Tag Archives: comfort food

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

10 Jun

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One thing I try to focus on when creating dishes is being able to eat and make what I love, without having to compromise much. Unfortunately, I suffer from a digestive disorder – what kind of cruel joke is that for a chef and “foodie”?! I’ve done quite a bit of trial and error on my diet to try to keep myself in good health and pain-free. Although I’m not allergic to wheat or gluten, I find that I feel much better when I don’t eat it. It seems a lot of people can benefit from reducing the amount of wheat they consume. With that said, I don’t want to give up my favorite foods or feel like I’m missing out on anything and this fried chicken is the perfect example! The buttermilk marinade adds to the flavor and moisture of the meat while the cornstarch helps to keep the breading from falling off while frying. If you haven’t tried brown rice flour yet, I highly recommend it!

Time: 45 minutes + marinate time                   Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces – about 2.5 pounds
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp rainbow peppercorns
  • 1 handful celery leaves
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • neutral oil, for frying

How to make it


  • Combine buttermilk,salt,pepper,paprika,rosemary,onion,garlic,celery stalks & leaves in a large plastic zipper bag. Seal and toss to incorporate. Add chicken pieces, reseal, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and up to 36 hours.
  • Place cornstarch in a bowl.
  • Place egg, hot sauce, and water in another bowl.
  • Place flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a third bowl. Mix to incorporate.lunapic_137046272434386_28
  • Remove chicken from fridge. Heat oil in a medium stock pot to about 350F – a cube of bread should brown in one minute when the oil is ready.
  • Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge first in cornstarch, then dip in egg wash, and finally dredge in seasoned flour. Place in hot oil and cook for about 20 minutes. Wings may need less time and larger pieces may need a few more minutes. I went about 25 minutes on the breasts, 20 minutes on the legs and thighs, and 15 minutes on the wings. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack. Fry in batches if needed. (I like to fry in smaller batches in a smaller pot to use less oil and give the pieces room to brown well without sticking).

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Mushroom Barley Soup

23 May

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I know some of you are probably thinking, “soup?! really?!” considering it is late May. But here in my fine hometown of Detroit, MI it is currently 46F and pouring. What better time to warm up with this hearty soup that pleases vegetarians and meat-eaters alike?

Time: 15 min prep, 1hr 15min cook                   Serves: 8-10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 large)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large portabella mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp brown rice Miso paste, dissolved in a bit of warm water
  • black pepper
  • chopped parsley, chopped – for garnish
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids and Sriracha, to serve

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How to make it


  • Put barley in a 5 quart pot with bay leaves and a generous amount of sea salt. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until grains are soft and open.
  • Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and the garlic, and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for a few minutes then add to the pot of barley and cooking liquid.
  • Next, heat the remaining olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. (If you don’t have a large enough skillet, you can cook them in a couple of batches). Sauté, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Lower heat to medium and cook until softened and starting to brown.
  • Transfer to pot. Add 2-3 cups of water, and miso paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Add kale and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with Bragg’s and Sriracha.
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Chicken Pot Pie Mac & Cheese

25 Apr

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I’ve been back in Detroit for almost two weeks and Spring has definitely come through here and there but it’s still not in full swing. This comforting dish is nice on a rainy, cool spring evening and reminds me of the saying “April showers bring May flowers” because of how colorful it is,  incorporating fresh spring produce. This was my beau’s brainchild and I’d say an experiment gone

Time: 1 hour           Serves: 10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (b/s), poached in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, shredded*
  • 8 oz. elbow quinoa pasta, cooked al dente (or short cut pasta of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced (about 1 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground  (I used about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. New Zealand white cheddar, shredded – divided
  • handful pea sprouts, for garnish

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 1 13×9 or 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large 5 qt. pot. Add onion, cook until softened. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add celery, cook for 1 min. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add flour. Cook until a lightly brown roux forms around the veggies.
  • Slowly add stock, and whisk to incorporate. Remove from heat. Add shredded chicken, mayo, cooked pasta, corn peas, and half shredded cheese. Mix to incorporate. Pour into casserole(s), I set one aside at this point to cool completely to freezer for another great dinner.

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  • Top with remaining cheese. Bake on middle rack for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. Transfer to top rack and turn on broiler. Broil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with pea sprouts.

