Search Results for “cayenne”
Friday, November 6
I have fallen in love with cayenne pepper.
I must inform you all that until a few months ago I was a total wimp when it came to spicy (as in hot) food. I always bought mild or medium salsa. If I saw the little pepper symbol on a Chinese food menu, I wouldn’t even consider the dish as an option.
That is until we discovered Back-A-Yard, the Caribbean restaurant I told you about a few months ago. Their jerk chicken is pretty spicy, but of course I had to try it, it’s their thing. Boy am I glad I did. Since that day my tolerance for spicy food has increased 10 fold. I’m not scared anymore! I embrace the spice! In fact, at the BlogHer Food after party, there were these chicken kabobs that everyone was saying were too spicy…and they didn’t even phase me. I have officially numbed my taste buds and boy am I proud. I’m not your typical gringo anymore!
Which is why I’m in love with cayenne pepper. It’s such a great spice for kicking up the flavor. And it’s really so beautiful. I just love opening the lid to find this:
As always, if you have any favorite spicy recipes to share, please do! We’re looking for some HEAT today!
Thursday, May 16
Apparently I have a problem. I don’t update my spices regularly enough!
Today I have another example of my problem! Cayenne pepper. For months I’ve been thinking that we were out of cayenne pepper. Every time I’d go to use it I’d look around the cupboard, only to realize AGAIN that we were out. Well, I finally remembered to buy some last week. The next day I went to use it and, much to my surprise, I found TWO bottles of cayenne pepper in the cupboard! Only one of them didn’t look so much like cayenne pepper anymore.
I find it funny that I actually picked the cayenne pepper up countless times looking for cayenne pepper but not even bothering to read the label because it looked nothing like cayenne pepper! I mean, it’s BROWN.
So, I have a question for you today. Do you update your spices regularly? Do you have a good system for doing so? Or are you like me and forget about your spices until you actually need them and find they are totally useless?!?!
If you happen to do a good job of keeping your spices up to date, please share tips, resources with info that you like, or anything you’ve got about keeping the spice cupboard fresh!
Friday, April 26
Last week I decided to make white chicken chili for the first time, which involved using two ingredients I’ve never worked with before: hominy and poblano chili peppers.
Honestly, I was skeptical of the hominy. Like I said, I had never used it before and when I opened the can, the smell was reminiscent of corn nuts. I can’t stand the smell of corn nuts, by the way, so I was really hoping the soup would turn out! I am happy to report that the soup not only turned out but was very delicious and a big hit with every member of the family. In case you are wondering, it tasted nothing like corn nuts. PHEW! Nate came home from work, looked in the pot and declared that he was certain he was going to love this soup, even before he knew what it was. And he did!
I used the white chicken chili recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. So far every recipe I’ve used from that book has been a winner. The recipes have all been delicious and quick! This chicken chili was no exception. This recipe was simple to prepare and was no problem to throw together on a busy weeknight. I will include my various notes on the recipe below!
White Chicken Chili
From The America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook, with my notes
- 1 15-ounce can white or yellow hominy (ATK recommends white because it has a deeper flavor)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (Jane note: I used two chicken breasts)
- Salt and Pepper
- 3 poblano chili peppers (Jane note: I only used 1) – de-seed and core the pepper, then chop
- 1 onion, chopped fine (Jane note: I only used 1/3 of a large yellow onion)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (Jane note: I used my garlic press)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (Jane note: I didn’t use coriander b/c I didn’t have it in the cupboard and didn’t feel like buying it)
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Jane note: I used 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper because I am out of cayenne, which makes me very sad – I need to rectify that!)
- 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa or salsa verde
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (Jane note: I bought flat leaf parsley instead of cilantro, which I didn’t discover until I took it out to start chopping. I was SO bummed because cilantro would taste wonderfully in this soup, but I just went with the parsley because that’s what I had. I am happy to report that the parsley was also very delicious! So, feel free to choose the herb you like better and go with it!)
