Posted by: The King | April 8, 2015

The King’s Chili Chicken Tacos

Tuesdays can be pretty crummy. It’s still the beginning of the week and you have a ways to go until Friday. However, Tuesday is redeemed when it is Taco Tuesday! I first started celebrating Taco Tuesdays when I was living in San Diego. I always looked forward to going to a different taco stand or restaurant for their specials that day. Sometimes you could get some amazing tacos for as little as $1.00! So, needless to say, I try to make these as often as possible, and sometimes even celebrate Taco or Tostada Thursdays, Fiesta Fridays, and, well, you get the idea. These are so easy to make, because you can use the slow cooker to throw everything together, then set it and walk away. I have cooked this overnight so that I had it ready for lunch the next day or started it in the morning so I could throw together some tacos when I finished classes and studying for the day. I’ve included two ways to serve this chicken, so enjoy the two-for-one special post!

Chili Chicken Tacos

Chili Chicken Tacos

The King’s Chili Chicken Tacos

Tacos are one of those things that you build to your taste, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Normally when I assemble these taco I will use either hard tacos shells or warmed corn tortillas. I then add a little bit of refried beans as a base, then a generous layer of the chili chicken meat, and top that off with some guacamole, shredded lettuce, cilantro, and shredded Colby Jack cheese. Some people enjoy sour cream with their tacos, if you’re one of them, then add it. Again, have fun with this and try different combinations; the chicken is versatile and is complemented by many other flavors. The easiest way to make this recipe is to use your slow cooker, but if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can alternatively cook it in the oven using a Dutch oven. I’ve included both methods below. For the salsa in this recipe sometimes I use Herdez Salsa Casera, but more often than not I just buy a 16-ounce container of the fresh mild or medium salsa sold at the grocery store.

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups of your favorite salsa (see note above)
  • 7-ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Taco shells, heated in the oven or corn tortillas, heated in microwave
  • Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Guacamole (see recipes here)
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Sour cream, optional
Slow cooker method: First put chicken in slow cooker, if you are trying to cook this quickly (4 hours on high) then make sure the chicken is thawed, but if you are going to cook it on low for 10 hours, you can put the chicken in frozen. Pour the salsa over top of the chicken, followed by the chopped chipotle peppers and the adobo sauce, garlic, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Try to toss the ingredients a little. This is easier with the thawed chicken, but if you’re using frozen chicken just do your best; this isn’t a critical step. Place the cover on the slow cooker and set it on low for 8-10 hours (recommended) or high for 4 hours. When the chicken has finished cooking, remove chicken from the juices and shred in a bowl. Add enough of the juice to moisten the chicken. Now you are ready to assemble your tacos and enjoy!
Dutch oven method: Combine ingredients in the same fashion as above only in a Dutch oven instead. Pour 2 cups of water over the top. Put the lid on and place the Dutch oven in a preheated oven at 350°F. Bake for about 2 hours. The chicken should be fork tender.
The King’s Chili Chicken Tostadas

Not feeling like tacos? Throw together some tostadas! They are basically open-faced tacos, but they allow you to pile the ingredients high. I use the salad dressing from one of my favorite restaurants in Portland, Oregon, The Original Taco House or simply “OTH” as my family says. My mom ships it to me or I bring it back with me whenever I visit. When I don’t have this on hand, I try whatever salad dressing I can find in the grocery store or just top it with some mild or medium salsa.

  • The King’s Chili Chicken Taco Meat (recipe above)
  • Tostadas, heated in the oven
  • Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Refried beans, heated in microwave
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Sweet peppers, thinly sliced
  • Favorite taco salad dressing
To assemble you tostada, take one tostada and spread refried beans over the top of the toastada, sprinkle a little cheese over top and then place another tostada on top. Place this in the oven to melt the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, remove and put on your plate. Top this with a generous amount of The King’s Chili Chicken Taco Meat, followed by your desired amount of lettuce, sliced sweet peppers, cheese, and taco salad dressing. Again, have fun with this and try various combinations and a variety of ingredients.

