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Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken

Chicken marinated in a mixture of Vietnamese sauce, sugar. herbs and spices and then oven-baked to create a dish infused with flavor and browned to perfection.

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Vanilla and Turmeric Pannacotta with Hibiscus Syrup

Vanilla and turmeric-flavored pannacotta with hibiscus syrup. A) A rich, creamy, colorful dessert, or B) a murder victim on a teaplate? You be the judge!

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French Onion Strata – a savory bread pudding

The flavors of French onion soup transported into a hearty, cheesy strata. The heart of bread pudding paired with the soul of a classic soup – synergy on a plate.

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Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

We follow our time-tested one-pan skillet chicken method to make these crispy thighs with lemon, olives and garlic. 

If you follow this blog at all, I have a pretty good idea what you’re thinking. And yes, I admit it. I make pan-roasted chicken a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Examples: Chicken With Lime, Garlic And Cilantro / Chicken With Lemon, Garlic And Basil / Skillet Chicken With Wine, Shallots And Mustard.

But it’s not just because I’m boring. It’s also because this method is a simple and fool-proof way to get perfect chicken with crispy skin and tender meat, every time. Luckily, it happens to be extremely versatile so though the method may be similar, the flavors are completely distinct.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Lemon, Garlic and Olives

I love the color of the bright green olives with the dark onions and lemons.

Spicy Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Spicy Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Spicy Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chili sweet potatoes are our go-to for a rainy fall weekend – we give you a few meat and meat-free options, but they’re all tasty.

I’m a film editor and several times over the span of my career, I’ve thought about moving from New York City where I was born, to Los Angeles. Many of my friends and colleagues have done it, and most of them love it there.

It’s so beautiful, they say. True, I’ve been and it’s very pretty. There’s a lot more work and for the price of a Brooklyn studio, you can buy a three bedroom house with an avocado tree in the back! All true and, yes, this makes me jealous. And the best part? It’s warm all the time and it never rains! Aaaaaand you’ve lost me. 

For me, one of the great joys of life is feeling the crisp, cool air of Fall. When the weather turns it feels like a shock, every time. Even better if that cool air comes with a blustery rain storm. The type of weather that practically forces you to cook something warm and comforting. To stay home and watch movies or play video games all day. (Nerd note: Matt and I are re-playing “The Last of Us” and, oh my god, it’s so good).

When I heard it was going to turn cold and rainy last weekend, I knew right away what I wanted to make; spicy chili with all sorts of yummy toppings stuffed inside a baked sweet potato.

Chili Spices

The chili is flavored with cumin, two types of chili powder, jalapeños, garlic and dark chocolate. Also maple syrup and beer, not shown.

Xi’an-style Smashed Cumin Lamb Burgers with Creamy Herb Sauce

Xi’an-style Smashed Cumin Lamb Burgers with Creamy Herb Sauce

Xi’an-style Smashed Cumin Lamb Burgers with Creamy Herb Sauce

If delicious Szechuan-style lamb burgers weren’t enough, we also present to you in this post Simon Adebisi’s tiny hat. No extra charge!

I’m aware that there’s a very good chance you’re thinking, ‘Okay, fine. That’s a decent looking burger but what the bloody hell is this ‘Xi’an-style-smashed-cumin’ business all about? Can’t anything just be normal anymore? And I want to drink out of a GLASS, not a damn jelly jar, dangit!’

I’m not sure why I’m imagining you as a crotchety old man but let’s just roll with it, Grampa. I know this burger might sound a little … fancy-pants but honestly, it’s really just plain, old tasty.

For a little background, Xi’an is the capital city of Shaanxi province in northwestern China and dishes called ‘Xi’an-style’ are usually lamb-based and heavily seasoned with cumin and other spices. A few years ago, one of the most popular dishes in New York City was the Cumin Lamb with Noodles from a  restaurant called Xi’an Famous Foods in Flushing, Queens. I never had a chance to try it so when I saw this recipe for lamb burgers by Peter Meehan from Lucky Peach in the New York Times, I knew I wanted to make a version of it.

I changed the recipe just a little, adding a bit of mustard and brown sugar to give a bit of extra savoriness and added a fresh, bright herb sauce to go on top. In the burger, the main flavor components are what you’ll find in just about all Xi’an-style recipes, whether it’s a stir fry, noodle dish or burger: ground cumin, Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili.

Sichuan peppercorns, Cumin and Red Chili Flakes

Sichuan Peppercorns, cumin and red chili flakes add tons of flavor and a little heat.

Toffee-Apple Sour Cream Cake (with a Salted Caramel Drizzle)

Toffee-Apple Sour Cream Cake (with a Salted Caramel Drizzle)

IMG_6804 - Version 2

It’s a shame about toffee apples, it really is. In theory, I ought to love them.

There’s the toffee, which, as our Ultimate English Toffee recipe proves, we’re all about. I have no problem with the toffee.

There are the apples – and who doesn’t like apples? Your basic apple is basically the perfect snack – you can eat it on the go without getting your hands covered in crumbs, it’s got plenty of natural fiber, vitamins and that, they’re available pretty much all year round no matter where you live.

And there’s the stick, to hold it with. (Don’t eat the stick.)

Toffee apples – those of a more American persuasion might be more familiar with them as “candy apples” – are a mainstay of Autumn, and the first hints of autumnal flavors in our cooking always give me a frisson of delight (no, Pumpkin Spice Latte, I am definitely NOT looking at you). But a toffee apple just leaves me cold.

So why am I banging on about toffee apples if I don’t even like them that much? And what’s that picture of a cake doing at the top of this post?

Toffee-Apple Sour Cream Cake

These Honeycrisp apples (the large ones) are tart and hold their shape when cooked.

Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Basil

Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Basil

Chicken Lemon Garlic Basil

This chicken with lemon, garlic and basil – the flavors of an Italian summer – cooks in one pan and gets a delicious crispy skin. 

Even though we are now fully immersed in September, in our neck of the woods yesterday was actually the hottest day of the year so far. The thermometer that we keep by the chicken coop was up to 99ºF (37ºC) by noon, and stayed there until way past dark. Not to sound like a whiner, but that meant that our kitchen was hotter than a three dollar pistol and it was seriously messing with my plans. See, I had been dreaming about making this chicken all summer, and I had already bought all the ingredients that I couldn’t pick from the garden so I just decided to make it anyway, inferno be damned.

This chicken is kind of a variation on one of my favorite dishes of all time, Chicken with Lime, Garlic and Cilantro. It has the same incredible combination of crispy skin and tender meat that is just so damn good. But instead of the latin influence, this version is like a summer vacation in Italy, with the flavors of lemon, garlic and fresh basil.

Chicken Lemon Garlic Basil

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