Process the hominy with 1 cup broth in blender of food processor until smooth.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt & pepper then brown chicken lightly on both sides, about 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a dutch oven, a large pot should work.) Transfer chicken to a plate. Add remaining oil, poblanos and onion to the pot and cook until onions and peppers are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, garlic, cumin, corinader (if using) and cayenne (or pepper) and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 cups broth, deglazing the bottom of the pan. I used a flat whisk here and it worked very well, but a standard whisk will suffice.
Stir in pureed hominy. Add chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and simmer gently over medium-low to medium heat until chicken registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes. I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer so that you don’t overcook the chicken – it will be super tender if you cook until 160 degrees. Remove chicken, shred then return to soup. Add salsa, cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 1 minute then serve!
Tuesday, October 9
Growing up, one of the dishes that I would always order if it was on a restaurant menu was Chicken Fried Steak. I loved the stuff.
The last time I had chicken fried steak, however, was before Cate was born. It was at a restaurant in Orange County and it was only okay. So, I must admit, I have kind of shied away from the dish since that night.
But a few weeks ago I got a hankering and decided to try my hand at making the stuff myself.
I followed Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for cooking the steak and Ree Drummond’s recipe for making the gravy. The result? Chicken fried steak in all its rich, delicious glory. For REAL…the fried breading part on this steak was to die for. I’ve never had a desire to fry chicken at home, but after this I am seriously considering it!
Also, I used a thermometer and followed the directions precisely. I love it when Cook’s Illustrated recipes have a temperature to work with, I feel like success is much more imminent that way. Another ALSO…Nate has an infrared thermometer (science nerd alert!) that worked PERFECTLY for this. The surface of the oil reads the correct temperature and it’s a super fast way to read the temp. Speed is good when you’re frying food.
Note: this is not a difficult recipe, but it is a bit labor intensive. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. This might be a good recipe to tackle on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Chicken Fried Steak
From Cook’s Illustrated
- 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 6 cube steaks, pounded to 1/3 inch thickness
- cooking oil for frying (Jane note: I used canola oil)
Getting the initial oil temperature to 375 degrees is key to the success of this recipe. An instant-read thermometer with a high upper range is perfect for checking the temperature; a clip-on candy/deep-fry thermometer is also fine. If your Dutch oven measures 11 inches across (as ours does), you will need to fry the steaks in two batches.
For the steaks: Measure the flour, 5 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and cayenne into a large shallow dish. In a second large shallow dish, beat the egg, baking powder, and baking soda; stir in the buttermilk (the mixture will bubble and foam).
Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper to taste. Dip steaks into the flour, both sides, shaking off excess. Using tongs, dip the steaks into the egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the steaks with flour again, shake off the excess, and place them on the wire rack. (Jane note: I just set a small wire rack over a dinner plate. Simple and easy.)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, set a second wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet, and place the sheet on the oven rack; heat the oven to 200 degrees. (Jane note: I DID set up this wire rack in the oven, however. I wouldn’t skip this step! You will be cooking the steaks in batches and you want the ones that are already cooked to say hot and crispy throughout the process.) Line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Meanwhile, heat 1 inch of oil in a large (11-inch diameter) Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place three steaks in the oil and fry, turning once, until deep golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes (oil temperature will drop to around 335 degrees). Transfer the steaks to the paper towel-lined plate to drain, then transfer them to the wire rack in the oven. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees and repeat the cooking and draining process (use fresh paper towels) with the three remaining steaks. (Jane note: the steaks were pretty large, so I believe I had to cook in three batches.)
Chicken Fried Steak Gravy
From Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman
- 1/4 cup of the grease from cooking the steaks
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk (or whatever milk you have in the fridge)
- salt and pepper
After all meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup grease back to the pan. Allow grease to heat up.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.
