Monster Soup

Monster Soup

In spite of all my hopes and plans, this is the one recipe that I was forced to use food coloring.  I tried using, what I had thought, the perfect ingredient for making this soup purple without using any coloring…  But, unfortunately, the purple potatoes not only did NOT make the soup purple, it turned it a horrible shade of brown, meaning I simply had to use coloring to make it a nice, purple shade.  So sad.

Monster Souptime etc

Cut the onions, carrots, and celery into bite size pieces.  Wash and dice the potatoes, too.  Now, we know that I like my vegetables with their skins on, but if you feel so inclined, peel the carrots and potatoes.

In a nice pot heat the butter on medium until melted.  Add the carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 2 minutes, until the raw look is gone.  Add the potatoes and cook, stirring continuously, until the potatoes are “crisp tender”.  This means it’s still hard, but not raw.  This’ll take about 5-8 minutes.

veggies in a pot

veggies and brothAdd all the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, raising the heat if needed.  Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are starting to soften up.  Then we want to add the milk and flour.  Now, a word of caution about the flour and milk – we want to make sure that the flour is COMPLETELY whisked into the milk before we add it to the soup.  If it’s not you’ll end up with lumpy bits of flour everywhere and it’ll be gross.  Allow everything to simmer for about 5 minutes.  By this time the potatoes should be getting softer.

You’ll need to be extra careful with this next part.  Take out 1/2 of the soup, using a heat-proof container.  Pour the soup into a blender in however many batches you need to make it fit, blend until smooth, and pour back into the remaining soup.  When half of the soup is blended, and all the soup is back together, add the heavy cream.  Stir and heat until hot and then taste for seasonings.  You may want to add the rest of the salt and pepper now…

add coloring

Guys, now it’s time for the part that makes this Halloweeny, but also kinda weird.  Add all the food coloring.  It feels like a lot, I know, but it’ll make it the best color for Monster Soup – and make it not a weird shade of brown… I honestly thought pureeing purple potatoes would make the soup purple, not brown.  But I was wrong.  So if you don’t want to add Monster Extract to your soup, simply use russet potatoes to ensure that your soup is a nice, creamy white instead of a weird brown.

monster soup

Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chives.  Also, if you’re using this at a Halloween party, serve it in a small cauldron for a great touch!

Link’s Monster Soup recipe:

    • Fresh Milk
    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Goat Butter
    • Monster Extract

Monster Soup

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Potato Soup with purple coloring for a lovely Halloween effect


Recipe adapted from Perfect Potato Soup by Ree Drummond from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

  • 1 pound purple potatoes (or russet for a white soup instead of purple soup)
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (substitute almond milk to make this vegan)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or more almond milk for a vegan recipe)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon purple gel food coloring
  • grated cheese, fresh chives, and sour cream to garnish

Directions

  1. Cut the onions, carrots, and celery into bite size pieces. Peel, if you desire.
  2. Wash and dice the potatoes, again, peeled if you desire.
  3. Heat the butter on medium in a pot until melted.
  4. Add the carrots, onions, and celery and saute for 2 minutes, until the raw look is gone.
  5. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring continuously, until the potatoes are crisp tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Add all the vegetable broth, and the first amounts of salt, pepper, and paprika, and bring to a boil, raising the heat if needed.
  7. Reduce the heat back to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes start to soften.
  8. Whisk together the milk and flour until completely combined. Add to the soup and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are nearly soft.
  9. Using caution, remove 1/2 of the soup, using a heat-proof container. Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to blend in batches if your blender is small. Pour the blended soup back into the pot and stir to combine.
  10. Add the heavy cream and stir and heat until lightly simmering.
  11. Taste for seasonings, adding the remaining salt, pepper, and paprika if desired.
  12. Add the first amount of the food coloring. Stir until completely combined and the soup begins to change. If a darker purple is desired, continue adding coloring until the color you’re looking for is achieved.
  13. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chives.

Monster Curry

Monster Curry

Guys, there’s no such thing as Monster Extract.  We all know this.  It’s severely disappointing, but it’s true.  So, after much deliberation, I decided that Monster Extract was simply going to be unusual ingredients thrown into regular meals that either A) dye the food a more purple color or B) add a unique/unexpected purple food to the meal.  The goal is to actually do both.  And while some recipes will require the use of food coloring to achieve the right effect, this one, I am proud to say, does not!  Now, to make that happen, this meal isn’t quite as purple as I wish it could have been.  But we make do…

Monster Currymonster cake meter

We need to start with the chicken and the marinade.  This allows the spices to mix together for long enough that the marinade takes on the flavor of the spices and they don’t taste quite so raw and it also allows the chicken to soak up the flavor of the marinade.  It’s like… giving the chicken the Zora Tunic – all of a sudden Link takes on the characteristics of the Zora and can breathe underwater.  Thank goodness.

So cut up the thigh meat (technically you can use breast, too, but thigh tends to retain moisture better) into 1/2 inch cubes.  Doesn’t have to be perfect, we just want them similar in shape so they cook at the same time.  Then peel and cut the garlic and fresh ginger.

add to the blender

Next we add all the spices, the tomato paste, and the yogurt to a blender (or food processor if you’re cool like that).  Blend until completely combined.  You may have to stop occasionally, even in a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, and shake and scrape everything around to make sure the garlic and ginger get thoroughly chopped.

