A Sarcastic Appetite

Weeknight Dinners: Chicken
September 1, 2014, 8:00 am
Filed under: Recipes | Tags: ,

Weeknight Chicken Dinner

You fair readers seem to care a lot more about the terrible dates I go on and the fun activities I plan for you than anything I’m cooking at home, but as this is “technically” a food blog I figured I should throw you a couple food posts every now and again. I often get asked what I cook during the week, and one or two nights that answer is usually chicken. But instead of taking my own crappy photos of the versions I’ve cooked (see above), I thought I would do you one better: link to a couple of my favorites, with my adjustments noted. Their photos are much nicer; gaze upon them fondly. And tell me if you end up making any of these.


Spatchcocked Chicken, from Food52 via Yummy Books: I just tried this for the first time a couple weeks ago, and the only problem was realizing about five minutes in that I don’t actually own a good pair of kitchen shears. So I kind of butchered the job (ha ha), but the result was still delicious. Shove some herbed butter under the skin and roast it at 425 for 45 minutes, or follow any one of Cara’s suggestions.


Chicken Legs Baked in White Wine, Olive Oil & Parmigiano Reggiano, from Alexandra Cooks: If you’re not yet cooking chicken thighs, you need to start, and this is a good one to begin with. I typically use just thighs here instead of a mixture, and roast for 45 minutes at 425°F. It works like a charm every time, and the apartment smells heavenly as they cook. I have long since stopped measuring the wine and the olive oil; just glug a fair amount of both into a bowl with the other ingredients and you’ll be fine.


Perfect Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs, from Bon Appétit: when I’m in a rush to get dinner on the tv trays table, this is my go-to. The thighs roast skin side down in a pan for about 6 minutes on a fairly strong medium heat (cover to reduce splatter) before being flipped and thrown into the oven at 425 for about 20 minutes. I use a different baking dish for their time in the oven as the oil from the pan smokes too much in my oven. Do what you will.


Mustard Chicken: ok, ok, now you have to go look at some truly terrible photos, and for that I sincerely apologize. This one’s been in the rotation for a long time; it was a childhood favorite that we still haven’t soured on, and for good reason. Plus, I love this recipe because it necessitates a bottle of wine – which means the cook needs to have at least one glass.


Soy-Glazed Chicken Thighs from Bon Appétit: notice a theme here? Seriously, enough with the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. These thighs only require a 30 minute marinade, and I never include the aniseed because I never have it. I also rarely bother with “spooning fat off” the remaining sauce because there’s usually not enough, but maybe that’s just me.


Rajmah, or Red Kidney Bean Curry
May 13, 2013, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Recipes


I got on a chickpea salad for lunch kick awhile back – stop laughing, they were actually pretty good. There’s a “tuna salad” version and an “egg salad” version (plus relish, celery, and scallions). Don’t knock them ’til you’ve tried them – they’re delicious. I liked both, but was partial to the “egg salad” one because it basically tasted like the inside of a deviled egg with the veiled healthfulness of chickpeas. In a word, yum.

So I was on the hunt for a couple cans of chickpeas and somehow managed to grab two cans of red kidney beans instead. I am turning into my mother (the metamorphosis is almost complete). As a kid I’d go crazy when she’d return from the market with jalapeno-American cheese, or the wrong kind of milk, and I could never understand how she couldn’t see she was buying the wrong stuff and it was so important because I obviously didn’t want regular lemonade, I wanted pink lemonade! Oh, to be a kid again. I remember vowing I’d always get the right stuff when I grew up and had to do my own shopping. And there I was, with two cans of red kidney beans and zero chickpeas. Damnit.

But I vowed to find a use for them….it just took several weeks. Ultimately, the simplest recipe won out: rajmah, or red kidney bean curry. It’s a piece of cake to put together; saute some ginger and garlic with some onion and a green chile before adding tomato sauce, salt, and a bunch of spices you should already have in your cupboard. Add the kidney beans and let them cook down a bit; I let it go for longer than the recipe called for, but do what you like. The end result is delicious, and if you’re curious, quite nutritional too. The Nutritional Ninja remains skeptical about beans, which makes it a win-win: more for me.



