two skinny jenkins


130306 – Easy Corn and Tomato Soup
130307, 11:34 am
Filed under: DINNER, LUNCH, SIDE | Tags: , , , , ,

corn-tomato-soupI have finally used up our roasted chicken from the other night.  I was shocked at how much meat was there was.  I shredded it and slow baked it to make a nice, crispy, lightly salted garnish for our soup.  This soup is a combination of several recipes I perused online.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely blend it more.  The only food processor i have here in Guate is this tiny thing that barely chops stuff up enough for pesto.  Otherwise, I think the flavors were really good, especially with the garnish.

[Serves 4-6]

Soup

  • 4 corn cobs
  • 6-7 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
  • 3 T evoo

Garnish

  • 3 T coarse chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 1/2 C roasted chicken

Method

  1. Husk the corn, chop off all the kernels and set them aside.  Place the cobs in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat and let the cobs steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.  Arrange tomatoes and garlic so they’re spaced evenly apart on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to wrinkle.
  3. Once the corn stock is finished, strain it into a medium sized pot (or large if you have another large one).  Add tomatoes, onion, halved jalapeno, garlic and the extra evoo from cooking.  Simmer for 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Then add reserved corn kernels and cook another minute or two.
  4. While the veggies are simmering, turn the oven down to 350F and bake the shredded chicken on the same baking sheet that the veggies were on for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.
  5. Working in batches, transfer soup to a food processor and pulse to desired consistency.  At this point I wanted to cook off more of the liquid, but you can also make the soup ahead of time and just refrigerate till you’re ready to serve.
  6. Garnish each bowl with a quarter of the avocado, chopped, crunchy chicken and cilantro.


130304 – Herb Roasted Chicken
130305, 7:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

chicken dinnerFirst, this photo does not do this dinner justice.  My first whole roasted chicken was almost perfect.  I had done my research (here, here and here) and go all my ingredients at my favorite grocery store in Guate, Super Verduras.  The chicken itself was kind of fun.  I was lucky that it was a Monday, so they had just gotten in fresh chickens and had not frozen them all yet.  Unlike what you might find at Whole Foods or any other grocery store in the states, this chickie still had all it’s parts with it.  The head and neck, legs, and all the other stuff was neatly tucked in the cavity.  Anyway, my ingredients were perfect and I had the proper cooking times worked out.  There was just one little hiccup – a simple, rookie mistake – when i plopped the bird down in the preheated pan, i put her in upside-down.  So after watching Mark Bittman’s video (twice!) on the technique of getting the dark and light meat cooked properly by placing the bird breasts-up, I did the opposite.

In the end, it was delicious, but the skin on the breast meat wasn’t nearly what it could have been.  Even though I cooked it for 55 minutes, attempting to dry the breasts out a bit (we like our meat drier), it was quite juicy.  Maybe you like it like that.

The Chicken

  • 3-4 lb fresh chicken
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (cut in half)
  • 1 T minced fresh thyme
  • 1 T minced fresh rosemary
  • evoo
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lime or lemon

The Veggies

These potatoes were super crunchy and delicious.  The onions, however were hit or miss. Some of them were burned, and some were perfectly cooked.  Next time, I would use a smaller pan (i

  • 2 large russet potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1 or 1.5″ cubes
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 6-8 wedges
  • 3 T evoo

Method:

  1. trim the excess fat off the chicken, rinse with hot water, rub all over with salt and pepper and refrigerate.  (This method came from Jamie Oliver – I was just doing everything that reputable cooks said would make it taste better!)
  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to cook it so that it returns to room temperature.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the potatoes and lime for 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500F with a large cast iron skillet in the oven.  (I just used a large metal pan, but cast iron is best).
  5. Drain, allow potatoes to steam off excess water, and scratch them up with a fork so that they’ll be crunchier when roasted.
  6. Carefully slice the lime almost in half, so that the juice will run out a little, and stick it inside the chicken with the sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
  7. Coat the chicken with evoo, and sprinkle with minced herbs, and some more salt and fresh ground pepper.
  8. Once the oven is preheated, remove the skillet and carefully pour in the 3 T of evoo.  Toss the veggies in the hot oil, place the bird DARK MEAT SIDE DOWN in the middle of the pan and pop it back in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until juices run clear.


