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You'll find over 400 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Wow! I just got a notice from WordPress wishing me a Happy Anniversary! I guess that’s right. I started this little blog 7 years ago today. 🙂

So going into my 8th year, here are the 8 recipes that got the most buzz from you. Just click on the names of the recipes and you’ll be taken back to the original blog posts for the recipes.

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Faux Potato Salad

I was so skeptical of this one, but it is really good. I love it when I serve it to family and friends for the first time. They are usually amazed and go back for seconds.

Faux Potato Salad

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Superb Black Bean Dip and How to Cook Black Beans in the Slow Cooker

Learning how easy it is to cook black beans in the slow cooker was a revelation. And Laura’s Superb Black Bean Dip is a wonderfully balanced combination of flavors.

Black Bean Dip

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Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce

This was another slow cooker recipe that is great for entertaining. The flavorful Mojo Sauce takes it over-the-top.

Cuban-style Slow Cooker Pork - 2

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Small Batch Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes you just need a few good chocolate chip cookies. This recipe, adapted from one from America’s Test Kitchen, couldn’t be easier. You don’t even need a mixer. Just stir everything together in a bowl and bake 12 – 14 delicious cookies.

One dozen

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Instant Pot Kalua Pork

I just got a 6-quart Instant Pot last month and I am in love. The Kalua Pork was the first thing I made in the pot and it made me a total convert to modern electric pressure cooking.  What’s not to love about having fabulous Kalua Pork in about 3 hours instead of having to wait 10 – 12 hours? It’s so easy-peasy!

(If you don’t have an Instant Pot, here’s a link for a slow cooker version from Nom Nom Paleo’s Michelle Tam: Slow Cooker Kalua Pig.)

kalua-pork-and-cabbage

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Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime

This is definitely a new favorite in our permanent rotation. Turmeric Chicken is so easy; it’s a perfect quick weeknight dish. And it’s so flavorful! We love it.

Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime

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Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice was so good that it makes a terrific vegan meal on its own. Pair it with the Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce and you have a real Cuban feast!

Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Even if you don’t need to eat gluten-free, you probably know at least one person who avoids gluten. These Gluten Free Lemon Bars are a terrific treat for all. No one will miss the gluten.

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

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So these are the ones that got the most buzz. They are also probably my favorites of the year, too. I know they’ll be popping up on the menu in 2017 and beyond at Chez Dedon! If you try any of them I’d love it if you let me know how you like them!

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The best of 2016 for me? That would be Carrie and Rhett’s wedding! It was a joyous weekend celebrated with friends and family!

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(Photo by Luzco Photography)

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(Photo by Luzco Photography)………………..(Flowers by Terra Bella Flowers)

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Happy New Year!! ❤

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Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs

December 29, 2016

)By Kath Dedon

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I thought I had found Hard Boiled Egg perfection, but I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way.

In my quest for perfect eggs, I even bought a cute little egg cooker earlier this year. It did turn out beautiful eggs every time that were easy to peel. It seemed miraculous!

Then I stumbled upon a 2014 Serious Eats article by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt that proclaimed the secret to perfect hard-cooked eggs – steam! He steamed eggs for 6 minutes to make soft-cooked eggs and 12 minutes for hard-cooked.

So there was nothing magical about my egg cooker. (womp womp) It just steamed eggs for the appropriate amount of time.

I decided to try steaming eggs in a pan for 12 minutes. They were very easy to make and peeled like a dream, but sometimes they were not quite done enough to our liking.

I was pondering all of this and decided I would try steaming them for 13 minutes. Nothing radical here, it just seemed like the next logical step. Then Byron gave me a copy of Cook’s Illustrated 2016 Annual recipe collection. And right there on the cover was “Easy-Peel Hard-Cooked Eggs”! And what do you know? Andrea Geary reported that she steamed her eggs for 13 minutes!

I tried it and it works perfectly every time. The eggs peel more easily than any method I have ever tried, including my egg cooker. They’re cooked just the way we like them. I love having hard-cooked eggs on hand for a quick breakfast or snack.

New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. Are you trying to come up with an easy appetizer to take to a party? Nearly everyone loves deviled eggs; they disappear quickly at any gathering. Now you can make them without fear about how your eggs are going to turn out. Just get out your steamer and you’ll have easy-to-peel perfect Hard Boiled Steamed Eggs in minutes!

