Air Fryer Mahogany Chicken

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Yesterday a friend told me she wished she could cook like me. My food always looks so good and I never have any problems in the kitchen.

This morning I sent her a picture of my lunch I was making. It was supposed to be Mahogany chicken. It is Mahogany in one place but burnt in most others. I told her even the best cook in the world has problems in the kitchen from time to time. We just don’t post them on our blogs or instagram feeds. We quietly learn from our mistakes and try again and post our good looking pictures.

So what did I learn from this mistake? A glaze with so much sugar in it can burn quickly and I should have been checking it more frequently. I knew that but because I don’t use glazes very often it just didn’t occur to me at the time.

I also learned that different air fryers have different wattages and that means some cook quicker than others. It’s a matter of knowing how your particular air fryer works. When I remade the chicken to get a better picture, I dropped the temperature and extended the cooking time. I added the changes I made to the note at the bottom of the recipe.

In case you are wondering what happened to the chicken, only the skin was burned so I removed it and chopped the chicken meat up for a salad which was delicious.

Mahogany Chicken

From Easy Air Fryer Magazine

1 1/2 TBS soy sauce

1 1/2. tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 TBS honey, divided

2 bone in, skin on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat

1/2 lb broccoli florets, cut in half if big

1/2 bunch scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 1/2 tsp olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp honey, mix well.  Reserve 1 1/2 tsp of the mixture for later use.   Add the chicken and turn to coat.  Refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir the remaining 1 1/2 tsp honey into the reserved marinade for a glaze.

Place chicken in the air fryer basket, skin side down and air fry at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.  Brush chicken with reserved honey/ marinade mixture and flip using tongs.  Air fry, brushing twice with the glaze, during the last 3 minutes of cooking., until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. 

The I Love My Instant Pot Cooking For One Recipe Book– a Review

It’s hard to find decent small batch cookbooks. When you add a specialization like small batch cooking in your Instant Pot, it is almost impossible to find decent cookbooks. Way too many small batch cookbooks are just thrown together to cash in on a trend rather than provide useful recipes for those who cook for just one or two. So I am excited when I find a a small batch cookbook for a specialization, like pressure cooking, that I actually like and would incorporate into my daily meal rotation.

What I like about it:

  1. It has decent sized portions. I don’t know why but a lot of small batch cookbook authors assume you have an appetite the size of a pea. I don’t know about you, but I am a big girl with a big appetite. I don’t want to eat dinner then an hour later want to eat a meal again.
  2. The recipes don’t rely on processed ingredients. While some recipes have processed ingredients most don’t.
  3. The recipes have complete and accurate ingredient lists and directions. You would think that would be a given in a cookbook but I found, often it
  4. There are a good variety of recipes. It isn’t just one basic recipe with a dozen slight variations.
  5. The food tastes good.

What I don’t like:

  1. A lot of times the recipes call for a partial use of a canned ingredient, like 2 tablespoons of black beans or 4 tablespoons of tomato sauce and there is no chart or index telling us what other recipes use those ingredients. This can lead to a lot of wasted ingredients.
  2. I disagree with some of the things presented in the opening chapter. Things like the 3 quart Instant Pot is too small to cook anything but single portions and side dishes. If you know me even a little bit through this blog, you know I use my 3 quart Instant Pot for everything, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert and it is, more often than not, more than a single serving.
  3. I am not sure why the author uses dried onion flakes rather than fresh, chopped onion. I subbed fresh, chopped onion for the dried flaked onion in several recipes and it worked just fine so feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

On the whole, I like this cookbook and would recommend it if you like using your Instant Pot and need a little small batch inspiration. I bought both the cookbook and the ingredients to try the recipes with my own money and I didn’t receive any compensation from the author or Instapot for my review. All opinions in this review are my own.

Kimchi Beef Stir Fry

Holy crap! Tonight after work I had to go out and buy a replacement charger for my Surface tablet. Are they made out of gold or something? I was not expecting to pay 89 dollars for the dumb thing. However, since about 90 percent of what I do in my spare time, including this blog, is computer related I bought it anyway

It is a good thing I have a lot of quick, easy and relatively cheap meals planned for the next couple of weeks.

Kimichi Beef Stir Fry

From I Heart Umami

16 oz Napa cabbage kimchi

1/2 lb ground beef

1 TBS olive oil

2 large cloves, minced

3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts seperated

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

3 TBS kimchi juice, or to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

sprinkle of sesame seeds, for garnish

Use a strainer to drain the kimchi over a small bowl. Use a spoon to press as much juice out of the kimchi as possible. Set the juice and drained kimchi aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Saute the kimchi for 1 minute. Spread the ground beef over the kimchi. Add 1 tsp toasted sesame oil over the beef and cook until cooked through. Add saved kimchi juice and salt and pepper, to tasted. If desired, garnish with the green parts of the scallion, additional toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds before serving.

