French 75

March 23, 2013

French75lowresWe're not francophiles per se. We don't have Eiffel tower images as our computer desktop backgrounds or provence lavender bath salts, but we do appreciate most things French.

The French 75, or Soixante Quinze, was apparently named for a French field gun known for its kick and invented in a Paris bar in 1915. It's a crisp, not-too-tart-not-too-sweet cocktail that has become our new favorite.

It has four ingredients and can by varied by using cognac or vodka (which is called a French 76) instead of gin.

We like the gin version best and highly recommend it as a tasty spring drink.

Rating: Truly 1/2 assed

Here's what you need and how you do it

1 ounce (shot) gin

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1-2 teaspoons simple syrup or very fine sugar

Champagne, prosecco, or other sparkling white wine

Lemon peel for twist (optional)

In a shaker with ice mix gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Pour into glass. Top with champagne and add twist. Here's a succinct video on how to make a lemon or lime twist:

Halibut with shallot-parsley relish

January 31, 2013

Halibut

Here's an antidote to the nachos, chips and dip, and chicken wings so many of us will be wolfing down this Sunday. A tender, flaky white fish topped with fresh shallots and parsley. It's easy, it's tasty, and it's relatively healthy.

The parsley tempers the richness of the oil and wine and the fish, when cooked quickly at a high temperature, retains its succelence.

If halibut is too pricey, go ahead and use any white fish your family enjoys such as sole, cod, or orange roughy.

Cook up some rice or potatoes to serve alongside the fish, add a salad and you're done. This recipe serves two, so double if you'll be serving four.

Rating: Truly 1/2 assed

Here's what you need and how you do it

12 ounces of halibut or other white fish, skin removed, rinsed, patted dry

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, washed and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced (or a teaspoon of the pre-minced variety)

2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter or oil, such as canola or grapeseed

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

Splash of white wine

Salt

Pepper

In a large skillet (iron works best) heat 1 teaspoon butter or oil on moderate-high.

Season fish with salt and pepper. Add fish to skillet and sear on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Then lower heat, cover and continue to cook the rest of the way through (you'll want to keep checking to make sure you don't overcook. Fish will be done when just flaky on the inside, but not gooey).

In the meantime, on medium heat, warm the rest of the oil in another skillet. Add shallot and garlic. Cook until softened. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper, then a splash of white wine. Cook until wine has mostly reduced (just a couple minutes tops). Remove from heat.

Serve halibut topped with relish.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

English Toffee

December 17, 2012

EnglishToffee

Imagine our horror and surprise when we realized how simple English toffee is to make. Egads! It's just been added to our holiday baking rotation because it's so incredibly easy and also meltingly rich and delicious. We are SCREWED! But also, yum.

Rating: 1/4 assed

Here's what you need and how you do it

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups butter or Earth Balance margarine (preferably soy-free as we've heard soy can give the toffee a bit of an aftertaste, but regular will work, too).

6 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate, or the equivalent in semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chopped nuts such as almonds, macadamia, pecans, or walnuts (optional)

Special equipment: candy thermometer

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt butter and add sugar. Stir. Stir and stir and stir. This could go on for twenty minutes, so have your phone or a book handy. When the mixture gets thick and foamy, clip your candy thermometer to the pan. Make sure your butter/sugar is up to 300 degrees, or the "hard crack" stage.

Then pour onto a buttered cookie sheet or into a shallow baking dish (the cookie sheet will make removal easier).

While the toffee is cooling, heat chocolate in the microwave at 1/2 heat for about thirty seconds. Stir, then repeat if necessary to melt the chocolate. You don't want to heat it too high or too much or it will turn lumpy and grainy.

When toffee has cooled some but isn't rock hard, top with chocolate. If you let the toffee turn too hard, the chocolate will slide right off at room temp. Still delicious, but not the effect we're going for.

Top with chopped nuts and let cool.

When it has cooled, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container (if any makes it that far).