Rajmah, or Red Kidney Bean Curry

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Serves 4.

1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c. minced fresh ginger

1 medium onion, diced

1 plum tomato, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small green chile, mostly deseeded and minced

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1 Tbsp. butter

8 oz. can of plain tomato sauce

2 cans of cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed well

1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

yogurt, naan, or rice for serving



In a pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and chile along with the onion and saute until the onion is translucent, 5-10 minutes, but don’t let the garlic burn.

Add the tomato sauce, salt, and all the spices and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the kidney beans, along with one bean can’s worth of water and the tablespoon of butter. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and become somewhat velvety. Serve over rice, or with naan, with a dollop of yogurt on top and sprinkled with cilantro.

Caramelized Cauliflower with Capers & Golden Raisins
May 5, 2013, 11:09 am
Filed under: Index of Recipes, Recipes | Tags: , , ,


It’s actually incredible how much of the food I make, whether it appears on this site or not, is dictated by the Nutritional Ninja’s dietary requests. Any time I tell my mother, “Oh, I can’t possibly make that – You-Know-Who won’t touch it,” she screeches, “You’re the chef! You get to make whatever you want and he can deal with it!”

But it seems counter-intuitive to mess up the kitchen making some elaborate dish only one of us is going to eat. And we all know that when left to my own devices, I’m much more likely to be found rifling through the fridge like a modern-day forager, putting together some bizarre-o combination like carrots, leftover chickpea salad, and some old rice crackers and calling it “dinner.”

So rather than complain endlessly in addition to complaining endlessly about his latest diet restriction (no nightshades), I’ve decided I’ll work within them. But it’s also meant we eat a lot of broccoli. And a lot of asparagus. A LOT OF BROCCOLI. Don’t get me wrong; I love that roasted broccoli recipe almost as much as I love a 3pm cookie. Sometimes, however, it’s important to expand one’s horizons. So I turned to broccoli’s less attractive cousin: cauliflower. I made a similar version of this on the site a while back; this is much, much simpler. And I think the end result is much, much better.

The process is pretty simple: roast a bunch of cauliflower. When it’s done, toss it in a sauce you made on the stove, consisting of olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and the requisite capers and golden raisins. I added more olive oil and more capers and golden raisins because more is usually better. If you’re hesitant about the combination, don’t be. It’s salty and sweet – and delicious.

Caramelized Cauliflower with Capers & Golden Raisins

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Serves 2.

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into smallish florets

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil + 1/4 c. olive oil

lots of salt and pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

3 Tbsp. capers

3 Tbsp. golden raisins

Some chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the chopped cauliflower with the 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, flipping the pieces about halfway through. When the cauliflower has just a few minutes left, warm the olive oil (you want a good film on the bottom of the pan; don’t be stingy) over medium low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper – let it sizzle but don’t let it burn. Saute for 30 seconds or so. Raise the heat; add the capers and golden raisins and saute for another minute or so. Add the cooked cauliflower and toss together to combine; pull off the heat before adding the parsley. Serve.

Alice Medrich’s Brownies with Sea Salt
April 27, 2013, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Recipes | Tags: , , ,


You guys, I bought flour today. And sugar. I actually can’t remember the last time I purchased either. There has been cooking in the Sarcastic Appetite Kitchen since my little (long) hiatus, but baking sort of fell to the bottom of the list. I think of it as a Saturday afternoon activity, and, well, I’ve been spending my Saturdays doing other things.

But I spied this recipe in so many places that I could no longer ignore it. Cue a lazy Saturday with nothing on the agenda and I was off.


You talk about brownies with serious bakers, and everyone starts talking about the (high-end) chocolate. Callebaut, Valrhona, Mast Brothers…you name it, someone’s got their favorite and it is the reason why their brownies are the best. I love this recipe because it flouts that: all you need is cocoa powder, plus the usual suspects (flour, sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla). Not sure if you have Dutch process or regular? It doesn’t matter! These brownies are so easy-going, I want to date them.


My favorite part is the sea salt sprinkled on top. A very wise friend once introduced me to ice cream sundaes with sea salt and I’ve never looked back. These brownies do the same thing; the salt just makes the chocolate pop. Being gluttonous, I also added chopped semisweet chocolate chips (ok, ok, from Mast Brothers, guilty as charged) and the result was out of control.

