Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Pitty Party

I looked at myself in the the mirror this morning and decided that if the bags under my eyes get any bigger, or darker, they will soon take over my entire face. It's safe to say that I'm exhausted. I can't remember a time in my life when my worry list to do list was as long as it is right now. I can't remember a time when I had a worry list to do list with such intense, difficult matters. When did this happen? When did I become an adult? When did my to do lists change from, find a dress for homecoming to pay off furniture, find a new place to live, go grocery shopping, file the (freaking) taxes? I want to go back to simpler times. That's all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs

Looking for a crowd pleasing, easy chicken dish? Honey mustard glazed chicken thighs is your answer. Looking for something to serve at a dinner party, or to company? Make honey mustard glazed chicken thighs with mustard cream sauce. But really you can't go wrong either way. These little beauties are great with or without sauce they remain so juicy and flavorful and make for the perfect chicken dish. If you're still using boring old boneless skinless chicken breasts try something a little different, chicken thighs are a cheaper alternative and produce richer, juicier flavor than what you get from a lean chicken breast. The best part of these chicken thighs is the last minute glaze and broil, the sticky glaze and the chicken skin get really crispy and yummy and and the meat underneath remains perfectly cooked. Serve with the yummy creamy mustard sauce or on it's own for a wonderful meal.

Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs with Mustard Cream Sauce

6 - 8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 lemon, juiced, and quartered
1 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp water

For Chicken:
In a large baking dish combine lemon juice and olive oil season with salt and pepper and toss in chicken thighs. Add the juiced lemon quarters and allow to marinate overnight, or at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Heat a large pot on the stove to medium high, sear each chicken thigh skin side first until golden brown, about 2 minutes per thigh. Place seared chicken on sheet pan skin side up and finish searing. Place chicken in the preheated oven and cook 15 minutes. While chicken cooks combine honey and 1 tbsp Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Brush each chicken thigh with honey mustard and cook 10 minutes more. Remove chicken from the oven and brush with honey mustard one more time turn the ovens broiler on and place sheet pan to the second highest position in the oven near the broiler. Turn the broiler on and broil for 5-10 more minutes watching closely to avoid burning. Temp chicken with a meat thermometer in a couple of different places to make sure it's reached and internal temperature of 165, if it has serve it, if it hasn't turn the broiler off and turn the oven back on to 350 and let it finish cooking.

For Sauce:
In the same pot that the chicken was seared in add chicken stock and bring to a simmer whisking to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Allow broth to boil for 5 minutes. Turn heat down and add cream, bring to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the Dijon mustard. Let sauce continue to simmer about 5 more minutes. Stir corn starch and water together in a small bowl. Add the corn starch slurry to the sauce whisking. Simmer till thick. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve over chicken.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Culinary School Week 21

Twenty one weeks seems like hardly anything, but I feel like I've been doing this forever. This week was a pretty laid back week, I didn't have class Monday or Tuesday, so it felt like a little break. We covered some strange and new things in Garde Manger this week, for example a timbale, a little purred vegetable, baked, mousse-esq type thing. They were surprisingly delicious, however I couldn't get over the fact that essentially they're baked baby food. Vegetables are cooked till mushy and then pured and pressed through a sieve to remove big chunks, cream and eggs are added and then they're spooned into molds and baked. They can be served hot or cold and usually have a sauce to accompany them on a plate. Baby food I'm telling you, baby food with sauce. I made a carrot timbale with a basil cream sauce, pictured below. The things we're going over in that class right now are so "old school" very European, very um...interesting. I'm glad I get to experience it, but at the same time I'm quite certain that there will never come a time in my life when I'll need to know how to make a Gallentine again, am I right? Or am I right. Last night we had a catering event, my participation amounted to the 4 sheet pans of chocolate chip cookies I baked for the choir that came to sing to our guests. And then of course there was the eating of said cookies, I lost count after 4, it's a delicious dangerous path I've chosen, but someone has to do it. I think I've finally gotten to a place where I can say goodbye to those size 4 citizen jeans, I'll never fit into again. In other news next week I have a two day Garde Manger practical, something I'm not looking forward to.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is one of those comforting, yummy dishes that can be dressed up or down. For example it's ease makes it a dish you could make for dinner on a week night, but it's elegance makes it appropriate to serve for a special occasion. The crispy chicken and creamy, slightly sweet sauce make for a delicious combination. Finished with bright lemon and fresh parsley, this dish will become one of your favorites too. 

Chicken Marsala
4  chicken breasts
1 cup breadcrumbs (Italian work great here)
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups Marsala cooking wine
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, combine bread crumbs, flour, salt and pepper dredge each chicken breast in flour and set aside. In a large pot heat vegetable oil until bubbling. On medium high heat cook each chicken breast until the coating is golden brown but chicken is not necessarily cooked through about 3 - 5 minutes per side, place chicken on a sheet pan and finish cooking in the oven, until chicken registers at 165 degrees internal or is no longer pink inside about 10 minutes, depending on how big the chicken breasts are.

