Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Asian Barbecued Chicken

I love Asian flavors but I don't venture into that realm often. This recipe for Asian Barbecue Chicken is wonderful as the ingredients are probably in every ones pantry and there's nothing fancy or hard to find. All you need are some basic ingredients and a grill and you can have some really delicious chicken. I used a charcoal grill for cooking, but an indoor grill would work too. I used boneless chicken breasts, which I pounded slightly to make them an even thickness so they would cook more evenly. And they cooked faster which was nice since it was still 107 degrees outside! I haven't grilled much this summer with the intense heat, and some towns in our area are banning the use of outdoor grills since it is so dry here. So I may have to wait for rain before I grill again. We'll see. But this chicken was so full of flavor and I will make it often. Leftovers were fantastic in salad. There is a little bite from the red pepper, but not drastic. I served it with simple rice with some of the remaining  marinade spooned on. So delicious so I hope you'll give this a try.
Asian Barbecued Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Light
Skinless chicken thighs were used in the original recipe. I subbed boneless breasts, that I pounded slightly to make them a more uniform thickness.

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves minced garlic cloves
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The original recipe uses 8 skinless thighs.
Mix together all ingredients, except chicken, in a bowl. Place chicken in a large resealable baggie and pour the marinade in with the chicken. Seal and place in refrigerator to marinate about 1-2 hours for the breasts. Bone-in chicken thighs should marinate longer, (4 hours in the recipe).
Prepare your grill, leaving a cool area to use in case you need to move the chicken to it. My grill had a temp of 350 degrees.
When fire is ready, remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking it off well before placing on the grill. Boil the remaining marinade for about 2 minutes to baste the chicken as it cooks. (The marinade is safe to use as long as it is boiled.) Grill chicken until it turns white around the edges, and then turn over to finish. Chicken is done when the juices run clear. Mine was done in 8-10 minutes, but cooking time will depend on the temp of your grill and the size of the chicken parts. Enjoy!

NOTE: I marinated the chicken breasts for about 1 1/2 hours, but my husband thought the flavors too strong, so next time I'll do an hour or so. But I loved the flavors, so I chalk it up to different palates. If you try this, let me know your thoughts on the flavors.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sweet and Buttery, Fresh Sauteed Corn

Probably everyone makes this delicious corn, but in case you don't, you really should! Summer Sweet corn never tasted so good and if you have trouble eating corn on the cob, this method is definitely for you. Sauteing corn in butter in a skillet brings out so much sweetness that you'll want to eat it all, so make plenty!
 For this dish you need a sharp knife, a baking pan and a few extra minutes to cut the corn off of the cob. And of course, you must at first remove the corn husks and silk. Then stand the corn up on the largest end in a shallow pan. I use a 9x13 inch pan for this. Holding the corn by the small end, cut the corn carefully from the cobs. Just start at the top and slice it all the way down and then turn the cob and slice again until you are through with that cob. Do remaining corn the same. Most of the corn will fall into the pan as it is cut. Now you are ready to cook it.
 You don't really need a recipe, but here is the method. I use different amounts depending on how many serving are needed.

Sauteed Fresh Corn
I used 4 large ears of corn, 1 1/2-2 tablespoons butter. Also this time I added just little of diced red onion and red bell pepper, but it is not necessary.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in pan. Pour all the corn kernels in the pan and saute for about 7-8 minutes, until the starches are cooked. Turn heat down if it begins to burn. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
If using more corn than this, you may need to cook this a bit longer and increase the butter. Enjoy-this corn is so yummy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Peach Cobbler

 Peaches are in season here now and I just can't resist a good peach cobbler. If you don't want to take time to make a pie, a cobbler is the way to go. The peaches in this cobbler are fragrant with cinnamon, and the delicious topping is almost scone like. The crisp topping is tender and buttery and a perfect crust for this dessert, plus it smells fabulous while baking.
 This Peach Cobbler is best the day it is made. After it comes out of the oven, let it cool until it is just warm, and the crust will be nice and crisp and buttery. If there are leftovers the next day, the crust softens, just like other cobblers. It is still delicious though, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. I adapted this recipe from Tyler Florence, but I left out the alcohol, and I cut out some of the butter of his recipe. We didn't miss it at all. It's such a delicious summer dessert so I hope you'll give it a try.
Peach Cobbler
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Notes: You could also use frozen, sliced peaches that have been thawed. Also, you can sub half and half or milk for the heavy cream; the topping will be less rich, but will still taste great.
This cobbler can also be made in a 10 inch cast iron skillet, although, I have not tried it.

Ingredients for filling:
about 3 - 3 1/2 pounds of fresh peaches, peeled and sliced  (6-8 cups)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Ingredients for topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick, (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on top, if desired

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the sliced peaches, sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch; set aside.
2. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Cut the butter into small pieces and cut into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like small crumbs. Pour the cream into the flour mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. Don't over-work the dough; this is like a very rich biscuit or scone dough.
3. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the peach mixture and cook until heated through for about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a 2 quart baking dish. Drop the dough by tablespoons full over the warm peaches. There will be gaps, but the topping spreads and puffs up as it bakes. Brush the top of the dough with a little heavy cream and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired.
4. Bake in the oven, on a baking sheet until the cobbler is browned and the fruit is bubbly, about 40-45 minutes. (The filling will bubble over the edge of the pan.) Serve warm with ice cream. So yummy!

