Tag Archives: chicken

chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

Lately, my weeknight meals have come from the freezer section of Trader Joe’s (lucky for me  that I live a short walking distance from one). I want to blame the late summer heat wave or the being the thick of busy season at work, getting home at 9pm some nights. It makes me appreciate those nights when I have the energy and time to cook up something from scratch (and from the heart <3).

A close friend of mine recommended that I try this recipe and I’ve made this dish twice for my family. Wasn’t sure how my Korean food, garlic-loving parents would like it but I think all the garlic and tender chicken (hello dark meat) won them over.

Let me just preface it by saying the garlic flavor isn’t gonna make your nostrils flare or give you garlic breath for days (thank God!). Since it gets slowly cooked down, it’s sweeter and milder despite high number. Trust me on this, it’s French comfort food (and not too heavy).

chicken with forty cloves of garlic (adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s recipe)
serves 4-6
3 heads of garlic (yields about 40 cloves)
3 lbs of chicken (combo of thighs, wings, drumsticks w/skin on)
salt and pepper
1 TB unsalted butter
2 TB olive oil
3 TB cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups of white wine (I used chardonnay, any white wine that’s dry)
3 tsp fresh thyme, divided (will use 2 tsp for garnish)
2 TB all purpose flour
2 TB heavy cream

Note: there are recipes that don’t call for cognac like this one to have one less item on your grocery list. Don’t know if the dish will drastically taste different but just less French sans cognac. I bought mine at CVS but you can find miniature bottles at liquor stores or retailers like BevMo since you only need a few tablespoons. Also, buy already peeled garlic cloves to save you time. 

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in a big pot (w/thick bottom) or Dutch oven over medium high.
2. Saute chicken skin side down for 3-5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
3. Lower heat to low-medium and add garlic cloves until evenly browned. Careful not to splatter the oil.
4. Add 2 TB cognac and 1 1/2 cups of wine and return to a boil (alcohol will burn off).
5. Place chicken back into the pot with 1 tsp of thyme. Cover and simmer (very very low heat) for 30 minutes or until chicken is done. Check the chicken after about 25 minutes to see if it’s close to being done. Want to avoid dry chicken.
6. Transfer chicken to a large plate and keep warm by covering with foil.
7. In a small bowl, whisk half the sauce and flour. Add to the pot. Raise heat to medium and add 1 TB cognac and 2 TB heavy cream to make your sauce. Let it boil for about 3 minutes. First give it a taste it and then add salt and pepper accordingly.
8. Serve chicken and pour the sauce over it. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

cloves ckn recipecloves ckn 2

mise en place (can’t forget the Korean newspaper)

browning the ckn

after browning the chicken

ckn finished!

Ta-da! First time, the gravy was a bit thick and on the salty side. My second attempt, gravy was a thinner consistency but a bit bland. Maybe third time’s a charm? I’ll let you know.

pretty ckn!

My friend who recommended that I try making this recipe sent me a picture of her restaurant quality dish. Bella! Great tip for garnishing the dish with fresh thyme.

chicken katsu and experimenting in the kitchen

Although this is one of my favorite dishes, I try not to make it often. It tastes great and has lots of crispy, crunchy goodness, but it’s oily. Pan frying it in a pool of oil doesn’t exactly say healthy or leave me with a happy stomach. I heard about people baking the katsu rather than frying it so I experimented tonight. Big mistake! It came out dry on the outside.. the panko flavor, that crispy goodness was missing. Just dry and crunchy. Especially true in this case, fat adds much needed flavor/texture. There’s no need to mess with this classic Japanese dish. Everything in moderation, right?

chicken katsu with shredded cabbage
serves 4

1 ¼ lb of chicken thighs, pounded to about 1/3 inch thickness
½ cup of flour
1 egg
1 cup of panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tsp of salt and pepper
2 cups of shredded cabbage
½ tomato, sliced into wedges
vegetable or canola oil
donkatsu sauce

salad dressing
3 TB mayonnaise
1 TB sugar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ketchup

Pound your chicken thighs until they’re nice and thin (can use a mallet or the bottom of a skillet). Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Prepare the chicken for the dredging and breading. Take a gallon size Ziplock bag and pour in the flour. Have 2 bowls, one with a beaten egg and one filled with panko.

