I party like a rock star, look like a movie star…

… play like an all star, and cook like a food network star.

Pretty sure that’s what Pitbull meant. Conveniently, this is actually one of my favorite songs to blast as I cook / dance around in the kitchen.

Body rolls and all.

That’s actually the secret ingredient to all my cooking– the dancing. I guess it’s not much of a secret anymore, but seeing as how I’m trying to become a famous food blogger, I guess I’ll have to reveal a secret here or there. Similar to how Rachel Ray released her secret as to how to thread corn. Yes, thread… corn… Oh my heavens, you have no idea what I’m talking about?! BAHAHAHAHA.

This video clearly depicts my maturity level as a college junior. My roommates and I pretty much peed our pants watching it. We also made music videos like this:

BUT ENOUGH WITH THE YOUTUBE! It’s time to get down to business.

So yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my bf and I getting back together. We’ve been trying to figure out how to celebrate, but given our busy schedules, it’s been hard to accommodate any sort of getaway. So instead, I offered to cook dinner, because let’s be honest here: cooking is all I really have to offer. After being with someone for a year, you pretty much run out of party tricks. Cumulatively, we’ve been together for almost two years, so not only have I run out of party tricks, I’ve also run out of made up party tricks.

In case you find yourself in a similar predicament, here are a few of my relationship talents. Maybe we can set up some sort of “talent swap” or “how-to-still-impress-your-bf workshop” in the near future.

  • cooking, obviously. I am obsessed with Tastespotting, and am always researching new things to make, or variations of his (or his mom’s) favorite dishes.
  • among similar lines, I am stellar baker. All boys have a sweet tooth, whether they admit it or not. And even if they’re super stubborn about not loving your baking, there’s always one person you can rely on to eat the delicious cakes: YOU. WHAMO! Win-win situation.
  • scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is a family hobby… to the point where my aunts go to scrapbooking conventions… and one aunt owns a scrapbooking store. So obviously I try to mooch off as many ideas as possible, but still suck. I’m pretty sure a blind lady with no fingers could produce a better scrapbook than me. Doesn’t matter though, because most boys can’t tell the difference anyway. So scrapbooking, regardless of your skill level, is an awesome relationship talent because it’s pretty much a glorified way of constantly reminding your bf how hot his gf is. Yeah, try dumping my ass after you’ve spent 3 hours looking at amazing pictures of me.
  • googling. I love to travel, and I have a penchant for finding cool things to go see and do. Maybe “cool” is an objective word, but I don’t care. I’ve had some amazing adventures, and the type of guys I date must also have an appetite for adventure.
  • gambit. I have a super adorable dog.

That pretty much sums up my genius.

No wonder I was single for so long.

Anyways, back to the dinner. I decided to make a chicken tikka masala pizza, because back when we lived in the same town, we’d grab Indian food at least once a week, and a long time ago, we’d get this smoked salmon pizza from this cool Davis pizzeria every time we had something to celebrate (like the release of Batman: Under the Red Hood). So obviously, I was going to smash these two memories together into one dish, because that’s the type of calculating romantic mathematician I am.

… turns out I was supposed to marinate the chicken over night if I wanted to make the chicken tikka masala from scratch, and my eyes definitely forgot to relay the message to my brain when I read the recipe around midnight the night before, after coming home from a 10 hour shift. Whoops, my bizzle.

Naturally, I jumped ship and went from a sentimental dish to pretty much the most unromantic dish I could think of: chicken paprikash.

“What is chicken poopookray,” you ask? It’s this super old Hungarian comfort dish consisting of chicken smothered in a hearty paprika goulash type of situation and some very understated plain dumplings.

