Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Pot Meal: Spicy Asian Chicken and Rice

We are slightly unorthodox when it comes to meals during the week. We tend to have a bigger lunch (and several smaller meals through the day) and no formal dinner. We prefer not to have a large meal at the end of the day, and there isn't much time for me to cook at night, anyway. I do cook dinner on the weekends, but we try to be sitting down to eat by 5 or 5:30pm. This was a meal I'd planned for a Sunday night, but when my husband ended up having to work, and I had an exhausting day chasing our son around, I pushed it off until Monday.

I was so happy to see how quickly this dish came together while our son had his dinner, and my husband was able to finish it off while I put our son to bed. I was really impressed with how flavorful the dish is - though it didn't end up being very spicy for us. You may want to leave in the jalapeno seeds or add some cayenne to the chicken if you want an extra burst of spice.


This quick one pot meal boasts a ton of flavor is easy enough for a busy weeknight.

One Pot Meal: Spicy Asian Chicken and Rice

One Pot Meal: Spicy Asian Chicken and Rice

Source: Reworded from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations
Yield: Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • sesame seeds, optional
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven
  2. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; add to pan and cook 3 min per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos to pan; saute 3 minutes.
  4. Add rice, stir 1 min to toast the rice.
  5. Combine the broth, soy sauce, and hoisin in a small bowl or measuring cup; add to pan.
  6. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat, and return chicken to pan (nestled into the rice). Top with broccoli florets, cover and cook over low heat (make sure it's still lightly simmering) approximately 15 minutes or until rice and chicken are cooked through, and the liquid has absorbed.
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Irish Trinity Cake

My brother's birthday falls around Saint Patrick's Day, and every year we celebrate with a corned beef dinner. Traditionally, he has always asked for a marble cake with chocolate frosting, but this year I suggested something different.

I thought this cake would be a welcomed departure from tradition, because what's not to like? Guinness chocolate cake, Jameson tinted ganache filling, and Bailey's frosting: an Irish (holy) trinity. Forever, and even, amen.

This is a fantastically rich cake with bold flavor that is perfect for any Saint Patrick's Day celebration!

Irish Trinity Cake

Irish Trinity Cake

Source: Adjusted from Beantown Baker/Smitten Kitchen
Yield: One 3-layer 8" or 9" cake
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours

For the cake:
  • 2 cups Guinness
  • 2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder (dutch processed preferred)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream

  • For the ganache filling:
  • 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey (optional)

  • For the frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature (3 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish cream (can subsitute milk or cream)
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8" or 9" cake pans*. Bring Guinness and butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.
  3. Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine.
  4. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among cake pans, filling about 2/3 of the way full.
  6. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes on a rack completely.
  7. For the ganache filling:
  8. Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined.
  9. For the frosting:
  10. Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar.
  11. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.
  12. Assembly:
  13. Level cake layers with a large serrated knife. Pipe a ring of frosting around the edge of the first layer to build a dam for the ganache. Spread a thick layer of ganache over the top of the layer.
  14. Repeat with second layer, then top the with the third cake layer.
  15. Frost outside of the cake with remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

*I only have two pans; you can bake 2 cakes, cool slightly and remove one from the pan, cool the pan and then bake the third.

Cakes can be baked one or two weeks in advance, and stored in the freezer, well wrapped. They do not need to be thawed before assembly, but the cake should then sit at room temperature for several hours before serving.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tostones (fried plantains) with Creamy Garlic Cilantro Dip for a Virtual Baby Shower

I am so excited to be bringing you this recipe today, because it was made for a very special friend, Krystal, from Mrs. Regueiro's Plate. Krystal is a fellow Gleek, and the inspiration behind my Glee Cupcakes series. Today, I'm participating in a virtual baby shower for Krystal, who is expecting her first little one (appropriately nicknamed "Cookie") with her husband, Eric, in just 2 short months! As a tribute to their heritage, all the recipes for this baby shower will be inspired by the Filipino or Cuban cultures. IMG_0018cI've been dying to make fried plantains, or tostones, since I discovered them during my brief stint at Columbia University. I spent one fabulous semester of graduate school up in Washington Heights, where a local restaurant, El Malecon, serves up the best chicken (and fried plantains) around. Krystal's baby shower finally gave me the occasion that I needed to take the plunge and try to make them at home. IMG_0005c

These crisp fried plantains are a treat in and of themselves, but when paired with a cool, tangy, creamy dip - they are out of this world!

Tostones (fried plantains) with Creamy Garlic Cilantro Dip
Tostones (friend plantains) with Creamy Garlic Cilantro DipSource: Adapted from GoodVeg
Yield: Serves 2-4 as appetizers
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 2 green plantains
  • 1-4 cups canola or safflower oil
  • sea salt
  • 4-5 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 cup sour cream or plain low fat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 green onion, roughly chopped
  • pinch salt
  • pinch fresh cracked pepper


  1. To make the garlic dip: Add roasted garlic, sour cream/greek yogurt, cilantro, green onions, and lime juice to a food processor or blender. Process until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill until tostones are ready.
  2. To peel the plantains: Start by running a paring knife 3-4 times along the length of the plantain, only going deep enough to slice the thick skin. Peel away the skin of the plantains.
  3. Slice the plantains, on the bias, about 1/4 inch thick.  Place slices in a bowl of lightly salted water to prevent browning before cooking.
  4. Heat 1 to 4 cups oil (depending on the size of your cooking vessel) in a large pan over medium high heat (oil should reach 350-375 degrees F). Dry the plantains and carefully add to the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry the plantains 2-4 minutes on each side, then remove to a plate lined with paper towel.
  5. Carefully press the plantains between two sheets of wax paper, using a tortilla press, or the bottom of a large glass. Fry the smashed plantains another 1-2 minutes in the hot oil.
  6. Sprinkle with sea salt, and enjoy!