If you’re feeling peppy, brown the butter beforehand. Add walnuts if you like. I upped the vanilla; you should too. These are gorgeous. I’m a little worried they’ll all be gone by tonight…and I’ll only have myself to blame.

Alice Medrich’s Brownies with Sea Salt

From Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet; adapted from the Amateur Gourmet, Smitten Kitchen, Bon Appétit….and probably elsewhere, too.

10 Tbps. salted butter (1 1/4 sticks) (it’s ok to use salted butter….trust me)

1 1/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. plus 2 Tbps. cocoa powder – Dutch, natural, whatever you have

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large, cold eggs

1/2 c. flour

2/3 c. chopped chocolate, or walnuts

nice flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray an 8″ x 8″ (or similar sized) pan with cooking spray; layer a sheet of parchment paper in and then spray that, too.

In a large bowl over simmering water, melt the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. It will look like it’s not doing much of anything, so turn the heat up a bit and eventually it will melt into a thick, dark paste. Set it aside and wait for it to cool a bit.  Use a wooden spoon to stir in the vanilla. Stir in each egg, one by one, letting the first blend completely before you add the second. Stir in the flour until it disappears, then stir for 40 strokes (it won’t take as long as you think).

Sprinkle the top with some really nice sea salt. Don’t be shy. Bake at 325°F for about 20-25 minutes (in a different sized pan, mine took closer to 30) until a toothpick shoved in there comes out not quite clean. Don’t overbake!

Cool on a rack. Try to have some restraint.

Cucumber Mint Agua Fresca
July 27, 2011, 6:57 am
Filed under: Index of Recipes, Recipes

Sometimes, the occasion calls for something non-alcoholic. I know, I know – but sometimes you have an adorable friend who’s pregnant and manning the grill on the occasion of her adorable husband’s birthday, and as the resident drink expert, you need to find something appropriate. This is just that thing. The only thing I changed here was to add less sugar and a bit more mint. It’s deliciously refreshing, especially on a hot summer’s day when you’re slinging burgers and dogs – or even when you have nothing to do except lounge around the pool, as was the case with me. It was wonderful.

Then, if you’re not the one who’s pregnant, you can take it to the next level with a splash of sparkling wine, or maybe Pimm’s….Go ahead, get after it – it’s summertime!

Cucumber Mint Agua Fresca

From Furey and the Feast. Makes about 4 c.

1 lb. (1 large) cucumber, seeded and diced

6 c. water, divided

1/3 c. mint leaves, chopped

1 Tbsp. sugar

juice from 1 lime

Combine the cucumbers and mint and 2 c. of water in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and combined. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to allow the mint leaves to steep. Strain the puree into a large pitcher (cheesecloth would help here) and add the remaining 4 c. of water, lime juice, and sugar. Taste and adjust as you like. Garnish with mint leaves and/or thin cucumber slices.

Barbecued Chicken, or I Am Embarrassed to Have a Food Blog
July 10, 2011, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Recipes

I’m a little abashed to post this. I mean, it’s one thing for Jenny to write about it, since she made it up, and has two picky kids who need to eat. I don’t have any kids, I just live with one – and yet I’m embarrassed to admit that it took reading about this on her blog to put two and two together: barbecue sauce + chicken drumsticks = dinner? Wha?

And yet….

And yet my brother keeps talking about this particular meal, weeks after we’ve eaten it. “Can you make that barbecue one again? With the dark meat?” he asks, and I think about throwing in the towel. Just retiring, plain and simple. “You know, that one you made that one time? Can you make it again? It was so good! The dark meat one?”

Forget about the beautiful scallops with dried cherries and cauliflower I painstakingly made from Michael Psilakis’ How to Roast a Lamb. Forget it. And who even cares if I bake my own birthday cake?

Nope. The one thing that gets his stomach’s attention is when I slather store-bought (store bought!) barbecue sauce over a couple of drumsticks, turning them and slathering them every ten minutes for all of half an hour in the oven. That’s it. And it’s not even my recipe.

