A personal kitchen diary. I try new recipes and make notes on what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I can things, and sometimes I dry herbs. This is the story of my kitchen.

Month: October 2017

Roasted Green Chili and Pork Soup/Stew

Roasted Green Chili and Pork Soup/Stew

Roasted Green Chili and Pork Soup/Stew I can never resist the smell of chilis roasting.  I bought some last year at Kansas City’s City Market, and toward the end of the summer I kept checking with the farmers who had the peppers to find out […]

Applesauce in a Crockpot

Applesauce in a Crockpot

I like to go out to the apple-growing area of Missouri every fall and get several bags of apples.  Some of them are good keepers and stored properly will last all the way through spring.  With others I make pies, and……applesauce! And applesauce really is […]

Chicken Thighs with Harissa Vegetables from Cooking Light

Chicken Thighs with Harissa Vegetables from Cooking Light

My nephew had given me a tube of Harissa awhile back, and has asked me a few times if I had tried it yet.  I can finally say yes!


I saw this recipe in the October 2017 issue of Cooking Light and decided to try it out this morning.


I had everything but potatoes, but I have been restricting carbs so made it without potatoes.


Yes that is an original Rival Crockpot.  It was a wedding gift and is over 34 years old.


I started by peeling and cutting the onions in 8ths as directed, leaving the root end intact so it had a bit of the look of a blooming onion.  I’m sure the onion added a lot of flavor, but to eat it had an oddly sour taste.  I might actually use a white onion if I make it again.  I’ll have to think about it.


I also cut the carrots into 2 inch round diagonals.  They may have been closer to 3.  They came out perfectly but I don’t think I would do smaller carrots or cut them smaller.  They were pretty much the perfect consistency, and any smaller I think they would have slipped over to mushy.


The recipe called for 1/4 cup of harissa paste and 1 tablespoon of oil to go into the crockpot and stir together.  Although it gave wonderful flavor to the vegetables, if you got a taste of the sauce alone it was really hot (and I like heat).  I’m not sure if the answer is to use less, or temper it somehow.  I’d like to keep the flavor and reduce the heat.



Now it was time to brown the chicken thighs.  First up was to create the spice blend for coating the chicken.  1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, black pepper, and smoky Spanish paprika, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  The smoked Spanish paprika from Savory Spice Shop is absolutely incredible so I was happy to be using it here.



Next I peeled off the skin from some bone in chicken thighs.  Luckily I remembered in time to leave aside five of them so I could fry for Steve for dinner.  If this dish was hot for me, it would be an inferno for him so I’m glad I set them aside!  Then I coated them with the spice blend.


I browned them meaty side down for 5 minutes (per the recipe of course!).


While they were cooking, I added the carrots and onion to the mixture in the crock pot and tossed to coat.


I found it interesting that the recipes calls for browning only on the one side, but I obeyed, and after browning them I place the chicken thighs browned side up on top of the vegetables.



And cooked them in the Crockpot for 8 hours, on low.  I have to admit it was pretty nice to come upstairs after work and have dinner basically be done.  I don’t use my crockpot that much, and I should!  The instructions are to remove the chicken, then add the remaining 3/4 tsp of kosher salt to the vegetables and toss.  I obeyed, and neither found the dish too salty or felt I needed to add salt.  It was pretty much perfect on the salt scale.



It did make a pretty serving plate, and smelled great!



The recipe calls for putting the vegetables in a bowl, then placing the chicken on top and ladling a little of the juices from the crockpot over them and squeezing a bit of lemon juice over them.

The lemon juice definitely added something. 


But, that sauce was ungodly hot.  The harissa really gave the vegetables nice flavor, but the sauce on its own is just too much.  Serving it without the sauce was fine, the harissa had done its work flavoring the carrot and onion.  However, I have poured it into a bowl and put in the fridge, and tomorrow I might play with either adding a little yogurt or a little sour cream, and see if that elevates the sauce some.



I would also say that I liked the method they used here.  In the magazine, they present it as solving the problem of meals in a slower cooker that basically become soup.  By placing the chicken above the vegetables, the fat from the chicken basically coats the vegetables, and the chicken itself stays nice and crispy. 


You’ll notice that there is no liquid added to this recipe.  Be sure to click on the Cooking Light link to check it out (or copy and paste). Edited to add: I made this again and added chunks of sweet potato, and that was really good. By whisking yogurt into the sauce it cooled the heat some, but it was still plenty spicy.

Chili Colorado made with Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company Mild ChiliPowder

Chili Colorado made with Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Company Mild ChiliPowder

A generous friend of mine sent me 2 containers of Mild Chili Powder from Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company.  I had admired his Chili Colorado and he informed me that he had made it with red chili sauce using this spice. When I looked […]

BBC’s Broccoli Stilton Cheese Soup

BBC’s Broccoli Stilton Cheese Soup

I was wandering through the Harrods shop in Heathrow recently when I spotted a huge wedge of Stilton Blue.   I had to have it.   I love Stilton, and it really was a big wedge.   I enjoyed it with pears several nights in […]

Lemon-Sage Butter Roasted Chicken Quarters

Lemon-Sage Butter Roasted Chicken Quarters

I had some chicken quarters out to cook and I decided to roast them and use some of the lemon-sage butter I had made and frozen recently.


I loosened the skin and rubbed the butter under the skin, as well as all over the pieces of chicken.   I then placed the chicken in a foil-lined casserole dish. 

I roasted the chicken in a 400 Fahrenheit oven for 40 minutes, until the thermometer read 165 Fahrenheit.  The roasting chicken smelled wonderful.

I enjoyed the chicken with a nice salad, but it wasn’t as flavorful as I thought it would be, given how tasty the butter itself was. However, when I heated the rest of the chicken later for Steve’s dinner, I made a gravy from the drippings and it was really good and full of flavor. 

The compound butter had lemon zest, minced fresh sage, minced fresh parsley and finely minced shallot, as well as a small amount of coarse salt. The full recipe is found just a few posts back on this blog. 

Preserving Lemongrass

Preserving Lemongrass

Whew!  This is the last of the preserving herbs posts.   The lemon grass in my herb pots did really well this summer.  I knew that the white part would freeze well for later use, but a foodie friend suggested making lemongrass tea, and freezing […]



I still had quite a bit of fresh parsley left from my herb pot harvest, and in the end I decided to make a chimichurri recipe I had pinned quite awhile ago but had not yet tried.   Since I followed the recipe almost exactly, […]

Lemon Sage Compound Butter

Lemon Sage Compound Butter

The last compound butter I made that weekend featured sage.  I also used parsley, a shallot, and lemon zest.  The flavor on this was so amazing, I had to keep taste-testing.

I had a lot going on that day, and forgot step-by-step pictures.  But, you get the basics.  Chop chop chop, mix thoroughly.

I’m using it today on some roast chicken

Lemon Sage Parsley Shallot Compound Butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Handful of fresh sage, chopped

Zest of one lemon

1 small shallot, finely minced

A bit of kosher salt, to taste, and lemon juice to taste if you like.

Blend all together, then spoon onto plastic wrap (or butter molds) and chill.  

If you are freezing the butter, take out the chilled butter and wrap tightly in waxed or parchment paper.  Consider cutting small individual rounds if you chilled in a roll, and freeze in those smaller portions, making it easier to use straight from the freezer.

If using right away, roll in some plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator before slicing.

Alternatively, press into butter molds and chill.