Monday, December 11, 2017

"Next Level Roast Chicken"

I spotted this recipe in the Washington Post Magazine.  We are always on the lookout for things to do with a roast chicken, it's a popular Sunday dinner option. Don't know if I can sell the mushroom sauce or the potato pancakes to LBA, SoBA, or Mrs. BA for that matter.

Greek-Style Roast Chicken With Rosemary Potato Pancake and Mushroom Sauce
This spatchcocked bird is fairly miraculous all by itself, but combined with the rosemary potato pancake and mushroom sauce, it’s over the top — a hearty and flavorful fall meal that will make the whole family happy.

Make Ahead: The chicken needs to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
Servings: Tested size: 4 servings

For the chicken
  • One 4 1/4- or 4 1/2-pound whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the potato pancake
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms, preferably a gourmet blend
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the chicken: Cut out the backbone; reserve it for another use (such as stock), and then flatten the bird. Kitchen shears are the right tool for removing the backbone of the chicken, but if you don’t happen to own any, a sharp chef’s knife will do the trick. Stand the chicken on its wishbone with the breasts facing away from you and the legs reaching for the ceiling. Carefully cut down one side of the backbone from top to bottom; repeat on the other side of the backbone, and then remove it. Last, flatten the bird by pressing down hard with both hands on the breast halves.

Combine the lemon zest and juice, salt and garlic in a shallow pan just large enough to hold the bird, whisking until the salt has dissolved. Whisk in the oil, then use the mixture to coat the chicken all over. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, turning it over several times.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Transfer the chicken to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Pour the marinade over the bird through a fine-mesh strainer (to avoid burnt garlic bits). Roast (middle rack) for 35 minutes or until the meat is firm to the touch and the skin is golden brown. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat/juices from the baking sheet and transfer the chicken to a platter to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, make the potato pancake: Toss the potatoes with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Distribute the grated potato evenly on the bottom of the skillet, pressing down firmly to form one large pancake. Reduce the heat to medium; cook for about 15 minutes, pressing on it occasionally with a spatula, until golden brown. Slide the pancake onto a baking sheet or a platter. Invert the skillet over a baking sheet and quickly invert to return the potato pancake, browned side up, to the skillet.

Add the remaining oil around the edges; cook for about 10 minutes, pressing down occasionally with the spatula until browned on the second side. It can be prepared up to this point and kept off heat until it is time to finish the chicken and then reheated over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side.

For the mushrooms: While the chicken is resting, heat the 2 tablespoons of reserved fat/juices in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, then stir in the mushrooms and the pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender.

Add the wine and increase the heat to medium-high; once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Add the broth and the juices from the resting chicken; cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Taste and season with salt and/or pepper, as needed.

Cut the chicken into pieces for serving. Divide the potato pancake into 4 equal wedges and place one on each plate. Top with a portion of chicken, then spoon some of the mushrooms and pan sauce over the top. Serve warm.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

I've covered Baked Potato Soup a few times before on this blog, namely here, here, and here.  But we're always on the lookout for variety, it being the spice of life and all that.  From Gimme Some Oven via BuzzFeed.

Slow Cooker Potato Soup
Yield: 8-10 servings
Total Time: 4 hours 20 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 4 hours 10 mins

  • 6 slices cooked bacon *, diced
  • 3-4 cups good-quality chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes **, peeled (if desired) and diced
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons bacon grease * (or butter)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) can 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream
  1. Add bacon, 3 cups chicken stock, potatoes and onion to the bowl of a large slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until the potatoes are completely tender and cooked through.
  2. Once the soup has slow cooked and is about ready to serve, cook the butter in a small saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat until it has melted. Whisk in the flour until it is completely combined, and then cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Gradually add in the evaporated milk while whisking it together with the flour mixture, and continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth. Let the mixture continue cooking until it reaches a simmer, stirring occasionally, and then it should get really thick.
  3. Immediately pour the milk mixture into the slow cooker with the potatoes, and stir until combined. Add in the cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salt and pepper, and stir until combined. If you would like the soup to be even thicker, you can use a potato masher or a large spoon to mash about half of the potatoes (while the soup is still in the slow cooker) to thicken the soup up. If you would like the soup to be thinner, add in an extra 1-2 cups of warmed chicken or vegetable stock. Stir to combine, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Serve warm, garnished with desired toppings. Or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (This recipe will not freeze well.)
* You can either fry the bacon, cook it in the microwave, or buy pre-cooked bacon. If frying or microwaving, I recommend dicing the bacon before cooking it. And if you are frying it, I highly recommend saving the bacon grease for later and then using it to make your roux (instead of butter).

** I highly recommend using Yukon gold potatoes, which have the perfect texture and buttery taste for this soup. But Russet potatoes or red potatoes would also work just fine in this recipe.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Brussel Sprout Chicken Bake

I don't mind the sprout.  Recipe from Yummly.

Maple Bacon Chicken and Brussels Sprouts Sheet Pan Dinner

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings: 4 people
This fall inspired chicken sheet pan dinner with brussels sprouts and bacon is the best way to enjoy fall flavors without much effort at all. I mean, you literally let your oven do all the work.