Carefully place 2 thighs at a time into the flour, seal, and shake until they’re completely coated. Dust off excess flour. Next, put it in the egg bowl and make sure both sides are covered. Hold up each piece to allow excess egg to drip off. Place it the panko bowl and cover it with breadcrumbs. Gently press down on the thighs so the panko adheres and covers it completely.

Get a frying pan and turn on medium heat. Once the pan is heated, add a generous layer of oil (canola or vegetable). Pan fry each piece for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked throughout. Set aside a large plate covered with paper towels to soak in the oil.

Prep your salad dressing by whisking all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve chicken katsu sliced into strips with a side of rice, cabbage, and tomato. Enjoy!

And a few pictures from a trip to the farmer’s market.

baked ginger soy chicken

If I were a book publisher, I would give this food blogger a cookbook deal for my selfish pleasure. I love her recipes as they are great for a Korean American palate. Familiar enough flavors, yet blending the Asian and Western traditions with simplicity. Her recipes aren’t fussy and they are also well described and executed. Lots of Korean or Korean inspired dishes and yet a mixture of other ethnic dishes such as Italian American. I ‘cook’ off her blog at LEAST once a week if not more. I tried this one over the weekend. Delicious. Takes some time to make and care but it’s well worth it. Enjoy!


baked ginger soy chicken (adapted from week of menus)
serves 8-10
16-20 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of sake
1/4 cup of sesame oil
3 tablespoons of ginger, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of garlic, finely chopped

In a heavy saucepan, add all ingredients for glaze together and cook until simmering, reduce heat, and maintain low simmer for about 20 minutes, then set aside. The mixture won’t be thick and syrup-y, but the glaze mixture will reduce and the flavors will be concentrated. This can be done ahead of time (save time) and allow to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400. Heavily line a roasting pan with several layers of tin foil to prevent it from creating a burnt sticky layer that’s hard to clean. Lay the chicken thighs on the pan in a single layer. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

Carefully brush glaze over the cooked chicken. Be generous with the glaze allowing it to fully cover the chicken. Return chicken to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes. Take chicken out, flip it over and add more glaze and cook it again for another 10 minutes. Again, take it out, use whatever leftover glaze you have plus pan juices and coat the chicken well and cook for another 10 minutes. The chicken will be well coated and glossy from the glaze. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Tip: the chicken tastes better the day after you make it since it’s been soaking in the glaze overnight. Great with rice and this salad or a side of veggies.


cucumber & chicken salad

On warm summer nights, sometimes I feel like eating something light and crunchy. I was Chicago last week and ate mostly pizza and sandwiches and came back craving fresh veggies =D Here’s a recipe I made over the weekend adapted from Great Food Fast (proof that great food doesn’t have to take much time or fuss)

Cucumber and Chicken Salad

1/4 cup + 1 TB of olive oil

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 bunch (8 oz) spinach, chopped

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sliced almonds (or pecans)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1. In a large bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Add the cucumber; toss to coat and let it marinate while cooking the chicken.

2. In a nonstick skillet, heat the 1 TB olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 7 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, and slice thin.

3. Toss the chicken with cucumber mixture, bell peppers, spinach, onions, almonds, cheese, and mint. Serve.

Note: For the mixing bowl, don’t use a plastic one as the lemon juice flavor will linger (unless you don’t mind).

Highlights from the windy city

Tour of the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park (where the Obamas’ ‘other’ house is)

Eating at XOCO, Rick Bayless’ quick bite restaurant – my mouth is getting watery just looking at this picture

Admiring the amazing view of the green river that flows through downtown — I highly recommend the architectural riverboat tour. Did you know Wrigley company initially made soaps and included gum as a marketing ploy?

