Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thai Chicken Kabobs with Jasmine Rice and Spicy Peanut Sauce

Here is part 1 of a two-part series on my latest international dishes, specifically kabobs.  Lately I've been obsessed with Thai food, and quickly I've come to realize that fish sauce, chile paste, rice noodles and light coconut milk have entered the "always stocked" status in my pantry.

Kabobs and Sauce:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1Tbs fish sauce (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3/4 red pepper flakes
3 Tbs water
1 cup canned unsweetened (or light) coconut milk
1 Tbs creamy peanut butter
4 green onions with tops, cut into 1" pieces
1 each yellow red and green bell peppers, cut into strips

1-2 cups jasmine rice, prepare as directed and fluff with lemon zest and cilantro after cooked

Cut chicken into 3/8-inch cubes; place in shallow glass dish.

Combine soy sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in small bowl.  Reserve 4 Tbs mixture.  Add water to remaining mixture.  Pour over chicken; toss to coat well.  Cover; marinate in refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, stirring mixture occasionally.

Soak 8 (10-12 inch) bamboo skewers 20 minutes in cold water to prevent them from burning; drain.  Prepare grill for direct cooking.

Meanwhile, for peanut sauce, combine coconut milk, 4 Tbs reserved soy sauce mixture and peanut butter in small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-4 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Keep warm.

Drain chicken, reserve marinade.  Skewer chicken intermittently with green onions and peppers.  Brush chicken and vegetables with reserved marinade.  Discard remaining marinade.

Place skewers on grill.  Grill uncovered over medium-hot heat 6-8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning halfway.  Serve with jasmine rice and cilantro with peanut sauce over top.

From Thai Cooking 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lizzie Snow's Caramel Cake

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cake - especially just eating the icing!  It was my mother's grandmother's recipe, Lizzie Snow Gould.

Make it with classic yellow cake, two 9" cake circles.  Make sure they are fully cooled before making the icing.

3 c sugar
1 c whole buttermilk
1 t baking soda
1 stick butter

Caramelize ½ c of the 3 cups of sugar. Do this by pouring sugar into a 3-4-qt saucepan (medium size), use very low heat and increase heat as you go, all the while stirring with a spoon or whisk to keep the sugar from sticking to the pan.  This part takes a while.  It will be getting close when the sugar starts to look and feel wet.  Keep stirring and let it all change texture to the wet, syrupy sugar (clear in color).

Add ¼ c boiling water to the caramelized sugar, stand back!.  You will be thinking at this point that you have messed up!  All of the caramelized sugar turns hard as a rock in the boiling water, stir up all the hard pieces.

Cook until it forms a good ball when dropped in a glass of cold water. (Reach "soft ball" stage on candy thermometer, ~130 - 140 degrees F.)  Remove from heat.  Stir until creamy.  It must be cool and creamy to go onto cake. It will go on the cake runny and harden on the cake.  If you let it cool too much, it will be tough to spread onto cake (but still be delicious).

At this point pour the other ingredients into mixture and stir over medium to medium-high heat.  Get it to a slow boil. 


btw - I  completely photoshopped embellished my first picture.  Here is the real final cake.  Sometimes delicious doesn't equal pretty!

Thai Grilled Hangersteak with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad

  • My favorite dish from one of my favorite restaurants in Chapel Hill, Jujube.

All of their dishes are delicious mmmmmm, but here is the hanger steak as I like to make it!

  • Hanger Steak:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (warning...smelly)
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil (I used peanut oil)
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 Tbs grated fresh ginger root (I couldn't find lemongrass so I used ginger and cilantro and citrus instead)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 pounds flank steak or hanger steak

  1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice and sesame/peanut oil. Stir in onion, cilantro, garlic, ginger, jalapeno.
  2. Layer flank steak with marinade. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium high heat.
  4. Depending on the thickness of the cut, cook on one side for ~5 minutes and on the other for ~3 until desired doneness.

Spicy Peanut Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • Serve on the side, no cooking required.

  • Thai Cucumber Salad:

  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into thin slices (or just sliced thin)
1 Tbs salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shopped peanuts (I didn't use)

Toss the cucumbers with the salt in a colander, and leave in the sink to drain for 30 minutes.  Rinse with cold water, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Whisk together the sugar and vinegar in a mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro; toss to combine. 

Serve on plate with jasmine rice and enjoy!

(adapted from here)

Ghost Chili

Growing up we would have everybody over at our house to go trick or treating in our neighborhood. Mom needed something warm (even though in Pensacola it wasn't always cold on Halloween), comforting, and easy to serve everybody. Her go to dish was Ghost Chili which soon became a tradition to have on Halloween night.

1 lb large white beans
6 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped (divided)
1 tablespoon oil
2 4-oz cans chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
4 cups diced cooked chicken breasts (or more)
3 cups grated Monterrey Jack cheese

Combine beans, chicken broth, garlic and half of the onions in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are very soft, 3 hours or more. Add more chicken broth, if necessary. In a skillet, sauté remaining onions in oil until tender. Add chilies and seasonings and mix thoroughly. Add to bean mixture. Add chicken and continue to simmer 1 hour. Serve topped with grated cheese. Serves 8-10.

Blackberry Spring

On the menu at Dram, our favorite bourbon bar in Mountain Brook Village, is a fabulous bourbon drink called a Blackberry Winter... But I have to say it reminds me of Easter and springtime!  Saturday rolled around and I had already purchased the ingredients to make my own... Here it is!

2 oz Bourbon of your choice (I chose Makers... comes with Knob Creek at Dram)
2 oz orange-juiced based juice (I chose a mix of OJ/pineapple/apple, but Dram uses Sour Mix)
a hefty squeeze of lime juice
1 Tbs of coarsely pureed blackberries 

Puree 1 container blackberries (save about 4 berries for garnish), coarsely, with chunks.  This keeps if you choose to make the drink several nights in a row.

Pour all above ingredients in a shaker.  Fill shaker 2/3 of way with ice.  Shake.  Delicious served in a double-old-fashioned... but I bet even better served up and neat!