Jan 5, 2014

Baked Chicken with Soy, Honey and Sriracha

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: 9 pieces
Total time: 10 min to prep, 45 minutes to bake

Well helloooo Pretty Tasty Things readers! I’m baaaack! It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, I think it was back in September with my Billy Bread French Toast. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should! So, lets start off my New Year’s resolution with this childhood dish: baked chicken with soy, honey and sriracha aka the holy trinity…haha! This recipe reminds me of a dish my dad makes at home. He bakes chicken wings with a similar blend of sauces. I just tweaked it slightly by using chicken legs and thighs, and adding sriracha for some kick while keeping the same flavors as my dad’s recipe. The Filipino way is to eat this chicken dish with rice. Just ladle the heavenly sweet, salty and spicy sauce over the rice, it’s seriously my favorite part. Thanks dad for the inspiration! Enjoy, all!

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Ingredients:
1 package of chicken legs and chicken thighs (9 pieces total)
salt + pepper
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha (or more if you like it spicy)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° and prep chicken.
Remove chicken from packaging and rinse under cold water. Pat dry. Place chicken legs in a 9×12 oven safe pan. Meanwhile, trim off the excess skin from the chicken thighs and add it to the pan. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.

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2. Flavor chicken. Drizzle the soy sauce, honey, sriracha, brown sugar and Worcestershire over the chicken. If you like it spicy, feel free to add more than one teaspoon of sriracha. With hands, mix the chicken well to ensure everything is covered with the sauce.

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3. Bake chicken. Place uncovered chicken in the preheated 350° oven for roughly 45 minutes. Every 15-20 minutes or so, remove the chicken and base the chicken with the juices. By doing so, the skin gets nicely caramelized. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature for thighs reaches 180°.

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Jan 1, 2014

Best in 2013

Okay folks, 2013 wasn’t the best year for Pretty Tasty Things. I wasn’t updating it on a regular basis. I was slacking, busy, tired, whatever you want to call it. I just wasn’t on top of it. So, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to post more in 2014 starting today. As you may know, my “Best in” is one of my favorite posts to do. I get a chance to look through all my photos I’ve taken with my SLR, G10 and iPhone (too many cameras!) and remember some of the best moments of my life. I’ve done it for the past two years, Best in 2011 and Best in 2012. 2013 blessed us with trips to NYC, Corolla Beach and Boston, my 30th birthday in which I celebrated 80’s style, and lots of laughs with family and friends. So, in no particular order, here are my favorite moments in 2013:

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Sep 3, 2013

Billy Bread French Toast

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: 6 slices
Total time: 10 min to prep, 10 minutes to cook

I have recently found the BEST bread to use for french toast. I can now die happy. If you’re new to billy bread, here’s the scoop. Locally made right here in Richmond by Billy Bread Bakery, billy bread is a naturally leavened bread that has five simple ingredients: wheat flour, spelt, rye, water and sea salt. These five ingredients crafted together makes the ultimate french toast. It holds up perfectly when soaked in the custard because it has this wonderful hearty crust and the inside is firm and chewy. I’ve made french toast a million times before with other types of bread, but they turn out either too moist or too tough. I will never go back to soggy french toast ever again. So go ahead, find yourself some billy bread if you’re in Richmond, and make yourself one hellava damn good french toast.

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Ingredients:
6
1-inch slices of Billy bread or any rustic Artisinal bread
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 can of 5 oz. evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoon butter
maple syrup
powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Pick your bread.
There are so many choices to choose from. If you live in RVA, go ahead and spend $5 on Billy bread. I found mine at Little House Green Grocery. If you don’t live in RVA, any crusty, rustic bread will certainly do. Slice 6 1-inch thick slices and set aside.

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2. Prepare the custard and soak the bread. In large and shallow dish, combine the eggs, milk, evaporated milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Once custard is well-combined, soak the bread. Lay the bread slices in the dish and allow one side to soak for about 3 minutes. Flip the bread over to soak the other side. The thicker and more stale the bread is, the longer it will soak. There should be little to no liquid left.

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3. Cook the french toast. Heat a large non-stick skillet at medium temperature. Once the pan is hot, add 1 heaping tablespoon of butter. The butter will melt and slightly bubble. Add three slices of the soaked bread and cook one side for 2 minutes or so. Flip over once it’s golden brown and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. If pan is getting to hot, lower the temperature slightly. Repeat this step for the remainder of the bread.

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4. Serve hot. Stack three perfectly cooked french toast on a warm plate, drizzle maple syrup and sprinkle some powdered sugar. Dive right in and enjoy!!

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Aug 29, 2013

How to set up a crepe bar

From the kitchen of: Isabel  Makes: 10-12 crepes
Total time: 5 min to prep, 30 minutes to cook

A crepe bar is nothing without the crepes, right? Well, in my quest to make delicious French crepes, I’ve learned many things. In fact, six things that you could find incredibly helpful when making crepes on your own:

  1. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to make the batter. Just toss everything into the blender.
  2. Don’t need a fancy pants crepe pan if you have a nice non-stick skillet at home.
  3. To help cook the crepes, pour batter using a measuring cup with a spout. Makes it easier to control.
  4. Yes, you can make crepes the night before. Just cut out a square of wax paper and place between crepes to prevent sticking. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  5. To reheat crepes the next morning, I used the microwave, which worked out just fine. Just reheat in small batches for 30 seconds or so. Keep an eye on them because you don’t want them to dry out.
  6. Practice makes perfect. The first one or two might not come out so perfectly. They may not be as golden brown. But no worries, it’ll get better.

