Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Honey Teriyaki Chicken with Rice Balls and Pineapple

This is a Rachel Ray recipe, and was pretty darn good. My kids loved it and asked for seconds. It was quick and delicious, although my house currently smells like a luau (and so do I). Only thing to watch is that your chicken doesn't get overcooked. You want to keep it nice and moist, so if your chicken is less than 1" thick, cut the cooking time by two minutes per side.

Honey Teriyaki Chicken with Rice Balls and Pineapple

2 cups water
1 T butter
1 tsp salt
1 rounded cup white rice
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 ripe pineapple

Bring water to a boil in a small covered pot. Add butter, salt, and rice to the pot once the water is boiling. Return water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and replace cover. Simmer 18-20 minutes then remove rice from heat. Take the lid off the pot to cool rice a bit.

While the rice is cooking, preheat a grill pan or large griddle over medium high heat. Lightly coat the chicken with a little cooking spray (or veg oil), salt and pepper. Place chicken on hot grill and cook 6 minutes on the first side. While chicken is cooking, bring chicken broth and ginger to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in honey. When honey has dissolved, add teriyaki and sesame oil, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Turn chicken and coat liberally with honey teriyaki sauce using a basting brush. Cook chicken 4 minutes, then turn again and baste liberally with sauce, then cook 2 minutes longer. Remove chicken to a plate and garnish with sliced scallions.

Peel and cut pineapple into 8 spears.  Remove core if desired.  Set spears in cold water for 1 minute to cut down on the acidity. Drain and set on a plate.

Scoop rice into balls using an ice cream scoop, two spoons, or wet hands. Serve with the chicken and pineapple.
Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas

This is my friend Alisha's recipe.  I love that it's so easy and quick, and will feed a crowd!  Oh yeah, and it tastes great, too!

Chicken and Bean Enchiladas


1 lb cooked chicken, shredded or diced (use canned for quicker prep time)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can (15 oz) sliced black olives, drained
1 (4 oz) can green chilies
2 tsp cuim
1 T minced garlic
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 - 2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, or Mexican cheese mix
1 (28 oz) can green enchilada sauce
8-10 flour tortillas

In a large saucepan or deep skillet combine meat, beans, onion, bell pepper, olives, chilies, cumin, garlic, and chili powder. Cook on medium long enough to saute onions and peppers and set the spices into the filling mixture. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400F. Fill tortillas with meat/bean mixture (approx. 1/4 - 1/2 cup in each) and top with 2 T cheese. Fold and roll tortillas to close. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9X13 or slightly larger baking dish. Place rolled tortillas, seam-side down, in pan, then top with rest of enchilada sauce and remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with sour cream, avocados, chopped tomatoes, and chopped lettuce.

Serves 6-8.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grilled Filet Mignon

Cooking this reminded me of a time when I was in Florida on a business trip and my friend Molly and I (you out there, Molls?) went to Don Shula's with another co-worker, Scott.  Scott got some ridiculously large steak (48-oz if I remember), while Molly and I got nice little steaks, and potatoes, and a decadent chocolate souffle for dessert.  I have to say we had the better meal.

Nothing is more quintessential than steak and potatoes.  Grilling steak is one of the easiest things to do, takes nearly no preparation, and is done is 12-18 minutes.  But if you have the right kind of steak it can be a gourmet meal. Filet Mignon is that steak.  

Filet Mignon

2  8-oz filet mignon steaks (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
Vegetable or canola oil
Barbecue or steak sauce, if desired

Preheat your grill for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, brush or spray oil on both sides of steaks.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper (most of it falls off when you cook it).  With the grill turned to medium heat, place steaks over direct heat.  Grill 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, or add 3 minutes more per side for medium-well.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it.  Serve with barbecue or steak sauce, if desired.  I prefer a potato and vegetables on the side.
Serves 2.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Moroccan Chicken

This recipe belongs to my friend Gwen, who is not Moroccan but who is a great cook.  It's perfect because it has just the right amount of all the spices; it isn't heavy on the cinnamon like a lot of Moroccan dishes, but has just enough to blend with everything else into a delicious and healthy stew.  Serve it alone or with a side of couscous or rice.

Moroccan Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
3 carrots, cut into 1 1/2" chunks
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 oz) whole or diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 zucchini, quartered and chopped

In a large stock pot, combine everything BUT the zucchini. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes if they're whole. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add zucchini and cook an additional 15 minutes.
Serves 6.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

If you are the type of person who likes things with a little depth, who delights in the unexpected from time-to-time, and who thinks complexity not only adds interest but also a feeling of accomplishment and joy, then this is the pie for you.  The crust is amazing--flaky, sweet, crispy, tender.  The filling is rich, complex, subtle, with a little kick.  This pie is, for those who have discerning tastes, perfect.  Rhubarb isn't in season for long. Make it soon.  The only regret you'll have is that it disappears so quickly.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Crust (from a recipe by Valarie Enters on the Food Network site):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (Softasilk)
1 T powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
pinch salt
1 egg
2 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup very cold water

3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (about 4 stalks)
3 cups washed, de-stemmed, and roughly cut strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp water
Sugar for garnishing

In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and shortening. Whisk the egg, vinegar, and water together and pour over dry ingredients. Using a fork, toss the dough until it comes together, being sure not to overwork the dough. Divide into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove one disk (you'll use the second one later). Roll into a circle and place in the bottom of the pie dish. Refrigerate while assembling the filling.

