Monday, July 28, 2014

Ponzu Braised Bok Choy


It's finally the week I'm heading back to Chicago to be reunited with my favorites. The trip was prompted by a wedding for some good Chicago friends, who ironically moved out to SF right around the same time we did. I can't wait for the wedding festivities to begin, to see my sister and friends, and just to be back in Chicago in the summer. I'm so looking forward to the whole trip.

In the mean time, I'm always looking for a good bok choy recipe. It cooks up in around 5 minutes and is delicious served alongside grilled meats, simple rices and anything Asian.  

Ponzu Braised Bok Choy 
makes 3-4 sides

1 lb boy choy or baby bok choy (
2 tbsp fresh ginger (minced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbsp Mirin
1 tbsp sriracha
2 tbsp Ponzu (you can easily find it in the Asian section)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp olive oil

Clean and trim the bok choy before you get started. There can be a lot of dirt in between the leaves that should be rinsed. Trim the bottom so each leaf is loose and dry with paper towels. 
Heat sesame and olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. 

Add bok choy, mirin, sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice (or ponzu) and salt. Crank up heat to medium high and saute for 5 minutes. 

Serve up making sure to get all the ginger and garlic from the pan.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pickle Fried Chicken


Pickles. Buttermilk. Fried Chicken. Yes. Pickles hold a special place in my heart, so using all that yummy juice to brine chicken was just waiting to happen. Here we have pickle juice brined, fried chicken nuggets. Best party snack ever. I served them this weekend at a BBQ and they were gone before I could get a second toothpick in there. These can always be made ahead of time and popped in the oven before serving.

Pickle Fried Chicken Nuggets
makes 30-40 nuggets


for the brine:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cubed)
1 1/2 cup dill pickle juice (I use Mt. Olive brand)
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon dry dill
1 tablespoon green chili powder

for the dredge
3/4 cups masa harina (sub corn meal if not available)
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon paprika, granulated garlic, coriander, turmeric, ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin, cayenne powder, dried oregano
2 tablespoons salt

canola oil

for the buttermilk ranch
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh dill (minced)
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon salt

Get the chicken brined first. In a large mixing bowl, combine pickle juice, buttermilk, dried dill, green chili powder and chicken cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in fridge for 2 hours, up to 24 hours. 2 hours does the trick though as the chicken is cubed into small pieces.
As chicken marinades, make the ranch dipping sauce. Mix Greek yogurt, mayo, buttermilk, granulated garlic, fresh dill, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt. Cover and let the flavors come together in the fridge as chicken brines.
Remove chicken 15 minutes prior to cooking. Drain chicken in a colander and pat all pieces dry. In a heavy bottomed, large pan, heat 1/2 inch canola oil until hot enough to make flour sizzle when dropped in. About 350 degrees.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place wire rack on top.
In a shallow bowl, combine masa harina, flour, spices, salt and pepper. Sift to combine. Drop in pieces of chicken to coat in flour mixture. (Don't forget to pat the chicken pieces dry first.) Once coated, shake off excess flour and drop into oil. Cook chicken on all 3 or 4 sides for a total of 6-7 minutes. The chicken will have a brown coating when done.
Remove chicken from oil and place on wire rack. Place in oven. Repeat process until all chicken is fried, leaving all chicken pieces on wire rack until the whole batch is fried.
Serve hot with toothpicks and homemade buttermilk ranch for easy dipping.
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday Brunch: Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Cups


A simple Sunday brunch recipe is one we can all use. Brian's leaving me tomorrow for a long 10 days, so we did our Sunday brunch on Saturday. Next time we see each other we'll be back in Chicago for a good friend's wedding and some much needed time back in my favorite city. Happy weekend y'all! See you soon, Chicago!

Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Cups

makes 4 egg cups


4 pieces thinly cut bacon
4 large eggs
1 scallion (thinly sliced)
1/4 tomato (diced)
1/2 cup cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese (grated)
salt and pepper
hot sauce for serving

Here it goes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a muffin tin, take a piece of bacon and line it in a muffin cup. Don't let the bacon overlap in the cup. Rather, let the ends hang out over the side. It will help it crisp up.

Crack an egg into each cup. Sprinkle salt, pepper, scallions, tomato and cheese on top. Pop into the oven for 18-20 minutes.

The bacon and egg cups should slide right out with a spatula. Serve with hot sauce, fresh fruit and a good cup of coffee. Happy weekend!
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Monday, July 14, 2014

A Summer Salad: Creamy Dill Green Bean Salad


Corn and green beans remind me of being a kid in summertime. My parents didn't have us help much with cooking, I actually don't think we did any, but we helped shuck corn and snap the ends off of green beans. That was about the extent of the chores we did. Lucky, I know. 

This recipe will definitely be favorite for my mom who loves dill and anything easy to cook on a weeknight. Hope you guys enjoy it too!

Creamy Dill Green Bean Salad
makes 4 side servings

1 lb green beans (ends trimmed)
1 shallot (minced)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup Feta cheese (crumbled)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dill (minced)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Drop in green beans with a dash of salt. Saute for 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cover to steam for 5 minutes. 

Remove from pan and immerse in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.

As green beans cook, stir together shallot, mayo, Feta, Dijon mustard, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add green beans and toss to coat.


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