Monthly Archives: May 2011

One of a Million Tasty Ways to Marinate and Grill Chicken

So, it’s grilling season (finally), and what is about the easiest thing to do on the grill? Aside from slapping some hotdogs on it?  Grilled chicken!  However, if you are not careful, grilled chicken can be one of the easiest things to really mess up, especially white meat.  I suppose I should mention that I very much prefer dark meat over white meat.  So much juicier, tender, and flavorful.  But, once in a while we will do a whole chicken on the grill (back bone cut out and butterflied open into two halves) and if you master the grill right, even the white meat turns out well.

And what is the key to doing this? Indirect heat!  Yes, say it with me now, “Indirect heat!”  Meaning, once your coals are hot either shove them all to one side and then cook on the other side of the grill;  or, shove half the coals to the far left side and the other half of the coals to the far right and grill your food right in the center.  I think the choice comes down to how much food you have or how big your cuts of meat are.  Cooking with indirect heat will stop the problem of the outer part of your meat being dry and charred, while the inside is not cooked through yet.  In addition, it is important to keep your lid down most of the time because this helps to keep the inside temp of your grill nice and roasty and this helps to more evenly cook your meat.

Asian BBQ Chicken with Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad

Asian BBQ Chicken with Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad

  • 4 chicken quarters (we used thigh and leg quarters)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad (recipe below)

Whisk all ingredients except chicken in bowl.  Pour marinade over chicken, either in a freezer bag on in a large, shallow baking dish.  Let marinate about 3-6 hours, but up to 12 if preferred.  Remove from marinade and scrape off excess liquid.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grill over indirect heat.  Place skin side down and let grill about 20 minutes.  Flip and let grill another 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.  Remove from gill and let rest at least 5 minutes.

Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad

  • Handful of spaghetti (just eye it) – feel free to use Soba noodles if you have some on hand!
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/3 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup peanut sauce (my recipe from previous post)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon  plus 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, divided

Cook pasta accordingly and drain thoroughly.  Toss with 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil.  When pasta has cooled slightly (still about room temp), toss with both bell peppers, red and green onion.

Chicken with a glass of the Hubs home-brewed IPA

To make sauce, mix peanut sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Toss into pasta salad until nicely coated.  Don’t use all of sauce if not necessary.  Toss salad with peanuts and cilantro.  Serve around room temperature.

Soft Shell Crabs are Here!

Holy shit.

These are delicious.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Warm Honey Mustard Potato Salad with Bacon and Arugula

Serves 2 main courses or 4 appetizer portions

  • 4 soft shell crabs, cleaned (see additional info under my notes)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Potato Salad (recipe below)
  • Reserved Honey Mustard Dressing for drizzling (recipe below)

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Shrimp Satay with Peanut Sauce

Samina (of Samina Cooks!) recent post on Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce inspired me to do some of my own.  However, I was having my Dad over for dinner, and I know he loves shrimp, so I decided to swap out chicken thighs for some grilled shrimps.  I marinated the shrimp for about 30 minutes (not too long or your shrimp can get “over-marinated” and turn mushy and not good), grilled them, served them with a peanut sauce, and with some quick pickled cucumbers, radishes, and red onions.  Alas, I’m not sure where my head has been lately, and so this blog will also be missing the (almost) obligatory picture of food.  Sigh.

Shrimp Satay with Peanut Sauce

Serves 4 appetizer portions

  • 1 pound fairly large shrimp (U16-20, which means there is about 16-20 shrimp per pound, see this chart for more info), peeled and de-veined
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
  • Quick Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients except shrimp and stir up well.  Add shrimp and let marinate for about 20-30 minutes.  Remove shrimp from marinade and thread onto skewers (about 4 skewers, which have been soaked in water about 15 minutes to prevent them from burning, 4-5 shrimp per skewer.)  Discard remaining marinade.

Grill shrimps on grill about 2 minutes per side.

Serve with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber and Radish Salad.

Peanut Sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed up
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (approximately juice of one lime)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chicken or veggie stock

Puree all ingredients in blender.  Taste to make sure it is to your liking.

Feel free to garnish with a few chopped up peanuts.

Quick Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad

  • 1/2 medium sized cucumber, peeled, and sliced very thin (I sliced mine on a mandolin.)
  • 5 medium sized radishes, sliced thin (again, did mine on a mandolin)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin, mandolin
  • 1/3 cup white wine or rice wine (unseasoned) vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 cups water

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and water, and stir up until salt and sugar is completely dissolved.

