Tag Archives: chicken

Adobo Throwdown!

24 May

Last weekend, I participated in an Adobo Throwdown. For the uninitiated, Adobo is a Spanish word that refers to multiple different kinds of spices, dishes or rubs, but in this instance it refers specifically to a Filipino dish made with chicken or pork and stewed in vinegar, garlic, sugar, soy and pepper. It’s funny because adobo can refer to either the Spanish dish or the Filipino dish. It all dates back to the Spanish invasion and occupation of the Philippines back in 1500-whatever.

So-my fiance is Filipino. Sort of.

Anders the Red!

No one ever believes us because of how he looks – plus he’s 6’5. It’s strange, because his Grandmother is full Filipino which makes Anders 25% – and my Grandfather is full Greek which makes me 25% Greek – but I consider myself much more Greek than Anders considers himself Filipino. I don’t know if this is because my father’s family kept the Greek Orthodox religion and thus all of the traditions and language and food, whereas (from what I can tell) Anders’ family’s Filipino ties are his Grandmother and her adobo. I’m really not sure what the difference is, I just think it’s interesting.

A few years ago, I asked Anders’ Grandmother for her adobo recipe. I honestly didn’t think she would give it to me, but she did! I’ve been making it for Anders and various friends for the past 4-5 years. A few weeks ago I heard about this Adobo Throwdown via Twitter. One of my favorite San Francisco food carts, AdoboHobo, entered, so I decided to. I mean, hey. I had the recipe, and it was pretty good! Plus I thought it might be a nice way to honor Anders and his family. I had to name my adobo recipe, so I named it for his family.

My application was accepted, the day came, and I made 20 pounds of chicken adobo in 5 pound batches. I borrowed a gigantic pot from my father to hold all of that chicken, and Anders and I made our way to the competition site in a taxi.

We get there (this is going to sound super-racist) and we appear to be the only white people competing. (Side note: this wasn’t true. There was one other white competitor, she just wasn’t in my kitchen area). I IMMEDIATELY feel out of place, and we both start freaking out. I have to keep my freak out under control though, because I’m carrying a vat of chicken and I came there to COMPETE dammit, and that’s what I was going to do. Anders starts to mention that maybe we should just leave the chicken and run. There is a part of me that feels this is a good idea, but the other more rational part knows that I made 20 pounds of chicken and I said I was going to show up and there is a sign bearing my name and the name of my adobo, and I am not going anywhere. So we just start doling out the adobo and try to ignore the fact that we feel really out of place and unprepared.* All I brought with me was adobo, but lots of contestants had fancy garnishes, dishes, accompaniments, and decorations for their booth. I had NOTHING! I felt like such a slacker.

My face says, oh shit. (That's my adobo vat in the back to the left).

After sticking it out, a magical thing starts to happen. People begin to tell me that they LOVE my adobo! They ask me where I learned, and I tell them about Anders and his Grandmommy. They ask if Anders is still in the picture, and I tell them that Anders is the big bearded guy helping me serve adobo. They all stare in confusion, and it’s pretty funny.

I have to prepare a sample dish for the judges, and though the competition organizers said they would have rice for participants, they are out of rice. I have to use old crappy rice for my sample dish.

I also have to tell the judges and the crowd about the adobo and the ingredients I used. This is totally nerve wracking for me, and I rarely get stage fright!

I know, I'm a big giant bag lady.

I make it through. We go back to my station, wait on more rice, and continue serving the adobo. More and more people are telling me how much they like it, and I’m starting to feel a little bit better.

Towards the end of the competition while we are waiting for the winners to be announced, the real surprise comes. There are two competitions – the taster’s choice, and the judge’s choice, for a total of six prizes. I win third place in the taster’s choice competition! I am SO surprised. So are the people giving me my prize!

What is this girl doing here? (I'm not sure).

Buuut I win them over with my irresistible charm.

I don't know why this was my first instinct.

Sometime during or between these pictures one of the lovely ladies told me that I could marry a Filipino boy now. I just laughed. I was way too flabbergasted to say that I kind of am. ❤

Accepting my prize!

Anders told me later that he didn’t snap any pictures of me (these are from the event’s photo page) because he didn’t think I would win and as a result didn’t get the camera from me! That’s ok. I didn’t think I would win anything, either.

I am so honored to have won anything. I have my little plaque in my kitchen in Boston, and it’s so awesome to think that I make anything that I can really call award winning! It wasn’t really me, though. It was Susan, Ander’s grandmommy, who gave me that recipe so I feel like it belongs more to her than to me. Without her, or without Anders, I wouldn’t have won anything at all.

Now I know you’re salivating for the recipe. I normally wouldn’t have a problem giving it to you, but Anders is super-protective of it. I gave it to a friend once and he was SO MAD! So, what I will say is this.

Always use dark meat chicken. The award winning batch I made had chicken thighs with the skin and the bone on.

Cover your chicken pieces in water.

Use 1 part vinegar.

1/2 – 1 part soy sauce.