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Pepper wedges with goat cheese and asparagus

December 11, 2012

HalfAssedHolidayAppsThese festive little apps are freaking great! We snagged this savory hors' d'oeuvres recipe from Sunset magazine (and modified it a teensy bit). We often find their concoctions too complex for our lazy brains and fumbling hands, but pepper wedges with goat cheese and asparagus felt just right.

If you have a Trader Joes near you, try to buy their mini bell peppers for this, but if you're TJs-less or the store near you isn't carrying the small peppers, you can also use regular-sized bell peppers cut into wedges.

The last party we took these to, every last morsel was gobbled up in record time.

Asparagus peppers

 

Rating: Truly 1/2 assed

Here's what you need and how you do it

16 mini peppers, or three regular red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, cut into wedges

8 ounces asparagus spears, tough ends removed, chopped

1 Tablespoons olive, canola or grapeseed oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably coarse

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pinch red chili flakes (optional, but delish)

1/2 cup fresh goat cheese

Preheat broiler to 450 degrees with rack set in top third of oven.

Toss peppers and asparagus in 1 Tablespoon of oil and spread onto rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning often, until starting to soften and brown slightly. About six minutes.

In a food processor, whirl garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, chili flakes, and goat cheese until just combined.

Spoon a small amount of cheese mixture onto each pepper wedge and top with asparagus. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tablespoon oil.

Serve warm or room temperature.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Scrambled eggs and tomatoes

November 13, 2012

Eggsandtomatos

We recently spent a week in China, during which we ate a lot of eggs and tomatoes (a recognizable dish with no head attached. Score!).

It's delicious and super easy, too. We made up our minds to recreate it when we arrived home and so, now that our jetlag has subsided, we've found our way back to the kitchen.

Rating: Truly half assed (maybe even 1/3 assed!)

Here's what you need and how you do it:

Canola or grapeseed oil

Six to eight eggs

2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped (or the equivalent cherry tomatoes)

5 green onions/scallions, sliced

1 green bell pepper, diced (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

In a wok or skillet, heat oil to medium-high. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork. Add eggs to hot pan and stir constantly until cooked. Transfer eggs to a plate.

Add a little more oil to the pan if you need it. Then, toss in tomatoes and green peppers. Sauté until tomatoes have given up some of their water (about 3 to 5 minutes) and peppers have softened a little. Add eggs back into pan and add green onions, salt, and pepper. Stir until cooked through.

Serves 4.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

World’s Best Chicken?

September 14, 2012

Worldbestchickencooked

We recently came across this recipe on Pinterest for "World's Best Chicken", originating from the website of one Rachel Schultz. We thought: We like chicken. We have these ingredients. We need an idea for dinner tonight. So we set about making World's Best Chicken.

It was easy. So, so easy. And it was tasty, yes. Definitely a solid recipe. But was it world's best?

Let's answer this way:

Did it involve a generous splash of wine? No.

Did it mind-wateringly meld never before thought of combinations of delectable ingredients such as cotton candy (we once had cotton candy at a Seattle restaurant served atop fish and it sticks in our mind as a subtle, yet ingenius amalgam of flavor), cocoa, or bacon? Uh uh.

Did we have to close our eyes while chewing so we could properly bask in the brilliant piquancy of the dish? Not quite.

So, no world's best. But good. Yes, very good.

And 1/4 assed! Hooray!

Worldsbestchickenraw
This is it before it went into the oven

 

Here's what you need and how you do it

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut chicken breasts in half, or thirds vertically. Use the thin sliced chicken breasts if you can and you may skip this step.

Spray 9×13 baking pan with oil and spread chicken out along pan.

In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and red wine vinegar. Pour atop the chicken. Sprinkle with plenty of salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 4.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Cajun shrimp with creamy polenta

August 23, 2012

Cajunshrimpcreamypolenta

This easy and spicy/comforting dinner is a recipe we threw together after fifteen minutes of gazing into our cupboards and fridge, groaning that we didn't know what to cook. Cajun shrimp was born as a happy accident and we've prepared it reliably two or three times since.

