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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Perfect Grilled Chicken: TIP

I came across this technique from Saveur, a great site with so much information.


Instead of a barbecue, you can grill a chicken by using a brick! Yes, just pick up a brick, cover it in foil and put it over the chicken in your grill pan. Just butterfly the bird, and the brick will keep it pressed down onto the grill or grill pan. You can use a brick for grilled sandwiches, too


I would have never thought of this simple but easy way to grill!!



David Crown, Harrison Township, Michigan
This article was first published inSaveur in Issue #126

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chicken with Peanut Butter Sauce

Today's Guest blogger is Stephen Wong from Rice Palette. In his own words,
 "I only started recently cooking, and all the recipes in my blog are ones I learned from family and friends.  I'm in my mid-20's from Ottawa, Canada, and I'm still learning my ways around the kitchen.


Well, by the look and read of his blog, he is doing very well!


Here is his recipe for Chicken with peanut butter sauce:

Ingredients

  • 350 g of chicken, cut into small bite-sized pieces (white, dark, choice is yours)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small carrot, cut into small cube-like pieces
  • 1 green pepper, cut into small cube-like pieces
  • 1 small onion, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 teaspoons of chicken broth powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 3 teaspoons of cooking (rice) wine
  • 1 teaspoon of corn starch
  • 4 teaspoons of vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce (optional)
  • chili sauce to taste
  • 3-4 teaspoons of sugar (or to taste)
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • cashews or peanuts for garnish
Preparation

  • Marinade the chicken with a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of chicken broth powder, 1 tablespoon of the cooking (rice) wine, and the corn starch.
Directions

  1. In a preheated wok (or pan), heat the cooking oil, then add the garlic. Once the garlic starts to turn a little brown, add the chicken and saute.
  2. When the chicken is cooked, add the carrots, and saute for a minute.
  3. Add the rest of the cooking (rice) wine (2 teaspoons), add the onions, and then stir-fry for another couple of minutes. Then add the green peppers and chicken broth (or water).
  4. Add in the following: hoisin sauce (optional), pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of chicken broth powder, chili sauce, and sugar. Stir-fry for a few seconds, and then add the vinegar and the peanut butter. Stir-fry. Perform a taste-test (You should definitely be able to taste the peanut butter!).
  5. Finish off by adding the sesame oil. Garnish with cashews or peanuts.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Guest Blogger

Today's post has been sent to me by Inspired taste, a blog full of the most amazing recipes and excellent reading as well!
Here is the recipe for market Fresh Vegetable Stir Fry:

Market Fresh Vegetable Stir Fry
makes 2-4 servings, depending how hungry you are

3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
2-3 red chili peppers, thinly sliced
2 pounds seasonal produce (we used a combination of squash, Japanese eggplant, carrots, bell pepper and bok choy)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 cups cooked noodles or spaghetti, al dente (firm, but not hard)
Garnish
handful of Thai basil and mint
1-2 red chili peppers, thinly sliced
sesame seeds
Note:  If you do not have Thai basil, you can replace it with a more common herb, such as cilantro or even parsley.  Thai basil, which has a mild anise flavor (licorice), can usually be found at some farmer’s markets or International and Asian food stores.
Prepare all ingredients and cut all vegetables into long think matchsticks.  Preheat a wok or large sauté pan to high heat, add the vegetable oil and heat until it begins to smoke.  Carefully, add all ingredients into the wok or pan and toss so the oil has coated all the vegetables (add more oil if needed).  Toss occasionally during cooking, continue to cook the vegetables for about 3 minutes or until all the vegetables are cooked (you still want some firmness for such vegetables as carrots or bell peppers).  After about 3 minutes, add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, cooked noodles or pasta; toss and cook for another 30 seconds.  Finally tear in, then toss a handful of mint and Thai basil leaves.  Serve the stir fry in a bowl and garnish with more torn leaves of mint and Thai basil, fresh red chili peppers and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Guest Blogger

Today's Guest blogger is Emily from  www.lovewhatyoueatsf.com
Check out her website - there are some impressive recipes. I have chosen this one:
CARROT CUPCAKES WITH ORANGE ICING






These cupcakes are fresh, delicious, and the perfect treat for any birthday or bake sale!

