Bourbon Chicken – apparently “the best thing I ever made.”

Dinner at my house is usually of the boring variety.  My dinner staples are tuna noodle, turkey meatloaf, Johnny Marzetti, grill stuff, and lasagna. Tonight, I spiced it up.  My husband was finishing up the pergola (it looks sweet if I do say so myself) so I thought I would make him something decent.

I thought a picture of the pergola was much more attractive than a picture of chicken cooking. In general, I think all non-professional meat pictures are gross. (Just my opinion)

I went rogue on this recipe and mixed it up. The inspiration was from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Cook.

3 tablespoons “EVOO” as RR says

1 red onion slap chopped

3 cloves garlic grated

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1.5 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

2 tablespoons of hot sauce (or as badass as you would like it). I still have hot sauce from our honeymoon in Belize – it’s serious!

1/4 cup brown sugar

a firm handshake of lemon juice

3 cups of chicken stock (if you don’t have it – just use the equivalent in bouillon cubes)

1 tablespoon of cornstarch and a 1/3 coffee mug of H2O

1 pack of chicken breast (cubed up)

1/4 cup bourbon (glug glug glug)

Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep sauce pan and cook the onions and garlic until tender. Add salt and pepper (just the regular amount you add in about everything). Stir in tomato paste and paprika. Stir until combined and add Worcestershire, hot sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, chicken stock. Bring to a low boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.

In a frying pan, cook the chicken in olive oil.  When it’s completely done, add the sauce on top of the chicken.  Turn off the heat. This is where things get crazy: Pour in the bourbon – don’t mix.  If your bourbon is crappy like mine, this trick wont work. (This is RR’s idea – not mine)  Use a long lighter or match and light the sauce (flame it).  While it’s on fire, return it to the heat and let the flame die away.  When it’s done burning, it’s time to eat.  As I previously mentioned, my bourbon is crappy and the alcohol content probably wasn’t high enough to flame.  If this is your case, or if you’re scared of burning off your eyebrows – just add the bourbon in, keep the heat on, and simply cook out the alcohol.  Just let it bubble for about 8ish minutes.

Whisk the cornstarch and the water together in the coffee mug (this is my mom’s cornstarch receptacle of choice). Pour it into the sauce/chicken and observe the magic thickening properties of cornstarch.

Serve over cornbread or red beans and rice. Blob some sour cream and cheese on top if you’re feeling extra zesty.

Chris threw his fist in the air and said “this was the best thing you ever made!” – Awesome.


What to do with a massive zucchini

What to do? What to do?  You’ve grown a massive zucchini. How does this happen?  Either you purposely grew the monster to enter it into the fair (like my mom) or it was hiding under your towering tomato plant. Regardless, it resembles more of a pumpkin than anything else.  Before you get too excited thinking you have hit the zucchini mother-load, read on.

My mom's blue ribbon zucchini. 9.9lbs! My running shoe did not get a ribbon.

Let’s get down to business.  An overgrown zucchini should be treated like a squash.  The skin is thick and tough and the seeds are huge!.  Your best option?  Get out your food processor, peeler, spoon, freezer bags, sharpie marker, and get to work. Peel the zucchini as best as you can.  Use your sharpest knife and cut it in half long-ways. Scoop the guts out like it was Halloween and shred it in your food processor.  If you don’t have a food processor – just throw the zucchini in the compost.  It’s too tough and too much work to do by hand.

Look at your favorite zucchini recipes and freeze the appropriate quantity in bags for use later in the year. Mark with a sharpie.  Don’t fool yourself thinking you will remember if it’s one cup or two when you have a hankering for zucchini bread in February.

This is my favorite recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 eggs

2c. white sugar

1c. veg oil

2c. grated zucchini

1ts. vanilla extract

2c. flour

1ts. baking soda

1ts salt

1ts ground cinnamon

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

350 degree oven.  Grease 2 loaf pans (do not forget this step or you’ll be sorry). Combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla, and cocoa powder in mixer (mix it, duh). Once mixed, add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Use a spatula to fold in chips. Bake for about 50ish minutes.  Do not trust my time instruction because my oven is terrible.  I would suggest setting your timer for 40 minutes and keep checking it every 5 after that point with a knife.  If the knife comes out clean, it’s done.

Ta Da!

It's like a brownie, but not disgusting. Lets face it - brownies can be kind of gross sometimes.

Pantalones en fuego: grilled corn salsa

Hot hot hot!  Hold on to your hats – or your pants as the case may be.

2 dozen ears of corn

Random mix of hot peppers from the garden

2 red peppers

3 jalapenos

4 scotch bonnets

2 habeneros

2 tiny purple peppers

1 head of garlic

3 c. tomatoes

3 limes

2 bunches of cilantro

2 Tb salt

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

1 onion

Loyal assistant, Shawn

This recipe is a mash-up of several I found on the internet.  I had the urge for a smokey hot, mix.  This salsa is the ticket.  Shuck the corn and brush with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Keep the fire low when cooking on the grill.  Flip frequently for approximately 15 minutes until you have a nice char. Do the same with the whole peppers and the tomatoes (the tomatoes need only about 5 minutes).  Stab each tomato before putting it on the grill so they don’t explode.

When the veggies are grilled, set aside and allow everything to cool.  Take advantage of the grill being on and cook up some italian sausages or something (I was starving!)  Wrap a clove of garlic in foil with some olive oil.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes to roast. Once everything is cool to the touch, zip the corn off the cob.  Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and peel the tomatoes.  Slap chop (infomercial style) the hot peppers and chunk chop the tomatoes. If you’re feeling zesty, slap chop the onion too (or regular chop if you’re a loser). Cut up the roasted garlic and combine everything into a massive pot.

Safety first!  Although you probably have the urge to keep this salsa as fresh as possible and not cook it – don’t!  The salsa must be hot when you put it in the jars or else you will die.  Well, you probably wont die, but your jars will likely explode when you put them into the water bath. No one wins with exploding jars (believe me, I’ve blown up a jar or two).

Add all the ingredients into the pot except the cilantro.  Bring to a boil and add the cilantro at the last-minute.  Salt to taste. Keep a delicious Eddy’s Coconut Popsicle ready in case your mouth catches on fire when you sample.  Use your tried and true water bath method when canning.

A farmer once told me: "If you trip on the way from the field to the house after you picked some corn - your corn isn't fresh enough." Moral of the story. Buy local, fresh corn from the guy that grew it. Hopefully he didn't trip on the way to the market.