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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Platinum Chef 13: Loaded Tortilla Espanola and Fruit Filled Brie en Croute

I am SO EXCITED to be doing another Platinum Chef challenge. As I near the two year anniversary for my blog, I think back, fondly, on my previous challenges. Getting involved in Platinum Chef was the inspiration for starting a blog of my own. Though I am freakishly only able to create new dishes when locked into 5 randomly chosen ingredients, I have enjoyed cooking and baking for this blog and being able to share recipes and ideas with whoever wants to read. For a trip down memory lane, here is my first Platinum Chef post. Ok, enough mushy stuff (that really belongs it the anniversary post, anyway).

This challenge brings us 5 ingredients, as always, and is hosted by Workout-then-cook.

When I first read the list and saw asparagus, I thought UGH. I HATE asparagus. I almost instantly decided I'd have to hide the asparagus inside of something else. No plain eating asparagus for me. It must be buried to be edible. That negating anything I could come up with that involved strawberries. But garlic, mushrooms, and cheese? No problem! I decided on a loaded Tortilla Espanola, which I have been wanting to make for a long time. The results were fabulous, and my husband, loves eggs and actually likes asparagus, would have eaten the whole thing in one sitting if I let him. Sadly, I discovered that I just don't like asparagus, even when hidden in a potato tortilla. I totally picked mine out.

Loaded Tortilla Espanola

olive oil
3 large white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 large white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
7 large asparagus spears, blanched and sliced into 1.5" pieces
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
10 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
goat cheese

In a large skillet, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Add the potato slices, onion and garlic, cook over medium low heat without browning until tender, about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove potato mixture to a large bowl. Wipe out skillet with paper towel, then return to head. Add asparagus and spinach to potato mixture, mix thoroughly. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Add vegetables back to pan, then pour egg mixture over vegetables, shaking pan to ensure all space is filled by eggs. Cook 10-15 minutes, or just until set. Finish in broiler, or use a baking sheet or large plate to flip tortilla over and return to skillet to cook the other side. Serve with goat cheese.

As I said before, this left me with strawberries as the lone ranger. The easiest pairing seemed to be cheese, and as soon as I said that to my husband, we both said, "Brie." We LOVE baked brie and decided to punch it up by filling with fresh fruit and honey. This is easy to throw together, and no real measuring is needed!

Fruit Filled Brie en Croute

~handful of sliced almonds
~honey or agave nectar
~2-3 ripe strawberries, thinly sliced
~1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
~8 ounces brie, rind trimmed and sliced in half
~1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed

Lay out sheet of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil. Place a small round of sliced almonds in the center and drizzle a little honey. Lay down half of the brie. Layer sliced strawberries, then pear, then drizzle with more honey. Top with remaining half of cheeses. Fold puff pastry up and over the brie, pressing gently to secure. Flip pastry wrapped brie so folds are on the bottom. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Serve with crackers.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

BB: Outrageous Brownies

I've heard a lot about this brownie recipe, as it is a favorite of many fellow bakers. For over a year, I have loved the Chewy, Fudgy Triple-Chocolate Brownies from my copy of Baking Illustrated, and have been afraid to try anything new. I guess having brownies as the next Barefoot Bloggers recipe helped give me the chance to make them!

I used them in my husband's favorite brownie concoction - Caramel Butterscotch Brownies. I cut the recipe in half to have enough for the layered brownies, and ended up with enough leftover to make 6 lil' muffin brownies. I have to admit, this brownie recipe wasn't up to the challenge. Part of it is my fault, as I certainly underbaked them, but they definitely had too much butter. We'll be sticking with our favorite brownie recipe from here on out!

Outrageous Brownies
Chosen by: Eva of I’m Boring
Source: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook on page 172

* 1 pound unsalted butter
* 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
* 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
* 6 extra-large eggs
* 3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
* 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3 cups diced walnut pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gnocchi with summer vegetables

I had flagged this for later in my latest issue of Everyday Food Magazine, but after a wrong turn in the grocery store led me down the pasta aisle - and smack into a giant section of packaged gnocchi - it became a flagged for NOW recipe. The zucchini looked particularly good that day (also tempting me to make stuffed zucchini), so it was a go! This was a delicious dinner full of vegetables and flavored with wonderful fresh basil from our plant and my addition of some spicy turkey sausage. The only thing I didn't care for was the "sauce" made with gnocchi water. Next time I'll toss with a little marinara sauce.

