February 15, 2009
Sticky and sweet – finger lickin’ good
I recently made a batch of these chicken wings for a Super Bowl party after hearing there was a Buffalo wing shortage in the area. Of course, these are not Buffalo wings, but I snatched up several packages of chicken wings just in case. Korean style chicken wings can be spicy, although they usually are sweet and sour (and almost always delicious). This recipe is always a big hit at any party or potluck for adults and children alike. Just be sure to keep plenty of napkins on hand.
Korean-style Crispy Chicken Wings with Sweet Ginger Glaze
30 pieces of chicken wings, rinsed and patted dry
1 medium onion, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1″ piece of ginger, finely minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. corn starch
2″ peeled ginger, thinly sliced
3/4 C. water
3/4 C. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 C. vinegar
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 C. corn syrup
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
oil for frying
Heat oil on medium high in large skillet or pan. Combine minced onion, garlic, ginger, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken wings and coat thoroughly. Then add flour and corn starch to chicken mixture and coat well.
Cooking in batches, fry chicken wings in oil over medium to medium high heat for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
In the meantime, bring water, brown sugar, soy sauce and ginger slices to a rolling boil in small sauce pan. Boil vigorously for 15 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add corn syrup. Cook until mixture thickens to the point where the glaze stops half way when dripped from a spoon.
Take out ginger slices with a slotted spoon and set aside when slightly thinner than you want. It will thicken significantly as it sits.
The key to crispy chicken is cooking it twice, so after you cook all the chicken wings once, refry briefly (about 3 minutes or so) right before you are ready to serve.
Pale and limp looking once-cooked chicken
Deep golden brown and super crispy twice-cooked chicken
Drizzle glaze over the chicken and toss carefully. Serve immediately and be prepared for to be asked for the recipe.
January 7, 2009
After eight months of daring baking, Thanksgiving, a Christmas party, gallons of cream, pounds of chocolate, and bricks of butter, I had to take a cold look at my jeans I was having trouble buttoning. No, the jeans weren’t shrinking in the wash – it was the almost 8 pounds I have gained in the past year. So, I, along with millions of others, decided to shed those extra pounds this new year.
I dusted off my old Weight Watchers cookbooks and decided to try this recipe from In One Pot, a surprisingly good cookbook for those trying to lose weight while still wanting to cook with real ingredients (translation: nary a condensed cream of anything soup to be seen). I decided to try this orzo recipe since it is similar to a mushroom risotto I blogged about a month or so ago. Orzo is an easy alternative to the constant stirring risotto requires.
CREAMY ORZO WITH CHICKEN AND MUSHROOMS
Adapted from Weight Watchers In One Pot
1 C. serving = 5 points
1 1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
3/4 lb fresh shiitake, crimini or baby bella mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced
1/3 C. dry sherry
2 C. low-fat milk (1%)
4 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 C. cooked orzo
10 oz. cooked chicken breast
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in large non-stick skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add sherry and cook until it evaporates, about 1 minute.
Combine milk, cornstarch , salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl until smooth. Add the milk mixture into the skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the orzo and chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through for several minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.
December 3, 2008
Who doesn’t love a pot roast on a cold, dark December night? I’ve tinkered with my pot roast recipe over the years, but I’ve pretty much settled on this variation since everyone in the family loves it as is. A few pot roast tips: always buy chuck roast (sometimes labeled “pot roast”), use leftover marinara sauce, skip the crock pot and use a heavy dutch oven.
2.5-3 lb. chuck roast
3 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 Tbs. flour
1/2 C. dry red wine
1 C. beef stock
1/2 C. crushed tomatoes (or marinara sauce)
3-4 whole allspice berries
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
16 oz. broad egg noodles
2 Tbs. chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 350º. Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven on medium high heat. Dredge chuck roast in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sautee garlic until golden – take garlic out of the pot and put aside. Brown pot roast on both sides – about 4 minutes per side.
Take out chuck roast and set aside. Pour red wine in and scrape up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Cook for a few minutes until liquid is reduced by half.
Add beef stock, crushed tomatoes, cooked garlic, chuck roast, allspice berries and bay leaves to pot. Cover and place in oven for one hour.
Remove pot from oven. Turn chuck roast over and place potatoes, carrots and onions in pot. Recover and place in oven for 45 minutes more. Ten minutes before pot roast is to be removed, cook noodles according to directions. Remove pot from the oven and slice meat against the grain. Serve over noodles with parsley.
November 24, 2008
This meal is perfect for the week of Thanksgiving since many have these ingredients on the Thanksgiving shopping list. The recipe calls for sage, something I always buy the last week of November, and butternut squash, an autumnal must. This quick and easy meal is perfect on that busy week leading up to Thanksgiving as you squeeze in dinner between pie baking and trips to the market.
Penne with Butternut Squash, Italian Sausage and Sage
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 1/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, crumbled
3 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/4 C. dry white wine
1 C. chicken stock
3 Tbs. finely chopped sage
1 lb. penne
Paremsan cheese for sprinkling
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and when hot, add squash. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer to bowl. Return pan to medium-high and add sausage. Cook until brown and drain fat. Stir in garlic and red pepper and cook for a minute. Add white wine and simmer for a minute, scraping pan to loosen any brown bits.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to pasta directions. Return squash to pan, chicken broth and sage. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Gently combine pasta and squash mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper and serve with Parmesan cheese.
