Tag Archives: smoked paprika

Resolutions: Check-In

We’re just over two weeks in to the new year, which seems the perfect time for me to check in on my New Year’s Resolutions (which you can find here). How am I doing so far? Not too bad, as you’ll soon see:

Resolution 1: Use More Smoked Paprika

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To date, I’ve used smoked paprika exactly once this year, and that’s only because I spotted the tin in my pantry and immediately remembered my goal. How did I use this wunderspice? I added it to a dish I made yesterday: tempeh and veggies simmered in coconut milk, served over udon. Typically, when I make this dish, I use good amounts of fennel seeds, cumin, black pepper, and curry; the smoked paprika lent the broth a fine orange color and added a bit of kick. I definitely gave myself a pat on the back for adding it.

Cubes of tempeh, waiting to be simmered.

Verdict: Though I’m technically making progress toward the achievement of this goal (that is, though I’ve technically used this spice ONCE), I could stand to take things up a notch.

Resolution 2: Continue Seafood Appreciation Project

Welp, I haven’t eaten any seafood this year, so this one’s not going as planned. BUT (silver lining), I’ve eaten a fair amount of Thai food since January 1st, and that food maybe probably contained fish sauce, so that’s a start?

Resolution 3: Eat Better Candy

Progress on this resolution is so-so. I haven’t bought any hella upscale candy (yet); to be fair, I haven’t been to the Ferry Building this month. But, I have branched out a bit from my Milky Way Minis routine. For example, I bought some soft peanut brittle at Trader Joe’s:Hardly gourmet, but it’s a change of pace, at least. (I am rationalizing: I admit.)

I’ve also purchased these caramel-filled Dove squares that are kind of delicious and sickening all at once (mostly the latter). OK, OK, these were a total Walgreen’s impulse buy, but again, they were something I’d never bought before and I wanted to give them their day in the sun. Help a sister out! Have a little mercy! I WAS BROWSING THE CANDY AISLE WHILE HUNGRY — what was I supposed to do?

In summary, it appears that I’m off to a slow start w/r/t the ole resolutions, but not to worry — I’ve got until March to abandon them completely. I kid! I have a genuine interest in using smoked paprika (and other spices unfamiliar to me), incorporating seafood into my diet, and eating more interesting candy — because lord knows I’m not going to stop eating candy. That, more than a giant asteroid hurtling toward the earth, would be a sign that the end is near.

 

Resolutions: Revised

Heyyyyyyyyy-o! A low-key day over here: had my weekly acupuncture, got lunch & hit the butcher shop with Alex, and did Piles of Laundry in preparation for the weekend. I have to say, I’m pret-ty excited for NYE and New Year’s Day dinners. For the former, we’re planning a mixed grill; for the latter, a leg of lamb. Tortilla might make an appearance, as might sweet potato walnut bread.* Yumyumyumyumyum! No better way to ring in the new year than with a three-day feast, yes?

This was one of the better feast images I found, so I'm going with it.

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Speaking of New Year’s: Resolutions: Have you got ’em? I didn’t, but then as I scanned my google reader and noticed that EVERY story is about the new year, I thought, “What the hell? Might as well make a few, myself.”

Mind you, I won’t resolve anything traditional: oh, noooooo. I won’t vow to banish bra fat, work out six days a week, volunteer with orphans, or any of that. Rather, I’ll set a few food resolutions to expand my cooking and baking repertoires and train some of the fussiness from my palate. In no particular order, these resolutions are:

1) Use More Smoked Paprika

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Whilst back in Minnesota, I picked up a tin of smoked paprika; I have yet to bust into it. My plan for the coming year is to collect recipes using this spice and sequentially test those recipes. My secret goal is to use enough smoked paprika to start a collection of the beautiful tins it’s packaged in. Heh.

2. Continue Seafood Appreciation Project

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All things considered, this year’s Seafood Appreciation Initiative went well, but I’ve got much work yet to do. Case in point: I may have balked when I learned that my udon (at Katana Ya) would be served in fish broth. Another case in point: I may have reacted squeamishly at today’s lunch when Alex noted that most of our dishes contained fish products.

To be clear: I want to like seafood. Indeed, I’m now a willing consumer of most mild fishes. Shellfish is another matter — I avoid that shit like the plague. I’d like to change, though, and the first step in changing is acknowledging the desire to do so, RIGHT?