Gnocchi with summer vegetables
Adapted from: Everyday Food Magazine (changes in Italics)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini or summer squash or one of each, quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
course salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 package (15-16 ounces) gnocchi (I was fortunate to find 8 whole grain gnocchi - hooray for additional protein and fiber!)
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 links spicy turkey sausage

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high. Add sausage and heat until cooked through. Remove from skillet and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Add squash and garlic to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp-tender, 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet along with sliced sausage. Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce. Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Organic Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling

I had a party to attend and offered to make a cake. I wanted something light and summery, and I thought this cake would go well with the requested pink frosting. The cake had a light lemon flavor to it, and the filling was absolutely delicious! The raspberry flavor was not muted, and played so well with the lemon. It got rave reviews at the party! See the buttercream I used, here.

Organic Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling
Source: Good Things Catered

For the cake:
2 1/2 c. cake flour
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp meringue powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 extra large organic lemon, washed thoroughly then zested and juiced separately
1 c. milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 egg whites, beaten
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
three drops of almond extract

For the filling:
2 c. powdered sugar
minuscule pinch of salt
1/2 c. shortening
1 1/2 tsp natural raspberry extract
1/2 tsp butter flavor
4 oz. fresh raspberries

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two cake pans.
-In bowl of electric mixer sift and add flour, sugar, baking powder, meringue powder, salt, and zest of full lemon.
-Stir with mixer to combine, about 30 seconds.
-Add milk, oil, juice from lemon, beaten egg whites and extracts.
-Beat on medium to combine thoroughly, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.
-Remove from mixer and stir with silicone spatula to thoroughly combine (making sure there is no flour mixture left unincorporated at the bottom of the bowl.
-Fill prepared pans 2/3 of the way full and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (about 25-28 mins for 8 inch pans)
-Remove from oven, let cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn onto wire racks to cool completely.
-Meanwhile, in the bowl of stand mixer, combine shortening and extracts and stir on low until relatively combined.
-In a separate bowl, combine sugar and salt, then add to mixer while still on.
-Stir, scraping down sides of bowl, until thoroughly combined.
-Add raspberries and stir to combine.
(Add water if needed to reach desired texture.)
-Once cakes are completely cool, cut uneven tops off cake.
-Form an icing dam around the edge of the top of one of the layers.
-Fill with raspberry filling and flip the top of the other layer onto the top of the filled cake.
-Ice as desired.

Buttercream Icing

Buttecream icing and I haven't been getting along. I tried a few recipes, hated them, and basically didn't know where else to turn. I had to make a cake for an upcoming work party, so I went off in search of a new buttercream icing recipe. I stumbled on the Repressed Pastry Chef and thought, with this glowing review, how can I not try it?? In terms of flavor, I LOVED IT. In terms of texture, it didn't go on the cake as smoothly as I wanted, but perhaps I added too much water, not enough, or just plain stink at icing cakes so that's my problem. I will play with it on my next cake and see how it goes. Anyway, I'm in love.

Buttercream Dream Icing
Source: The Repressed Pastry Chef

1 stick salted butter - room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter - room temperature
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
4-6 tablespoons very cold milk

Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk... one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chocolate Zabaglione

After baking a cake last weekend, I had some leftover egg yolks. I find that leftover egg whites are a lot easier to get rid of. Though it may seen strange that I don't want to use the yolks for ice cream, I have yet to master the custard style and certainly didn't feel like messing around this week.

So I turned to google and was intrigued by zabaglione, an Italian dessert. It can be served warm or cold, and is a creamy custard type dessert often served with fruit (or so I gather). Giada's recipe for chocolate zabaglione sounded perfect! It's creamy, with a little bite and warmth from the wine. I didn't have marsala, so I substituted in some madeira wine. I hope that is not blasphemous, haha! I cut the recipe down based on my 3 egg yolks, and got 2 servings.

