Offense or Defense

In sports, players all have their positions. It’s the same in life. We all have roles to play. Some we learn and some we just fall into based on our natural talents.

Super Bowl Sunday at our house is no exception, it’s a team effort. The boys all get on the couch, Liam and Dylan on one cushion and Matthew, as the more experienced player, commands his own cushion or the big brown chair. I am official chef and coordinator of meal time. Brian is the coach and keeper of the remote. As game time approaches, all players enthusiastically get in their respective positions. When it comes time to eat, the boys perform as well as any professional athlete. And the older they get the more seasoned they become, which translates to huge grocery bills!

It’s tradition to serve chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday, and this is not the day to make a new play, so I stick to the game book. This year I’m trying an Asian twist. Let’s see what my team thinks…

Miso Glazed Chicken Wings

Ingredients

3 Tbsp yellow miso

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, about 1” grated

2 Tbsp sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 Tbsp sesame oil

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

3-4 lbs chicken wings, split at joints, tips removed

Method

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the first eight ingredients.

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Toss chicken wings into miso marinade and toss well to coat. Refrigerate overnight or for up to two hours.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top.

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Place the wings on the baking rack. Roast in oven until caramelized and chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes depending on the size of the chicken wings.

Serve immediately or during halftime show.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “Awesome – did you soak these in something?”

Liam (age 5): “Love these chickens”

Dylan (age 5): “These rock!”

Score!

Boomerang Generation

I flew the coop over 20 years ago. At the time my parents lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My new apartment was a walk-up in a tenement across the park on the Upper East. It was far from fancy but it was all mine. I was finally independent, but if I ever needed anything they were just a crosstown bus away. Close but not too close. Fast forward to marriage and three children, and the coop is now coming back to me. Mom and Dad are moving to the burbs!

My kids could not be more thrilled to have Grandma and Grandpa as their new neighbors. For me, it will be an adjustment running into my parents at the local Starbucks, but it’s great to have a babysitter moving practically next door. Don’t worry Mom, we only need you to watch the boys every other weekend – 🙂

To celebrate their “return to the nest” we’re roasting a chicken this week. I’ve never roasted a whole bird before and it was surprisingly easy. This method was suggested by my local butcher. She said once I’ve got this mastered she’ll give me the secret to the perfect pork roast…

Citrus Roast Chicken

Ingredients

1 3/12-4 lb. whole roasting chicken, organic if possible

1-1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

Coarse sea salt

Black pepper

½ orange, cut into wedges

1 lemon, cut into wedges

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

3-4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1” chunks

3 medium potatoes, cut into large chunks

1 Tbsp olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Before cooking the chicken rinse in cold water. Then scrub the chicken inside and out with coarse salt. Then rinse again and pat dry. Make sure the chicken is completely dry, this will result in a crispy skin.

Rub the butter all over the chicken. And if you are feeling brave, gently loosen the skin on the breast side and add some butter underneath. It’s a little messy but I was told not to skip this step.

Once the butter is rubbed all over, liberally season with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the orange, lemon and garlic. Place in roasting pan.

Toss the carrots and potatoes with the olive oil and some salt. Scatter around the chicken. Place in oven for 20 minutes. Then add about ½ cup of water to the pan and roast for another 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size of chicken, basting once or twice. Add more liquid to pan if needed.

Chicken is ready when the juices run clear. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. (Insert into thickest part of thigh)

Let rest for 5-10 minutes and serve.

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House of Bedlam Citrus Chicken

House of Bedlam Citrus Chicken

And the VERDICT is:             

Matthew (age 7): “Good chicken”

Liam (age 5): “Can I eat that lemon?”

Dylan (age 5): “Why is that lemon in there?”

Although not nearly as convenient, this was even better tasting than a rotisserie.

Mom & Dad, welcome to the neighborhood!

 

For my local readers:

Fairway Market presents Funny Food Art Workshop!

When: Sunday, September 21, 2014 from 1pm – 3pm

Where: Fairway Market in Pelham Manor, 847 Pelham Parkway, 914 633 6550

Fairway invites friends and families to come and have fun with their food as Bill Wurtzel, author of “Funny Food 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfast” teaches families how to create funny food art. Fairway will supply all healthy ingredients, including waffles, strawberries, raisins, pita, bananas and much more, as well as entertainment from the author, who is a jazz musician. Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase. Cost per participant is $1. Register at customer service or online at www.fairwaymarket.com.

