Sunday, December 17, 2017

Chicken Shawarma - Oven Baked and Lightly Grilled

"Chicken Shawarma should always be in the fridge. Perfect on rice, in pitas, on salad...this lemony garlic pepper chicken is pretty awesome stuff!"

The season is here and I've been a million different directions. Let's just say it hasn't felt quite festive around here but we are making the best of it. Manservant and I just returned from a quick visit to Philly where Zoe cheered us up. All is fantastic in her world and that makes a parent feel good. I do feel though that life has gotten in the way of this blog and for that I apologize. After all this is supposed to be the time that one cranks out recipes and cheer and gains readers by the boatload. Don't I wish? 

This doesn't mean I've stopped cooking, though I've had a very hard time putting positive words to paper. Just wanted to let you know that I'm not dead or anything but I'm not really sure what or anything means. In any case I do want to wish you cheer and goodwill and all kind things for mankind. Womankind. Peoplekind. Life is a wondrous journey filled with ups and downs and hopefully we all have more of the ups.

If you've read my blog long enough I'm sure you realize that I don't just talk about food; though sometimes that might be the better avenue. Life isn't always one grand boulevard lined with flowering trees and quaint cafes, though I wish it was, and food doesn't always help, though I do believe it's a pretty good cure. I could use some powerful chicken soup with magical qualities about now, but instead I'll just give you this recipe for chicken shawarma. It may not be powerful, but it sure was awesome. We all need a perfect escape from heavy rich food and this is colorful enough to bring a smile to anyone's face.

I made this for a casual dinner party. I also made some gorgeous saffron yellow and white rice to go with it. One had the choice to shove this into pitas or to eat it on a bed of rice. Toppings are your choice but we had hot sauce and pine nuts and cilantro. Of course there was hummus and tahini and feta. Tomatoes and cucumbers aren't necessary but they sure are good. And in case I left out the kitchen sink, just know that almost any garnishes work for this. Make a lot for leftovers because this shawarma is also great on salad.

Food is pretty powerful stuff. Here's hoping it cures what ails me! And here's hoping it sends a little joy your way!

Some Chicken Soups for the Soul:

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Yield: 4-6 ServingsPin it

Chicken Shawarma

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 50 MINStotal time: 60 mins
Chicken Shawarma should always be in the fridge. Perfect on rice, in pitas, on salad...this lemony garlic pepper chicken is pretty awesome stuff!


  • 2 lemons juiced
  • 1/2 c plus 1 T olive oil
  • 6 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 2 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t ras el hanout
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless thighs or breasts
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • For Garnishes: Hot Sauce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Scallions, Cilantro, Feta, Olives, Pine Nuts, Tahini, Hummus, Rice, Pita, Your choice!


  1. Prepare marinade for chicken by combining lemon juice, 1/2 c olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, ras el hanout and chicken in a large zip lock bag. Mix ingredients well and marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  2. When ready to cook preheat oven to 425. Use the remaining tablespoon of oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade and toss to combine. Now spread the chicken and onion from the marinade and place on the sheet pan evenly. Reserve marinade.
  3. Place in oven and roast until browned and cooked through about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to rest a few minutes then slice into chunks or bits. Alternatively I took the thighs and breasts and placed them on a preheated high temperature grill for about 5-10 minutes to give them a smoky grilled taste. I also basted them with the reserved marinade.
  4. After removing from the grill I cut the chicken into chunks or you could slice into bits-your choice. Serve the chicken with your choice of garnishes.
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Monday, December 4, 2017

Belgian Dark Chocolate Waffles and #TheBindery

"Belgian Dark Chocolate Waffles are loaded with dark chocolate chips and chunky bits of sugar. Not too sweet and just right for a holiday brunch, these waffles will quickly become a favorite!"

For breakfast I grew up eating Rice Krinkles with milk or Oscar Meyer liver sausage on toast. Let's just say that the Weiner home wasn't big on breakfast. Sunday mornings sometimes featured my dad's fried eggs or Bisquik pancakes but that was about it. What a shame because I love breakfast and it was weekend breakfasts that often enticed my kids to get out of bed and start their day. Not too long ago, I was inspired while reading The Bindery's brunch menu featuring dark chocolate liege waffles with smoked maple syrup and black walnuts so I decided to whip up my own version. Though I haven't yet had The Bindery's version, I have no doubt they will quickly become a favorite.