Chocolate Zabaglione
Source: Giada De Laurentiis

* 1/4 cup whipping cream, or heavy cream
* 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
* 8 large egg yolks
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup dry Marsala
* Pinch salt
* 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (I used raspberries)


Add cream and chocolate to a heavy small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, Marsala, and salt in a large glass bowl until blended. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, but do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk the egg mixture over the simmering water until it is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Using a large rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.

Divide the strawberries among 6 coupe dishes. Pour the warm zabaglione over the strawberries and serve.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

I saw these over on Elly Says Opa and knew I had to make them soon. We finally got around to it and I am SO glad we did! These are FAST, easy, and ridiculously delicious. I skipped the mushrooms and used some fresh basil instead of the parsley. Amazingly flavorful!

Chicken Parmesan Burgers
Source: Elly Says Opa!

1 lb. ground chicken (I used breast meat)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped flatleaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 shallot, finely diced
salt and pepper

1/2 cup pasta sauce
4 slices mozzarella or provolone (or 1/2 cup shredded)
sauteed mushrooms (optional)
4 buns (brushed with a little garlic butter, they are even better)

Lightly mix together all the ingredients for the burgers. Form into 4 patties. I like to make them about 30-40 minutes ahead of time, to let the flavors meld a little bit.

Preheat & spray the broiler with a little oil (or use the grill, or a pan). Broil the burgers for about 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and broil for 3 minutes. Top each chicken burger with 2 Tbsp. pasta sauce and a slice (or about 2T) of cheese. Place back under the broiler for 30-60 seconds, until cheese in melted and burger is cooked through. Top with mushrooms, if desired. Place the buns in the broiler for about 10 seconds, just until toasted.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Five Spice Chicken Kabobs

I'm on a desperate hunt for good grilling recipes. Summer is nearing and my husband want nothing to do with the stove, so I grabbed this recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. We skipped the peppers because I don't like them. It's a great recipe, easy to throw together since there is no marinating, and delicious. The flavor was actually pretty light, and I might kick it up a notch next time.

Five Spice Chicken Kabobs
Reworded from Better Homes and Gardens Bridal Edition
Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (I just reduced 1/2 cup OJ over low heat in a saucepan)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon, five-spice powder
dash ground ginger
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks or one 8-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
1 medium green sweet pepper, cut into one inch pieces
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into one inch pieces
2 cups hot cooked rice

1. For glaze, in a small bowl combine orange juice concentrate, honey, soy sauce, five-spice powder, and ginger. Set aside.
2. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. On 6 long metal skewers, alternately thread chicken, pineapple, and peppers, leaving 1/4 inch space between pieces.
3. For a charcoal grill, grill kabobs on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 12-14 minutes or until no longer pink, turning and brushing once with glaze up to the last 5 minutes of grilling. For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place kabobs on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

BB: Tuna Salad

There was definitely no way I was going to work with fresh tuna, so I used canned for this installment of Barefoot Bloggers. It was still fantastically delicious, so I don't feel like I was missing out on anything ;-) I can't wait to make it again!

Tuna Salad
Chosen by Kate of Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails

* 2 pounds very fresh tuna steak, cut 1-inch thick
* 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
* 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
* 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black, plus extra for sprinkling
* 2 limes, zest grated
* 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
* 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 limes)
* 2 teaspoons soy sauce
* 10 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
* 1 to 2 ripe Hass avocados, medium diced
* 1/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
* 1/4 cup red onion, small diced


Brush the tuna steaks with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the tuna steaks in a very hot saute pan and cook for only 1 minute on each side. Set aside on a platter.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest, wasabi, lime juice, soy sauce and hot sauce. Add the avocados to the vinaigrette.

