Thursday, February 20, 2014

White Chicken Quinoa Chili

I have a soft spot in my heart for a good white chili. I know I know, what an oddly specific thing to like so much but yes I am oddly specific about certain things. I've tried numerous recipes, the last one that I've documented being this one from a year ago. I've also tried a couple of others since then but nothing quite worth blogging about until now. This is the granddaddy of all white chilis, if there can be such a thing (they don't reproduce after all). But really, I can't stop eating this stuff. I made a huge vat and ate a ton, then refrigerated the leftovers but kept sneaking spoonfuls of cold chili every once in awhile. I'm gross but the stress from school is getting to me, plus this tastes amazing.

Adapted ever so slightly from How Sweet Eats

  • Olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound chicken meat, cooked and shredded (I used 2 chicken breasts from a Costco rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (I used red quinoa to add a little color)
  • 1 cup half and half (I used 1/2 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup milk)
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Corn chips to serve 

Mise en place, or most of it at least.

Set your stove on high and heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil, then cook your veg (onions, peppers, garlic) for about 5 minutes or until softened.

Add your spices (cumin, paprika, salt, pepper) and stir well.

Add your chicken, cannellini beans, and chicken stock. It was at this point when I realized my wok is smaller than I thought it was... but I waited until everything boiled, and then simmered for 15 minute.

Meanwhile my pot that I had cooked my quinoa in was way too big...

I ended up ladling the contents of my wok into my pan with the quinoa, with no spillage luckily. Also, I added my heavy cream and cheese, and allowed to simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Ready to serve, yum. I added some cayenne for fun because I enjoy the burn.

Top with cilantro and lots of tortilla chips. So good. Also, I need more counter space...can't take a proper photo :(

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Steak, steak, and more steak

Khoi acquired three USDA prime rib eye steaks from Costco so we got to try some recipes that I've always wanted to attempt. Check out dat marbling, so beautiful. Cooking is definitely my favorite way to procrastinate.

One of the steaks received the Jamie Oliver treatment, prepped in the style of "dressing the board." For the steak, salt and pepper each side liberally and stick rosemary leaves into the meat. For the dressing, use a wooden cutting board to dice up a fresh red chili, a fresh bunch of mint, and 3 cloves of garlic, and drizzle in juice from half a lemon and 2 Tbsp of evoo.

Prior to searing the steak, rub on some olive oil. Make sure to use a heavy bottomed pan and heat it to the highest setting on your burner, then sear each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the board, coat with dressing, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Look how pretty it is.

A second steak was diced into small pieces for steak fondue, served with three sauces: bearnaise, a Bourguignon alternative, and a wasabi cream sauce. We have it pretty good considering how we're students who practically get to feast like kings.

That steak though...seriously ridiculous. There's one ribeye left and I have wonderful plans in mind...

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I just got back from a group brunch and wow, it was amazing. I've been to Skillet before for dinner and wasn't impressed, but brunch is quite different. I'm going to have to update my Yelp review with a higher rating. 

Smoked chicken griddlecake, served with confit sweet potato, poached egg, and spicy Hollandaise. It was so gorgeous that I took tons of pics to make sure I had a good one, scarfed it down within minutes, and then felt transiently sad as I scraped the last bits of sauce off the plate. The waitress said I had her permission to pick up my plate and lick it as she cleared our dishes...

Griddled cinnamon roll, served warm with brown butter caramel and maple string icing. I split this with my roomie (good thing we did because this thing is enormous) and as you can see, we took bites out of it before pausing for pics. The pausing took some self control. If you thought that Cinnabons are good, wait til you try this.

Snowflake that wouldn't melt as we waited in the snow for 20 minutes for our seating. I would've been really upset if the meal turned out to be mediocre after a wait like this, but luckily I wasn't disappointed.

410 E Whittier St.
Columbus, OH 43206
(614) 443-2266


Khoi is very happy to be chopping veg ^^

The spread. Sadly I didn't take the pic from a good angle -- there were more yummies than it looks.

 Khoi's papaya salad, so fresh and colorful

My main dish - thit kho (caramelized braised pork belly with eggs)

Steamed bao using Pillsbury Grands dough (see step 2) - this worked out surprisingly well :)

Garnishes to go with the bao: plum, cucumbers, scallions, and hoisin

My plate! Bao stuffed with the works, papaya salad, and brown rice. I had seconds...and thirds...

I went ham on prepping dessert: strawberry panna cotta and saffron orange honey ice cream. The ice cream is made with Jeni's ice cream base, supplemented with 1/4 tsp saffron threads crushed, 1/2 tsp orange zest, and half of the sugar in the recipe subbed with honey.

As for the panna cotta, I wanted to share the recipe process because it is so darn easy. And so darn tasty. And so darn impressive looking that it can win anyone over. You do have to start prepping it a day in advance of when you plan to serve it, but prep time total is under an hour.

Makes 3-4 portions, depending on how you plate it
Recipe from Home Cooking Adventure, although I used David Lebovitz's panna cotta base

  • 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half (I actually used a mixture of heavy cream and milk)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 packet powdered gelatin
  • 3 + 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 lb strawberries

Add contents of a gelatin packet and 3 Tbsp of water to a bowl. Allow gelatin to bloom by letting it stand for 5-10 minutes).

While the gelatin is blooming, heat up your cream with 1/4 cup of sugar over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and heating until it barely bubbles. Remove from heat. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the gelatin bowl and stir well using a wire whisk, then transfer the gelatin/cream mixture back into the pot and stir well again until completely smooth

Transfer cream mixture into pretty cups and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If you can't ladle it neatly into your cups, wait until your panna cotta sets and then wet a paper towel with warm water to clean up the edges.

A few hours before you plan to serve your panna cotta, reserve 2 of the prettiest strawberries for garnish later and wash/quarter the rest. Cook quartered strawberries with 1 Tbsp water and 2 Tbsp sugar until just boiling. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, then strain into a bowl. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

To put your masterpiece together, just spoon some strawberry puree on top of the white panna cotta. I also cleaned/halved the strawberries that I reserved earlier for garnish.

Isn't this gorgeous? You know you want to eat this ;)

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Till is one of my favorite restaurants in the Columbus area, and it also happens to be only a couple blocks away from my apartment. My roomie initially recommended it to me, so I visited for dinner once with a friend. My lamb burger that night was so good that I went back for dinner again the next day. Aside from the lamb burger though, their dinner menu is a bit pricey and very vegetarian/vegan-esque, but their brunch menu is marginally more affordable and more meat-centric.

Cranberry shrub, on the house with a Yelp check-in. The first time I went, I asked them if it was a plant and they gave me a weird look. The drink is just fruit or veg puree with sparkling water and simple syrup. This is my third shrub that I've tried (others were beet and ginger) and it's the best flavor so far.

Duck hash. I felt so crazy fancy for eating duck for brunch. The duck was perfectly cooked with delicious gravy, and the hash had pieces of pork rinds that gave it an awesome crunch.

Chicken fried pork. This is the best rendition of chicken and waffles that I've tried -- I'm usually disappointed when I order the dish. There's really no chicken, it's just pork but prepped like fried chicken, with french toast instead of waffles. Only complaint was that its a tad too fatty for my liking, but still phenomenal.

247 King Ave
Columbus, OH 43201
(614) 298-9986