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perfect-hard-boiled-eggs

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Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs

(Inspired by Serious Eats’ J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and Cook’s Illustrated’s Andrea Geary)

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(print the recipe)

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You do need a steamer. My pan has a steamer insert, but you can use a collapsible steamer. To protect your hands from the steam, I would put a collapsible steamer in the pan and let the water come to a boil. Then lower the eggs onto the steamer with a large spoon.

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Eggs

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  1. Bring ¾ – 1 inch of water to a boil in a pan.

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Eggs ready to go over boiling water.

ready-to-steam

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2. When the water is boiling, add the eggs in a steamer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and set the timer for 13 minutes.

13-minutes

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3. When the eggs are almost done, prepare an ice bath.

4. When the timer goes off, remove the eggs from the steamer and place them in the ice bath for 15 minutes.

ice-bath

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5. Eggs can be used right away or refrigerated in their shells until needed.

6. Too peel, gently pound the egg on a flat surface and roll it a bit and then slip off the shell!

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The shells just slips off!

Perfect easy-peel eggs.jpg

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perfect-hard-boiled-eggs-copy

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(Thanks, Byron!  🙂 )

2016-annual

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Quick Beef Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

December 16, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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This Quick Beef Sauce with Spaghetti Squash is an easy recipe that lets you get dinner on the table fast during this busy season! I hesitated to share this because it’s so simple, but thought some of you might appreciate this quick idea.

Using a top quality jarred tomato sauce is the key to making a tasty sauce without any fuss. I really like Mezzetta’s Roasted Garlic & Caramelized Onions sauce. I find it’s well-seasoned and needs no “doctoring”. The ingredients are California plum tomatoes, imported olive oil, fresh onions, roasted garlic, fresh basil, sea salt, and spices. There’s no added sugar, no dehydrated vegetables, just good fresh ingredients.

I was able to cook the spaghetti squash very quickly with my Instant Pot. I was inspired to give it a try after reading Michelle Tam’s blog post on Nom Nom Paleo. Using the Manual setting, I set the time for 7 minutes. It took 13 minutes to get up to pressure, then 7 minutes under pressure, and less than a minute for a quick pressure release. So it took just twenty-one minutes to cook the squash. While the Instant Pot was doing its thing, I put the sauce together. Quick and easy!

What? You say you don’t have an Instant Pot and/or you’re afraid to attempt to cut the hard squash in half? Here are a couple of good alternatives for you.

  1. You could roast spaghetti squash halves in the oven. It’s easy. I’ve used the same method that Chungah Rhee describes on her damndelicious.net blog. It works great but does involve cutting that hard squash in half.
  1. Apparently, you can roast the whole squash. I haven’t tried it. Here’s Martha Stewart’s recipe for a whole Roasted Spaghetti Squash.

Spaghetti squash does NOT taste like spaghetti. It’s squash. But it pairs very well with tomato sauce. Bob and I both enjoy it and it has become part of my regular rotation when I want to make a quick and easy meal.

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quick-beef-tomato-sauce-with-spaghetti-squash

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Quick Beef Sauce with Spaghetti Squash

(Inspired by Michelle Tam’s recipe on Nom Nom Paleo)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2

(I had leftover squash that I refrigerated to use later. To serve 4, use all of the squash and double the sauce ingredients.)

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1(2½ – 3 pound) spaghetti squash

1 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 – 4 ounces sliced mushrooms

½ pound ground beef

1½ cups good quality jarred tomato sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

mushrooms-sauce-and-ground-beef

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To cook the squash in an Instant Pot (I have suggested a couple of links in the blog post above if you want to bake the squash in the oven.)

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  1. Wash the squash and cut it in half across the diameter. (I have read that you get longer strands when you cut it this way instead of end-to-end.)

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I find it easy to cut the squash using my cleaver and mallet.

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2. Scoop out the seeds.

3. Put the squash cut-side up on the Instant Pot rack in the pot.

squash-in-the-pot

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4. Add the 1 cup of water to the pot.

5. Seal the lid. Using the Manual mode, set the time for 7 minutes.

6. In about 20 minutes, when the Instant Pot is done cooking, use the quick release.

Squash is done.jpg

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7. Using a fork, scoop out the squash strands.

