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Posted on Jun 5, 2012 in Food, Recipes | 23 comments

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

I know.

You take one look at the title of this dish and you say, “HOW much garlic?! Hey, I just met you and This is crazy!” It sounds intimidating. It sounds strange. But just bear with me, and I promise you will NOT be disappointed.

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One of the very first things I ever saw on the Food Network was the episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina Garten made Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic. It was the episode that first made me crave owning a dutch oven (a mission that was quite recently accomplished, thanks to my generous boyfriend) and the first recipe that made me actually WANT to cook with alcohol.

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I know that forty cloves sounds like a lot of garlic. I mean, it is. But in reality, I think this was really more like 32 cloves, and either way, it’s the least garlicky-tasting garlic dish you’ll ever taste. It’s not spicy, it’s not overpowering, it’s just… delicious. Like, I-want-to-eat-the-leftovers-for-breakfast delicious.

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I did make a few adjustments to Ms. Garten’s original recipe, of course. First of all, her recipe called for cognac. What kind of twenty-something just happens to have cognac laying around? Pass. Secondly, I absconded with the heavy cream that her recipe calls for, and thickened the sauce with just a little bit of flour near the end. Thirdly, I added onion where there was none, so that I can at least pretend there’s some sort of vegetable nutrition involved here. And lastly, her recipe calls for utilizing an entire, skin-on chicken, which I was not willing to butcher for the sake of this dish. So I went with a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead! No bones to eat around, nixing the skin also meant sparing myself a few more measly calories, and it was just so, so, so much easier.

Did I mention how EASY this dish is? The most labor-intensive part is peeling the garlic cloves (I smash them down with the flat side of my knife to pop them open, but use whatever method you prefer), and if you were feeling particularly lazy, you can even buy those huge jars of pre-peeled whole garlic cloves these days. No excuses. :)

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This would be a great meal to make for a family dinner night, or for a dinner party if you’re looking to impress. I mean, c’mon, even the name sounds fancy, doesn’t it? The end result is a savory, succulent, and moist chicken with a creamy (but without cream!) sauce to serve over it. It’s boyfriend-approved (the true test: he went back for seconds!) and is a real winner. And as a bonus, I can tell you that this dish will NOT give you garlic breath when you’ve finished demolishing it either. Win-win-win. ;)

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You could try making this recipe with chicken breast if you wanted to cut down on the fat even more, but I highly doubt it would turn out quite as good. Chicken breast just doesn’t hold up well under low-and-slow cooking, you know?

I served it up over rice last night, with green beans and corn on the cob as the sides. It would be great over any grain of your choice — rice, barley, quinoa — or with a side of pasta! Of course, it’s definitely substantial (and delicious!) enough to stand alone, too. Maybe just add a nice toasted piece of bread on the side to mop up all the leftover sauce? Mmmm.

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Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Print this recipe!

Inspired by this recipe.

Don’t be taken aback by the name: this succulent, savory dish is not as garlicky as you might think! By allowing the garlic to cook low and slow, it becomes soft, sweet, and tastes simply heavenly. Enjoy over rice, noodles, or on its own!

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 heads of garlic, cloves peeled
1 large white onion, halved and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine (like Chardonnay)
1 tablespoon dried thyme (or 2 tbsp fresh thyme)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or cornstarch
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Heat butter and oil in a large dutch oven or large pot to medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then sear in the pot for 3 – 4 minutes, allowing it to brown on both sides. Remove chicken and put it on a plate.

2. Reduce heat to medium and add whole garlic cloves and sliced onion. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme and cook until garlic has begun to get soft and onions are beginning to turn translucent, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add white wine and deglaze the pot, making sure to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken back into the pot, reduce heat to low-medium, and cover with lid. Cook for additional 18 to 20 minutes.

3. Remove the lid from the pot and spoon out about a quarter-cup of the liquid into a separate bowl. Add the tablespoon of flour and whisk together, then add back into the pot and mix. This will thicken up the liquid into a delicious sauce. Serve and enjoy!