Cut the tuna in chunks and place it in a large bowl. Add the scallions and red onion and mix well. Pour the vinaigrette mixture over the tuna and carefully mix.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oven Baked Fries

Even after the delicious gratin, I had a few yukon gold potatoes left over. I decided to make oven-baked fries with them based on this idea from About.com. I think they turned out fabulous, though my execution was a little off. They'd do best elevated on a rack, and well separated (or at least checked on in the first 15 min to move them around a bit). Mine sat in the oven, untouched, for the whole time and I literally had one giant mass of fries when I was done. It was no problem separating them back to individual fries again, but it would have been nicer if they came out of the oven that way. :-) Anyway, they had a nice outer coating (not crunchy but not mush), and a lovely creamy center.

Oven Baked Fries
Source: Adapted from about.com
Serves: 2

3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled or scrubbed well
2 egg whites
2-3 teaspoons of seasoning, your choice (I think I used some combo of garlic powder, paprika, mexican oregano)

Slice potatoes into 1/4" to 3/8" matchsticks. Beat egg whites to a light froth and gently fold in seasoning. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil or spray with cooking spray. Dip potatoes in egg white mixture, then place in an single layer on the baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

I have recently discovered Clean Eating magazine, and love it! (What is eating clean? Look here and here for some tips.) There are some interesting articles and great recipes. I wouldn't say that I've completely converted to clean eating (since my husband still looooves Velveeta), but I've certainly made more of an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables, and make things from scratch so I can control the ingredients. This allows me to make changes such as using whole wheat (often, pastry) flour in place of white flour, and avoid a lot of preservatives and other such junk.

The latest issue of Clean Eating has a ton of recipes that looked great to me, and I decided to dive in over the weekend with oatmeal banana pancakes. Breakfast around here is usually eggs, oatmeal, or a protein bar, but every once in a while, we treat ourselves to pancakes. I was especially intrigued by this recipe because of the substitution for maple syrup. A combination of pomegranate juice and honey sounded delicious! Of course, I forgot to get the juice at the store, so we had to settle for cranberry juice in it's place.

These turned out delicious! The pancakes have a nice little bite from the whole oats, and a light banana flavor that isn't overwhelming. The fruit syrup is SO GOOD and we are definitely making these again!

Oatmeal Banana Pancakes
Source: Clean Eating magazine
Makes 10 to 12 five inch pancakes, or 20 four inch pancakes

For the syrup:
1 cup Pomegranate Juice
2 tablespoons of honey

For the pancakes:
3 medium bananas (I used frozen), plus 1 sliced banana for garnish
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats, ground to a course flour in food processor
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
Olive Oil cooking spray

Whisk juice and honey together in saucepot. Bring mixture to boil over medium high heat, then drop the heat to medium. Simmer mixture and reduce it to syrup, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let syrup cool before using. (Mine thickened as it cooled.)

To make pancakes, add bananas, milk and vanilla to blender and puree until smooth. In large mixing bowl, whisk together ground oats, rolled oats, flour, salt and baking powder. Fold banana puree into dry ingredients to a form a thick batter, taking care not to overwork it. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites into batter. Heat a large nonstick griddle coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Drop 1/4 cup batter for 5-inch pancakes onto griddle. Cook until lightly browned, about 1 1/2 per side. Serve with banana slices and a drizzle of pomegranate syrup.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mojito Chicken

First, a thousand apologies for the blurry picture. We were hungry. I was lazy. :-)

I've had this Guy Fieri recipe bookmarked for probably well over a year. I am glad I finally got around to making it! We loved the flavors... until we got to the glaze. Admittedly, I over-thickened it. But the flavor was just.... eh. We added some of the juice from the chicken pan after it came out of the oven to loosen it up, and it turned out muuuuch better. In the end, we thought it was excellent. I'd love to grill it next time!

Mojito Chicken
Source: Guy Fieri

* 1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) chicken (we used a few boneless skinless chicken breasts)
* 2 tablespoons garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon onion powder
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* Marinade, recipe follows
* 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Mojito Glaze, recipe follows


Remove backbone of chicken with poultry shears; flatten chicken out by pressing firmly on skin part of chicken so it will sit evenly in a pan.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine all the dry spices and rub chicken with spice mixture, especially under the skin. Put into a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients for the marinade, then add chicken to marinade and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess marinade. In a large saute pan over medium to high heat, add 4 tablespoons of extra- virgin olive oil. When oil is hot, place chicken skin side down and sear.

