Peach-BBQ Chicken

For dinner tonight I tried out a Pioneer Woman recipe.. I’ve never watched her show, but her Facebook posts spark some inspiration when I’m craving something new.

I tweaked this recipe based on what we had; boneless chicken thighs subbed for bone-in, the whiskey was omitted, and I used home canned peach jam from last summer.

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Mister doesn’t have any oven proof pans, so I transferred the browned chicken to a glass dish, built the sauce in the pan and let it cook. I added the chicken back to the pan, let it simmer for a bit before transferring it all back to the glass dish and baking it for about an hour and fifteen minutes at 325°.

It was easy, and the chicken was fork tender, tangy, sweet goodness. This is definitely getting added to the regular rotation. Yum.

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Ted’s Fish Fry

After six plus years in Albany, I finally had my first fish fry experience.

Mister and I had planned on getting ice cream to hold us over while out running errands but Kurver was closed (it looked closed, we didn’t actually confirm this) so after leaving Bensons Pet Center on Wolf Road we stopped at Ted’s Fish Fry next door.

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We shared the dinner special and mini hot dogs, our total was $17 and change which felt reasonable for the amount of food we got.

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The fish was so flaky on the inside and crispy; piping hot perfection.

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The mini dogs were Hembolds, but the bun to hot dog ratio was off. I had to check to confirm there was actual something other than meat sauce on the bun. It was fine, but wouldn’t order again. The fish and the New England clam chowder were worth repeating.
Where should I try next?

Trial and Error

As with apparently all my attempts, it takes a few tries and some outside help to perfect something.

On my previous post I solicited pancake recipes: Sarah came to my rescue with an easy, reliable recipe that true to her word was great.

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What recipes are in your repertoire on repeat? Those time tested, fork approved weekly favorites I know you all have.

I want to try them all.

Dinner on the Table

Back from the shipyard, back into a routine. I stopped at the grocery store before collapsing on the couch for a few hours to make sure there would be meals yesterday and today.

Mister’s work schedule is slightly later than out usual, so I took the opportunity to work on my cooking timing. To clarify I usually have the problem where my sides are getting cold and the meat is still raw. Or we’re all starving and waiting for the pasta water to boil.

But I’m improving.

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I started the rice first. It was brown rice, and I’m notoriously terrible at making rice. As in I always use instant rice. BUT I’m trying dear blog readers I promise, so this was real, brown rice. I cooked it with garlic powder and added a hearty helping of cheese at the end.

With the rice started, I put the Salmon in a semi preheated oven. It was wrapped in foil, with lemons, garlic, olive oil.

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Then I started prepping the next days dinner, made my lunch for work, and finally got going on the string beans when there was about 8 mins left on the fish and rice. They were simply quick steamed then sautéed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I’m getting much more diligent about salting food while cooking, and certainly noticing a difference.

Mister walked in the door at 615ish and about 5 minutes later we had dinner. I was a proud lady.

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Meals on the Mess Deck

Last night I arrived at a shipyard in Staten Island.

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The historic ship I am fortunate enough to work aboard is in dry dock, undergoing hull restoration. It felt surreal to run my hands along the massive, looming hull but at the same time, the bunks felt just like home. As soon as I rolled out my sleeping bag I imagined the measly Hudson River of Albany was just beyond the bulkhead.

The volunteers and staff participating in the restoration effort are inspiring. Almost every day they eat three meals together; a volunteer cook, a chaotic galley and some unwashed hands.

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And this morning I had my first experience with Spam. Spam and eggs on a World War II era historic ship being lovingly inhabited by volunteers. Is there a better way to start the day? (Edit: I loved the Spam.)

Recipe Request

Here’s a little Sunday morning query: do you have a favorite/reliable/family/standby pancake recipe?

I want to make an effort to add the basics to my repertoire. I can do pancakes. With your carefully time tested recipe.

French Pastries

It’s no secret I enjoyed the two classes I had taken at Gio Culinary Studio, so obviously I babbled about the deliciousness to everyone who would listen. Thankfully, I managed to intrigue a friend enough for her to try a class with me.

Last night we went to his French pastry class where we learned: French macarons from start to finish, the pastry cream and pate choux for eclairs, quick puff pastry and frangipane filling for galettes, and chocolate ganache.

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Eating the galettes warm from the oven was my absolute favorite part. Seriously, I couldn’t focus on anything other than the flaky pastry and almost molten hot almond-y filling.

I’ll say it again, Chef Gio is great at showing everything start to finish and answering the endless questions that pop up along the way. There is no bait and switch: what we helped form is what we ate, no television theatrics of swap outs necessary. I’m not a baker, but after this class I find myself dreaming of silicone mats and a food scale to facilitate future endeavors.

And then I woke up at 5 am this morning to run, followed by a very long walk in the rain with my dog to overcome to groggy butter coma I had awoken from this morning.
Bring on the weekend.

The Uglier The better

Last week I made homemade pizza. I thought I was doing a pretty good job, until people pointed out otherwise. I was determined to try again!

I decided for experiment number one I would make my own dough, there is no sense in playing with too many variables at once.
Jerry (of ) was over the top kind enough to share his dough recipe and followed up with answers to my many questions.

After investing in an instant read thermometer (Williams Sonoma, ~$20) and a pizza peel (Different Drummer Kitchen ~$35) I was ready to tackle this whole pizza dough thing.
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The dough was made a day ahead, so that I could calmly prep it and not feel rushed trying to put together dinner after work and before walking the dogs as per usual.

This is where one of my follow up questions with Jerry came in, and per his recommendation I let it rise before covering it and popping it in the fridge.  When it was pizza-making time, I took it out of the fridge about the same time I started preheating the oven and the pizza stone; giving both about 45 mins- hour to get themselves ready.

The first pizza to be made was a BBQ chicken pizza (BBQ Chicken, minced garlic, mozzarella cheese).  I used Rotisserie chicken as a shortcut, and I’m not ashamed.  Its important to figure out what time savers are worth it, look at the big picture of a homemade dinner!
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We stretched the dough and prepped the toppings on the pizza peel, and then slid the pizza onto the hot stone (without removing it from the oven!).  The first time we tried, it was difficult.  This whole shebang took some practice!

 

We split the rest of the dough into two smaller pizzas, Mister and I took the liberty of stretching, topping, and baking our own and these smaller ones were a bit easier to maneuver.  By the third pizza we were pros.

 

I admit, the dough was really good.  Better than store bought.  And the pizza stone/peel process was worth it.  The bottom on the pizzas were crisp enough to fold the slices (I’m from downstate, that is the only way to eat pizza), but the edges were still light and airy with little pockets where the dough had bubbled.  It made me seriously nostalgic for the pizza my mom used to make.
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Determined to perfect this process, these pizzas were by no means pretty. I was actually a little embarassed to photograph this helpless, yet delicious discs. But it is what it is, and they were great and we ate them.

 

 

Weekly Prep

Every Sunday I do my grocery shopping for the week, mentally and physically planning meals and snacks.
I added a new task to this weekly planning: vitamin prep.

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I’ve always been a casual vitamin taker, always having to take them with a meal to avoid nausea. I’m challenging myself to a month of daily vitamins to see if there are any noticeable changes.

Stay tuned for my pizza experiment part two. The dough has been made, and the pizza peel purchased. Considering doing a BBQ chicken pizza…any other suggestions for new toppings or combinations to try?