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 4 strips applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts trimmed and washed
  • 1 whole yellow onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line sheetpan with parchment paper or a baking liner. Place bacon and chicken breasts on sheetpan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove sheetpan from oven, increase temperature to 400 degrees F.
  3. Add onion and brussels sprouts to pan. Drizzle syrup over ingredients, season with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients to evenly distribute syrup and bacon grease over all ingredients.
  4. Return to oven (even if it's not done heating up to 400 degrees. Roast for 40 minutes or until brussels sprouts are crispy and browned.
  5. Remove from oven, evenly distribute vegetables between 4 plates, slice chicken and bacon and evenly distribute between plates.
Recipe Notes
  • serve with bread, rice, pasta, or add potatoes to vegetable mix to roast everything together.

Monday, November 20, 2017


The Brave Astronaut Clan is on the road for Thanksgiving, visiting with Mrs. BA's family.  The only thing that I am aware of that we are on the hook for is the famous Costco Apple Pie but I might try and convince Mrs. BA to make these - if not for Thanksgiving, maybe for an upcoming dinner party that I am hosting. From Tasty, via BuzzFeed.

Ingredients for 12 brigadeiros
  • 400 g (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing
  • 40 g (⅓ cup) cocoa powder
  • chocolate sprinkles, to decorate

  1. Put a pot on a medium low heat and melt the butter with the condensed milk.
  2. Stir in the cocoa powder and continue to stir for 10-15 minutes until the mixture begins to pull away from the edge of the pot.
  3. It’s done when you run the spoon through the centre of the mixture and it takes a few seconds to combine again.
  4. Spread the mixture onto a buttered plate and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. When set, roll the mixture into small balls and coat them in the chocolate sprinkles, (you may need to apply a small amount of butter to your hands to help them from sticking).
  6. Enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff

One of my richest memories of growing up was traveling to my aunt's house for New Years and she would make Beef Stroganoff.  I should build this into the recipe repertoire at the Launchpad. From the Recipe Critic via BuzzFeed.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff
Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 5 hours
Total time 5 hours 5 mins
Slow Cooker
Serves: 4

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 8 ounce sliced mushrooms
  • 1 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (10½) ounce cream of chicken soup
  • 1 envelope (1¼ ounce) dry onion soup mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • 1 pound large egg noodles for serving

  • Place the chicken in the bottom of a lightly greased slow cooker. Add the mushrooms. In a medium sized bowl add cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and dry onion soup mix. Mix until incorporated and spread on top of chicken and mushrooms.
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4. Serve over noodles and top with fresh parsley and salt and pepper.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chowder Soaked Toast

I spotted this article and recipe in the New York Times Magazine a while back and it stirred great memories of summers in Maine at my grandmother's house. I feel like this made an appearance on the dining room table more than once.

Chowder Soaked Toast

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced, scraps reserved
  • 2 ribs celery, minced, scraps reserved
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 30 littleneck clams, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 6 ounces dry white wine
  • 6 ounces clam juice
  • ⅓ pound guanciale, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 leeks, dark, woody green parts removed, sliced into coins and washed well
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, medium dice
  • 2 sprigs thyme, picked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces chopped clams
  • 6 pieces of a dense rustic loaf, cut into thick 2-inch-by-2-inch squares
  1. Put the olive oil in a Dutch oven, and heat on medium-high for approximately 1 minute, until the oil starts to streak. Add onion scraps and celery scraps, tarragon and littleneck clams. Stir briefly to coat with oil, and barely soften, then add the wine. Reduce the wine by half, then add 3 ounces of clam juice. Cover, and allow clams to steam open, checking often so as to remove the clams as they open, until all are open and removed. Set clams aside. 
  2. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth, and reserve the liquid. Remove all but 6 clams from the shell. Meanwhile, in a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed sauté pan, render the slices of guanciale in the canola oil until they are browned evenly on both sides. Reserve the fat and the guanciale.
  3. In the Dutch oven, heat the guanciale fat, and add onion, celery, leeks, potatoes and thyme, stirring to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and cook over low heat until the vegetables have just started to soften, taking care not to brown, about 5 minutes. Cover the vegetables with remaining clam juice, and simmer until potatoes are al dente.
  4. Stir in the cream, and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, taking care not to boil. Add the chopped clams and the littlenecks, and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Remove from heat.
  5. Toast the bread until golden, and place each piece in a bowl. Cover the toast with pieces of guanciale, and then add a ladleful of the chowder, about 6 ounces. Garnish with the remaining littleneck clams still in the shell.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Cocktails for Trick or Treating!

Tomorrow is Halloween at the Launchpad.  This year, LBA will venture out on his own (for the second year).  SoBA will still be supervised whilst trick or treating - I think it's Mrs. BA's turn to walk and for me to sit home and pass out candy.  I think that I I will mix up a batch of these and me and the neighbors can sit and wait for the little children to come looking for candy.  And any enterprising adults can put in a request for one too! Recipe from boulderlocavore.

The Grave Digger Cocktail
The Grave Digger cocktail is perfect not only for Halloween but as a celebration of fall. Flavors of apple and ginger make this a great seasonal sipper.
Servings 1 cocktail
Author Toni Dash

  • 2 ounces Hard Cider
  • 1 ounce Whiskey (I used Bourbon - I will too, BA)
  • Ginger ale, to fill
  • Crushed ice

In a 12-16 ounce tumbler or high ball glass, combine the hard cider and whiskey. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Fill with ginger ale.