I should probably end things right here…but I’ve got more food blogs to read, and more recipes to make that I wish I’d had the wherewithal to come up with myself. Stay tuned for more enthralling action here in A Sarcastic Appetite’s kitchen!


Barbecued Chicken

From Dinner: A Love Story. Serves however many you’d like, just adjust the amount of barbecue sauce. This served about 2, since one of us is apparently still growing.


5 chicken drumsticks

about 1 c. barbecue sauce, plus more to serve. (I like Stubbs, if you can get it)

some salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with foil. Brush the drumsticks with barbecue sauce on both sides, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 30 minutes, turning every ten minutes and basting with more sauce each time. Serve.

See what I mean?


Red Wine & Rosemary Lamb Chops
March 22, 2011, 6:24 am
Filed under: Recipes

My calendar might tell me it’s spring, but the thermometer apparently isn’t in on the joke; it’s supposed to be 52° and cloudy here in New York today. I keep thinking of all the delicious spring-like foods headed our way – peas, asparagus, rhubarb, and ramps for those of you who go bonkers for them – and yet the weather has me stymied.

This recipe does its very best to bridge the gap; the red wine puts it squarely in winter, but the fresh herbs hint at spring. It can be marinated overnight in the fridge, or, for the lazy ones among us, at room temperature for an hour. I think there’s no need to guess which route I took.

It also reminds me of a poor man’s version of a marinated leg of lamb my mother makes every spring, which involves whole sprigs of rosemary, lots of garlic, soy sauce, an entire bottle of red wine, and a slumber party in the fridge before the leg meets its delicious fate on the grill.

As I have neither a grill nor the willpower to manhandle a whole leg of lamb, and certainly am not in the business of planning dinners ahead, I’m left with this shortcut. While it might not measure up to the one I get to have every year, it’s nevertheless delicious. And if you are the kind of person who can manage to organize an overnight stay in the fridge for these lamb chops, I think you’ll be duly rewarded. Let me know how it is, since I can only imagine.

Red Wine & Rosemary Lamb Chops

Serves 4. Adapted ever so slightly from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day.

8 lamb loin chops

1/2 c. red wine

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. mint jelly

2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lay the chops in a big Pyrex or other large, shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk the wine, vinegar, jelly, rosemary, and mint. Pour the marinade over the lamb and let sit, covered, at room temperature for an hour (or refrigerate overnight). Turn the chops several times while they marinate. Once you’re ready to go, heat two saute pans on high heat. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then sear them, cooking about 5 minutes on each side for rare to medium rare.

Honey-Chipotle Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes
March 15, 2011, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recipes

Yesterday morning I sauntered into the kitchen after a weekend away to find the Ninja busily preparing his morning cup of coffee. (He uses a Moka pot for his Stumptown coffee and has visions of switching over to Chemex. Don’t even get me started.) I noticed a small jar filled with amber-colored liquid on the counter that wasn’t there when I left last week, with an orange price tag on the top that read “$11.99.”

“I got you some honey,” the Ninja said. “It’s local, from New York!”

It took me a moment to, ah, add it all up. “You paid $12 for some honey!?!” I cried. “Are you kidding?”

The Ninja became incredibly indignant. “She keeps her bees on a rooftop on 84th Street! You can’t get much more local than that! She was at the health food store and I talked to her! She is a nice lady.”

It is at this point that I realized I’d woken up in Bizarre-o World, where my brother is an UES SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom for you newbies) who spends time chatting with people hawking stuff at the health food store and makes outrageous, unnecessary purchases, and I’m the Working Dad who chastises him for said outrageous purchases. $12 for some honey!?

“I thought you would like it,” he said. “Well, I do,” I replied, “But remember we have friends who can get honey from home and they’ll give us theirs!”

Mr. UES SAHM was unsatisfied with my answer, and it seemed I had ruffled his feathers a bit. I resolved to do the nice thing and make something for dinner that will incorporate said $12 honey. It worked delightfully, and we’re both placated for now – until he swans home with another ridiculous purchase, anyway.

