Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

I present to you the last of the recipes from my taco trifecta.

I know I'm going to garner some criticism for the statement I'm about to make. Any cook, good cook for the most part, will tell you that the dark meat chicken is much better to cook with than the white meat. It's more flavorful and remains moist, even after long amounts of cooking. Chicken breasts can dry out easily and there isn't as much flavor in the meat. 

This is what everyone says but me. Not that I disagree with them, I just don't like the taste of chicken thigh meat. I've tried to cook with it on a few occasions, this being one of them, and I just find the byproduct greasy.  At the end of the day, I'm a breast woman. :)

The flavors in this were great, but I think they would have been just as good with white meat. You be the judge and try it out.

Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos with Cabbage Slaw (serves 4)

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups brown ale
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 4 center-cut bacon slices
  • 2 TB cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup julienne-cut Granny Smith apple
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas 

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan, flesh side down; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes.

Combine beer, flour, and sugar in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Slowly add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning once.

Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Remove chicken from bones; shred. Discard bones. Bring cooking liquid to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Return chicken to pan; toss to coat.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp (about 8 minutes). Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble. Add 1 tablespoon drippings to a medium bowl. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, vinegar, and mustard to drippings in bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add bacon, cabbage, and apple; toss to coat.

Working with 1 tortilla at a time, heat tortillas over medium-high heat directly on the eye of a burner for about 15 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Arrange about 1/4 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla, and top with about 1/4 cup cabbage mixture.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos

In my second installment of my taco cooking trifecta, I tackle breakfast tacos. I've had my share of breakfast burritos out, but I didn't want to go that big for my weekend breakfast. Plus, I had a solid amount of chorizo left over from earlier in the week, so this seemed a perfect fit. There aren't too many ingredients, the process was simple, and the end result was awesome. This recipe comes from Epicurious.Awesome site for recipes.

Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos (serves 2)

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 7 ounces fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed if necessary
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Hot sauce or salsa (optional)


Brush large nonstick skillet with olive or vegetable oil. Char tortillas over gas flame or directly on electric burner until blackened in spots, turning with tongs. Arrange tortillas in single layer in skillet. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1/4 cup grated cheese and set aside.

Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons cilantro in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté chorizo sausage in heavy medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add green onions and sauté 2 minutes. Add egg mixture and stir until very softly set, about 1 minute. Remove egg mixture from heat.

Cook tortillas in skillet over high heat until beginning to crisp on bottom, but still soft and pliable, about 1 minute. Divide egg mixture among tortillas and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Fold each tortilla in half. Serve with sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Potato and Chorizo Tacos

Any regular visitor to my blog knows I like good ethnic food, and in the last year, I have experimented with several types of tacos. Two weeks ago, I picked up a pack of corn tortillas and went to work, resulting in three different taco recipes in 10 days' time. I'm a little over tacos at the moment, but you will thank me for this little endeavor. Because 2 of the 3 taco recipes were amazing. This one was the most amazing of them all. And it includes one of my favorite (albeit expensive) cheeses: Manchego.

You can just thank me now.

Potato and Chorizo Tacos (serves 4)

  • 2 poblano chiles (I used jalapenos because I couldn't find poblanos)
  • 1 TB canola oil
  • 2 cups diced white potato
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 oz Mexican raw chorizo, casings removed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 3/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 oz Manchego cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup).
  • 8 lime wedges 

Preheat broiler to high.

Cut poblanos in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place poblano halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil for 8 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel; coarsely chop.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add potato; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove potato; place in a large bowl. Add onion to pan; cook 3 minutes. Add poblano, corn, red pepper, and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion mixture to potato. Add chorizo to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes, stirring to crumble. Return potato mixture to pan. Stir in stock and salt; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until potato is tender, chorizo is done, and liquid almost evaporates.

