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Roasted Brined Chicken with Chimichurri





A couple of weeks ago, I made greek roast chicken, or Kototpoulo Fournou and blogged about it on my other blog, no reEATS. It was wildly popular at  home and all of my girls on Sybermoms made it that week and everyone really loved it.


Since I can't make that exact dish again, as per the rules of no reEATS, I am looking for ways to use the technique with different flavourings etc. I was thinking of doing it with jamaican jerk seasonings and maybe plaintains instead of potatoes but I am going to do that later. We brainstormed and I got some really great ideas that I am going to try down the road but for this week, after I saw this recipe for Grilled Brined Chicken on Epicurious, all i could think about was chimichurri. Clearly, I am not grilling anything here in Toronto in February but I thought it would adapt nicely to roasting in my big cast iron pan and I loved the idea of brining. It goes without saying that any opportunity to spatchcock a chicken is going to get me all fired up. I didn't like the chimichurri that came with the epicurious recipe but that was fine, because I already make a decent chimichurri and would sub my own in.



It's Friday So It Must Be Soup! Feb 22 I sense a potato situation


Last week I made baked potato soup and it was a huge hit, especially with Little Shack so I decided to keep with the potato trend and make him a simple Potato Leek Soup. I was inspired by this fabulous zuppa di porri and even thought this isn't the soup I ended up making (but I plan to), it did inspire me so I want to give him props. Since I am adding potato and, therefore, not doing the toasted bread and parmesan thing, I am making parmesan tuiles to serve on the soup. See? I am totally inspired by this guy's soup. Last week I made his risotto verde, and it was so delicious.

The King of All Lemon Bars



 I love lemons and limes and I love all manner of tart/sweet citrusy baked goods but I rarely make them. To be honest, other than Christmas and snack day muffins, I don't bake all that much. I am sure my kid would be even happier than he already is if I did bake more but you can't have it all, can you? Speaking of lemon flavoured baked goods, if you haven't checked out the site Frosting For The Cause, you must do it now. 365 bloggers will participate with a different blogger posting every day. They tell their stories about how cancer has affected their lives, the lives of the women that they care about, they bake something delicious and donate the baked goodies to some sort of cancer hospice or hospital and donate $25 to a cancer org. My contribution of lemon meringue cupcakes was the Feb 15 posting. Those cupcakes were so delicious that I am afraid to make them again because I am afraid that I would eat the whole batch myself.

It's Friday So It Must Be Soup! Feb 18 Baked Potato Soup





First of all, It seems I was just awarded a Stylish Blog Award by Kimberly at the Farmer's Wife! I'm not sure what that means since I am totally green as a blogger but it certainly made my day!
I think that I am supposed to tell you 7 things about myself and then give this award to some other blogs that i love:



  1. I am a professional makeup artist
  2. I work with lots of celebrities but I prefer cooking by myself in my kitchen
  3. I am a not very fast but very enthusiastic, very amateur, self taught race walker who is about to start training for my second half marathon
  4. I am an avid yoga practitioner who has lost her way but is slowly trying to get my mojo back
  5. The only I vegetable dislike so much that I cannot eat it is okra
  6. I can't stop listening to Adele 
  7. I prefer salty, crispy over sweet any day


Now, I will pass this award on to some blogs that I am loving these days:

Jen @ piccante dolce
Jean @ lemons and anchovies
Suzie @ suzie the foodie
rachael @ la fuji mama
mike and tina @ choosy beggars
meeta @ what's for lunch honey?
obachan @ still clumsy with chopticks
todd and dianne @ white on rice couple
petra @ zoom yummy

Sometimes a bowl of pasta isn't just a bowl of pasta


Some of you may know that I am participating in a year long challenge to never repeat a recipe twice in 2011 and we are documenting in on a blog called no reEATS. I like to think of my little family as a group of very non picky, adventurous eaters. My kid eats every manner of seafood, will suck a shrimp head before biting it off and spitting it to the side, whole fish served head on makes him giddy with glee and would eat octopus sushi for breakfast every morning if I would let him.

I forget that, from time to time, they have some weird ideas about food and because I will truly eat almost anything within reason and there are only a very ingredients that I cannot physically swallow, like snotty okra or squeaky tripe, I have no patience for picky eating for picky eating's sake.

It's Friday So It Must Be Soup! Feb 11 Sopa de Lima




This is one of my favourite soups and it is so simple, it almost feels silly to write out a recipe for it. I make this soup fairly often and it's always the day three meal after we buy a rotisserie chicken. For some reason, the stock that results from using the carcass and scraps from one of those things makes THE best broth for sopa de lima. I am pretty sure that Mexican cooks are not running out to get themselves a nice, grocery store bubble chicken to make theirs, but it sure does the trick for mine.

