Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sriracha Lime Chicken Legs & a Giveaway!

Hampton Creek provided the mayonnaise for this recipe, but all opinions expressed are my own.

So there's this phone on the wall in our flat. It's not an ordinary phone. It's only function is for our complex's security guards to communicate with us if they need to. This usually only happens when we order Chinese food and need to meet the driver in the lobby. So ya know, four or five times a week. JUST KIDDING, I am a real food blogger. Overall, it's a pretty handy tool. Except that when it rings it sounds like a semi-truck is backing into our flat and gives Fiance a heart attack every single time. Turn down the ringer, you say! Except that none of the buttons on the phone are labeled and I've tried enough times to rule that out as a possibility.

This week was super eventful because we got three deliveries three days in a row! Even though that stupid phone left my ears ringing and I had to put real pants on (meaning not paint-covered sweatpants) to go get each one, it made me feel super special to get so many presents. Saturday was my birthday and very generous family members sent me gorgeous flower arrangements, which were two of those three deliveries. The third was this super exciting package from Hampton Creek, which I'm also calling a birthday present even though they would have no way of knowing because it was so much fun.

I have a thing for mayonnaise. Not your run of the mill, super cheap, grocery store mayo, though. I either like to make my own with some good quality olive oil or get the fancy stuff. And then add all kinds of crazy things to it because I'm obsessed with food and can't leave good enough alone. One of the greatest condiments of all time is mayo blended with those canned chipotle peppers and a little of the sauce they come in. Make a fry sauce with that and some ketchup and your french fries will never be the same! You can thank me later.

So I was super, super excited about these new treats. Hampton Creek created this eggless mayo as a healthier, more natural, vegan alternative to your standard mayonnaise. I'll admit that I was skeptical- I totally believe in the power of the egg and thought it would be pretty hard to replicate the taste and texture. They must be geniuses because they absolutely did it. In fact, I liked this better than regular mayo. I'm totally converted. In case you're curious, here's what's in it.

Although I quickly used the Sriracha and Garlic Mayo together to make my fry sauce for sweet potato fries (SO GOOD), I eventually wanted to try something different than your typical potato salad with this mayo. After a bit of pondering, I came up with this marinade using the Sriracha Mayo! And it was amazing. So much flavor and the mayo kept the chicken super moist and really crisped up the skin.

The marinade is ridiculously easy. Lime zest and juice, cumin, minced garlic, Sriracha Mayo, salt, and pepper!

I marinated my drumsticks for about four hours, but two hours to overnight will do the trick. When they were ready, I roasted them with some potatoes tossed in olive oil, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Since they were on the same pan they fried in the chicken fat and mayo a bit and were so good that I may or may not have eaten almost all of them by myself.

Then baked 'em up until everything was golden and chicken skin was crispy. As it should be!

I want to eat these all the time. They're spicy and zesty and salty and all of my favorite things.

My fellow Portlanders can get Just Mayo at local Whole Foods, New Seasons, and Safeways. Or you could get some for free because Hampton Creek is super nice and wants to give one of you a pack like mine with Sriracha, Garlic, and original Just Mayo!


To enter to win a pack, just do at least one of the following below using Rafflecopter. Sometimes it takes a minute to load. You can do multiple for multiple entries! If you already do any of the following, just check it off! If you have any questions about entering, leave a comment on this post. We will verify all entries. The giveaway starts Tuesday, August 19th and ends Tuesday, August 26th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sriracha Lime Chicken Legs
Serves 2-3

6 drumsticks
1/3 cup Sriracha Just Mayo (or you can use 1/3 cup mayo and 1-2 tbsp Sriracha, depending on how much spice you like)
Juice and zest of 1 small lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Whisk together Sriracha Just Mayo, lime juice and zest, cumin, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Add chicken legs and toss to coat. Let marinate in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and arrange drumsticks on baking sheet so they aren't touching.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and flip legs. Bake for another 10 minutes. Broil for a few minutes if necessary to get the skin golden brown.

Note: I diced potatoes and tossed them with olive oil, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper and baked them on the same baking sheet, for the same amount of time. They were delicious!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

SA Sunday: Bo-Kaap & Atlas Trading Company

Bo-Kaap was one of the first things I discovered when Googling about Cape Town when Fiance and I were talking about moving here. And it definitely helped win me over.

Bo-Kaap is also known as the Cape Malay Quarter. The Cape Malay people are descendent of slaves from Southeast Asia brought over by the Dutch during the 16th and 17th centuries. Although the neighborhood was originally built to house low-income families, properties in the area are now sought after. It's well known for it's brightly colored houses and beautiful architecture.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

10 Chicken Dinners

Even though I've cooked with chicken approximately 83 billion times, I constantly find myself with a pack of chicken defrosting in the fridge and no inspiration for dinner. I love it when blogs put together their favorite chicken based meals, so I thought I'd do the same with things I've shared here!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Greek Meatballs with Feta Tzatziki

Meatballs are one of the greatest foods of ever. You can make them using all sorts of flavor combinations. You can stuff them, like these mozzarella stuffed meatballs. They can be eaten on top of noodles, in a sandwich, or on their own. They can be an appetizer or part of a whole meal.

