Ginger Archives | Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Spicy Asian Marinated Flank Steak and Part 19

January 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Asian, Beef, Dinner, Lunch, SRC | 63 Comments
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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.

Spicy Asian Grilled Flank Steak

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.

Continue Reading Spicy Asian Marinated Flank Steak and Part 19…

Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with Nutella Cookies and Salted Pepitas, for SRC

October 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Holiday, SRC | 51 Comments
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I have never made any kind of chocolate bark.  No idea why..it’s one of simplest treats you can cobble together in no time, and the add-in possibilities are endless.  I’ve also never met or known a guy named Nigel who isn’t British, but that’s beside the point.  There have been a lot of  nevers in my life.  We all have a lot of nevers in our lives and some of them should stay nevers, but chocolate bark isn’t one of that should stay a never, for most.

Well..I just crossed the chocolate bark never off my list.  BUT, this did not come about until I made a no-bake cookie by my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment..Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic.  I love her blog..I loved all the goodies I could choose from..I loved her no-bake Nutella cookies, which I chose after mulling over many goodies.

Continue Reading Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with Nutella Cookies and Salted Pepitas, for SRC…

Japanese Inspired Battenberg Cake with Cashew Marzipan and Part 14A

June 28, 2012 at 8:02 am | Posted in Asian, Cakes, Daring Bakers, Dessert | 80 Comments
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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.

Now to Part 14A (YES..14A) of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, Part 12 is HERE, Part 13A is HERE, and Part 13B is HERE.

Right before I was going to ask him how he got my number, I remembered, but he said it first..

“I got your number from Tracy.”

Tracy was one of their girl friends who would come down on weekends.  I liked all of their hometown girlfriends and girl friends that visited, but Tracy was my favorite. Instead of packing a suitcase or duffle bag, she would max out her credit card at Bloomies or Saks, then drive down loaded with shopping bags of great clothes, like a rich shopping bag lady.


She’d pull up in her car, music blasting, bright blue eyes shining, blonde hair perfectly tousled, like she barely put any thought or effort into it – her cute, little turned up nose wrinkling as she struggled to grab all the bags at once before getting out of the car.  Of course I’d run to help her..I was always happy to see her.

I could tell my silence made him uncomfortable.  He cleared his throat and continued.

“We knew you’d probably be home packing since you’re leaving for Boston tomorrow, and Scott is having a party, so they thought it would be great idea to invite you – they want to see you, especially Tracy.” He said, confident th name ‘Tracy’ would clear him for landing.

I was being a little cold.  I felt bad because he was truly a nice guy, albeit a little used to getting what he wanted when it came to those of the female persuasion.

“So why didn’t Tracy call me?” I asked skeptically

He laughed awkwardly.  I certainly wasn’t making this easy for him.

“Well, I kind of volunteered – I’d like to see you too.” He said, sweetly.

“Gary, that’s really sweet, but you know I’m in love with Dreamboat.” I said, feeling my heart break a little at the sound of his name.  I already missed him so much, it hurt.

His voice rose..

“I know that, but I had a blast with you down the shore.  We can’t be friends?” He asked woefully.

I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting alone for six hours missing Dreamboat, waiting for him to call, and I was a little naive.

“OK, come get me, but bring Tracy or one of the girls with you.” I said, resigning myself to a night out to ease the ‘missing Dreamboat’ lump in my stomach.

I could almost hear him relax.

“Great, I just need your address, and we’ll be there in about 15  to 20 minutes.” He said, a little too excitedly.


I waited outside for them.  I couldn’t help smiling when his car pulled up and Tracy was hanging out the window squealing.  I hopped into the backseat and soon we were chirping away like chickadees at sunrise.  It was as if Gary wasn’t even there.

At the party, I hung out with the girls the whole time, but of course Gary kept popping in seeing if I needed or wanted anything - like a boyfriend.  If I left the room for a second, he was soon by my side, protective – like a boyfriend.  I hated it and found ways to slither back to the fun girl room quickly.  One time, I was saved by Scott..