Lastly, a side note: I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but until now this little blog has mostly existed in a vacuum; I haven’t acknowledged events occurring outside this funny little space I call my own. Ironically, what’s happening in Japan now is so big and so terrible that I can’t even put words around it.  Catastrophe? Terror? Wholesale destruction? None really comes close. I can’t imagine what it is like there right now, as they contemplate a nuclear meltdown. Ruth Reichl wrote about this a few days ago, and like many others, it resonated with me too. If you want to give, here’s a list of resources. If you are looking for someone there, or have information about someone, Google has a page for that too.

Honey-Chipotle Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes

Via Sassy Radish, who adapted it from Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. Serves 3.

2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces

lots of olive oil – about 6 Tbsp.

2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt + lots of freshly ground pepper, plus more for the potatoes

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

chopped cilantro and limes for garnish

In a small bowl, stir together 3 Tbsp. olive oil, the minced chipotles, garlic, honey, vinegar, salt, pepper, cumin, and cinnamon. Taste and correct for seasoning. Throw the chicken into a large Ziploc bag and add the honey-chipotle mixture; squeze the air out and let it marinate for 2-3 hours, refrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 400º. Toss the diced sweet potatoes with the remaining 3 Tbsp. of olive oil, and lots of salt and pepper. Scatter in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Pull the pan out, shove the potatoes together, and then place the marinated chicken breasts on top of the potatoes. Drizzle with a bit of the marinade and then roast for another 25 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro and the juice of half a lime.

Feeling lazy and want some veggies with that? Toss some bite-size pieces of broccoli in a bowl with 1 tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. ground cumin, a bunch of olive oil (I usually use about 4 Tbsp), and lots of salt and pepper. Add it to the baking sheet when you add the chicken, and roast it alongside the potatoes. Toss once, at the 15 minute mark. Protein, vegetable and carb all on one baking sheet? I couldn’t be more pleased.

Homemade Oreos
February 15, 2011, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Recipes | Tags: , , ,

Homemade Oreos? Come on. Dough that needs to be chilled for 2 hours, and re-rolled every 15 minutes to make sure it doesn’t sink? Who has the kind of time for that?? Oh, wait. This kid.

I had seen homemade oreos elsewhere in the blogosphere, but had always held off making them for fear they were too much of a production to be worth it. Now I need to hold off making them again, because they are really freaking good. All I needed were a few hours of quality HGTV to while away the hours. (It was incredible.)

Ok, ok, so it’s true: they need a lot of love. And Valentine’s Day has come and gone, so I’m assuming you’re all out of said love and back to your usual snarky self.  That’s fine, since these cookies come together very easily and don’t require a hand-mixer. I love that. Melt some butter, melt some chocolate, throw the dry ingredients into a bowl, and in just a few minutes the dough comes together. Chang notes it gets to a point where it’s easier to work with your hands, but I never found that; it came together with a wooden spoon without a problem. Just wait for an afternoon when you can lounge around watching House Hunters marathons while the dough chills. Oh – does that only apply to me? Fine, I’ll make a batch for you.

Side note: I doubled the amount of filling required, because in my world, it’s Double Stuf or bust. I frosted some of these with varying shades of pink in honor of the, ahem, “holiday,” so omit as your cold heart desires.

Homemade Oreos

Adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang. Makes 16 to 18 sandwich cookies.

For the cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

3/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 heaping c. semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1 egg

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I could only find a blend of regular and Dutch-process and it was fine)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

For the cream filling:

2 sticks salted butter, softened

3 1/3 c. confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. heavy cream

pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and chocolate; add the egg and whisk until combined. In a small bowl, whisk the flour together with the cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, using a wooden spoon to combine. If you need to use your hands, go for it. Let the dough rest at room temperature for an hour.

Transfer the dough to a large square of wax paper. Roll it into a log about 2 inches across, and 10-12 inches long. Roll the wax paper around the log, then chill in the fridge for 2 hours, rolling every 15 minutes or so to maintain its shape.

Preheat the oven to 325º. Line two baking sheets with wax paper. Slice the dough log into 1/4″ slices, and place on the cookie sheet about one inch apart. Bake until just firm to the touch, about 16-18 minutes. Let cool on the sheet.

For the filling, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the vanilla and milk and beat again until smooth. Spread a few tablespoons of filling onto a cookie, and sandwich with another one.