Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar

Last night I made what I can only describe as a french-style version of chicken adobo (no soy sauce), based on a NY Times recipe ( by Mark Bittman who got it from Jean-Georges Vongerichten who learned how to make it from the chef Paul Bocuse. So good pedigree, and very simple. They cooked the chicken separate from the sauce, I figured it would be better (and certainly quicker and easier) to let it marinate while it cooks. 

It would have been good with some mushrooms, but I had used those earlier in the day for a quiche/frittata thing, so threw in a couple of tomatoes for color instead.

Really complex and sophisticated flavours, the sort of thing you’d get at a nice bistro in Lyon. Serve with a good Burgundy/Pinot Noir.


  • 6 chicken things (~1 kg) or one small chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 shallots
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 plum tomatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Pat dry the chicken, and season well with kosher salt on both sides.
  3. Brown the chicken thighs in butter and olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Start with skin side down, then flip once it’s brown and crispy.
  4. Add the chopped shallots and whole tomatoes, and sautée for a minute.
  5. Pour in the vinegar and broth, add the herbs, and pop in the oven until the liquid is mostly absorbed/evaporated and the chicken in cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  6.  Remove the chicken from the pan to a serving platter, strain the pan drippings and separate off the top layer of fat. Drizzle the remaining sauce (there will only be a couple of tablespoons) over the chicken.

Potato Bread

I wanted a potato bread that could be sliced, made from instant mashed potato flakes and not actual potatoes. It came out with a nice crumb, although not quite as silky or fluffy as I would have wanted. I think I’ll try it again though, maybe baked in the bread machine instead of free-form on the baking stone as I did today. And with 1/2 cup of potato flakes.
I loosely followed the King Arthur Flour recipe for butter split-top bread (, making a single deep slash instead of the diagonal cuts and slathering it with melted butter wouldn’t have hurt.


  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup dry potato flakes
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 TB powdered milk
  • 1 TB instant bread yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup almond milk


  1. Add ingredients to bread machine in the proper order, and process on basic dough setting.
  2. Remove from pan, form into a loaf shape, and allow to rise for about an hour, or until almost doubled in bulk.
  3. Slash with a lame a few times on the diagonal.
  4. Bake on a pizza stone in a pre-heated 350F* oven on the Convection Bake setting for about 40-45 minutes.
  5. Optional: slather the top with melted butter while still warm.
  6. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing.

* since the dough is rather rich and sweet, high temp will cause the outside to brown too much before the inside is fully cooked though.

Mexican Roast Chicken

Normally I roast chickens with the upright “beer can” holder, filled with aromatic liquid, allowing the outside to get evenly crisp while the inside stays moist and gets an extra jolt of flavour. But the other good way is to spatchcock the bird, and lay it out flat on a bed of aromatics. Today I did the latter. Most people will tell you to cut out the backbone (save for soup) and then flatten it out. I remove the breast cutlets (to use in other preparations, since I don’t really like the white meat roasted as much anyway), with the tasty back now forming the centerpiece.

If you have time, marinate the bird in advance, otherwise just season and slather on the sauce before cooking. I used some leftover chili-tomato salsa as the base for the marinade (using Rick Bayless’s) simple recipe, with some extra garlic and lime and a bit of olive oil.

Then to be really fancy about it, I used the other half of the salsa as the base for a creamy sauce to make this really special.


  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked (see notes above)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 large plum tomato
  • 2/3 cup chili-tomato salsa (see below)
  • 1-2 TB olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 TB cream


