Friday, December 31, 2010

Fried Chicken

You know that you are getting older when you feel relieved and actually happy that you are not going out on New Years. Porgy and I decided to take it easy this evening, but I thought that we should do something special to celebrate. So I decided to make some fried chicken using Kobe seasoning mix (just like what my Mom used to), drink some Champagne and watch Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. Happy New Year 2011!

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 package of Kobe seasoning flour mix
canola/palm oil for frying

  • Wash and pat the chicken pieces dry.
  • Season with salt, white pepper, paprika and a couple tablespoon of Kobe seasoning flour and marinade for an hour or so.
  • Pour enough oil to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a heavy frying pan and heat over medium heat. I don't have any oil/candy thermometer but I think the preferred temperature is ~325F.
  • Pour the rest of the seasoning flour on a plate and roll the chicken pieces in flour and shake off the excess.
  • Fry the chicken pieces a few at a time so not to crowd the pan, place them skin side down.
  • Cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 12 minutes per side.
  • Drain the cooked chicken pieces on a rack over a sheet pan.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

Sometimes I think Arthur is just like Brussels sprouts – they are both bitter on the first bite when you first know them and definitely not for everybody but after spending more time with them, you can finally understand, appreciate and love them. Arthur is a handful, at times a bit too much such that he got returned several times before and believes me that we have thought about it before. But we decided to toughen up and stick with him, it’s a continuous process and we are hoping that he will realize that we really love him and are committed to him.

I love making this roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms dish because they are simple to make, healthy and very delicious. Perfect for a side-dish of a meat or pasta course.

1 lb Brussels Sprouts
1 lb mixed mushroom (I used a mix of Shiitake and King Trumpet mushroom)
olive oil
salt & pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels Sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves.
  • Clean the mushroom by wiping it using a dry paper towel. Do not wash them. Cut into halves if they are big.
  • Spread the sprouts and mushroom on a baking pan and drizzle with a couple tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 35-40 minutes until crisp on the outside.
  • Shake the pan a couple of time to brown the sprouts and mushrooms evenly.
  • Sprinkle with some more salt and pepper if needed.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hearty Tuscan Bean Soup

This year is definitely one of those roller-coaster years with lots of ups and downs. The day after I did my previous post, Arthur had a major setback in his separation anxiety training so we had to start somewhat from the beginning all over again, then Porgy had a horrible sore throat for 2 weeks and now I have cold with major sore throat (possibly strep throat) combo and lost my voice since Christmas eve.

While I was resting over the Christmas weekend, I saw an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they shared a tip on how to make a delicious & hearty Tuscan Bean soup without having the beans fall apart at the end. (The secret is to brine the beans with salt water for overnight, rinse them well, cook them without salt over low heat in a 250F oven for a couple of hours!) I thought that it’s an appropriate dish to make since it’s been cold and rainy in the past few days in San Francisco and that it would make my throat feel somewhat better. Since I'm not a member of America's Test Kitchen, I followed a similar recipe that's available at

1 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (I used red kidney beans instead)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used Merquez - spicy Moroccan style lamb sausage)
1 large onion, chopped medium
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 bay leaves
1 bunch of kale, stems trimmed and leaves chopped into medium-sized pieces
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 250F.
  • Add 1/4 cup of salt to 4 qt water and stir until dissolved. Add the picked over, rinsed beans and leave them to soak overnight at room temperature.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot and add the sausage (or pancetta/bacon) and cook 6-10 minutes, until the edges are crisp and browned. Remove the sausages.
  • In the same pan, add onion, celery and carrots and cook until very soft and a little browned, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes.
  • Drain water from beans and discard. Rinse well and add beans to the pot. Add broth, water and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to a preheated 250°F oven and cook for 60 minutes.
  • Add kale, tomatoes and sausages to the pot. Re-cover and cook until beans are tender, about another 30 minutes.
  • Add rosemary sprig and submerge it in the soup. Let stand off heat for 15 minutes, then remove and discard rosemary and bay leaves.
  • Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with a nice pain epi or sliced baguette.