Getting Through The Holidaze

The obligatory Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich

The obligatory Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich

I know most people, myself included, combat the usual holiday craze with an abundance
of food and drink – which can usually make matters worse. The holidays can be a
great time of the year, but generally coincide with finals, deadlines, money
pressures, and the obligatory common cold. Thanksgiving comes and goes – leaving
the clothes on your body a bit more snug – and then it’s the cookies, candy, eggnog and
brandy.

How about a Thanksgiving leftovers breakfast sandwich...?

How about a Thanksgiving leftovers breakfast sandwich…?

 

In response to this yearly slump I have come up with a few practices
that can take the edge off. Some of these may be common sense, but sometimes we
need a reminder amidst the holiday rush.

1. Drink a crazy amount of water each day. I try to drink 8 8-oz glasses/day
minimally. I keep a huge jar next to my bed, and throughout
the day refill it. Don’t go too crazy, but listen to your body and keep it
hydrated. Each person is different.

2. Start every day off with a healthy smoothie or juice. I use my juice cubes
(apple pear and kale, parsley cilantro) mixed with a handful of fruit, banana,
and unsweetened coconut or almond milk. These smoothies have detoxifying
qualities that give me a nice boost throughout the day.

juicecubes

3. Eat a balanced dinner! If nothing else, make sure you have a healthy dinner
waiting at home after a long, exhausting day. When meeting friends for
drinks at night, I have a bad habit of skipping out on dinner, and filling up on
olives and Bloody Marys. If I spend a few hours preparing some veggies,
meats, and grains for the week, dinner can be a breeze and hold me over
when I’m in dire need

4. Drink an Emergency daily. That daily dose of vitamin C will help keep
your immune system fortified against that pesky obligatory cold.

5. Chill the hell out! Take time for yourself. Write in your journal, take a walk in
the park, read that damn book you have wanted to read forever. Forget about
everyone and focus on yourself.

Happy Holidays from Ernie!

Happy Holidays from Ernie!

A (Nearly) Perfect Chicken Kiev

I’ve only made this a few times in my life, but it’s one of those dishes that will make a special appearance here and there just to remind me there is good in the world.

It can be kind of tricky, but as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into (and are fully prepared) it can be a pretty exciting cooking experience.

Chicken Kiev for my friends. Served with risotto and artichoke.

Chicken Kiev for my friends. Served with risotto and artichoke. This version was made gluten-free, and the only difference was the breading was a little harder to keep on. The flavor was still delicious!

**Chicken Kiev**  Serves 3-4

3 large chicken breasts (get the biggest ones you can find)

6 T of cold butter

1 T each of chives, parsley, oregano, minced garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice

1 c flour (or GF flour)

2 eggs

1 c breadcrumbs (or GF breadcrumbs), seasoned with salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper

Vegetable (or whatever preferred) oil for frying

  1. Start by mixing the fresh herbs, lemon and butter together in a food processor. Scrape into a thin log shape and stick into the freezer.
  2. Place the chicken breast in between two sheets of plastic wrap and begin pounding out until chicken is about ¼ inch thick. Be careful not to tear the chicken or pound too hard. You are going to be wrapping the chicken around cold butter, and the more you can keep it sealed in, the better the final outcome.
  3. Lay 2 tablespoons of butter in the middle of the chicken and fold the chicken around it. The best way is to tuck the sides in, and roll from the end… kind of like rolling a sleeping bag. Place the rolled chickens on a plate in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 and get a pot or deep skillet headed with vegetable oil. The oil should go up about 1 ½ inches and is ready at 360 degrees.
  5. Get the breading station ready and carefully roll each of the chickens first in flour, then egg and then in breadcrumbs.
  6. Place the chicken straight into the hot oil, and flip when one side is golden brown. When both side are golden colored, carefully move them onto a broiling pan and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Chicken is done when it’s 165 degrees.
  8. Enjoy!! The herby butter should ooze out of chicken when you cut into it!


 

Butter Herb Roasted Chicken & Gravy

I love fall for many reasons, but I especially love how all the cold rainy weather makes warm food even more comforting and delicious.

One of my all time favorite fall dishes is a roasted chicken, and  during the year when the warmth from the oven is a welcome treat. This recipe is great for a nice dinner party, but I also make it on occasion all for myself so that I have fresh roasted chicken to eat on during the week. You can serve it with a slew of sides, or a simple potato mash and glazed carrots! It’s basically like having a mini thanksgiving dinner whenever you want!

Roasted Chicken w/ Gravy, Red Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots and Chanterelles.

Roasted Chicken w/ Gravy, Red Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots and Chanterelles.

**Roasted Chicken w/ Chicken Gravy**

1 whole chicken

½ stick of butter

1 tsp each of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, basil, lemon zest and lemon juice.

3 garlic cloves

2 T flour (or corn starch if making gluten free gravy)

1 yellow onion

3 stalks of celery

2 carrots

½ c chicken plus 2 T of chicken broth.

Meat thermometer

Baster tool

~

Preheat oven to 350.

Add the diced butter and all seasonings, garlic cloves and lemon into a food processor and mix until you have an even consistency. Scrape the butter out and roll into plastic, twisting down the sides to create a tube shape. Set it in the freezer to harden while you prepare the chicken.

Clean the chicken (making sure nothing is inside of it like the gizzards in a plastic bag) and carefully run your fingers under the skin, separating it from the meat. Do this for the entire breast section and into the drumsticks.

In your roasting pan place ½ of the onion, celery and carrot on the bottom of and place the chicken right on top. The extra celery onion and carrot you put inside the bird.

Slice the butter into small pieces and slip them under the skin of the chicken covering the breasts and drum sticks, and throw any extra pieces of butter inside the chicken.

Cover with tin foil (try and keep the tin foil from touching the top of the chicken but creating a tent shape) and place in middle rack of oven.

After 40 minutes of uninterrupted cooking, remove the tinfoil and begin to baste the chicken thoroughly. Every 15 minutes or so baste again. This will keep the meat very moist and help get a nice crispy skin. Chickens generally take about 20 minutes per pound, and are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165.

While chicken is resting, take about ½ cup of the liquid in the roasting pan and place it in a small pot. Whisk in the flour and chicken stock and reduce to about ½ on medium heat.

Enjoy!

Picked this amazing bird up straight from my friends farm!

Picked up this amazing bird straight from my friends farm!

 

Need help with any holiday cooking or planning? Click here for work inquires for Portland and surrounding areas!

Apple Cider Caramel (It’s Basically Fall)

Last Saturday I went to Birds and Bees Farm for their annual apple cider press. I’ve never made cider before, so it was awesome to see and be a part of the whole process. We first sorted through the apples and cut out spots with any rot. After sorting and rinsing, they went into a machine that completely mashed them up into a bucket below. That bucket is moved over when it’s full and you turn a wheel to press down on the mashed apple and extract the juices! It goes through a mesh bag but that’s about it. Totally fresh and unfiltered. It was amazing.

As soon as I got home I started drinking on it. It was so delicious that I drank all but one cup, and thankfully stopped myself before there was no more left. The taste of apple cider lends itself to so many things. It would be awesome with a slow roasted pork or chicken dish, or even made into a sweet apple cider caramel. With limited apple cider remaining

, I decided to do the latter.

The caramel sauce is really easy to make, and goes with so many things. You could top ice cream with it (like I did) or even add it to some to oatmeal or on top of pancakes! Just try not to eat it all straight out of the jar…

Apple Cider Caramel – Makes 1 half-pint

1 cup apple cider

½ c sugar

¼ c butter

Reduce apple cider down for 15 minutes on medium boil. Add in sugar and continue to reduce for another 10 minutes. The consistency will be a little syrupy but still runny. Add in the butter and mix until full combined. Allow to cool before using!

Pour into a mason jar when cooled down and store in fridge! When you want to heat it up, simply fill a pot with hot water from the sink, and let the jar sit in it until desired temp.

Caramel on Julie's Organic Blueberry Froyo and Homemade Apple Pie Bread

Caramel on Julie’s Organic Blueberry Froyo and Homemade Apple Pie Bread

D.I.Y. Eggs Benedict

For some reason, I wasn’t a huge fan of eggs benedict for a long time. I finally had one at this awesome restaurant and it was fantastic. Since then I have to stop myself from ordering it every time I go out for breakfast. Instead I’ll just make it at home!

Made with an english muffin, turkey bacon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce!

Made with an english muffin, turkey bacon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce!

Making eggs Benedict isn’t difficult even though it may seem that way.

There are only 4 components to an eggs benedict (from bottom to top)

- Bread: English muffin, toast, gluten free bread are just a few options!

- Meat: Bacon, Canadian ham, turkey bacon or even avocado or roasted vegetables work.

- Poached Egg: The egg and hollandaise are the most crucial part of the egg Benedict. The other two parts can vary a lot, but these two are essential. Making a poached egg is simple! Check out this simple tutorial from Bon Apppetit!

- Hollandaise Sauce: lots of people are afraid of making it because it can “break”, but as long as you whisk your heart out as soon as you mix the butter into the egg, and keep it in a warm environment your sauce will be OK.

This recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings.

2 egg yolks

1/2 stick of butter, melted over low heat

1/2 lemon – juiced

Dash of paprika, salt and pepper.

  1. Melt butter in small pot over low heat.
  2. Get a pot of water boiling. Since you’re already making poached eggs to go with the hollandaise, a pot should already be set up for that.
  3. Whisk the two egg yolks in a bowl and add the paprika, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Keep whisking for a minute or so until the yolks look really creamy and even a little thicker.
  4. Begin slowly adding in the butter. You don’t have to add a teaspoon at a time or anything, just as soon as you pour in a little butter, whisk in right away. Make sure the bowl stays in the warm environment, occasionally lifting the bowl over the bowling water while whisking to keep everything combined.
  5. Continue this until you’ve added all the butter. You can taste the sauce, and if needed add a little more, salt, pepper, paprika or even a tiny bit of lemon juice. Just make sure that as you are adding things, you are immediately whisking them together. Keep the hollandaise near the pot of water, whisking every now and then, until needed.
  6. When I am cooking there is already a fair amount of heat in the kitchen, so clumping is never really a problem. The only time the eggs would cook is if you added really hot melted butter all at once, and then let it sit a little before whisking.

Enjoy your homemade eggs benedict!

Made on sourdough wheat toast with avocado, bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise!

Made on sourdough wheat toast with avocado, bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise!

Homemade Pizza (is the best)

I taught cooking classes this summer, and probably the biggest hit was making pizzas. Pizza always means a good time. There are so many kinds of pizza too, from the different kinds of bases you can use to the endless amount of toppings, pizza is such a treat. Making it at home is not only fun, but pretty easy too! The dough is simple to make ahead, and great for a fun D.I.Y dinner with friends. Metal pizza trays can be bought practically anywhere (even at the dollar store for, you guessed it – 1 dollar). I always cook my pizza until the dough is nice and golden, then slip it off the pan and put it back in the over for a few more minutes to get the bottom nice and crispy. Make sure you ALWAYS flour your pizza tray (semolina flour works great for this) otherwise I’ve had some sticky pizza issues.

Check out this gorgeous pizza one of my middle school students made!

Check out this gorgeous pizza one of my middle school students made!

The Dough –

There are lots of different classic pizza dough recipes out there, but all of them are basically the same.

This recipe makes 1 pizza dough, and can easily be doubled.