Maybe I have a little bit too much enthusiasm for meatballs. I'm sorry. I'm sorrier that it's only the beginning for this post, because these Greek meatballs are the bees knees. Fiance and I have an obsession that's only growing for feta cheese (see: Meaty Fusilli, a dish eaten every week here) so any excuse to use it makes us happy. And feta is not only in the meatballs, it's in the tangy, creamy tzatziki sauce that goes over them.

And in case you didn't need more convincing, cucumber, red onion and pita make this even yummier. Or you can skip these and serve the meatballs as appetizers with the feta tzatziki as a dip (hint: football season is almost here!).

To make the feta tzatziki, just mix together some plain yogurt, garlic, parsley, dried herbs, lemon juice, cucumber, and feta cheese. You could totally add some mint if that's what ya like. Let it sit in the fridge for awhile to bring out the flavors a bit more.

The meatballs are pretty simple, too. Lean ground beef, an egg, more feta because always more feta, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, onion powder, and olive oil.

Then roll 'em into meatballs. Mine would probably be considered "medium" sized. Tiny would be great for appetizers, bigger would be good to make gyros.

Bake 'em up and serve with the feta tzatziki! We had ours with pita, sliced cucumber, and sliced red onion. Next time, I'm going to try my hand at making my own pita bread to serve with them.

And, depending on how you eat them, this can be a pretty light meal, especially if you use low fat yogurt. I like having some stashed in the fridge for a quick and healthy lunch!

Greek Meatballs with Feta Tzatziki
Makes 12-16 Meatballs

    Feta Tzatziki:
    2 cups plain yogurt (can be Greek or regular)
    1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
    2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
    1 tsp dried mixed herbs
    Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
    1 tbsp finely diced cucumber
    1 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

    1 lb lean ground beef
    1 egg
    2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
    2 tsp parsley
    1 tsp minced garlic
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp onion powder
    1 tbsp olive oil

    Optional for serving:
    Pita bread
    Sliced cucumber
    Thinly sliced red onion
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the feta tzatziki. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until meatballs are served.
3. Add all ingredients for the meatballs to a large bowl. Combine using your hands until everything is well incorporated. Form into 1 inch wide balls and set on greased baking sheet at least an inch apart.
4. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from oven and flip the meatballs. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until completely cooked through.
5. Serve the meatballs with the feta tzatziki sauce, and pita, cucumber, and red onion if desired.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pantry Pad Thai

It's finally getting warm again in Cape Town. Which means it's going from an average high of partly cloudy 62 to a sunny 75. Not exactly a huge jump, but I'm so, so excited. It's almost like I haven't been living in Portland all my life, where it goes from 90 degree summers to rainy, 50 degree rest-of-the-years. It's supposed to rain a little more later this week, but it's some of the last rain of the "winter". And you better believe I'm hiking and beach-walking until that rain comes back. Fiance is getting into the nitty-gritty of writing his thesis, but I'm hoping that I can talk him into taking his laptop to a picnic table near the beach at Camp's Bay at least a few days a week.

In other news: there are few things better than peanut sauce. This dish, which I've decided to dub "Pantry Pad Thai" is one of those beautiful things that came together with random ingredients in my kitchen on a night when I was lost for dinner inspiration.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Growing My Blog: Drawing Traffic with Pinterest

Before I get into this post, I have two exciting things to share with you! The first is that I just launched a brand new section on my blog devoted to sharing what I'm learning with other bloggers. I talk about what I'm trying on my blog, resources and equipment I'm using, and my favorite blogging things around the interwebs. Click "Blogging Resources" above or just click here to check it out!

In the spirit of full disclosure about my blog, here's my second piece of exciting news: I just reached 500,000 all time views! For a small-time food blogger like myself, this is huge and I am so incredibly excited about it! Almost 100,000 of those views have happened since I've been in South Africa and been able to devote more time to the blog, so I'm glad to see it paying off!

Aaaand thank you for taking that time to celebrate with me, on to the good stuff! This post is about what I've learned about using Pinterest to help my blog in these last few months. It's no secret that Pinterest is an enormously helpful tool for bloggers. If you're lucky enough to have a pin go viral, it can make up the majority of your views for a given day and give you a traffic spike that will last over a week or so.

Although a lot of the process seems like it may be up to the Pinterest gods and whether or not they'll have mercy on you that day, you do have some control over how well a pin will do.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pizza Rolls

The other day, I thought I'd had a brilliant idea for a creative, new food. I told Fiance about it excitedly.

Me: "I thought of the BEST idea for a dinner this week! Pizza rolls! Doesn't that sound like a fun twist on cinnamon rolls?"
Fiance: "You mean like the ones you used to scarf at lunch in high school?"

Oh. I'd forgotten about those. Clearly not a new idea, because I totally would buy two pizza rolls and a Diet Coke and get away with calling that lunch. And miraculously wouldn't gain ten pounds a week eating that way.