You will need:
Chicken stock or turkey stock (follow my directions, make your own or used good quality boxed)
plum tomatoes
cilantro
red onion
lime
stale tortillas
vegetable oil for deep frying

I roasted a chicken this week so I used all the scraps, bones and skin leftover from that, threw in the backbone (I had spatchcocked that chicken), an onion, some carrot, a stalk of celery, a bay leaf, a handful of cilantro stalks and covered all of that with water. Cook that down and keep tasting it until it has a good flavour and then strain it (reserving the bones etc so you can pick them over for meat after they cool down a bit) and pour that strained stock into a clean pot.

After the guts you have strained out cools enough, pick through it to find meat still clinging to bone and put all the meat you can find aside. THEN you can throw out everything else.

If you have corn tortillas lying around, cut them into strips so you can deep fry them. If you don't, like I didn't, you can make a small batch of from a bag of masa harina and cook them, slice them and set them aside to dry out and stale up a bit. Basically you just use an equal amount of masa mix to water so you can make as many as you want. For three of us to have a bowl of soup, I use 1/3 cup masa mix and 1/3 cup hot tap water.  You can do this earlier in the day because they can't get too stale.

masa harina mix

golf sized ball or bigger

if you don't have a tortilla press, improvise

if that doesn't get it thin enough, use a rolling pin
flattened tortilla ready for the dry, hot griddle

cook on dry, hot griddle for 20 sec to 1 min per side

slice cooled tortillas into strips

deep fry and drain on paper towels, salt and set aside





Heat about 1/4" of oil in a small pan or pot (I use a really small pot because I am only frying a handful of tortilla strips and don't like to waste all that oil) until really hot. You will know it's ready when you put in a little piece of tortilla and it immediately bubble all around it and starts to brown really quickly.
Add your tortillas a small handful at a time and deep fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and lay them out on a plate lined with paper towel , sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and set aside.



Bring the soup to a light simmer and add one small, finely diced plum tomato tomato per every, say, four cups of broth. Add a small amount of finely minced red onion, some minced garlic, the reserved, shredded chicken and let it simmer for ten or fifteen minutes. Then squeeze in the juice of at least one lime. I like my soup to taste strongly of lime so I use quite a bit but just start with half a lime and keep tasting and stop when you think you have it right. Take it off the heat and add a handful of chopped cilantro.

In each bowl, put a handful of the deep fried tortilla strips in each bowl and then pour the hot soup over it. Sprinkle a bit of fresh cilantro on the top of each bowl and serve with another wedge of lime.

It's a really simple, thin, brothy soup. I have seen recipes where they put in diced avocado, and corn and black beans and all sorts of other things but I have eaten this soup for over two decades all over the Yucatan and I have never had it like that. I have had it cooked with turkey and turkey stock (I use part of my turkey stock every xmas to make a big pot), sometimes the onions are really thinly sliced instead of minced, occasionally I have had a bowls that has a bit of heat but always a clear, slightly oil broth (I never strain off the fat from the chicken), a bit of tomato, onion and meat, lime and cilantro.
Perfection.

Guacamole and Yucatecan Pickled Red Onions




I feel crazy posting a recipe for guacamole because it isn't really a recipe but I am asked for one so many times that I guess it's a useful thing to do. I am also going to share my method for making those pickled red onions that are served all over the Yucatan with many dishes.

When Little Shack was about 9, we were in Mexico and he said he hated onions but he ate these pretty pink onions every day because I told them they were cebelloas. I did not lie to my son, it's not my fault that he didn't know that cebello is the spanish word for onion.

Sopes




I had my first sope at a restaurant called Poc Chuc on Isla Mujeres, a tiny island just off the coast of Mexico, north of Cancun. This was over 20 years ago and it was just a tiny hole in the wall but over the next few years, I kept returning to Isla Mujeres and watched the island grow and expand except for the Poc Chuc.It didn't change. I've not been back for almost 14 years but if I went back tomorrow, it would be the first stop I made to have something to eat before I continued on to my hotel.

My two favourite things to eat there were sopa de lima and picadas, which i later found out are just sopes by another name. The sopes were really oily and so hot that I would burn my fingers trying to eat them before they cooled off but I had to eat them every single day. It was also my favorite place to hang out on Sunday nights and just snack all evening while I watched Siempre Domingo on their little tv set, which is on 24/7 just like is in every little restaurant I have ever been to in Mexico. These people like their tv.

Almost Famous Chef



I am a lucky girl. My friend Jen, at Piccante Dolce and one of my two partners in crime in my year long challenge to never repeat a recipe for a year, no reEATS gets invited to some pretty cool food events and she has arranged for me to be invited to tag along a couple of times.


It's Friday So It Must Be Soup! Feb 3 Means Chili Chicken Soup




It is cold out and if I could, I would eat chili and stew and big hunks of warm bread every single day. I had some okay chili last night at the pub and it made me crave chili but I needed to make a soup, I didn't have any beef or pork to grind up so I had to put my thinking cap on.

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