlic chopped roughly
  • 6-8 pickled sweet peppers
  • 3 28 oz cans whole tomatoes crushed by hand
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2-3 cups beef stock
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated romano
  • Salt/peppper

Cut rack into single ribs and season with salt and pepper. In a large stock pot heat 2 tbsp olive oil and brown ribs in batches until all are done. Remove ribs to a paper towel lined plate to drain and strain off all but 3 tbsp fat from the stock pot. Add onions to pot and cook on low until almost caramelized. Add garlic and peppers and cook for a minute more then add 2 cups beef stock and deglaze pan. Add tomatoes, oregano and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add ribs bring to a low simmer and cover partially. Cook for 1 hour then uncover pot and continue to cook until ribs are done, ypu may need to add more broth to keep the ribs covered in the sauce. Meanwhile cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Strain and coat in olive oil, pepper, parsley and cheese while hot. Serve ribs on top of cheesy pasta with more cheese on top.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Italian, Pork, Recipes | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Cheeseball with Pepper Jelly and Pecans

That's a lot of cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese

That’s a lot of cheese

All sorts of different cheeses can be included in a cheese ball. Some go to choices would be blue cheese, Swiss, cheddar, and more cheddar. Diced dried fruit or fresh fruit soaked in liquor is an excellent addition inside as well.

Here is a simple starting point.

Cheese Ball

  • 16 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gouda
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 tbsp pepper jelly
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts or a mix

In a mixing bowl whip cheeses and jelly together until smooth. Spoon mixture on to a large sheet of plastic wrap and form into a tight ball. Refrigerate at least six hours and up to a day. Remove from fridge and roll cheese ball in chopped nuts. Wrap in plastic again and refrigerate until serving.


Posted in Appetizers, Dessert, Food, Recipes, vegetarian | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Water Velveting Chicken

So mysterious

So mysterious

This is a healthier way to prep chicken, or any meat, for Chinese cooking. The traditional way is in oil, but the water bath works just as well and is far easier to clean up after.

Water Velveting

  • 1 lb meat cut into thin slices, or small cubes
  • 2 tbsp egg white
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 4 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Beat all ingredients together and add meat. Stir well and then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Pour enough water in a wok to cover the meat and add vegetable oil. Bring to a high boil, then add meat and cook for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to scoop the meat from the water bath and then drain in a colander. The meat is now ready to be used in any number of recipes.

Posted in Food, How to, Recipes | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Roasted Pepper Quiche with Bacon

That crust is in the country style

That crust is in the country style

This quiche is so fun to cut into. The layers give a pop of color and the flavors are incredible. Use cream if you don’t have buttermilk.

Roasted Pepper and  Bacon Quiche

  • 1 pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated Romano
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 large red bell peppers, roasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped oregano
  • Salt/pepper

Bake pie crust for 15 minutes or until golden and puffy at 375 degrees. Meanwhile fry bacon and crumble when cool. Beat eggs with buttermilk and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. In pie crust layer half the peppers and half the crumbled bacon. Pour half of the egg mixture over evenly. Repeat with another layer of all remaining ingredients including the oregano and cover with egg mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees until quiche is set, about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 3-6 tbsp ice water

Cut butter into small chunks and add to flour. Using a fork or pastry blender cut the butter until flour resembles coarse crumbs. Take a handful of the mixture and clench it in your fist. If the flour comes together in a rough mass there is enough butter in it. If it remains too dry to hold together add a tablespoon of butter at a time until the consistency is correct. Slowly add ice water to flour a tablespoon at a time until it pulls together into a rough dough. Knead quickly to form a smooth ball adding more water if the dough is too crumbly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to desired thickness, place in greased pie pan and prick with fork all over. Follow whatever recipe directions you happen to be making next. If the pie shell needs to be baked, first place a piece of tin foil inside pie shell and fill with dry beans. This helps hold the crust down while it bakes and the beans can be reused in dishes and food after baking.

Posted in Breakfast, Dinner, Food, Recipes, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments