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Jilly’s Chicken Adobo
July 18, 2011, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Cook, Drink | Tags: , , , ,

In 2008, we had a rotating potluck going and it was Jilly’s turn to cook the main. I’d been craving Filipino food so I requested that she make chicken adobo because all Filipinos know how to make amazing chicken adobo, right? Riiight. All Filipinos know how to make amazing chicken adobo just like all Japanese are ninjas. That first stab at chicken adobo? Let’s just say it was… less than successful. Blame it on the fact that she used boneless skinless chicken breasts, or that she used full sodium soy sauce, or that she hadn’t yet learned what brining was. One diner actually asked, “Is this beef?”

Then one day, she posted this picture, and I knew she’d finally figured it out:

Two years, it took, but she finally perfected the recipe and when I begged her to let me try the new and improved version of her chicken adobo, she had me over for dinner. As I walked into the apartment, the aroma of garlic and ginger wafting through the air, the sound of the chicken sizzling in the pan, and the sight of my lovely hostess smiling at me… it all had me a little weak in the knees.

You’ve come a long way, baby.


  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken legs (drumstick/thigh combos), brined overnight in solution of 1/4 cup salt + 1 gallon of water
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • Coconut oil OR canola oil to fry chicken
Preparation (as written by Jilly)
  1. After brining chicken for 24 hours, remove and let sit in a bowl for 1 hour (to let the water soak into the chicken and away from the skin…we want crispy skin!)
  2. Marinate chicken for 1 hour in all of the above ingredients (minus the brine, of course) in a large pot
  3. Begin cooking; let simmer and stir regularly until chicken appears cooked, opaque and white. Turn off heat.
  4. Have a frying pan ready with oil, preheated till oil is shimmering (supa dupa hot)
  5. Begin frying chicken in batches as pan allows–this will be messy, but worth it! If possible, a brave soul with long arms (and long sleeves) should be the one doing this step
    • Fry till crispy, golden, and brown.
    • As each piece is perfectly fried, put it back into the pot with the soy/vinegar/garlic mixture
  6. When done frying, cook the chicken back up in the soy mixture, and simmer until mixture is thick and chicken is cooked through (the poke-with-a-knife test, etc.)
    • Jill likes to add a teaspoon of sugar in there as it simmers at this step to make it a little richer and caramelized-ish
Recommended wine pairing: 2008 Pfaffenheim Pinot Blanc d’Alsace.
Grape: 100% Pinot Blanc
Region: Pfaffenheim (Alsace), France.
Notes: 100 growers created a co-operative called ‘The winegrowers of Pfaffenheim’, whose grapes are never sold outside of the Co-op. Several Grand Cru vineyards. 2010 is the first year these wines are sold in the U.S.Description: Beautiful golden-yellow color with clean aromas of peach and apricots. The palate is surprisingly dry for such intense aromas and richness. Lovely minerality and starfruit character that yields to red plum on the finish.

Serve with mango salad:
  • 3 Jersey tomatoes OR 4-5 plum tomatoes, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, also diced
  • 1 mango, diced (use a firm mango to avoid smushiness..we like crisp!)
  • as much or as little cilantro as you’d like, finely chopped
  • dash of white vinegar, to taste
  • dash of soy or fish sauce, to taste
  • squeezed 1/2 lime or 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
Dice it up and throw it all together.
I like mine extra crispy.
To balance it all out with a starch, I like garlic rice, although any rice will do. For garlic rice, just take a crapload of minced garlic and saute it in a crapload of butter before stirring in cooked white rice (I like it kinda mushy). Nom.

Ginger citrus chicken recipe
May 14, 2010, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Cook, Eat, Go | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

One of the best things about cooking in France is the abundance of farmers’ markets. Within 10 minutes’ walk from our hotel in Cannes, there were two farmers’ markets: the Marché Forville and the Marché Gambetta. On our last day in Cannes post-MIPcano, we stayed with a friend at his apartment, and he graciously allowed us free reign of his kitchen. After two weeks of rich food heavy in cream and fat, we were all feeling the need for something lighter. Dave suggested that we try to make something Asian, so with that in mind, I headed to the market.

Although the Marché Gambetta food and textiles and other wares, the Marché Forville has only food – freshly baked bread from neighborhood bakeries, house-cured saucissons and homemade pates from area boucheries, fish caught that morning in surrounding waters, and just-picked fruits and vegetables by local farmers. The produce is fiercely local, with a veritable bounty of beautiful and various kinds of asparagus, artichokes, and strawberries, but not so much in the way of snow peas, bean sprouts, Chinese broccoli, or the like.

After some perusing, I decided to go in the direction of making ginger and citrus marinated chicken legs with a side of gingered veggies. We already had soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil at the the apartment, so I picked up chicken legs, ginger, an orange, a lime, and green onions for the chicken itself, and green beans, onions, and carrots for the side of veggies.

Ingredients for Ginger Citrus Chicken (serves 3):

  • 3 chicken skin-on, bone-in chicken quarters, legs and thighs attached
  • Juice (and pulp) of half a large orange
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 4 plump cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade
  • 2 half-tablespoons of sesame oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste

Directions for Ginger Citrus Chicken (serves 3):

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Rinse chicken in cold water and pat dry.
  • Rub chicken with a little sea salt and white pepper then set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients above except chicken and one half-tablespoon of sesame oil and mix well. Have a wee taste. Do not be alarmed if the marinade seems very spicy (from the ginger) or very garlicky (duh – from the garlic) – these flavors will mellow out with cooking. In fact, you might even want to add a little more for that extra zing. If you desire more sweetness, add more honey. If you want more tartness, add more lime. If you want more saltiness, add more soy sauce or a pinch of salt.

  • Once satisfied with your marinade, arrange your chicken quarters in a baking dish.
  • Pour the marinade onto the chicken quarters, and with your hands and/or a spoon, separate the chicken skin from the meat, and make sure the marinade gets all up in there.

  • Slice green onions into long strips and scatter atop the chicken. This is purely aesthetic. I just liked the splash of green.
  • Slice up leftover orange and lime for garnish. Waste not, want not! Marinate in refrigerator for two to eight hours, but remove from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before baking.

  • Bake chicken in oven for 40 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes, remove chicken from oven briefly and drizzle tops with remaining half-tablespoon of sesame oil to crisp up the skin.

While the chicken was cooking, we enjoyed some of our other market goodies: charcuterie!

This monstrous loaf is called “Pâté croute de pintade fermiere aux morilles” (or for you non-French speakers: “country-style crusted pâté of guinea fowl with morels.” It comes in the shape of a loaf, and consists of myriad different preparations of myriad innards of the guinea fowl with pistachios and morels, all rolled up and baked in a rich, buttery crust. This pretty baby cost 27.80 euros per kilo (but this thin slice only set me back 4 euros or so).

As the chicken was about to finish cooking, I sauteed slivers of onion in sesame oil until translucent, then added green beans (trimmed), and strips of carrot. When everything was just cooked through but still crisp, I added a little soy sauce and some Tabasco (for a kick of spice and vinegar).

Mmm… Then it was time for dessert, and for this glorious occasion, we had picked up a vanilla creme brulee and a chocolate mousse topped with chocolate pop rocks (they were explosive – never had anything like it!) from the best chocolatier in town: L’Atelier Jean-Luc Pelé.

It was a sweet end to a sweet week, and we slept like babies that night… at least until we had to wake up at 3:45 am to catch a cab to the Nice Airport. Until next time…

Treat yourself: L’Atelier Jean-Luc Pelé. 36 rue Meynadier. 06400 Cannes, France. +33 (0)4 9338 0610.

Pea shoot quandary
March 12, 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: ,

I’ve got a hankering for some greens. When I was in Chinatown last weekend, I impulsively picked up some pea shoots without having any clue as to how to prepare them. I’ve had pea shoots before as a side dish, Chinese style with oyster sauce, but I’ve been eating a lot of oyster sauce and soy sauce lately and I’d like to try something different. Any suggestions for non-Chinese flavored prep of pea shoots with chicken?

I am considering Indian flavors – maybe some cumin, turmeric, coriander powder and some garam masala. Should I cream the pea shoots or serve them simply, wilted with salt and pepper? I wish I had some saffron at home…

Spice-Roasted Chicken with Cilantro Yogurt Pesto
March 7, 2010, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I had a gigantic container of plain yogurt in my fridge that I needed to use up, so I started looking for recipes on Epicurious that used yogurt as one of the main ingredients. I stumbled upon a recipe for Spice-Roasted Cornish Hens with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce, and boy, am I glad. Instead of using hens, I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and legs I had in my freezer, used pre-ground cumin and coriander powder, skipped the sour cream, and added a bit of lemon to the yogurt sauce for tartness. The prep took me no more than 15 minutes, and the total cook time in the oven was about 30 minutes. It’s simple. It’s quick. And it’s tasty.


