Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Really? And recipes.

So much for feeling like a bad-ass.  I had it all together yesterday.  Yoga'd when I was supposed to yoga.  Shopped for the entire week.  Had the kitchen cleaned and ready for my two-meal cooking session.  And just so you can experience my bad-ass-ness with me, here are the recipes, so you can follow along.  Pay close attention.

Quick Crock Pot Garlic Chicken Thighs
(from Williams Sonoma New Slow Cooker Cookbook)

3 to 3.5 # skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
salt and pepper
olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
15 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/3 (who are we kidding? 1/2) cup white wine
3 stems thyme
3 bay leaves

Pat thighs dry with a paper towel and cover both sides with salt and pepper.  Add olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy skillet and heat on high heat.  Working in 2 batches (my 3.5  pounds was 8 thighs), place thighs in skillet and brown - skin side down.  Leave them where they are to brown for about 4 minutes.  Do not turn over.  Once skin side is well browned, put thighs in crock pot.  Repeat with second batch of thighs.

Once chicken is browned, pour off any accumulated fat and recoat skillet with olive oil.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add onion, garlic, and thyme and allow to soften and turn golden (6-8 minutes).  Add wine and bayleaf, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Bring wine to a simmer.  Pour onion/wine mixture over chicken in crock pot.

Cook on low heat in crock pot for 3 hours.  Recipe continues below as noted.

Hear strange noises from the oven - sort of like a clicking noise that seems to be coming from the control panel.  Pay no attention.  Wash pot from chicken to use to prep quiche.

Quiche with Leeks and Greens (makes 2)
(I never make just one of these - pie crusts come in packs of two and we always want the leftovers for lunches.)

2 frozen whole wheat pie crusts
6 slices low sodium bacon
olive oil
1 bunch leeks (usually two large or three small) (No leeks?  Use one yellow onion)
2 bunches greens (usually chard or kale, but use anything you have - spinach, even mustard or collards although they will need a little more wilting time; heck, you can even use leftover broccoli, asparagus or other cooked veggies that you have around.  This is a kitchen sink kinda meal).
1/2 to 2/3 c. shredded parmesan cheese (or jack or swiss or cheddar or whatever you like)
12 eggs
3T skim milk
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.   Prick pie crusts with a fork and prebake while prepping other ingredients (about 15 minutes - I like my crust pretty dark).

Chop bacon into small pieces.  Place in cold skillet and bring skillet up to medium high heat.

Notice that burner on stove does not appear to be working at all.  Notice that no lights, time, or other evidence of life is coming from the control panel.  Become concerned.  Because you have no back up plan.  Turn on burner again.  Notice that turning on burner appears to cause control panel and oven to turn on, but burner does not turn on.  Turning burner off appears to disconnect oven.  Become very concerned.  Attempt to use oven by turning on burner which does not heat.  No heat in oven either despite promising beeping and lights on control panel.  Become hysterical.  Call neighbors and see if you can use their stove. 

Give up on bacon temporarily. Pull only partly prebaked pie crusts out of broken oven.  

Prep remaining ingredients:  cut off all but white and light green of leeks.  Halve leeks and then chop into small pieces.  Place chopped leeks into deep bowl filled with water.  Swish leeks around and then LEAVE.  Sand will fall to the bottom.  Take stems off of greens and roughly chop.  Place in colander and rinse very well with cold water.

Take large pile of chopped up stuff across the driveway.

Chop bacon into small pieces.  Place in cold skillet and bring skillet up to medium high heat.  Brown until crisp.  Remove bacon pieces to paper towel and drain bacon fat out of pan.  Leave brown bits on bottom of pan.  

Reduce heat to medium.  Pour a touch of olive oil in, just to cover the bottom of the pan.  Remove leeks carefully from water, leaving grit at the bottom of the bowl (use slotted spoon) and add to skillet.  Saute until very tender (5-6 minutes, depending on the size of the chop).  Damp leeks will pick up some of the color from the bacon bits on the bottom of the pan.  When leeks are soft, add greens and a couple of pinches of salt (I use kosher) until wilted and very tender (this will take next to no time for spinach and leftover cooked veggies, a little longer for chard and kale, and quite a bit for mustard and collards.)  Once greens have fully wilted, mix bacon pieces back into greens.

Run back to the house carrying large skillet to prep eggs and finish quiches.

In a large bowl, crack 6 eggs.  Separate remaining 6 eggs, keeping egg whites and discarding yolks (Ooooh, or save them for lemon curd.  Mmmmmmm.).  Add milk and salt and pepper and whisk together.

Assemble quiches:  place half of greens mixture in each pie crust.  Sprinkle half of cheese on each quiche.  Pour half of egg and egg white breakfast over each quiche.  Place quiches on sheet pan.

Run back to neighbors carrying sheet pan and two pies to use oven.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until slightly golden and just set in the center.  They will continue to firm up as they cool - this is a matter of taste and also will depend on how much water your vegetables contain, so keep an eye on them.  Allow quiches to cool slightly before serving.

Run home to finish chicken.  Realize that you can't cook noodles.  Run back to neighbors to boil noodle water.  Run home to finish chicken.

Chicken Thighs (continued)
After three hours, pull chicken out of crock pot and reserve on a plate, covered with foil.  Strain cooking juices through into a small sauce pan.  Reserve garlic cloves and keep warm with chicken.  Discard all other solids.  Cool liquid for a few minutes until fat rises to the top and skim the fat.

Run back to neighbors with chicken juices.  Run back to house to get noodles.  Cook noodles at neighbors while gravy is reducing.

Bring chicken juices to boil and reduce to simmer.  Simmer until reduced to a thickish gravy (I didn't let it go all the way to thick because I wanted a little extra to serve over the noodles).

Run back home with noodles and gravy.

Pour gravy over chicken and serve.


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