November 13, 2008
It was been raining steadily all day and I’ve been in the mood for risotto. Done properly, risotto can be stick-to-your-ribs good and perfect for a dreary day like today. I came across this recipe in the RSVP restaurant recipe section of the November 2008 Bon Appétit (one of my favorite features in the magazine). The recipe calls for fairly basic ingredients, all of which make for a classic risotto. I liked the idea of pairing it with fish since fish always seems like a good idea to me.
I used oyster and shiitake mushrooms for this recipe.
Striped Bass with Mushroom Risotto (adapted from San Diego’s Quarter Kitchen’s recipe in Bon Appétit)
6 C. low salt chicken broth
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, divided in half
3 + 3 Tbs. shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
12 oz. assorted wild mushrooms (chanterelle, crimini, or shiitake)
1 3/4 C. arborio rice
1 C. dry white wine
1/3 C. chopped Italian parsley
1/3 C. Parmesan cheese (plus more to taste)
3 Tbs. olive oil
4 5 oz. striped bass fillets
Simmer broth in medium saucepan and keep warm. Melt 1/4 C. (1/2 stick) of butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 Tbs. shallots, garlic, and the mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are soft (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
Melt 1/4 C. (1/2 stick) in another heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 3 Tbs. shallots, sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir for 1 minute.
Add wine and stir until almost dry, about 4 minutes. Add 1 C. warm broth and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 C. broth and simmer 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 C. broth, mushroom mixture, parsley, and 1/3 C. cheese. Simmer until creamy and rice is tender, but still firm to bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, set oven on broil. Add oil to ovenproof skillet on high heat. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down until skin is crisp (about 4 mintues).
Transfer skillet to oven and broil about 6 inches from heat for about 4-6 minutes until fish is cooked through.
Serve risotto with more parmesan cheese to taste and top with fish. I drizzled with risotto with a truffle olive oil – mmmm.
October 29, 2008
This month’s Daring Bakers Challenge was a pleasure to complete and eat – pizza is always welcome in our house. Having to complete two kinds of pizza, I decided to make a family favorite, pesto and shrimp, and something new for me, a gorgonzola and grape pizza. As I have mentioned before, I have been intensely involved in a political campaign, so time has been a very precious commodity. Homemade pizza, while seemingly daunting, is actually a wonderful option for busy cooks since total prep and cooking time is about a half hour.
BASIC PIZZA DOUGH
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.
yield 3 large pizzas
4 1/2 Cups Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup (Olive oil or vegetable oil
1 3/4 Cups Water, ice cold
1 Tb sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.
3. Flour a work surface or counter.
4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 3 equal pieces
5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.
6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.
7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.
8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F).
10. Generously sprinkle a pizza peel with semolina or durum flour. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.
Sadly, the evidence of my fabulous tossing was mostly cut off. The resulting stretched out dough, however, is caught on film.
11. When the dough has the shape you want, place it on a floured pizza peel, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the peel.
12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.
13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven. Close the door and bake for about 5 minutes.
14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.
I chose to make this grape pizza since it’s very similar to a favorite hors d’oeuvre I make often for parties (roquefort grapes). This recipe is more an appetizer than a main course, but very delicious. I love the combination of the strong salty gorgonzola combined with the carmelized sweetness of the grapes. The pizza dough recipe is a definite keeper – crispy yet soft and chewy. Perfection!
Gorgonzola and Grape Pizza (from Epicurious)
1/3 cup Vin Santo
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes (9 oz), halved lengthwise
5 oz Italian Fontina, rind discarded and cheese cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
2 oz Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Bring Vin Santo with sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 5 minutes. Add grapes to saucepan and stir gently to coat with syrup, then transfer to a bowl. Add cheeses and pepper to bowl, then stir to combine. Spread on pizza dough and bake for about 5 minutes.
The second pizza was a pesto, mozzarella and grilled shrimp pizza that lasted about 3 minutes before my children inhaled it. Pesto is staple in our house and I make variations of pesto pizza regularly.
Thanks to our host Rosa for an excellent challenge. It was wonderful to take time to refocus on food and cooking after a couple of months of focusing on everything but.
September 9, 2008
The recent onslaught of hurricanes and tropical storms have left its mark all along the Gulf Coast and Eastern seaboard. Dark skies and heavy rains make for a perfect day for a cassoulet, a French stew made of white beans, vegetables, and meat. Just add a salad and some crusty bread, and you have yourself the perfect meal to chase away gray skies.
Chicken Cassoulet with Panko Topping (adapted from Martha Stewart)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
19 oz. cannellini beans
3 C. chicken stock
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into B-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 dried bay leaf
1 tsp. coarse salt
1+ 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 C. panko breadcrumbs
Marinate the chicken: In a bowl large enough to hold chicken thighs, combine 2 garlic cloves, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and vinegar. Add chicken; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in upper third. In a large stockpot bring chicken stock with carrots, celery, onion, remaining 3 garlic cloves, bay leaf, sage, and remaining teaspoon thyme to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low until vegetables are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. In the last 5 minutes, add the drained beans.
