Monday, March 17, 2008

Epicurious Alchemist Presents Chicken Tetrazini & Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes!!!

TKTC Note: The following Guest Post is courtesy of the Epicurious Alchemist, a friend who I can now share cooking blogs with in real life! In his day job, EA is a chem grad student in Hyde Park. But by Jamie Oliver a run for his quid. Also- his almost-wifey puts up with our shenanigans, keeps our wine glasses full and helps me clean cake batter up "manually."

So to all you other famous bloggers this may seem very ho hum, but I’m feeling quite honored to be guest posting on TKTC. I was invited earlier to share a recipe for homemade ravioli, but I made it and it was kinda cardboardy, so that may have to wait another six months. I need to get married and get the pasta roller I registered for first.

TKTC Note: If anyone has played the registry game or has some good registry item suggestions, leave em in the comments for love.

I haven’t been cooking for long, but I’m definitely enjoying it. As a chemistry graduate student, I practically do the same crap at work (mixing, heating, etc.). However, working with far less dangerous ingredients and getting to eat my final product makes cooking a little more gratifying in the short-term.

So here goes. The main dish was a chicken tetrazzini, and the recipe can be found here. It looks much harder than it actually is. My observations/thoughts:

  • This did take awhile to make, but it’s only because I didn’t plan ahead very well. I think that’s a rookie mistake on my part. TKTC Note: I swear to God, timing is the HARDEST part of cooking. Period.
  • I thought it could have used more garlic, but I love Italian food so just go based on your own tastes.
  • Don’t get chicken that’s too thick. I got huge chicken breasts, and the outsides got a little too brown because the chicken refused to cook through. It wasn’t the end of the world, but you could tell where the chicken was in the final product because the outside was tougher.
  • Not enough salt at all! I may have undersalted the chicken too. I solved this problem by adding more parmesan. TKTC supports this measure but also thinks better undersalt than over.
  • This stuff reheats great. It’s very creamy so you’ll never get something dry and dull out of the microwave.
The cupcakes made for dessert are courtesy of Whipped, another fantastic cooking blog. These turned out great no thanks to me. I didn’t plan my night very well, so Jessi ended up making these pretty much herself. They were delicious and they also store very well. I will say that I liked them better chilled than at room temperature. Great for breakfast (my guilty pleasure); I drink red-eyes straight up in the morning, so the sweetness in the cupcakes is perfect.

TKTC Note: Are you joking? Not about the red-eyes (I've seen it in action, Blech) but I love baking. You bought all the ingredients and set me up with a sweet standing mixer and an oven that was installed within the last 46 years. That was GREAT!

TKTC Note: I will say that per the frosting, don't let your butter MELT and keep an eye on consistency. Ours could have benefited from using the buttercream recipe in Barefoot Contessa, only adding lemon zest and juice instead of chocolate. Mine just didn't stand up too well this time (hence photo of EA licking off his shoe).

Jessi, thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post and getting me started cooking. I’m not even kidding when I say your kitchen (yes with the tiny half-functional stove) and those brie cups made me want to start cooking, and here I am. And as a thank you for both making the cupcakes and letting me post, I’m gonna bring this next time we all do a dinner.

TKTC Note: One of my favorite things to come of this blog is that my friends who perennially said they "can't cook" are now seeing that it's pretty easy. And highly rewarding on every front. Welcome to the fray, EA!

Sautee the mushrooms- let the amazing smells begin!

Brown and shred the chicken- either go with a thin-med breast or you should consider poaching it in brother rather than baking it. This allows for moist, even cooking and in a dish like this that matters more than the presentation (Hello? it's getting shredded anway.)

Chop garlic & onions (Lisa is pretty great at this- look how uniform that is!)

Stay on that wine. This is imperative to the cooking process.

But not SO on the wine that you drop the salt shaker IN the Bechamel Sauce. Perhaps THIS is why it was undersalted, EA. Sorry about that!

Smells like wine, garlic, onion, baked chicken & heaven.

Ready for the oven!

Too hot to handle. No worries, they're registering for real cupcake pans.

The beginnings of frosting= butter and lemon zest.

I really need one of these mixers. Look, Ma! No hands!

Happy, artsy cupcakes.

Mouth full of cupcakes: Make it work!

Thanks Dave...we'll be collaborating again verrry shortly as I am thoroughly impressed. And really hungry now.


Susie said...

Wow, very impressive! Even though I had my share of cupcakes this weekend, those ones look amazing. And I LOVE the mixer :) :)

Nilsa S. said...

Looks to me like you have a fledgling business in your hands. Going to people's houses to cook with them. Sounds like you could eat your way through life! :-)

ANG* said...

awwwww dave - great job! and jessi, i love your little interjections.

good thing youre learning to cook, we all know lis isnt interested; esp when you can just go downstairs and get a perfectly good meal from chilis...i mean can you blame her ;)

d said...

holy freaking yum.

i'm so jealous of your boston trip. you two are adorable. i'm coming along next time.

L Sass said...

That looks delicious!! And I'm with Nilsa... come to my house and cook with me!

ToKissTheCook said...

Sues: Can you believe I ate these the night BEFORE our cupcake extraveganza!! I'm shocked I wasn't in a coma for most of Friday. And I'm jealous of the mixer. Solidly greening with envy.

Nilsa: I will need to start seeing Chester every single day to keep from being morbidly obese. But otherwise I like EVERYTHING about that plan.

ang: He's getting so good!!! And Lisa was right there with us! It was great...even better than an Awesome Blossom!

D: You should come to is extraordinarily compatible with Chicago. We can take a Duck tour and eat oysters and cupcakes. You can protect us from the nomads.

Sass: A few short months!

Jonk said...

I heard the Bon Iver show in Minneapolis that Saturday is sold out,, I'm glad I picked up a pair of Madison tickets a couple weeks ago. Just not sure if I will be able to make it down there. We shall see. Worst case scenario I can just do a good deed and give 'em away, right?