Thursday, June 19, 2008

you're the inspiration (cue chicago)

my latest hero is the pioneer woman. her entire website is fantastic but i just adore her recipes and her cooking blog. while scouring her site i came across linguine with chicken thighs and for some reason it stuck in my mind.

this week is pay week. thus i am broke and my fridge is like ol' mutha hubbard until tomorrow. i am currently only working with the essentials. here are my rations (or just a photo of my pantry. whichever.)

so, i didn't have any of the boneless skinless chicken thighs that the pioneer woman raves about. but i did have this. a single frozen boneless skin-on chicken breast.

so with the pioneer woman as my inspiration i put some chicken in my pasta.

first i trimmed off the fat from the chicken and rendered it (kinda sorta) in a hot pan with some olive oil.

i threw out the fatty pieces after they were browned and then added my chopped up chicken breast (don't forget to salt and pepper before cooking).

i boiled some water and cooked some penne pasta. fortunately i made and canned some of my kick ass pasta sauce (remember those pizzas?) a few nights ago. i cooked the chicken and then after it was nice and brown i poured it into a bowl. i deglazed the pan with a little water, reduced it by about half and then put in my pasta sauce. after it was warmed up i put the chicken back in the pan. then i mixed it all together. pretty damn good. i opted to pair this fine meal with a labatts since i was feelin' so classy. ha!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


wednesday i took a 1/2 day off work in order to go swimming with some friends. swimming options are limited in the city and hindered further since two of my three swimming buddies will only swim in chlorinated water. we agreed on waterworks and since it was like 90 degrees the $12 entrance fee was totally worth it.

for my packed lunch i decided on making a pressed sammich that i saw on everday foods last sunday on PBS while nursing a hangover.

i picked up a jar of roasted red peppers, some lettuce and 1/4 pound of genoa salami and soft, delicious provolone cheese from devitis and i found a round loaf of bread at westpoint market. sadly, crest bakery was fresh out.

cut the bread lengthwise and hollow it out. (this photo shows my first attempt - next time i will hollow it out way more - there was too much bread and not enough meat and cheese in that baby. also, i saved the extra bread and made croƻtons. delish). anyways, hollow out the bread and then brush the two halves with some of the red pepper juice.

start with the peppers and then layer the meat and cheese over and over and fill up the bread half. top with lettuce and put the top half of the bread loaf back on. (i put the peppers in the top half of the bread - eh. much better to start with the peppers which i will do next time). wrap as tightly as possible in plastic wrap.

now - you press it. put it in your fridge with a cookie sheet on top and put something heavy on top of that to hold it down (i used my cast iron skillet with like 3 bottles of beer in it). i let it stay in the fridge overnight.

i ate like a quarter of this poolside and it was amazing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

yard sale blow out chicken

this past weekend i had a big yard sale and pseudo-block party (a joint party between me and a couple of my neighbors). to feed the hungry crowd i opted for bbq chicken with my new favorite sauce and some cheesy potatoes (in addition to the burgers, dogs, macaroni salad, various dessert, and grilled veggies provided by my neighbors and friends).

i picked up ten pounds of thighs and drumsticks from my favorite chicken purveyor, difeo and sons for only $16! another bonus - klein's seafood is right across the street! my neighbor manned the grill and i gave him the sauce to just brush on for the last 3-5 minutes of grilling. i just seasoned the chicken with a little salt and pepper pre-grilling.

here's the sauce:

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves smashed or finely minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp cayenne peppers
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper

mix everything together over medium heat. simmer, stirring continuously for about 10-15 minutes. remove from heat and let it sit till you're ready to use it (unless of course you're making it in advance). YUM!

cheesy potatoes (or church potatoes as a guy i work with calls them) are ALWAYS a success and they are super, super easy.

1 bag of frozen hashbrown (cubed not shredded) potatoes
1 regular size tub of sour cream
1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 TBL butter

mix everything together and bake in a casserole dish until bubbly. YUM!

update on the lil' city garden

oh man. these babies are really taking off since i repotted them (soil mixed with petitti's planting mix). the rise in temperature (it actually feels like summer now) and the rain has also helped quite a bit. many of the plants have already doubled in size and my one lil' tomato plant has teeny green tomatoes on it!

i also started a pretty kick ass lil' herb garden.

rosemary, basil, thyme, and chives will all be making an appearance soon. summer in the city. woohoo!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

straight from the horse's mouth

northeastern ohio is a fantastic place for produce in the summer and akron, ohio is a fantastic city for farmer's markets. in a few weeks you'll be able to get fresh, LOCALLY grown and produced vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats, breads and a host of other treats (suport your local farmers!). i love farmer's markets. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE farmer's markets.

there is only one thing i love more than farmer's markets - my own homegrown goodies and my lil' city garden!

oh man. look at these babies. i promise to love you and take care of you and i hope that in return you will provide me with a bumper crop of not one, not two, but THREE kinds of tomatoes! i also hope to have zucchini, summer squash, pickling cukes and whatever else i find to fill up the few pots i have left. i also have an herb garden - complete with basil, rosemary, thyme, chives and mint (for mojitos!) - on the way.

stay tuned. i have some really good feelings (and some very high hopes) about this summer!