garlic roast chicken

we got our hands on some old cook’s country and cook’s illustrated magazines. both are really good reads, but i like cook’s illustrated better because it has nice color photos, more reader stories, and reader competitions. maybe after we move i’ll get a one year subscription. that’ll probably last a few years since there are so many recipes.

anyway, the “ultimate garlic roasted chicken” sounded and looked really good.

garlic roast chicken

50 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (3.5-4) whole chicken
salt and pepper
1.75 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon

1. adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. combine garlic and oil in small saucepan. cook, covered, over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and straw-colored, 10 to 15 minutes. reserve 1 tbsp oil and transfer remaining garlic mixture to food processor; puree until smooth. let cool.

garlic puree

2. pat chicken dry inside and out with paper towels. combine 1/4 cup garlic puree, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in small bowl. tuck wings behind back, spread garlic mixture under skin of chicken and rub reserved oil over outside of chicken. tie legs together with kitchen twine. season chicken with salt and pepper and arrange, breast side down, on v-rack set inside roasting pan. roast until just golden, about 35 minutes.


3. remove chicken from oven and, using wad of paper towels, flip chicken breast side up. raise oven temperature to 450 degrees. whisk broth, wine, 1/2 cup water, and remaining garlic puree in measuring cup. then pour into roasting pan. return chicken to oven and roast until thigh meat registered 170-175 degrees, 30-40 minutes. transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest 20 minutes.

4. meanwhile, transfer pan juices and any accumulated chicken juices to saucepan; skim fat. whisk remaining water and corn starch in small bowl, then add to sauce pan. simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. whisk in butter, then strain into serving bowl. stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper. carve chicken and serve, passing sauce at table.

garlic chicken

comments: the chicken was really delicious. it had a nice crispy skin, the right kind and amount of garlic flavor, and great juiciness. i think it was one of the juiciest, most flavorful chickens i’ve had! i guess all that garlic under the skin helped lock in the moisture. it looked really good too! almost like the picture in the magazine. the sauce was good too. nice and light, didn’t overpower the chicken’s flavors.

in the magazine they talk about how some other methods of getting garlic flavor (like using powdered garlic, garlic butter, straight garlic cloves) either had an overpowering taste or a nonexistant one. they found out roasted garlic was really good, but takes kind of a long time. anyway, this method they found seems to work really well, and not take too long.

they also had a tip for peeling large amounts of garlic: put all the cloves in a zip lock bag and beat with a rolling pin. that worked really well. i think you could just put a big piece of plastic wrap over the garlic and do the same. then you don’t have to waste a zip lock bag. cuz you’re asian like that :D

oh and i had a really hard time flipping the chicken! mine was maybe 5.5 pounds, and the paper towel thing totally did not work for me. i tried using various spatulas and finally managed to kind of roll it over. next time i gotta find an easier way of doing that. besides that, everything was easy i think.


i forget why, but we decided to make carnitas one week so i looked around for a good recipe. the one i found sounded pretty good and had good reviews, especially the one that said, “People have literally told me it’s the best thing they’ve ever eaten.” like damn, that is high praise! i would not go that far, but they are definitely tasty!

carnitas tacos

the best ever carnitas
from recipezaar

3 lbs pork butt or pork shoulder
1 orange, quartered
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Pepsi, plus
more Pepsi, as needed
3/4 cup oil or shortening

FUEGO SPICE MIX YIELDS 1 CUP USE 1T (i divided everything by 8, my values in parentheses)
1/4 cup paprika (1/2 T)
2 teaspoons cayenne (1/4 t)
2 tablespoons salt (1/4 t)
2 teaspoons white pepper (1/4 t)
2 tablespoons ground black pepper (1/4 T = 3/4 t)
2 tablespoons garlic granules (1/4 T = 3/4 t)
2 tablespoons chili powder (1/4 T = 3/4 t)
2 tablespoons oregano (1/4 T = 3/4 t)

