Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

 This is one of my all time favorite appetizers. Well, to be honest, it was only recently that I tasted this specific recipe, but I've had many versions, and this one is right up with the best restaurants I've tried!
 When Reen made it for my family, she used Tyler Florence's recipe, and it was gone in no time. SWOOSH! Gone. Everyone loved it! But if you know me, you know that I couldn't just leave it as it was. Just like I do with all of my favorite recipes, I tweaked it a little to make it my own. So here is the tweaked recipe. Ta Da!  I hope you like it!
Oh, btw, how do YOU spell it? Is it Satay? Or Sate? Guess it doesn't really matter. Either way, I think you should make it for your next get-together. Love it!

1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips

20 wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
Vegetable oil, for grilling
Fresh cilantro leaves
Peanut sauce, recipe follows

Combine the yogurt, ginger, garlic, and curry powder in a shallow mixing bowl, stir to combine. Place the chicken strips in the yogurt marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at up to 2 hours.

 Thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked skewers working the skewer in and out of the meat, down the middle of the piece, so that it stays in place during grilling. Place a grill pan over medium heat and brush it with oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Grill the chicken satays for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely seared and cooked through. Serve the satays on a platter topped with cilantro leaves, accompanied by a small bowl of peanut sauce on the side.

Peanut Sauce:
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons red chili powder
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients using a wire whisk or an electric mixer. Pour the sauce into a nice serving bowl and garnish with the chopped peanuts. Serve with chicken satay.

-You can easily substitute chili paste for the chili powder, if that's what you happen to have on hand.
-If the sauce is too thick, simply whisk in a drizzle of hot water until it's the correct consistency.
-If you'd like a little more heat, feel free to add any kind of pepper sauce or even crushed red pepper flakes.
-If you don't have a grill pan, you can also use your electric indoor grill. It works just as well!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reen's Chicken Ala Clementine

 I've often said that my sister Reen is The Queen of Substitutions when it comes to cooking. She'll take any recipe and substitute an ingredient here or there, depending on what ingredients she has on hand. I remember once upon a time that she changed every single ingredient in a recipe and wound up with something entirely different. Now THAT's talent! If I know Reen, she probably said something like "Boy, this was a great recipe, I'm gonna have to make this again!"
Well, staying true to form, Reen has done it again. She sent me this note along with the recipe. It's simple and quick and PERFECT for a mid week supper. Thanx again Been!

Joey Joey,
I had a bunch of clementines and some grapes. I saw a cooking show
where they made duck with clementines. Need I say more? I made
something like that sauce, but changed it to chicken, and added
grapes and onions and other flavorings. Voila! Billy loves it.

I made it with roasted potatoes, but it would probably be better
with rice.  

4 chicken cutlets, sliced through the middle to be 8 thin cutlets
Olive oil
3 garlic gloves
2 onions, chopped
1 small can chicken broth
10 clementines (squeeze juice from 5, and segment the other 5) *Can
substitute with tangerines or  mandarin or regular oranges.
Handful of seedless grapes
Thyme (fresh or dry)
2 tabl. Butter
Sprinkling of sugar (if needed)

Brown chicken cutlets in oil. (Doesn't have to be cooked all the
way through.) Remove chicken to a plate. Saute garlic and onions in
pan with more oil, if needed. Add juice, segments, grapes, thyme
and broth to onions. Cook until it reduces to saucelike
consistency. Return chicken to pan. Add sugar if the sauce tastes too
tart. Season with salt and stir in butter.

Even though Reen didn't say to do this....when I made it, I dredged the chicken in flour before browning them in the pan. It makes them nice and golden, adds a little texture to them, and also helps the sauce to thicken! Oh, and I also sliced the grapes in half and added a little salt and pepper. Yum!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Marinated Cheese


 This is a simple party appy that's super easy and convenient because you make it in advance. Cathy's friend, Jane (of Reuben Stromboli fame), makes it all the time and I'm thrilled that she shared it. SO delish and ANYONE can make it! It's ideal for the cooking novice because no cooking skills are needed!  And doesn't it look impressive? It's just as perfect to serve before an elegant dinner as it is to serve when everyone comes over to watch the big game. So, be sure to add this to your party repertoire. Your family and friends will be glad you did! Thanx Sister! And thanx again Jane!