Wednesday, April 18I’ve had a hankering for enchiladas lately. Normally I go with the creamy chicken enchilada recipe that I love so dearly, but this week I felt like a more traditional enchilada. And I wanted to try something I’ve never done before…make the sauce from scratch. I’ve always either bought a sauce packet or enchilada sauce in a can, but I got to thinking yesterday…homemade enchilada sauce would probably be pretty easy to throw together. It was!After some poking around the Internet, I discovered that most enchilada sauce recipes are pretty much the same, so I just did a variation on what I found. I really really liked how the enchiladas came out! Nate and Anne (my sister who recently moved to town) agreed it was very tasty. No more packets and cans for me…I’ll definitely make the sauce from scratch from now on!I stuffed last night’s enchiladas with pinto beans, cheese, grilled chicken, and sauteed bell peppers and onions. I just couldn’t stop myself from adding more and more stuff! Of course you could keep them more simple, but, I’ve gotta say, that combo was mighty fine.Also, if I may, I do believe that I made the best guacamole ever last night. How do I do it?Homemade Red Enchilada SauceFrom Jane Maynard- 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pushed through a press- 2 tablespoons finely diced onion- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil- 2 tablespoons flour- 2 tablespoons chili powder- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce- 1 1/2 cups water- 1/2 teaspoon cumin- salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)- cayenne pepper to taste (if desired…I left it out last night for the girls, but we agreed this sauce would be SO good all hot and spicy!)Heat about 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Sautee onions until translucent. Add the rest of the oil, garlic, flour and chili powder. Stir constantly and cook for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add tomato sauce, water, cumin. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne pepper (if using).
Tuesday, March 15
Before we get to today’s recipe (which is mighty tasty, by the way), I have to share something with you. If you just so happen to get this magazine in the mail or see it on the newsstand…
…be sure to check out page 90.
All I have to say is, “Woooooo Hoooooo!” I know. Very eloquent and oh so very Martha. But seriously, I still can’t believe my name, blog, photos and recipe are printed on the pages of a Martha Stewart Living magazine. I’m downright giddy.
Okay, enough squealing from Jane. Thanks for indulging me. On to the real reason we’re here!
In the not-so-distant past, I was pretty much scared of spicy food. I could barely handle medium salsa, folks. Yes, I was a wimp. Then Nate and I discovered a fabulous Caribbean take-out restaurant in Menlo Park with jerk chicken that is to die for. The chicken is coated in the most delicious but super spicy jerk sauce. The only way I could eat that chicken was if I got tough and faced the heat head on. And I did just that. Not only is that now one of my favorite dishes, but I am in love with spicy food. Bring it on!
This year I have the opportunity to participate in a Newman’s Own “Own It” campaign with Martha’s Circle. The challenge is to take recipes and make them your own through simple flavor changes. For my first recipe, I was asked to incorporate one of the Newman’s Own sauces into my dish. I started browsing through their sauces and the Alfredo caught my eye. Alfredo is most often simply paired with fettuccine and, if things get really crazy, chicken. It’s a traditional favorite that seemed to be screaming for a new twist. With my newfound love of heat, I decided to kick up the spice factor a notch…or twenty.
Blackened chicken seemed like a fun and unique twist to the classic Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. Can I say how glad I am I gave this a try? This recipe is a keeper! Nate and I both really enjoyed it. The spicy kick of the chicken was such a great counterpoint to the super mellow and rich Alfredo sauce. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to regular old chicken fettuccine alfredo again!
Blackened Chicken Fettucine Alfredo
From Jane Maynard, ThisWeekforDinner.com
- 9-oz package fresh fettuccine
- 1 jar Newman’s Own Alfredo Pasta Sauce
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Lightly spray a 9×13 baking pan or dish with cooking oil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pound the chicken breast until quite thin (around 1/4″ thick). Mix all of the spice ingredients together thoroughly. Coat both sides of the chicken breasts with the spices.
Heat a non-stick grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken breasts in pan and brown both sides, 45-60 seconds per side. Place chicken in prepared baking pan and bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and slice chicken into strips.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return pasta to warm pot over medium-low heat. Pour in alfredo sauce and mix thoroughly.
Serve pasta with sliced chicken served on top. Serves 4.
Friday, August 27
Nate came home one day saying how good the adobo chicken at work is, so I started searching for recipes. Oh my, there are so many recipes and they are all so different from one another…so I just picked one that sounded good and went for it. And the result was delicious! Different than what Nate had at work, but delicious just the same!
Before I get to the recipe, I have to talk about the tortillas we used with our chicken. Tortilla Land sent me some of their uncooked corn tortillas to try out. I’m a tough corn tortilla critic and, I have to say, I’m so glad Tortilla Land sent me their corn tortillas. They are wonderful! They are not dry at all and don’t fall apart or break, which is what you normally get with store bought corn tortillas. I saw Tortilla Land at Costco just this week, so keep an eye out next time you go!
