Saturday, January 18, 2020

Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms

Food author Dorie Greenspan just came out with a new cookbook titled Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook. While Dorie is probably most famous for her cookie recipes, this one caught my eye as I am a sucker for sheet pan dinners. Sheet pan dinners are a perfect week night choice as they come together fast and roasting is one of my favorite methods to really bring out the flavor in foods. Dorie's recipe serves four.

1-1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, halved
1-1/2 pounds white mushrooms, halved
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
4 garlic cloves
8 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
8 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 450°F. Rub a baking sheet with a little oil (or line it with foil and oil the foil).
  2. Put the potatoes, mushrooms, onion and garlic in a large bowl. Toss in 4 sprigs each of the rosemary and thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, a few grindings of pepper, 2 tablespoons of the oil and 3 tablespoons of the balsamic. Mix everything well and spread the ingredients out on the baking sheet.
  3. Put the chicken in the bowl, along with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic, ½ teaspoon salt and a good amount of pepper and mix well to coat the chicken. Move the vegetables around to make room for the chicken. Tuck the remaining herbs under each piece. Roast for 45 minutes. Serve everything on the sheet pan and pour cooking juices over each serving.

Wine pairing : Chianti

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Perfect White Rice

"They always say time changes things, 
but you actually have to change them yourself."

Andy Warhol

As one ages, one must adjust to change. However, that is easier said than done. It becomes especially difficult when you are hopelessly addicted to shopping at Costco.

Once upon a time there were 4 mouths to feed. Costco fit the bill as everything could be bought in bulk. A 10-pound bag of onions. A 10-pound package of pot roast. A 25-pound bag of rice. But alas there is only Becky and I at home. I found myself throwing out 8 pounds of over-ripe onions. 5 pounds of pot roast had to go because of freezer burn. That 25-pound bag of rice sat around for 2 years past it's "best sold by date". So I have had to change how I shop at Costco. My Costco bulk purchases are limited to just 3 items now...water, paper towels and toilet paper (there is always the need to sip, blot and wipe).

Everything else I pick up on my daily trips to the grocery store and I only buy what I need. But I also had to change how I cooked. For 22 years, when I made rice, I would make giant batches that would all get inhaled in one sitting. But with just 2 of us, half of the rice was getting thrown out each time.

So I needed to find a way to make smaller batches of rice. If you have ever tried to cook a small batch of rice, it is not easy. More times than not you end up with either a soggy mess or a big ball of starchy rice. Little did I realize that the answer was always under my nose. Cooks Illustrated is my "go to" for all things cooking. And on their web site I found the perfect recipe for cooking small batches of white rice. And it's foolproof. Regardless if you are preparing sushi,  jasmine or basmati rice...the rice is perfect every single time. Just one cup of rice will yield 2 large or 4 medium servings.

1 cup white rice
1-1/4 cups water


  1. In a small saucepan, add rice and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust heat to maintain bare simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Then fluff and serve.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Charred Salsa

I love simple recipes. Ones that I don't have to put a lot of thought into. And it's a true bonus if that simple recipe is also absolutely delicious. So this recipe checks both boxes. And while you can certainly cook this up on your grill, I'm going to show you a Minnesota Lazy shortcut. While I do have a charcoal grill right outside my kitchen deck door, I don't use it often because I really hate Minnesota winters. I prefer the warmth of my kitchen. So I bought an aftermarket grill grate and simply drop that over my gas burners. Grilling indoors during a Minnesota winter. Gotta love it.

1 pound of tomatoes, each tomato halved
1 small onion, skin on and halved
2 garlic loves, skin on
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt


  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapeño, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Let cool 10 minutes.
  2. Remove skins from onion and garlic and transfer all vegetables to blender. Add cilantro and teaspoon salt and puree until chunky smooth.

Pairing: Football on tv, tortilla chips and an ice cold Pacifico

Grogs and Goldie, 1956