Friday, January 25, 2013

Chick-a-Doodle Do

Today marked one of the coldest days back home in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I shivered as I stepped into the frigid bitterness of the outside, I was not prepared for this weather, in the least.  Throughout the day I tried to stay bundled and warm with cups of tea.  I was looking forward to a nice, hot, home-cooked meal for dinner.  After skimming through a couple of online sites with various recipes, I found one to my liking, another food blog called "The Shiksa in the Kitchen", cute name, good recipes and yummy looking food pictures.  One recipe in particular caught my eye, Chicken Chickpea Stew - a different kind of chicken dish that I wanted to try...and that's exactly what I did!  I saved the recipe and began to cook later in the day.  Starting the dish by browning 4 chicken thighs in a large black pot, I cooked each side for 5 minutes and then removed the pieces to add in the other ingredients.  I diced one onion and scooped the white chunks into the pot where I began to stir them around, once the onions started to caramelize I added chops of vibrant orange carrots to the mix and continued to stir.  Then I added the remainder of ingredients - two large halves of sliced red roasted peppers, a can of Chickpeas, a half cup of crushed red tomatoes and the spices - Paprika, Salt, Pepper, Cumin and a dash of Cayenne pepper.  I placed the pieces of chicken back in the stew and let it cook for about 45 minutes with occasional stirring.  The stew came to a boil as bubbles arose from the heat all around the bowl, I continued to stir as the bubbles continued to reappear, it turned into a game of how many bubbles I could pop.  To end the preparation, I removed the skin from the chicken and finely shredded the pieces, adding them back to the bowl, dousing them in the saucy mixture.  As the stew cooked, the glorious smell wafted throughout my house - the strong spices left my nose sniffing, and my mouth watering.  The 45 minutes, plus an extra 15 at the end felt like eternity.  I was so eager to taste it.  Finally, the time had come.  The first bite was unreal, literally unreal.  I wish you (my readers) were able to taste it.  The crunchiness of the chickpeas,  and the way they dissolved in my mouth bite by bite, the creamy-soupiness of the tomatoes spread heat all throughout my body, the spices were tasted, but not too strong - just right...and the chicken was seasoned to perfection, dipped in all the ingredients, the flavors had really settled in.  This dish was fresh, bursting with flavors, warm and comforting, a perfect pick-me-up on a cold winter day.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Personal Pizza Pizzaz

I wanted to make a new Saturday night special, homemade pizza for dinner.  But first, I decided to order some starter salads from Dakota Pizza company...I mean, what were they thinking stealing my name?   Lol but for's a real place, a real pizza company, and I once got a free shirt because we share the same name.  Anyways, back to my blog.  I pulled out a small circular round of whole wheat pita from the fridge and placed it on a sheet of aluminum foil, then i doused the pita in mushroom flavored tomato sauce, spreading the sauce out so it covered the entire base of the pita.  Then I added a couple handfuls of shredded white Mozzarella cheese, so only a couple specks of red sauce were visible.  To add some "pizzaz" to the "pizza" I sliced two green onions into small, miniature circles and one medium sized red pepper into thin strips.  I added the vegetables to the pizza and placed it in the oven for 5 minutes.  After a quick 5 minutes, I let the pizza sit in the oven so the rest of the cheese would melt.  As I took the pizza round out of the oven, I was shocked by the heat from the aluminum foil, probably should've used an oven mitt...but hey, YOLO, right?  To enhance the taste, I sprinkled some garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes on top.  My mouth was salivating and I could hardly wait to try my creation.  I tried to cut it in half but then the toppings started to get messed up, so I decided to eat it whole.  As I took my first bite, my teeth sunk into the soft pita, as the combination of flavors entered my mouth - the sweetness of the tomato sauce, with the hint of the mushroom, the salty creaminess of the cheese, the pungent spice of the scallions and the crunch of the red peppers.  The bold flavor of the garlic mixed with the fiery flavor of the crushed red pepper added just the right kick to my pizza.  This really made my Saturday night, special.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gimme S'more of That

Last night I decided I needed to spice up my life a little bit, in the sense of food, and what I was going to eat for my meals - dinner and dessert.  For dinner I decided on brown rice, stir-fried shrimp and roasted butternut squash and onions: tasty and easy.  However, I always have more trouble deciding what to have for dessert, because I am not a huge fan of sweets.  I opened our snack cabinet to find a box of mini graham cracker squares, mini jet-puffed marshmallows and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and Voila!  I was going to make mini s'mores for dessert!  But first, I had a prior commitment - a yoga class with my dad.  After an hour of relaxation, the only thing on my mind was the s'mores.  As we pulled into the driveway, I jumped out of the car and rushed into the house and took out a packet of chopsticks.  Why, chopsticks? you may ask...well it was a replacement skewer because these s'mores were taking place over an electric stove, rather than a smoky BBQ grill.  I stuffed two mini marshmallows on the chopstick and let the white puffs toast over the low heat from the stove, as they caught on fire and turned a golden brownish-black.  After about 3 minutes, the marshmallows were ready to be combined with the other ingredients.  I placed one mini brown speckled cracker on the plate, slid my marshmallows off the "skewer" as they laid on top of the cracker and then sprinkled about 3-4 mini chocolate chips on top.  To finish it off, I placed one more mini cracker on top, making it the perfect s'more sandwich.  The first bite was crunchy but gooey, the crunch from the crispness of the cracker mixed with the gooeyness of the marshmallows, as the chocolate chips melted in my mouth.  I went back to roast some more marshmallows, once I start, I can't be stopped - I'm a sucker for roasted marshmallows.  For not being a big dessert fan, it was the perfect amount of sweetness with a quick crunch, leaving me happy and satisfied.