About Me

My Photo
Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am a Lansing townie, lawyer, and restaurant reviewer for the City Pulse. I love traveling, reading, yoga, and baking, but my favorite hobby is stuffing my face.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

October Bon Appetit- Chicken Andouille Gumbo

A week or so before Halloween, I came up with my meal plan. I would make Chicken-Andouille Gumbo from October's Bon Appetit, a perfect use for the chicken I got from Ham Sweet Farm's meat CSA last month. I would poach the chicken in the early morning, post-workout and pre-meetings, and I would finish the gumbo later in the day so the handsome hunk and I could enjoy steaming hot bowls of it while handing out candy.

Our new house! Complete with jack o lanterns.
Lo and behold, my plan worked. By 8am I'd poached an entire chicken and made the world's best stock. I'd made my second batch of Queen Ina's peanut butter and jelly bars in a week, which I would later divide into two batches- one for the neighborhood party and the other for the party we would have later in the night with close friends. I'd made the batter for Ina's outrageous brownies and the pan was ready, waiting for the vacant oven.

Both of those baked goods, by the way, are my new favorites. The brownies are SO rich and decadent and pair so well with morning coffee. Or a glass of milk. Or a salad.

I used both chicken and pork andouille sausage in the gumbo, and I was surprised at how much the sausage fought being sliced. Is this typical of andouille? I was practically yanking it apart.


The sausage was SPICY as heck. The method for poaching the chicken was foolproof, the meat was literally falling off the bone and it made shredding the chicken a snap. We needed a little more salt, but we definitely didn't need more hot sauce. Those Southerners must like things a little bit hot.

INGREDIENTS

stock

  • 1 3½–4-lb. chicken
  • 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

gumbo

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced ¼” thick
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce
  • Cooked white rice and sliced scallions (for serving)

stock

  • Bring chicken, onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, basil, oregano, and 12 cups water to a boil in a large stockpot. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer, skimming surface as needed, until meat is falling off the bone, about 1 hour.
  • Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let cool slightly, then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bones.
  • Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot (or airtight container if not using right away); discard solids. You should have about 12 cups.
  • DO AHEAD: Stock can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool, then cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months. Let meat cool; tightly wrap and chill.

gumbo

  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Cook sausage, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate.
  • Whisk flour into oil in pot and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is the color of a brown paper bag and smells nutty, about 4 minutes.
  • Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic to roux; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add stock, chicken, sausage, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is slightly thickened and vegetables are soft, about 1 hour.
  • Add hot sauce to gumbo, season with salt and pepper, and simmer 30 minutes to let flavors meld; discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  • Serve gumbo over rice topped with scallions.
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

September Bon Appetit- Chestnut Coffee Cake

I've noticed that Americans don't eat a lot of chestnuts. That's fine, I guess, because I don't have strong feelings either way. Frankly, I never gave the chestnut a thought until I decided that I was going to make this recipe for a chestnut coffee cake from September's Bon Appetit.


It was ok. It was moist, but not Ina's sour cream coffee cake moist. I didn't love it, but since I'm a human being I cut myself a big wedge and had it with breakfast.


I took the rest of it to work, and as I started apologizing for the fact that it wasn't my best effort, I shut up. It's a complementary baked good. It's good enough. 


Does anyone have a better idea for what to do with chestnuts? I know nobody has a better coffee cake recipe than Ina's. It is a longtime favorite and is positively one of the most delicious, most cinnamony and strusely cakes I've ever had. Because, of course, Ina is the one true queen.


And her beef bourguignone is what you should eat for dinner tonight.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Strange Matter Coffee

Every Friday, I get a latte. I start the morning with a 5am iPhone alarm and head to a 6am class at FLEXCity Fitness, bleary-eyed. By the end of the 56-minute class, I'm starving and dripping sweat. As quickly as humanly possible, I put my lawyer clothes on and rush across town to get my weekly treat, which of late has been coming from Strange Matter Coffee Co, just down the street from The Green Door.


It's been a rough few months since Artie's Filling Station closed, and Strange Matter more than fills the void. The cinnamon and honey latte is transcendent. I try to sip slowly, but more frequently than not I find myself slurping. It's too delicious.


Strange Matter also offers baked goods from Whipped bakery, and I can confirm that the pumpkin muffins are a perfect compliment to your latte.

Friday, November 7, 2014

August Bon Appetit- Rosa's Biscuits

If there is something more delicious than a buttermilk biscuit, clue me in. They're a vehicle for delicious things- butter, honey, jam, apple butter, eggs- and alone, they're still a knockout.

A few months ago, I made these little biscuits.


We ate them with How Sweet Eats' chicken meatball soup, and the next morning I ate them with American Spoon Sour Cherry Spoon Fruit, alongside my coffee. That spoon fruit is a delicious, tart treat. It's made in Michigan and would be an excellent stocking stuffer for me anyone who loves delicious treat.


INGREDIENTS

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces; plus 6 Tbsp. (¾ stick), melted
  • ¾ cup chilled buttermilk   
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add chilled butter and toss to coat. Work butter into flour mixture with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with several pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
Using a fork, gently mix in buttermilk, then gently knead just until dough comes together (do not overmix).
Pinch off pieces of dough and gently roll into 1” balls; place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2” apart (you should have about 24). If butter softens too much while you are working, chill dough until firm before baking, 15–20 minutes.
Bake biscuits until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with more salt. Serve warm. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant for City Pulse


I think this is my favorite review yet. My favorite part? Two adults and a baby work here.


Have you been to Naing? What's your favorite soup in town?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

August Bon Appetit: Vietnamese Pork Chop with Pickled Watermelon

We are still getting the bulk of our meat from Ham Sweet Farm, and loving the pork chops they give us. Last month, Bon Appetit's recipe for Vietnamese Pork Chops with Pickled Watermelon was a bit more ambitious than my typical weeknight dinner, but I broke it up into two stages- one night I pickled the watermelon, a few nights later we had the pork chops.


The remaining pickled watermelon rind is in my fridge, if anyone is interested. It didn't tickle my fancy.