Note: If you have a fruit peeler that will peel the delicate skins of peaches, you are all set. But if not here's what you do. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice so you can cool down the peaches. When the water is boiling, drop the peaches in the boiling water and boil just for 45-50 seconds. Quickly lift the peaches out of the water and place them in ice water to stop the cooking. Leave them until they are cooled down. Remove peaches from water and they will now peel easily with a paring knife.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sliced Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar

 I'm sure many of you have made this simple dish. My mother and grandmother always had Sliced Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar in the refrigerator in the summer. This was a very tasty way to use the extra produce from their garden. My husband and I still love the tangy bite of vinegar in these cukes. This simple salad has to be made to individual preferences. We like a strong vinegar and water solution, but others may like less bite. Some people add sugar to the solution. My mother-in-law may have added a teaspoon of sugar, but I don't remember. So taste as you go. Be sure to add salt and pepper though. Here's the method.
Sliced Cucumbers and Onions in Vinegar
From Lynda's Recipe Box

Method: Use as many cucumbers as you want. I used 2 smaller, about 8inch cucumbers and 1 medium sweet yellow onion. This was enough to fill a 1 quart dish about 1/2 full. However, this dish will keep very well in the refrigerator, so don't be afraid to slice up more.
Peel, (if desired), and slice the cucumbers thinly. Cut the onion into thin slices also, and place cukes and onions into the dish in alternate layers.
Mix 1 part cider vinegar with 2 parts water. I used 1/2 cup cider vinegar and 1 cup cold water this time. Taste! If the vinegar is too strong for you then add some more water. Likewise if you want a stronger vinegar bite. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the cukes and onions. Chill for several hours before serving. They get better every day so enjoy!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fruit Pizza

 What's not to love about Fruit Pizza? There's a huge sugar cookie topped with creamy filling and fresh fruit and berries and a yummy glaze over all. I don't know when it first began showing up in kitchens in America, but it was given to me in the mid 1980's by a friends mother. She brought it to a church dinner and it was an instant hit. Most recipes call for purchased cookie dough, and mine did as well. But I soon decided to use one of my sugar cookie recipes instead, because it would work with a larger pan. This recipe is very popular around this area for family gatherings and pot luck dinners. It is usually the first dessert to go. I love that you can use just about any fruit or berry. My recipe has a cooked citrus glaze which not only adds a bit of sheen to the fruit, but it also keeps some fruits from turning brown. I almost always include bananas in my Fruit Pizza, and have not had a problem with them browning. But I don't think I've ever had this dessert longer than 2 days, so I don't know how much longer bananas would last. One of my favorite combinations is strawberry and Kiwis, along with bananas. This time I got a little patriotic with blueberries and strawberries. It was so yummy!
 I use my own cookie recipe and spread it evenly over the pan. I use a Baker's Half Sheet, about 17 inches by 13 inches. I just dot the pan with dough and smooth it out with my fingers. It doesn't have to look fancy, just get it to all the sides and corners. Bake for 12 minutes and cool. Then comes the cream cheese filling, then a layer of fruit, and lastly the glaze. The citrus glaze adds flavor, helps set the fruit, and helps prevent browning. I think the glaze also dresses this dessert up some. Think of Fruit Pizza as a large tart.
 I like adding lots of fruit and berries, placing them closely together. You  can do a design with the fruit or just place it randomly. It will taste fantastic either way! Use whatever fruit or berries are available. I've used strawberries, Kiwi, apples, bananas, blueberries, oranges, etc. Here's how I make Fruit Pizza. You can use your own sugar cookie recipe if preferred.
Fruit Pizza
Recipe from Lynda's Recipe Box and friend

Sugar Cookie Recipe
3/4 cup shortening, or you can use soft butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream shortening and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Spread all the dough into a Half sheet baking sheet(about 17x13 in.). Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 12 minutes. Cookie dough may not look done, but it will set up as it cools; don't over bake or it will be too hard. Cool completely.

While cookie bakes, make the citrus glaze.
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Heat juices in a saucepan.. Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to the hot juices. Stir continuously and cook until thick and clear, about 1-2 minutes. Cool. Glaze can be luke-warm when used, but if it thickens too much when you try to glaze the Fruit Pizza, just warm it a little and stir and it should be easy to brush.

Make filling while the cookie and glaze cool.
1 1/2 bars, (12 ounces) 0f room temperature cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.
(Note: If you want a thicker filling, use 16 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. )

To Assemble Fruit Pizza:
Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the cooled cookie. Arrange fruit and berries over the filling, pressing in slightly just to set.
(I used about 1 quart of strawberries, halved, and almost 1 quart of blueberries, and 2-3 (I can't remember!), large bananas for this pizza.
Use a pastry brush to spread the citrus glaze. Topping the blueberries was a bit tricky, so I ended up dolloping the glaze on and spreading it gently.  The glaze needs to set before you cover the Fruit Pizza, so place in the refrigerator to chill, and cover in about an hour. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Enjoy!

NOTE: The cookie  layer can be baked a day ahead, if desired, and kept covered with foil until ready to assemble.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to all my American readers! Hope you have fun plans for the day.
I have been absent this past week because we have a new grand baby! Our new granddaughter was born last Wednesday, and cooking has not been at the forefront of my mind.  :) I am cooking today however, so I'll be here later with a recipe. Promise.
Have a safe and fun day. If you are like us, it is 100 degrees and very dry, so be careful with those fireworks, if you are even allowed to have them this year.