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my precious
The secret to delicious, perfectly cooked whole chicken is also a really fun word to say: Spatchcock. It either sounds like a sneeze or a foreign swear word. Or both. You do have to get a little down and dirty with your chicken, but look at the reward:

Look at all that delicious browned crispy chicken skin. Look at those roasted whole garlic cloves and red onions. Spy the roasty-toasty carrots hiding in the sides of the pan. You, too, can enjoy a roast chicken on a weeknight, and in about an hour from start to finish.

The secret is cutting out the backbone of the chicken and flattening it. This makes the chicken cook more quickly and more evenly, so you get a juicier breast without having underdone legs. That sounds like the cover of a glamour magazine. ANYWAYS. After you have spatchcocked your bird, the seasonings and accompanying vegetables are really up to you -- really, anything goes (within reason - I don't want any comments saying you tried it with chocolate sauce and marshmallow fluff and it didn't work and I'm a liar).

But if you want to make what I made, here's what you need:

One whole chicken
2 TBS olive oil
One red onion, cut into wedges
2 carrots, cut into sticks
One head of garlic, peeled but in whole cloves
1 lemon (or more if you like) cut in half
1 TBS honey
1 tsp coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp thyme (optional)

Your instructions and gruesome raw chicken photos are after the jump! But also some lovely roasty after shots - don't despair!

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28th-Apr-2010 03:17 pm - Salmon Tikka and Cucumber Yoghurt
my precious
If you are looking for a way to become friends with fish, this might be a good recipe for you. If you are already a fish enthusiast, then you're in luck too. The Indian spices, though not terribly hot, are so delicious - I'm sure there is a way to do this completely from scratch but I followed directions and bought a jar of Patak's Tandoori paste - if I hadn't made my own naan bread, this would have been a very quick, less than 30 minute meal. This recipe serves two.

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9th-Mar-2010 01:52 pm - Delicious Steak + Shallot Butter
my precious
Technically this was our Valentine's Day dinner - we stayed at home and I cooked and M ran out to the tiny and excellent burger place on the corner to buy the best frites in the city and then we watched Alexandre Bilodeau win Canada's first gold medal on home soil at the Olympics.

Steak with shallot butter, green beans, and frites from Patati Patata

This was my first successful foray into cooking steak INSIDE. Mid-February is still winter here. (OR IT SHOULD BE!) At any rate, you can't get to a barbecue unless you are very determined and/or your barbecue is a lot closer to your back door than ours is. Also I think ours is broken. But as I discovered, inside steak is actually quite delicious - that's how they do them in restaurants, after all.

The trick is to try to replicate the serious heat a restaurant stove can kick out - a domestic stove just does not have the same kind of heat-producing capabilities. The other problem is that steak is expensive even at the grocery store. Thanks to the combination of two pieces of sage advice from two well-known stores of wisdom, YOU TOO CAN COOK DELICIOUS STEAK AT HOME. Just have one person on hand to wave a towel at the smoke detector - it gets a little smokey.

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9th-Mar-2010 01:48 pm - Peanut Butter-Chocolate Lava Pots
my precious

HOMG these were so good. They went really well with this steak we had for dinner that same night. Actually it goes well with anything, because it is chocolate and peanut butter and it's melty and warm.

This recipe is adapted from Citrus and Candy, a site with lovely pictures and delicious recipes. The recipe there makes 10 and we are only two, so I halved it and fiddled a bit with the amounts. Note that any "leftovers" keep uncooked in the fridge at least for a couple of days and are just as nice as the ones cooked right away.

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15th-Feb-2010 08:12 pm - Curried Turkey Burgers
my precious

Is it summer yet?

Can I grill things outside? Can I have a burger? Please?

1. Not yet.
2. Not really.
3 & 4. Yes! Yes you may have a burger!

These are some scrumptious burgers from a truly scrumptious magazine. Did you know that the LCBO (the Liquor Control Board of Ontario) has a magazine? Did you know that you can get a subscription?* Both of these things are true. Along with some excellent drink recipes and ideas, the LCBO food magazine has some seriously tasty recipes. And gorgeous pictures to boot! This edition has a whole section on winter burgers, which was perfect because I really had a yearning for a good burger, but it is still far from grilling season.

These are anything but boring burgers. The Indian spices are a bit hit in this house, and this recipe was no exception. The chutney topping was also a nice touch. ENOUGH TALK! RECIPE!

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4th-Feb-2010 05:29 pm - Classic Lasagna Bolognese
my precious
I can't believe it's this late in the season and I only just made lasagna last week.

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my precious
I have reclaimed Mondays for the living. Everyone hates a Monday - even if you don't have an actual Monday to hate, you have to start back to work after a break at some point. No one is immune from Monday... UNTIL NOW.

Actually it's pretty simple. I plan something fun for Mondays. Usually my friend Emily and I go out for a cocktail and catch up. Last night my sister had just returned from out of town so we had family dinner. And because she is always raving about how awesome fish tacos are, and because I had never even tried them let alone made them, I decided that was what was on the menu.

Now as far as a Monday-night dinner party goes, the menu is pretty do-able. There is a fair amount of chopping and slicing but there's not a whole lot of actual cooking. Even with the Mexican chocolate cake I added, the whole thing took less than an hour from start to finish. Not including eating, of course. I can't guarantee that your Monday night dinner guests won't be so enamoured of you that they won't stay until midnight!

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my precious
It's cold. Well, today it's not, but it has been. And I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be cold again soon. Here, then, to stick to your ribs and keep you cozy, is my own very very favourite recipe for beef stew, with my mom's awesome dumpling recipe.

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5th-Jan-2010 04:42 pm - Soft grainy bread
my precious
Stop what you are doing right now and listen up: I HAVE PERFECTED MY SEEDY BREAD RECIPE. I know you all thought it was perfect before, but you didn't know that it could be made perfecter. Now you know!

The secret is buttermilk! This is officially my new favourite bread. It is just as soft as bought bread and sooo much tastier. And cheaper! And better for you! Buttermilk, contrary to what I thought until yesterday, is not fatty milk. It's milk with good bacteria in it! It tastes kind of like plain yoghurt. Who'd-a-thunk-it. Anyways, it makes a pretty delish loaf of bread. Apparently you can also use it in salad dressings.

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