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 (2 ounce) bottle diced pimento, drained (can use chopped roasted peppers, drained)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons minced green onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (8 ounce) package Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cold

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the olive oil, wine vinegar, pimento, parsley, green onion, garlic, sugar, basil, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously to blend. Set aside.

Cut the block of Cheddar cheese in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices to form squares. Repeat with cream cheese. Arrange cheese squares alternately in a shallow baking dish with slices standing on edge. You can arrange in a single long row, or 2 parallel rows depending on the size of your dish. Pour the marinade from the jar over the cheese slices, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

To serve, remove slices to a serving platter so they are still arranged in an alternating pattern. Spoon some of the extra marinade over the cheese, and serve with crackers. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baked Vidalia Onion Dip

 Usually, when one thinks of onion dip, one thinks of a sour cream sort of a thing for potato chips, right? You just add a packet of onion soup mix to a container of sour cream and there you go, am I right? Well, this one has the old stand by beat a MILE! It's so delicious and yummy you wouldn't even believe how simple it is, and it's ready in minutes. I got the recipe from my fabulous, gorgeous, talented, youthful, vibrant, funny, caring and all-around wonderful sister, Cathy. As I always say, I have no idea where she got it, but since she's the one who gave it to me, she's the one who gets the credit. You SERIOUSLY need to try this one! Thanx Sister!

1 large Vidalia onion, finely chopped (and squeezed/drained in paper towel if really wet)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayo

Mix all ingredients together.
Spread in a shallow baking dish.
Bake at 350F until all bubbly and yummy.
Serve w/ Triscuits.

If you want to stretch this a little and the onion is pretty big, just increase cheeses and mayo to 1 1/2 cups each.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beef Brisket Supper

 Lately I've been using my cast iron Dutch Oven quite a lot. It just might be my favorite piece of cookware EVER! (thanx again my Jeanie!) And as Ferris Bueller would say, "It's SO choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." Seriously, it's so perfect for those saucy dishes where you add a some meat and a bunch of ingredients, then you put the whole thing in the oven and let it cook all afternoon. If you're craving a home cooked meal, this is the answer.
 This recipe screams comfort food. It's a hearty "full belly" meal that is sure to hit the spot on a chilly night. It also smells so good while it's cooking that you'll have all the neighbors wanting to come over for dinner. I was channel surfing one afternoon and I happened to catch Rachel Ray making it, and it looked too good not to try. I didn't do it exactly as she did, but it's pretty close!
I know you'll love it!

1 lean beef brisket (2-3 lbs)
kosher salt and coarse black pepper
a few glugs of oil
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 fresh bay leaves
big pinch ground cloves
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

Heat oven to 350F.
Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Add oil to a large Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Let them cook for a few minutes until the onions soften. Add cloves and stir in the tomato paste. Next stir in the wine and deglaze the pan, then add the broth and canned diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Nestle the meat back into the pot and cover. Bake about 2 1/2 hours, then uncover and bake 1/2 hour more or until the sauce is as thick as you like it.

Season the beef with salt and pepper before you brown it on all sides, but don't add any more until after the sauce has reduced. The flavors really concentrate and become much more intense. You can always adjust the seasoning before you serve.
If the sauce becomes too thick, just add a little water or broth.
This would probably work perfectly in a crock pot too, don't you think? Just brown everything as directed, and then transfer it to a crock pot and cook it on low for 8 or 9 hours.
I decided not to serve this with polenta (as the original recipes suggests) but instead decided to serve it with long grain rice. I just sauteed some mushrooms and onions before adding the uncooked rice, then added chicken broth instead of water. So good! I'm sure it would also be quite delicious served with noodles or even mashed potatoes.