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Arancini

23 Apr

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I’ve had the pleasure of eating arancini several times. One memory stands out more than others, Angelina Bistro in Detroit. I had never made them before, so when my chef asked me to prepare them for a tasting for a wedding I was excited! He put me on all of the family recipes for Italian classics as according to him I am an “Italian specialist”. Family recipes, huh…Oh and did I mention the groom is a chef too and the family recipes are his?! Well, the arancini were an absolute hit. And I must admit, and I can here, that I did leave a fingerprint.

Time: 45 minutes              Serves: 12 pieces

Ingredients


  • 1 cup short grain risotto rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 1-2 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed – enough for 12 pieces
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used fresh)
  • oil for frying
  • handful basil, chiffonade

How to make it


  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cook rice uncovered until tender, but firm – about 20 minutes. When done, remove from heat and add butter. Mix to incorporate. Spread out on a large parchment lined tray to cool.
  • Once cooled, place in a large bowl and add egg yolks and parmesan cheese Mix well.
  • Take about 1/3 cup of rice mixture and shape into a ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and place a piece of mozzarella in the center. Rework the ball to enclose the cheese.
  • Put the egg whites in a bowl, beat until stiff.
  • Put bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
  • Coat rice balls with stiffened egg white one by one, then roll in bread crumbs, pressing around to coat evenly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy all around. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • To serve, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and basil chiffonade. Enjoy as is or with a delicious sauce such as my Tomato Butter Sauce.

Stovetop White Cheddar Jalapeño Mac

8 Apr

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I’ve been meaning to make this at home for quite some time. I made it up while in a local brewery restaurant. I love the contrast of the sharp creamy cheddar with the spicy peppers.

Time: 15 minutes             Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 8 oz. mini shell (Conchiglie) pasta (I used quinoa & corn – GF)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup diced & seeded jalapeño peppers

How to make it


  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  • Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, add butter to a medium saucepan – large enough to house all ingredients eventually – over medium-high heat. Once melted, add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pasta, cheese, Greek yogurt, and diced jalapeños. Add some cooking water, about 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is met. I used 1/2 cup.

Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

4 Apr

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Although spring is trying to peak out, it’s still chilly here in SoCal where I’m currently based. I don’t mean to wine, I know it’s warmer than my native land. But I thought it would be nice to introduce a Midwestern favorite. A big salad is great for lunch but for dinner a hearty, satisfying, comfort food is in order. The array of vegetables not only pack a nutritional punch but they lend their colors to make this dish really pop. A great make-ahead meal. Prepare it up until the baking, cool completely and freeze, I usually divide into 2. Just defrost in fridge before baking, or up baking time by about 45min. I meant to add mushrooms to this dish but forgot, maybe next time.

Time: 90 minutes           Serves: 6-8

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (I used orange cauliflower)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/8 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp each)

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for another 4 minutes. Finally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  • Drop broccoli and cauliflower florets into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then remove and drain in a colander. Run cold water over top until cooled through or drop in an ice water bath.
  • In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock in 3 parts, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened somewhat. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and season to taste. Add all vegetables, chicken, and both kinds of rice. Mix well to incorporate. Spoon into prepared baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted.

Studded Matzo Balls

2 Apr

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It was only natural to honor my first Classic Homemade Chicken Soup with my first ever matzo balls, and it was fitting that I served them on the last day of Passover. They’re studded with carrots, celery, and parsley.

Time: 10 min prep, 30+min cook             Serves: 8

Ingredients


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal (I used Manischewitz brand)
  • 3 tbsp water/stock/broth
  • 1 tsp salt, if desired
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (I used flat leaf Italian)
  • 1 batch chicken soup

How to make it


  • In a mixing bowl, combine oil, eggs, matzo meal, water/stock and salt if using. Mix to incorporate. Cover and place in fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile bring soup/stock/water to boil in a 4 quart stock pot.
  • After chilled, add carrots, celery and parsley to batter mix. Gently fold in.
  • Reduce heat to simmer.
  • Moisten hands and roll batter into about 1-inch balls. Gently drop into boiling pot. Cover pot and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  • If cooking broth/water, remove from liquid and serve warm or at room temp. If serving in soup, you’re all set to serve it up 🙂