In the same pot add a tablespoon of butter and the mushrooms cook on medium heat until the mushrooms are browned and fragrant about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to medium low and add the Marsala wine to the pot to deglaze, it will steam (a lot), so be prepared. Whisk to loosen any stuck bits of goodness from the bottom of the pot. Let wine to simmer on medium low heat, it will reduce to about a cup, this should take 5 - 7 minutes. In a small bowl combine the soft butter and the flour to make a paste whisk it in to the reduced wine and allow it to become thick.

Finish by adding cream, lemon juice and parsley, let it combine and simmer for a minute or two. Add the chicken breasts back to the sauce and serve over garlic mashed potatoes or pasta. Enjoy!

*Marsala cooking wine can be found in the isle of the grocery store where you might find balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar, usually near the salad dressings. Regular Marsala wine can be used here as well. The difference between Marsala cooking wine and Marsala wine is in the alcohol content, if you're really curious about it google it. In either case the alcohol cooks out during the reduction process.

Birthday Guy

Today is the day that I get to celebrate the birth of my guy.
He loves motorcycles and ice cream.
He has a funny laugh and enjoys tickling my feet.
His favorite place he's ever been is Boston.
He is the coolest guy I know and I love him.
Happy Birthday Adam!
I'm glad I get to celebrate with you.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Sugar cookie making for Valentines day, sushi making in Garde Manger,
the most beautiful view from our cabin this weekend, my favorite sweater,
the most delicious chocolates from my love, snowmobile riding,
best friends on a lunch date, the smell of fresh pine.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Culinary School Week 20

Classes this week were packed full of fun and interesting stuff. Of course the week started with the killing and cooking of a lobster. I won't lie it was a task I was not looking forward to, and I won't say that it was easy because it wasn't, but I will say that I now know how to prepare lobster, two different ways and that's pretty cool. And I didn't pass out...that's pretty cool too. I'm proud of myself. In other news I learned to roll sushi and nigri. We had salmon and tuna and made various rolls filled with pretty cuts of vegetables and spicy wasabi. I wish I could say that I'm a huge sushi fan but I'm just not, don't get me wrong it's good and every once in a while I crave it, so I split a roll with a girlfriend and order a side of dan dan noodles because a whole roll of sushi is just not my thing.  Unless it's deep fried, and then it's totally my thing. But that's different. Talk to me about the tempura California roll. Yep. I like it. Anyway the weeks are speeding by again and before I know it I'll be competing in the K competition. That's right next month I have to get to participate in a chefs competition, more news to come on that. Just know that a significant amount of sleep is lost each and every night because I'm mostly scared for my life. That is, I'm afraid I'll have a heart attack upon arrival of competition day. Nerves I tell you. Anyway my last bit of news is that I have found an internship to cap my educational journey with. I'll be interning at an adorable french bakery in Salt Lake this summer. See you at 4 am 3 days a week i-15. I am truly looking forward to it. Early mornings are made easier when french pastry is involved. That's my motto.

Brownie Cookies

Brownie Cookies are like little bits of heaven fallen to earth. They're soft and chewy and intensely chocolate. I'm never sure if it's more brownie, or more cookie, the flavor and texture is brownie, the shape is cookie, it's boggling to my mind, but really it doesn't matter because they're just so (freaking) good. These little cookies are the epitome of what I want just before a certain week of the month. They're easy to whip up, the dough, oh gosh the dough, don't even get me started on the dough, it's like fudge and life becomes clear and beautiful every time I sneak a spoonful, and then of course there's the finished warm chocolate cookies, perfection I tell you. Make them. Make them any old time you want but really they should be called PMS cookies, so yeah. Enjoy!

Brownie Cookies  
2 cups flour
½ cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (bakers chocolate works great here)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder, set aside.
In the microwave melt the chocolate for 2 minutes, stir and microwave in 20 second intervals until chocolate is melted. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla lightly with a fork, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Add in the sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; the mixture will look granular. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add the chocolate in a steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Finally add the chocolate chips. Do not over beat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is fudge-like, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners (this is pretty important – if the cookies are baked on a greased baking sheet only, they will probably stick). Roll the dough into 1 ½ inch balls and place them on the cookie sheets, spacing them about 1 ½ inches apart.
Bake until the edges of the cookies have just begun to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10-11 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Day Equation

 Plus this:
Plus this: 
 Plus this: 
Plus this:

 Made for one happy Valentines day. 
We had a romantic evening in with candles and homemade gifts and tasty things to eat.

Happy Valentines Day!