Add the spice mixture to a bowl with the chicken and stir to completely coat the chicken.  Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 2.

When the chicken is nearly done marinating let’s take the onion, carrot, and beets, wash them, and dice them.  A word of caution – if you cut the beets into large or thick pieces they will take FOREVER to cook.  Don’t make my mistakes, cut them up nice and skinny.

Start the rice about the time you’re ready to start cooking.  We’ve gone over this – add rice, wash rice, add water, press start.  You guys are experts by this point!

When you’re done dicing and slicing, take the chicken out of the fridge to warm up a bit.  Add half the butter and oil to a pan – I prefer my good, old-fashioned cast iron pans.  I’m kind of obsessed with them…  When the butter is melted add the onion and cook for maybe 1-2 minutes.  Next add the carrots and beets and cook until they’re tender, about 10 minutes.

cook chicken

Remove the veggies from the pan and add the remaining butter and oil.  When the butter is, you got it, melted, add the chicken and all the marinade.  It feels like a lot.  It feels thick and goopy.  It feels weird.  But trust me, it all works out in the end.

add veggies back in

Cook until the chicken is completely cooked through.  Depending on the size of your chicken pieces it should take about 10 minutes.  Just make sure there’s no pink in the middle of a piece if you cut it open, okay?  Add back all the veggies and stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until everything is nice and combined.

add the cream

At this point, add your heavy cream.  Stir and mix until it’s completely combined and then simmer for about 15 minutes.  We want to give the flavors time to combine and we want to give the curry time to change colors from yellow to… a more purplish yellow…  It’s all I could do, folks.

close up

Serve with the rice and be happy!

Link’s Monster Curry recipe:

    • Hylian Rice
    • Goron Spice
    • Monster Extract

Monster Curry

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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A chicken korma curry with beets and carrots


Recipe adapted from Indian Chicken Korma by Sabrina from Dinner Then Dessert

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs boneless and skinless
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 8-10 beets
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil i.e. canola
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2.5 cups dry rice
  • water to cook rice

Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5 tablespoon-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1.5 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more for a spicier meal)
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Cut up the chicken thighs into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Add all the spices, tomato paste, and yogurt to a blender or food processor.
  3. Blend until completely combined, scraping down and mixing the sauce as needed.
  4. Add the spice mixture to a bowl with the chicken and stir to completely coat the chicken.  Cover and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours.
  5. Wash and dice the onion, carrot, and beets. Dice the beets into thin, bite-size pieces in order to shorten cooking times.
  6. Start the rice when you’re ready to start cooking. Rinse the rice several times, add water up to your first knuckle of your finger when it rests on top of the rice, and press start on your rice cooker.
  7. Take the chicken out of the fridge to warm up while you cook the vegetables.
  8. Add half the butter and oil to a pan. When the butter is melted add the onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and beets and cook until they’re tender, about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the veggies from the pan.
  10. Add the remaining butter and oil. When the butter is melted add the chicken and all the marinade.
  11. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, ensuring there is no pink in the center of the chicken – about 10 minutes.
  12. Add back all the veggies and stir and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until everything is combined.
  13. Add the heavy cream.  Stir and mix until it’s completely combined and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
  14. Serve with the rice and be happy!

Monster Cake

Monster Cake

It’s the first Halloween post of the season!  And yes, we are starting with the easiest, but I wanted to make sure A) the post got done and B) you could make these delicious little monsters for your own spooky (or simply fun) Halloween bash!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the polls on Instagram and Twitter this last week!  Even though the results were overwhelmingly in favor of allowing me to use purple coloring as my Monster Extract, I’ve decided on a compromise.  I’ll do half the recipes with naturally occurring purple coloring from the ingredients I use.  And for those recipes that need a little extra help I’ll add actual Monster Extract i.e. purple coloring.  Sound good?  Sound like a nice compromise?  I hope so, because it’s already happening.

Monster Cakemonster cake meter

We are going to start with the tempered chocolate.  Confession: I’ve never tempered chocolate before.  And not only have I never done it before, I just had to start with the most difficult chocolate to temper – white chocolate.  Oh well.  Prep by inserting a piping bag with a medium round tip (#10 Wilton is what I used) into a cup and wrapping the top of the bag around the edges.  It’ll be easier than trying to fill a bag in your hand.  Lay a piece of parchment paper out on the counter, and get ready to melt some chocolate!

We temper chocolate by using a candy thermometer and a water bath to gently melt the chocolate to the perfect temperature.  Start by splitting the white chocolate into two bowls – about 75% into a stainless steel bowl and 25% into any other bowl.  Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in any old pot, place the stainless steel bowl over the top, add the gel food coloring, and attach the candy thermometer.  Now, two things.  First, we MUST use gel food coloring.  If you add any amount of water to the chocolate it’ll seize up and be unusable.  And second, you’ll need to make sure the tip of the thermometer is in the chocolate BUT NOT touching the bottom.  If the tip is touching the bowl it’ll register the temperature of the bowl, NOT the chocolate.  We need to know the temperature of the chocolate.

seed the chocolate

Once it’s inserted correctly gently stir to melt the chocolate evenly until the temperature of the chocolate reads 110°F.  Quickly remove the bowl from the pot and add a few morsels of chocolate.  Stir until completely dissolved, read the temperature, and add more chocolate.  We need to use this “seed” method to bring the temperature of the chocolate down to 84°F.  This is the temperature at which the chocolate will still be shiny and not brittle.  Do it wrong, and you may have to start over.