 

Prepare the sauce while the squash is cooking

  1. Put about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are browned a bit.

mushrooms

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3. Add the ground beef to the pan, breaking it up as you put it in. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is cooked through and browned a bit.

beef-added

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Beef cooked

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4. Add the tomato sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir and cook until the sauce is hot.

5. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

6. Serve the sauce over the spaghetti squash.

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quick-beef-tomato-sauce-with-spaghetti-squash-copy

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Instant Pot Kalua Pork

November 6, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Yep. I treated myself to an Instant Pot. I had a perfectly good 30+ year-old stainless steel stovetop pressure cooker, but I never used it. Older pressure cookers need to be monitored closely. Plus, while I’ve read that some people find the jiggling top comforting, I found the jiggling sound a bit disconcerting. To me, it was a constant reminder that my pot could blow its top if I did something wrong.

So, after seeing thousands of positive reviews, I started an Instant Pot board on Pinterest to collect online recipes. It wasn’t long before I was convinced that I needed one. I’m now the owner of an automatic electric Instant Pot and I LOVE it! Although it’s touted as a multi-functional cooker (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer, and Warmer), I am most excited about its pressure cooking abilities. I won’t be getting rid of my slow cooker or rice cooker just yet.

(Bonus: This newfangled pressure cooker cooks SILENTLY!)

The first thing I decided to make was Instant Pot Kalua Pork. I chose Michelle Tam’s recipe on her nomnompaleo.com blog. It was SO easy and we all loved it! The total time to make it is about 2¼ – 2½  hours, but since only about 10 minutes of that time is active cooking time it didn’t seem that long. And because I did keep my rice cooker, I made some rice. The pork and cabbage were great served with the rice.

I cooked the cabbage as Michelle suggests, but I only cooked ¾ of a head (6 wedges) since there were only 5 of us for dinner. Once I tasted it, I wished I had cooked the whole head of cabbage. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Truly.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you could try Michelle’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig. She cooks it for 16 hours, but says if you have a newer slow cooker it will probably be done in 9 – 12 hours. My 6-quart Crock-Pot cooks hot even on the Low setting and I’m sure the pork would be done in 9 hours. If you try the slow cooker version, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you.

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kalua-pork-and-cabbage

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instant-pot

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Instant Pot Kalua Pork

(Adapted from Michelle Tam’s recipe on nomnompaleo.com)

If you have a stove top pressure cooker reduce the pressure cooking time to 75 minutes instead of 90 minutes. Stove top cookers cook at a higher psi than electric pressure cookers. If cooking a stove top pressure cooker recipe in an Instant Pot add 15% more time under pressure. Conversely, if cooking an Instant Pot recipe in a stove top pressure cooker reduce the cooking time by 15%.

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Total time to make the pork and the cabbage is about 2½ hours, mostly unattended.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 8

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Hawaiian Alaea Salt

salt

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3 slices bacon

5 pound pork shoulder roast (I used boneless; you could use bone-in)

5 peeled garlic cloves

1½ tablespoons of Alaea Red Hawaiian Course Sea Salt (or 1 tablespoon of Alaea Red Hawaiian Fine Sea Salt. Michelle suggests you can sub smoked salt or kosher salt.)

1 cup water

1 cabbage, cored, and cut into 8 wedges

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  1. Put the bacon in the Instant Pot. Press Sauté.

bacon

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2. While the bacon is cooking (turn it with tongs occasionally), cut the pork roast into 3 pieces. Cut the garlic cloves into thinner slivers, cutting each one into thirds or fourths. Cut slits in the roast and press the garlic pieces into the slits. Sprinkle half of the salt over the pork pieces and rub it in a bit. Turn the pork pieces over and sprinkle the rest of the salt on the pork rubbing it in.

garlic-and-hawaiian-alaea-red-salt

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3. By this time the bacon should be nicely browned. Put the pork on top of the bacon slices. Stop the Sauté function by pressing the Keep Warm/Cancel button.

pork-in-the-pot

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4. Add the water to the pot, put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

5. Select Manual. Press the “+” button until it shows 90 minutes. It will come up to pressure and the float valve will rise up. In a minute or two you’ll notice the time decreasing. The 90 minutes is the time it cooks once it’s under pressure. (If using a stove top pressure cooker time it for 75 minutes once the pot comes up to pressure.)

