Tags: cooking, flank steak, Ginger, grilled flank steak, Hoisin Sauce, marinated flank steak, Recipe, Sake, Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Sriracha Sauce, Wine
Happy New Year! I always like to start the New Year with a BANG, and if you call the flu..make that the death of me flu, a BANG, then I guess I did. Remember that ear infection I was talking about Christmas Eve? That was a precursor to almost two weeks now of misery. I am one hot mama, and I’m not speaking in a aesthetic sense. I’m speaking in 102 Fahrenheit sense.
SO, my holiday consisted of bed rest and lots of fluids. Writing this post is not easy. I write a paragraph..take a break, lather, rinse, repeat.
Tags: battenberg Cake, Black Sesame, Cashew Marzipan, Chocolate, Fondant, Ginger, Japanese, Matcha Powder, Modeling Chocolate, Sakura
Would you like a spot of matcha tea with your black sesame – ginger scones? By golly, I’ve done it again! I’ve taken something traditional, and went completely barmy on it! OK, I wrote a whole entry in ‘Brit’ lingo back in ’09, and I’m not going to make any of you who remember, suffer through it again.
However..I’ve taken a thoroughly British cake called a Battenberg Cake, first created to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria to husband Prince Louis of Battenberg, and infused it with Asian, mainly Japanese, flavors, and decorated it in kind. I know one thing for sure..as tasty and pretty as it is, it would probably shock the tickety-boos out of the Queen if it was served to her at any tea or special event.
Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last-minute to present us with the Battenburg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.
I was supposed to co-host, or shall I say sidekick this challenge with Mandy, but like a lot of promises and deadlines the past 3 months, I had to drop out (or delay). Not that I didn’t try, but, unfortunately, the humidity ghoul came stomping down on my jubilee – again. I ordered a Battenberg pan because I wanted to take the easy way out, (which I will get to in a moment), and just my luck, two tries stuck to the pan because of the stickiness in the air.
I won’t bore you with the trials and tribulations of my homemade cashew marzipan,but I will say the humidity made it nearly impossible to roll out and wrap the cake in..so we ate it in chunks and I regretfully had to inform Mandy I wouldn’t be able to pull this one out in time. It certainly doesn’t help matters when your brain has been scattered too.
Scattered brain doesn’t make for focused baking, decorating, or anything for that matter.
However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. As a participant instead of co-host, I had some time to take advantage of a few clear weekend days and weeknights to play with the Battenberg, and my cashew marzipan rolled out quite nicely.
As for the aforementioned Battenberg pan - when you see the challenge recipe if you click the link below, you’ll notice that you don’t need a Battenberg pan to make this cake. A 7 to 8-inch square pan that you divide in half with parchment paper or foil works perfectly. Once the cake is baked, you slice each half in half, trimming off the uneven crusty bits, to get perfect squares. Simple, right? Why spend the money on a Battenberg pan?
Well, I’m a horrible cutter/trimmer. I always cut things crookedly. This is why I bought the pan – to make my presently off-kilter life on-kilter. The less I have to think about something, the better.
So, now that I didn’t have to worry about anything other than slicing the top of the cakes off the pan with one quick and simple cut, it made it easier to play and play I did. When I was going to co-host, Mandy asked if I might want to make a matcha – black sesame version, or something off the beaten path.
Since I did something very similar with the Daring Bakers Dobos Torte (egads, horrific photos - look away!), again, back in ’09, it was an affirmative. I added 1 tablespoon of matcha powder and 2 teaspoons milk to half the batter, and 1 cup of black sesame seeds to the other half. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
My original plan was to bind the cakes together with a sweet adzuki bean paste or an adzuki bean paste buttercream, like I did with the Daring Bakers Dobos Torte (Oh, those photos kill me!). I changed my mind after deciding this baby needed some chocolate. I steeped some fresh ginger in hot cream, then poured it over chopped, dark chocolate, letting it set to a medium ganache, and used that instead. Definitely a good decision.
For the wrap, I colored homemade cashew marzipan red, then added dark modeling chocolate (aka chocolate plastique – included in the challenge recipes) tree branches, and tiny white fondant Japanese cherry blossoms called sakura – well, my version of them. I decided to do the blossoms and branches at the last minute, and each blossom took for-ev-er by hand, with no tools. I got so fed up after three, that I started pinching them into stars- so that was the most tedious part, but again, it was my decision, not something Mandy requested.
With that said, I’m not a fan of fondant, but there’s not a ton of tiny blossoms (or stars) so you can either eat them or flick them into the trash if you don’t care for fondant either.
Thanks for an awesome challenge, Mandy, my dear friend! To get all the recipes for the Battenberg cake, and see a gorgeous array of step-by-step photos, not to mention two awesome Battenburg cakes Mandy made, click HERE. To see the beautiful Battenburg cakes my fellow Daring Bakers created, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.