1/2  part sugar.

LOTS of garlic

and black pepper.

Boil until you have about an inch of sauce, and serve over white rice.

❤ Stef

*I know you’re probably wondering why I thought a FILIPINO food competition wouldn’t be populated mostly by Filipinos. I thought it was a competition put on by the Art Institute’s new International Culinary School, where the competition was held. It was actually part of the Asian Culinary Forum’s 2010 Symposium, and they had borrowed/rented the facilities at AI. That said, it was an awesome experience. It also made me think about race-something no one ever wants to talk about. People in my class at BC will sympathize, because we spend a lot of time talking about race. But the competition did make me wonder about my minority status within that particular gathering. Do I, as a white person, never consider race because mine is the dominant one (within the US)? Are my feelings of awkwardness, of “not-belonging” experienced more often by people of other races when confronted with mostly white people? Food for thought, ladies and gents.

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Recipe: Chicken Pho

3 Apr

I am a Pho lover. LOVER. I eat mine with hoisin, basil and lots of lime. I typically get the rare beef stuff when I get it out (because I like my meat to be nearly raw) but I make chicken pho when I’m at home.
This isn’t my recipe, sadly. It is the first one I found when I looked up “Chicken Pho Recipe” on google a few months ago. You can find the original on Food and Wine’s website.
I want to mention a few things about this recipe before I get into all the messy stuff. First, you have to be prepared to spend at least 3 hours on this recipe if you follow the instructions and make the broth from scratch. You don’t have to do it that way, in fact I usually don’t. If you decide that you are lazy, you can use regular chicken broth and simmer it with chopped boneless, skinless chicken, the roasted veggies, salt, and sugar for like 30 – 45 minutes.
Second, if you decide to go all out and make the chicken broth, you will need either a whole chicken or a whole chicken already cut into pieces. If you don’t have very good knife skills, don’t have sharp knives, or are altogether unfamiliar with chopping up whole chickens, I suggest you buy the chicken already in pieces or have your butcher chop it up for you. Eventually I’ll write a blog about knife skills, but until then, I’d prefer if no one loses a finger. Capiche?
Good.
Ingredients:
2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
3 1/2 inch thick slices of ginger, smashed
4 qt water
One 3.5 lb chicken
1 TB salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 C fish sauce (do not be afraid of fish sauce!)
1 lb dried rice noodles
Garnish (all of this stuff is optional):
mung bean sprouts
basil leaves
lime
jalapeno
chili-garlic sauce
hoisin sauce
First quarter the onion and smash the ginger, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
While the veggies are roasting, quarter the chicken (if you need to). First remove the chicken insides from the cavity. The chicken insides include the liver, heart, and neck, among other things. There they are, in the bowl in the back!
Now cut the entire chicken in half lengthwise. Yeeeah, raw chicken insides, woo!
Now cut each of these chicken halves in half again. I find it easier to flip them skin side up for this part.
There should be a picture of this, but I forgot and by the time I remembered the chicken was already boiling away. Oops.
Remember to always wash your hands when you handle poultry!
Now we are going to make a chicken insides bundle using cheesecloth and the chicken innards. This will be awesome for the chicken broth. First cut a length of cheesecloth.
Put all of the innards into the middle of the cloth. If you have any frozen innards from previous chickens, use those too. Yes, I save chicken giblets. You should, too.
Wrap the cheesecloth around the innards to make a bundle. I use thread to stitch it up very loosely, but kitchen twine or anything like that would work just as well.
Take the roasted veggies from the oven. Mmmm, don’t they look amazing?
Put all of the veggies, the chicken pieces, the innard and cheesecloth bundle, the salt, the sugar, and the water in a big soup pot and put it on the stove over medium high heat for 30 minutes. The idea is to cook the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the pot and separate the meat from the skin and the bones.
Put the skin and the bones back into the pot, and the meat in the refrigerator. Simmer the broth for 2 hours. Strain the broth using a colander and a very big bowl. This bowl was not big enough. I burned my finger. Use a very, very big bowl. And your common sense.
Return the strained broth to the soup pot and set to boil for a further 20 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce. Bubbly bubbly.
While you wait, soak the rice noodles in warm water for 15 minutes. This time may be different, depending on the noodles that you bought, so make sure you read the instructions on the box.
After the noodles are done soaking, drain the water, and add new salted water to the noodles. Bring the noodles to a boil, and then allow them to boil for about 3 minutes. Drain them.

Shred the chicken into the broth and simmer until heated.
Serve by putting a big bunch of noodles into a bowl, and then pouring the broth and the chicken over the noodles. Serve the soup with your choice of condiments listed above.
Yum! The best thing about making this recipe is that you have pho for days. Just make sure not to mix the noodles with the broth when you store it, otherwise the noodles will get all soggy.