Basking In The Sun At The Park

A couple weeks ago, I found a hidden gem of a park about 3 blocks from my apartment building. Well, not exactly hidden, I just didn’t know it was there. I moved into the community in 1997 and the area has always been a big empty field with a dog park on one end and a children’s museum and animal shelter at the other. I just haven’t taken time to walk out see what is there in a long time. Well, last week I was having a rough day and decided to walk to the a thrift store a couple blocks from my apartment to see if they had any stuff for my tea nook and treat myself to a Big Mac and fries. After that I still wasn’t ready to go home so I decided to walk around the field to the dog park. When I came to the end of the trail leading to the dog park, I was absolutely amazed to see how they are transforming this space. There are many different places where they planted flowers around a theme like, butterfly garden, a,b,c garden, and fairy garden. They put in tables and chairs on a patio like space and put in a little covered shelter with a picnic table. There are benches all over the place and statues tucked into unexpected places. The flowers were amazing so many kinds I had never heard of but they perfumed the air. I found a bench and sat there in the sun for a very long time just feeling the sun, smelling the flowers and watching the various animals run through the park. It is my new favorite place.

Yesterday, I decided to take my camera, and my bearded dragon friend, River, and have a photo shoot in the park. I am really delighted with how the pictures turned out so I decided to share them here.

uy it’s been a long, tough road, but i think we made it, bud.

look how handsome you look!

– steph

It is hard to believe, looking at River now but when my friend, Steph, went to get this little guy he was starving to death and very ill with a fungus that took 8 months of daily treatment and many, many visits to the vet to get rid of. River will bear the scars of his neglect on his tail and back of his hind legs forever. River is now one spoiled bearded dragon.

Ready for your close up, huh bud?

I am endlessly fascinated by the pattern of River’s scales, especially how the scales, exactly where his lips would if he was human look like he is puckering up for a big kiss.

little dragon, big personality

When I came upon this little bumble bee her butt was towards me. I told her that I wasn’t interested in taking pictures of her little bee booty. I wanted pictures of her beautiful bee face. The bee immediately turned around towards the camera. I was amazed that the bee let me get so close to her. I didn’t have my telephoto lens so I was maybe 6 inches away from her when I took these pictures. She paid me absolutely no mind what so ever.

This butterfly on the other hand, jumped away from me every time I breathed. I was amazed I actually got a good picture of him.

I will be going back to the park regularly to sit in the sun and recharge my batteries.

Korean Style Stir Fry Sauce

One of the things I love about my home town is there a lot of ethnic grocery stores in the area. There are several Asian markets, a European market, an African market, an Indian market, a Balkan market and probably even more I don’t know about as I know about most of the markets by word of mouth or through one of my explore the city walks.

I love spending time walking up and down the aisles, looking at stuff and picking new stuff to try. Sometimes, I get lucky and find an absolute treasure like this Tea Masala, that makes a Masala tea exactly like the one I love at my favorite ethnic restaurant, the Himalayan Yak. Other times, I don’t get so lucky and bring home Durian flavored cookies. If you never heard of Durian, it is a fruit that supposedly tastes delicious but smells like something rotting. It is bad and I just had cookies. I can’t imagine what a whole fruit smells like. But by far, I have had more positive shopping experiences at ethnic markets then bad ones. Trying new things is always a chance no matter where you shop.

My current favorite ingredient that I bought at the Asian market is Gochujang, a Korean hot pepper paste. This ingredient was way outside my culinary comfort zone because I am a hot spice wimp. The first time I used Gochujang in a recipe I was expecting it to blow the top of my head off like a scotch bonnet pepper. Instead, it has a pleasant heat and earthiness that I really like.

I found the recipe for this simple stir fry sauce by googling easy stir fry sauces. I was so excited to try it Because I love a good stir fry sauce and it did not disappoint. I don’t know how authentic my vegetable choices were to Korean food, I used Bok Choi, green beans and white mushrooms, but it was delicious.

A Few Tips For Shopping At An ethnic market:

  1. Be respectful. You are going to see things in ethnic markets you don’t see in your average grocery store. The words yuck, ick, or that’s disgusting should never leave your mouth. Just move on to the next thing or leave the store. This shouldn’t even need to be said but after watching two people throw an absolute fit because they couldn’t find “American” food in an Asian market I guess it does.
  2. Google and Google translate are your friends. You won’t know what a lot of the items are on the shelves, although some will be very familiar. Google products to find out what they are. Snap a picture of the ingredients or directions if they are in another language and run them through Google translate to see whats what.
  3. Step outside your culinary comfort zone and try something new. Some of my favorite things to cook with like Furrikake, Gochujang and Kimchi, have all become my favorites because I just picked them up and tried them. I had no idea what to do with them at first. I just googled the item for recipes, picked one and tried it. It has lead to many really enjoyable meals.

Korean Style Stir Fry Sauce

2 1/2 TBS Gochujang (Korean hot chili paste)

1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)

In small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well