Preheat oven to 425F.
Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest, juice, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large bowl. Pour into chilled pie crust. Dot the top of the filling with the small cubes of butter. Remove second disk of dough from refrigerator and roll into a top crust. Place on top of the pie and crimp top and bottom crusts together to seal the layers and make a decorative edge. Cut a small x-shaped vent in the middle of the top crust. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle sugar on top. Place a cookie sheet or foil sheet on the rack below where the pie will be baking in case of spill-over.  Cover the outer edges of the crust with foil so they won't burn and bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375F and bake an additional 45 minutes. Let cool completely before serving so the filling can thicken, about 4-6 hours.
Makes one pie.

Glazed Donuts

The kids were begging me to make donuts, and I have to admit the idea appealed to me.  They're so delicious, so melt-in-your-mouth, so sweet and sticky.  I never buy donuts (maybe once every 5 years), but making them from scratch--yum!  I had found a recipe online and it was pretty good, but not quite perfect.  The dough was way too wet and the glaze was not very good.  So this is my version, which I think is better.  You can be the judge.

Glazed Donuts

1 cup milk
2 packets (2 T) yeast
3 cups flour
1/2 cup warm mashed potato (microwave a medium potato on high for 5 minutes, scoop out potato and mash with a fork)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 T oil
Vegetable or Canola oil to fry in
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Microwave 1 cup milk for 1 minute or until warm but not hot. Stir in yeast and let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine flour, mashed potato, salt, and sugar. Mix well then add the milk/yeast mixture and oil. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and not too sticky. Roll into a circle that is 1/2" thick. Using a donut cutter or two biscuit cutters, cut into donuts. You can either keep the donut holes and fry them too (we do) or re-roll them into the dough to cut out more donuts. Repeat until dough is used up. Place cut donuts on a lightly floured surface to let rise for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Put powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until glaze is desired consistency. Add vanilla and mix well.

In an electric skillet or frying pan, pour enough oil so that it is 1/2" deep in your pan. Heat until 350F (medium to medium high on a stove). It should take about 3-4 minutes to heat up. Place donuts carefully in oil, cooking each side until browned. Remove to wire rack that has paper towels underneath to catch the oil. After donuts have cooled for about 3 minutes, drizzle with glaze.

Makes 12-15 donuts and holes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spicy Baked Apples

Tonight I was craving something delicious but not too sweet, something with fruit, something hot and cold together. I remembered this recipe for Baked Apples that I made at least 7 years ago. It's a Martha Stewart recipe, but unlike a lot of her recipes, it's actually fairly simple. The apples are soft and tender, and the sauce is sweet and spicy, and the cream is cool and tart. I love it. Here's the recipe, and then I'll let you know what changes I made to it when I made it tonight, in case you want an alternate version.

Spicy Baked Apples

4 apples (recommended: Rome variety or other slightly tart, hard apple)
6 T maple syrup
3 T butter
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
4 cinnamon sticks
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 T powdered sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T cream

Preheat the oven to 450F. Slice a thin slice off the bottom of each apple so it will stand, then core each apple to within 1/2" of the bottom. Don't take out too much of the apple, just about a 3/4"-diameter cylinder in the middle of the apple. Cut a bit of skin off the top ring of the apple. Place the apples in a pie pan. Cut one tablespoon of butter into 4 pieces, and put one piece of butter into each apple. Also put 1/8 tsp of the freshly ground ginger, 1 T syrup, and 1 cinnamon stick in each apple. Put the remaining butter and syrup in the pie pan and bake at 450F for 30-35 minutes, basting the apples with the juices occasionally.
Remove baked apples from pie pan and place on serving plate(s). Let the sauce sit in the pan to thicken. Let apples cool while you prepare the cream.
In a food processor, combine ricotta, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, and cream. Mix until smooth. Serve apples with a few spoonfuls of the cream and the sauce drizzled on top.
Serves 4.

Because I made this spur-of-the-moment, I didn't have ricotta cheese. Instead I mixed 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 3 T powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. It wasn't as thick as the ricotta mixture would have been, so I poured it around the apple on the serving dish.  It was tangier than the ricotta, which I think I actually preferred. I'll let you decide!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Out of This World Overnight Rolls

For Easter we had the traditional Easter ham, cheesy potato casserole, salad, and rolls.  The rolls I made came from a recipe that my mom said she got at least 30 years ago from someone.  You make the dough ahead of time and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight, and then shape them and let them rise the day you want to serve them.  They were so delicious that they were the only thing that we didn't have a ton of leftovers from!  They were slightly sweet, light and flaky, stupendous!  Give them a try.

Out of This World Overnight Rolls

2 TB yeast
1 1/4 cups very warm water
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups flour

In a small bowl, soften the yeast in the warm water, letting sit for 5 minutes.  In a mixer, combine the eggs, butter, sugar, salt, and softened yeast water until well mixed.  Add in 3 cups of flour until smooth.  Then add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour to form a soft, sticky dough.  Without removing from bowl, cover with a wet cloth and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1-2 hours.  Punch down, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, about 3 hours before baking, shape dough into desired roll shapes (basic, crescent, parker house, etc.,) and place on greased baking sheet.  Allow to rise 2-3 hours before baking.
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Bake rolls for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned, large, and puffy.  Makes 18-25 rolls.