This weekend, I decided to make some Irish fare to celebrate St. Patty's Day, knowing we wouldn't be out in full regalia drinking green beer. So I decided on Ina Garten's Irish Soda Bread recipe and we enjoyed the bread with breakfast on Saturday. The currants give it a nice tartness and the orange zest and buttermilk adds a needed tang. However, this bread is similar to scones in that it's best enjoyed right after baking (tastes very dry the next day). It's a beautiful addition to any breakfast or brunch and very quick to prepare.
On Sunday night, I decided to make a recipe from the new Pioneer Woman cookbook. Her first cookbook has provided me with many favorites, such as an often-requested recipe for chicken potpie and Yankee pot roast. She does comfort food really, really well and is usually my first stop when looking for a homey Sunday-type of dinner recipe.
I ended up making her White Chicken Enchiladas. Whoa, they were spicy (2 jalapenos!) but delicious. As it often goes, one element of the recipe didn't work perfectly (sorry to say) so you do need to rely upon your own cooking skills to make adjustments or changes. The chicken and roasted pepper filling ended up being a bit of a bust, as I needed to strain out most of the braising liquid before filling the tortillas, but the flavors were delicious and each bite satisfied that cheesy craving for Mexican food.
Yesterday, I made the Pioneer Woman's Honey-Plum-Soy Chicken for a client. The recipe called for 20 oz of soy sauce (2 bottles!), which was quickly cited as a red flag. I brought it down to 5 oz (or half a bottle) of low-sodium soy sauce. And instead of 8 bone in-skin on chicken thighs, I used 4 thighs and 4 breasts, peeling off the skin after browning and before braising. Just a couple of simple things that ended up saving the recipe from disaster. The sauce was delectable - rich in flavor and sweet and salty, but not overally so. The chicken was moist and stained red from the wine, but not fatty from the excess skin. All in all a win! I served it over jasmine rice, topped with scallions, instead of egg noodles, in order to soak up more the sauce. Another tip: there's a lot of sauce in this recipe, so if you make it, you may want to remove the chicken after an hour and a half, and reduce down the sauce before serving.
I definitely recommend both of her cookbooks, but you do have to have your wits about you when using the recipes. Don't be afraid to trust your judgement and make changes as you see fit.
Last week, I celebrated the launch of The Naptime Chef's cookbook with Kelsey Banfield. I worked with Kelsey to test every single recipe in her cookbook - and am so proud of her and the book! It's an excellent cooking resource filled with so many amazing and inspired recipes (chicken curry, peanut butter pie, eggnog cheesecake, zucchini bites, artichoke lasagna - the list goes on...) and even though the primary audience is families, her message appeals to everyone: no matter how busy you are, there are ways to fit in satisfying, delicious and homecooked meals into your lives.