Rating: 3/4 assed (chopping)

Here's what you need and how to do it:

For the polenta

1 cup cornmeal

4 cups veggie or chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)

1 teaspoon fresh chives if you have them

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup sour cream or sour cream alternative

For the shrimp

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pre-cooked sausage such as Aidell's, sliced

1 to 1-1/2 pounds shrimp/prawns, peeled, deveined and pre-cooked (with or without tails)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

Cajun seasoning to taste

Cooking oil for pan (we use Grapeseed, but olive or canola will work fine)

Prepare polenta by bringing chicken broth to a low boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add salt and pepper. Add cornmeal and whisk to break up lumps. Add herbs, lower heat to a simmer and stir frequently.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil, onion, green pepper, and garlic until vegetables are softened. Add shrimp, sausage, salt, pepper and cajun seasoning and stir to coat. Heat until all ingredients are warmed through.

When polenta is creamy and no longer gritty, spoon onto plate and top with dollop of sour cream. Over the top or along side, dish up shrimp/sausage combo.

Serve with a green salad.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Kale slaw with walnuts and feta

July 21, 2012

Kaleslaw

We're thinking of retitling our blog "Another Kale Salad". We're always looking for delicious ways to bring more leafy greens into our diet, and this salad, if we do say so ourselves, is a home run. We copy catted it from a version we got at a local deli and are really happy with how it turned out.

Its only downfall is the chopping. We're so dog tired of cutting things up that we're considering bringing out our vegetable chopper, one that we put away years ago in favor of a nice knife that's supposed to be super sharp but rarely is.

Anyhoo, when you're in the mood for some whole foods and can't find pre-cut bagged lettuce in the fridge, give this a shot. It serves quite a few and goes over well at a party.

Rating: 3/4 assed

Here's what you need and how you do it

1-2 heads of kale, washed and thick spines removed, sliced into strips

1/2 tart apple such as fuji or braeburn (we hate fruit in green salads so opted to replace the apple with jicima)

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

2 carrots, cut in half and sliced thinly

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

 

Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar

1 Tablespoon dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Toss together and serve.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Frozen, chocolate-covered bananas

June 1, 2012

Chocolatecoveredbananas

So, chocolate-covered bananas happened because our kids wanted popsicles and we had none in the house and no desire to run to the store. We had never tried making these banana dippers before, even though they're kind of a classic, but they were super easy and a big hit.

We decided to divide the bananas into thirds for eatability and it worked out well.

Rating: Truly 1/2 assed

Here's what you need and how you do it

Four peeled bananas, cut into three equal sections

1/2 bag (or more) chocolate chips

3 Tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup milk

Skewer or popsicle sticks

Nuts or sprinkles (optional)

In a small saucepan or double-boiler, melt chocolate and butter on low heat and stir in milk. Whisk until smooth and glossy.

Place each banana chunk on a stick.

Swirl bananas through chocolate until well-coated.

Roll in nuts or sprinkles if using.

Place on aluminum foil or wax paper-covered cookie sheet and place in freezer for 3 to 4 hours.

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.

Rosemary chicken with arugula and white beans

May 12, 2012

RosemarychickenarugulaDear Reader,

As much as we love you, our main motivation for posting this recipe is selfish. We want to be able to find it whenever we need it. So, up on Half Assed Kitchen it goes.

We hope you enjoy it, too.

It's another Real Simple concoction (RS whores that we are). We've made it twice now and swooned over it both times. The chicken is moist and zingy, elevated by the freshness of rosemary. The salad is light, yet substantial.

Rating: Truly 1/2 assed

 

 

Here's what you need and how you do it

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped (do buy the pre-chopped kind of you can)

5 Tablespoons olive, grapeseed, or canola oil

Salt and pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (buy the thin-sliced variety)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 15.5-ounce can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed

4 cups baby arugula

1/4 small red or other onion, thinly sliced

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, rosemary, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In another bowl, whisk together mustard, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the beans, arugula, and onion. Toss to combine.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the marinade if there's any left) and cook until cooked through. Serve the chicken with the arugula and beans.

Serves 2 to 4 (depending on how hungry the diners are).

For a printable version of this recipe, go here.