When the chocolate reaches the correct temperature quickly add it to a piping bag and begin piping the chocolate into horn shapes on the parchment.  You’ll probably want them to be about 2 inches tall at the most – you don’t want them falling off the cakes!  Leave them on the parchment to cool and harden while we make the cake and frosting.  If you want to speed this up, yes, you can put it in the fridge.

Next – the cake!  And trust me when I say, the chocolate was the hardest part of this recipe.  The rest is… a piece of cake…

butter and sugar

Start by putting the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on medium until soft.  Add the sugar and beat on medium until fluffy and pale in color (about 2 minutes).  Next, add the eggs one at a time, beating on low until each egg is fully incorporated, then bring the speed up to medium for several seconds until homogeneous.

dry ingredients

The next part is the trickiest with the cake.  Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and either sift or, if you’re like me and don’t have a sifter, whisk until they’re fully mixed.  Then, slowly and with the mixer off (trust me on this one) add 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture to the stand mixer.  Mix on low until fully mixed.  Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk to the bowl and mix on low until incorporated.  Add the remaining 1/3 dry, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 dry and mix fully between each step.

Butter and lightly flour a sheet cake pan (18 x 26 inches with a 1 inch lip).  Add all the cake batter to the pan and smooth with a spatula.  It looks like a lot, I know, but this cake doesn’t actually rise a lot – it’s a pretty dense version of a blackout cake.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Put aside and cool completely.

While the cake is either baking or cooling, let’s make the buttercream!  Now, for ease, I always make an American buttercream.  It’s much easier, doesn’t require any cooking, but is sweeter than your other versions.  I have found, with cakes, at least, that sweeter isn’t a bad thing.  Particularly because I prefer my cakes less sweet, so the balance works nicely.

Wash and blend or mash with a potato masher or fork all the blackberries.  Add the butter and powdered sugar to a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or, again, a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on low until the butter and powdered sugar have come slightly together.  Add 3/4 of the blackberry puree to the bowl and beat on low until the mixture comes together and there’s no more dry powdered sugar.  Beat on medium, check the consistency of the buttercream, and add more blackberries as needed to reach the right consistency.  You’ll want the frosting to hug a spoon or spatula and not slip or fall when held upside down (called a medium consistency).  This will ensure the frosting is thick enough to hold your cakes steady.

proper frosting consistency

Once the cakes are completely cooled, cut out each shape with a 3 inch round cutter.  Now, here’s where I’m going to suggest you do something different than I did.  In the pictures the cakes are overwhelmingly tall in comparison with the frosting layer.  Which is fine!  But if I were to make these for myself and my own party, instead of stacking two heavy pieces of cake together, I’d simply cut each round in half, fill the center, and stack them together again.  That way the frosting can actually hold up the top layer properly and no one gets a giant piece of cake there’s no way they could actually eat it.  Besides, by cutting it you’ll double the amount of cakes you’ll get – making this recipe way more feasible (you’ll get about 15 cakes instead of 7-8).

So, slice each cake in half or, if the warning wasn’t enough, place two whole rounds together.   Fill a piping bag fit with a large flower tip (or star tip) with frosting, and pipe rosettes around each of the bottom pieces of cake.  To pipe a rosette simply pipe a fat star about 1/3 inch above the center of the cake then pipe a swirl around the outside of the cake.  Do it in one motion to make a nice rosette or two separate motions because no one will see it, anyway.  For a good video, see the Wilton tutorial here.

Layer the top portion of the cake onto the frosting-covered bottom and pipe another rosette on the top layer, continuing the swirl all around in ever-decreasing circles to get a nice swirl.  Again, a great Wilton tutorial can be found here.

Add your monster horns by gently pressing them into the cupcake swirl and really impress your friends for that Halloween party!  These are best eaten the same day or stored in the fridge for a few days.

Link’s Monster Cake recipe:

    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Cane Sugar
    • Goat Butter
    • Monster Extract

Monster Cake

  • Servings: 15 3 inch cakes
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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A chocolate cake layered with blackberry buttercream and topped with white chocolate horns

Recipe adapted from Devil’s Food Layer Cake by Elizabeth Pruitt from Tartine

Cake

  • 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

White

  • 12 ounces white chocolate (morsels or baking chocolate)
  • 1/8 teaspoon purple GEL food coloring

Blackberry

  • 2 cups butter, at room temperature
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup blackberries, washed and pureed