Chili Chicken Tostada

Chili Chicken Tostada

Posted by: The King | April 1, 2015

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

So, last week I introduced you to the deliciousness that is Coffee Ice Cream. However, you may have noticed that the recipe called for six egg yolks, and one thing I hate doing is throwing good ingredients away. I think it is such a waste! So, I turned to the internet for some ideas and finally found just the recipe I was looking for: coconut macaroons. But before I get to that I must also mention that you do not have use the egg whites right away. They actually freeze quite nicely. So just put them in a container that you can pop in the freezer and don’t forget to label it with the number of egg whites that are in there. When you’re ready to use them, just move them to the fridge to thaw. Now onto the macaroons! I had never made this recipe before, so it was a bit of an experiment. So, I followed the recipe to the “T” and the first batch that went in the oven…well, epic failure. And while I’m on the subject, I have to say I’m a little miffed by the packaging of the shredded coconut that I bought. Supposedly the 28-ounce bag contains 5 1/2 cups of shredded coconut. However, when I measured it out, it was closer 4 cups…maybe. So, word to the wise, don’t trust the packaging. Rarely do I throw away something that doesn’t turn out just right, but that first batch went straight into the trash. I went back to the remainder in the bowl and adjusted the amount of coconut. The results were amazing, but I felt like it was missing something. That’s when I remembered that I had some Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers, and decided the macaroons would be even better dipped in chocolate. You know, as most things are. When all was said and done, the results were a bit addictive. They really taste like a Hershey’s Mounds bar, which is one of my favorite candy bars. If you crave coconut, you’ll love these!

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

A great way to use leftover egg whites. The key here is to toast half of the coconut until golden brown. The amount of coconut that you will use could be variable, but you want the coconut to be coated, but not swimming in the egg white mixture. If you prefer another type of chocolate, then feel free to substitute with milk chocolate, semi-sweet, etc. 

  • 21-28 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate melting wafers (I use Ghiradelli)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set up two large cookie sheets with Silpats and divide about 14 ounces (one bag) of the coconut between the two cookie sheets. Spread it out evenly so that it will toast evenly. Put it into the oven and watch them, as once they start browning they can quickly burn. You will also need to rotate the trays at some point unless your oven is wide enough for two cookie trays (in which case, I am very jealous!). When the coconut is toasted, remove the trays from the oven and allow it to cool until it is not too hot to touch. While the coconut cools, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt in a stand mixer or bowl and a whisk until the mixture is frothy. Fold in the cooled, toasted coconut into this egg white mixture. At this point it will look like the coconut is swimming in the egg white mixture. Gradually add another 7-14 ounces of sweetened coconut (untoasted) to the mixture until all of the egg white mixture has coated the coconut. On the same Silpat-lined baking sheets, begin forming macaroons and spacing evenly. They should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. I used the same scoop that I use for cookies to ensure they were all even and was sure to really press the coconut mixture into the scoop to ensure it didn’t fall upon when I released the little mound onto the Silpat. Bake these on the middle rack for about 15 minutes, checking to make sure that the bottoms don’t burn. If it looks like they are, you will need to adjust the rack to the next highest position. They should be golden brown when they are done. Allow them to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Finish baking the macaroons (there should be about 36 in all) and while they cool prepare a double boiler to melt the chocolate wafers. Add the chocolate and melt completely. Dip the macaroons one at a time into the chocolate, just enough to coat the bottom of the macaroon and place dipped macaroon on the cooled Silpat-lined tray (yes, you are putting your Silpats to work!). Once all of the macaroons have been dipped, take the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the tops of the macaroons with a spoon. Place the macaroons in the fridge to cool. When the chocolate has completely hardened, transfer the macaroons to an airtight container or your mouth. If the weather is warm, store them in the fridge so that the chocolate doesn’t melt. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!
Posted by: The King | March 26, 2015