3. Eat Better Candy

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Few people consider me a garbage disposal (I think?), but I remain woefully uncritical when it comes to candy. M&Ms, gas-station gummy worms, kind of stale Tootsie Pops — if it’s candy, I eat it. Sad but true — I’ve had a raging sweet tooth since I was a wee one. I’m not going to get rid of my sweet tooth (which, frankly, is a preposterous suggestion), but I’m going to clean it up, refine it — in a word, boboify it. Will Kate quell her insatiable honger for peanut M&Ms? That will be 2012’s great question.

There you have it: my food resolutions for the coming year. If I think of more, I’ll add them to this post, but three seems a reasonable number to start with. Wouldn’t want to overwhelm myself during the first two weeks of the year and forever abandon smoked paprika, would I?

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*If I can get my ass to the grocery store and bake a loaf, that is.

Guess What Time It Is?

If you guessed Roast Chicken O’Clock, you win an imaginary Internet prize!

Yes, it’s that time again: the time when all ladymagz run articles about mitigating holiday weight gain, shitty Xmas tunes dominate the airwaves, and we dream about roast chicken for dinner.

Funny story about this chicken: it was intended for Thanksgiving — we were worried we wouldn’t have enough turkey — but we saved it until now. Right now. (Note 1: Don’t worry, the bird was in the freezer. I don’t want you thinking we keep leftovers for weeks & weeks, Hoarders-style. Not that you have any reason to believe I’m a hoarder or anything. I’M NOT!) (Note 2: I realize now that the story isn’t that funny, but it seemed consequential to me; the chicken is a meta-leftover, or a not-yet-formed but somehow leftover leftover. GOD! There’s a reason I wasn’t a philosophy major.)

Enough pseudophilosophizing; here’s the breakdown of our dinner.

First, we cleaned and dried the chicken, and then we quartered an onion and a lemon and stuffed the cavity. We also added some bacon lardons and chopped mushrooms to the roasting pan (mmmmm, lardons!). We cooked the chicken using Mark Bittman’s method: 20 minutes at 500 and a longer time (45 minutes) at 375. This method browns the chicken skin andallows the bird to remain juicy = best of both worlds. Thanks, Mark!

This is Zuni's chicken, but guess what? Ours looked basically identical, right down to the sprigs of rosemary. Oh, yeah: we're that good.

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The chicken (spoiler alert) was killer, but do you know what may have been more killer? Our roasted potatoes. Baked at the same time as the bird, these potatoes developed a crisp exterior and maintained their pillowy soft centers. If you’d care to replicate this Dinner of Wonder, you can probably find Bittman’s chicken instructions online (or in, you know, one of his cookbooks), and you can find our potato recipe right freaking here.

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary, Bacon, and Smoked Paprika (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • Six small potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • A healthy dose of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Maldon salt and fresh-ground pepper
  • Fresh rosemary, chopped to your liking
  • Lardons made from approximately three strips of bacon
  • Three cloves garlic, minced
  • Approximately 3 teaspoons smoked paprika

Method

  1. Chop your potatoes into roughly equal-sized chunks. I say chunks because I like bigger potatoes, but if you prefer doll-sized bites, chop accordingly. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl.
  2. Mince your garlic and chop your rosemary (as much or as little as you please) and bacon. Leave them on your cutting board, for the time being.
  3. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper to the potatoes, coating evenly. Then add your garlic, rosemary, and bacon. Incorporate these ingredients well.
  4. Transfer potatoes to a baking dish and sprinkle with smoked paprika. (Sadly, I didn’t witness the actual sprinkling, so I’m not sure how much paprika Alex used, but my guess is 3 tsp.)
  5. Bake potatoes using the same method you use to bake your chicken: 20 minutes at 500, reduce heat to 375, and cook potatoes until they seem done. We let the taters cook for as long as the chicken cooked, and (miraculously) they didn’t burn. But, if you’re worried about such things (burned potatoes), feel free to remove them earlier.

    The secret ingredient.

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If you do nothing else this weekend, try these potatoes. I’m a recovering potato hater, and I went back for seconds of this side. As mentioned previously, these spuds have a far better texture than their cousins. In addition, the bacon and paprika gave the dish a smoky flavor that supported the chicken (and the sesame chard: the third element of our dinner trifecta). I’d go so far as to say these were restaurant-grade potatoes — or better. Bold words, for sure, but deservedly bold words. Trust me on this.

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NOTE: Sadly (and foolishly), I didn’t take any photos of this meal. My reasons are threefold: First, my phone was in the other room and I was just too damn lazy to get it. Second, we didn’t eat until 9:30, at which point the living room was DARK and the photos would have been mighty blurry. Finally, by the time we ate, I was so hungry that Instagram was the last thing on my mind. Sorry, dudes: you’ll have to sate yourself with the Internet Food Porn I’ve scavenged.