Trying to brush up on my cooking skills – which are somewhat scant – I took to the kitchen for Friday night dinner. I’m nowhere near being able to create recipes from scratch, but I can adapt others, liberally or otherwise.
Though I may stray from the steps provided in the recipe, an important path to stick to is the one of conscious cooking. Here are my twists, tweaks, and tips on tonight’s recipes.
Herbed Cheese Spread
Source: Food and Wine
Even served with a fresh baguette, my cheese spread was too garlicky and salty – so while there’s no need to stick to the recipe as stringently as a cake’s, make sure you’re at least a little precise with these potent ingredients. Next time I’ll try leaving the garlic out altogether, and make a mission of looking for goat’s cheese. I couldn’t find any, so I switched it for cheddar.
• Use what you have. I didn’t have chives, marjoram, or tarragon, but there are plenty of other herbs in the kitchen. I found a blend of Italian herbs, which I used in place of the other three. Play around with what you have.
Source: The Cranks Bible
Again, I used too much salt. The recipe also called for a coddled egg, which I’d never heard of before. I looked it up: it appears to be similar to a poached egg. Frankly, I was too lazy to try it out, so I just boiled a couple of eggs and sliced them onto the salad. I was also too lazy to make croutons from scratch, so I bought a bag of them.
• Don’t be lazy! Make your own croutons; especially if you have bread that’s going stale. This recipe has you slicing up a baguette, rubbing it with garlic, coating it with olive oil, and then sticking it into the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C. If the oven’s already on, save time and electricity by sticking the croutons in with the rest of your food.
• Cut down on waste by using fresh garlic and lemons. Compost what you don’t use.
Lemon and Paprika Baked Chicken
My parents gave me a red-themed birthday gift this year, which included paprika. It’s been sitting in my bedroom – yes, my bedroom not the kitchen – so I decided to look for a chicken recipe that would put it to good use; and because I love lemons, it had to be paprika and lemon chicken. Out of all three recipes I prepared tonight, this one came out best. It’s super simple and absolutely delicious.
My housemate gave me a great tip for this one, which worked like a charm. Leave the oven fan on for the first half hour after you place the chicken in, and turn it off for the remainder of the cooking time, allowing the chicken to crisp. On that note, the recipe calls for 1 hour 15 minutes in the oven, but I left it in for an hour, which was more than sufficient.
What’s your favourite paprika-based recipe? @ me on Twitter @ClaudiaHauter and let me know.
Which country is popularly associated with paprika? Hungary! Read my review of the Hungarian novel The Door here.