Coffee Ice Cream

Coffee and med school. Sometimes it feels like these two things go hand-in-hand. When I first started in August, I was drinking a lot of coffee in the morning and sometimes throughout the day. I’m pretty sensitive to the stuff and so if I drink too much I get really wired and am bouncing off the walls. I have cut back to only drinking a small coffee on very rare occasions. I know a few of my other classmates have also sworn it off or try to use it sparingly to avoid the jitters as well. Then there are those who would mainline their cup of joe if they could. It has become more of a treat for me, such as if I am studying at a coffee shop, and even then it’s pretty much a milkshake or hot chocolate with just a splash of espresso. So, I figured it was fitting for the first ice cream to make in med school to be coffee ice cream. It’s a great, tasty treat to have at the end of a long day of studying. Lucky for me it has just enough coffee for a great flavor, but without throwing me into a sleepless night. This is delicious on its own or you can drizzle a little chocolate syrup over top. This would also be a really good base to experiment with a variety of mix-ins. As I mentioned in my post about Ice Cream Makers, have fun and experiment with your frozen treats!

Coffee Ice Cream

Coffee Ice Cream

Coffee Ice Cream

Coffee ice cream is a great treat at the end of a long day. Sit back and relax with a spoon and a good book or your favorite show and just enjoy this creamy treat. I use 2% reduced fat milk rather than whole milk, because I don’t want it to be overly creamy. You can adjust the amount of cream and milk, as well as the type of milk used to your own liking, but beware that the more heavy on milk your base is the icier the consistency will be.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups 2% reduced fat milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 6 egg yolks
In a medium bowl add the 6 egg yolks and set aside. In a medium saucepan, add cream, milk, sugar, instant coffee, and salt. Heat mixture over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Remove the mixture from heat. Whisk the 6 egg yolks together in the medium bowl and while continually whisking, add one cup of the heated mixture to temper the egg yolks. Pour the tempered egg yolk through a fine strainer into the saucepan. Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook until the temperature reaches about 170°F, about 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down onto the top of the mixture. Place in the fridge and cool completely, about two hours. Once the mixture is completely cool, freeze the mixture according to your ice cream makers directions. Once the freezing process is completed, transferred to an airtight container and place in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours to reach a solid consistency throughout. Now simply scoop, serve, and enjoy!
Posted by: The King | March 26, 2015

Ice Cream Makers

I haven’t posted about a great kitchen gadget in a long time! Seeing as it has been quite warm in Florida, I felt that ice cream was in order. So naturally, I decided that a post about ice cream makers was in order. There are two different types of ice cream makers that I use and how I choose which one to use depends on the circumstances. Below I will discuss the two of them and how I decide which one to use. I will save some of the ice cream recipes for their own stand alone posts, because I foresee this being a lengthy post…I really love ice cream! Sorry, not sorry!

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment

So, as many of you know, I am a huge fan of the KitchenAid mixer. In fact, I think it is so amazing that my first post was about the KitchenAid mixer. In case you missed it, you can read up on it here. I am also a fan of most of the attachments for the stand mixer. Staying in line with this post though, I will stick to talking about the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment and save the other attachments for a different time. This is actually the second ice cream maker that I have used. I received it for Christmas a few years ago and have found it to be very useful.

This is best used for making a small batches of ice cream, as well as sorbet, sherbet, and gelato. Mind you, a small batch of ice cream by my family’s standards is about 2 quarts. I think it is perfect for trying out new ice cream flavors and experimenting without committing to a large batch of ice cream. It is also well-suited for small batches that you would like to just have around for a small dessert or if you’re having a small dinner party and want to serve some homemade ice cream as your dessert. It freezes ice cream very well, leaving you with an end product that has a great consistency. This attachment also freezes ice cream pretty quickly, about 20-30 minutes. This is mainly due to the smaller size of the batch, but makes for a relatively quick dessert. Finally, because the freezing process takes place without a lid, you are able to throw in any mix-ins that you would like to add to your ice cream. I have not tried this yet, but from what I have seen online, this ultimately depends on what you want to mix into the ice cream and how incorporated you want it to be. For instance, items such as M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, or chunks of candy bars, frozen cookie dough bits or brownie bites, can easily be thrown in about 10-15 minutes into the freezing process without fear that their structure will be compromised. On the other hand, something like peanut butter, chocolate ganache, or caramel would depend on how incorporated you would like it to be. For a more incorporated mixture I would add it about 10-15 minutes in, but if you want there to be tracks or ribbons of these throughout the finished ice cream, I would wait until the ice cream has frozen and then add these while transferring to your airtight container to complete the freezing process. I think this is a chance to really play with different flavors of ice cream and have fun!