Tags: Chicken Breasts, Chicken Fingers, Chile Garlic Sauce, Cilantro, coconut, cooking, Dessicated Coconut, garlic, Ginger, Greek Yogurt, Lime, Panko, Soy Sauce
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa. For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it. Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.
You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion. It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it. I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.
Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes. I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, and added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade. I also added dessicated coconut to the panko bread crumbs and beat the eggs with coconut water for the breading station. Add to that a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature, and there you have it.
Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious. I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious baked chicken fingers I’ve ever had, and kids would go absolutely berserk over these. Just my completely unbiased opinion..I swear.
Even though they were flavorful enough as is, I decided to made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together. It was interesting and tasty, (it looks kind of gross in the photos..like Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but, again, the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.
That said, I hope you try these little delights of crunchy chicken, and I hope you enjoy them!
Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips or Bites
Adapted from and Inspired by Lesa from Edesia’s Notebook
Yields about 4 servings
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip in half to make ‘nuggets’.
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup dessicated coconut shreds
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to season flour
2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can’t find coconut water)
Oil spray, doesn’t matter what kind
1. In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt. Add the chicken strips and stir until they’re completely coated with the marinade. You can also pour the marinade with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did. Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.
2. Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3. Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn’t overly-saturated (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko - dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.
4. Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. IMPORTANT – Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven. Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.
Spicy Yogurt Dip
1 cup greek yogurt
2 to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.
If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club. Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!
Tags: #citruslove, Chicken, cooking, Ginger, Lacquered Orange Chicken, Orange, Orange Chicken, Parsley, Recipe, Roast Chicken, Rosemary, Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Thyme
First I want to clarify (although I know 99.9% of you know this), the following Orange Lacquered Chicken does not contain real lacquer, or any stain or shellac. Nor does it contain any substance you might find at Home Depot. I wanted to roast a chicken with orange flavor, and after many bastings with orange goo, the skin tuned a beautiful burnished color, and I think lacquered is a great way to describe it.
I couldn’t find my big platter, so I stuffed everything onto this medium dish. It really wasn’t served this way…a lot more carrots and potatoes behind where this photo was taken.
The first thought that came to mind, was a chicken dish by Rick Bayless, basted with his red mole and agave syrup, that looks similar after being roasted. He calls it Lacquered Chicken because it looks well, lacquered – not unlike a door, floor, or piece of furniture you all probably have at least one of in your homes.
Great, I’m comparing chicken to lacquered wood. I bet that’s really juicing up your appetite!
Thing is, there are people who actually do use not food safe lacquer, stains and all kinds of liquid substances that will probably poison you. These people are professional food stylists. Ever see those pictures of perfectly, deep golden brown turkeys on a beautiful platter with lots of fixings, smack in the middle of a Thanksgiving table, not a burnt spot or flaw to be found? Ever wonder why that look is almost impossible to achieve ? Because, although it’s a real turkey, you cannot eat it.
I usually truss before buttering or oiling, but I wanted to show the butter in every nook and cranny. So, the wings got cut off in the buttering photo – and this was the only collage I liked. Oh, well. Just truss and reach in and underneath where the wings are folded and tied down, to distribute the butter.
I always found that to be a waste, especially with all the starving people in the world. Take a perfectly edible turkey, roast it until it’s nice and brown, then slather it with wood stain and Minwax super gloss clear finishing lacquer to give it that lovely, burnished, flawless appearance. YUM, pass the compound and sandpaper, please!
I guess they trash the poultry once they get the photo they need. Change that ‘I guess’ to ‘I hope’.
As mentioned in the first paragraph, my chicken contains none of the above, and look at the lovely crispy, deep, golden skin. No, it’s not perfect, and you won’t see it on one of Norman Rockwell’s holiday tables, but it’s completely edible and delicious!
For this month’s love bloghop, the theme is citrus. I had sweets on the brain, orange sticky buns, individual lemon charlottes, orange chocolate chunk cookies of some sort, etc. After picking up an organic chicken a few nights ago my plans changed. I was craving roast chicken, so why not an orange roast chicken? I still had sweets on the brain, so the cookies were made, and the finished brioche dough for sticky buns is resting in the fridge as I type this. I will be posting both, but once this chicken came out of the oven, it got the job – I knew this was going to be my #citruslove.
To start, I made an orange compound butter to massage into the chicken, on top and underneath the skin…mostly the breast because thighs and legs don’t take kindly to their skin being pulled away and stuffed. They tear in protest if you go too deep..no matter how gently, so I usually do the best I can. This means the fat part of each drumstick ends up with a glob of butter, herbs or whatever, smack in the middle, which has to be massaged on the outside of the skin to cover as much of the meat as you can.
SCREEEECH! Hold on!…Time to segue. As I type this, feeling no flow whatsoever, completely disjointed, discombobulated - I’m realizing how boring all of the above is. Last week I received an email from a reader…
“Why aren’t you as funny anymore? You used to crack me up. Are you ok?”