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or legs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 10-ounce cucumber, peeled, cubed, and cored (remove insides with seeds to reduce moisture)
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (use Greek yogurt if you want more creaminess)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 12 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled (this is very garlicky and spicy, which I like, but you may reduce the garlic if you’re squeamish)

Continue reading

Roasted pear and garlic chicken with Roquefort cream sauce
March 3, 2010, 10:26 am
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: , , , ,

I bought a half liter of heavy cream from Whole Foods over the weekend because all the snow in NYC was making me crave rich, creamy sauces. After chicken curry, spinach cream sauce pasta, cream of spinach soup, and umpteen lattes, I needed one more use for the last of my heavy cream. I happened to have some super-duper-stinky Roquefort cheese lying around that I can’t bring myself to eat plain – it’s really that potently stinky (and that’s saying something coming from someone who loves stinky cheese). So I decided I’d capture the essence and flavor of the Roquefort but dilute the potency by turning it into a cream sauce, and rather than serving as pasta, I decided to drizzle it over roasted garlic chicken with some pears.

I found a Chicken with Roquefort Cream Sauce recipe on, but I didn’t like the idea of actually cooking the chicken in the sauce because I wanted more control over just how much Roquefort would go into each bite. I also wanted to cut the potency of the Roquefort with a fruit pairing – green d’Anjou pear – smooth, acidic, and refreshing when eaten raw; softer, sweeter but still a wee bit tart when roasted. Lastly, I didn’t have any Herbes de Provence in my spice cabinet so I used rosemary and Italian seasoning and hoped for the best (and it actually tasted great). It’s a rich dish that is not difficult to make, and it yields an elegant, special occasion-worthy meal. So here is my recipe: Continue reading

Simple Malaysian Chicken Curry
January 15, 2010, 8:04 am
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: , , , , , ,

My friends and I have a monthly potluck, and when it was Sara’s turn the first time around, she decided to cook Malaysian chicken curry for us. It tastes a little like a spicy Massaman Thai curry, but not peanut-y and better. Since that first fateful taste, we have forced her to make it for us four more times, potluck or no potluck. Finally, I thought maybe I should stop torturing her and learn how to make it myself. She asked me if I wanted the from-scratch recipe or the easy from-a-package recipe. I opted for the easier version. Adapted from Sara’s e-mail to me:

Simple Malaysian Chicken Curry
Serves 4

1 packet yellow curry paste (can be found at Asian groceries)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 medium sized potatoes, rough 2 inch dice
8 pieces of chicken, dark meat is richer, but white meat will do
1 can coconut milk
Ginger or sesame oil

– Boil potatoes in large saucepan until just cooked, drain, set aside
– Sautee garlic and onions in ginger oil or sesame oil in a large skillet
– Add chicken to pan on medium-high heat to brown, but don’t cook all the way through
– In saucepan, add curry powder/paste, half a can of coconut milk (200 ml), and 1 cup of water. If you want a sweeter, flavor, use less water, add the whole can of coconut milk, 400 ml, and a half cup of water.
– Bring curry to a simmer and then add potatoes and chicken
– Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are soft

She sometimes adds carrots as well, in which case you’d cook them along with the potatoes.

Serve with rice (I like jasmine or coconut rice) or warm roti.

Bastardized (but easy peezy) tinga de pollo tacos
January 13, 2010, 8:39 am
Filed under: Cook, Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you are a Mexican food purist and take issue with degrees of authenticity in cooking, please stop reading this post. You will be offended. If you are a Mexican food enthusiast and busy cook who is too exhausted and too hungry to do a whole lot of work after getting home from work, read on for my bastardized tinga de pollo (stewed chicken) taco recipe.

I first came across tinga de pollo in Mexico City at a quesadilla kiosk in Coyoacan on the Avenue Hidalgo. The chicken was moist, flavorful, and needed no cheese, served simply sandwiched between the halves of a pan-grilled corn tortilla. I fell in love at first bite.

When I returned to NYC, I vowed to recreate the best quesadilla of my life, but in taco form. I did a bit of research. Tinga is a general term that refers to any meat (beef, chicken, or pork) that is shredded and stewed in a spicy tomato sauce.  Tinga is Spanish for “chicken.” It can be served in warm tortillas as tacos, on tostadas, in quesadillas, or as a meal with a side of beans and/or rice and tortillas. Unfortunately, I found that stewing chicken and making salsa verde from scratch takes time, and I am not always in the mood to spend that time. (If you want to do this from scratch, click here for a great tinga de pollo tostada recipe.) I took some dramatic shortcuts, but the end result was still tasty and superfast, and it’s great for a weeknight build-your-own-taco dinner party. Recipe after the jump. Continue reading