“Tell your guy I want a rematch..it was just a bad night for me, too much pizza” he said with a wink.

Let’s go back a bit, to almost two weeks earlier;

Down the shore…the guys could never stop bragging about how Scott could guzzle a whole bottle of beer in less than a minute.  Well..I happened to know for sure that Dreamboat could do it faster, so I told them that.  The match was on..without Dreamboat’s knowledge.

When he came to pick me up that night after work…I meekly told him what I’d put him up to.  I loved his response..a very suave;

“That’s cool, let’s go do it.” Hgbe said as he took my hand and led me toward their apartment.

They sat down at a table across from one another Russian roulette style.  Scott was so confident, he insisted some money be put down – $20 bucks, to be exact.  They each placed a 20 on the table, then lifted their beers, – 1-2-3, GO!  Within 30 seconds Dreamboat slammed his bottle down.  Scott was still guzzling.  Animal House in full motion.

Dreamboat grabbed the two 20′s, stood up, shook Scott’s hand, said goodnight to everyone, grabbed my hand and off we went.  No smile..no bragging..no fanfare.  I melted as we walked out the door, momentarily glancing back to see the guys picking up his bottle, studying it, turning it over and over in their hands.  They were looking for any tiny flaw, even a drop of beer, so they could cry foul.

I knew they wouldn’t.

It’s amazing what can impress the hell out of you when you’re a teenager.  I was not only madly in love with Dreamboat, I also thought he was the coolest guy on earth.

I digress.

So, back at the party. The girls were getting bored by 10 pm and wanted to head out to a local club with their fake ID’s.  Of course, I declined  - I wanted to be home by 11 pm to do some last-minute scans through my house and bedroom, making sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, but most importantly, Dreamboat would be calling some time after midnight.

Now that they were gone, Gary would be driving me home alone.  He had to make a phone call first, so I plopped down on a reclining chair set in front of the TV in Scott’s den.  Gary pulled up a folding chair next to the recliner..at a 90 degree angle to me, facing my right arm, which I had up on the armrest.  He’s still talking on the phone..so this struck me as kind of an odd move.  He kept inching closer and closer, sort of leaning down towards me.

The next thing I know..he’s fiddling with my bracelet, a bracelet that Dreamboat had given me. It was almost sacrilege ..a guy that Dreamboat specifically asked to stop chasing me is now playing with a token of Dreamboat’s love for me.  I pulled my arm away.  That means..I’m not interested – Strike 1.

He whispered “Sorry.” and continued to talk on the phone to some guy he was selling his car to.  What happened next is what I call the ‘Wet Lip’ incident, and to this day, it remains crystal clear in my memory chamber.

He had backed away, so I blew it off as phone tinkering..meaning when you inadvertently doodle on a piece of paper or pull aimlessly at a stray thread on a blanket while talking on the phone.  No harm, no foul..it was all cool..or so I thought.

I relaxed again…a little tired, so I sort of zoned out, staring at a couple declaring their undying love for one another in some B list movie on cable – my eyes at half-mast. Suddenly I felt his hair against my cheek, then his breath.  Suddenly, in between telling the guy he was talking to..

“Well…you can come by and check the engine tomorrow” and “It runs really great”,

..two wet lips hit mine..slowly and tentatively.  I instinctively jerked my head away.  The funny thing is, my first thought was..Why are his lips so wet?  Did he actually saturate them with his tongue a million times before pulling this sneaky maneuver? - instead of - What the EFF are you doing?  Which came next.

He backed off again…apologizing profusely.  I began to wonder if he had even been talking to someone on the phone.  Maybe it was just some weird move he felt might work.? I was pissed.


“Take me home, Gary..NOW.” I exclaimed.  I’m not interested – Strike 2.

He immediately grabbed his keys, softly telling me how sorry he was, but I barely heard it..I just kept walking to his car – furious.  When we pulled up to my house, he asked me if I was going to remain faithful to Dreamboat at college, insinuating that it would be almost impossible.  According to him, he had already gone two years at Rutgers, and it’s an academic meat market.