For cupcakes:
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For icing:
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Supplies:
  • muffin tins
  • muffin liners
  • grater
  • confectioner's sugar sifter (or fine sieve)
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Line muffin cups with paper liners. Coarsely grate enough carrots to measure 2 cups using large teardrop holes of a box grater. whisk together flour, baking powder, backing soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Whisk together oil, eggs, brown sugar, grated carrots, and vanilla in the large bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean (about 20-25 minutes). Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack (about 1 hour more).

Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Whisk in zest and 2 tablespoons juice until smooth. If icing is too thick, add more juice, 1 teaspoon at a time. Dip top of each cupcake into icing, letting excess drip off. Put a carrot curl on top of each and let icing set (about 15 minutes).

Makes 12 cupcakes

(Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine December 2007)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Guest Blogger - Chef Daniel Kay

Heres a Great recipe from Chef Daniel Kay. There are MANY ingredients but then...its a real chef's recipe!


Shrimp and Grits
MAIN RECIPE, ingredients
Peeled & Deveined 16/20 shrimp in Cajun dust, 7 pieces
Goat Cheese Grits, 3 ounces
Broccolini, 2 ounces
Shrimp Gravy, 3 ounces
Goat Cheese, 1 Tablespoon
Diced Tomato, 1 Tablespoon
Goat Cheese Grits, ingredients:
Instant Grits, 1 cup
Clam juice, 2 cups
Water, 2 cups
Goat Cheese, 2 ounces
Garlic butter, 4 ounces
Shrimp Gravy, ingredients:
Onions, diced, 1/2 cup
Garlic, shopped, 1/4 cup
Bay leaves, 2 leaves
Shrimp Shells, 1 quart
Lemons, peeled and cut in half, 3
Creole seasoning, 2 Tablespoons (see below)
Worcestershire, 1 cup
Water, 1 quart
White Wine, 1/2 cup
Heavy Cream 1 quart
Butter, 1 stick

Creole Seasoning, ingredients:
Paprika, 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon
Kosher Salt, 1/4 cup
Garlic Powder, 1/4 cup
Black Pepper, freshly ground, 2 Tablespoons
Cayenne, 2 Tablespoons
Dried Oregano, 2 Tablespoons
Dried Thyme, 2 Tablespoons
Creole Seasoning, directions:
1. Combine all ingredients and mix well
2. Store in an airtight container

1. Saute seasoned shrimp in oil
2. Deglaze the pan with shrimp gravy and reserve
3. Heat broccolini with garlic butter
4. Place grits on the lefthand side of an oval platter
5. Shingle the shrimp on the top of the bed of grits
6. Pour sauces next to grits on the righthand side of the platter
7. Place broccolini on top of the gravy
8. Garnish with goat cheese, tomato and scallions

Goat Cheese Grits, directions:
1. Bring clam juice, watter and grits to a boil; stir well
2. Reduce heat and allow grits to cook
3. Finish grits with cheese and butter
Shrimp Gravy, directions:
1. Saute onions and garlic with bay leaves
2. Add shrimp shells and Creole seasoning
3. Add lemons and deglaze with remaining liquids
4. Reduce stock down by 3/4
5. Strain mixture through a chinoise and return to heat
6. Reduce strained stock down to a thick base
7. Add BBQ base to the heavy cream and bring to a simmer
8. Finish sauce with butter, adjust seasonings


Friday, September 17, 2010

Panzanella

Panzanella is an Italian dish made using left over crusty bread, that is mixed with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, basil, balsamico and salt and pepper. Additional ingredients like capers, garlic, mozzarella, anchovies, sliced onions, olives can also added to the dish. It is really a combination of left over bread, tomatoes and what ever tickles your fancy!
You will need:
Some crusty bread, cut into cubes
Fresh tomatoes
Olive Oil
salt and pepper

then you can add your favorite ingredients.
I like to add basil,
a touch of anchovy
a few thin slices of sweet onion
and maybe a couple of mozzarella balls.