6. When the 90 minutes is up, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn it off. Let the pressure release naturally. This will take about 15 – 20 minutes. The float valve will pop back down when the pressure is released and you can then open the pot.

7. Remove the pork from the pot.

8. Put the cabbage in the cooking liquid in the pot. Put the lid on and make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position, select Manual and press the “-” button to change the time to 3 minutes. While the cabbage is cooking, shred the pork with two forks.

9. When the cabbage is done, carefully move the pressure release handle to the venting position to quickly release the pressure. Use a good pot holder, or push it over with tongs or some other tool to protect your hand. The steam will release immediately.

10. When the pressure has released (the float valve will pop back down), open the pot.

11. Serve the pork with the cabbage. You can stir a bit of the cooking liquid into the pork if you would like it a bit juicier.

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kalua-pork-and-cabbage-copy

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Wasabi Shrimp

October 31, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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It’s Halloween. I always feel that Halloween marks the entry into the holiday party season. I’m always on the lookout for easy dishes that can be made for entertaining or can easily be taken to a potluck party. Wasabi Shrimp is perfect for the holiday season!

To make Wasabi Shrimp you simply stuff cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp with cream cheese blended with wasabi paste. The result is a tasty sushi-like shrimp appetizer.

Most markets carry shrimp that is already cooked and ready to eat. Buy cooked shrimp if you prefer to keep it extra simple.

If you start with raw shrimp, you’ll need to poach them. I used an easy method that I found on Serious Eats. I put the shrimp, still in their shells, in a pot of cold water with the juice of one lime and a heaping tablespoon of kosher salt and turned on the heat. While the water was heating I got a bowl of ice water ready. Using an instant read thermometer, I checked the temperature of the water in the pot. When it reached 170° I removed the shrimp from the water and put them in the ice water to cool quickly.  The shrimp were cooked perfectly!

The recipe is adapted from one by Rozanne Gold in Cooking 1-2-3. I find the most difficult thing about the recipe is getting the shrimp to look beautiful and not messy. Rozanne suggests stuffing the shrimp using a pastry bag. I don’t have one, but I think that may be the secret to creating a more neatly-stuffed appetizer.

Do give Wasabi Shrimp a try, even if you don’t have a pastry bag. I think you’ll agree that it’s a perfect recipe for the holiday party season.

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wasabi-shrimp

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Wasabi Shrimp

(Adapted from a Rozanne Gold recipe in Cooking 1-2-3)

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(print the recipe)

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2 pounds cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons wasabi powder

2 tablespoons water

¼ teaspoon salt (I used sea salt.)

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  1. In a small bowl, mix the wasabi powder with the water to form a paste.
  2. Put the cream cheese, wasabi paste, and salt in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until well blended.
  3. Cut a slit in the back of each shrimp, cutting almost all the way through.
  4. Use a small spoon or a pastry bag to stuff each shrimp with some of the wasabi cream cheese.
  5. Refrigerate until serving time.

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wasabi-shrimp-copy

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Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken

September 30, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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I stumbled across Kirthana Kumar’s recipe for Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken on Food52. It sounded so good, and so easy, I just had to try it.

It takes just a few minutes to mix the flavorful marinade. It’s recommended that the chicken should marinate for at least 3 hours and overnight is fine. I marinated chicken thighs for just 3 hours and they turned out great! Next time I will plan ahead and marinate them overnight for a super easy dinner the next night.

I bought a fresh jar of sambal oelek because the one I had seemed to have lost some of its punch. (“How long has that been in the refrigerator?”) I used 2 tablespoons which we thought gave the chicken a medium amount of heat. (Maybe 2½ stars) I thought it was just right, but I did put the jar of sambal oelek on the table so Bob could amplify the heat.

If you’re looking for a new take on roast chicken, I highly recommend this easy Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken!

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sambal-oelek-roasted-chicken

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Sambal Oelek Roasted Chicken

(Adapted from Kirthana Kumar’s recipe found on food52.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2 – 4 (Could easily be doubled.)

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ingredients

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2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or to taste)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon light soy sauce (I used wheat-free tamari.)

