Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken

Bubbly Kitchen is definitely fighting the winter blues with hearty comfort food. Its a bit gray outside today and I find myself day dreaming of warmer days and Royals baseball. And then I remember that we have this whole hideous month of February to get through. But this amazing meal will fill your kitchen with warmth and all of the good smells.

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I adapted this recipe from Thomas Keller’s book, Ad Hoc. Every recipe in that book is on my to do list. But I thought that I would listen to TK and start with perfecting a roast chicken, he says this will make me a better chef. This chicken is so, so good. I definitely followed the instructions which included letting the skin dry out on the counter for an hour and salting the chicken 30 minutes before cooking it. This made an incredibly delicious and perfect skin. The inside is extremely juicy and full of flavor.

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Tomato Tart

It is unbelievable to me that people are decorating for halloween. This summer has flown by at an unbelievable pace! Before the summer heat fades and fall creeps in, we all need to take advantage of the beautiful tomatoes at the farmers market. We have been eating a lot of wonderful tomatoes with just salt and pepper. But this is a great way to use up tomatoes that might be a little past their prime or if you go overboard at the farmers market. I like to use a variety of colors of heirloom tomatoes but whatever looks good to you at the market is what you should put in this tart. I think you can also experiment with the cheese. If you have a shredded Italian blend in your fridge, use it! (I certainly have before.)
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My husband absolutely loves anything I make in this tart shell. I could pretty much put hot dogs and dog food in this tart shell and I think he would love it. And if you have a food processor it is extremely easy, if you don’t its still easy. I have made this shell with just a knife and fork a number of times. I use a 9 inch round tart shell for this recipe. But there is enough dough here for a 10 inch and the shape is really up to you. I like to roll the dough out on parchment paper so that it is easily flipped into the tart pan. If you freeze the tart before baking it will keep its shape and it won’t shrink.
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Vegetable Packed Jambalaya


I have not always been the biggest vegetable fan. In fact there was a time that my early 20’s self would not even buy onions even if a recipe called for them. Now onions, garlic, celery, carrots, kale, green beans, and brussels sprouts are just a few of the many things that are constantly on my grocery list. In an effort to be more health conscious, I try to spend as much time perusing the fresh food areas as I do the entire rest of the store. Sometimes I get a little carried away, so sometimes… I make this jambalaya. I attribute my new appreciation for vegetables to living in the South. The growing season is so long here that there is always an abundance of beautiful fresh fruits and veggies. And I have learned that Southern cooking is not about fried foods, it’s not even about barbecue or butter or pie. It is all about the veggies.

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Traditional southern cooks relied on a prolific harvest to feed their families. They also preserved these vegetables in many different ways so that they could eat all winter on what they grew in the summer. This is mind-boggling and so inspirational. It seems like we are so disconnected from our food. Especially with all the chemicals, plastics, and genetic modifications our food seems to be experiencing these days. I don’t know what it means for our health or the future of our food. But I do know that many people used to survive in the South mostly on what they grew in their own garden. And when you get back to this, and approach your home cooking with seasonal, fresh, local produce… something amazing happens to your relationship with food. Continue reading

Stuffed Bell Peppers

We are starting a little impromptu series here – Meals from your pantry and freezer. You should have the majority of these ingredients already in your freezer or pantry. And if you are like me, its a new year and these locations are overflowing. There is kind of a simple formula to this stuffed bell pepper filling: grain plus meat plus vegetables/beans plus cheese. The filling is also great for tacos or to add a little flare to your lunch salad. These are the ingredients I had stored away that needed to be used up, but you could use whatever meat you have in your freezer. Chicken, sausage, ground beef, turkey, and ground pork would all work great. As far as the grain goes quinoa, rice, farro, couscous, or anything else that inspires you will be perfect. For the veggies and beans – black beans, pinto beans, garbonzo beans are all options. Throw in some canned diced tomato or corn if you have it laying around. Any cheese you like will be great too.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 bell peppers of assorted colors
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and scrape out the seeds.

Generously season the ground beef with salt and pepper. Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook until there is no more pink showing. Remove beef to a large mixing bowl with a slotted spoon.

In the frying pan, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil. Add in the onion and cook until translucent. Mix in the garlic and cumin and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add the onion and garlic mixture to the ground beef. Mix in the quinoa, black beans, and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the prepared bell peppers with filling mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup cheddar cheese over peppers. Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with salsa hot sauce.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

Making brussels sprouts on a weekly basis in the winter has led to some innovation. My commitment to these tiny green cabbages has allowed me to perfect their preparation. The sprouts I served for Thanksgiving dinner were by far the best I have ever made! I was never a believer in roasting bacon in the oven but I have started doing it with this recipe. I don’t think it is any different from frying and it does save you some time caring for bacon on the stove. Roasting truly brings out the best flavor in these brussels and allows the most even cooking. This is another vegetable dish with simple ingredients where the fabulous flavor is in the choux de Bruxelles.

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During my recent visit to Asheville I went to a bunch of breweries. It was fantastic! I was honestly losing faith in craft beer for some time. It seems that everything is starting to taste the same – super hoppy. The breweries of Asheville have renewed my excitement! I brought home a growler of Catawba Brewing Hyper Monkey Java Stout and was sad to drink the last drop. I have always loved coffee inspired beers – since my first taste of Mccoy’s Broadway Porter in KC. I love getting some caffeine with my etoh; especially when it’s not in the form of the obligatory redbull vodka. I drank this Java Stout with my Thanksgiving dinner, where I ate mostly brussels sprouts, and it was insanely good.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

1/2 cup pecans
6 slices bacon
2 lb brussels sprouts – halved, stems and loose outer leaves discarded
3 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place pecans on foiled baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes until fragrant. (What them closely!) Chop coarsely.

Increase the oven to 400 degrees. Using the same foil lined baking sheet, lay out the strips of bacon, allowing space between the bacon strips. Roast for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until bacon is slightly crisp. Remove bacon from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Save the rendered bacon fat in a bowl. Throw away the used aluminum foil. Finely chop bacon after it has cooled slightly.

Increase the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the brussels sprouts with bacon fat, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out over the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring the sprouts and rotating the pan halfway through. The brussels sprouts should be fork tender and caramelized. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar – toss to coat. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Just prior to serving – top with the toasted pecans and bacon.