Monday, April 14, 2014

The Muffin Queen's Cuisine

When I first thought about doing a blog, I knew it had to be about food. I love food. I love cooking. So I made a blog called The Muffin Queen's Cuisine. And that's as far as I got. Cooking is relaxing to me & the thought of stopping to take photos along the way every time I made a meal seemed overwhelming & not fun. But I'd like to share recipes here from time to time...when I make things that were so delicious I wish I could cook it for all of you. I made 2 such meals recently. The first is adapted from the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi. I made this twice in one week. That never happens, but it was that good. 
Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice
  • 3 tablespoons currants
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2-3 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 3lb. whole chicken, quartered
  •  salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 cardamom pods or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • rounded 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves (~10)
  • 2 long cinnamon sticks, broken in two
  • 1 2/3 cups white Basmati rice 
  • 2 1/4 cups boiling chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dill leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Greek yogurt (2% or full fat)
  1. Heat 2T olive oil in a large sauté pan for which you have a lid over medium low heat. Add the onion, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a deep golden brown. Transfer the onion to a small bowl.
  2. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and season with 1½ teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Add the remaining 2T olive oil, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and use your hands to mix everything together well. Heat the frying pan again and place the chicken and spices in it. Sear chicken for 5 minutes on each side and remove from the pan (this is important as it par-cooks the chicken). The spices can stay in the pan, but don’t worry if they stick to the chicken. Add the rice, caramelized onion, currants, 1 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper. Stir well and return the seared chicken to the pan, pushing it into the rice.
  3. Pour the boiling chicken stock over the rice and chicken, cover the pan, and cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, leave the dish undisturbed for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the herbs and use a fork to stir them in and fluff up the rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or warm with yogurt on the side or top.
*photo taken from Dinner:A Love Story, as I did not snap my own (you can also find the original recipe there as I added some things that Angie suggested & also did some of our own thing)

The second tasty thing I made recently was this pork dish that I first had at Angie's house. I couldn't stop thinking about it.
Pork Loin Braised in Milk
(adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan)
2 pound pork loin (or any hunk of pork)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg 
2-3 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 head garlic, peeled
1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups whole milk or half & half 
Heat pan that is barely bigger than the roast on high heat for 5-10 minutes, add pork & brown meat on all sides. Add salt, pepper, milk, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, & nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and leave the lid slightly ajar. Cook slowly for about 2 hours, turning and basting the meat from time to time. If necessary — and it’s usually not — you can add a little more milk. By the time the meat is cooked, the milk will have coagulated into small, brownish clusters. Remove the meat to a cutting board, carve, and arrange on platter. Add 2 or 3 tbsp warm water to the pot, turn the heat to high, and boil away the water while scraping and loosening all the cooking residue in a pot. Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve with sauteed brussels sprouts & roasted potatoes.

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