Working with 1 tortilla at a time, heat tortillas over medium-high heat directly on the eye of a burner for about 15 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Arrange about 1/3 cup potato mixture in center of each tortilla; top with 1 1/2 teaspoons onions and 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

Serve with lime wedges.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cajun Cooking: Bananas Foster

In Part Two of my Cajun Cooking segment, here is the recipe for Bananas Foster. I'm not normally a fan of bananas in dessert, but I did find this to be pretty good. We might have left the bananas on the heat a bit too long which made them caramelize, but it turned out ok. Or maybe it was the Abita beer talking...

Bananas Fosters (serves 2)

  • 1 TB unsalted butter 
  • 1/8 cup dark brown sugar 
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice 
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 
  • 1/2 TB banana liqueur 
  • 1 under ripe banana, sliced in half lengthwise 
  • 1/8 cup dark rum 
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream (optional)

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. 

Add brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. 

Add banana liqueur and bring sauce to simmer. 

Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas 
as they are cooking. Remove bananas from pan to a serving dish. 

Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the rum. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will 
flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame 
dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is 
syrupy in consistency. 

Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over bananas and serve with waffles, crepes, or ice cream

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cajun Cooking: BBQ Shrimp

Last weekend, I took my first cooking class through Living Social. I had signed up for the class with two friends a few months ago and I was looking forward to some hands-on instruction. I had taken another class at Living Social before on pumpkin and bourbon, but it was more educational than instructional. In both instances I came out with some good tips and recipes. I'll share two of them on the blog in this post and another post this weekend, and the other two I'm going to hold on to for a later date. Because I guarantee I'll make them on my own time again.

The instruction was good and energetic and the kitchen was hot. As it should be, in my opinion, if you're trying to emulate the South. I was very lucky to have a friend who lived in DC for awhile who would regularly cook Southern dishes. While I can never begin to compete with her mad kitchen skillz and appreciation for butter, I can at least learn a bit more about what makes her food, and Southern food as a whole, so awesome.

Fortunately they had Abita beer on hand to help keep us cool. I'm a huge fan of their strawberry variety, but I'd settle for the amber in a pinch.

We learned to make four dishes during the class. Tonight I'll share the recipe for BBQ shrimp, and this weekend, the Bananas Foster recipe. So stay tuned. :)

BBQ Shrimp (serves 2)


  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 TB butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup beer, room temperature
  • 1/4 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 8-12 shrimp shrimp-peeled and deveined
  • Salt to taste

In a small bowl, stir together the garlic powder, onion powder, basil, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper and paprika. Set aside. 

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes. Season with the spice mixture and continue to cook and stir for a few minutes. Pour in the beer and Worcestershire sauce; simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 1 more minute. 

Taste and season with salt before serving.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Food Porn: Creating my own New York City Foodie Walking Tour

Last week, I made a pit stop in New York City on my way to visit my brother's family in Connecticut. I only had 5 hours to burn in this city, and besides the desire to get a great everything bagel, I was looking for recommendations on what to do with those five hours. I put out the question on Facebook and just about every person gave me recommendations on where to eat. So eat I did. With some intermittent walking in between. This turned into my own little foodie walking tour. Prepare to salivate.

First stop was Murray's Bagels in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. I received a lot of recommendations for where to get a great bagel, but I've had the same person reference this place every time I look for NYC recommendations, so I finally decided to check it out. How different can bagels be, even in a place like New York? Pretty different. This was an awesome bagel. I ended up picking up some other bagels elsewhere to take up to Connecticut and they paled in comparison. I enjoyed an Everything Bagel, soft and gooey, with cream cheese. Can't be beat.

While enjoying my bagel, someone joined me at my table and I thought that if he had good taste in bagels, perhaps he could point me in the direction of my next food adventure. I lucked out in that he apparently gives foodie tours. As he put it, "I give foodie tours for a living, but this tip is free. Go westward, my child." So I decided to head to the West Village. While en route, I stumbled upon Magnolia Bakery, of Sex and the City fame. There also was a group of Asian tourists crowding the place, but I figured since I'd n ever been there and who doesn't like a good cupcake, I'd check it out. I opted for the "Smores" cupcake, a graham cracker cupcake with toasted marshmallow frosting and a dark chocolate ripple. The flavor combinations were very good, but I admit I've had much better cupcakes. The cake part was a bit dry for my tastes. But at least I got a good laugh out of all tour group who kept shouting the character names while they took photos inside. The place is tiny, so I opted for this photo outside, with my buddies Miranda and Carrie. 