When I turned 21, my brother took my family out to a brunch at this Czech restaurant and for the very first time, I found a beer that I absolutely loved. I don’t really believe in love at first sight, but I definitely believe in love at first sip. I’m talking FIREWORKS, people. I don’t even remember if I was standing or sitting or squatting, but I know for a fact that my soul started skipping and twirling and cat-daddy-ing. As a result, I became a (very) frequent patron of this restaurant/bar, though most of the time I just came to grab a sip of this miraculous brew. (This is the only place I know of within a 250mile radius that pours this beer on tap) Eventually, I decided I should probably eat something, so that the owners would stop referring to me as “that one alcoholic Asian girl who looks like she’s 15 and only tips $1 per beer.” I should probably mention now that whenever I’m faced with a menu in which I don’t recognize 50% of the words or more, I pretty much just close the menu and ask the waitor/waitress to surprise me. I put a lot of faith in people, and I find that I’m only disappointed about 10% of the time. Luckily, my waitress had some sort of cute Eastern European accent, and (though the American school system’s lack of emphasis on world geography has failed me several times) from what my memory serves me, the Czech Republic was/is somewhere near Hungary, and if I recall correctly, that’s somewhere near Eastern Europe, so when I asked her to “bring me whatever you’d recommend to your mom,” I knew I was going to be getting some good shit.

Turns out I was right. She brought me a steaming plate of chicken paprikash, and I haven’t stopped eating it since.

Especially since it pairs PERFECTLY with my favorite beer.

But anyways, at one point, it was a weekly tradition for my bf and to go get frozen yogurt, a pint of my favorite beer, and to see a movie every Tuesday night, so though he never actually had the chicken paprikash with me, we always had the beer together. And in my mind, the beer and chicken paprikash go hand-in-hand. So after a year of dating, I guess it’s finally time to let him in on my delicious Hungarian secret.

See? In a way, I am awesomely sentimental and romantic… in a goulash kind of way.

Blah blah blah. Here’s the recipe!

Alexha’s Date-Night-in-Sweat-Pants Chicken Paprikash:

Ingredients

for paprikas (chicken)

  • 2-3 lbs bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 1/4 C paprika
  • dash of hot pepper
  • dash of chili powder
  • 1 C chicken stock
  • 3/4 C sour cream
  • 1 Tbs flour

for nokedli (dumplings)

  • 1 C flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-4 Tbs plain yogurt

You know the drill… set out all your groceries!

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pot until very hot. Add a splash of oil then add the chicken, skin side down. Fry undisturbed until it is well browned then flip and brown the other side.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the onions. Fry until soft scrapping up the browned bits of fond from the chicken (the awesome delicious chicken flavor stuck to the bottom of the pan)
  3. Add the paprika, hot pepper, and chili powder and continue frying for 2 minutes or until the paprika is very fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken stock and return the chicken to the pot, pushing them to the bottom of the pot. Turn down heat to medium low and simmer covered until the chicken is very tender and falls off the bone when prodded with a fork.
  5. To make the nokedli, put the flour in a bowl and add the eggs, one at a time mixing to combine. Add the yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is very wet and soft (about the texture of soft mochi), but not runny. Let the dough rest while the chicken cooks. (Not pictured. Sorry, I was busy enjoying my 4th glass of wine and forgot to capture the moment!)
  6. When the chicken is almost done, boil a large pot full of salted water. Flick small bits of dough off the side of the spoon. They are done when they float to the top. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl containing some butter or olive oil tossing after each addition and covering with foil to keep warm.
  7. Mix 1/2 C plain yogurt with the flour. Add a few spoonfuls of the braising liquid in the pot to the yogurt mixture and combine. Continue adding liquid from the pot to the yogurt and mixing until the yogurt mixture is warm. This tempers the yogurt preventing it from curdling. It also ads more liquid to the flour preventing it from forming lumps.
  8. Pour it all back into the pot and stir to combine. When the sauce thickens it is ready to serve. Get your sweat pants on and eat up!

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I swear I have more pans than just my dutch oven. I don’t know why (oh yes I do), but I love it so much. I pretty much only use a frying pan my mom gave me awhile back and this dutch oven when I cook. OH! Unless I’m making soup. Then I have a soup pot. Everything else in our cupboards is merely decorative. I’m a simple woman, what can I say?

Also, I should warn you that there’s a great amount of oil splatter happening during the initial chicken-frying step, so make sure you wear the proper protective equipment.

Can’t wait to cook for you, blogfriends, come OUR one year anniversary!

Until then, live long and prosper <3

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