AGUA NEGRA MARINADE YIELDS 3 1/4 CUPS USE 1 CUP (i should have divided but i didn’t really read carefully…)
1 cup soy sauce
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1. Fuego spice mix (recipe# 66927): Combine all ingredients, mixing well.
2. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
3. Agua Negra Marinade (recipe# 66927): combine all ingredients with a whisk.
4. Stores in the refrigerator for 2 days.
5. Carnitas: Trim away excess fat from pork and cut into 3 inch cubes.
6. Dust meat with Fuego spice mix and press to adhere well.
7. Squeeze juice from oranges into an airtight nonreactive container, add peels, garlic,pepper, pepsi and Aqua Negra marinade- mix to combine well.
8. Add seasoned meat and refrigerate overnight.
9. Remove meat from the marinade (reserve marinade) the next day when you are ready to cook.
10. Heat oil/shortening in a large heavy skillet over high heat until fat is smoking; add pork and brown completely on all sides- about 15 minutes.
11. Add reserved marinade and simmer for about 2 hours or until pork is tender and dark brown- add additional Pepsi as needed while cooking to keep meat covered.

carnitas cooking

12. Remove meat and chop into 3/4 inch pieces.

pulling the carnitas

comments: these carnitas were a big hit. i think we all liked them a lot. when it was done, i just used a couple forks to pull apart the nice tender meat.the meat was juicy and had a nice flavor that wasn’t overpowering.  like i thought it might be real cumin-y or pepsi-ish, but it wasn’t at all. it was just really tasty meat. we served it with lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa to make tacos, but i would have just eaten the meat by itself. i bet it would be good with rice too. cameron said he liked that the meat didn’t taste fatty at all – i trimmed off most of the big chunks of fat + it was simmering for a nice long time. oh btw there’s really good fresh+cheap salsa at bob’s big boy (but that doesn’t mean i recommend the mexican food there).

as for the recipe, i got a little confused on some parts, but that’s not too surprising because i am pretty terrible at following directions for recipes. i didn’t read very carefully, so i didn’t realize i could have 1/3 of the marinade. i guess we’ll be eating carnitas soon again… then on step 10, that means you add the fat in, right? so i put in the fat (yum, deep fried fat), but then i’m not sure if i was supposed to leave the fat in. i took it out because the pan wasn’t that big. later i had to transfer the carnitas to a bigger pot actually, since i was using a cover too big for the pan so it kept condensing onto the stove. one day when i get my dream le creuset red dutch oven, this’ll be a bit easier.

anyway, it ended up being really yummy though, so maybe i don’t need to leave the fat in? cameron said maybe the fat will take it to new levels of deliciousness. i can’t really imagine that, but maybe there are levels of deliciousness beyond my comprehension.

here’s a carnitas close-up:

carnitas close-up

YUM. so yeah, these carnitas take a while to make, but at least it’s worth it!

cinnamon buns

i’ve been craving cinnamon buns for a while and finally got around to making some.

cinnamon bun

cinnamon buns
from the food network

For the dough:
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar]
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the filling:
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (3 tsp)
1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons milk

To make the dough, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Set aside for about 5 minutes until foamy. Meanwhile, warm the milk in a saucepan. Add the butter, remaining sugar, and salt, and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat.

Sift 3 cups of flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast, warm milk mixture, and the egg, and stir to make a dough. Knead for 10 minutes on a lightly floured board, incorporating more dough as necessary, until the dough is soft, silky, and pliable. (Easier to use standing mixer) Form into a ball. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the dough all over. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until twice its original size. This will take about 2 hours (only took about 1 hour for me). At this point, the dough can be left overnight in the fridge, ready to use the next morning. When well risen, punch down the dough, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, butter a baking sheet (or butter some parchment paper for easier cleanup). Prepare filling by mixing the sugar, cinnamon, and nuts in a small bowl.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle measuring about 12 x 9 inches (I set the dough on some parchment paper on the counter and just pressed the dough to 12 x 9). Brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, pressing it in slightly. Roll up the dough like a jelly roll, starting at one long side (pinch the seam so the roll stays tight).

rolling the dough

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll across into 12 equal slices. Arrange the rolls, cut-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Allow to rise, covered, for at least 40 minutes until doubled in size (pictures below from the first time don’t look like they rose enough. later versions got a lot fatter and pushed up against each other).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (note: it seems like this is a bit hot for the buns, so I set it to 350 F and bake for 20-25 minutes). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until well risen and golden (don’t over-bake or they’ll be dry!). While the buns are in the oven, prepare the glaze and get the coffee started. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Whisk in the melted butter and enough milk to make a thick but pourable mixture. When the buns are ready, remove from the oven. Pour the glaze over them and leave to set for a few minutes before devouring.