Directions

  1. Prepare a piping bag by inserting a medium round tip (#10 Wilton or similar). Place the bag in a cup, wrapping the top of the bag around the outside of the cup. Lay a piece of parchment paper out on the counter.
  2. Split the white chocolate into two bowls – 75% into a stainless steel bowl and 25% into any other bowl.
  3. Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot. When the water is lightly boiling, place the stainless steel bowl over the top, add the gel food coloring, and attach the candy thermometer. Ensure the tip of the thermometer is in the chocolate not touching the bowl.
  4. Gently stir the melting chocolate until even and the temperature reads 110°F.  5. Quickly remove the bowl from the pot and add a few morsels of chocolate.  Stir until completely dissolved, read the temperature, and add more chocolate. Continue adding and melting chocolate until the temperature reads 84°F. This is the temperature at which the chocolate will still be shiny and not brittle.
  5. When the chocolate reaches the correct temperature quickly add it to a piping bag and pipe the chocolate into horn shapes, 2 inches tall, on the parchment. Leave them on the parchment to cool and harden or put it in the fridge.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and butter and flour a sheet cake pan (18 x 26 inches with a 1 inch lip)
  7. Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on medium until soft.
  8. Add the sugar and beat on medium until fluffy and pale in color (about 2 minutes).
  9. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low until each egg is fully incorporated, then bring the speed up to medium for several seconds until homogeneous.
  10. Add all the dry ingredients to a new bowl and whisk until they’re fully mixed.
  11. With the mixer off add the flour mixture in 3 equal batches alternately with the buttermilk in 2 equal batches. You should start and end with flour mixture.
  12. Add all the cake batter to the pan and smooth with a spatula. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Put aside and cool completely.
  13. To make the butter cream first wash and blend or mash with a potato masher or fork all the blackberries.
  14. Add the butter and powdered sugar to a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or, again, a bowl with a hand mixer) and beat on low until the butter and powdered sugar have come slightly together.
  15. Add 3/4 of the blackberry puree to the bowl and beat on low until the mixture comes together and there’s no more dry powdered sugar. Beat on medium, check the consistency of the buttercream, and add more blackberries as needed to reach the right consistency. You’ll want the frosting to hug a spoon or spatula and not slip or fall when held upside down (called a medium consistency).  This will ensure the frosting is thick enough to hold your cakes steady.
  16. Once the cakes are completely cooled, cut out each shape with a 3 inch round cutter.
  17. In order to maximize the amount of cakes you get and to realistically frost and present the cakes cut each round in half lengthwise, dividing each round into 2 equal pieces.
  18. Fill a piping bag fit with a large flower tip (or star tip) with frosting, and pipe rosettes around each of the bottom pieces of cake. Do this by piping a fat star about 1/3 inch above the center of the cake then pipe a swirl around the outside of the cake. Do it in one motion to make a true rosette or two separate motions because no one will see it, anyway.
  19. Layer the top portion of the cake onto the frosting-covered bottom and pipe another rosette on the top layer, continuing the swirl all around in ever-decreasing circles to get a nice swirl.
  20. Add your monster horns by gently pressing them into the cupcake swirl and really impress your friends for that Halloween party! These are best eaten the same day or stored in the fridge for a few days

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

When I was a kid my cousins lived within a few blocks from us and nearly every Sunday was spent with them at our house or us at theirs for dinner.  And my very favorite thing my cousin made was homemade teriyaki chicken.  Delicious, incredible teriyaki chicken.  It was so good, and so special to her, that we called it Brenda-yaki chicken in honor of her.  Seriously.  It even says Brenda-yaki Chicken on my recipe card.  And I’m thrilled to share it with you because you’re going to love it, too!  You’ll like it.  So much that maybe you’ll call it *pause for dramatic effect* Teri-yaki chicken…

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl
time and difficulty

So lets start with the rice.  Honestly, this takes the longest, so lets get it going!  It’s just like the way we make rice in the Meat and Rice Bowl.  Simply add rice to the rice cooker, rinse several times, and add water until it covers up to the first joint in your pointer finger over the rice.  Turn it on.  And leave.  I really don’t know what I’d do without a rice cooker.

Next we need to cut the green onions into 1 inch-long strips.  Doesn’t have to be pretty, but it does need to come first.  You see, you could cut the chicken first and then cut the green onions, but you’d have to either dirty another knife and cutting board OR wash this one in between.  Let’s get real, folks, dishes are the worst.  So instead of taking all those extra steps (and in the name of food safety and Salmonella-less summers) we cut the onions and then the chicken!

Third, trim the excess fat off the chicken then slice it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and any length long.  That one’s a personal preference.  Now, let’s get real, I’m using boneless chicken thighs not because I prefer them, but because they’re what the recipe calls for.  You want it to be prime?  Gotta be chicken thighs.  So if you’d like to use chicken breasts, be my guest!  Though, now that I’ve used it, I may never go back – they were absolutely juicy and delicious!  I think I understand now why people sing the praises of thigh meat…

Okay – Focus!  Fourth is make the sauce.  Its pretty easy.  Measure out the sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder into a container.  Stir until combined, taste for garlic adjustments (I like my garlic to be strong!) and allow to sit, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugars.

all the ingredients

And now, once the rice is done and on the “warm” setting, of course, we cook.  Why do we wait until the rice is done?  Because this takes about 6-7 minutes to cook and you don’t want to wait for your rice to finish while your chicken is getting cold.

