Easy Baked Chicken

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I love cooking, but every so often (ahem, Monday-Wednesday) the thought of it makes me feel rather sluggish. This dish is a perfect solution for one of those lazy days. It’s simple and quickly thrown together with little clean up.  Most importantly, it’s comforting, tasty and topped with goat cheese.

Chicken, Asparagus & Red Potatoes
Adapted from The Fitness Freak
Serves 2-3

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 4-5 medium red potatoes, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme
  • Sea salt & ground pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup herbed goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F

Combine chicken, potatoes, asparagus and garlic in casserole dish.

Mix olive oil, rosemary, thyme and S&P together. Pour over dish and toss to coat the vegetables and chicken.

Bake for 20-30 minutes (cooking time will vary, my oven is slow!).

Stir gently and sprinkle herbed goat cheese on top. Bake for 5 more minutes and serve.

oliver’s astoria

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Every so often, my boyfriend (a.k.a. Baalok) and I ventured out into Astoria with no plans – no set street direction or restaurant. Slowly, these wanderings turned into our special weekend night ritual. Saturdays transformed into our time to reconnect after the long workweek through unexpected food finds. So last Saturday (nicely complementing the start of New York City Beer Week), we happened upon Oliver’s Astoria, the slightly new pub at the corner of Broadway and 38th Street.

Oliver’s offers 16 rotating craft beer selections with a twist on typical bar food.  We started with a round of beer – an Allagash Hugh Malone and an Allagash White – and a cheese plate. I hate to confess that I only liked the cheese plate, though I suspect this has more to do with my high expectations of cheese. (It’s serious. Baalok affectionately calls me his lil cheese monger).  Baalok ordered the chicken sandwich. Coming from the South, I thought it was pretty good – just crunchy enough on the outside and moist on the inside. Baalok must have agreed because that sandwich was gone in about 10 seconds. I enjoyed the truffled mac n cheese – a nice, creamy concoction of white cheddar and parmesan topped with panko breadcrumbs.

We finished dinner with two pints of Empire White Aphro. It was refreshing with hints of lavender, honey and ginger. If I was sick and wanting to drink, Empire White Aphro would be the drink of choice. All in all, Oliver’s is welcoming with nice staff, good food. Guys can enjoy a game with buddies or take a girl out for a nice night. Don’t miss the happy hour specials – 2 for 1 drinks (and it’s not just Pabst or Miller Lite!).

birthday barhop

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Last night, I celebrated my birthday with a few close (absolutely wonderful) friends and the ever-growing row of bars on 30th Avenue. We started off the night at Front Towards Enemy, a new spot quickly gaining notoriety for its expertly crafted cocktails.  The girls enjoyed the Bow & Arrow, a tangy mix of mezcal, bourbon, lime and pineapple juice. The guys preferred to keep it simple with a Spiked Whiskey or Doc’s Brandy.  I chose the Monkey Fist, a delicious snowcone-like concoction of rum, pisco, lime, orange and grapefruit topped off with a kick of cayenne. We didn’t order food, but the drinks and dark, cozy atmosphere definitely warrant future visits.

Next stop was longtime fixture MexiBBQ for its 45 beer selections on tap. Later we finished the night off at Bourbon & Vine, a playful meets industrial designed gastropub relatively new to 30th Avenue. My friends risked the Voodoo Astoria, a strong mix of Bacardi 51, orange liquor and hot sauce. Meanwhile, I nursed a shot of Goldschläger and a glass of water… Needless to say, all bars were great and hospitable, and we laughed the whole way home in a stupor.

P.S. If you love 90s music, visit Bourbon & Vine!

14 tiny kitchen essentials

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First lesson (mishap) in the kitchen:

Yes, I was the naive girl that thought a slow cooker, blender, food processor, fondue set, toaster, toaster oven, microwave, Tupperware collection (not to mention, tableware, coffee cups, wine glasses, etc.) could all fit into my cozy Astoria kitchen. I soon realized I was deluded as I sat exasperated on the floor, attempting to squeeze one last pot into an 8-inch wide cabinet. So, I narrowed my cooking tools down to the basic necessities:

  1. Good Knives – chef’s knife / paring knife / serrated knife
  2. Wooden Cutting Board (doubles as a serving tray or cheeseboard for dinner parties and lasts a lifetime)
  3. Colander or Strainer
  4. Can Opener, Microplane Grater, Measuring Cups/Spoons (these items can all fit in one small drawer)
  5. Spatula, Wooden Spoon, Tongs (placed in a sweet container add simple decoration)
  6. Nested Mixing Bowls
  7. Sauce Pan
  8. 10 inch non-stick fry pan
  9. Dutch Oven or Deep Skillet
  10. Metal Sheet Trays
  11. Glass Casserole Dish
  12. Containers for Leftovers
  13. 4-cup Mini Food Processor
  14. Mini Coffee Pot or French Press

Of course, cooking needs vary. One may not want a coffee pot or a baker might need a mixer. What are your cooking essentials?

a little background

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I came to New York City on a whim. A week after graduating college, an art gallery offered me an internship in this wonderful city we all love – and maybe possess a small, little aversion to. Another week later, life transformed from a sleepy college town in the Appalachian hills into an unfamiliar city of roughly 450 square miles of concrete. As a shy Virginia girl leaving behind family, friends and mountains trails, it was exhilarating and intimidating.

Luckily, I had an older brother to lean on. He introduced me to the best apps to navigate the subway, steered me away from seedy apartments on Craigslist and listened to my rants at household mice. (Actually he laughed about that last part, but you get it.) He also welcomed me into his lovely home in Astoria.

Ever since I first moved to Astoria, I’ve not only being amazed by the various food-eccentricities, but also by the sheer goodness and pride of the community.  The neighborhood is brimming with smiles, restaurants upon restaurants, the best baklava around and beyond. So Astoria, this blog is dedicated to you, you diverse thang you.