Cornish Hens for the Super Bowl

While I was really, truly looking forward to watching Tom Brady cry, dinner made the entire night okay.  These cornish hens actually turned out pretty well.  Not that I was particularly invested either way…I could care less about the teams involved.  But I decided I wanted to make 2 cornish hens, so I did.  I used this recipe at Epicurious.com, but changed a few things…

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1. It was just my girlfriend and I, so I used 2 hens.
2. Instead of losing a bunch of heat pulling the pan out to baste, I just added more chicken broth periodically.  This also affected the gravy portion, see below.
3. I boiled the juices after taking the meat out while also adding some corn starch…this allowed me to get a little thicker of a gravy.  Next time I’m going to use more corn starch.

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Will definitely be cooking this again.  The slight lemon along with the rosemary and garlic really made this a wonderful meal.  And it wasn’t terribly hard to cook, either.

The Egg Test!

I decided I would test the non-stick seasoning that has been building up on my pan (this is my first cast-iron pan!).  What better way than with bacon and eggs?  I call it the egg test.

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I happened to have 3 slices of bacon, some bread and cheese, and 2 eggs sitting in the fridge.  Started by cooking the bacon to get a nice layer of grease built up in the pan.

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After the bacon was cooked, I put it on some paper towels to get a little less greasy.  Then I nervously cracked two eggs into the pan, awaiting the dreadful moment where it would immediately adhere to the surface and cause me to have to scour and reseason the pan, realizing my worst fears.

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Homemade Teriyaki is Easy!

Homemade teriyaki sauce is a lot simpler than I was expecting it.  I’ve made it 4 times so far, twice with beef and twice with chicken.

There are only 4 ingredients, in equal parts (I measure them with a shot glass which makes the perfect amount of sauce for one average sized package of stir fry beef or one serving of 2 chicken breasts):

Soy Sauce
Sake
Honey or Brown Sugar (more on this after the list)
Mirin

A few notes: Honey makes a lighter sauce, and brown sugar makes a darker sauce.  I’ve determined that honey is better for chicken and brown sugar for beef.

Mirin is a rice wine cooking sauce that can be found at an Asian market or at a relatively large supermarket, if they have a good international section.

Sake is great for cooking because you use two shot glasses…one for the meal and one for the cook.  Amounts for the cook are up to the cook.

To make this is simple.  Mix it together, and after browning your beef or cooking your cut up chicken, just pour it into the pan and let it boil off/reduce for a few minutes.  BAM you have a glaze.  Serve over rice for best results.

My favorite part is eating the rice that has the teriyaki sauce soaked into it.  Sweet and delicious.

Homemade General Tso’s Chicken

So I decided I would give this General Tso’s recipe a try.  Took a little while to make, but was easier to cook than I was expecting.

Ingredients:

2 Chicken Breasts
3 Tbs Corn Starch
2 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Tbs canola oil

Sauce:

1/2 Cup Water
1 Tbs Corn Starch
3 Tbs Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar or Honey
3 Tbs Ketchup
1/4 tsp Dry Ginger
1/2 or 1 Tbs Crushed Red Pepper

Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds.

Here’s what I did:

Rinsed and pat dry the chicken.  Cut into 1-inch cubes.  Heat oil in frying pan.  Whisk together the remaining non-sauce ingredients, add the chicken cubes and mix around.  When coated, shake of excess and add to oil.  Brown this coating on as many sides as you can, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken, drain oil, and set aside.

Mix sauce ingredients and add to hot pan.  With the corn starch, this will thicken up pretty quickly.  Then add the browned, crispy chicken and mix until heated up again.  Pour over rice and top with sesame, and you’re done!

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Some things I would like to change:

Next time I think I will cut the chicken into smaller, but longer strips.  I would like the chicken to be a little more crispy than it was.  Other than that, I would add a little more heat in terms of red pepper flakes, but that’s just personal preference.  I think mixing up the sauce ingredients the day before would also allow more of the pepper flavor to soak into the sauce.

Also, I highly recommend this rice cooker I got on Amazon…it’s super easy.  Dump 1 part rice to 2 parts water (up to 10 cups dry rice at a time) and press the button.  20 minutes later, you have that perfect chinese restaurant sticky rice.  And it will keep it warm for hours.

Here’s the rice cooker.

Cast Iron – Sizzle!

I’ve been spending more time with the beautiful cast iron pan I got for Christmas.  Tonight I made two NY strips (look at those beautiful 18-ounce bastards!) and some roasted potatoes.

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I started by getting the pan hot on medium high heat, and preheating the oven to 425.  While the pan was heating up, I rubbed the steaks with coarse salt, fresh ground pepper, and dried rosemary.

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Added a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  Once the butter got done bubbling, I threw in the steaks.

Continue reading Cast Iron – Sizzle!