What to do:
Make a vinaigrette:
Olive oil, balsamico, shredded basil, maybe a touch of honey, salt and pepper and a tsp of mustard.
Again, you can make your own type of vinaigrette. This is a very versatile dish!

Some recipes toast the cubed bread - now you can do this before you cut it - but just toast lightly,best way in the oven: or else, heat some olive oil in a pan and brown the cubes. Don't over do it though!
Let cool. Sometimes the bread used is not toasted at all - it will just be stale..no worries - this recipe likes stale bread which is what i prefer to use - I like the mushy texture you get!
Roughly chop the tomatoes. I have seen some recipes use cherry tomatoes but i prefer chopped ones. Get the best ones you can find.

Add the tomatoes (and any of the above mentioned ingredients you'd like) to the vinaigrette and let stay for a while.

Add the bread and mix well. Be gentle - you don't want to get the mushy mess just yet!
When ready to serve you can add a drizzle of olive oil over the bread  - yum!

The ingredients mentioned above can also be used to make my 'tahlita' a mixture I would make in Malta before a day on the beach. All you do is make a mixture of chopped tomatoes, olive oil, capers, olives, garlic, onion, balsamic, olive oil, maybe anchovies too: prepare the day before and put in a contained with a lid. Then, when you to to the beach, or a picnic, or whatever, take fresh crusty bread, buns or a loaf, and when ready to eat just slap the mixture on top! A kind of Maltese bruschetta!

Super Yummy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Crab Cakes

This recipe was e mailed to me but I am not sure who to give the credit to as there were no details...If anyone thinks it sounds familiar let me know!!

Ingredients for Crab Cakes
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs
1 tbs salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb  fresh crabmeat
1/4 cup sour cream
About 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional for coating
3 tbs vegetable oil


Ingredients for Remoulade sauce
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs whole-grain mustard
3 tbs gherkins, fine chopped
2 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tsp Spanish paprika
3 tbs minced shallot

Method
For sauce: 
Whisk ingredients together in a mixing bowl. 

For crab cakes: 
Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper and stir with a large spoon until the butter is fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Place the crabmeat in a large bowl and pick through it, removing any bits of shell. Add the lemon juice to the crabmeat and toss. Mix in the sour cream, 1/2 cup flour, and the bread crumbs. Form the crab mixture into 6 hamburger-size patties, each about 1/2 inch thick. (If the mixture seems too wet, add a little more flour.) Coat each crab cake with flour.
Warm the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the crab cakes and cook until very brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
Place one crab cake onto each of the warm plates. Garnish with a dollop of remoulade.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meatballs

Meatballs....what could be easier and yummier! You can add them to any pasta, rice dish, make your own sauce or gravy, and the freeze really well so you can make a whole load of them and freeze in portions.

4 servings.
Ingredients 
4 slices bread,no need for the bred to be fresh: white or wheat or whole grain - or Bread crumbs - they’re easier.If you use bread, trim the crusts.
1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 pork/1/2 beef, or ground turkey, or ground chicken...the possibilities are endless
1 egg (beaten)
1 medium onion chopped finely.
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs. Italian seasoning - or your favourite seasoning depending on what type of meat you use. You can also add garlic and/or some Worcestershire sauce.
some flour (to roll the balls in)
2 tbs butter. 
2 tbs olive oil.