“Are you kidding me, Gary?  Absolutely..I don’t want anyone else.  I want to marry this man!” I said, 100% sure of myself.

He shook his head..then asked..”Then why aren’t you going to school locally?”

His question brought back that  4th of July evening, when Dreamboat, in his most vulnerable state, had me up against the tree, asking me to go local so we wouldn’t be apart.

I felt a tear, but quickly wiped it away.

Even though I didn’t feel I owed him an explanation, I explained anyway, to prove how much I loved Dreamboat.

He nodded..”Well..I guess that seals it.” He said, sadly.

“More than you know” I said, with a dash of icy resolve.

He leaned over..quickly requesting  “Just a goodbye/good luck peck” before I had any say in the matter, then pressed his wet lips to my cheek, but as close to my mouth as he could get. I pulled away, then opened the car door, wiping his slobbery peck off when he wasn’t looking.

“Goodnight, Gary..and thanks for driving me home”.  I sdaid quickly. I was out of there and at my front entrance in seconds.  I’m not interested – Strike 3.

I ran up to my room and laid down on my bed.  I couldn’t decide whether I should tell Dreamboat what happened, but then echoes of his friend’s stories filled my head..

“He almost killed a guy for beating his cousin to a pulp – they had the cuffs on him until they saw he pretty much saved his cousin’s life by nearly killing the guy.”

Dreamboat would think nothing of getting in his car at 1 am and driving to find and beat the living daylights out of Gary.  Gary would be beaten to a pulp, like the guy who attacked his cousin, and Dreamboat would definitely be arrested.  I decided not to tell him..ever.  I was leaving for Boston in about 12 hours..there would be no more chances for Gary to hit on me.

I laid there for a long while.  I no longer felt like doing any last-minute checking for anything I might have forgotten.

I closed my eyes and ran my fingers back and forth over my lips.  Gary’s wet, slimy lips were now the last to have touched mine until Thanksgiving..wiping away Dreamboat’s sweet goodbye kisses, less than 12 hours earlier.  I called for my dog..who came running and jumped on my bed.  I kissed his face and snout all over, then laid one squarely on his mouth.

There. fixed.

The phone rang.

I picked it up “Hello?”

“Hey, Killer” a male voice whispered sweetly.

“Hey, baby” a female voice whispered back just as sweetly.

I felt his deep love and warmth envelop me. I grabbed the teddy bear with his T-shirt and hugged it to my chest.  After 15 minutes of sweet talk – I was wracked with guilt, he really did deserve to know that the guy he politely asked to stop hitting on me had done it again.  But, the ramifications could/would be brutal, plus, I was a little worried he might not be thrilled to know that I went to this party via the invite from Gary.

It was all on the tip of my tongue. waiting to slide off..I hated holding anything back from him…

Part 14B coming soon.

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Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips (or nuggets) for SRC, and Part 9

April 9, 2012 at 11:58 am | Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Poultry, SRC | 66 Comments
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Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Yogurt Dipping 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.

Just.make.dinner.

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.

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

Now to Bad Boy First Love Part 9.  If you’re reading this for the first time, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, and Part 8 is HERE.

Between the kissing, hugging, talking and staring into each other’s eyes (I didn’t laugh or look away once, for the first time in my life.  His eyes were so blue and clear in the dark, I can still picture it perfectly to this day), for hours, it was absolutely, unequivocally, the best.night.of.my.life.

Soon the sky started to lighten a bit, and I was exhausted.  So much raw emotion had been dumped in less than 24 hours, so many instant highs and sudden lows…the wine and beer certainly playing a small part too.  I couldn’t prevent the constant yawning, no matter how hard I tried . BUT, I wanted this night to last forever.  I wanted to fall asleep in his arms, right there..even if we were to wake up to harsh sunlight, screaming kids, the smell of suntan lotion, and beach balls landing on us.  He held me for a while as I started to fade, then gently kissed me awake, stroking my hair.

“I think we better get you home, sweetheart – you’re starting to crash” he said sweetly.

“Huh? No..I’m awake.. just resting my eyes!” I lied.

