Strawberry-Mint Popsicles

Yep, it’s been a long time. I feel like I’m writing on someone else’s blog. I’m much weirder now. Spending a lot of time hitting other women on 8 wheels while using a pseudonym or spending 12 hours a day talking to a 2 year old will do that to you.

But no matter, we’ve got popicles! And the world is full of flowers and sausages!

I spend a lot of time sitting in the huge convection oven that is the state of Texas in summer watching a naked preschooler play slip n slide. Therefore…popsicles. Mama’s gotta keep cool. Preferably without alcohol. These help.

Some folks call it a paleta. I call it a popsicle. Mmm Mmm. (And then I hit my mother upside the head with it.)

I did warn you, right?

Whatever you call them, they’re awesome. Summer strawberries, fresh mint, the sweet/tart balance of honey versus lime juice. Kids love them but they’re also not too sweet for adults who tend to have more sophisticated tastes than the crap popsicles you can appease a kid with. Remember those plastic tubes of frozen food coloring? They give me and Owen Meany THE SHIVERS.

These are also a great way to use strawberries that are still good to eat but are looking a bit dodgy. You know the ones.

Don’t have popsicle molds? No problem. I use kids’ paper mouthwash cups and actually prefer them to proper molds. I can have multiple flavors available without buying more bulky plastic gadgets.

I’d even serve these at a grown-up party. I’m finding people are generally wanting fewer heavy desserts and I don’t think I’ve cooked for any group over the last two years that didn’t include at least one gluten-free or dairy-free or vegan eater in the mix. These are perfect for a crowd like that.

Even better, you just chuck it all in the whizzer and go.

Fish on.

Strawberry Mint Popsicles

Makes 8-10 small pops (depends on your molds or cups)

Minimally adapted from The Black Peppercorn. I basically just added mint and more rambling instructions.

4 cups strawberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup water
3-4 fresh mint leaves (or to taste)
popsicle molds or cups and sticks (I use kids’ mouthwash cups)

Put all ingredients in the blender and puree until very smooth.
Pour into molds or cups.

If using cups, freeze for an hour, then insert sticks to partially-frozen slush. This makes the sticks stand up straight.

Freeze until solid.

Rinse under cold water to remove from molds or cup. Or you can peel the paper cups away with no rinsing, which is better if you want to plate them up fancy without slush forming.

 

 

(P.S. I have no patience or time for dealing with comment spam so for now I’ve got comments closed until I figure that out.  Also, there’s a lot of old links, too much stuff laying about, etc, and I’m hoping to work on that ASAP so this site will be easier to read. )

 

 

 

Spice-Roasted Chicken

Oh me, oh my.

It’s been almost two years since I posted a recipe. I feel like I’m shouting this post into an empty theater. Is anyone even going to read this? My baby is now a toddler, and at least today, right at this moment, I feel like posting again, so here goes!

I’ll forgo the apologies about not writing, that particularly self-absorbed guilt that bloggers like to indulge in, and just say this: Food and poop don’t mix. One may cause the other but it only works in one direction.

I KNOW, I just said “poop” in a food blog. But I also resisted a cheesy math joke. So we’re even?

Ok, ok, onto the chicken. This chicken that I made twice in two weeks. This chicken that came from a need to use a hen I had in the freezer and to make dinner using nothing but what I had in my pantry. This chicken that left my never-orders-chicken husband swooning over his dinner.

Why did I say “hen” and not “chicken”? Because I killed and plucked and cleaned this hen with my own hands and it just feels right to call it a hen, to give it a bit more identity than “chicken”. But that’s a story for another day. It was an excellent bird, raised by excellent people. Dang tasty. This dish was also, fortunately, quite good with a more typical organic chicken.

The key to this dish is to let it marinate overnight. I’ve tried marinating for only a few hours and the flavor and tenderness were noticeably different.

Use chicken pieces with skin and bone intact.  If you use a whole bird, cut-up, for the love of poultry, eat those crispy wings first when they come out of the oven! And maybe don’t tell anyone else they ever existed.

 

Spice-Roasted Chicken

These spices are so intensely aromatic and the chicken takes on a lovely fragrance as it cooks. No sauce is necessary, but if you want one, this Curried Yogurt Sauce is an excellent companion, especially for cold leftovers. 