The last major stop on my tour was to Chelsea Market, which is truly a food lovers' paradise. I found myself overwhelmed with the options but ultimately decided to settle on a pastrami sandwich, because this girl likes her protein. I opted for the Farmstead Meats' Pastrami Sandwich with White Cheddar and an Apricot-Celery Chutney. I'll let the photo speak for itself.

All in all I was happy with my choice to wing it for my own little foodie tour. Taking the train to Connecticut definitely affords me this opportunity and I think next time I may opt to do a several-hour stay in Philadelphia.

Thanks to you all for the recommendations. I'll file some of them away in my memory for the next trip.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Orange Chilli Chicken Lettuce Cups

Two weekends ago, I found myself craving Asian food, and wanting to cook for some of my friends. Since I feel I'm always eating their wonderful food, it was about time I returned the favor. I ended up cooking for 10 people, most of whom I didn't know, but all of whom who appreciate the impromptu dinner of two very different Asian dishes. One was the Vietnamese Pork Noodle Salad which is a personal favorite. The other is a recipe I haven't made in years, for chicken lettuce cups, and is from one of the first cookbooks I ever bought. It was a nice discovery to revisit this book and since it's full of Asian favorites, I have a feeling I'll be breaking it out again sometime soon. The place we were eating had some mood lighting (in all seriousness, i think it was the disco light) that caused this odd effect to the color of the food. But I swear it was tasty.

Orange Chilli Chicken Lettuce Cups (serves 4-6 as an appetizer)

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB rice wine vinegar
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • Peanut oil, for deep frying
  • 2 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles, broken up
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 oz can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 iceberg or romaine lettuce
For the sauce
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 2 TB teriyaki sauce
  • 1 TB mild-hot chili sauce
  • 2 TB hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Mix together the chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, cover and refrigerate.

Half-fill the wok with oil and heat to moderately hot. Add the rice noodles in small batches, and fry for 1-2 seconds, or until puffed. Remove and rain on paper towels.

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and stir until the cornflour has dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a little peanut oil in a wok or large pan. Add the chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Add the red pepper, water chestnuts, spring onion and ginger to the pan, toss for 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and stir for another minute. Remove from the heat and mix in the noodles, reserving a few for garnish.

Form the lettuce leaves into cups. Fill cups with chicken and sprinkle with the reserved noodles on top.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grilled Asian Flank Steak and Mango Salad

Summer weather is just around the corner, which means I'll be attempting much lighter meals to counteract the unbearable heat and humidity which DC falls prey to come June. I'm starting the lighter eating a bit early this time around, with this flavorful steak salad. I loved the marinade on the meat. There's just something about asian flavors and beef that I always enjoy.

Grilled Asian Flank Steak and Mango Salad (serves 4)


  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5 tsp sugar, divided
  • 1 TB grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 TB minced fresh garlic
  • 1 TB fish sauce
  • 1 TB lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 TB lime juice
  • 2 TB water
  • 1 TB reduced-fat peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 5 cups spinach 
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced

  • Directions:

    Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

    Combine chopped cilantro, 1 tablespoon sugar, and next 4 ingredients (through soy sauce) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add beef; let stand 15 minutes. Remove beef from marinade; reserve marinade.

    Place beef on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with reserved marinade. Grill 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill; cover with foil. Let stand 5 minutes; cut across grain into thin slices.

    Combine lime juice, 2 tablespoons water, peanut butter, remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add spinach and next 4 ingredients; toss to coat.

    Divide salad evenly among 4 plates; top evenly with mango. Serve with beef.