Grilled/Stovetop Salmon

This is very easy.

1. Marinade the salmon for a bit.
2. Heat the cast iron skillet very hot, then add then salmon skin side down. Leave alone for 3 mins or so
3. Take salmon off, peel off skin. Add some more marinade to the de-skinned side, then sear the de-skinned side for a couple minutes.
4. Flip, then sear the other side for a couple more minutes. It’s done when it flakes easily.


Chia Seed Pudding

Delicious! Great texture after sitting overnight. The chia seeds expand and become like little tapioca balls. I wouldn’t add the vanilla flavoring though, it tastes a little fake. Next time, I’d just keep it simple: no sweetener, no vanilla, unflavored milk, then add fruit.

Pan Seared, Roasted Pork Chops with Pan Sauce

This method worked out much better for me than the first time I tried cooking pork chops, wherein they turned into tough slabs of a country ham-like substance. This time, the chops were on the edge of being overcooked, but still pretty juicy and delicious. Also, this was pretty fast and required very few dishes.


1. I used Trader Joe’s sea salt, about 2 1/2 tablespoons. I think since the grains are smaller than kosher you need to use a little bit less, otherwise it will be too salty. Even with this amount, they were a bit on the salty side. So maybe slightly less next time.

2. Check the chops after 3 minutes, no joke. When I took them out slightly before the 6 minute min cooking time, they were already 15 degrees hotter than the recipe recommended. I think this is because they were boneless and potentially thinner, but just to be safe check much earlier than the recipe instructs.

3. I also made a pan sauce, which turn out pretty good. I used white wine and threw in some chopped dried out rosemary I had lying around. Careful with the cast iron skillet though, maybe use the stainless steel one next time since you have to scrape the pan juices during deglazing.

4. I served this with smitten kitchen’s quick zucchini saute with almonds and they went really well together.

Braised Chicken Thighs

Part of my quest to learn how to cook meat. This turned out really delicious, but be warned it takes a long time and there are a lot of steps and lots and lots of dirty dishes. Like, probably more than for any single dish I’ve ever made. I’m sure it gets better the more you make it, which I will certainly be doing with a few changes/notes for next time. It’s a super flexible recipe that can be modified in countless ways for countless delicious flavor combos.

This is from 12 Recipes, page 212.

1. I used 5 chicken thighs instead of legs. Turned out fine. I left the skin on, but ended up not really eating it because it doesn’t get crispy like it would if you roasted the chicken, since you roast it in pan juices and it gets soft during that process.

2. It turned out a bit too oily for my taste. The instructions have you pour out the pan juices into a bowl after roasting the chicken for 20 mins to let the fat rise. After 5 minutes (the suggested about of time) nothing was happening. Next time, try putting it in the freezer to speed along this process and see what happens.

3. The book says if your pan/pot (I used a large 12 in cast iron skillet) is too small to brown all of the chicken at once, do it in batches. But then you have to fit it all in the same skillet during the roasting part. So really you need it all to fit in at once. Also you do not need to cover the skillet, I always assumed this was true for braising but I think that’s only for the stovetop version.

4. Getting started: Season chicken and set aside. Chop onion, carrot, (peeled) celery, garlic and herbs. I used some dried out, originally fresh rosemary I had lying around for the roasting part and it turned out delicious.

5. You need four dishes for the chicken. One for seasoning, one for dredging, one for setting the dredged chicken on before and after you brown it, and one to set the chicken on after you’ve roasted it when you’re getting the fat out of the sauce.

6. Roast until the meat thermometer reads 185. This worked out perfectly.