❤ Stef

Recipe: Chicken, Pea Shoot and Fennel Soup

13 Mar


I invented this in a moment of brilliance. To be honest, I’m not really sure what I was thinking. I had a bunch of veggies from my produce box, and I knew I wanted to use the pea shoots. They were getting wilty.
So, I threw a bunch of ingredients together and as I was chopping onion and meditating on the flavor of the pea shoot, I thought to myself, “Hm. I should put some fennel in this!” So I did. And it was good.

Serves 2.
Ingredients:
1/2 LB of chicken breast, boneless/skinless, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed and diced
1 large bunch of pea shoots, enough for 2 cups, leaves and outer stems ONLY**
1 TB fennel leaves
1/4 C dry sherry (you can leave this out if you prefer)
5 C chicken broth
1 TB olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

**Note about pea shoots:
Pea shoots consist of three parts–the stalks, the leaves, and the outer shoot. The outer shoots are the bits with the leaves attached. The only parts you want to eat are the leaves and the outer shoots. The stalk is way too tough. Believe me, I tried to eat it! Strip the stalk of the shoots and leaves, then roughly chop them.

Directions:
Chop all of the vegetables and the chicken. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the diced onions and garlic and heat until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock and the fennel and bring to a boil. When the stock is boiling, add the pea shoots. Let boil for about 3 minutes, then add the sherry and turn off the heat. Check seasonings, and add salt and pepper.

Recipe: Winter Chicken Pot Pie

6 Mar

Oh no! I nearly forgot all about my weekly DinnerLove recipe post. Lucky for you I have remembered just in time!
I call this “winter” chicken pot pie because I use a wintery vegetable mix of leek, carrot and potato instead of your basic pot pie veggies like corn and peas. This is yet another recipe of mine in which cream sauce plays a vital role. I’m telling you, all you need is a basic cream sauce recipe and you can make nearly anything.

1 pre-made pie crust (say what you will. I use pre-made crust because it is EASY.)
1/2 LB skinless, boneless chicken, light or dark, depending on your taste
2 small or 1 medium leek, cleaned, split and chopped
1 C chopped carrot, around 2 large carrots
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 large clove garlic, or enough for 2-3 tsp, chopped
2 tsp salt
ground pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 TB butter
1 TB flour
1 C milk

Pre-heat the oven to 350˚.
Melt the butter in a pot on the stove. Add the garlic and leek, saute 5 min. Add the potatoes, carrot, and about 1/4 C of water. Lower heat to medium, cover, and cook for 10 min.
While you wait for the veggies to cook, dice the chicken. Add the chicken, rosemary, and thyme. Cook for 5 min. Add the flour, stir to coat, and add the milk. Let the sauce thicken at medium heat for about 5-10 min, until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add the salt and the ground pepper. Pour the mixture into a pie plate (or a medium-sized casserole dish) and cover with the pie crust. Flute the edges and cut several vents into the top of the crust. Put into a 350˚ oven for 40 min.
The crust should be golden brown and slightly crispy. Make sure you let the pot pie sit for at least 10 min before you cut into it because it is going to be very hot. If you can’t wait (I never can!) just be very careful. Getting your mouth (or hands) burned is no fun at all. Other than that, enjoy!

If you have any questions about this recipe, feel free to contact me!

Recipe: One Pot Roasted Chicken & Potatoes

27 Feb

This is an awesome one pot meal idea. My boyfriend always yells at me for using multiple pots when I cook (in my kitchen, I cook and he cleans!) so I created this specifically to use only one pot. The chicken is first seared in the pan and then finished in the oven with a liquid. I use beer–but you can use broth if you don’t want to use alcohol.
A quick note about chicken–I used boned and skinned legs and thighs for this recipe. You can use any chicken cut that you like, but be aware that the cooking and searing times will be lessened if you use a skinless and/or boneless cut. In addition, white meat cooks much faster than dark meat. So, for example, if you were to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you would want to cut the searing and cooking times in half. I would sear the breasts for 1-2 minutes, remove to a plate, cook the veggies as directed for 30 min in the oven, and then add the chicken breasts when you add the flour and cook another 30 min.

Ingredients:
– 2 legs and 2 thighs, with skin and bones
-Small yellow potatoes, cubed, enough for about 1-1.5 C
-2 medium to large carrots, cut into sticks
-1 TB olive oil
-2 tsp rosemary
-1 tsp thyme
-1 TB crushed garlic
-1/2 C of beer, an ale, I used Newcastle
-1 tsp salt
-pepper to taste
-1 TB flour

Directions:

Heat oven to 350˚.

You will need a pan that can be used both in the oven and on the stovetop.

Put the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic in a dutch oven on the stove. Turn heat to medium and saute the garlic. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and sear for 5-10 minutes. We want te skin to get nice and crispy!
While the chicken is browning, cube the potatoes and the carrots. Add to the chicken, along with the rosemary, thyme and beer. Turn off the heat. Cover the dutch oven and put in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take out and uncover. Add the flour and stir (as much as is possible, we just want to evenly distribute the flour). Put back in the oven uncovered for another 30 minutes. Take out of the oven, check seasonings, plate, and enjoy!