There’s too many answers to that question, and that was part of my response to her. The rest “I promise it’ll return, just not in a great place, or flowing at the moment”, with a huge smiley emoticon at the end –> :)
Maybe I should just post my food photos with poetry, or songs? I’ve heard some of the best of both have come during ‘down times’. How about a Haiku?
Oh lacquered chicken
How beautiful thy skin is
I want your drumstick
OK, maybe not.
It’s really tough to get a good photo when everyone is begging to eat.
Back to the
boring writing chicken. I wanted to infuse a good amount of orange flavor into it since I’ve had plenty of orange roast chicken where you could barely taste the orange, so I layered – I layered like I do my skin when I get out of the shower – the body oil of the scent I plan to wear, the powder of scent I plan to wear, then the actual cologe or perfume. Orange compound butter inside out, oranges stuffed in the cavity, orange lacquer (I really love calling it that) – a few herbs, seasonings, and other stuff to contrast and enhance, and we’ve got popping orange flavor, but not in an overpowering way. Not to mention, this chicken was juicier than Violet Beauregarde, pre – dejuicing room.
Shit, I’ve got nothing today, so I’ll stop here before I continue to bore and embarrass myself.
As I mentioned above…January is #citruslove month! Please join in on the #citruslove fun by linking up any citrus recipe from the month of January 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to stop by the #citruslove (the hashtag) event on Twitter!
A shout out and thank you to my co-hosts for #citruslove;
A Little Bit of Everything, Astig Vegan, Baker Street, BigFatBaker, CafeTerraBlog, Cake Duchess, Cakeballs Cookies and More, Easily Good Eats, Elephant Eats, Food Wanderings, Georgiecakes, Hobby and More, Mike’s Baking, Mis Pensamientos, No One Likes Crumbley Cookies, Oh Cake,, Peaches and Donuts, Savoring Every Bite, Simply Reem, Smart Food and Fit, Soni’s Food for Thought, Teaspoon of Spice, That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!, The Art of Cooking Real Food, The More Than Occasional Baker, The Spicy RD, The Wimpy Vegetarian, Vegan Yack Attack, Vegetarian Mamma, You Made That?
Please visit their blogs to see all the delicious #citruslove they created! OH, and of course - the linky! I’ve been rather involved with the linky’s lately, huh? Well, it’s just one click below to citrus porn!
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Brown Sugar Orange Lacquered Roast Chicken
1 5 lb organic chicken
Orange Butter (recipe follows)
2 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
Cut up oranges (use the ones you squeezed for the juice, plenty of orange flavor left in them)
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Orange Lacquer (recipe follows)
1 stick (4oz) unsalted, room temperature butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 6 to 8 navel or navel sized oranges. Save the squeezed orange halves to stuff into cavity of chicken)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 scant tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 large clove garlic, chopped very finely – almost paste consistency
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (regular sesame oil is fine)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Grate all the zest you will need in this recipe from your oranges, then split them in half and keep squeezing until you get 1 cup of juice. Set aside zest and juice.
2. In a medium bowl..stir together the butter and one tablespoon of orange zest until creamy and uniform. Set aside.
3. Remove giblets and neck from chicken, then rinse under cold water inside out. Dry thoroughly.
4. Rub some of the orange butter all around the inside of the cavity, then salt and pepper it liberally. Stuff with all the herbs and as many orange halves as you can fit into the cavity. Truss the chicken. THIS is the method I use..quick and easy. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
5. Rub the rest of the orange compound butter all over the chicken, inside and out, lifting the skin where you can without tearing, and sliding some in – placing the skin back down and pushing it around on top of the skin until it covers most of the meat. Throw any leftover compound butter into the cavity (the hole is still big enough to get it in even though it’s trussed). Salt and pepper the outside of the chicken, liberally.
6. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour a little chicken stock or water on the bottom of the pan, if you like. Easier clean up, and gravy, if desired, although this chicken doesn’t need it.
7. Place roasting pan with chicken in the preheated oven. Roast for 1 hour. Check every 20 minutes to make sure it isn’t burning in spots.
8. While chicken is roasting, make orange lacquer. Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan, except the sesame oil. Cook over medium heat until the brown sugar is disssolved, then bring to a boil, stirring. Let it reduce to almost half of what it was. It won’t be super thick when done, more syrupy. Stir in sesame oil.
9. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Paint the lacquer all over the chicken, getting into every nook and cranny with the brush. Roast for 15 minutes. Do this every 10-15 minutes for a total of 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. If desired, cook/boil down (reduce) remaining orange lacquer for a sauce, making a slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken it, if need be.
9. Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes (this is when you should take photos if you’re a food blogger lol ). Carve and enjoy! I served mine with glazed carrots and smoked paprika roasted potatoes.