Monday, April 20, 2009

Thai-Style Chicken Salad

Yes please. You can bet I'm making this with a ready to go rotisserie chicken. I'm also envisioning little wraps with butter lettuce leaves as the wrapper. Yum.

Thai-Style Chicken Salad
Serves 6

3 - 3 1/2 pound whole chicken
Table salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup fresh lime juice from 3 to 4 limes
2 tablespoons water
3 small cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
1/2 medium cucumber , peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch by 1/4-inch matchsticks (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot , peeled and grated on large holes of box grater (about 1/2 cup)
4 scallions , white and green parts, sliced thin
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped toasted peanuts
bag of mixed greens or butter lettuce leaves if you're doing wraps

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast in a 375-degree oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 to 170 degrees, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. When cool, pull the meat off the bones in 2-inch shreds, discarding fat and sinew. Reserve 5 cups for this recipe; set the rest aside for another use. (The chicken can be roasted, shredded, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.)
* cough * rotisserie chicken

2. Puree oil, peanut butter, lime juice, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes in blender until combined. Transfer to large bowl. (Dressing may be made ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated overnight. Whisk to recombine before using.)

3. Add cucumber, carrot, scallions, and cilantro to vinaigrette; toss to combine. Add chicken and toss gently to combine; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve immediately on top of a bed of greens.
** Do not dress warm chicken - use cool or room temp chicken or it will absorb too much of the dressing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

No cook dinner

Tonight I had one of those - "hmmmm, haven't been shopping, what do I have in the pantry that I can eat for dinner?" nights. So, channeling my inner Sandra Lee, I started hunting.
I found Trader Joe's black bean soup first, and remembered I had some sundried tomato sausage (also from TJ's) in the freezer. Smoky sausage and black bean soup go together well, so I was onto something.
I nuked the sausage to thaw and "cook" it, then cut it up tiny, threw it in a bowl of soup, and nuked that. Um, that's it. Flavor wise, it's pretty darn tasty - next time I try this, I think I'll open a can of black beans and smash some of those up to thicken the soup - it's pretty watery. It would also benefit from some tomatoes and cilantro, maybe even corn, but I don't want to get crazy. Hopefully next time I'll also have some tortilla chips.
So for those of you that don't cook, but reheat like champs, here you go. I recommend it with one of my nummerific peach margaritas. I'd make one for you, but I used the last of the peach juice, sorry.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Truffled Mac n Cheese

Uh. Muh. Gawd.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Good olive oil
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
  • 3 tablespoons cream sherry
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound pasta, such as cavatappi
  • 3 ounces white truffle butter (recommended: D'Artagnan)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk, scalded
  • 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the sherry and continue to saute for a few more minutes, until the sherry is absorbed. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt the truffle butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.

Combine the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms in a large bowl and pour them into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until they're minced. Add the bread crumbs and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Amuse Bouche Party!

Yes please, I think I will use several of these ideas from Longwood Events. Even if I'm not trying to recreate the recipes, I certainly love the plating. Look out next Iron Chef!
I've seen some of these before - the tomatoes for example, but I love how they cut the tomato in half and made it into like a little burger of caprese almost. So cute! I'd have to add a drizzle of reduced balsamic though. And those desserts, I think they have those at Chili's, but still.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Black Daal

From the family of actor Anil Kapoor (he hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionare in Slumdog Millionaire) comes this yummy lentil recipe. Man I love Indian food. I wonder if Q can make chicken tikka masala for me again soon, and maybe I'll make this one. . . . as soon as I can figure out where to find asafetida and find someone else to touch it so my fingers don't get all stinky.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup split urad dal (black lentils)
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 green Serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh peeled ginger, juilienned
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Naan, for serving
  1. Place lentils in a large bowl. Cover with water and let stand overnight.
  2. Drain lentils and add to a large saucepan along with 3 cups water, 1 sliced onion, chiles, and asafetida; season with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until lentils are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add remaining onion and cook, stirring, until soft. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, coriander, ground cumin, and chili powder. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes are softened and mixture is fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain lentils, reserving cooking water. Add lentils to skillet along with enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick gravy-like consistency. Let simmer about 10 minutes. Stir in heavy cream until well combined; remove from heat.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat ghee until hot. Carefully add cumin seeds and cook until they stop popping. Carefully pour mixture over lentils (it will sizzle) and mix to combine. Serve immediately with naan.


I've been having some good ones lately, but I usually think of beignets as sweets. Out here on the east coast, there are plenty of seafood based doughnuts - which totally makes sense, but I still don't really think savory when I think donut. But then I came across these little darlings and I'm all over them!
Thanks to chef April Bloomfield and Martha Stewart.

Makes 60 beignets

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • Coarse salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup water and butter just to a boil. Whisk in flour and stir with a spatula to blend completely. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  2. Add cheeses and mix on high speed until well combined. With mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition; season with salt. Transfer batter to refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Drop tablespoon-size balls of batter about 1-inch apart onto 12-by-2-inch pieces of parchment paper; refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days. Beignets may also be frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot 4 inches high with oil. Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, carefully place entire piece of parchment into hot oil. Using tongs, carefully remove parchment from oil and discard. Fry beignets until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
LOVE LOVE LOVE that you can be all little Suzy Homemaker and make these in advance and have them in the freezer "for when company drops by." Cocktails and homemade Gruyere and Parmesan Beignets? Hot damn. The parchment trick is cool too.