Thursday, July 16, 2009


Oh, yum. And also, YUM. This is my favorite kind of recipe—the kind that packs a huge flavor punch and will wow the hell out of anyone who eats it, but has a dirty little secret: it’s dead easy, laughably simple, and super-cheap to make. Without having to buy many special ingredients or expend much effort to speak of (just blend, then bake), you can bask in the glow of feeling all fancy and awesome and enjoy as much sticky-sweet-salty-spicy-saucy chicken as your stomach can hold. It’s a win-win!

When I saw this recipe (loosely adapted from Gourmet) at Sassy Radish, I knew it would be a slam-dunk with A, a Sriracha devotee, but was less sure how I’d like it myself, considering my feelings about all the separate ingredients don’t rise much above neutral. When I was mixing up the marinade, I started to worry that the chicken would just taste like soy sauce, because that’s about all I could smell. But I kept telling myself that the flavors would change in the oven, and I was right: the chicken emerged transformed. The sauce was amazingly addictive, with just the right amount of spice (enough to make my lips burn just a little, but not so much that a cold beer didn’t quench the fire). I licked my fingers, licked the plate, and wanted more. This is definitely going into constant rotation, especially in the summer.

The only change I made was to use chicken drumsticks instead of whole chicken legs, because I can buy a package of 6 drumsticks for a pittance at Trader Joe’s, whereas for whole legs I have to make a special trip to Whole Foods and spend about four pittances. Plus it seemed like a saucy glaze like this was tailor-made for casual, family-friendly finger food like drumsticks (or even chicken wings, but I’ve never been a fan of them—so much work for so very little meat). The drumsticks worked great, but I ended up with way more sauce than chicken—not a huge problem when the sauce is so tasty, but a little wasteful, and the sauce didn’t cook down enough to get really glazy. I could probably have used twice the drumsticks and cooked everything in a 9-by-13 dish instead of drowning my drumsticks in several inches of sauce in a 9-by-9 dish. I’ll try it next time and report back. It wouldn’t hurt to have leftovers—A ate ours the next day, and he reported that they were even tastier then.

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (3-inch) piece peeled ginger, finely chopped
⅔ cup apricot preserves or jam
⅓ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Sriracha
4 bone-in chicken legs (drumstick and thigh) or an equivalent quantity of drumsticks, washed and patted dry

1. Place garlic, ginger, preserves, soy sauce, water, and Sriracha and in a food processor or blender and pulse until sauce is combined.

2. Place sauce and chicken in a plastic bag or a glass bowl with a lid (if your baking dish has a lid, that would be extra-convenient) and let marinate for an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

4. Place the chicken and sauce in a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, at which point you should check for doneness. If red or pink juices are running when you cut into the chicken), cook some more at 350 degrees (check after 15 minutes and then at 5-minute intervals—mine took about 45 minutes total).

Serves: 4
Time: 1 hour, plus 1 hour for marinating
Leftover potential: I haven’t tested this myself yet, but A testifies to their goodness.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


3 yellow zucchini
1 bunch of teeny-tiny radishes
2 leeks
2 onions
6 Yukon Gold potatoes
½ bunch sage
½ bunch basil
1 head lettuce
11 carrots
Italian flat beans (forgot to count them)

Hooray, more Italian flat beans! That’s the most remarkable part of this week’s haul; there’s not even any exotic Californian fruit to liven things up. While I was unpacking the bag of produce last night, A and I agreed that the summer CSA selection has been pretty tame compared to the winter one. That makes it less work to fit the produce into our menu, but it takes a little of the thrill of adventure away, too.

I’ll probably serve the flat beans with shallots and lemon again; they were just perfect that way before. The carrots and radishes will be snacks (I had some this morning, in fact; the carrots are sweet, while the radishes are remarkably spicy, belying their wee, cute appearance). I’m not sure about everything else. The lettuce is just begging me to make BLTs again, and the potatoes and basil make me think of pesto-potato pizza...although penne with potatoes and arugula would be good, too; are there enough potatoes for both? I'm stumped on the leeks--I wonder if I could sub them for the red onion in the potato-arugula pasta recipe? Otherwise, I'm tempted to just make this seductive leek confit and then figure out what to do with it later, like throw it into eggs or on sandwiches or something. Yellow squash salad would be a natural use for a couple of the yellow zucchini. The one item that looks likely to defeat me is the sage; I think of it as more of a fall/winter herb and don’t think I have any recipes that call for it that don’t also involve butternut squash. Maybe I can freeze it.

Here’s what happened to the last box:
  • Leek: Used in pasta with bacon, leeks, and mushrooms
  • Carrots: Eaten as snacks
  • Rosemary: Thrown away, sadly, after I failed to use or freeze it
  • Potatoes: Used in a pretty tasty pesto-potato salad with green beans, which I failed to post here because I felt like maybe my execution was a little flawed; I overcooked the potatoes, which made me feel like I was eating cold mashed potatoes, and I don't think I had enough pesto, and although I really liked having the pine nuts whole in the salad rather than blended into the pesto, it was odd to have shredded Parmesan in there--it might have been better off blended in. I'd like to try it with my pesto recipe (minus the pine nuts), because parsley really brightens things up. If I do attempt it again and improve upon my first attempt, I'll post it.
  • Oranges: Eaten
  • Arugula: Used in corn, arugula, and bacon salad
  • Spinach: Thrown into the pasta with bacon, leeks, and mushrooms when I realized I didn’t have anything else to do with it. It was a tasty addition that added some nice color; I would actually consider doing it again in the future.
  • Celery: Eaten as snacks
  • Cucumber Used in fattoush
  • Honey: Not used yet, but honey ice cream is in my plan for this weekend.