Remember that wok I told you to buy?  Well it would sure come in handy about now!  Let’s pull it out, shall we?… Oh wait… you didn’t buy it?… Fine.  Be that way.  Well you can easily make this recipe in a pan.  Would it be better in a wok?  Of course, don’t be ridiculous.  But you can do it in a pan just fine.  Just follow all the steps like normal, then sit in a corner and think about what you’ve done.

boiling sauceAdd oil to the pan/wok and half the green onions.  Turn the heat on high, as high as it’ll go (for a wok) or medium high (for a pan) and wait until the onions start popping.  Add the chicken, sprinkle on the salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until they’re no longer pink on the outside.  Add the remainder of the green onions and all of the teriyaki sauce (which, if you kept stirring it, should have all the sugar dissolved).  Stir until everything is coated and allow to boil and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.  Be warned, if you cook this in a pan, you’ll want to do it in a tall pan (maybe even a pot).  The sauce foams like crazy when it boils and it’ll grow to about double it’s height.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the photo.

teriyaki chicken detail

When the sauce is thickened turn off the heat, serve over rice, and enjoy!

Link’s Prime Meat and Rice Bowl recipe:

        • Raw Prime Meat or Raw Bird Thigh
        • Hylian Rice
        • Rock Salt

Prime Meat and Rice Bowl

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken Teriyaki with homemade sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 bunch (5-6) green onions
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sushi (Calrose) rice
  • enough water to cover the rice

Directions

  1. Rinse 2 cups of rice several times and then add to a rice cooker. Add water until the level is up to your first knuckle on your pointer finger when your finger is resting on top of the rice.
  2. Start the rice cooker
  3. Cut the green onions into 1 inch-long strips.
  4. Trim the excess fat from the chicken then it into strips about 1/2 inch wide and any length long. I prefer 2 inches long.
  5. Make the sauce by adding the sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a container.  Stir until combined, taste for garlic adjustments and allow to sit, stirring occasionally, to dissolve the sugars.
  6. When the rice is cooked heat a wok on high or a pan/pot on medium high.
  7. Add oil to the pan/wok and half the green onions.
  8. Add the chicken, sprinkle on the salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until they’re no longer pink on the outside.
  9. Add the remainder of the green onions and all of the teriyaki sauce (which, if you kept stirring it, should have all the sugar dissolved).
  10. Stir until everything is coated and allow to boil and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken.  Be warned, if you cook this in a pan, you’ll want to do it in a tall pan or pot as the sauce foams like crazy when it boils and it’ll double it’s height.
  11. When the sauce is thickened turn off the heat, serve over rice, and enjoy!

Prime Poultry Pilaf

Prime Poultry Pilaf

As a working mom I am incredibly fond of easy make, easy clean up meals.  While I wish I could spend 5 hours making dinner every night, with fantastic results, I usually only have about an hour MAX to throw toward my favorite meal of the day.  And this recipe was so easy, and had so little hands-on time, it may become a new mid-week staple at our house.  Hey, if it’s good enough for Link, it’s good enough for me!

Prime Poultry PilafHeader and Meter

Start by taking the chicken out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook it.  Frankly, as a microbiologist, I cannot condone taking chicken out any earlier than that.  If you wanna know how I feel about poultry, as a microbiologist, find me on the twitter or the instagram…   But we do want to take the chill off the chicken before we cook it.  So 10 minutes is probably good.

seasoned chicken

Now here’s the normal drill: pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, rub with spices, and get ready for the most chill and delicious meal I’ve posted in a long, llloonnngggg time.

First and foremost, the easiest way to make this recipe is with a pan that can be used both on the stove and in the oven.  Cast iron, enameled cast iron, even some stainless steel pans can be used on the stove and in the oven.  I use an enameled cast iron pan for this and it made both making it and cleaning up a piece of cake.  If you don’t have anything that’ll work for both simply use a pan on the stove for the first part and we will get to the second part later.  But if you can possibly invest in an enameled cast iron braiser or pan, trust me, it’s worth it.

Second and secondmost, you’ll want to use a long grain, non-sticky rice for this recipe.  While I pledge my heart and soul to calrose sushi rice it simply doesn’t work for rice pilaf.  Jasmine rice or even long grain brown rice would work really well in this particular recipe.

Heat the oil in your chosen pan on medium.  When the oil is hot gently add the chicken by laying it away from you to prevent splashes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the thigh.  Turn the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Using the side of your pan, lay the thighs up on each side for 1-2 minutes to sear in all the liquid.  You can do this by leaning them against each other and the side of the pan, then switching sides and repeating until all 6 sides (4 edges, 2 big sides) are seared.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.

Add the chopped onion to the oil in the pan and cook until it begins to sweat, about 2-3 minutes.  At that point add the orzo pasta and continue stirring and cooking until the pasta begins to change color to a light brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the rice and cook until the rice is glistening, about 2-3 minutes.  Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of the chicken stock  and scrape hard at the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.  This will ensure all the delicious flavor (called fond) stuck at the bottom will be in your broth.  Add the remaining chicken stock and spices and stir.  Heat until simmering, stirring periodically.

add the chicken to the rice

Once the liquid is simmering gently lay the chicken on top of the rice mixture.  You want the chicken to rest on top of the rice, so gently is the key here.  Place the lid on the pan and put in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  If you’re one of the poor, unfortunate souls (in pain, in need) who doesn’t have a pan that can transition between the stove and the oven oil an oven-safe pan that has a lid and transfer the liquid and rice to the pan.  Lay the chicken on top of the rice, cover, and place in the oven to bake.  This method may take 35-40 minutes to cook, because the pan isn’t hot going into the oven.  But don’t check the rice until 30 minutes.  At that point, if there is still liquid left, simply bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes until the liquid is gone.

check the rice

While the rice is cooking scramble an egg or two.  It’s as easy as heating up a small pan with the butter, adding two eggs, and pushing the eggs around until they’re set but not overcooked.  You got this.

