Tag Archives: simple

Buttermilk and Paprika Roast Chicken

Easy and delicious buttermilk roast chicken

Andrew’s Verdict: This dish provides an excellent, quick, and delicious way to cook chicken, perfect for a Sunday family dinner, or as an easy dinner any night. Experienced and inexperienced cooks: give this one a go. It’s fantastic.

A short, telling introduction: once, while attempting to strain pasta, I came very close to burning down our home.  While I do love food (even if I did not, I believe that anyone who spends a significant amount of time around Linh would come away with at least some appreciation for food, even if it were merely peripheral, like wearing a black sweater and leaning against a chalk-covered blackboard written upon by a favorite professor), I do not possess the full passion which Linh does.

Buttermilk and paprika Buttermilk with Spanished smoked paprika marinade.

So, then, it should be clear: cooking is not my forte.  I’ve never had much experience with it, nor have I had a great deal of success on those rare times when I stretched myself and tried to make a more elaborate dish.

Given my past difficulties, when I asked Linh to suggest a meal that I could prepare, the number one criterion was simplicity. After some thinking, she suggested this dish which originates from Smitten Kitchen; it promised to be a simple, delicious way to prepare roast chicken.  The blurb, beginning with a mouth-watering description of chicken done to a golden-tinged exterior perfection with a rich, flavorful, moist interior from the marinade sold me.

Roast for 30 minutes at 350F Chicken roasted to perfection in 30 minutes.

The marinade was very simple and quick to make.  I used a smoked Spanish paprika, and we’ve since prepared it with regular paprika (paprika can be found in many varieties).  Both turned out delicious, it’s just a matter of taste as to whether you’d prefer a less spicy, smokier, woodsy chicken or a something in the spicier spectrum.  I whipped up the marinade, dumped it in the bag with the chicken, and let it soak overnight. Easy. The original recipe noted that a day-long soak makes a remarkable difference, so that’s what I stuck to this time.   We’ve since made this in a time-crunched two-hour soak, and while still yielding a tasty result, the 24 hour sit is definitely preferable.  Roasting the chicken was a simple matter of 30 minutes in the oven at 425 (for legs; 35 to 40 minutes for breasts is suggested).  As per the recipe, I drizzled the legs lightly with extra olive oil, and sprinkled paprika and some sea salt to taste.

Roast chicken with quinoa and broccoli Roast chicken with quinoa and broccoli.

Due to my lack of culinary experience (as previously noted), I messed up a bit and ended up with some soggy sides – a serving of broccoli that was on the limp side, and some ill-timed quinoa– which, in turn, caused me to leave the chicken in the oven a bit longer than I should have.  As it turns out, the marinade saved the day by helping to attenuate any errors incurred from my poor form.  The chicken came out of the oven moist and delicious.

Tender morsel of chicken Super moist buttermilk marinated chicken.

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Lemon Squares

Lemon squares

Verdict: These lemon squares have a simple buttery crust with a lemon topping that is tart yet perfectly sweet. A secret family recipe that is a potluck favourite.

This recipe comes from a good friend and former roommate. Not being an avid cook, she would rarely measure out ingredients, she would simply use the same spoons and eye-ball amounts as she went. This serves as the only print recipe she kept on hand when we first met (a year later, she would move away from Canada to the U.K. with a large binder full of recipes from her mom and I).

Lemons and zester Lemons ready to be juiced and zested.

In our household of misfit professionals from B.C., Ontario, and Quebec, a shared love for cooking gradually flourished. After many hours together in the kitchen making Sunday family dinners and imparting lessons (ie. Thai curry and chocolate Skor cookies), my friend finally shared her family’s recipe for making lemon squares. This was a photocopy of a photocopy passed along to the family, a page torn out of a magazine, its origins unknown.

Lemon through the pressLemons juiced.

With our sleeves rolled up, she taught me how her grandfather taught her to make the crust of these lemon squares: the trick is to use your fingers, not a fork or pastry cutter.

Shortbread crust Simple butter crust, pressed into the bottom of a baking pan.

With the two of us working together, the recipe came together in no time. We exchanged stories about our grandparents as my friend prepared the crust and I prepared the lemon topping.

Add shredded coconut 5 minutes before end of baking Variation: add coconuts in the last 5 minutes of baking for a crunchy topping.

The original recipe directions were very simple. The recipe presented here adds details on how to make the best crust (use your fingers) and how to make a light weight topping (combine the topping ingredients together immediately before pouring onto the baked crust).

Lemon squares with coconut topping Delicious lemon square with optional crunchy coconut topping.

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