Cooking Again, and it feels so good.

For the last month, maybe 6 weeks, I haven’t done much cooking. Seems like Chris and I are always going in two different directions and balancing work-school-wedding plans has kept me busy. Add in a 10 day work trip to the UP and a weekend in Puerto Rico to equal perhaps eight nights of real recipe-based cooking since May 1st, much of that just repeats of previous successes.

I expect school to busy-fy me again next week and of course, that is that great big party coming up in September. On the plus side, we have yet to go cake tasting so at least there is still plenty of fun stuff to do! Now that we are back from the tropics (with an extra $300 in our pockets thanks to my mad video poker skillz), its time to start cooking again. Last night, it was a simple chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar and garlic, sauteed with onions and served with a box of white/wild rice blend which I jazzed up through the use of vegetable broth and a cup of frozen vegetables.

Tonight, I’m being more adventurous and involved. Both dishes are based off ones created by someone else.


Buttermilk Brined Chicken
from Accidental Hedonist contributor Davekatz

The original recipe is meant to be grilled after an overnight brine and it used whole chicken pieces. Sadly, we don’t have a grill on our deck and anyway, its kind of rainy. So, instead I shortened the soaking time, used chicken breasts and pan-fried them.


1 1/4 cups buttermilk
less than 1/8 cup kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 cup panko bread crumbs
Couple shakes each of garlic powder, sage and cayenne pepper plus 1 pinch of salt

1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken breast, pounded thin (or bought thin-fillet style)


Combine the buttermilk, salt, , and spices. Mix well. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 90 minutes to 2 hours or longer, turning the pieces occasionally.

Heat pan over medium heat with equal parts butter and olive oil (about 1 1/2 tablespoons of each).

Mix bread crumbs with spices (shakes) in a plastic bag. Remove each chicken piece, one at time, from the marinade and put in bag with bread crumbs. Shake to coat thoroughly.

Saute coated chicken breasts in pan, 5-6 minutes per side until cooked through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

If you wanted to take this to the next level, I’d suggest making a buttermilk gravy to go with this. Also, the original recipe used hot sauce in the marinade which would seem to call for a nice creamy dipping gravy anyhow. You would not be able to use the buttermilk from the marinade though- your gravy wouldn’t get hot enough to kill the bugs it picked up from the raw chicken.

One caveat: the breadcrumbs don’t stick as well as I’d like. I think next time I’ll do flour-breadcrumb for more staying power.

Scalloped Potatoes with mushrooms and white wine sauce
from Half-Assed Kitchen.

I made a few changes, mostly because I didn’t have all the required ingredient but instead had similar ingredients I wanted to use.


6 fingerling potatoes, approximately equal to 3 small baking potatoes (thinly sliced)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3-4 green onions, white and light green parts only, chopped (reserve green tops, chopped)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups milk, half-and-half or plain Silk Creamer
5 Tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
Fresh rosemary (optional)

In a skillet, heat olive oil, onion ,scallion, mushrooms, salt and pepper until the mushrooms have given up most of their moisture and the onions have turned transparent.

Meanwhile, heat butter, milk and wine in a separate sauce pan. Once warmed, whisk in flour and continue to heat until the roux has thickened.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Layer potatoes into a greased, shallow baking dish. Stir mushroom mixture into sauce and then spoon over the potatoes. Sprinkle reserved scallion tops over top.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until potatoes are soft and sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary if desired.

So, I used fingerlings instead of baking potatoes because we had them. I’m not sure if it was my “thinly sliced” not being thin enough, the oven not being properly calibrated (rentals, eh) or just the different texture of using fingerling potatoes but this dish took an hour and probably could have continued to bake for even softer potatoes. I used the rosemary and Chris thought it was too much. He may not be the rosemary fan I am but I would err on the side of lightly sprinkled in any event.

There was some chicken left over from the previous night. Chris had asked me to make him some more of the balsamic chicken so he could just add it to something for dinner when I’m gone. I waited and not surprisingly, he instead asked that I throw the chicken in with this buttermilk marinade (which I saved, just in case).

52809 scalloped potatoes with mushrooms posted 52809 dinner posted

Notice the steam coming off those taters? Fresh from the oven photography has its pitfalls!


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