Method
Place bread in mixing bowl and cover with small amounts of water. For bread crumbs you omit this step.
Mush up the bread
Add meat, egg, onion, herbs, salt and pepper.
Shape into small balls, rolling in your hands
Coat the balls well with the flour.
Fry the meatballs in the mixture of oil and butter. 
If you want to be healthier you can also grill them or bake them but keep an eye on them so they cook properly!
Cook until done then drain excess grease off.
You can make these ahead of time and freeze them, then when you are ready to serve
defrost and reheat them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

These are absolutely fantastic with potato salad or coleslaw. They’re also great cold and on picnics. You can also use these with a tomato sauce and serve meatballs and spaghetti. A little twist on the traditional. As you can see, the basic recipe is very versatile - you can tweak it to your hearts content! I personally like them cold with a fresh tomato sauce. Just put some peeled and deseeded tomatoes in a blender with some olive oil, salt, pepper and some basil - easy peasy!
Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Boston Cream Pie

Oh the decadence!!! This is a super yummy cake..


Boston Cream Pie
Serves 8 to 10

Prepare the pastry cream first, so it can chill while the cake is baking and cooling. Chilling the assembled pie for at least three hours makes it easier to cut and serve. 

Pastry Cream
5 large egg yolks
½ cup (3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar 
3 tbs cornflour ( cornstarch)
2 cups fresh cream
Pinch of salt
4 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Cake
1½ cups (7 ½ ounces)  flour 
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup  milk
6 tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (10 ½ ounces) granulated sugar 

Glaze
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbs light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1. For the Pastry Cream: Whisk yolks, cornstarch, and ¼ cup sugar together in medium bowl until smooth. Heat cream, remaining ¼ cup sugar, and salt in large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat until 
simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Slowly whisk simmering cream into egg mixture to temper.

2. Return tempered egg mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with  spatula; bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened, glossy, and resembles thick 
mayonnaise, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove saucepan from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is melted and incorporated. Strain pastry cream through a strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased 
parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. 

3. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and cover to keep warm.

4. In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar at high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Remove mixer bowl from stand. 
Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and whisk until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. 

5. Working quickly, divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until tops are light brown and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean , 20 to 22 minutes.

6. Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool completely in pan, about 2 hours. Run a knife around edge of pans then invert cakes onto wire rack. 
Carefully remove parchment and then re-invert both cakes.

7. To Assemble: Place one cake round on large plate. Whisk pastry cream briefly then spoon onto center of cake. Using offset spatula, spread evenly to cake edge. Place second layer on pastry cream, top-side facing down, making sure layers line up properly. Press lightly on top of cake to level. Refrigerate cake while preparing glaze.

8. For the Glaze: Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk gently until smooth, 30 seconds. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until 
thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

9. Pour glaze over middle of top layer. Use metal spatula to spread glaze to edge of cake, letting excess drip decoratively down sides. Chill finished cake for 3 hours before slicing. Cake may be made up to 24 hours before serving.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nutella Soufflé

Who doesn't like nutella??? Its so yummy! A mixture of hazelnuts and chocolate....so what better dish to make than a soufflé!!


To make it as light as possible, I used Greek Yogurt that is less watery than regular yogurt. It also balances the super sweet taste of nutella. Other recipes called for the making of an almost creme patissiere which is way more work...and me is kind of lazy.......


Ingredients:
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup nutella
3 tbs flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup sugar
6 ramekins - well buttered.


Method.
Set the oven to 425C
Mix the yogurt, egg yolks, and nutella. Add the salt and vanilla essence and mix well.Sift the flour and add that too, mixing well.
Beat the egg whites until they for stiff peaks. slowly add the sugar and keep on beating.


TIP
Take one tablespoon of the egg whites and stir it into the sauce. This will loosen it considerably.
Now take the sauce and pour it into the remaining egg whites. Using a spatula, lift this mixture from the bottom, turn it over, give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat. Do this enough times so that the whites are distributed through, but not thoroughly mixed with, the sauce.
Put in the buttered ramekins , until half full, and place ramekins on a baking tray.


TIP
Starting the soufflé in the hot oven quickly cooks the outside crust which gives the egg mixture something to rise against. As soon as you put the soufflé in the oven, reduce the temperature to 375 to prevent over cooking.