That being said, there are a few minor downsides to this ice cream maker. The first one is that you have to freeze the bowl a minimum of 15 hours before freezing your ice cream. It actually works best if it has been frozen for longer than 24 hours. If you have the freezer space and always want it ready for action then I would recommend storing it in your freezer. Being that I live in an apartment, my freezer space is rather limited, so I have to plan in advance to make ice cream. I recently tried it after freezing it for a little under 24 hours and I think that it probably could have stayed in the freezer a little longer, but this was not the only complication that I ran into. Being that I live in Florida now, even in March it can be up into the 80s. As a medical student, I usually try to keep the A/C use to a minimum to keep my electricity bill down, and usually leaving the windows open for a breeze is sufficient to keep my apartment at a comfortable temperature. That being said, I learned that this comfortable temperature is not conducive to freezing ice cream in the KitchenAid attachment. I would recommend trying to work in a cool kitchen that is no warmer than 75 degrees. My apartment was around 80 degrees and it was a little too warm and slowed the freezing process. Because you are using a bowl that was frozen in the freezer you are working in a limited window of time. If you think about it, the contents of the freezing bowl can only absorb so much heat from the ice cream mixture, before it reaches a temperature that will no longer promote the freezing process. This leads me to my final point, which actually goes for both ice cream makers: make sure your ice cream mixture cools completely before you begin the freezing process. Ideally I would recommend keeping it in the fridge and allow it to reach fridge temperature, but if you don’t have room in your fridge, at least let it cool to room temperature before freezing it.

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker

KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker

The KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment has an MSRP of $99.99, but can be found for much cheaper online (i.e., Amazon.com) or in stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Target. This is a great gift for the holidays, especially for someone who already has a stand mixer. I know that other manufacturers also make ice cream makers like this, Cuisinart being the one that sticks out in my mind the most, but I don’t have any experience using them, and I figure if you already have a stand mixer you might as well use an attachment that is made for one of the best small kitchen appliances!

Traditional Ice Cream Maker

The second type of ice cream maker that I use also comes with a tremendous amount of nostalgia. In my family we could always count on three things when summer came around: long course swim meets, brats, and homemade ice cream. We always used our grandparents’ ice cream maker that they brought with them to Oregon when they moved from Wisconsin. The process would start with Nani making the ice cream custard. Sometimes, but not often she would make vanilla. More often than not she would make chocolate ice cream, which was always a favorite of the grandkids. If strawberries were in season and we had recently picked several flats of fresh berries then she would make strawberry ice cream, which was also a crowd-pleaser. Once Nani had made the custard and it was cooled and ready for the big freeze, the duties were handed over to Papa and the grandkids. There were several jobs for us to fight over, such as using the stick to keep the drain clear, getting another tea kettle with hot water from Nani, scooping salt and scooping ice. Papa always sat with us the entire time, occasionally adding a drop of oil to the motor as it hummed away with each turn, and directing his team of helpers. By far the best part happened just as soon as the motor ground to a halt. Nani would remove the ice cream canister and we’d all gather around the picnic table, spoons in hand, as she would lay the dasher (the part that churns the ice cream) on a baking sheet. As soon as she gave us the green light we’d all dive in, scooping up spoonfuls of freshly frozen ice cream, as Nani would take the 6-quart canister inside to dish up servings for everyone. This has been a tradition that has now been passed down to my generation. The price of these ice cream makers really depends on several factors, such as the size of the canister, the type of motor, what the bucket is made from, etc. You can find some as cheap as $30.00 and they can go all the way up to over $100.00, though most seem to be right around $40.00 to $50.00.