Transfer bean mixture to a colander set over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid; let cool slightly. Puree half the mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. With the motor running, pour in about 1 cup reserved cooking liquid until thick and smooth. Return to pot with remaining bean mixture. Add the salt; stir to combine.
Brush an 8-by-2 1/2-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon the oil. Remove chicken from marinade, and arrange in a single layer in prepared dish. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Remove dish from oven; pour bean mixture over chicken. Combine the remaining olive olive with the breadcrumb, then sprinkle over the bean mixture. Set dish on a baking sheet; return to oven, and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown and beans are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; serve hot.
The fresh herbs is the key to making this bean stew so savory and delicious. The kids love to dip bread into the bean mixture and so do we.
September 5, 2008
This is the last in my three part series on figs, and I saved the best for last. I modified this from a recipe I found in the September issue of Bon Appetit,which featured recipes from famous and not so famous restaurants. This recipe comes from Fahrenheit in Cleveland, although I did alter this recipe significantly. The sweetness of the figs and the smokey prosciutto are topped with the peppery arugula. It’s like a delicious salad on top of pizza dough.
I dedicate this recipe to all the arugula-eaters in America
Fig, Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza
(makes 2 medium pizzas)
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese
4-6 thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into strips
2 C. quartered fresh figs
4 C. lightly packed baby arugula
extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
Pizza Dough (from Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Baking)
serves 4 (2 medium pizzas)
3 1/3 C. unbleached bread flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. lukewarm water
Mix flour, yeast and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix until until blended. Cover and let it rest for 10 – 15 minutes to allow yeast to hydrate. Knead dough for 5 – 10 minutes until fairly smooth. Cut into 2 pieces and shape each piece of dough into a tight ball. Place each ball onto a floured tray. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise about 5-6 hours.
You might want to spray cooking spray on the underside of the plastic wrap – it will stick!
Place pizza stone in 2nd highest rack and preheat oven to its highest setting (mine is 550° F). Flour the work surface and flatten out your fully risen dough ball with your hand and press into a disk.
Pull out the sides (or you can try to get fancy like the pizzerias and use your raised fist to stretch out the dough).
Place pizza on parchment paper (or lightly floured pizza peel if you have one).
Place 1/2 of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses on each pizza. Slide pizza still on the paper on to the hot stone. Bake for about 6-8 minutes, being careful to not overbake. Scatter 1/2 of the figs, 1/2 of the prosciutto over the hot pizza. Scatter 1/2 the arugula on top and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top of the pizza to taste. Repeat to make other other pizza with remaining ingredients.
August 24, 2008
I’ll admit it – I grew up eating spaghetti sauce from a jar. This is to be expected from a first generation immigrant like my mother who thought Ragu was how spaghetti was supposed to be prepared (well, that along with kimchi. Can I get a witness from my Korean-American peeps?) I was set straight by my husband, who grew up eating macaroni and gravy prepared by his Italian family from the Bronx (that would be pasta and marinara sauce).
I’ve been making turkey meatballs even since I my son was born, trying to shed those baby pounds. While low-cal substitutions usually mean a less tasty result, I truly feel these meatballs are just as tasty as ground beef meatballs.
(yields about 18 1½” meatballs)
1 1/3 lb. ground turkey
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C. breadcrumbs
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground pepper
Puree onion and garlic in a mini-chopper or food processor. Combine pureed onion, garlic, ground turkey, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.
Roll mixture into 1½” balls. Heat mium skillet on medium high and brown meatballs on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.
Add to pot of hot marinara sauce (see below) and cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes. Serve with pasta of your choice with grated parmesan cheese.
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
2-3 tsp. dried basil
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium high. Add minced garlic and saute until golden. Add can of crushed tomatoes, sugar and basil. Mix and cook on medium low for 15-20 minutes.
August 16, 2008
Despite their openness to try all types of food, my children are quite happy to eat certain kids’ fare, most notably mac and cheese. What’s not to like? It’s got pasta, milk, butter and cheese in it. I’ve made many variations of it over the years, but this is the one I’ve settled on. The kids love it and frankly, the adults love it too.
Macaroni and Cheese
16 oz. elbow pasta
5 Tbs. + 3 Tbs. of butter (1 stick total)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 C. flour
5 C. milk
4 C. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 – 1 C. panko bread crumbs
1/2 C. grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta according to directions to the longest recommended time for the softest pasta. Meanwhile, melt the 5 Tbs. of butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Cook onions until soft (about 4 minutes). Add flour and cook for about 4 more minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium high and cook for a few minutes until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Turn off heat, add cheese and mix well. Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and incorporate well. Add ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer mac and cheese to a large casserole dish or keep in a dutch oven. Melt the 3 Tbs. of butter and mix with panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle buttered panko and parmesan cheese on top and bake for 25-30 until bubbly and brown on top. (If using a tall dutch oven, you may have to broil for a few minutes to brown the breadcrumbs.)