Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chicken Panang

I'm a sucker for good Asian food.  Chinese, Japanese, Thai and everything in between.  I love it all.  A few years ago, I tried curry for the first time.  It was an acquired taste for me, but once I discovered Panang, I knew I'd hit a home run.  It's spicy, a little sweet, and luscious, with a peanut butter finish.  Great with any meat or veggie (or whatever the hell you have in the fridge), this is a must-keep recipe to add to your repertoire for those often craved exotic evenings.  

Panang Curry 

Chicken Boobs
2 T. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
3/4 Onion, diced
1 1/2 C. Carrots, chopped into small rings
1/2 Zucchini, chopped
3 T. Panang Curry (found in a pouch or a can in Asian grocery stores)
1 Heaping T. of Peanut Butter
1 14 oz. can of Lite Coconut Milk
1 T. Fish Sauce
1 T. Brown Sugar
Basil, nuts and lime juice, to garnish

Sprinkle your chicken with salt & pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until it glistens.  Add the chicken and cook for 4 minutes per side or until you get a nice, golden brown edge.  Make sure the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  When the chicken has had a chance to rest for 5 minutes, slice into pieces about 1" thick.

Add the onions to the skillet.  Cook until they are soft but not browned, about 6 minutes.  Add the carrots and zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes.  Stir in the panang curry and peanut butter, allowing it to coat the veggies.  Pour in the coconut milk and stir to thoroughly combine.  Stir in the fish sauce and sugar.  Taste and add more sugar, peanut butter or fish sauce as needed.  Add the chicken back and stir gently to cover it in the sauce.

Serve over rice and garnish with fresh basil, nuts of your choice and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shish Kebabs

There is not much in this world as satisfying as grilling meat on a stick over flames.  Maybe it's my id, a yearning for simpler times, or gee whiz, maybe it's that fahwesome taste of char and caramelized sugars all over my food that only fire can lend.   In any case, I encourage you to unleash your inner cave man, break out the grill and start cooking like summer intended.  This weekend, my new obsession Christian and I grilled some shish kebabs using my dad's infamous recipe.  These shish kebabs are tender, juicy & fresh, and packed with sweet, teriyaki flavors.  

Shish Kebabs

1/2 lb. of Beef Tips (or your favorite protein), cut in large chunks
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil
1 Red Pepper, cut in large chunks
1 Pint of Button Mushrooms, with stems on
1 Onion, cut in large chunks
1 Can of Whole Potatoes
1/2 C. Teriyaki Sauce (we used San-J gluten-free)
1 C. Pineapple, cut in large chunks (optional)
Wooden Skewers, soaked in water

Preheat your grill to nice and hot.  Season the beef with salt & pepper.  

Start to assemble the kebabs by starting with a piece of red pepper or onion.  This will secure the pieces so they don't slide off the end of the skewer.  Continue by adding the other ingredients.  Finish the skewer with another red pepper or onion chunk and set the kebabs in a shallow baking dish.  Repeat this until you've used all the ingredients.  

Drizzle your teriyaki sauce over the kebabs, making sure that each piece gets nicely coated.  Drizzle with a smidge of olive oil.  This helps prevent sticking on the grill and helps your food to get an extra crunch.  

When the grill is hot, carefully add the kebabs, perpendicular to the metal grates.  Cook for 5-6 minutes, until you get a good char.  Turn and cook for another 5 minutes on the other side.  Make sure your meat is cooked to a safe temperature.  Remove from the grill.  Drizzle with fresh sauce if you desire (NOT the sauce that collected at the bottom of your baking dish).   Serve with quinoa, couscous and something green.  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Patio Weather

When I moved to Ohio, some friends told me that I had just missed "patio weather" and that I would not find anything better in this new state.  I nodded and smiled politely, all the while thinking how sitting on my patio sounded like a true bore.  Well, I don't think I've ever eaten my words (or thoughts) any faster than when patio weather did come around again.  It is now absolutely my favorite part of Ohio's spring and summers.  There's something so peaceful and satisfying about being outside on a beautiful patio eating good food, drinking cool drinks and enjoying the company of close friends.  The following recipes are inspired by good friends and fabulous patio weather.

Grilled Crostini with Dara's Hip Hoppin' Morockin' Carrot Dip  

My friend Dara Schwartz recently launched a line of all-natural dips made from local Ohio ingredients that are unbelievably flavorful and healthy.  My favorite is the Hip-Hoppin' Morockin' Carrot - Moroccan Carrot Dip.  It's spicy and exotic with a hint of raw honey.  Dara shared this appetizer recipe with me to enjoy the dip.  Try it tonight - you'll be blown away by the rocking' combo of flavors and textures.  

Hip Hoppin' Morockin' Carrot - Moroccan Carrot Dip
White cheddar cheese, in thin slices

Preheat your grill to medium high.  Thinly slice your baguette on a bias (diagonal).  Grill them to your desired level of crunch.  I like mine burned and crispy.  In the last 2 minutes of crisping, add a slice of cheese and let it melt a bit.  Remove from the heat and top with a spoonful of carrot dip.  Garnish with something green and enjoy.  

Check out Dara's site @ www.daristacafe.com

Grilled Salmon with Dijon Maple Hollandaise and Pistachios

I've been on a huge salmon kick lately.  I love the crispy skin and the rich flavor packed into this hearty, but light, pink fish.  I've been experimenting with some different flavor profiles and this is one of the winners.  The salmon is grilled simply but adorned with some delicious, well-balanced accoutrements.  

Salmon fillets, skin on
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 Packet Hollandaise Sauce Mix
1 C. Milk
1/2 Stick of butter, melted
2 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. Maple syrup
Pistachios, roughly chopped

Preheat your well-cleaned grill to medium high.  Drizzle your salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Let sit for 5 minutes at room temperature.  

In a small grill-safe saucepan, whisk together the Hollandaise mix, milk, butter, mustard and syrup.  Set the saucepan on the grill and stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.  Move the saucepan to the corner of your grill, so it's not over the highest heat.  Keep and eye on it and stir frequently.  

Carefully place your salmon on the grill, skin side down.  If you're worried about it sticking, place a piece of aluminum foil on the rack and place the salmon on top.  Close the grill and let the salmon cook for about 5-6 minutes.  Don't touch it - you want the skin to be nice and browned.  When the skin is looking crispy, carefully flip it and brown the other side for another 4-5 minutes.  Technically, salmon is supposed to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145.  I take mine off a few minutes before this and cover it with foil because it will continue cooking for a short while once off the grill.  

To plate, spoon the Dijon Maple Hollandaise onto the plate in a swirl.  Add the grilled salmon on top and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.  

Happy Patio Weather!