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Nutritional info per 1/6th serving (1 chicken thigh + sauce): 199 calories, 8.9g fat, 8.4g carbs, 15g protein.

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Posted on Mar 12, 2012 in Food | 19 comments

Pick a Little, Talk a Little

I attempted to roast my first chicken on Friday. You would think that with three successful Thanksgiving turkeys under my belt, a little ol’ chicken wouldn’t be such a big deal, right? Well, that might have been true, but I was still pretty nervous about it.

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After all, I wasn’t going with my trusty, tried-and-true Good Eats Roast Turkey recipe (Alton Brown never fails me!). In fact, I was kind of winging it. And with this tiny bird sitting all lonely in my not-actually-a-roasting-pan, with too many recipes out there telling me all sorts of different things (baste it! bag it! butter! oil! 350*! 375*! oy!), I was worried that I would screw it all up.

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Of course, as it turned out, I had no reason to worry. I only ended up screwing it up a little bit! Hahaha.

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I put part of a yellow onion, half a lemon, and an entire head of garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Then, I mixed up an herbed butter (with an herb mix, salt, pepper, and onion powder) and put it in between the skin and meat, as well as all over the outside. As it turns out, trying to spread room temperature butter over a just-out-of-the-refrigerator-chicken? It is difficult. After much pawing at the poor bird, however, I sort of made it work. I sprinkled some more black pepper over top.

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Into a 350-degree oven I popped our dear friend, and this is where it got a little dicey. See, I am the Queen of Forgetting to Set the Kitchen Timer. So I had no idea how long the chicken had been in the oven when I thought to check on it (and pathetically faux-baste it with my broken basting brush). So I started poking around with a meat thermometer after a while, but with such a small bird I don’t think I was checking the right areas. I had been cooking my side dishes while the chicken was roasting, so once they were ready, my stomach was getting pretty impatient.

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So I pulled out the bird, knowing that it was probably too soon, and did a quick meat-check. Everything seemed hunky-dory! And to be fair, it was… at first. The first slices of breast meat were tender and moist, and the legs were cooked through. It was only once I cut down close to the breast bone that I had my “…oh.” moment. Yeeeeeah, not so much cooked. Oops. Luckily, I was only feeding Sean and myself, so we had eaten more than enough by the time we got down that far!

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At least it looked pretty good! Although I wish it had gotten a little more browned. Again, something that probably could have easily been accomplished had I not been so impatient, haha. Oh well, you live, you learn. I gotta get better about following recipes when it comes to things like… length of cooking time. I mean, people have been roasting chickens for decades. I’m pretty sure that by now they’ve got the whole “15 minutes per pound” equation down (or, you know, whatever the real equation is, hahaha).

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To be honest, this experience has taught me that while delicious, roasting a chicken takes a lot of time. To it’s credit, it was very easy. It’s not a matter of effort, just of patience. I will probably stick to picking up a cooked rotisserie chicken (or just dealing with chicken breasts) the next time I get a craving.

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Still, it’s something I’m definitely proud of attempting! And not only did it give me an excuse to make citrus green beans and mashed potatoes as sides, which is ALWAYS a good thing (I have the leftovers with me for lunch today, and am OMGSOEXCITED!), but I also made chicken stock for the first time with the remains! That was a fun experiment in and of itself. A few of my coworkers are always extolling the virtues and benefits of homemade broth, so I figured this was a great opportunity to play around. I’m not sure how beneficial it is yet, but it was tasty! Hopefully having flavorful stock on hand will help encourage me to get out of my cooking rut — I have been eating out A LOT lately!

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What is your best bird-roasting tip? Have you ever made your own stock/broth? Do you think it’s worth it?