After 30 minutes open the lid and check the rice for done-ness.  There should be no more liquid remaining and the rice should be nice and fluffy.  If you are worried about the chicken being cooked all the way through simply test it using an instant read thermometer.  The thighs should be at 165°F.  Add the eggs to the rice, mix, and fluff.  Serve with a side of veggies and enjoy!

chicken close up

Link’s Prime Poultry Pilaf recipe:

      • Raw Bird Thigh
      • Hylian Rice
      • Bird Egg
      • Goat Butter

Prime Poultry Pilaf

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

One-pot chicken thighs with rice pilaf

Chicken

  • 5 chicken thighs, can be with or without bones
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Rice

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 3/4 cup long grain rice, such as Jasmine rice
  • 3.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Take the chicken out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook it.
  3. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and rub with the spice rub.
  4. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan, or any pan that can be placed in the oven with a lid.
  5. When the oil is hot gently add the chicken by laying it away from you to prevent splashes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the thigh.  Turn the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Using the side of your pan, lay the thighs up on each side for 1-2 minutes to sear in all the liquid.  You can do this by leaning them against each other and the side of the pan, then switching sides and repeating until all 6 sides (4 edges, 2 big sides) are seared.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.
  6. Add the chopped onion to the oil in the pan and cook until it begins to sweat, about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the orzo pasta and continue stirring and cooking until the pasta begins to change color to a light brown, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the rice and cook until the rice is glistening, about 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of the chicken stock and scrape hard at the bottom of the pan to deglaze it.  Add the remaining chicken stock and spices and stir.  Heat until simmering, stirring periodically.
  10. Once the liquid is simmering gently lay the chicken on top of the rice mixture. Place the lid on the pan and put in the oven.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes.
  12. While the rice is cooking heat up a small pan with the butter. When the butter begins bubbling add the two eggs and cook, stirring continually until they’re set but not overcooked.
  13. After 30 minutes open the lid and check the rice for done-ness.  There should be no more liquid remaining and the rice should be nice and fluffy.  If you are worried about the chicken being cooked all the way through simply test it using an instant read thermometer.  The thighs should be at 165°F.  Serve with a side of veggies and enjoy!

Meat Pie

Meat Pie

It’s been a while.  I know this.  I have no apology.  But what I do have is this incredible and easy Meat Pie recipe.  Trust me, you’ll accidentally eat every single one the second they cool down enough to shove into your mouth.  And you won’t even feel bad about it.  So in honor of that feeling, let’s get rid of all guilt associated with not posting for a while and just get on with the show!

OH! And as a side note, I finished exploring every. little. section and area of BotW except the final castle.  It’s done!  And tonight I’m totally finishing the castle.  Here’s hoping I find the last few things I’m missing there…

And without further waiting on your end:

Meat Piedifficulty and time

Start by making the pastry dough.  This has to chill for at least an hour so it should always be your first step.  If you want to make the dough far ahead it can be chilled up to overnight in the fridge before use.  So make life, and dinner, a little easier on yourself and make it when you have a spare 10 minutes.

Put some water into a cup and add a cube or two of ice.  The colder the water, the better the pastry will turn out.  Add the flour to a bowl and cut up the cold (it must be cold, just like the pie crust recipe in Apple Pie) butter into 1-2 tablespoon chunks.

Now let’s rub the cold butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs with some pea-sized chunks of butter left.  You don’t want it too fine or you won’t get a nice flaky crust!  … maybe next time I’ll make a gif of how to do this.  I’m just now realizing that would probably be nice…

Now add 2/3 cup water to the dough and mix until it completely comes together and forms a ball.  This is a far more forgiving recipe than my pie crust (even though the method is the same) so a little extra handling won’t necessarily hurt it… but I wouldn’t work it too much.  You should still see large chunks of butter in your dough.

Split it in half and press into a square shape about an inch thick.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready for it.

Now, the key to the filling on this meat pie is dicing everything up really small.  Like, say, 1/4 inch cubes.  This goes for the carrots, the onion, and the roast.  Normally with my recipes size doesn’t really matter.  But in this case we want everything to cook properly and be able to squish as much as possible in the little pastry cases, so size becomes very important.

add the bowl

Once they’re all cut up put them together in a bowl and mix with a spoon to combine.  Add all the spices and stir until the spices coat everything.  I’d start with the smallest amount of spices and then, based on look and smell (please don’t taste it!  There’s raw meat in there…) add the rest if you feel like it’s necessary.  I, personally, use all the spices.  I like my food to have some flavor!  Also – yeah, yeah, I know that meat pie doesn’t traditionally have random vegetables thrown in.  But I can’t really make something like this, which feels like a full meal, without adding at least one vegetable to it.  So it’ll be fine.

mix it up

Take the dough from the refrigerator and lightly flour a large surface.  Place the dough on the surface and roll it out into a large rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.

roll it out

Start by rolling in once direction several times until it makes a large square.  Then rotate it 90°, add more flour under the dough, and roll it out until it forms your triangle.  Repeat with the other piece, making sure both are the same size.