This promises to be a fun event – hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sure Thing

Do your kids like chicken nuggets? Is the Earth round? Is the sky blue?

I’m always experimenting with ways to make a tastier chicken nugget. There’s some stiff competition out there fighting for my kid’s attention. Some days I have to become my own PR spokesperson, market researcher, and advertising executive to get them to eat an unfamiliar food. But when I cook chicken nuggets it’s usually a successful campaign. It’s one of the few foods beside hot dogs, shrimp and bacon that requires no cajoling, no convincing, and no pleading.

Another thing my kids love is dipping sauces, ketchup of course, being the number one favorite, with honey mustard a close second. That’s how this recipe came about. Instead of serving nuggets with a dipping sauce I decided to try and turn one inside out and put the dipping sauce on the nugget itself. They came out amazing – but make them for your kids and let them be the judge!

Honey Mustard Nuggets (Recipe by Elaine Studdert)

Ingredients

3 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp honey mustard (you can use Dijon for a less sweet nugget)

2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plain

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ pounds chicken tenders, cut into 2” strips

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a baking rack.

In a small bowl, combine the honey and mustard. In a shallow dish, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the salt and pepper. Then add the olive oil and mix well.

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Dip or brush the chicken in the honey mustard. Place the chicken in the panko breadcrumbs and press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken. Use one hand to dip (wet hand) and use the other hand for the breadcrumbs (dry hand). Place the breaded chicken on the baking rack.

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Bake in oven until crispy, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 7): “Do these have honey on them? I LOVE them”

Liam (age 5): “The chicken is perfect”

Dylan (age 5): “Not better than tater tots!”

Mission accomplished. But now I need to tackle tater tots!

 

 

Tie On Your Blue Apron – Review & Giveaway!

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As much as we cook around here, there’s lots of days we get stuck in a food rut. Limited time and hungry children means cooking old standbys because they’re fast and easy. But the flip side is that meals can get BORING, at least that was my kid’s opinion of dinner the other night. Which is why I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review Blue Apron this week, a home delivery service that allows you to create delicious chef-designed recipes without leaving the house.

What is Blue Apron all about?

Blue Apron is not just a food delivery service, it goes way beyond that. Each week Blue Apron sends three meals for two, four, or six people based on your protein choices. Fresh, high-quality ingredients along with amazing recipes are delivered right to your door. No trips to the grocery store! And since the ingredients come in exactly the right proportions, there’s no waste from unused portions. All shipments are delivered in a refrigerated box so you don’t even have to be home when it arrives.

Getting Started

Signing up for Blue Apron is easy – all you have to do is fill out your shipping address and pick your choice of proteins. That’s it! So easy a child can do it. And since, at the age of seven, my child knows his way around the computer better than I do he checked off the boxes. We opted for the pictures of a cow, chicken, pig, and fish.

Then we marked the calendar and waited for our box to arrive. Not knowing what was coming was part of the fun – it was like ordering a tasting menu at a restaurant – except the cooking would be done by me in my own kitchen.

The Box Arrives

I’ve never seen children excited about unpacking groceries, but when our Blue Apron delivery arrived it was like Christmas morning. And give a kid some packing foam and they might just leave you alone long enough to cook dinner! Everything in the box was clearly labeled and accompanied by three beautiful recipe cards with step by step directions to make each dish.

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The three dishes included in our box were:

  • Seared Pork Medallions – with Rhubarb Chutney & Sauteed Freekeh
  • Maple & Ginger Glazed Salmon – with Watercress, Orange & Parsnip Salad
  • Lemon-Parsley Chicken Thighs – with Squash & Zucchini Salad & Red Quinoa

These recipes might not fit the standard definition of “kid-friendly” BUT there were parts of each of these meals that my kids loved. And I loved that there were ingredients that I had never cooked with or heard of (can you say Freekeh?) So although not everything got rave reviews I learned a lot just from one shipment and definitely broke out of my food rut!

The Finished Product

In the end our plates looked almost identical to the recipe cards. For each meal I set aside a portion of vegetables to make the side dishes a little more appealing to the boys. I knew that the watercress salad was probably a lost cause… But with a few adjustments all three meals went remarkably smoothly.