The above is my usual line when someone wakes me up, whether in person or by phone.  No idea why I always say that, and still do to this day, as if it’s a bad thing to admit I’m falling asleep or that they woke me up from a deep sleep.  I’m strange that way.

On our drive back to the luxurious penthouse, he suddenly pulled over.  I was so busy staring at his beautiful profile, that I hadn’t even noticed the scuffle going on between 4 guys, one of them apparently being ganged up on by the other three in a somewhat dark, out-of-the-way area near the beach.

One of the three was holding what looked to be a baseball bat, but he was leaning on it.  Maybe they were fighting over a late night-early morning baseball game that just ended?  Of course I said that to him, feeling like a total idiot once the words left my lips.

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce | Parsley, Sage and Sweet
He looked at me calmly and said, “I’ll be right back”, in a tone that suggested more that he was going to get me a soda or a candy bar..not play vigilante.  The feeling of unease that came over me was too much to ignore.  I just got this guy back!  I couldn’t lose him again! I reached over and touched his arm..

“No, don’t..please, let’s just go.” I pleaded, suddenly terrified.

He smiled and kissed my cheek, “I’ll be right back.” He said, again, calmly.

OK, he meant business.

Nothing rattled this boy.

I heard the trunk open and close, then watched in the rear view mirror as he pulled something out.  Upon further inspection, it looked like a tire iron.  He walked toward this scuffle like it was no big deal – such confidence, completely void of fear, I thought.  Now I was really scared, but in a strange way, it turned me on.  West Side Story with tire irons and baseball bats was about to come to life, and I was slightly turned on..what the hell was wrong with me?

Oh, I remember, I liked bad boys, and this was most certainly bad boy behavior, but he was a good bad boy, he was going to protect someone.  Then the thought of him getting really hurt brought back the fear.  I opened the window and called out to him meekly.  He didn’t hear me, but I couldn’t hear me either since my voice box suddenly ceased to exist.

I watched intently as he walked up to them and stood in front of the victim, protecting him from their irate tones and most importantly, the baseball bat.  He still looked calm, but so damn tough.

I was excited again.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying outside of my now even sexier guy commanding them to “‘Keep walking” when the bullies started to back off after trying to get tough with him and apparently not succeeding.  Tire iron > baseball bat.

Then they came forward again and I couldn’t take it anymore…he was going to get hurt!  I do have to admit I liked how he didn’t back up, not even one inch, when they came toward him.

Just as I was about to open the car door so I could run over and fling myself in front of him in the most dramatic fashion ever, he pushed one of them in the chest.  I was shocked to see the guy stumble back quite a ways and fall when it seemed like such a light push, with one hand, no less.  Then they took off and that was it.  Wow, that was too easy. How did he do that? I thought, although insanely grateful that it was over.

I guess they realized that if he could push that lightly and send the guy back that far and on his ass, one swing of the tire iron could be pretty fierce.  Then again, I didn’t hear what was said, so that probably played a part too.  It didn’t matter, there was no way he was going to let three guys beat up on one, and that made me want him even more.  I actually trembled, in a good way, at that thought, knowing that he would always protect me, and maybe, if I was lucky, fall in love with me.


He walked back to the car with the victim.  Turns out, after an introduction, the kid, who couldn’t have been more than 16 (well..a little younger than me) worked in one of the booths on the pier and he knew him well.  The kid got into the car and couldn’t stop thanking Dreamboat.  I was in awe of how cool, calm and collected Dreamboat remained, as if he simply bought the kid a slice of pizza and there was no need to make anything of it.

Apparently, this kid owed a some long overdue money to one of the guys, and that guy brought along his two friends, and a bat, to collect, when this kid couldn’t have weighed more than 120 lbs soaking wet.

“No problem. I don’t care what you owe him, if he can’t collect on his own, he’s weak. Let me know if they ever give you a hard time again, okay?” Dreamboat said, again, calmly.  How did he continue to remain so cool after that? I thought, as I stared at him adoringly.

