Too Busy To Cook??

Yes…it’s true.  The past two weeks have been two of the busiest weeks so far this year.  School is really throwing down and it seems like just when I have it all under control, my classes knock me down again.  Oh, and I should mention our furnace died earlier this week and it’s winter in the midwest.  Stressed!  Fear not, though, as a new furnace is being installed at this very moment!

My sincere apologies to all of you dear and devoted readers.  You are out there, right?

I have only made a few things worth sharing in the last two weeks – ramen and some lovely snacks I brought to an Oscar party.

The ramen:

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Now, this dish was no easy feat.  Just ask David Chang, as it was his recipe I followed.  I’m absolutely loving my Momofuku Cookbook and I’ve been trying to make at least one thing from it every week.  The ramen broth was quite an ordeal.  I had to order five pounds of pork bones from the butcher and then wait.  And wait.  After about five days, I got the call that they were ready.  I had all the other necessary ingredients: kombu, dried shiitake mushrooms, scallions, chicken legs, smoky bacon, onion, and carrots.  I couldn’t wait.  Into the oven went the pork bones!

Before:

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After:

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Just let me tell you, after all was said and done, after all the roasting, simmering, and waiting – the flavor of the broth was divine.  I wish I could hug David Chang and thank him for bringing something so amazing into my life.

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Chicken Canzanese

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Forgive me for my brief absence, dear readers.  My husband had an art opening in Wichita this weekend, so I was unable to experiment in the kitchen.  I did miss it, though, and got right to it on Sunday night.  However, that night was a simple dinner of pan seared chicken breasts with a light salad (I wanted something easy).

But last night…last night was a different story.  See, the weather in Wichita was lovely while we were visiting – in the 60’s, sunny, with a light breeze – but Omaha, well, Omaha was straight up winter when we arrived home.  Bitterly cold with an unforgiving wind that blew right through me.

For whatever reason, chicken was on the menu again.  But I wanted something heartier than a chicken breast with salad.  I wanted something braised, with a sauce, on polenta.  I wanted a rich, warming dish perfect for a winter’s night.  Chicken Canzanese it was.

Canzano is a small hamlet in the Abruzzo region of Italy.  On a map, it would be located in the mid-calf area of the country.  The dish is absolutely delicious, and why wouldn’t it be?  It’s flavored with prosciutto, garlic, white wine, sage, rosemary, clove, and red pepper flakes, and braised in the oven for a solid hour.

I chose to use chicken thighs for this version, but I’m sure it would be equally good with a whole cut-up chicken, chicken breasts, or even turkey breasts or thighs (though I would imagine you’d have to increase cooking time).  The sauce is absolutely so wonderful that I could see it going well with fish or Cornish hens, as well.

The only other notation I’ll make is that if you can’t find prosciutto, feel free to use bacon as a substitute.  I made some polenta to go under the chicken, but I could see noodles as a nice substitute, as well.

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Pizza Night (in pictures)

Last summer, Scott and I used to pick up these great little whole-wheat pizza crusts from a shop called Le Quartier Baking Company.  At the time, they were only based in Lincoln, but to our delight, had informed us that soon they would set up shop in Omaha.

Don’t get me wrong, I love making pizza dough from scratch, but these par-baked pizza crusts are the perfect size for the two of us and we don’t have to wait around for the dough to rise!

I love that we get to create whatever combinations we want, top the lovely crusts, and in 10 minutes, voilà!  Pizza!  And by the way, they were all delicious!

Red and yellow onions at the beginning of the caramelizing process.  Yum!

Onions after 40 minutes.  Sweet and lovely.

From L to R: Organic pepperoni, organic pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella; organic pizza sauce, prosciutto, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and feta cheese; caramelized onions, fresh goat cheese (and topped with arugula after baking).

Prosciutto pizza and goat cheese/arugula pizza right after baking.

Organic pepperoni pizza.