Pasta for the Parents

Last weekend my sister, Alice, and I tag teamed and made a simple pasta dinner for my parents. They work in the food industry so the last thing they want to do is come home to cook a meal (they meaning my mom =) This dish is great for spring or summer because it highlights the seasonal veggies and makes good use of whatever protein you have on hand. To our surprise, our Korean food loving parents happily ate this up. Even my dad commented on how much he enjoyed the simple flavors. Happy eating! -S

Photo credit to Alice who shot this on her Canon DSLR

Simple Chicken and Veggie Pasta
Serves 6
1 lb of fusilli pasta (or penne)
1 1/4 lb of cooked chicken breast (or thighs), cut into strips (option: use leftover rotisserie chicken or sausage would great too and add some peppery flavors)
1/2 cup of chicken broth
2 TB olive oil (for cooking chicken) + 3 TB olive oil for pasta
6 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
1/4  head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 1 cup)
1 lb of cherry or grape tomatoes (I used cherry), halved
1  cup of asparagus (frozen or fresh, I used frozen), cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup of fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a stockpot, boil water for cook the pasta and cook based on package instructions. Set aside. While water is boiling, preheat oven to 400F for roasting the tomatoes.
2. Cover a baking sheet (or roasting pan) with foil and pour the halved tomatoes into the pan/baking sheet. Pour a little olive oil and gently toss with your hand. Roast for 10 minutes or until bruised. (This step is optional but it emphasizes the wonderful and vibrant flavors of these mini tomatoes–you’ll be amazed! But I realize it’s an extra step).
3. Season uncooked chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and cook on a frying pan, 7 minutes on each side. Side aside for about 5 minutes or until cooled. Cut into strips.
4. Over medium heat, heat a stockpot (same one used for cooking pasta). Once heated, pour  2 TB of olive oil. Add chopped garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add cauliflower and asparagus and saute for 2 minutes or until slightly browned. Turn the heat down to medium low add chicken broth and cover with lid for 5 more minutes until the veggies are cooked (and slightly crunchy) and the broth is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat.
5. To the stockpot, add cooked pasta, tomatoes, remaining olive oil (3 TB) and gently toss and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Plate meals into pasta bowls/plates and top with basil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Thai yellow curry

My first memories of eating curry was what my mom would make from the Japanese blocks of dried curry paste (that comes in that gold paper — doesn’t it remind you of a chocolate bar?). That sweet, thick, and peppery aroma would fill the entire house with its distinct smells. I wasn’t introduced to Thai style curry until college but once I tried it, I was hooked! It was creamy, sweet, more soupy than the kind I was used to eating growing up.

I found this simple recipe and thought I’d give it a shot – my first Thai dish and a success! Looking forward to making more later this week to put to use my leftover ingredients.  Being cost conscious, I calculated that it cost a little more than $5 to make this dish for 4 servings (really cheap!).   Side note: I was surprised that my local Fresh & Easy carries coconut milk (is it because I live in a heavily Asian American community, or has Thai cuisine become a mainstream people are buying Asian staples like coconut milk?).

Thai yellow curry (Adapted from avocado & bravado)
1 TB vegetable oil
1 onion, finely minced
1 chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
1 small Thai chile, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 large red potato (or 5 small red potatoes), cut into 1″ pieces
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 – 15 oz can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

1. Pour chickpeas into a colander. Scoop out 1/3 of the beans and mash them into a paste (with fork or some flat surface). Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and chili into stockpot and stir for about a minute. Add curry powder  and stir for another 30 minutes.
3. Add potatoes and carrots and make sure they’re well coated with curry powder. Stir in the chicken broth and coconut milk, chickpeas (both whole and mashed). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or when potatoes and carrots are tender (seems really watery when you first put in the liquids but it’ll thicken as the potatoes cook with the mashed chickpeas).
4. Season with salt and pepper accordingly.  Pour curry into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!