Making Ice Cream with Papa

Making Ice Cream with Papa

Making Ice Cream with Papa

Making Ice Cream with Papa

For those are are not familiar with this method of freezing I will give you the general method, which is fairly straight-forward, but just requires some time. This method of freezing is as follows:

1) Fill canister with the cooled ice cream custard according to the recipe, insert the dasher into the container and place the lid on top.

2) Transfer filled canister to the empty freezer bucket, fit the motor on top as directed by the owner’s manual, and start the churning process.

3) Add ice to the sides of the bucket, then sprinkle a ice cream rock salt over the top, continuing this process until ice has just about reached the top of the canister. Avoid getting salt on or near the lid.

4) Slowly pour the boiling water evenly over the ice and salt. Add more ice and salt and continue alternating addition of ice/salt and boiling water just until water begins to pour out of the drain. You should also make sure that the level of the salty ice water does not get close to the canister’s lid (the drain is usually placed at such a level to prevent this).

5) Continue Step 4) periodically throughout the rest of the freezing process, ensuring that the overflow drain stays clear.

6) When the ice cream nears the end of the freezing process, the motor will slow and eventually come to a complete stop. You will know that it is nearing this point when you begin to see the ice cream expanding in the canister and it may also begin to touch the top of the canister.

7) When the motor stops, unplug the motor, remove the motor and pull out the canister, which is now filled with delicious ice cream, making sure to avoid getting any salt water near the lid.

8) Remove the dasher, set aside (with plenty of spoons for all your helpers!), and serve ice cream immediately or transfer to airtight containers to put in the freezer.

 

Rival Ice Cream Maker

Rival 6-Quart Ice Cream Maker

While we still have the old ice cream maker in Portland, I wanted one while I was in college to make fresh ice cream, so I purchased a Rival 6-quart ice cream maker. It looks a little something like the blue ice cream maker (pictured right). Rival also has a wide variety of sizes that can be found on their website, they even have a wooden one. It should be pretty apparent that this method takes quite a bit more work, but I think that there are still many advantages to using this method. For starters, this makes a large amount of ice cream in one freeze. As I mentioned before, my grandparents’ canister held 6 quarts of ice cream. The Rival that I purchased also holds 6 quarts, as the recipes that I have from Nani are geared toward this quantity of ice cream. The advantage of this amount of ice cream is that there is more to share! There’s plenty to go around at large parties, and if you don’t finish it all, it freezes really well in airtight containers. How long can you keep it in the freezer? That’s hard to say, because in my family it’s always disappeared in less than a week. I think that it works best for simple flavors like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, etc that are easy to serve with a slice of cake or pie, or topped with some fresh summertime berries. Another great advantage of this method is that the freeze time is only limited to the amount of ice, salt and boiling water you have, and these are all things that are easy to have on hand in large quantities. Nani and Papa would always buy a couple big bags of ice, they had a big container of ice cream salt, and the teapot was kept on the stove to ensure boiling water was always on hand. Because of this extended freezing time, you are able to freeze a larger amount, and also have more control over the freeze time. It’s important to be very patient, because it will take a little longer to freeze, but it is well worth the wait. Finally, this is simply a great summertime activity for the family, especially if you have a lot of children. If you make this a tradition in your family at holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, or those summer birthdays, it’s something your kids will always remember fondly. Papa’s July birthday always involved making ice cream and roasting brats.

Despite the sentimental feelings this method always stirs up, there are a couple drawbacks. If you’re not looking to make a large quantity of ice cream, then this can be a bit of a disadvantage. The process is also pretty involved and requires either a large sink that you can place the ice cream maker in so that the overflow can drain into or an area of a patio or yard that won’t be ruined by the drainage of the salt water…that whole salting the earth thing should probably be avoided. Finally, the entire process from start to finish takes a long time. It takes a few hours to prepare and completely cool the ice cream custard, which I would suggest making the evening before and cooling in the fridge overnight. The freezing process takes about 40 minutes or so (more or less depending on the custard, ambient temperature, etc.), but time flies when you’re having fun! Although this is not something that I do regularly, I think it is great for large gatherings or barbecues, as many people can be involved in the process and then enjoy the fruits…or freezes…of their labor!