PS: This Saturday, 3/17, is the DC Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon (as well as St. Patty’s Day, boyo!). Bloggers are coming down from far and wide to run it, and it’ll be my sister’s second half-marathon and my brother-in-law’s FIRST MARATHON! As for me? Well, I’ll be spectating my booty off. ;)

If you are running/spectating/just going to be around on that day, please come out and meet us for a blogger happy hour that evening! Whether you’re a blogger, reader, friend, or just general social-interactionist, you are more than welcome. Contact me at gretchen (at) honeyishrunkthegretchen.com for the details, and I hope to see you there!

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Posted on Mar 6, 2012 in Food | 21 comments

Adventures in West Korea

So in addition to book clubbin’ and the insane number of hours I have already sunk into playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 (nerd alert!), I did do a little culinary exploring over the weekend. While looking for a place to eat Saturday night, Sean and I stumbled across Bon Chon Chicken, which has incredible reviews on Yelp. A chain that started in New York (I think…?), Bon Chon is a Korean fast-casual joint that serves what Yelpers refer to as “crack chicken”. As in, the chicken is so good it’s like crack. With rave reviews like that, we knew we had to try it!

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Because the reviews also said that the wait is ridiculously long (right on the menu it states that the chicken takes 35 – 40 minutes to cook, and reviews all said to call and place your chicken order ahead of time), we decided to defer our chicken craving until the next day. We didn’t bother calling ahead since this was our very first time going, and didn’t really know what to expect. There are three Bon Chon locations in Virginia: one in Fairfax, one out in Centreville, and the one that we visited, which was in Annandale (also known as West Korea due to the insane number of Korean restaurants and businesses in this area). It’s clearly quite the local little gem, since even in all our mutually Whasian glory (he’s half-Korean and I, as you know, wave my half-Chinese flag high and proud), Sean and I were still the whitest people in there, haha.

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The restaurant is tucked away in a little strip mall off of Little River Turnpike (just like everything else in that area, haha). Reviews had said that the service was really bad and inattentive, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Of course, we went at noon on a Sunday, so I imagine that things get a little crazier on Friday and Saturday nights. We were seated in a booth immediately and put in our order. The chicken comes in two flavors — soy garlic or hot — and two cuts — wings or drumsticks. We ordered a combination so we got both wings and drumsticks in both flavors. Apparently, in other locations you can also get chicken tenders but the Annandale locale didn’t offer this.

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Now, I’ll be honest, it did take about 45 minutes for the chicken to come out. I’m not sure what cooking technique takes so long for, you know, fried chicken, but I will tell you that it is SO worth it. They’re not quite the same as traditional wings. They’re a little bit sweet, almost caramelized on the outside, but insanely good. The chicken is super crisp on the outside but incredibly moist inside. The hot flavor is really pretty hot (they’re not blazing, set-fire-to-your-nostrils-hot, but it builds!) and had me sniffling pretty quickly, but very delicious. And the soy garlic? NOM. I liked the wings slightly better than the drumsticks in terms of cut.

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We speculated that they must have some sort of air-injection technique or something that separates the skin from the meat for extra crispness, which would explain why it takes so long to prepare. And if you need proof, just look at the amount of space between the two in the picture above!

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Each order of chicken is served with a bowl of pickled radish, which I enjoyed since it helped cool down my tongue after eating a couple of the spicy ones. We definitely had some left over, and ended up polishing them off for dinner (with a big bowl of brussels sprouts for me as well. Balance, right? HA.) They obviously weren’t quite as good as getting them fresh, but they held up pretty well. Our experience at Bon Chon definitely made converts out of us! I am still thinking about that damn chicken two days later, so I definitely get the crack analogy. We now know to take everyone’s advice and call ahead to place an order for the chicken, especially now that we know what we like. Even just remembering to call when you get in the car could save you 10 – 15 minutes of wait time, or more if it’s particularly busy.

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Our run in Little Korea wasn’t quite over yet though. Since we were already in Annandale, I insisted on taking Sean to Shilla Bakery, a Korean bakery that I had only been introduced to myself a few weeks before by my friends Michael & Erik (hi guys!). Shilla also has a few locations spread out over Northern Virginia, and reminds me of the Chinese bakeries from Taiwan that I miss so much.