  1. Sprinkle the chicken all over with a generous amount of salt and pepper and garlic powder (I used Goya Adobo seasoning).
  2. Prepare the marinade: mix 1/3 cup of the chili-tomato salsa with a glug or two of olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, the grated zest and juice of one lime. It should be a bit salty, hot, smoky, and acidic.
  3. Slather the marinade all over the chicken, put in a one gallon ziploc bag, and put back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but preferably a few hours, or even overnight.
  4. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, seed and cut the poblano pepper into chunks, and cut the tomato into eighths. The pieces should all be roughly the same size.
  5. Put the vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan (or Pyrex 13″ x 9″ baking pan), and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add a couple cloves of sliced garlic. Then spread out the chicken on top of the vegetables so that it lays flat, skin side up. Add any remaining marinade from the bag around the chicken.
  6. Roast in preheated 425F oven for about 75 minutes. Chicken and vegetables should just start to char around the edges, but be careful not to let it get too burnt.
  7. While the chicken cooks, make the sauce: Seed and finely chop the jalapeno, and peel and mince the garlic. Saute in a teaspoon of olive oil in a 10″-12″ non-stick skillet for a minute or two. Then add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce by about half, then stir in the remaining chili-tomato sauce, and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat, and add a couple of spoonfuls of cream.
  8. Cut the chicken into pieces, and serve with a dollop of the roasted vegetables and dish of the gravy. Garnish with lime wedges.

Chili-Tomato Salsa

This recipe is quite simple, with only a handful of ingredients. Feel free to play with the chilis, the original recipe only called for guajillo, but I wanted a bit of smokiness. You can also add a canned chipotle instead of the the darker chilis, or a few chili de arbol for extra heat. I like to remove the seeds and inner membranes of all the chilis because I find them bitter, but that’s where a lot of the heat is, so adjust accordingly.

  • 4 Guajillo chilis
  • 2 morito chilis
  • 2 pasilla chilis
  • 4 medium plum tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. In a hot cast iron pan, roast the unpeeled garlic, turning occasionally until it softens and starts to blacken, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the chilies by tearing them up into fourths (half for the smaller ones), removing the stems, seeds, and inner “ribs”. Wear gloves if you using hot chilis.
  3. Add the chili pieces to the pan in a single layer (you may need to do it in two batches), and press down to ensure even contact with the hot pan. After 30 seconds to a minute, flip and repeat with the other side. They should change color and just begin to blacken, but don’t char too much or the sauce will be bitter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Put the tomatoes on a foil lined broiling tray, and broil close to the flame for a couple of minutes until the skin starts to blister and blacken. Turn over and repeat with the second side.
  5. While the tomatoes cook, pulverise the chilis in a blender until they turn into chili powder. Peel the garlic and add to the blender, along with the tomatoes (skin first and coarsely chop) and any juices that leaked out onto the foil.
  6. Blend until smooth, add salt to taste, and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is also nice.

The salsa is great at room temperature or chilled with chips, or for various tacos, enchiladas, etc. And in the recipe above, it serves as the base for both the marinade and the finishing sauce. It’s a versatile base for a lot of preparations. And once you have the basic technique down, you can mix it up by adding onion, cilantro, tomatillos instead/addition to the tomatoes, etc. But try it the simple way first at least once, with just chilis, tomatoes, garlic, and salt.

Shrimp Boil

This is a variation on the traditional lowcountry or Cajun style boil. See for a good example of the latter. I didn’t have corn, so substituted green beans, and added chicken, which makes the broth extra rich and tasty. In the North they tend to use less spice and more variety in the seafood (crabs, clams, etc.) but I didn’t have those either, so ended up with a hybrid.


  • 2 lbs chicken thighs (4-6)
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 lbs extra large “e-z peel” pre-cleaned frozen shrimp, with shells
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 8 gold potatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay or other Chesapeake style crab boil seasoning
  • 2 TB cayenne pepper
  • Louisiana style hot sauce (e.g. Tabasco)
  • 1/2 head of garlic (6-8) cloves, unpeeled
  • Remoulade (see below)


  1. In an 8-quart or other large pot, bring 1.5-2 liters of water. Season with copious amounts of crab boil spice, the bay leaves, the garlic, star anise, and a good amount of cayenne. It should be quite salty and spicy, but adjust seasoning to taste.
  2. Add the chicken and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then add the sausage, and cook for another 20 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, cut in half or quarters if very large, and add to pot, along with some extra hot sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes until just barely tender.
  4. Add the frozen shrimp, cook for a minute or three, then the green beans. If using fresh shrimp, reverse the order.
  5. Remove from heat as soon as the shrimp are almost done and the beans still a bit crunchy. Allow to steep covered for a few minutes to finish cooking and encourage the flavours to mingle.
  6. Serve a chicken thigh in a bowl with a sausage, potato, handful of shrimp and beans, and a ladle of broth. Top with a dollop of remoulade.