Posted by: The King | March 18, 2015

Sriracha Hummus

Every now and then I find a recipe that just feels like it’s missing something. That’s what happened when I made the recipe for Restaurant-Style Hummus from the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. David and I made it for an appetizer before dinner one night, and we were both left a little underwhelmed. So, one evening I’m alone, bored, hungry, and decided to try to improve upon an otherwise boring hummus. Naturally, I turned to Sriracha first. Using the Cook’s Illustrated recipe as a foundation, I was able to create a delicious hummus recipe that I’ve made many times now and each time I get the same response, “OMG! This is delicious!”

Sriracha Hummus

This hummus is great served with any of the following: toasted pita, Stacy’s brand pita chips, baby carrots, cucumber slices, or bell pepper slices. Experiment with other ways to use this hummus!

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine water and lemon juice in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl. Process chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper in food processor until almost full ground. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, add lemon juice mixture in steady stream. Scrape down bowl again. Process for another minute and with machine running, add tahini mixture in a steady stream. With machine still processing, add Sriracha (2-3 tablespoons or more to taste). Add the cilantro and continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, scraping down bowl as necessary. When ready to serve, stir in approximately 1 tablespoon of warm water if texture is too thick. Transfer hummus to a serving bowl and enjoy!

The King's Sriracha Hummus

The King’s Sriracha Hummus

Posted by: The King | March 11, 2015

Shrimp Scampi

So in my haste to get some of these posts out, I forgot to mention some vital news! Ok, it’s not really that vital, but for anyone else out there that is also a photography enthusiast, I got a new camera lens! The Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D to be specific and it has taken some really great pictures. It’s really a great lens and comes at a very affordable price. I have been using it for some of my more recent posts. Ok, now back to the kitchen!

When I posted the Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe, I forgot to discuss how I go about buying shrimp. I always buy my shrimp frozen. That way I am able to take it home and pop it in the freezer until I am ready to use it. Shrimp thaws much faster than chicken, beef or pork. Usually if you take it out like an hour or so before cooking it should be thawed in time to start cooking. The other reason that I buy my shrimp frozen is that I know how long it has been since it was thawed. Unless you live in an area that has lots of fresh shrimp, your grocery store receives its shrimp frozen and then thaws it for the seafood counter. So if you want the freshest shrimp, buy frozen and thaw yourself. I usually get mine at Costco, because they have a 2-pound bag of frozen 31/40 tail-on, peeled shrimp for a little under $20, especially when it’s on sale. Now you might be wondering, “What does 31/40 mean?!” It’s actually quite simple. The numbers are a range which tell you the number of similarly sized shrimp that you will find in one pound. So, 31/40 means that one pound of shrimp will yield between 31 and 40 shrimp. So, the higher the number, the smaller the shrimp, and the lower the number, the bigger the shrimp.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can talk about this recipe. I adapted it from the Barefoot Contessa. I think I had just graduated college when I first made this, and my siblings and I made it for our parent’s anniversary. This turned out much better than the cocktails I made. Turns out that recipe called for “1 cup bottle vodka” NOT “1 bottle vodka.” Whoops! Our parents loved the dinner, as did my siblings and I, so we knew it wasn’t just because our parents were lit from the potent beverages we served them beforehand. I hadn’t made this recipe in quite some time, so figured I’d make it again. I think this recipe might be even simpler than the Shrimp Fra Diavolo. So, if you’re looking for something quick and delicious that will surely impress your guests, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Then again, you might like it so much that you’ll want to just make it for yourself.

Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti

A delicious and refreshing recipe that is full of flavor from the lemon juice and zest. If you’re cooking for one, this recipe reheats well for a delicious lunch or dinner the next day. You can always use angel hair or linguine too.

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, tail-on, peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until al dente. Meanwhile, in large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine. When the pasta is done, reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water and transfer cooked pasta to the pot. Return to heat, add the reserved pasta water, and cook, tossing constantly until sauce has thickened and coats the spaghetti. Serve immediately and enjoy! 