Take the largest round cutter you have (mine happened to be 3.5 inches long) and cut circles into your pastry.  Cut the same amount of circles into each pastry rectangle – these will serve as your bottom and your top.  If you’re really feeling ambitious you can gather the scraps and roll them out once more for even more pies.  I didn’t really feel like doing that so I simply threw the scraps away.  If you’re feeling lazy and the idea of wasted scraps horrifies you, simply cut the pastry into an equal amount (and equal sizes) of squares on both pastries and call it good.  It’s all about presentation and how much you’re willing to give to it.

rounds of pastry

Transfer half of the square/circle pastries to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.  Fill each square/circle with your meat filling.  Now, we want to fill to within 1/2 inch of the sides of the pastry case and we want it to be no more than stacked double in the center.  That’s very specific, I know, but if you fill it too much the case will either split mid-bake or you’ll be unable to get the top on in the first place!

add the filling

Next, dip your fingers into water and brush the empty edges of the pastries.  Lay the last half of the pastries on top of the first half to make enclosed pies.  Gently press the pastries halves together with your fingers and then seal with a fork by pressing into the edges.  This will crimp the pastries together and (fingers crossed) hopefully prevent them from leaking.  After your pastries are crimped poke 3-4 holes in the top.  It helps release the steam to prevent mini explosions in your oven

Whisk an egg with a fork and brush the top of the pastries with the beaten egg.  This will give you a nice, beautiful, crispy, shiny crust!  The best kind, in my opinion!  Place in the oven and bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until the pastries are nice and browned and/or and internal temperature has been reached of about 165ish.  We can be less specific because we’re using roast and beef instead of poultry.

Remove from the oven and serve warm!

not header

Link’s Meat Pie recipe:

      • Any Meat
      • Goat Butter
      • Rock Salt
      • Tabantha Wheat

Meat Pie

  • Servings: 13 3 inch pies
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Meat pies with carrots and onion

Pastry

  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (455g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 5 tablespoons (300g) cold butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (150ml) ice cold water

Filling

  • 1 pound beef roast
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons black pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F and add some ice to a small cup of water.
  2. Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces. Add the butter to the flour and begin rubbing it between your fingers while adding flour. This will create a breadcrumb-like texture. Make sure you leave some butter pieces as large as peas.
  3. Add 2/3 cup of your ice water and mix until combined. There should still be chunks of butter visible in the dough.
  4. Split the dough into two equal pieces, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour but up to overnight.
  5. Dice the roast, carrots, and onion into small 1/4 inch cubes. Place them in a bowl and mix with a spoon until combined.
  6. Add the smaller amount of spices and then, based on look and smell add the rest if you feel it’s necessary.  I, personally, use all the spices. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  7. Take the dough from the refrigerator and lightly flour a large surface.  Place the dough on the surface and roll it out into a large rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.
  8. Roll the dough by rolling in once direction several times until it makes a large square.  Then rotate it 90°, add more flour under the dough, and roll it out until it forms your triangle.
  9. Repeat with the other piece, making sure both are the same size.
  10. Using a large round cutter cut circles into your pastry. Repeat on the other half of the pastry dough, ensuring you have the same amount of circles on each side. You may gather the scraps and re-roll the dough to cut more circles if you wish, but only re-roll once to prevent a tough pastry. Or, alternatively, cut your pastry into even squares, ensuring there’s an even number on each half.
  11. Transfer half of the square/circle pastries to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.  Fill each square/circle with your meat filling to within 1/2 inch of the sides of the pastry case and no more than stacked double in the center.
  12. Dip your fingers into water and brush the empty edges of the pastries.
  13. Lay the last half of the pastries on top of the first half to make enclosed pies.  Gently press the pastries halves together with your fingers and then seal with a fork by pressing into the edges.  Poke 3-4 holes in the top.
  14. Whisk an egg with a fork and brush the top of the pastries with the beaten egg. Place in the oven and bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until the pastries are nice and browned and/or and internal temperature has been reached of about 165ish. Serve warm.

A Year Ago…

A Year Ago…

Hey, friendly followers who stick with me through thick and thin!  Guess what today is?  It’s officially 1 year since I posted my very first recipe.  Can you believe that?!  One year!  And look how far we’ve all come!  I’ve got followers, a twitter account, exciting new recipes, collaborations, and friends in foreign countries.  This blog thing has turned out to be one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.  And even though I’m still not posting regularly (this time thanks to my garden and backyard: photos on Instagram tomorrow if you want to see them!) I’m getting better and you are all so supportive I feel like it’s all okay.  That everything is okay.

So thank you to the people who have supported me, pushed me, and helped me get from point A to here in the last year.  In other words – thank you to all of you!  In honor of this auspicious anniversary here is a reblog of my very first recipe: Wildberry Crepes!