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I picked up a few buns and whatnot to take back with me, but what I was really there for was the Boba. Boba milk tea, or pearl milk tea, is a drink that originated in Taiwan and is the single thing that I miss most about living in Taipei. It has tapioca “pearls” in the drink, hence the name. I still have yet to find a really good pearl milk tea place here, but Shilla’s frozen versions are pretty darn delicious.

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It’s not quite the un-frozen nai cha (Chinese for “milk tea”) that I yearn for, but it’s good. I don’t know if I’ll ever stray from the good old-fashioned black tea flavor (sooooo good!) but they come in pretty much every possible flavor you could think of at Shilla, if that’s your thing. Our venture into Northern Virginia’s little piece of Korea certainly left me content.

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Have you ever had Korean fried chicken before? Or pearl milk tea? If not, I suggest you hightail it to the nearest Korean shopping center (c’mon, every place has ‘em!) and try them out for yourself!

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Posted on Sep 1, 2011 in Daily Eats, Food | 4 comments

Daily Eats – 9/1/2011

This ain’t going to be pretty, what with the iPhone pics and all, but in dedication to me Septembering my resolve, I figured I had better throw a Daily Eats post up stat. Behold!

Breakfast


Banana – 70 calories

Plus an unpictured slice of whole wheat toast (100 cal) with <1 tbsp PB (~80 cal) and 1 tbsp organic strawberry preserves (30 cal)

Snack


5 dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) – 175 calories

Lunch


Homemade veggie taco salad with vegan soy protein crumbles and a salsa + greek yogurt dressing (~350 cal)


1 serving (9 chips) Krinkle-cut Kettle chips – 150 cal

Snack


1 tbsp PB (100 cal) and 6 celery sticks (5 cal)


Oh Nuts! Dried fruit mix from HLS swag bag – Not sure of calories so I’ll guess conservatively. ~200 maybe?

Dinner


1/2 cup rotini pasta (~100 cal) with 2 pieces squash (10 cal) and a small grilled chicken breast (about 3 oz; ~150 cal)

Dessert


A disgusting-looking but rather tasty winged attempt at microwaved Nutella cake a la Cassie. I reeeeeally need to stick to recipes, hahaha – ~250 cal.

Total: 1,770 calories

Not too bad. Not great, but not too bad. Onward!

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Posted on May 17, 2011 in Daily Eats, Food | 6 comments

Daily Eats – 5/17/11

Breakfast

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Cereal
- 3/4 cup Kashi Heart to Heart Blueberry (150 calories)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (70 calories)
- 1 cup almond milk (60 calories)
- 1 cup strawberries (53 calories)

Morning Snack

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Apple (~70 calories)

Lunch

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Flax-breaded chicken tenders
- 4 oz. chicken tenders (187 calories)
~ 4 tbsp flaxseed meal (120 calories)
~ 1/2 tbsp olive oil (60 calories)

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4 spears of asparagus – not the entire portion pictured (13 calories)

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~1 oz Annie’s shells & cheese; not the entire portion pictured (108 calories)

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Popchips! (100 calories)

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10 baby carrots (40 calories)

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Cookie. Cookiecookiecookie. (220 calories – AHH!)

Dinner

No picture necessary, since I’m just eating the rest of the asparagus (3 spears: 10 calories) and mac & cheese (2 oz: 216 calories) that I didn’t finish for lunch! Simple enough, right? After such a HUGE lunch (I was RAVENOUS, I don’t know what came over me!) I guess that’s good though, right? Aiming for that whole big breakfast, normal lunch, small dinner inverted triangle? It’s a little bit closer at least!

Total calories: 1,476 calories. Plus a teeny nut butter finger or two… so we’ll round up to 1500 just to be conservative. But details on that to come tomorrow. GLEE NATIONALS TONIIIIIIGHT!! :)

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