7 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1½ – 1¾ pounds of chicken thighs (or drumsticks)

Salt

(Optional) Sliced green onions for garnish

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1. Stir the sambal oelek, honey, soy sauce, and garlic together in a small measuring cup or bowl.

2. Put the chicken in a gallon-size ZipLoc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag. Seal the bag, getting as much air out of it as you can, and then squeeze the bag to spread the marinade over the chicken.

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marinating

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3. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 3 hours. It can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

4. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to roast it. Preheat the oven to 350°.

5. Put the chicken in a baking pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt. Roast the chicken for about 50 – 60 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165° and the juices run clear. (Timing will depend on your oven and the size of the chicken thighs. Large ones can take as long as an hour. If using drumsticks, turn them over after about 25 minutes. It’s not necessary to turn thighs.)

6. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Serve garnished with green onions, if desired, and with extra sambal oelek.

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sambal-oelek-roasted-chicken-copy

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Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

September 23, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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It was just nine months ago that I made 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies. They were so easy and so good!

But a few weeks ago I stumbled upon a blog post on smitten kitchen for Deb Perelman’s Salted Peanut Butter Cookies. She wrote that she had made 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies a few years ago and was underwhelmed.

Deb later had the opportunity to try a peanut butter cookie made from a recipe from Ovenly in Brooklyn, NY. It was basically the 3-ingredient cookie with the addition of a bit of vanilla and salt. She said it was “spectacular”. So, of course, she made the cookies from the recipe in Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery, by Erin Patinkin and Agatha Kaluga.

I had to try this new version. It’s really just as easy as the 3-ingredient recipe, but it does have a couple of extra steps. The dough is put in the freezer for 15 minutes before shaping the cookies. After the cookies are shaped on the baking sheet, the baking sheet goes in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. The chilling probably helps them to keep their domed shape a bit better. It apparently also improves the flavor and texture. Check this post to read all about it.

I made half the recipe, yielding a dozen cookies. Mine didn’t keep the domed shape quite as well as Deb’s did. It may be because I used Jif peanut butter instead of Skippy. Even without the full dome, these Salted Peanut Butter Cookies are indeed spectacular! Bob said I could quote him when he declared that they are A-1 terrific!

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You can see the cookie I cut in half  to show the inside. These cookies are a bit crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. 🙂

salted-peanut-butter-cookies

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Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s recipe on smittenkitchen.com which she adapted from the Ovenly cookbook.)

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(print the recipe)

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I cut Deb’s recipe in half. You can easily double this one to make more cookies. If you double it, you’ll need 1¾ cups of sugar and 1¾ cups of peanut butter. A commenter on Deb’s blog mentioned, and Deb confirmed, that a 16.3 ounce jar of Skippy contains 1¾ cups of peanut butter so no measuring required.

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A couple of comments on Deb’s blog mentioned that their cookies turned out great without the second time in the freezer on the baking sheets. I’ll be trying that next time.

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Makes about 12 cookies

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I did substitute maple sugar for the light brown sugar to make them Bob-friendly.

ingredients-for-cookies

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¾ cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (I substituted maple sugar.)

1 large egg, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

Coarse-grained or flaked sea salt, to finish

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the sugar and the egg together until smooth.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Whisk in the peanut butter until it is thoroughly blended.

.Whisk in the peanut butter.JPG

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5. Put the bowl of dough in the freezer for 15 minutes, stirring it once after about 8 minutes.

dough in the freezer.jpg

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6. Scoop or spoon the dough into balls on the prepared baking sheet. (Deb used a 1 2/3 tablespoon – 40mm – scoop. I used a 2 tablespoon – 44mm – scoop.)

Ready for freezer.JPG

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7. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.

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I had to use the carton of ice cream to prop up the baking sheet so the parchment paper (and cookies) wouldn’t slide off.

tray-of-cookies-in-the-freezer

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8. Sprinkle the cookies with the salt and bake for 15 – 18 minutes. (Mine took 17 minutes; start checking at 15.) When done, the cookies should be getting golden around the edges.

Baked.JPG

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9. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for several minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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Yes, the recipe did make 12 cookies, but Bob grabbed one as soon as I got them on the cooling rack.

cooling

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10. When totally cool, store in an air-tight container.

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