Serves 4-6

1 whole chicken, cut into 6 or 8 pieces, with skin and bone
1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp. brown mustard seed
2 tsp. cumin seed
2 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. ground red chile (**see note)
2 tsp. kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
3 lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil

parsley or cilantro, minced, for garnish

In a small food processor, grind together garlic and spices. Add to a large zipper freezer bag with lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Add chicken, toss to coat. Squeeze air out of bag and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375F. Place chicken, skin side up, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Do not crowd onto pan; make sure there is space between the pieces. Bake for 30 minutes, using the broiler for the last 5 minutes if needed to further brown the skin.

Note: I used a red chile powder that I get from an Indian store. You can use any ground red chile (not a chili powder blend with cumin) but the spice level may vary, so adjust according to your taste. Cayenne is the most widely available chile powder.

Chili Roasted Chicken

Some say a roasted chicken, done plainly and simply, is hard to improve upon. I say there’s nothing that chilies can’t make better.

If you’re a chile freak, make this chicken now. Once dubbed “Scary Chicken” by a customer with a more timid palate, it requires cold beer and a love of the lip tingle. Is it for serving guests? No. Is it the equivalent of wearing a hair shirt? Maybe. Salvation through pain. More specifically, capsaicin, which I contend is addictive. The more you eat chilies, the more you want them.

 

I know I’m not alone in this chile fetish of mine; I sold a lot of this chicken over the years and plenty of other spicy food. There are people who never ordered from me again, but there were others, like Daphne, who literally did a dance in front of her coworkers when I delivered her Shrimp Sauce Piquant and told her I had made it extra spicy. That’s what a cook lives for.  I will never forget it.

This is a stupidly easy recipe. It’s hard to even call it a recipe.  You mince ginger, rub the chicken, and bake it. If you can barely nuke your Easy Mac you can still handle this.

 

With a mini food processor for mincing the ginger, this chicken takes about 10 minutes to get into the oven. Put on a pot of jasmine rice while it cooks and stir-fry some greens (bok choy, mustard greens, etc.) in sesame oil at the last minute. If you like mushrooms, toss some shiitakes into your greens.

And make sure you’ve got your beer chilled!

Chile-Roasted Chicken
A rub of chile-garlic paste caramelizes in the oven for deeply golden and crispy skin while fresh ginger adds its aromatic heat to the chicken. Not for the timid, this is seriously spicy. 

Serves 2

2 chicken leg quarters
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled and minced
Huy Fong chile-garlic paste, see Note
kosher salt
disposable latex gloves (optional, but recommended)

Peel ginger by scraping with the side of a spoon. (See picture.) Mince in a food processor until pulverized.

Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Place chicken on foil and pat dry with a paper towel.

Run a finger under the skin to loosen the skin from the meat. Do not detach the skin.

Wearing gloves to protect your hands from the chile paste, rub the meat (under the skin) with salt, ginger, and a generous amount of chile paste. Be sure to stuff some seasoning down the length of the drumstick.

Replace the skin and rub the exterior of the meat with more chile paste. Your chicken should be entirely coated with the paste, top and bottom.

Roast at 425F for 25-30 minutes or until done. If you have any doubts, an instant-read thermometer should read 165F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

Note about chile paste:
Don’t confuse chili garlic paste with sriracha, the smoother “rooster sauce” that comes in a squeeze bottle. You want the chunkier version. You can also use sambal oelek, but add a couple cloves of fresh garlic to the ginger when you process it.

 

Delicious Sweet Baby

Delicious Sweet Baby
This recipe will take a full 9 months to prepare but you will be rewarded with succulently fat thighs, on you and the baby. 

Serves 2

1 (6 lb, 15 oz) baby girl
1 dozen onesies, in various shades of pink
5 cases newborn diapers
10 cases baby wipes
1 tube Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, optional
2 exhausted parents
the most local milk supply you can find
An infinite amount of patience, and willingness to get up in the middle of the night.

Hello readers! I haven’t disappeared completely.  I finally had my baby, this little bundle of love and cuteness.

More recipes coming soon once I can come up for air. I promise.  Hang in there with me while I get this little Sweet Pea past the hardest part.