Chicken and Chorizo with Brown Rice


I first found this recipe in my favorite weekly magazine, The Week. It had the best subtitle for any recipe I think I’ve ever seen. “Brown Rice – Not just for hippies anymore!”, it proclaimed. This was about 15 years ago and before brown rice was ubiquitous. The recipe is a great take on Arroz con Pollo and the rice gives a nuttiness to the whole dish that goes so perfectly with the smokiness of the chorizo and the sweetness of the red peppers. I’m a big lover of one pot meals not just for their convenience but for the way all the flavors meld after being cooked together.


Arroz con Pollo y Chorizo

Serves 6 


3 red peppers

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

3 chorizo links (about 3/4lb), sliced

1 onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 1/2 cups of brown rice

1/2 cup of white wine

3 cups of chicken broth

Chopped fresh parsley for serving



1. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, remove seeds and lay flat (skin side up) on a foil lined baking tray.

2. Broil until skin is completely charred, then set aside to cool. Once cooled, remove charred skin and slice into strips.

3. Preheat oven to 400 °F.

4. In a large dutch oven, heat oil on medium high.

5. Season the chicken thighs and add skin side down. Leave them unturned for 10-12 minutes until the skin is brown and crispy. If they do not all fit, you can cook them in batches. Remove the chicken to a plate.

6. Next add the chorizo and cook until browned all over, stirring frequently; about 5 minutes. Remove to the plate with the chicken using a slotted spoon.

7. Add the onion, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes to the oil and fry until slightly browned; about 8 minutes.

8. Add the brown rice to the onion mixture and coat well with the oil. Fry for about 2 minutes until the rice is glossy.

9. Add the wine and bring to a boil and scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the yummy juices from the meat. Cook for about 1 minute until the wine has almost evaporated.

10. Add back the chicken (skin side up), chorizo and roasted pepper strips and then pour over the broth.

11. Bring to a simmer, cover and bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check after 40 minutes to make sure that all the liquid hasn’t evaporated. You can add a bit more water if needed. It’s ready when the rice is cooked through.

12. Sprinkle with parsley and serve straight from the pot.

Crème Brûlée


My absolutely favorite kitchen tool is also the one I use least. As crazy as it sounds, just having a torch makes me feel confident in the kitchen and lighting it up makes me feel like a pro. Crème Brûlée looks so much more impressive than it is. It’s pretty foolproof and so fun to make. The minute I got samples of La Canne’s incredible sugars, I knew exactly how I wanted to use them. The Smoked Pecan flavor made the perfect crackly crust to a silky smooth custard below.


Crème Brûlée 

Serves 8


4 cups of chilled heavy cream (divided)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise and seeds scraped out)

12 large egg yolks (freeze the whites for another use)

8 heaped teaspoons of Pecan Smoked Sugar


Special Equipment:

8 ramekins (about 4 or 5oz)

1 culinary torch



1. Heat oven to 300°F.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 cups of the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds as well as the pod. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once it’s come to a boil, turn the heat off and let the mixture steep for about 15 minutes.

3.Stir the remaining 2 cups of cream into the mixture, stir well and remove the vanilla pod.

4. Line a large roasting pan that will fit all the ramekins with a kitchen towel. Arrange the ramekins on the towel. Bring a kettle of water to the boil.

5. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until combined. Whisk in about a cup of the cream mixture until combined. Repeat with a cup each time until all the mixture is combined with the yolks and looks evenly colored.

6. Evenly divide the mixture between the ramekins and carefully place the baking dish on the rack in the oven. Then very carefully pour boiling water into the pan, making sure not to get any in the ramekins. Keep adding until the water is half way up the ramekins.

7. Bake until the custard have just set; about 30 minutes.

8. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and bring to room temperature; about an hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. At this point, you can leave them for up to 4 days.

9. When you’re ready, uncover the ramekins and blot any condensation with a paper towel. Sprinkle each ramekin with a heaped teaspoon of Smoked Pecan Sugar. Tilt and tap the ramekins to evenly distribute the sugar.

10. Then the fun part. Ignite the torch and burn the sugar until it’s nice and dark. Refrigerate uncovered to set the sugar for about 5-10 minutes but no longer than 40 minutes.


Mother’s Day Sponge Cake


Val was kind enough to let me take on this weeks blog post and it is a pretty special one for me. This is my first Mother’s Day as a mom and I still can’t quite believe it. It has been such a wonderful and crazy new step in life and I honestly couldn’t have adapted without the immeasurable help of my own mother.


I have always been close with my mother but now I understand her more too. Motherhood isn’t glamorous. True there is nothing better than holding a sleeping baby that snuggles into you and wakes with a smile but that same love bug still spits up all over your clothes at least once a day. Not to mention all that I put my mother through in my long adolescence. It dawned on me when I called her a couple weeks ago needing to talk, I’m a 32 year old who still needs her mom. I started laughing imagining my son calling for help in his 30’s. That’s commitment. This is the long haul and I am finally starting to understand the depth of motherly love.


This Mother’s Day I wanted to celebrate with a cake. We aren’t the best bakers in our family so when we get a good recipe we treasure it. My mom made this cake on her last visit. It was one of two layer cakes she made in one week, which gives you the faintest clue of the obsessive and overwhelming love of motherhood. The sponge cake was incredibly light and fluffy and each layer was bright and beautiful so that the affect was like opening a present. The recipe just felt special and seemed the perfect tribute to the day. I hope you enjoy it and happy Mother’s Day to all!


Mother’s Day Sponge Cake


3/4 cup sugar

6 oz. butter, softened

3 large eggs, brought to almost room temp.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup self rising flour

1-2 tablespoons vanilla almond milk (you can substitute regular milk if you prefer)

5 tablespoons lemon curd

5 tablespoons strawberry jam



1/2 pint heavy cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 8″ non-stick cake pans and bring your eggs out of the refrigerator in advance so they are not so cool when added.

2. Whip your sugar and butter using a stand/hand held mixer until consistency is smooth. Then add in your eggs one at a time until the mixture is glossy and smooth like mousse. Finish by mixing in vanilla.

3. Fold in your flour, stirring gently till just mixed. Finish by adding milk. Start by adding 1 tablespoon of milk and add an addition if needed to make mixture smooth and able to drop easily from the spoon to the cake pan.

4. Divide batter between the two cake pans and bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes.

5. Once cake has cooked, remove to cool on a wire rack.

6. Meanwhile, mix all icing ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Whip till soft peaks form and remain when you gently pull away the beaters.

7. To finish the cake, lay your first layer of sponge cake on your serving platter. Top with lemon curd, making sure to spread evenly as a layer. Next add your strawberry jam, again spreading evenly.

8. Place your final sponge layer on and begin icing cake. You will have extra whipped cream icing but its always better to have to much than too little. Enjoy!


Note: This cake is best the day it is made, that is when the sponge is freshest and the whipped cream icing the best.