cinnamon buns

comments: this recipe is a keeper, but the first time didn’t make the dough exactly right this time. i don’t think my dough came out “silky.” other people who reviewed the recipe said it came out really moist and soft. i think mine might have had too much flour? it was slightly dry and not that soft. actually the texture kind of reminded me of those healthier cinnamon buns from wheatberry that they have at lots of the caltech events.

if the dough seems dry, add some water a tiny bit at a time. if using a mixer, the dough should be elastic and clear the sides but not the bottom of the bowl.

these cinnamon buns are not overly sweet like a lot of the ones you buy, the toasted pecans are really yummy, and the icing is good too. toasted pecans smell so good when they come out of the oven. cameron isn’t a big pastry person, but he really liked these. i think he ate like 4 so far (2 days). oh and i think next time i might add more cinnamon, maybe 3 tsp?

peach pie + nectarine pie

pineapples are pretty cheap in hawaii, but other fruits are usually pretty expensive, so i was pretty excited when i saw peaches for less than a dollar per pound! i looked for a peach pie recipe since that is probably my favorite fruit pie, plus cameron’s birthday was coming up.

then a week later nectarines were on sale, so i made a nectarine and blueberry pie.

peach-blueberry pie
from tyler florence (food network)

1 recipe Basic Pastry Pastry, chilled 30 minutes, recipe follows
Flour, for rolling
2 pounds peaches, pitted and sliced
1 pint blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits
1 egg, beaten with a drizzle of water
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Move the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven.Divide the dough in half and set one half aside; cover it with a towel or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 10-inch round. Loosely drape the dough round over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Press the dough over the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim the edges to about 1/2-inch.

peach pie

Toss the fruit with the sugar, lemon, and cornstarch. Pile the fruit into the pie shell and dot with the butter. Roll out the reserved dough to a 9 to 10-inch round and lay it over the fruit. Trim, and crimp the edges. Cut 2 or 3 (2-inch) vents in the top of the pie and brush with the egg glaze. Put the pie on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling up through the vents, 50 to 60 minutes. Cover the edges with aluminum foil if they brown too fast. Cool on a rack before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

peach pie a la mode

Basic Pie Pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, zested and finely grated
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and ice water and work that in with your hands. (Or do the whole thing in a food processor, pulsing a couple of times to combine the dry ingredients, then pulsing in the butter, and then the egg.) Check the consistency of the dough by squeezing a small amount together between thumb and forefingers: You want there to be just enough moisture to bind the dough so that it holds together without being too wet or sticky. If it’s still crumbly, add a little more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time. When you get it to the right consistency, shape the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic. Put it in the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Yield: enough for 1 double-crust pie or crostata
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: none
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Ease of preparation: intermediate

comments: so the peach pie turned out pretty good, but i didn’t have blueberries so i just put more peaches. also, lots of people left comments on this recipe on the food network site saying to put more corn starch, so i put about 3 tbsp. the crust was pretty flaky. something about it wasn’t exactly what i imagine in my ideal peach pie though. maybe it was a little too tart, might have needed more sugar? next time if i use peaches of a similar tartness, i’ll put more sugar, and also add in the blueberries (see below).

anyway, here’s the nectarine and blueberry pie i made a week later:

nectarine & blueberry pie

i gotta say, this pie was better. the blueberries really make a difference. i used frozen blueberries since fresh blueberries are ridiculously expensive here. next time i will definitely make a peach blueberry pie instead of straight peach. i also added an extra 1/4 cup sugar since the nectarines were pretty tart. that seemed like the right amount – the pie wasn’t too tart or too sweet. the pie looks a little watery in the picture, but tasted fine; next time maybe needs a little more corn starch because of the frozen blueberries. i really liked this pie. it was goooooood. great crust, great textures, not too sweet, tasted great with the homemade vanilla ice cream.

i also used less water in this pie’s crust, so it was flakier than the first pie. i read something from atk (america’s test kitchen) that said their secret is to use vodka instead of water. adding too much water makes the dough form too much gluten i think, so it’s not nice and flaky. but having dry dough is hard to roll out (2nd pie was definitely harder to roll out). using vodka means you can add more liquid so it’s easier to roll, but there’s a high percentage of alcohol in it that cooks off when you bake the pie, so the crust is still flaky. next time if i pick up some vodka, i’ll have to try it.