So making crepes isn’t as difficult as you think. You don’t need to be French. You just need to go for it because they’re just the perfect platform to fill with anything savory or sweet. I prefer sweet though :) If you like sweet too, lets take a look at the crepe bar I put together. But first, here’s the recipe for my simple and full-proof crepes. Enjoy!

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Ingredients:
for the crepes
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter (plus more butter for cooking)
1/4 cup cold water

for the bar
variety of fruit (blueberries, bananas, raspberries)
Nutella
fresh whipped cream
toasted almonds
cocoa powder
powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Blend up crepe batter.
In a blender, add the first five ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, sugar and melted butter. Puree until mixture is smooth. Slowly add the cold water last and blend for a few more seconds. Pour crepe batter in a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout. Set aside for now.

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2. Cook the crepes. Meanwhile, heat up a non-stick 8, 10 or 12-inch skillet on medium-low heat. Whatever you have on hand. Once pan is hot, add a little butter to coat the pan. Pour enough batter to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. To help the batter spread evenly, pour with your left hand and slowly swirl the pan with the right. Cook until the underside of the crepe is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the crepe over using a spatula and with your fingers. Cook for 30 seconds more. Remove crepe and place on a warm plate. Remember, to help prevent sticking, cut out squares of wax paper and place between crepes.

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3. Now, it’s time to set up the bar! What else goes well with crepes if you’re in a sweet and breakfast-y mood? Anything your heart desires! Fruit is a must in a crepe bar. The sweetness of the fruit helps with the delicate and airy flavor of the crepe itself. I served fresh raspberries, sliced bananas and strawberries, and blueberries. I got all the fruit minus the bananas at Costco. Prices can’t be beat if in season.

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To add some texture to the crepe, you’ll need some nuts. I love almonds, so I bought a bag of sliced almonds and toasted them in the oven for a few minutes. Believe me, they will burn quickly. My first batch ended up the garbage. Oops!

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Another addition to the crepe bar are freshly whipped cream, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. To make the whipped cream, just combine 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk until you get stiff peaks. Don’t over whisk though, you’ll end up with butter.

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Last, but not least, Nutella! Every crepe bar should have this. The Nutella just pulls everything together. Everyone goes nuts over it. Just smother a heaping spoonful of it along the crepe, top with all the fixings, fold it over and devour it. So this is how you can set up a crepe bar at your home, perfect for any occasion. And don’t limit yourself to the fillings I put together. The best thing about crepes, they go with anything. Enjoy!

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Jun 13, 2013

Kevin (our puppy) turns 1!

From the kitchen of: allrecipes.com  Makes: plenty for one happy pup!
Total time: 15 min to prep, 35-40 min to bake

Look at his face. I mean, really. Doesn’t he just make you smile? Last Thursday, our puppy Kevin turned 1. With a cookie monster party hat and a whole cake to himself, he was smiling from ear to ear. Just look at him! Adorable, huh? Since we adopted Kevin last October from Bonnie Blue Rescue, our daily routine has certainly changed. Yes, we’ve been vacuuming more often than none. Yes, we’ve been walking every day thanks to him. Yes, he wakes us up at 6am to feed him. But even with all these changes, he has become part of our family. We just love him so much. So to celebrate his first birthday, I baked him his very own cake made with his favorite thing: peanut butter. It’s a win for him and a win for us just to see how happy he was that day. Happy Birthday, Kevin aka Pig, Mr. Pig, Pigity Pig. I know, our names/nicknames are totally unconventional for a dog. Haha.

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Ingredients:
1 egg
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon honey
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
1. Mix wet ingredients.
 First things first, preheat oven to 350º. While the oven heats up, combine the egg, peanut butter, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and honey in a medium-size bowl. I simply used a fork to mix everything together.

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2. Add dry ingredients. To the wet mixture, add the shredded carrots, wheat flour and baking soda. Mix together to form a crumbly, dense texture. Side note, feel free to include any other vegetable other than carrots. I had some left over broccoli stalk that I chopped in. Kevin loves all sorts of veggies. Use what your puppy loves to eat!

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3. Bake and rest. Spoon the mixture into a non-stick or glass pan. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Once top of the cake is nicely browned, remove from the oven and then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely. Because dogs love peanut butter, spread more peanut butter on top as the frosting. Note that I didn’t need to grease my glass pan. It came out nicely since it has vegetable oil in it.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kevin! I just love these photos of him with his tongue hanging out, licking off all the crumbs on his face. His hat was very fitting then, wouldn’t you agree? What a spoiled brat!

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Don’t worry, we didn’t allow him to eat the entire cake at once. We saved the rest for another day, which he certainly enjoyed!

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