Wednesday, October 23, 2013

.fried chicken sandwich w/ jalapeno slaw.

I love burgers, but sometimes, I want something different.  This isn't necessarily lighter in calories, but it makes for a great alternative to throwing patties on the grill.  It works best if you have some kind of fryer to keep the grease mess minimal. (I have this one that I bought at Target.  It's awesome!)

The first thing you want to do is make the jalapeno slaw.  I make this slaw all the time and everyone raves.  Don't let the name deceive you. It's not spicy at all, unless you want it to be.  What you get is a wonderful jalapeno flavor without much heat.  Here's what you need:

3-4 jalapeno, diced
1/2 head cabbage, finely sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 small onion (or 1/2 medium), grated
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
salt and pepper
celery seed

*For more heat, keep the seeds and ribbing on the jalapeno and add to your slaw.  If you want virtually no spice at all, remove the ribbing and seeds before dicing.

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.  Keep refrigerated.

The slaw can be made earlier in the day, or even the day before.  It holds up great for days.

You can grill a chicken breast if you want to make this lighter, but there's something about a fried piece of meat on a bun with that slaw on top that knocks it out of the park.

In a bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp garlic powder.  In another dish, scramble 2-3 eggs.  In a 3rd dish  mix together the same flour mixture we have in the first dish.  You could use the same dish for the flour if you want -- just double the ingredients.

Take 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and coat well with the flour mixture.  Dip in the egg, then back into the flour.  Set on a cake cooling rack that's placed on a cookie sheet.  When you've coated all the breasts, put in the fridge and let set for an hour.  This is VITAL to getting a nice crispy crust when it's fried.  If you don't give it enough time to sit, you'll have a soggy crust.

Heat your oil to 350*F.  When the oil is ready, carefully put each breaded chicken breast in and fry for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oil and sit on paper towels to drain. 

To serve, I put on toasted hamburger buns and add a generous helping of the jalapeno slaw on top.  Serve with fries or salad or whatever you want with it.  I think I'm going to convert a few new fans.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

.grilled garlic prawns w/ mango salsa and roasted poblano lime gastrique.

We had friends over for dinner to celebrate the husband's birthday.  We made it a four course meal with appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert.  This was the appetizer course and it was delicious and quite easy to make!  If you're looking for a showstopper dish at a party, or if you just want to fancy up your dinner, I really recommend you try this recipe.
NOTE:  The gastrique and salsa can and should be made ahead of time so they're ready to go once the shrimp is grilled.
Put your prawns in a large Ziploc and drizzle in a little olive oil.  Add TONS of minced garlic, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Let marinate all day, or overnight.
2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 limes, juiced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter
Put the peppers and lime juice in a blender and puree until smooth; set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Saute the shallot for a minute, stirring once or twice.  Add the pureed poblano, the white wine and vinegar and sugar.  Bring to boil and allow to reduce by half.  It will become syrupy.  Remove from the heat and add 1 Tbsp of butter at a time, mixing as it melts to incorporate into the sauce.  Set aside.

1 mango, diced in small pieces
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.
To plate:  Spoon a layer of gastrique on the bottom of your dish.  Place your shrimp and then top with the mango salsa.  Drizzle with a little more gastrique.  Serve immediately!

Printable recipe

Monday, October 14, 2013

.barley beef soup.

The weather here in New York has been relatively nice this month.  Typically we're cooling down and I start wanting things like soup, stew, casseroles; so you can imagine my culinary winter "appetite" is confused.  While at the store this week, I picked up the ingredients to make barley beef soup and here it is .. a 70 degree day and I'm making it.  Shoot.  I even made homemade rolls.  Go me!

Barley is a grass, like wheat.  Barley is used in making beer, soup, it can be ground to make bread, etc.  It has many uses.  I learned all of this on Wikipedia and my oldest daughter was happy to read that it grows in the Fertile Crescent of northern Africa (aka Egypt).  (She's learning about the Fertile Crescent in school right now!)

This is a soup I cook in my Dutch oven and let it go all day in the oven at 250*.  My husband asked me today why I didn't use my crockpot and I informed him that 1) I destroyed my crockpot insert when I attempted to make overnight steel cut oats (oops!); and, 2) nothing EVER turns out in my crockpot.  It's even one of these nice ones and I have this great disdain for the dang thing.  So, I stick with my method of just letting it go low and slow for hours and hours.

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

2-3 lbs stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups carrots (I buy the bag of baby carrots and cut them in half)
5-6 medium sized white or gold potatoes, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup barley
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2-3 cups beef broth
2-3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp sugar
bay leaf
fresh thyme
Italian parsley
salt and pepper

Season the meat with salt and pepper.  Heat some oil in your Dutch oven or skillet and fry up the meat.  Sear.  Remove and put on a plate or bowl; set aside.  Heat a little more oil in the pot and sauté the garlic and onion for about 30 seconds.  Add carrots, potato, celery, and bay leaf.  Saute until the potatoes get a little glossy on the outside.  Return the seared meat to the pot and add barley, broth, sugar, herbs, and a little salt and pepper.  Pop the lid on and put in your pre-heated oven.  Let cook for 4-5 hours. 

Because I use stew meat, the long cooking time helps to break down the fat and sinew resulting in the most amazingly tender beef you'll ever have in your life, so don't be tempted to rush this dish.

This makes a big pot of soup so you'll have plenty of leftovers (if you're a family of 4, like us) or you can freeze half for a later meal.

I always serve this soup with homemade dinner rolls.  Enjoy!

Printable version