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti

Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti

Posted by: The King | March 4, 2015

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Back to the blog! School is crazy busy, so it doesn’t leave a lot of time to cook, take pictures and then write a post. I have been stockpiling a lot of pictures of different things that I make so that I can roll them out when I get a chance. So, I’m taking a quick study break from all the bugs and drugs we’ve been reviewing. Don’t worry, I’ll spare the details that would ruin most people’s appetites! This is a recipe that I have been making for many years. I adapted the recipe from Giada’s Everyday Italian Cookbook, which I received as a graduation present from my good friend Lauren when I finished at the University of Wisconsin. What I love about this recipe is that it is one of those recipes that taste way more complex than it is to make. It’s incredibly easy and tastes fresh and delicious. As many of you know by now, I am a fan of a bit of a kick and this can definitely have a kick to it if you add enough red chili flakes. “Fra Diavolo” means “brother devil,” which describes its signature kick. However, if you have a more delicate palate you can just scale back the red pepper flakes a bit; it really is not an overwhelming spice. Any time I have made this recipe it is a fan favorite. Everyone has almost always gone back for seconds. I made this recently and the leftovers have been great throughout the week for lunch or dinner. I typically use spaghetti, but have also used angel hair in the past.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This recipe is a great way to use some fresh basil and parsley. Chiffonade may sound like some crazy fancy term, but don’t be deterred, because it is as simple as stacking the leaves, rolling them up, and thinly slicing the roll. I usually make this with shrimp, but have also made it with chicken breast by thinly slicing one pound of chicken breast.

  • 2/3 pounds spaghetti
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade (see note)
Place a large pot of salted water on the stove over high heat so that it will come to a boil while you prepare the rest of the meal. In a bowl, mix the shrimp, salt and red pepper flakes. Set aside while you heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil has heated, add the shrimp and cook until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, wine, garlic and dried oregano. Simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering you can cook the spaghetti. Add the shrimp back to the sauce and toss to coat. When the spaghetti is al dente, reserve about a 1/2 cup of the water and transfer the cooked spaghetti to the sauce. Toss to coat and add the reserved pasta water. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, tossing spaghetti and sauce regularly. Remove from the heat and add the fresh herbs. Give the spaghetti a final toss to distribute the herbs evenly. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Posted by: The King | December 30, 2014

The King’s Butter Chicken

While home from medical school for the holidays, I decided that I wanted to try a new recipe for the family to try. Toward the end of the last semester, some of my classmates and I went out for a night of Indian food, followed by ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. At the Indian restaurant, I ordered the butter chicken. It is a dish that I had tried in San Diego when David and I got take-out to eat while watching Mad Men one night. Butter chicken has a rich flavor that I just can’t get enough of. I did some thorough research online and found several recipes for butter chicken, but no one single recipe seemed to give me what I was looking for. I ended up pulling components from several recipes for this final product. I’m sure it is something that I will continue to tinker with, and as I do I will update this recipe with any changes that I make to enhance the final product. I have no doubt that David will also have some good input, as he’s very good at fine-tuning dishes like butter chicken. Regardless, the end product for my family was delicious and tasted just like the butter chicken I had ordered at the restaurant. There is not a lot of heat with this dish, as my family isn’t too keen on spice, so if you would like a little more kick, just increase the cayenne pepper to taste or add my favorite producer of heat, Sriracha. Now if only I could find some liquid nitrogen to recreate the ice cream from the night out with my classmates!

The King's Butter Chicken with Naan

The King’s Butter Chicken with Naan

The King’s Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Serve with basmati rice and naan, such as The King’s Garlic Naan. Garnish each serving with fresh cilantro. This tasted just like the butter chicken found at many Indian restaurants and makes quite a bit, so there should be plenty for leftovers.