Mix together the following, then refrigerate for at 30 minutes prior to serving.

  • 1/2-1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 TB Dijon mustard
  • 2-4 cornichon pickles, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • Grated horseradish or wasabi powder
  • dash of Worcestershire and Tabasco

Based on


Cheese Grits with Red Eye Gravy

As with most Northern people, almost everything I know about grits is derived from the classic film “My Cousin Vinny.” A bit of research reveals that there are 3 main levels: instant, quick, and old fashioned. Very similar to oatmeal. (For a detailed explanation of how grits relate to corn meal and polenta, look elsewhere because I’m still a bit fuzzy the whole thing, and defer to the label on the packaging to differentiate between the three.) There seems to be universal agreement that the instant version is trash, and not worth it, because the quick cook ones really do only take a few minutes. And unless one is a real connoisseur, there seems to be little benefit to the traditional method of tediously stirring a pot of gruel for an hour just to obtain a pot of porridge at the end that is virtually indistinguishable. The Modernist Cuisine cookbook has an elaborate “time saving” method of pressure cooking the grits to reduce the time by 2/3, but it still seems like way too much work. Maybe you Instant Pot aficionados would like to try, but for now I will stick to the time honoured method of using the microwave oven.

As you may have noticed if you’ve ever tried them, grits on their own are terribly bland and boring and it’s really hard to see the appeal. But doctored up a bit, they serve as a wonderful canvas for a delicious breakfast/brunch.

First, use chicken broth instead of water. Preferably homemade, with some character. Mexican style with epazote, oregano, garlic, culantro, achiote, and a bit of heat is ideal. But you could also start with broth in a box and add some black pepper, cayenne, onion and garlic powder, ground oregano, etc.

Second, to create a silky texture, melt in some American cheese. Velveeta is also popular, but tastes too artificial, and real cheese doesn’t dissolve as well. But feel free to experiment if you want it extra cheesy.

Third, the grits need some protein as a garnish. I like a sunny side up egg, but shrimp & grits is a wonderful combination as well.

Finally, a sauce is needed to elevate the whole thing from a bowl of bland mush into a complete dish. This one is adapted from the Modernist Cuisine cookbook. If done right, the end product is the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and depth of flavour.

Ingredients (for two servings)

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking (aka 5-minute) grits
  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/4 cup dark roasted coffee beans
  • 2-3 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tsp butter


  1. Grits: In a large microwave safe bowl, stir the grits with the chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove bowl from microwave, stir well, then add the cheese and cook for another 2-3 minutes depending on how cold the broth was to start with and how strong the microwaves are. Stir halfway through to incorporate cheese and break up any clumps, and add time in 1 minute increments if too soupy. Adjust seasonings depending on how salty/spicy the broth was to start with.
  3. Gravy: Heat the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth in a saucepan with the star anise until it just starts to bubble.
  4. Add the coffee beans, maple syrup, a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne.
  5. Stir to incorporate, and simmer gently for 5 minutes while the grits cook. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. Remove from heat and swirl in the butter. Strain the sauce and keep warm.
  7. Assembly: Fry the two eggs in butter or bacon grease sunny side up until just barely set. I like to use relatively high heat to get the edges of the whites a bit crispy, and spoon the butter over the top to cook evenly. Spreading the egg out in the pan also helps it to cook through quickly, leaving the yolk nice and runny while avoiding gross undercooked egg white (which is why I normally prefer my eggs over easy, but the presentation is worth the extra effort here).
  8. Divide the grits into two bowls, top each with an egg, and spoon the sauce around the egg.


One of the best things I’ve ever eaten was a perfect bowl of bouillabaisse in Marseilles. I’ve never even bothered to try making it, because it’s a complicated dish with a long list of exotic and expensive ingredients. Today I ate lunch at Aquavit, and although I didn’t order it, was intrigued by the “Scandinavian bouillabaisse” on the menu. On the way home I stopped to get a nice piece of fish for dinner, but wasn’t thrilled with the quality, so ended up with a combination of a small red snapper fillet, a bag of mussels, some wild shrimp, and a few large sea scallops. While trying to figure out what to do with it all, I looked up Emma Bengtsson’s 2 Michelin star recipe from Aquavit, and supplemented it with a simple Mark Bittman preparation, with some elements from Bobby Flay’s version. I rushed through the prep, so even though there are a lot of steps and elements, it went quickly and was ready to eat within the hour. I watched an episode of MasterChef for extra inspiration while I cooked.