1 packet of yeast

2 cups of flour

¾ c lukewarm water

1 T sugar

1 T olive oil

1 t coarse salt

Mix up the yeast and water and let it activate until foamy, usually takes about 5 minutes. Add the sugar into the yeast and water mixture and combine that with the flour and salt. Lightly work the olive oil into the mixture and cover with plastic. Let it sit out at room temperature until it’s doubled in size. Knead the dough for a few minutes when it’s done before using. I’ve tried this recipe with whole-wheat flour too and it works great!

GF Dough -

2 C AP gluten-free flour – I used the Trader Joes brand and it worked great!

3/4 C warm water

1 packet of yeast

2 T sugar

Pinch of salt

2 T olive oil

1/2 t baking powder

Just like in the regular recipe above, mix the yeast with warm water and let it sit. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, and when yeast is ready (about 5 minutes), pour the yeast and water into the dry ingredients. When ingredients are combined, mix in olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it sit for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 and form your dough onto a greased pizza pan or on a tray. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick when you’re done rolling it out. I used my hands and worked it out to the edges of the pizza tray, forming a small crust. Bake the crust for about 7 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes then take a spatula and carefully pry it up around the edges to make sure it isn’t stuck to the pan. Top with whatever sauce and toppings and pop it back in the oven for 10 minutes! Crust should be moist but also a little crisp around the edges!

The Base –

The classic tomato base is always nice, but I love me a good pesto base too. I’ve made spinach and kale pesto pizza (say that 10 times fast) before and that was absolutely delish. You can also keep is simple and press a few cloves of garlic into some olive oil, and brush that all over the dough!

The Toppings –

There are so many great things you can put on a pizza, never say never! Pizzas are such a great way to use up ingredients that are on their way out. Load it up with all sort of veggies and cheese and you’re set! My only tip on putting raw veggies is to toss them in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper before adding them to the pizza. Veggies without a little oil on them can dry out.

Then there’s of course the cheese. Don’t think I need to say much on that!

Enjoy! Throw yourself a homemade pizza party!

Plum, Basil and Bacon Pizza with Garlic Base

Plum, Basil and Bacon Pizza with Garlic Base

Flourless Ginger Chocolate Cake (with ginger caramel)

I was going to have dinner with a friend who doesn’t eat gluten, and she asked that I make a dessert. I was thinking of all the gluten free desserts that I’ve made, but wanted to make something that would do the trick –  without being so obviously gluten free.

Flourless chocolate cake is one of those things that just works. It’s not like using gluten-free flour in something and acting like it’s as good as the real thing – flourless chocolate cake is even better than chocolate cake with flour (or so I think). It’s got the richest, chocolatey flavor that’s like a brownie and a chocolate lava cake mixed together. I added a little ginger powder to the mix and  topped it with a ginger caramel, but feel free to top it with a bit of powdered sugar, fruit or really anything you feel like.

**Ginger Chocolate Cake**

5 oz semi-sweet chocolate

½ c butter

½ c sugar

½ c unsweetened cacao powder

3 eggs

Dash of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of ginger powder

Pinch of salt

Ginger caramel -

½ c fresh ginger

½ c sugar

3 tablespoons butter

Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler (or metal bowl over small pot of boiling water). When it’s melted, let cool for a few minutes. Add in sugar, unsweetened cacao powder, eggs, a dash of vanilla extract, salt and powdered ginger. Whisk everything together as you add the ingredients.

Grease your cake pan with butter and coco powder and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Fork should come out clean.

Make your ginger caramel by mincing fresh ginger and boiling for 15 minutes. Set aside 1/2 c of the boiling liquid and add the ginger back to the liquid and add the sugar to the mixture. Stir consistently while it boils. It’ll start to look more bubbly and lightly turning color. Take it off heat immediately and keep stirring so that it doesn’t overcook! Add butter and let it melt into the ginger syrup while stirring it all up!

Pour that good stuff all over the cake and enjoy!