Seared Pork Medallions

Seared Pork Medallions

Kid-friendly twist: Make tiny pork sliders with rhubarb spread, grill asparagus

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: “Pork was good but don’t like that brown stuff”

Liam: “No, to that sauce”

Dylan: “I tried it and thought I would like it but I didn’t like it”

Maple & Ginger Glazed Salmon

Maple & Ginger Glazed Salmon

Kid-friendly twist: Scallion-free orange dressing over orange and parsnip

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: “Can I eat the salmon after you take the picture?”

Liam: “Too much yucky sauce on salmon”

Dylan: “Salmon is great”

Lemon-Parsley Chicken

Lemon-Parsley Chicken

Kid-friendly twist: Roasted zucchini and squash, topped w/pine nuts

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: “More chicken!”

Liam: “It’s good with a bone”

Dylan: “No green please”

Who is this service good for?

At first glance this might not seem like a good fit for families with small children. But it’s actually a perfect way to introduce new ingredients and flavors. And since all the recipe components are pre-portioned, you don’t have to invest in a whole bottle of an ingredient you might only use once. The easy to follow recipe card instructions are so clear anyone can cook these dishes. But they’re also complex enough to appeal to someone who knows their way around the kitchen. I would highly recommend this plan to anyone looking to spice up their home cooking but wants to let someone else do the legwork and planning for them!

Special House of Bedlam giveaway!

My first 50 readers get 30% off their first Blue Apron Box- redeem here:  https://www.blueapron.com/houseofbedlam

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive complimentary products to sample.

 

 

 

Imitation Equals Flattery

I hate it when Mario Batali knocks off my recipes! Awhile ago I made a delicious chicken dish and last month in Food & Wine Magazine there’s Mario totally taking credit for it. I knew I should have posted it sooner…

Our recipes are slightly different since Mario uses asparagus and we opted for spinach. I also made mine in bite-size pieces. This serves two purposes; I don’t have to give the boys knives (bad idea) and the one bite portion makes it less likely they will pick it apart to remove offensive greenery. Everyone loved this the first time round, so I’m cooking it again, this time with basil.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it tastes just as good deconstructed as it does assembled. So if life (your children…) get in the way and you have to abandon the assembly part you can just throw it all in the pan at once. It’s just as tasty although not as pretty. And of course the green parts will definitely get picked out!

Chicken Saltimbocca Bites

(adapted by Mario Batali and then readapted by House of Bedlam)

Ingredients

1 lb. chicken breasts or chicken tenders

Salt & pepper

10-12 slices of prosciutto, sliced thin

Basil, one bunch

2-3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ cup chicken stock

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. capers (optional)

 

Method

Step 1: Begin by preparing your assembly line of chicken, prosciutto, basil and flour. Cut chicken into bite-size chunks and season with salt and pepper. Stack slices of prosciutto and cut into 1” strips. Tear off basil leaves and discard tough stalks. Place flour in a shallow dish.

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Step 2: Place a basil leaf around the chicken and then wrap in a slice of prosciutto. Dredge in the flour and shake off any excess. Repeat until chicken is all wrapped or your children start yelling for your help with something. If this happens not to worry, see note below on deconstructing this recipe.

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Step 3: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. In small batches add wrapped chicken to pan (seam side down) and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, until chicken is just cooked through and prosciutto is crispy. Transfer chicken to a paper towel lined plate or baking rack.

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Step 4: Add chicken stock to deglaze the pan, and cook down for a few minutes, then whisk in butter and add capers. Drizzle sauce over the chicken bites and enjoy!

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Deconstructing: Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add the chicken pieces to the flour and shake off any excess. Add to pan along with strips of prosciutto and basil. Let cook for about 5-6 minutes until chicken is cooked through and basil is wilted. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Follow Step 4 above, and add chicken back to pan to cook for a minute in the sauce.

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “Disgusting! April Fool’s! I love it”

Liam (age 5): “There’s bacon in this guys! I like the crispy parts”

Dylan (age 5): “Can you bake more for bread for this?

No matter which way you cook it this dish is a success. Buon Appetito!

And in case you were wondering, no, I didn’t bake the bread…