Okay, back to annatto seed and adobo chicken. I used a recipe from About.com, but I’ve changed it up and written it out for you below. I know the recipe looks long, but honestly, this was an easy recipe, so don’t be scared!
The sweet but spicy sauce is oh so yummy, and grilled chicken is always the best. We served the chicken with tortillas, tomatoes and avocado. You could serve over rice if you like (which I think is how it’s generally served), or just eat straight up!
- 4 chicken breasts (I actually used 3 drumsticks and 3 boneless thighs b/c that’s what I had on hand!)
- Salt (pref. kosher)
- 1/2 Tbsp. annatto (achiote) seeds
- 1 Tbsp. orange juice
- 4 Tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/3 of the rub above
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- a splash or two of white vinegar
- a few shakes of cayenne pepper
- a few shakes of black pepper
- about 1 tsp cornstarch, whisked with some cool water
Cover annatto seeds with boiling water. Cover and let sit overnight.
Drain seeds. Place seeds along with the rest of the “Rub” ingredients in a food processor. Grind until you have a coarse paste, without too many large pieces of seed left.
Place chicken in a casserole dish and sprinkle all over with kosher salt (or regular salt if that’s what you have). Cover pieces with about two-thirds of the achiote rub. (Note on the picture below: I just sprinkled salt and pepper over a few extra pieces of chicken for my girls, so they would be less spicy – they still ate the sauce, but the chicken had less heat for their younger palettes.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for a few hours.
Preheat grill. Grill chicken about 10 minutes on each side over a medium flame or until done. (Click here with even better directions for grilling chicken pieces – this follows closely to what Nate did over a charcoal grill, he’s smart like that.)
To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients (except the cornstarch) and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture during the simmer.
Pour sauce over grilled chicken and enjoy!
By the way, if anyone out there DOES have an adobo chicken recipe they love, please share! Would love to try it out!
Friday, March 26
Last weekend Nate and I attended the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon. It was a LOT of fun. We went without the kids, the weather was spectacular, and we stuffed ourselves silly with chocolate.
Pictured: Chocolates from Marti Chocolatt
We tried some very “interesting” chocolates (chocolate bacon, anyone?) and some really great stuff. I have to share some of that goodness with you!
There are so many companies I could write about, but I’m going to focus on our favorite. Marti Chocolatt is based in Los Angeles and is the one company we actually purchased something from. Marti does a fantastic job integrating chocolate with very unique and sometimes unexpected ingredients. Our favorite Marti chocolate was the ube flavor, purple yams in dark chocolate.
The umeshu flavor, Japanese plum wine in white chocolate, was also quite amazing. And the jasmine citron? The only word I can think to describe this chocolate is intriguing. I am normally not a fan of flower-infused foods, but this jasmine chocolate was very appealing. When you eat it, it’s more like you’re smelling flowers than tasting them. It’s hard to describe. Marti Chocolatt took first prize in our book.
Of course there were many other amazing companies, and I just can’t write about all of them. Here is a small sampling!
As an artist, I absolutely adored these truffle bars from Sterling Confections. The truffles do in fact taste great, but I love the visual concept more than anything.
Plumeria Flours makes these beautiful chocolate covered Oreos. I’m not a big fan of Oreos, but I actually did like these. Plus, they’re so cute!
I couldn’t help but snap a shot of these pretty (and tasty!) white chocolates with flowers from Robyn’s Chocolates and Confections.
I have to tell you about one more chocolate we tried. By far the CRAZIEST chocolate we tasted was from Vice Chocolates. It was called “Vixen” – a passion fruit truffle with Thai chili, jalapeno, and cayenne, decorated with white chocolate and a caramelized red pepper on top. I’m pretty sure she said it had all the different taste flavors – Sour, Sweet, Salt, Bitter, and Spicy. And BOY was it spicy. I have a pretty high tolerance, but that one got me for sure. I’m glad we tried it!
We were completely chocolated out 2 hours into our venture. I don’t think that has ever happened to me! I am so happy that the event was at the Ft. Mason center…beautiful views of the Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, downtown and the Bay Bridge. Such a lovely spot and a morning to be remembered!