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cans (14 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups half & half
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken and then sprinkle 1 teaspoon garam masala and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper over the chicken. Cook until it has browned on the outside. It does not need to cook all the way through, because it will finish cooking in the sauce. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and melt another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then add the ginger, cumin, chili powder and the remaining 3 teaspoons garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cook for about 45 seconds until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for about 5 minutes. At this point I used an immersion blender to make sure it was a smooth sauce and blend any larger pieces of onion, if you don’t have an immersion blender or blender to give it a whirl in, you should be fine if you finely chop your onion. Add the half & half  and the chicken. Reduce the heat to simmer sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, stirring until it has melted and been incorporated into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread and garnish with fresh roughly chopped cilantro.
Posted by: The King | December 7, 2014

The King’s Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan

Garlic Naan

I first made this naan with David when we had our friends Kevin and Bill over for dinner. I found the recipe on the Food Network website and it makes for some really delicious naan. We were running short on time, so we made some shortcuts to the original recipe, and it still turned out great. This recipe could easily be doubled to make more naan.

The King’s Garlic Naan

Garlic naan is probably one of the greatest things ever. It is an easy and quick bread to make. Perfect for sopping up leftover sauce from your plate. This recipe makes 6 pieces of naan. Don’t have a cast iron skillet you can use? This recipe can also be made on the BBQ grill, just turn the grill up to high and let the grills get nice and hot, then make the naan the same way as you would in the cast iron skillet.

  • 3/4 cup water, lukewarm
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with warm water. Let it sit until frothy, about 10 minutes. Sift the flour, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the yogurt and olive oil to the yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Pour into the dry ingredients, and gently mix together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to mix. It will feel like there isn’t enough flour at first, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky and pliable dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Cover with damp towel and let it sit in a warm place for 20-30 minutes (up to 2-4 hours if you have the time). Fill a small bowl with water. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Separate the dough into 6 equal portions, lightly roll each one in the bowl of flour. Roll each into a teardrop shape about 1/4″ thick. This can be done using your hands or using a rolling pin. Once you’ve formed the general shape, you can also pick it up by one end and wiggle it; the dough’s own weight will stretch it out a little. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough. Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until nearly smoking. Make sure you have a lid large enough to fit the skillet and a dish with the melted butter ready. Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans, moistening lightly. Gently lay it in the skillet. The dough should start to bubble. Flip the naan after 1 minute. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened. Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Remove the naan from the skillet, drizzle with a bit of butter then spoon about a half tablespoon of minced garlic onto the naan. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naan and serve warm.
Posted by: The King | December 7, 2014

Tikka Masala Meatballs

Medical school has kept me extremely busy! However, I’m still making time to cook regularly. The last few months have also been huge in making adjustments to my diet and exercise regimen. After losing 30 pounds, I’m back down to my ideal weight and am enjoying a healthy mixture of delicious food and exercise. I finally had a weekend free from studying to experiment in the kitchen with an idea I’ve had for quite some time: chicken tikka masala in meatball form! This recipe was really just the combination of two recipes that I have already posted before. The first is the Sriracha Chicken Tikka Masala recipe and the other recipe is the Asian Meatball recipe, which uses a sauce to flavor and moisten the meatballs. I thought that the marinade from the former recipe could be used in place of this to make the tikka masala meatballs. The addition of the pork to the chicken makes these meatballs very moist and delicious.

Tikka Masala Meatballs

This recipe will make a little over 80 meatballs. I froze some of them for use later. They can be served with the Sriracha Tikka Masala sauce, but the sauce recipe probably needs to be doubled for an entire batch of meatballs. Serve with quinoa or rice and naan. This would also be a good appetizer for a party.

Sriracha Tikka Masala Meatballs

Sriracha Tikka Masala Meatballs

Marinade:

  • 2 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Meatballs:
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup marinade (above)
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Mix the marinade in a bowl. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.  In another bowl, combine the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well and form into meatballs about an inch in diameter. Place them on the baking sheet. Spoon a small amount of the remaining marinade onto each meatball and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours. Preheat oven to 400º. Bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add the garlic, cooking until it becomes aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the cumin, coriander, garam masala and sweet paprika, combine and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and Sriracha. Allow mixture to simmer for 15 minutes. Slowly add the coconut milk, whisking while you add it. Simmer for another 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Add some of the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for about 3 more minutes. Salt and pepper sauce to taste. Serve over quinoa (or rice) with garlic naan bread. Enjoy!

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