Archive for the ‘ Chicken ’ Category


Summer time means basil, and basil means pesto.  But this isn’t a recipe for pesto –  I make mine different every time – no, this is a recipe that takes pesto and makes it something more, something special.  How do you make pesto, already chock full of robust herbiness and garlic, better? Two words: goat cheese.   Think of this humble sandwich as a stage. If the grilled chicken, marinated in garlic and Italian herbs, is the lead, the pesto goat cheese spread is the supporting role who steals the show.  The chicken we clap for; the spread gets a standing ovation.

Metaphors aside, this is a solid summer sandwich, just right for a weekend lunch or casual weeknight dinner and fairly easy to make, too. Even the harshest critics, are sure to give it rave reviews.

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I’m sure they wouldn’t like to admit it, but even some of the world’s most accomplished home cooks struggle when attempting to roast the perfect chicken.  The fact is it’s far easier to make a roasted chicken look good than it is to make it taste good. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat down to enjoy what I believed to be a perfectly roasted chicken — the quintessential golden brown bird flecked with black pepper and fragrant herbs — only to cut into the thing and find it bone dry or worse, still raw at the bone. Or, and this is perhaps worst of all, a combination of both, so that you end up hacking it up and destroying the only thing it had going for it: its good looks.

But this roast chicken? Well, it’s an entirely different beast, or rather, bird.  First, it’s the smell. An intoxicating aroma of garlic will start you salivating. Then you’ll notice the skin. Not only is it golden brown, it’s crisp, like really crisp.  And beneath that exterior you’ll find the juiciest and most tender chicken you’ve ever cut into. But it’s the flavor that will leave you coming back for more. The marinade’s combination of garlic, mustard, soy sauce and herbes de provence create a flavor that is at once familiar and completely unexpected. In addition to the marinade, the cooking method is also unique. Unlike typical whole roasted chicken, this recipe calls for you to butterfly the bird. Not only does this help the meat cook more evenly, but it also allows you to sear the bottom of the chicken before throwing it in the oven and cook it in half the time of a usual whole roasted chicken. Sound perfect? It is. But don’t take my word for it.

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I know what you’re thinking — two recipes for chicken wings in three posts?  It might be a bit excessive, but the fact of the matter is, I can’t get enough of them. I love wings, my friends love wings and if the rising price of chicken wings counts for anything, so does the rest of America.  So, for all my readers who might not might not be into the fish sauce or sweet chili-glazed variety, I’m here to offer you a recipe and proper technique for the classic New York-style buffalo wing.

I grew up eating hot wings from a local Bay Area chain called Original Buffalo WingsOn the nights we were lucky enough to call them dinner, my Mom would order up a “double dozen” along with a bag of fresh fried potato chips and an extra side of blue cheese dip for the crispy (albeit anemic) celery sticks.  Bathed in a velvety, vinegary coating of hot sauce, the wings always remained crisp — a textual enigma which I long considered a well-kept secret of the buffalo wing trade.  Having made these a handful of times now, I can tell you that there are actually few secrets to a great wing.  Just get a hold of some fresh, meaty chicken wings, dry them well to promote even browning, fry them in small batches, toss them with Frank’s RedHot sauce and a bit of margarine (gasp!) and you’ll be left with the the quintessential, finger-lickin’ good buffalo wing.

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This recipe represents yet another entry into the Game Day Food Hall of Fame.  I guess I have football on the brain, or I just can’t get enough of the typical game day offerings — savory, salty homemade junk food. I made these a few years ago for a Super Bowl party and they were gone within minutes.  I too loved the wings, but felt like something was missing.  I had followed the instructions of the original recipe and baked the wings in a hot oven.  They had great flavor due to an overnight soak in cilantro, soy, ginger, garlic and red chili, but I quickly realized that the texture of a baked wing (i.e. flabby chicken skin) was not my favorite.  I needed the crispy-crunch of well-rendered chicken skin — something I was never going to get unless I fried them.  So, using a few tricks I picked up from another wing recipe, I tossed the chicken in a bit of rice flour before frying them to a delicious golden brown.  After a quick toss in the oh-so sticky, sweet chili-glaze I was left with what I consider to be one of the best finger foods around.

If you’re planning on doing any Super Bowl entertaining of your own or you just love a good wing, think about giving this recipe a try.  The asian flavor profile is a welcome alternative to the usual hot sauce/butter laden buffalo wing.  If you’re looking for a special main course, serve these guys atop a bowl of sticky rice to sop up all of that sweet-chili glaze.

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Thai Chicken Pizza

When I told everybody I was making a barbecue chicken pizza for my website, people asked me why I wasn’t making Thai chicken pizza instead.  Truthfully, I didn’t realize it was such a beloved item on the California Pizza Kitchen menu.  I’ve always loved them — in fact, I almost ate my weight in the frozen version while I was in college — but I never realized that other people shared my same propensity.  For me (and apparently pretty much everyone else), there is something undeniable about the combination of aromatic peanut sauce, green onions and carrots, all  piled high on a chewy crust and topped with cheese. Not at all Italian, totally un-Thai, just “American” grub at its most adaptive.

The best part of making this particular pizza at home is you can get as creative as you want. I left off the usual bean sprouts, but you could certainly add them for extra crunch. And no need to break out the crushed red pepper flakes.  Here I use sriracha chili sauce to add a little bite, but of course, if spicy’s not your thing, feel free to leave it off. A sprinkling of freshly chopped Thai basil in addition to or in lieu of the cilantro (for those cilantro-haters out there) would be a perfect compliment to the sweet, salty flavor of the peanut sauce. No matter how you top it, if you like peanut sauce, you’ll love this pizza. Plus, no tipping necessary when you’re cooking out of your own kitchen.

Continued reading Thai pizza recipe . . .