Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jalapeno Cheddar Pretzels

Before you ask: Yes, these are better than Auntie Anne's pretzels. Of course, in my opinion making home-made pretzels that are better than mall pretzels is rather fantastically simple.

Ever since I had the great fortune to live in Germany and partake of a delicious hot pretzel from a street vendor on the Trier Walkplatz, I have been spoiled to American versions of the heavenly pretzel.
And unfortunately, I have yet to find a recipe that even comes close to the amazing-ness of the Trier street pretzel, but this recipe by Alton Brown is very delicious. His recipe, of course, is for plain pretzels with salt, but I decided to make them a little more... snazzy, if you will. So I used some shredded cheddar cheese, and I chopped up some pickled jalapeno slices and added them to the dough before setting it to rise. You can use as little or as much as you like, but I kept it in the moderate amount so that there would still be plenty of bites that were just plain, amazing, delicious, soft, chewy pretzelness.

These pretzels require a decent amount of time and effort, so be prepared for that. But also be prepared to greatly savor your time and labor!

Here be the link to the deliciousness:

Alton Brown's Soft Pretzels

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicken Mediterranean

I've got another quick and simple recipe for you. Well, relatively quick anyway. It does require marinating the meat for 2 hours, but that is not a hassle if you actually remember to read the recipe in the morning, unlike me, who read it 5 minutes before I needed to make it. We had something else for dinner that day, needless to say. 
Other than the marinating this recipe takes 2 blinks of the eye. Cook the pasta. Cook the chicken. Warm the tomatoes and spices. Top with feta. Eat.
Even though the recipe calls for kalamata olives, I always leave them out because one, I hate olives, and two, they are exactly cheap. But please feel free to add as many olives as you see fit.
I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes for a little extra kick.

Chicken Mediterranean
1/2 lb. boneless, skinnless chicken breast, cit into cubes (I used 1 chicken breast)
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp. each dried parsley, basil and oregano
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tsp. or so of balsamic vinegar

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a heavy duty plastic bag. Seal and chill for 2 hours.
Cook chicken in  a hot skillet for about 5 minutes, or until done. Remove from skillet and add the tomatoes, olives, herbs and vinegar. Simmer for 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken back to the skillet. Sprinkle with feta. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the feta to melt a little. Serve over hot pasta.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Aloha Chicken

I love this recipe. Simple, filling, quick, and delicious. The original version called for 4 chicken breast halves, but I prefer to cut 2 chicken breasts into strips, because though you're using the same amount of chicken, you can get more servings out of the strips as opposed to the 4 halves.

Now, a lot of people view cooking rice as a scary prospect. Not sure why, it really is quite simple. Just use a 2:1 water to rice ratio. I usually use 4 cups of water and 2 cups of white long grain rice. Just barely bring the water to a boil in a large pot that has a tight lid. Pour in the rice and immediately reduce the heat to low. Secure the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes. Don't lift the lid or stir the rice. After twenty minutes, take it off the heat and let it sit with the lid on for 10 minutes. The end. Now you have delicious yummy rice. Not that difficult, right?

Aloha Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (more if needed)
2 Tbs. vegetable oil (divided)
1 16 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. soy sauce
dash pepper
Hot rice

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Coat the chicken strips in flour and brown the oil in two batches. Remove the first batch from the skillet and add the remaining oil. Brown the rest of the strips. Remove from the skillet. Drain the pineapple, reserving 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the juice, depending on how much pineapple flavor you want. Combine the juice and cornstarch. Add to skillet. Add remaining ingredients (except rice). Boil for 30 seconds. Add the pineapple and chicken to the skillet; heat through. Serve over hot rice.