  • 2 small red snapper fillets (1/2 lb)
  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 6 large scallops (1/2 lb)
  • 1/2 lb large shrimp, with shells
  • 1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
  • 1 TB Pastis, Pernod, or Absenthe
  • Olive oil
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk lemon grass (optional)
  • 1 Serrano pepper, sliced (optional)


  1. Heat a pot with a cover, large enough to hold all of the mussels.
  2. Dice the bacon, and brown with the shallots in a splash of olive oil. Add the chili pepper and lemon grass if using, along with the thyme and bay leaf.
  3. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels, cover and cook for about 3 minutes, until they open. Discard any that didn’t open.
  4. Drain the mussels and strain the broth (to remove any sand) into a large pot.
  5. Remove the mussels from their shells once cool enough to handle, and set aside.
  6. If you have time, shell the shrimp and boil the shells in 2 cups of water with a bouquet garni to make a seafood stock. Strain and reduce to 1 cup. You can also use any fish/seafood stock, or even a cup of mild chicken broth. Add to the mussel cooking liquid and the tomatoes. Bring back to a simmer while you prepare the other components.
  7. Make the anchovy butter by mashing the anchovy fillet with 1 TB butter with a fork. Scrape into a small ramekin and chill in freezer for a few minutes.
  8. Boil the shrimp for a few minutes in the broth, then remove with slotted spoon. Peel and devein if needed.
  9. In a large skillet, pan sear the fish fillets and scallops in olive oil+butter until golden brown and just barely cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, slather with the anchovy butter, and set aside.
  10. Deglaze the pan with the Pastis, and add to the
  11. aioli: In a small skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil, and lightly brown the garlic. Mix well with the mayonnaise, season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne (or other chili powder), and lemon juice.
  12. Assembly: Put 3 scallops and half the shrimp and mussels into the bottom of two soup bowls. Pour over the broth. Top with the fish, skin side up to keep it crispy. Dot with the aioli, serving the remainder on the side.

Brazilian Style Banana Pudding

Based on this recipe for Sombremesa de Banana com Queijo (Banana and Cheese Pudding)


  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 4 ripe bananas, cut crosswise into 2″ pieces, then lengthwise into ¼”-thick slices
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • 14 tsp. ground cinnamon


  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Boil milks and whole spices in 12″ nonstick skillet over medium heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes; discard spices.
  3. Spread ⅓ reduced milk over bottom of an 8″ x 8″ baking dish; top with half the bananas and half the cream cheese. Repeat layering, ending with reduced milk; sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
  4. Bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Shrimp & Sausage Tapas

A variation on a classic Spanish tapas, which is traditionally made with Spanish chorizo or Portuguese Chouriço .


  • 1.5 lbs extra large unpeeled shrimp*
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic,sliced thinly
  • 6-8 oil cured black olives
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 2 TB sherry or gin
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • crushed red pepper
  • hot paprika
  • smoked paprika
  • 1 TB chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Start by marinating the shrimp. Wash and drain well, then drizzle generously with olive oil, season with crushed garlic, freshly ground pepper, salt (or Old Bay), red pepper, and paprika. Set aside for at least a few minutes, or refrigerate for a few hours.
  2. While the shrimp marinates, brown the sausage evenly on all sides in a bit of olive oil over medium hot. Remove from pan, slice into 1/2″ thick slices, and return to pan in a single layer, then flip and cook on other side.
  3. While the sausage cooks, pit and chop the olives, grate a teaspoon of lemon zest, and mix with the sliced garlic. Mix the tomato paste with the sherry or gin.
  4. Once the sausage is well browned on all sides, remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Add a bit more olive to the pan if needed, and sauté the shrimp in a single layer for a couple of minutes until no longer pink. Turn and cook on second side for two more minutes.
  6. Add the browned sausage to the shrimp, along with the garlic mixture. Then drizzle with tomato-sherry sauce.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and cook for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is fully cooked and the sauce is slightly reduced.
  8. Remove the shrimp and sausage to a decorative serving bowl, and finish with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a drizzle of the best EVOO, and a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

*I prefer to keep the shrimp with the peel, but you can also peel them first if desired. Frozen shrimp work fine, wash well and defrost first in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. Then drain well.