Cook for about 15 mins - DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN!


Serve immediately.




MORE TIPS
The egg white will be stiffer if you use them at room temperature


Do not over mix the whites with the rest of the mixture or you will destroy the air that makes the soufflé light.


An ideal soufflé should have a melting texture, with a barely cooked and soft, creamy center. It will look light and high, and stand for at least two or three minutes without deflating. 



The hardest thing by far is to know the precise moment of their perfection. If you remove the souffles from the oven too soon, they will be undercooked and will fall quicker (you won't make it to the dinner table).
Overcooking, unfortunately, produces the same result, as the air bubbles will eventually burst. With individual ramekins, I would estimate the time between undercooking and overcooking at about four minutes. Experience will help you with that. You just have to try this thing.
Cook souffles at the bottom of the oven if you use traditional (nonconvection) baking, in the middle if you use convection bake
One-week-old eggs are best; very fresh egg whites have a high water content and are prone to graining.
Inadequately buttered ramekins will produce an uneven rise or prevent it completely. The ramekins can be individual or large. Individual ramekins give you a better presentation, but give you less control over the cooking.
Almost everyone knows that beating the egg whites properly is key.  The air, in the form of tiny bubbles, is trapped in the egg foam; as the soufflé bakes, the air expands, causing the soufflé to puff dramatically.  (When the soufflé cools, what does the air do?  It contracts, of course, making the soufflé fall.) The trick is to know when to stop beating — the whites must stay elastic, so that the air bubbles can expand without bursting.  Adding sugar at the right time — after "soft peak" stage — gives the foam stability.

Garibaldi Biscuits

I am yearning for these biscuits - i must have ate a zillion kilos of them as a child....difficult to find in the states...
The Garibaldi biscuit consists of currants in a plain biscuit, best enjoyed with tea or coffee. They are also called dead fly biscuits, because the currants resemble dead flies!!They consist of a dry, not too sweet dough, a shiny glazed top,  squashed currants and the brilliant device of leaving strips of five biscuits joined together, like perforated cardboard. This biscuit is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, an Italian general and leader in the fight to unify Italy. It was first manufactured by Peak Freans in 1861 after Garibaldi visited England.
I actually found them for sale here in the Vermont Country Store
Had a shot at making them....not quite the same thing but they will do for now!
Ingredients:
7oz plain flour
1oz cornflour
2oz caster sugar
pinch of salt
2oz butter
1 egg yolk
a little milk
4oz currants
egg white to glaze
Method:
Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare a baking sheet. Sift the flour and cornflour into a bowl with the sugar and salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Squash the currents with a fork
Add the egg yolk and mix to a stiffish dough with sufficient milk. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out thinly to a long thin rectangle. Trim the edges square and sprinkle one half of the dough evenly with currants.
Fold over the dough and press the edges together. Roll with a floured rolling pin to about ¼ inch thick, cut into convenient squares or rectangles and brush with egg white to glaze. Prick with a fork to make the little holes.
Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Blogger - Chef Daniel Kay

Today's post is courtesy of chef Dan Kay:


Chef Daniel Kay is an American chef, restaurateur, and television producer. He has produced such show's as Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and Chopped.He  is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.



Oven Roasted Chicken Wings
You won’t have to clean the fryer or hide from your doctor. … Need I say more?
Ingredients
4 pounds chicken wings, wing tips removed, separated at the joints 
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
1 tablespoon onion powder 
2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons dried thyme 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne 
4 tablespoons butter, melted 
Your favorite sauce, for serving, such as barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, or blue cheese dressing, optional

Method
Preheat the oven to 500 F.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
In large mixing bowl, combine wings and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
Add pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. 
While crushing between your fingers, add thyme.
Mix again and add cayenne and butter.
Mix thoroughly, then transfer wings to baking sheet and arrange in one layer.
Roast in oven for 10 minutes, rotate pan and cook 10 minutes longer until wings are nicely browned and cooked through. Serve alone or with your favorite dipping sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.