Monthly Archives: June 2014

Scrumtrilescent Weeknight Dinner: Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives

I love food.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Because it’s my blog and I’m allowed to say/do whatever I want.

…I’m gonna do it. Say whatever I want. Ready? READY?!

Butts.

(Grow up, Bethany.)

ANYWAY. I love food. And I love people who love food. And one of the people in my life who loves food is my friend Emily. About once a day one of us asks the other one, “What should I eat for dinner?”

And when I did this last Wednesday, Emily sent me a drool-worthy meal from Food 52: Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives.

Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives. Yum.

Um, yum.

Emily introduced me to Food52. It’s a site focused on bringing the people who create the recipes and the people who make the recipes together. It’s really a food community. And by the way, it’s a lovely website. Clean design, easy to browse, easy to search. I wish they had an app, though. (Hey, Food52, make an app!)

So when I asked Emily, “what should I eat for dinner?” She said chicken. And then she sent me this recipe. It’s one of her go to meals, easy enough to do on a weeknight. The Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives was a contest winner (“Your Best Stew with Olives”…a bit specific, but I’m not mat at it.)

I can see why it’s one of her go-to meals. The meal comes together quickly, easy enough to make when you get home from work. A little bit of prep and a whole lot of reward. Tender chicken, a spicy sauce that just don’t quit, and every once in awhile, a briny olive. Israeli cous cous is the perfect vessel for all the elements, soaking up the sauce and cooling your mouth down (if you are a spice wimp, like me.)

When someone loves food and you love food, you listen to them. They’re never going to steer you wrong. Let you down. Run around. Desert you.

 

#rickroll

#rickroll via ultradragonball.wikia.com

 

I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist. I do what I want.

Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives from Food52

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2.5 pounds chicken legs and thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 ½ cup small diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2- 3 cups chicken stock | I used 2.
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron
  • ½ cup green olives, rinsed
  • 2 preserved lemons, pulp removed; rind cut into strips | I didn’t have this, so I just zested two lemons into the sauce. Which worked just fine!
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet or over medium high heat. Dry the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet in batches and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook until slightly softened. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet so that 2/3 of the chicken is submerged. Add the saffron and stir to combine. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover the skillet and simmer on medium low heat 20-25 minutes. Add the olives and preserved lemons. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and turn the heat to high. Cook for another 6-8 minutes until sauce reduces slightly. Stir in the cilantro. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro.

 

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Book Club: Literary Snacks for Ladies

There are certain things that only ladies do when they hang out with other ladies.

  • Talk about boys. “He’s so cute, right? Is he cute? I like him so much. Does he like me? Does he notice that I looked at him a little bit longer than normal today? Cause I did. He should’ve noticed it. It meant a lot to me, and I can’t believe he didn’t notice it. He’s an asshole. I hate him.”
  • Talk about lady issues. I won’t go into details for all my male readers. And by male readers, I mean my dad. (HI DAD!!!)
  • Book club.

I’m pretty sure book club is a 100% female activity. Do dudes sit and talk about how they felt when Anna Karenina threw herself in front of the train?*

*I’m fairly well read, but Anna Karenina is not a book I’ve ever read. I’ve seen the Keira Knightley movie version though, so that’s how I know this. And, I’ve seen a Pulitzer Prize winning play about the book…sort of. I’m so fancy. You already know.

Also? Oops. Spoiler Alert.

Anyways, book club is a ladies occupation for ladies.

And this lady (me) hosted her lady book club a few weeks ago.

My friend Nora started the whole book club and, well, I’m glad she did. We’ve read a book I’d heard of but hadn’t gotten to yet (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn) and read a book that I hadn’t heard of but boy, did it make me cry in the airport (Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala).

But the most recent book club, I hosted. So, I choose the book. It was One More Thing by B.J. Novak (no relation) and it was hilarious. It’s a book of short, humorous essays. Some were dry. Some were almost poignant. But, boy, did they run the gamut. It’s well worth a read. OR, if you’re doing a long car trip, it’s worth downloading and listening to. He’s got an incredible cast of voices like Mindy Kaling, Jason Schwartzman, Rainn Wilson, Emma Thompson, Jenna Fischer and more.

So, what to make for a lady event for ladies?

Well, I like the tortilla española. Why not build a tapas menu? Also,  please note, this is a drinking book club, so boozing required.

  • Tortilla española
  • Jamon serrano because I cannot find ANY jamon iberico here in America. SIGH.
  • Spanish cheeses
  • Apricot and Goat Cheese Bites
  • Peppadews inspired by Leon’s in Decatur, GA
  • Pan con Tomate
  • Olives
  • Beverages, like Red Sangria and White Sangria
Oh dang.

Oh dang.

The apricot and goat cheese bites were the newbies here and #realtalk, they were delicious. And unbelievably simple. Make them right now for whatever lady event you have. I bet even boys would like the salty-sweet combo that they have going on.

Beyond that, sangria is a perfect summer drink. It’s bright and fruity, but has a boozy punch. I gravitate toward the white versus the red, but the red is a much more robust beverage.

I guarantee. This menu? Ladies love it. Girls adore it.