What seems like an eternity ago my husband and I went to Paris.  This was easily one of the best experiences of my life and I brought back a serious love for french pastries.  I set out determined to master every single one I had eaten.  The easiest to master was the crepe.  My high school french teacher taught me how to make his secret recipe, weaseled out of the corner crepe stand proprietor while he was living in France.  I already had a lot of experience making them before my trip but I was able to perfect it after watching the way the locals made them.  So when I accidentally made a crepe in Breath of the Wild I was so excited!  Link could make crepes!  It felt so cool to make something in the game that I love making in real life.  This made the decision of which recipe to create first simple.  It had to be the crepes that had brought me so much joy.

Hylian Wildberry Crepes:Difficult and Time for this recipe

The equipment for this recipe is pretty straight forward: a bowl for the batter, a whisk, measuring materials, a piping bag if you’re feeling fancy, and a frying pan or crepe pan.  I make crepes so often it was worth every penny to buy a really amazing crepe pan.  I use Le Creuset.  I love their cast iron quality and the spatula and rateau (spreading) tools are perfect.

Layout of crepe ingredients

Crepes start with some forethought because they are best if there’s very little air in the batter.  They make a smoother surface with no pockets or holes for the delicious insides to ooze out of.  Eggs, milk, flour, and butter are whisked together until there are no lumps.  This may take a minute or so.  The flour can get really finicky when added to the egg mixture.

Plastic wrap placed on batter

In order to get rid of all that pesky air a piece of plastic wrap is pressed down onto the surface of the batter, the bowl is given a few gentle shakes, and the entire thing is put in the refrigerator to rest for at least an hour.  Since I usually make crepes for breakfast I make the batter the night before, that way they are fresh and ready for the morning.

Gently cutting in any butter that may have come out of solution is key!  You didn’t let it sit for an hour just to ruin it now!  Pans should be heated on medium low and butter should be added to the entire surface.  Don’t skimp out on me now, we are making crepes not a salad!  Add the first half cup of batter, spreading it by tilting a frying pan or using the rateau with a crepe pan.  First crepes are a sacrifice to the Goddess: it’s meant to be made made and then promptly thrown away.  If your sacrifice has been accepted you won’t need to butter your pan again.

How to pour and spread the crepe

Every crepe is an adventure.  The amount of batter you add and your attention to spreading will produce different sizes and different shapes.  The challenge is to get each one perfect.  It’s definitely a super gut check challenge.  Easier with pratice, the right elixers, and the right gear.

Cut and cored strawberries

Only the best berries should be used, which usually means purchasing in-season.  These wildberry crepes feature strawberries, the current berry-of-the-month.  My favorite, however, are raspberries!  Use whatever feels right.  Wildberry is vague, allowing for some fantastic judgement calls.  To make them a little syrupy dip the cut side of the berry into sugar and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

You can pipe or dollop the whipped cream.  Honestly, after the pretty photo shoot was over, my husband and I stood over the crepe pan spooning on the cream and berries faster than I could make them.

Crepe with whipped cream and strawberries

Link’s Wildberry Crepe recipe:

    • Fresh Milk
    • Bird Egg
    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Cane Sugar
    • Wildberry

Hylian Wildberry Crepes

  • Servings: 6-8 crepes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crepes with berries and whipped cream from Breath of the Wild

Crepes

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk, any percentage will do
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling

  • 24-32 small strawberries, 3-4 per crepe
  • 1 cup whipping creme or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus a few pinches for dusting berries

Directions

  1. Whisk together eggs and milk until smooth.  Slowly add sifted flour and salt and whisk until combined.  Add butter and continue whisking until the batter is smooth with no flour lumps.
  2. Gently press a piece of plastic wrap down into the bowl to rest on top of the batter and cover it entirely.  Refrigerate and allow to rest for at least one hour.
  3. While the batter is refrigerating prepare the berries and whipped cream.
  4. Cut strawberries in half and lightly cover the cut side in sugar.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to produce a little syrupy goodness.
  5. Whipping cream can be made three ways: a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, a blender, or a bowl and hand mixer with a whisk attachment.  For any of these options add the whipping cream to the blender or bowl and whisk on high.  Slowly add the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form and the cream becomes shiny.
  6. When the batter is ready gently peel back the plastic wrap.  It is perfectly normal for some batter to stick to the wrap.  In fact, if it doesn’t, you may not have pressed the plastic down enough.  Some butter may have separated at this point. Using a knife or spoon gently cut and turn the batter until uniform.
  7. Heat pan on medium low until hot.  Add butter to cover the surface of the pan.  Add 1/2 cup batter to the pan and twist or spread using a rateau until the batter covers the bottom of the pan.  Allow to sit for about 1 minute until the bottom sets up.  Flip the crepe and cook about 1 minute more until lightly browned. Throw this first crepe away.  It usually has too much butter to taste really good.
  8. Continue adding 1/2 – 2/3 cup batter at a time to the pan without re-greasing the pan and follow step 7 for cooking instructions.
  9. Remove from pan and immediately pipe or spoon on whipped cream and strawberries.  Crepes are best enjoyed hot but are still delicious cold.  They do not store well so make and enjoy all your crepes that day!