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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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Orange-Maple Glazed Chicken (inspired by Withnail and I)

Orange-Maple Glazed Chicken (inspired by Withnail and I)

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You’ve seen Withnail and I, right? Of course you have. It’s a classic fil…wait, WHAT? You haven’t? You must see it! Right this minute! Go on, we’ll wait. *Taps fingers on table sternly*. Cut to 5 hours later (because you had to watch it twice and have a nap because you were tipsy). Now… don’t you feel better? Something was missing, wasn’t it?

For years, every time I’d roast a chicken, I’d be tempted to stand it up in the oven, just for giggles.

chicken_upon_a_brickNow, I know cooking chicken on a beer can is a thing but I am way too accident prone to try to balance a large, slippery chicken on a tallboy . Then I saw this, noticed it was only $20 and decided that I must have it. I have to tell you, it actually works incredibly well and, more importantly, your chicken will look hilarious as it hangs out, sitting up, in your oven.

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I imagine this will be me, Matt and one of our chickens very soon.

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Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad with Honey Balsamic Glaze

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I’m kind of weird with mint. I think I associate it too closely with toothpaste so I’m super picky about when I use it. I really, really don’t like it anywhere near my ice cream, chocolate or potatoes. It’s perfect with watermelon and feta though. I decided to make a glaze with honey and balsamic vinegar to brighten the sweet and tart flavors. I left the shallots out this time (because I was tired and forgot them). It was still good but a touch of sharp shallot helps bring it over to the savory side. This is so summery and incredibly quick to make. 
 
I must be on a sweet/salty kick because when I bought this watermelon, I couldn’t wait to chop it up and throw some feta and mint on that bad boy (Sorry, not sure why I’m talking like Guy Fieri all of a sudden. Shudder.). This is a classic combination which just really works in a “greater than the sum of it’s parts” sort of way.
 
Don’t forget to buy a seedless watermelon. I got a seeded one by accident and it made it slightly annoying to eat. While I do enjoy spitting watermelon seeds like a trucker spitting dip, it’s less hilarious when it’s in my living room and I’ve got to clean it up. 
 

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet corn ice cream

Sweet corn ice cream

Like most fancy-pants wanna-be’s, I often read recipes in the New York Times dining section and think “Yes! I am SO going to make that!”. Then I get distracted by work or something sparkly out of the corner of my eye and forget all about it. Not this time! I saw Melissa Clark’s recipe for corn ice cream and knew I wanted to try it. I also knew that Matt would be totally game because A) he’s always up for a challenge and B) he loves both corn and ice cream.

We had a a few ears of (not that great) corn that we bought in Long Island, so we decided to give this a try. It’s really good! It’s a tiny little bit under-sweetened to my taste (unusual for me) but that could be because the corn we used was not that sweet to begin with. If I make it again (with under-whelming corn), I would add a touch more sugar. Maybe just a tablespoon or so. Or, even better, I’ll leave it as-is and pour a bit of this (elixir of the gods) Salted Caramel Sauce on top.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted caramel sauce

Salted caramel sauce

Is salted caramel the best thing ever? “Bah”, you’re thinking. “Best? No way.” Is it better than fluffy kittens in a basket? Is it better than Tyrion Lannister looking at you like this? Is it better than doggie derp face? Who’s to say. Well, I am and the answer is yes. It is better than all those things.

Okay, so now we know that salted caramel sauce is the one true god, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by telling you it’s the easiest thing to make. I mean, it’s simple enough. There’s only 4 ingredients. The thing about caramel though is that there is a very fine line between deliciously dark and acridly burned. You have to be brave when browning the sugar but not foolhardy. The best caramel teeters right on that line between sweet and bitter.

It definitely helps to have the right tools (I found this link to a tumblr that’s just people posing with giant spoons and had to include it here. Thank you for understanding). Seriously though, you’ll need a good, heavy saucepan. It should be larger than you’d think, 2 or 3 quarts is perfect. A rounded bottom is ideal but not required. An instant-read thermometer would also be extremely useful. It will help in that panicky moment between perfect and ruined.

Salted caramel sauce

Arya’s Kitchen Chair

IMG_2248 - Version 2Like most dogs, especially rescues*, Arya likes to be around us. A lot. Usually that’s A-OK because look at that face. Look at it!

But… doggie in the kitchen with heavy pots, hot pans and poisonous ingredients (for pups. I don’t cook with arsenic…much) is a recipe for trouble. Oh dear, cooking blog humor.

Luckily, little miss crazy eyes has become obsessed with a counter stool we bought at Ikea a while back. Occasionally we’ll have people over and they’ll think, “Hey, that’s a nice chair. Maybe I’ll sit in it so I can chat with Emily and Matt while they cook”. Arya will then launch herself onto it first, so they awkwardly end up perched on a corner while she innocently tries to look like she’s been sitting there for hours. Or, even better, she’ll let them sit for a fraction of a second before she leaps on to their lap, requiring them to hold her or she’ll slide off their legs while they look on, mortified. Either way, she ends up with the chair. 

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