Dukkah Fried Cauliflower with Fish Sauce

One of the more interesting dishes we ate at Momofuko Ma Peche last week was a vegetable side of fried cauliflower with fish sauce. Nicely golden brown, not greasy, and not even too salty, but with a delightful crispness and perfect even cook. I’d never tried to fry a cauliflower before, so looked for some guidance and ran across this recipe, which uses a magical substance from Egypt called “dukkah” that I’d also never heard of. So I did what I do, and smooshed the two together. They predictable weren’t quite as polished as the restaurant version, but had great flavor and made the normally bland and boring cauliflower quite lively and palatable.


    • 1/4 cup raw peanuts
    • 1 TB raw sesame seeds
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    • 2 teaspoon caraway seeds
    • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1/4 tsp whole peppercorns
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sumac
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 head cauliflower
    • oil for frying
    • 2 TB fish sauce, mild Filipino
    • 2 TB native vinegar, mild Filipino



  1. First, make the dukkah. Toast the peanuts and spices in a small dry pan over medium heat until they just start to color and release their fragrance.
  2. Finely chop or grind the peanuts, and pulverize the whole spices in a spice grinder, then mix together with the remaining spices. Adjust seasoning to taste, but go easy on the salt.
  3. Add the cornstarch, baking powder, and
  4. In a large frying pan with steep sides, heat 1″ of oil (preferably olive oil, but not the Good Stuff).
  5. Trim the cauliflower, and cut into even size florets. Toss well in the batter to coat evenly.
  6. Fry the cauliflower for 3 minutes, turning a couple of times to get it golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the pan, fry in two batches if necessary.
  7. Drain on a wire rack lined with paper towels.
  8. Mix the fish sauce and vinegar, and drizzle half of over the cauliflower, then use the remainder for dipping.

As you can see in the photo, the batter largely didn’t stick to the cauliflower. I think the oil wasn’t hot enough at first, and the batter was too watery. But it tasted just fine.


Anthony Bourdain & Msabcha

I can’t say I was a huge fan of Bourdain, but I did enjoy eating at Les Halles, his book was entertaining, and I even saw a few episodes of one or more of his TV shows, which did seem a bit smarter than the typical informercial style travelogue.

One of the shows I caught was the one where he went to Israel. Which was referenced in this article in Haaretz, lamenting all of the food that he didn’t eat there, and in true Israeli fashion giving him posthumous advice on where he should have gone instead. Top of the last was the msabcha at Abu Hassan, which I have to agree is one of the most wondrous creations anywhere, and not to be missed.
The ingredients are roughly the same as the classic “hummus with tehina” but the texture is different, it’s served warm, and is a nice change of pace from the norm.

The recipe below is adapted from this post. As noted, this will be better if you start with dried chickpeas, but the shortcut using canned chickpeas is almost as good.


  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup tehina
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • sumac
  • salt
  • pepper
  • hot paprika


  1. Make the tehina: Put 1/4 cup tehina and 1 minced clove of garlic in a mixing bowl, and slowly mix in 1/4 cup of water to make a smooth paste. Season with salt and the juice of 1/4 lemon.
  2. Make the hummus: drain and rinse 1 can of the chickpeas. Process in food processor, then add 2 cloves of garlic, the chili pepper (remove seeds for less heat or keep whole), 1/4 cup tehina, and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Slowly add water as needed (about 1/2 cup) to make a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste. It should be a bit thinner than normal.
  3. Make the chickpeas: drain and rinse the second can of chickpeas, season with sumac and black pepper, and heat in the microwave. Add a bit of water to keep them from drying out. They should be soft, so depending on how firm they were in the can, may need more cooking time.
  4. To serve, mix the hot chickpeas with the tehina and hummus, then drizzle with olive oil, the juice of the remaining 1/4 lemon, and garnish with some chopped parsley, sumac, and hot paprika. Scoop up with fresh pita and/or crudites.