Monday, April 27, 2009

Chillin' & Grillin'

You'll have to excuse me for a moment as I just got a new gas grill and I now have to do my "I've got a new gas grill" dance.

--Please wait while Pepper does a little shimmy--

OK, all better now.

No but really...I am so loving my new grill.

Since putting it together, there has hardly been a dinner that we have not used the grill.
First up was a couple of NY Strip steaks and some grilled asparagus. Classic, simple...delicious.

Also done up some chicken legs with an Asian spice rub, a tri-tip roast, some burgers and last night we did chicken kebabs.

Grilled Chicken Kebabs

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
a marinade of your choice (we used a spicy bbq marinade)
2 cups of fruits and veggies of your choice (we used peppers, yellow squash, mushrooms and pineapple.)
A couple tablespoons of olive oil to coat the veggies
Salt and Pepper

1. Mix marinade and chicken in gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag; seal bag and refrigerate, turning once or twice, until chicken has marinated fully, at least 3 and up to 24 hours.

2. Build a medium-low fire in grill (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill surface for 5 seconds).

3. Meanwhile, lightly coat vegetables and/or fruit by tossing in medium bowl with oil and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Remove chicken chunks from bag; discard marinade. Thread a portion of chicken and vegetables and/or fruit onto skewers. Grill, turning each kebab one quarter turn every 2 minutes, until chicken and vegetables and/or fruit are lightly browned and meat is fully cooked, about 8 minutes total for white meat and 9 minutes total for dark meat. Check for doneness by cutting into one piece when it looks opaque on all sides. Remove kebabs from grill when there is no pink at the center. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Salmon Cakes and Broilied Asparagus

After staring at the two salmon fillets we had defrosted last night with a look of "what the hell am I going to do with you two?"...I opted to go with a simple salmon cake preparation. First step, check for necessary ingredients:
1 pound of salmon, diced into 1/4 inch cubes - check
1 slice of white bread - um...I'll get back to you on that.
1 T. mayo - yes
1/4 cup grated onion - maybe
1 T. chopped parsley - just pruned my parsley plant so I know we have that.
1/2 t. salt - of course
lemon juice - yep
flour - got it
1 egg - no prob.
Breadcrumbs, preferably panko - um, not so much. I used up most of the panko when I tried to make deep fried cheese balls - an unsuccessful venture I might add.

So no white bread and no breadcrumbs. No problem...I'll just use up these slightly stale bagels and make my own breadcrumbs - a much tastier option to any store bought breadcrumbs anyway!

Preheat oven to 300. Chop up the bagel in the food processor until desired consistency. Put on a cookie sheet, drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle with some seasoning and pop it in the oven for about 8 minutes until the breadcrumbs are dried out and slightly crispy.

Salmon Cakes

Mix salmon with chopped bread, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, salt, and lemon juice in medium bowl. Oh - I also added a generous dollop of siracha here. Use hands to form into a patty. Place patties in freezer until surface moisture has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread flour in pie plate or shallow baking dish. Beat eggs in second pie plate or shallow baking dish, and spread bread crumbs in a third. Dip chilled salmon patties in flour to cover; shake off excess. Transfer to beaten egg, turn to coat; let excess drip off. Transfer to bread crumbs; shake pan to coat patties completely.

Heat remaining 1/2 cup vegetable oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 3 minutes; add salmon patties and cook until medium golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes over and continue cooking until medium golden brown on second side, about 2 minutes longer.

We also roasted up some asparagus to go with these cakes...

Put asparagus on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place about 6 inches under the broiler for about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cook's Quiz

Are you a trivia nut? Are you ready to test your culinary knowledge?

Question #1: What's the kitchen gizmo to the left?

Question #2: Without looking it up...How many cups does 1 pound of granulated sugar yield? How about 1 pound of powdered sugar?

Question #3: If you've over-salted a soupy concoction such as soup or stew, is there a way to get some of the salt out using a common vegetable?

Question #4: What is the object to the right and how is it used?

Question #5: What is sweetened condensed milk? Does it have a limited shelf life? Can you substitute it for evaporated milk in baking recipes?