Y’all should trust me because I’m not internationally known, but I’m known to rock the microphone.

Absolutely Fabulous Apricot, Goat Cheese and Almond Bites from YumSugar

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • About 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves
  • 40 dried apricots, preferably blenheim
  • 40 almonds, preferably marcona
  • 2 teaspoons honey

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix together the cheese and milk with a fork until spreadable. Thin with more milk if necessary. Add the basil and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Spread a heaping 1/4 teaspoon cheese on each apricot and top each with an almond. Drizzle with honey.

Please note! If not using marcona almonds, substitute roasted salted almonds (the salt is key to the appetizer’s flavor).

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Risky Biscuits: New York City’s Finest Biscuits, Empire Biscuit

I don’t know when I first heard about Empire Biscuit in NYC, but ever since I did, it’s been on my culinary bucket list.

An all biscuit restaurant? I’m sorry, what’s not to like about this place. Biscuits? Good. Stuff on biscuits? EVEN BETTER.

But sometimes, you don’t get to go out to biscuits. Sometimes, the people you’re with want to eat sushi (sort of want) or want banh mi (sort of want) or want to eat salads (the fuck, bro?).

But other times, your best friend wants to eat biscuits with you. And so, you eat biscuits. Laura and I went to Empire Biscuit together. We’d been talking about it. Dreaming. Drooling over the menu together. She’d been a few times before. She even had a regular order (biscuit with fried chicken and pimento cheese). But me? This was my inaugural visit. So I needed to try EVERYTHING.

I got the Scotch Egg biscuit sandwich with cheddar and whole grain mustard. And we split two sammiches that were “meant for each other” (Just like best friends are, RIGHT?!?!?!). The “You-So-Nasty,” which is the best thing to say out loud ever. And the Savory Character, which sounds like someone from a murder mystery. And some cheese grits cause, duh.

This is why I'm hot. And by hot, I mean fat.

This is why I’m hot. And by hot, I mean fat.

But I was scared, y’all. I was really, really scared. Cause what happens when you have biscuits that are made in the north. Who makes northern biscuits? Northerners. That’s who.

When we placed our large order, we terrified the co-owner who was behind the counter by making a bad joke (“we’ll take one of everything!” “…really? Cause that’s happened.”) And then he asked where we were from.  I said I was from North Carolina. And he said, “oh, that’s cool. My business partner is from North Carolina.”

Oh, thank GOD. Because the south will rise again. As a light and fluffy biscuit, that is.

Everything we tried was incredible. The You-So-Nasty was honestly the best bite of food I put in my mouth all day. Tart, sweet and creamy with a hint of spice. They even make their hot sauces in house. The attention to detail is excellent. Friendly service, cool people. Shouldn’t be missed.

Laura thinks that they missed a real opportunity to call themselves Risky Biscuits, after the 1983 Thomas Cruise movie “Risky Business.” But after tasting them? There’s nothing risky about these biscuits.

 

 

 

…That sounded a lot cooler in my head, y’all.

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Chef: A Movie About Food So It Is On This Blog; Also It’s GREAT

There are book people. There are TV people. There are movie people.

I’m definitely a movie person.

If by movie person, you mean a person who has seen at least one in movie in their lifetime.

I like movies a lot. But I forget when they’re in theatres or I fall asleep when I’m watching them. Admittedly, these are lame reasons. But the movies that I see, I love. Including, but not limited to, Dumb & Dumber.

When I saw the trailer for the movie Chef, I was really excited. 1) I love food. 2) I recently saw Swingers with my framily, Anna and Kevin, and really enjoyed it. (I’m just now getting to movies from 1996. Next up, Sling Blade!) 3) And I love Jon Favreau. C’mon, you know Elf is one of the movies I’ve seen.

My framily and I decided to get a bite at Mission Pizza and see the movie when it opened at Aperture Cinema last weekend. And this was a wise call. This is not a film you can see on an empty stomach.

The movie is terrific. Sure, it’s really focused on the food. The basic storyline is about chef who has a meltdown and reignites his passion by starting a food truck. And the food part of the movie does not disappoint. Jon Favreau partnered with Roy Choi, who is often credited with starting the food truck movement with his Kogi truck out in LA. Fun fact: like Favreau’s Avengers movies, there’s a little bonus clip of Roy Choi mentoring Jon Favreau in how to cook the perfect grilled cheese after the credits roll. A little nerdy, but worth the wait.

Artsy shot of Jon Favreau and Roy Choi via Huffington Post.

Artsy shot of Jon Favreau and Roy Choi via Huffington Post.

The food in the movie will make your jaw drop. Bacon and brisket and roast pork, oh my. But this movie is so much more. It’s about relationships. It’s about overcoming creative stagnancy and unleashing your passion. It’s about family and love. It’s well written, it’s well acted, it’s funny and fun.

When the movie ended, the audience actually clapped (I KNOW!). The lights came up, and Kevin said to Anna and me, “You know, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this movie.”

We all sort of paused and then agreed, “well, maybe vegetarians.”

Go to your favorite restaurant—or be bold and try something new—and then go see this movie. You will not be disappointed. Then go home, make a batch of them French fried potatoes and watch Sling Blade.

 

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