Wednesday, March 24
I am over the moon for today’s recipe murgh makhani, more commonly known as butter chicken. Our favorite Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, Darbar Indian Cuisine, has the BEST butter chicken. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been trying to find a recipe so that I can make it at home, but all recipes have come up far too short. So, I did a lot of research, compared about 6 different recipes and have created my own. And I am here to tell you (in all humility, of course!), I nailed it. My version isn’t identical to Darbar’s, but it is darn close and they are equally as good. Success! (To add to the elation, both girls inhaled their dinner! This is a not-too-hot Indian dish, nice for kids. Increase the heat with more chilis and cayenne if you so desire!)
The key to this dish is using tandoori chicken. Almost all of the recipes I found were skillet recipes that simply add plain chicken breasts to the sauce. Using tandoori chicken makes ALL the difference. A delectable, mouthwatering difference. Not only is there more depth to the flavor, but the meat is oh so tender. Using tandoori chicken requires planning ahead, but it’s worth it.
Without further ado, I give you murgh makhani!
Murgh Makhani, i.e. Indian Butter Chicken
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
Adapted from a recipe on About.com – this is a good American kitchen adaptation that doesn’t require a tandoor (clay oven) and works perfect for cooking tandoori chicken to go in a sauce
- 3/4 C plain yogurt
- 2 T lemon juice
- 2 cloves minced garlic (I use my garlic press)
- ~1 inch ginger root, peeled and crushed (it was hard to crush, I squeezed the juice out with my garlic press and threw in some of the mangled pieces of the root)
- 1 T cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp. salt
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (this is the amount you’ll need for the butter chicken sauce below – you can make this recipe with bone-in, skinless, dark & white meat chicken cut into pieces – my personal preference are boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they worked great)
- 1-2 T canola oil
The night before you want to make butter chicken, mix the above ingredients (except the chicken) in a bowl. Take the chicken breasts and stab them a bunch with a fork, then make some gashes with a sharp knife. This part is fun, especially if you have some frustration to vent. Marinate the mutilated chicken in the yogurt mixture overnight and until you’re ready to cook the next day.
To cook the chicken, pat off some of the marinade, brush with oil and place in a pan (I used my 9X13 metal pan). Roast in a 450 oven for about 20 minutes, or until juices run clear. Let cool a bit then cut into chunks.
Butter Chicken Sauce:
Adapted from 6 different recipes! Katie from GoodLifeEats and this YouTube video deserve a special shout out!
(no need to carefully chop these ingredients, you’re going to blend them eventually)
- 1/3 sweet onion, chopped
- ~1 inch of ginger root, peeled and julienned
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 green chili (membranes and seeds removed), chopped
- 6 T butter (divided – 2 T and 4 T)
- 6 medium tomatoes, cut into large pieces
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. coriander
- 2 shakes cinnamon
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken or veggie broth
- 1/2 C cream
- 4 cooked tandoori chicken breasts (above) cut into chunks
Sautee onion, ginger, garlic and green chili in butter until onions are translucent.
Add tomatoes and let simmer for ~5 minutes. Add spices (garam masala, chili powder, cumin, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon) and simmer another 5-10 minutes or so. Add tomato paste and broth, stir. Blend everything in a blender until smooth then return to pan. Add tandoori chicken, cream and butter.
Serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Yum!
Sunday, November 8
This is what I’m craving today. Too bad I have to fly on a plane 6 hours to get it.
Another week, another menu! Where does the time go? I actually followed my entire menu last week, so no carry-overs. Thankfully I can just steal your ideas from last week!
- Chicken and avocado paninis
- Gobi Matar Sabzi
- Eat out
- Grilled sausage, pepper & onion subs
Time to share your menu! All kinds of menus are welcome! And, you can tell us what you are GOING to be eating this coming week or what you ate last week! Thank you to everyone who posts – I love each and every one of your comments!
Don’t forget to enter the Real Simple cookbook giveaway by clicking here and leaving a comment.
Also, now that I’m in love with cayenne pepper, I need you to share your best spicy recipes! Click here to share!