Darling readers, I have a fun giveaway post coming tomorrow, but tonight I'm going to cheat a little. I realized I don't have enough content to try and do two seperate blogs (not until I finish school or quit my job, at least!), but you all seem pretty receptive to me writing about other things besides, well, writing.
So today I hoped to do some boundary-pushing (for me) with a recipe post. I love paellas, but MJ is allergic to seafood. It turns out you can make a tasty paella without seafood, blasphemous and Americanized though it might be. Here's mine - I started off with a recipe from one of my go-to cookbooks, Perfect Chicken (which pretty much describes me in the kitchen). But it rapidly evolved (devolved?) based off the ingredients I had on hand, since I made this on a whim out of things found in freezer, fridge and pantry:
3 garlic cloves
1/2 onion, diced as finely as you really care to after a long day at work
2 chicken breasts, chopped to 1/2 inch cubes
1 pork chop, chopped as above
5 oz chorizo (half a sausage), in slices, halved
12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 quart sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 c. peas (I thawed some frozen peas)
2 c. rice
4 c. chicken broth
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (you might use a diced pepper and no pepper flakes, I didn't have any or that would have been my preference)
Soak a few saffron threads in a few teaspoons hot water (if you prefer, you can use a package of saffron flavored yellow rice in substitution for the saffron and rice - saffron is expensive!). Brown the mushrooms in a little butter and extra virgin olive oil and set aside. Meanwhile, salt and pepper the chicken breast and pork. To the same pan, add a little more butter and olive oil and add garlic, onion, chorizo, pork and chicken; cook over medium-high heat until chicken and pork are cooked through.
Add the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, and let the tomatoes sweat a little. Season with a generous pinch or two of cayenne, paprika, and parsley, and a light dusting of red pepper flakes (specific, I know, but that's how I cook - just like I write, without much direction :p). Add the saffron, and let it all cook for a minute. Then add the rice, mixing well with the spices and liquid, and allow to cook for another minute. Add the chicken brother, bring to a boil, and then set on simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid. I like my rice to still have a bit of toothiness, but that's up to you - it took about 20 minutes of simmering for me to be satisfied.
The result is a spicy, flavorful, one-pot meal with protein, starch and veggies - and except for the prep, not much work! (Isn't that always the case)
MJ and I had chocolate cupcakes with brown sugar frosting for dessert. The cupcakes were leftover from the Betty Crocker gluten-free cupcake mix I made for my mom, who has Celiac's - I was surprised by how tasty these were, by any cupcake standard and not just by a dietary-restriction standard. I whipped up this delicious brown sugar chocolate frosting to go with, very creamy and with a rich flavor.
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. cocoa powder (Any cocoa powder, but I loved Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa in this - I also want to try it with my usual dark chocolate cocoa powder)
If you have a mixer, it takes little to no active time or energy to make frosting, and yet it impresses people so much (which, besides the nom-nom-nominess of it all, is one of the things I like about baking for friends and family). This recipe is no exception:
If you have a stand mixer, beat heavy cream on high; add in brown sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder. Beat until the frosting looks like frosting - creamy but stable.
One of the nice things about this recipe is the frosting stows nicely in the fridge and comes out still spreadable, which is great if like me, you'd rather keep the cupcakes in an airtight container and the frosting in the fridge until it's time for them to unite. :)
Oh, and I think we can safely add to the list of things that are Not My Day Job? Food photography.
6 hours ago