It was just a month ago that The Bindery opened in Highlands, in a great location that features free parking, (what a concept), and a panoramic view of downtown Denver. Built on the site of an old printery, this new modern building takes its name from history. This eclectic marketplace combines a bakery, cafe, bar and fine dining under chef/owner Linda Hampsten Fox. A private chef and caterer, Linda is an artist and her medium of choice is food.  Thank goodness those of us in Denver are the beneficiaries of that expertise.

Trained in Switzerland, France and Italy, in addition to venues in Mexico, The Bindery has created an eclectic menu of flavors featuring Chili Braised Beef Cheeks over parmesan grits, a deconstructed Coq au Vin,

the Secret Garden with its own organic, delectable "dirt" and maple carrot jerky,

along with a Rabbit Rarebit that had me hopping to grab the last slice.

This beer braised smoked rabbit with Vermont cheddar, pecans and mustard was perfect for a cold rainy night on which I didn't even know I liked rabbit! Mascarpone and radicchio ravioli in a poppy seed broth must have been born from Linda's Eastern European roots, but in true Linda style she fashioned this dish into something inventively new.

This creativity also helped design dessert and turned a Baked Alaska into a Baked Colorado by highlighting tres leches cake, dulce de latte ice cream and bitter caramel all coated in dark chocolate and torched meringue. Definitely worth the price of admission alone!

Though I haven't yet had the opportunity to try the bakery, cafe or marketplace the artisanal small batch products are quite appealing. Jams, syrups, and hot sauce along with delectable baked items, plus take out dinners and lunches are designed to be convenient and irresistable. The Bindery's sunny atmosphere with tall paned windows, open kitchen and baker's ovens are front and center and add to the appeal of the elegantly casual 4000 square foot space. Just like Linda, this space is warm and comforting. And just like the menu says and we all know, "Food is one of life's great pleasures."

The Bindery serves food filled with love, along with rustic, traditional and elegant modern flavors. The Bindery, I predict, is one for the record books.

The Bindery
1817 Central Street
Denver, CO 80211
Closed Mondays


So back to these dark chocolate waffles filled with bittersweet chocolate and chunky sugar bits... Manservant loved them. I loved them. Not too sweet, they are perfect with maple syrup and they would also be perfect with the ancho tequila maple syrup below. I served them with a mole pork sausage and they were killer. You could add cinnamon to the recipe but I loved the flavor of chocolate on its own. Can't wait to try this on the brunch menu at The Bindery to see how they compare but then again I might just want to try the Dutch Babies with Milk Jam and Berries!

More Waffles to Love:


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Yield: 12 Waffles

Dark Chocolate Belgian Liege Waffles

These dark chocolate waffles filled with dark chocolate and chunky sugar bits that caramelize when baked in a waffle iron will get anyone out of bed.
prep time: 60 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 75 mins


  • 3c unbleached  flour

  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 package dry yeast

  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk

  • 2 sticks softened butter

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 t salt

  • 1 t vanilla

  • 3/4 c bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli)
  • 1/2 bag of Lars pearl sugar or 4 oz pearl sugar or coarsely chopped sugar cubes


  1. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk for a few minutes. After it sits a few minutes, I use my mini whisk to blend the mixture better.

  2. Gradually add all the ingredients to the flour, except the pearl sugar and chocolate. Feel free to use your hands, a pie crust blender or a mixer to do this. Really, I just use my hands and smush and form into a blob. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. This takes  about 30-45 minutes. Now smush in the sugar and chocolate.

  3. Divide dough into small patties about 3-4 ounces each or use a 1/4 c measure. I make them a bit on the large side. 

  4. After your waffle iron has preheated plop each patty in. They take about 90 seconds to bake. Take them out carefully so the sugar doesn't burn you however don't wait too long to eat them. Nothing like a hot waffle. Dust with cocoa or powdered sugar and serve with warm syrup.
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