Add cucumber, radishes, and onions.  Stir up, and let sit out on counter to pickled at least 30 minutes, ideally closer to an hour.

Creamed Corn (With Bacon, of Course)

I’d been having  the desire to make homemade creamed corn since last year, and I’m not sure as to why I never got around to it last summer.  Well, we finally had some good looking corn at the store the other day, and I decided to go for it.  I also picked up some chicken things, dredged them in flour, and gave them a  quick fry in the pan (and then added about a 1/2 cup of stock and finished in a 350 degree oven for about 18 minutes)  to go with them.  It looks like creamed corn is now going to be making lots of appearances at our house this summer.  And I’m thinking that a little bit of fried okra right on top would be a great way to finish this dish next time.

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Round 2 of Burgers – Mushroom Swiss Burger with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

I have been continuing on my quest for the ultimate burger.  Saturday evening was supposed to be a nice evening on our brand new deck, grilling, drinking, and enjoying ourselves.  However, junk weather of two straight days of rain with the temp dropping about 20 degrees prevented that idyllic scene.  However, troopers that we are, we did manage to grill, but just had to eat inside.   I copied this burger idea from our trip in Nashville to Burger Up, and just kind of winged a Balsamic BBQ sauce.  I wanted to use Gruyere cheese, but ended up going with Baby Swiss because that was all the store had and I did not feel like running all over creation tracking down ingredients.  Oh, and somehow I completely forgot to take a picture of my burger.  Sad face.

Mushroom  Swiss Burgers with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and shiitake)
  • 5 kinda thick-ish slices Swiss cheese
  • 5 buns (we used kaiser buns)
  • Balsamic BBQ sauce (recipe below)

Form beef into 5 equal sized patties.  I like to make a little divot in the middle of each pattie because it seems to help them from getting that weird convex shape burgers sometimes get.  Thoroughly season each burger (both sides!) with plenty of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Put burgers back in fridge for about 15 minutes before grilling them, as this seems to help them hold a better shape.

While burgers are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive in large skillet over high heat.  Once heated, add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and let cook about 2 minutes.  Give mushrooms a big shake and let cook another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside for later.

Cook burgers over fairly high heat for about 5  minutes per side.  Don’t mess with burgers as they are cooking.  Just flip them the one time, and you are good.  With about 2 minutes left of cooking time, add cheese so it has time to get good and melty.  After removing burgers, let them rest at least 5 minutes.

To assemble burgers, add burger with cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and add a good slathering of the Balsamic BBQ sauce to the bun.

Balsamic BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can stewed (or just diced) tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat sauce pan on medium heat with 1 tablespoons olive oil.  Add onions and cook about 5 minutes – you want them to develop some color and start to caramelize (versus sweating where the vegetable does not get any color.)  Add garlic and cook about another minute.  Add balsamic vinegar and let reduce by half, about 3-4 minutes.  Add tomatoes, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, spicy brown mustard, and Worcesterhire.  Cook about 15 minutes to let all flavors come together and reduce down a bit, stirring occasionally (and feel free to kinda mash up tomato chunks.

Using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend up BBQ sauce until fairly smooth.  Left-over BBQ sauce should keep in fridge for a couple weeks.

My Notes

  • We used grass-fed beef that we picked up at the farmers’ market.  It was really lean, so I added an egg white to help bind it together.
  • Our burgers were each a little over 6 ounces and that seemed pretty close to a good size.

Look At Those Mussels!

Reasons I love to cook mussels:

1. Inexpensive

2. Easy

3. Looks very impressive

4. Highly versatile

5. Delicious

6. Easy to make a small batch or a large batch for company

Need I go on?

The two mussel dishes we make the most often are the typical/traditional version – white wine and parsley broth and the other is in a lemon broth with blue cheese and bacon.  (Seriously, does every other thing I make have bacon in it?) Oh – and make sure you serve it with some good, crusty bread to soak up all the delicious mussel brothy goodness at the bottom of your bowl.

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Strawberry and Goat Cheese Spinach Salad

My mother recently took a trip to Louisiana – New Orleans and Baton Rouge – to see family.  Her other reason for this trip was to get strawberries at the Louisiana Strawberry Festival.  She feels like Louisiana spring strawberries are some of the best things on earth.  And she is kinda right.  She was also nice enough to bring me a few pints.

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