120105 – French Onion Soup 2
This was the first time these Jenkins had tried a new french onion soup recipe – we have been so happy with our other one.  Joe picked up some really good local IPA.  The label of this particular beer, the Hopsecutioner, brings back fond memories of teenage mutant ninja turtles.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 lb red onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 4 (1-inch-thick) slices of baguette
  • 2 cups coarsely grated Manchego (or Gruyère) (6 to 7 oz)

Directions:

  1. Bring broth, water, spices, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook onions in oil with 1/4 tsp salt in a heavy medium pot over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, about 15 minutes. Add brandy and boil, uncovered, until reduced to 2 Tbsp, about 1 minute. Add broth to onion mixture and briskly simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Ladle soup into 4 ovenproof bowls set in a 4-sided sheet pan. Place baguette slices on top and sprinkle each with 1/2 cup cheese. Broil about 6 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 2 minutes.


100120 – Birthday Dinner – Big Salad + French Onion Soup
100124, 8:59 am
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , ,

My Birthday

Joe gets all the credit for this fantastic meal.  All I did was drive my wonderful husband crazy by taking pictures the whole time.  He asked me a few days ago what i wanted him to cook for my birthday dinner, and I responded completely out of character and requested his french onion soup.  It has become one of Joe’s specialties over the past couple years, but my memories of the soup date back to early childhood.  For special dinners when I was little, my family would go to a restaurant called Checkers – what is now the Kitchen Table Bistro – in Richmond, VT.  Now every time i eat the soup, I picture the cozy inside of that old restaurant.

Joe’s french onion soup recipe:

  • 6T butter
  • 2 T evoo
  • 1 lb onions, sliced thin
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2T flour
  • 2 1/2 C hot beef stock/ broth
  • 4 T brandy
  • 4 1/2 oz Gruyere cheese (expensive, but SOOOO worth it)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Croutes (toasts on top)

  • 8 slices of french bread, 1/2″ thick
  • 1 large clove garlic, halved
  1. Melt butter with the oil in a large, heavy bottom pot over medium high heat.  Stir in the onions, sugar, salt and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 20-30 min, until the onions are a rich, dark brown.  Uncover and stir constantly so they do not burn.
  2. Sprinkle flour over the onions and keep stirring for about 2 minutes.  Add the stock/broth and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. To make the croutes preheat the broiler to high, and the oven to 400F (for later).  Arrange the bread on a broiler rack and toast about 1-2 min on each side.  Rub with garlic while the bread is still hot, and set aside.
  4. Stir the brandy into the soup and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle the soup into separate bowls, or ramekins and distribute the bread slices on top.  Top each with 1/4 of the cheese and place the bowls in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is gold and bubbling.

And here is our salad:

Ingredients:

  • Romaine
  • Grapefruit
  • Spiced Walnuts (coriander, cumin, sugar, honey, and cayenne pepper)
  • Blue Cheese
  • Grape Tomatoes

Joe also made a batch of BEAUTIFUL carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert.   Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo.  The recipe came from Smitten Kitchen, but substituting a little applesauce for the oil.




091012 – Butternut Suash Soup
091012, 9:14 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , ,

butternut soup

This was one of my first ‘specialties’.  It is a really healthy soup and made with one of my all time favorite vegetables; butternut squash.  Depending on how much you blend it, it can come out silky, creamy smooth or slightly chunky and brothy.  Tonight I served it topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and with a side beet salad with a dill-garlic-yogurt dressing.  AND a slice of Pane Siciliano – BBA Challenge #23 – blog post on that coming soon!

