cartoon by marc johns.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Garlic Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Good caramelized color.
Ready to eat.
This roasted chicken recipe is easy, and ensures the chicken comes out moist and full of flavor. You can marinate and roast a whole chicken using this recipe, or whatever parts of the chicken you like best. Here I used drumsticks, but I have used the marinade for thighs, breasts, and a whole bird before. You just have to adjust the seasonings and cook time per pound of meat. This recipe always offers slam-dunk guaranteed moist chicken with good color on it. I recommend marinating the meat at least 24-hours (it makes a huge difference), but I have done it for as short as 2 hours and it is better than nothing. I have never marinated longer than 48 hours, although you could probably go a little longer than that. The garlic gets fairly acidic, so I wouldn't push it much beyond that. The buttermilk is what makes the chicken so moist, so if you are not a fan of garlic (but who isn't?) or paprika, you can switch them out to spices of your liking (ginger & sweet chili, rosemary & lemon,  basil & lime, cumin & chipotle...the list goes on and on). I used smoked paprika this time, but I am also a fan of the recipe with Hungarian paprika.

UPDATE: This recipe is a featured recipe on Food52! It is also the first recipe that comes up when you search for "chicken" on their app.

To the cooking!

2 cups of buttermilk
8-10 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/4 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup chopped parsley, plus more for sprinkling
3 teaspoons of paprika, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh cracked black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
2 1/2 - 3 pounds of chicken
sea salt, for sprinkling
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1. Mix the marinade in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, garlic, Kosher salt, sugar, parsley, paprika, and pepper and mix to combine.

Buttermilk and spices.


Ready to marinate.
2. Put your chicken in a gallon ziplock bag or bags. Pour the marinade over the chicken, moving the chicken around to make sure all parts of the chicken are covered by the marinade.
Chicken marinating.
3. Marinate for 24-hours, if possible. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425.
4. Prepare a baking dish by lining with foil and lightly greasing it. Put chicken in the baking dish. Discard marinade.  Drizzle chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and paprika.
Chicken ready to be cooked.
5. Roast in oven 35-45 minutes, or until done. Let rest 10 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

The finished product.
Dinner time!
So moist it glistens.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Noodle Kugel Cups

Cups of kugel.

Crispy noodles.

For those Jewish readers of the blog, you can skip the next few sentences; I am going to try to describe kugel to people who haven't experienced it before. Kugel is a traditional Jewish dish, made with either noodles or potatoes. This version is a noodle kugel, made with egg noodles, cheese, cinnamon, and raisins. It is sort of like a noodle casserole, but sweet rather than savory. Like a noodle bread pudding? Anyway, the important thing is that it is delicious. The noodles get crispy up top, and the center is gooey. This version is sweet, which is traditional with the noodle version of kugel. The potato kugel is savory normally. I like this recipe because it is only lightly sweet - this dish can be served as a side dish with a savory meal or it can be served at brunch as a sweeter alternative. I like the idea of making the kugel in a muffin tin for individualized portions. (Traditionally it is served in one big casserole dish). This dish is Kosher for Passover if you use the proper egg noodles. Otherwise, it is a great option to serve at Hanukah or any other Jewish Holiday, or really anytime - it is that good. It would make a good appetizer at a party this way too - especially if you made them in mini muffin tins. This dish can be served warm or cold; either way, the tang of the cheese mixed with the sweet spices and the crispy noodles makes for a great treat.


1/2 pound of wide egg noodles (make sure you get Kosher for Passover noodles if you are making it for Passover)
1/2 stick melted unsalted butter
1 pound (2 cups) cottage cheese (can use fat free just fine in this recipe)
2 cups sour cream (can use fat free here too)
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
6 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup raisins (I used black because it was what I had on hand, but traditionally yellow raisins are used)
1 pinch nutmeg