When skin is golden brown flip chicken and add 1/2 cup of marinade into pan; place pan in oven and cook the chicken for 25 minutes or until chicken has internal temperature of 165 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the chicken from oven and brush with Mojito Glaze. Place chicken under broiler for 5 minutes. Remove from broiler, cut and serve immediately with more glaze on the side.


* 1 cup orange juice
* 2 limes, juiced
* 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
* 1/4 cup dark rum

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.

Mojito Glaze:

* 1/2 cup dark rum
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons cold water
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In medium sauce pot, place rum, chicken broth and brown sugar. Reduce by 1/3 over high heat. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together water and cornstarch. When rum mixture is reduced, add cornstarch mixture slowly to simmering liquid and whisk for 3 minutes, until 50 percent thicker. Keep in mind that you might not need all of it. When glaze is at desired thickness, add mint leaves and transfer to small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spiced Cilantro Shrimp

I got this recipe from one of my favorite sources: Katie at Good Things Catered. I was going to hold off and try it later in the summer, but my husband really wanted to grill last weekend. It ended up being a perfect topping for a fresh salad, and was very easy and quick to put together and cook!

Spiced Cilantro Shrimp Skewers
Source: Good Things Catered

50 extra large shrimp, shelled and deveined
10 bamboo skewers
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp tequila
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chili powder
large pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely minced

-Soak bamboo skewers for 1 hour
-Shake off bamboo skewers and skewer 5 shrimp onto each skewer.
-Place skewers into 9x13 baking dish and cover with remaining ingredients, except cilantro.
-Toss to combine and let marinate for 10 minutes.
-Preheat grill on high
-Toss skewers to combine again and let marinate for another 5 minutes.
-Bring shrimp to grill, turn grill down to medium and place skewers on racks to cook and get grill marks, about 4 minutes.
-Flip skewers and cook through, about 3 more minutes.
-Remove from grill, plate and sprinkle with fresh cilantro to serve.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sesame Ginger Barbecued Chicken

This is another recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. We love the combination of sesame and ginger, so it was a no brainer for us. Even though I prepared it and added the chili sauce, I wasn't expecting it to be as spicy as it was. My husband doesn't mind, of course, and it was still a good alternative to plain barbecued chicken!

Sesame-Ginger Barbecued Chicken
Source: Better Homes and Garden: New Cookbook Bridal Edition
Serves 6

* 1/3 cup sweet and sour sauce (homemade recipe below)
* 1/4 cup water
* 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
* 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
* 1 clove garlic minced
* 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
* 6 small skinless boneless chicken breast halves


1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
2. Grill chicken 12-15 minutes until no longer pink, turning once and brushing with sauce during the last 5 minutes of grilling. Reheat and pass remaining sauce.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
Source: About.com
Yield: About 1/2 cup

* 1/3 cup rice vinegar
* 4 tablespoons brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon ketchup
* 1 teaspoon soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water

Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce together and bring to a boil in a small pot. Mix together the cornstarch and water, add to the other ingredients and stir to thicken.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps

I saw a recipe for chicken satay skewers in my April issue of Everyday Food magazine, but after seeing them again at Pennies on a Platter, I knew I had to make them this weekend! I love the addition of cilantro and the increase in marinade in the adaptation. I also used natural peanut butter for the sauce and it was great. I decided to make lettuce wraps with the chicken, sauce, some romaine leaves, carrot and cucumber. Absolutely delicious!

Chicken Satay Lettuce Wraps

Source: Slightly adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, Bloomacious /Pennies on a Platter

boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced lengthwise to total about 1 pound
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, grated
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

For the sauce:
1/4 cup (natural) peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

For the wraps:
Leaves of romaine lettuce
carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1. In a bowl, toss chicken with sesame oil, soy sauce, cilantro, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Thread each chicken strip lengthwise onto a skewer.
2. Make dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, and 2 to 3 tablespoons water.
3. Heat grill pan over high. Working in batches, brush pan with oil, and cook chicken until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
4. Spread sauce in leaf of lettuce, add carrots and cucumber, then chicken. Enjoy!