The guy was an ‘effin chickenshit according to Dreamboat.  Damn, he grew sexier by the minute!  If I didn’t marry this guy one day, they may as well move me in with a horde of cats, because no one would ever compare to him - no one.

Once wee dropped the kid off, and we were alone again, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him..I hugged and kissed him as he drove, almost to the point where he almost drove off the road.  I was even more crazy about him than before, and frankly, I didn’t think that was possible.  I thought I had already reached the apex of love, longing, lust – or whatever you want to call it, with him, but, apparently, that wasn’t the case and it was only going to get better.

When he pulled up to my mini ‘party central’ apartment complex (there were parties still going on and the place was hopping..at 5:30 am), after about a 20 minute goodbye (our goodbyes would become legendary, to us, that is) I reached to pick up a little purse I had brought with me and left on the passenger seat floor.

Cut to 6 months prior..during my sad junior year of high school.  My friend bought me one of those white button pins with an I HEART Dreamboat on it – aka I LOVE plus his real name, when we were at the mall one night.  I always kept it in my purse, for no reason other than I did HEART him and being a little superstitious, felt that maybe it might bring us back together again (like the cup holder!).

I bet you can guess what happened next.

I forgot that I had opened the purse before getting out of the car to walk, well, trip over my own feet, to the beach, to grab a few orange and cinnamon tic-tacs.  The button came flying out of my open purse and landed right on his lap.

I wanted to die.

He picked it up and looked at it, not saying anything for about a minute.  Why, why, why?  Now he would think I was some obsessive, stalker child!  Why would a supposed 18-year old be carrying something like that around? 

Maybe there was a slight chance he was illiterate?  I had never wished someone to be illiterate that desperately, at that moment.  I could teach him to read, kissing him every time he read a word correctly!

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce.
I braced myself, my face burning like a marshmallow ready to be s’mored. I desperately wished I could to turn back the clock two minutes and do it over again, gently picking up the purse.  Maybe I could say it was another Dreamboat!  Yeah..I could hear myself now..trying to act all cool..

“Well, during our time apart, I just so happened to meet a guy named Dreamboat, what a coincidence, huh?  I thought I was never going to see you again, so I thought I loved him, but I didn’t, and I forgot it was still in this purse .I rarely use this purse!” *confident flick of my hair*.

He interrupted my momentary lapse of logical thought….

“You shouldn’t have one of these unless you mean it” He said with a serious look in his eyes.

I DO MEAN IT!  I’m madly in love with you!

Instead…I told him the truth, without confessing my love for him.

“I know, D bought it for me, and I kept it in my purse hoping it would bring me luck and I’d see you again.” I whispered weakly, hoping I didn’t sound too stalky.

He smiled.  I relaxed.

Whoa, that was easy, why was I so freaked out about it?

He pulled me to him and hugged me tight, then whispered in my ear..

“I guess it worked then, like the cup holder.” Hellooogoosebumps.

I smiled, a wave of relief washing over me.  I decided I’d drop the age bomb the next night.

Part 10 coming soon.  I’m sorry I left you all with the same cliffhanger as last time, but I started this post before everything happened, and couldn’t finish it, which would have included that story, due to the current circumstances.  I didn’t want to give you all something half-assed.  I promise Part 10 soon!

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

DIRECTIONS:
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

DIRECTIONS|:
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!

Crunchy, Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

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Orange Lacquered Chicken for #citruslove

January 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Dinner, Fruit, Poultry, Vegetables | 73 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 turkey’s 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 real fowl, 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 throw these turkeys and chickens in the garbage 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 deep, glossy skin I got.  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 to 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 to my skin when I get out of the shower – body oil of scent I plan to wear, powder of scent I plan to wear, then the scent.  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 the orange flavor popped, but not in an overpowering way.  Not to mention, this chicken was juicier than Violet Beauregarde, pre – dejuicing room.

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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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

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)

Orange Butter
1 stick (4oz) unsalted, room temperature butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Orange Lacquer
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
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 scant tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 large clove garlic, chopped very finely – almost paste consistency
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (regular sesame oil is fine)
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
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.

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