  • 1 medium (2lb) butternut squash
  • 2 small potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 32 oz. chicken broth or stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. cut squash in half, remove seeds, and bake  at 375 F for 1 hour
  2. brown all veggies (including baked squash) in a large pot for 5 min.
  3. add stock/ broth and simmer for 40 min over low heat
  4. blend with immersion blender until smooth (or regular blender)
  5. add salt and pepper to taste and serve! (good with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt)


090927 – Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin + Quick Focaccia
090928, 10:46 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , ,

Pumpkin Soup

I. Cannot. Sit. Still.  I have become hypersensitive to my body since ‘the accident’, though Joe would tell you that i have always been this way.  My bruised (?) ankle recovery rate thus far does not bode well for the marathon in three weeks.  AAAHHH.

This was my first venture back into the kitchen since the accident. Maybe I went a little crazy, but I had a good time.  As a note, the pumpkin photographed immediately below is not done.  It needed another 15 minutes after this shot was taken, but at that point I was ready to eat and not taking any more pictures.  It was good!  And the spiced pumpkin seeds I made after this were pretty tasty too!  I served the soup with some wheat rosemary olive focaccia.  See that recipe below.

Soup in the Pumpkin

Pumpkin Soup in a Pumpkin

  • 1 5 lb. pumpkin, w/ stem
  • 5 T butter
  • salt
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 C fresh white breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground sage
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C grated swiss (all i had was cheddar) cheese
  • 3 C chicken stock (I used bullion cubes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Clean pumpkin inside and out, cutting a 4″ diameter hole for the lid.  Set the seeds aside
  2. Melt 4 T butter in a medium skillet and saute onions for 10 minutes over medium heat.  Add breadcrumbs, nutmeg, and sage, and cook 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat and add cheese.
  3. Rub remaining 1 T butter (softened) on the inside of the pumpkin.   Scoop onion mixture into the pumpkin, then fill with chicken stock to within 1/2″ of the rim.  Add bay leaves.
  4. Bake pumpkin for 1 1/2 hours, or until outside is browning and pumpkin flesh is soft.
  5. Before serving, use a long handled metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and mix the flesh in with the soup.  Serve.

Focaccia

Quick Focaccia

  • 5 C flour (I used 2 C bread, 2 C all purpose, and 1 C whole wheat)
  • 2 1/2 t yeast
  • 1 2/3 C warm water
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • dried rosemary
  • 1/3 C chopped olives
  • sea salt
  1. Stir together 1 2/3 C lukewarm (105 to 115°F) water and yeast in bowl of mixer and let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 5 C flour, 1/4 C oil, and 2 1/2 teaspoons table salt and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until a dough forms. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at high speed (woohoo!) until soft, smooth, and sticky, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in 1 to 2 tablespoons more flour. Knead dough 1 minute (it will still be slightly sticky), then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn dough to coat with oil. Let rise, covered with plastic wrap, at warm room temperature, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Press dough evenly onto a spray oiled and salted (optional- but good) baking sheet. Let dough rise, covered completely with a kitchen towel, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  5. Make shallow indentations in the dough with your fingertips.  Gently brush or spray with olive oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary, olives, and sea salt and bake in middle of oven until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.




090919 – roasted vegetables + couscous
090919, 9:11 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , , , ,

Vegetables

2 BEETS, 3 CARROTS, 8 GARLIC CLOVES, 1 LEEK, 1 ONION, 2 RED POTATOES, 2 SWEET POTATOES, and 6 CHERRY TOMATOES.

Did i forget anything? This was all i could find around the kitchen to roast tonight.  I tossed the beets, potatoes, garlic, and carrots in a couple T evoo and some salt and pepper then popped em in the 475°F oven.  After 12 minutes I added the onion and leek (and some rosemary).  After 25 minutes more, i added the tomatoes and cooked 5 minutes more.  I then sprinkled a little parmesan over the whole thing and gave it 3 final minutes… at that point after opening and closing my little oven door, i bet it was down around 425°F or less.

I served it over parmesan couscous with a side salad.

This should be good fuel for our long runs tomorrow!

Roasted Vegetables





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