My Valentine

He sings Ingrid Michelson with me in the car, he helps me shape rolls, he wears scarfs because I like them, he's supportive, he pretends to care about what happened on the latest episode of chopped, he buys me shoes and chocolate chip cookies, he makes me laugh and tells me he loves me everyday, he brings out the very best in me, he is my best friend and I am so glad that he's mine.
 I wouldn't want to celebrate this day of love with anyone else.
Today he is my Valentine, but then I guess he is everyday.
Happy Valentines Day - I hope you celebrate it with the ones you love

Friday, February 8, 2013

Culinary School Week 19

This week we prepared for an event which meant making hundreds of teeny, tiny little hors d'oeuvres. The daunting task of assembling these little artistic bites didn't surprise me in anyway. I knew it was going to suck, and it did, it sucked. It wasn't one of those, not-so-bad tasks it was a beast of an assignment, and I am so happy it's over. Earlier in the week we worked with game and poultry, the poultry day was good, we worked with chicken and turkey and duck, birds that I am familiar with. The game day was a whole different ball game though, we worked with elk and alligator - it was pretty cool. I was so surprised that the alligator turned out as tender and delicious as it did. We made a gumbo type stew and it was not bad. When we were preparing for the event the chef asked if someone would make this cheese appetizer call brie en croute, I'm embarrassed about how quickly the "I'LL DO IT, CHEF" came out of my mouth. I knew what it was and I knew I wanted to make it. I wanted to feel like I was baking again even if all I was doing really was wrapping a round of brie in puff pastry and decorating it with dough scraps. It was dough. It was baking. And oh man it felt so good. Ha, it's funny how much I miss being in the bake shop. Anyway that's it for this week, on to the next. Admittedly I'm a little afraid because with the new week comes a new obstacle: the execution of a crustacean. That's right I have to murder a lobster on Monday. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Pray for me or better yet, pray for that poor lobster.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Food Adventure: California

While in California we visited the most charming farmers market. One of the first booths we happened upon was selling grapes of all shapes and sizes and colors. Lucky for us grapes are the state food of California so bought a couple of bunches. The grapes were delicious. We bought a bunch of green grapes and a bunch of large red seeded grapes. The green grapes were tart and even a bit sour. The red grapes were sweet and juicy. It's not currently "grape season" in California right now, so our grapes were probably in some sort of high tech storage facility for the last couple of months, making them not as fresh as the could have been. But I'm sure that during the harvest in the fall the fresh California grapes couldn't be more delicious. Maybe another trip is in order for later this year. In the mean time these California grapes did the trick - they were pretty tasty.

On our "yumm scale" we rated California Grapes as a Yumm
For your reference the "Yumm Scale" :
1. Yuck
2. Yu...
3. Yumm
4. Super Yumm
5. Holymolycanoliyumm!

Monday, February 4, 2013

California Birthday Trip

Our trip to California last weekend was heavenly. Getting out of frozen Utah was just what we needed. And I seriously could have imagined a more enjoyable or relaxing birthday. Adam and I took a couple of days off work and flew out to the Los Angeles area to find the sunshine and eat some (freaking) good food. These photos from the trip are a combo of our iPhone pictures and my cannon so excuse the poor quality of some of them.
We stayed in a totally retro motor lodge in trendy West Hollywood, it was adorable. My favorite part was the soda fountain-esq coffee shop/diner on the bottom level.
On my actual day of birth we started off by having brunch at the amazing Chateau Marmont on Sunset boulevard.

We might have gorged ourselves on pastries and berries. And I might have eaten an entire jar of fresh California orange marmalade. It was soooo good.
After brunch we wandered down to the beach in Santa Monica and breathed in the salty ocean air.

We walked the pier and even rode the Ferris wheel.  

After the pier we had the best, most amazing, yummiest cookie ice cream sandwiches of my life. Soft cookies and ice cream? It was a beautiful thing.

Later that night we got all dressed up (Sephora even helped with my make up) and went to dinner.

The restaurant I selected for my birthday dinner is very much like the Moulin Rouge in real life. Multiple chandeliers, a glowing fire, long red drapes, candles was very romantic, to say the least. And even more importantly the food was wonderful!
 This was of course the best part of the meal - warm chocolate cake with raspberries and vanilla ice cream.
The next day we started at the farmers market and had a fabulous breakfast. 
 Later we spent the afternoon in Malibu at the amazing Getty Villa. Taking in the art and the architecture.
 My favorite part of the museum was the massive herb garden filled with all types of herbs and fruit trees.
 The villa is fashioned after an estate that was found in an old Roman city, there is so much attention to detail throughout the the property. It's really amazing to see.
 After we left the villa we drove up pacific coast highway to Zuma beach in Malibu. The drive was so relaxing and beautiful. And although the weather was a bit cool and overcast the beach was also stunningly beautiful.
The rest of our trip was spent wandering around Hollywood and eating chili cheese fries and french toast at the coffee shop. We had a wonderful trip and were sad when we had to come home. But we were so glad to have had the chance to go.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Twenty four

I celebrated my 24th birthday yesterday in sunny California. It's been an awesome and happy weekend. Details to come!!