1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Boil the noodles in salted water for about 4 minutes. You don't want to overcook the noodles, because they are also being baked in the oven. Set aside to cool.
3) Melt the stick of butter in the microwave. Set aside to cool for a little bit.
4) Combine all other ingredients (besides the noodles and butter) in a large bowl. Mix well. 
Cottage cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins.
5) Add the butter and stir well. You want to make sure that the warmth of the butter does not cook the eggs, so stir quickly.
6) Add the noodles. Same note as above, stir quickly so the noodles do not accidentally cook your eggs.
7) You end up with a somewhat soupy mix with noodles in it; this is fine, it is what you want. At this point, grease a muffin tin and put about 1/4 cup of the mixture into each muffin. Make sure every muffin gets some noodles and raisins.
The mixture in the muffin tin.
8) Sprinkle a pinch each of cinnamon and sugar over the tops of each kugel cup.
Ready to go in the oven.
9) Bake in the oven about 30-35 minutes, or until tops are crispy and caramelized.
This is what is looks like done...see the browned edges of the noodles?
Makes about 18-20 kugel cups or one 9x13 pan. Enjoy!

Ready to eat.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spinach, Mushroom, & Onion Matzoh Quiche

The finished product.

You can see the matzoh.

This is a recipe that is Kosher for Passover; however, it is good enough to eat even when it is not Passover and you aren't forced to eat matzoh all the time. The basic idea of a quiche - and putting matzoh in it - is a good one that allows for a lot of flexibility. I happened to use some of my favorite ingredients here - like garlic, mushrooms, and onions - but you can vary the filling to match your taste. This quiche would be good with broccoli pieces and cheddar cheese, for example, or with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese. As long as you keep the ratio of cheese to eggs to veggies somewhat similar, anything will work. So have fun making this one your own! Some recommendations: serve with sliced avocado over the top, a side salad, some sautéed turkey sausage, and some hot sauce.



3 pieces of matzoh, broken into roughly 2-inch pieces (I used egg matzoh, but any style of matzoh will work fine. If you are strict about Passover, unless you are a child or an elderly person, egg matzoh isn't kosher - so use regular matzoh. If you want to be healthier, use whole wheat matzoh.)
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup milk (I used almond milk, but any type of milk (soy, full fat, nonfat, coconut, etc.) should work
2 cups cottage cheese (if you want to lower the fat in this recipe, using nonfat cottage cheese is a good option here.)
2 cups (about 8 ounces) of shredded Monterey jack cheese (any cheese will work here.)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I prefer to have lower salt in my quiche and let each individual person add extra salt if they choose - many people might prefer 1 teaspoon salt here. And if you are switching up the cheese, pay attention to the salt content of the cheese and vary your salt addition here.)
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste (I added about 1 teaspoon.)
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) container of sliced white mushrooms
1/2 pound of baby spinach (frozen is okay, just make sure to defrost first and squeeze out excess moisture.)


1. Set the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Grease a 9" baking dish. (A 10" will work too.)
3. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites, yolks, and milk. 
Eggs & milk.

4. Add the cottage cheese and mix again.
Cottage cheese in.
5. Add the Monterey jack and stir to combine.
Monterey jack in.
6. Add the spices: salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir.
7. Add the mushrooms.
8. Add the spinach. It will seem like too much spinach, but stir gently, trying to get every leaf of spinach a little wet. The spinach shrinks so much when cooked that it works out just fine.
Spinach added.

Each leaf is wet.
9. Add the onion and stir lightly to combine again.
10. Take your matzoh pieces and pour very hot to boiling water over them. I put them in a colander and pour the hot water over. Keep them there to soak about 2 minutes.
Matzoh pieces pre-soak.

Post-soak. They have changed color slightly.
11. Make your quiche: put a layer of the wet matzoh on the bottom of the pan.
Bottom layer of matzoh.
12. Top with about half of your filling.
Half of my filling.
13. The pan may get full; if so, pack your quiche down tightly. Add the final layer of matzoh.
Matzoh layer.
14. Put the rest of the filling in, packing tightly if necessary. I like to pull some spinach leaves out of the filling to poke up to the surface. The spinach crisps up nicely in the oven and adds a little texture to the dish.
Everything is in.

A close-up: see that curling leaf in the center of the picture,
that will get nice and crispy.
15. Bake uncovered for about 1 hour. Bring to room temperature before cutting. To reheat, put back in the 350F oven, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, just reheat individual slices in the microwave or eat cold.

The dish probably serves 5-6 as a main dish, but 8-10 if you give small slices as a side dish. Enjoy!

Right out of the oven.

You can see the crispy spinach on the top.

Ready to serve.
Nice and moist and flavorful.