Friday, March 28, 2008

A call for my readers

For the half dozen people who actually read this blog, I have a request. We got a nice gas grill last year as a belated wedding gift. This spring / summer, I would like to take full advantage of the grill, but do not enjoy eating the typical burgers / dogs / bland grilled chicken breast.

Any creative ideas for grillin' that you'd be willing to share?

(PS, we are adventurous eaters, but I don't do beef. Other than that, we'll eat anything). AND...we've joined a local CSA, so we'll have plentiful fresh produce all summer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pizza on the Grill

As spring moves into full swing, B and I will be firing up the grill more and more. I'm not a big burger and dogs fan, so I'm always looking for fun ways to use the grill. Grilling pizza is very fast, and is way better than you can make in the oven. I use the dough from this recipe, courtesy of Allrecipes, and then top with anything I want. We like to do this when people come over. Prepare the dough ahead of time, and then everyone can gather round the grill and create their own.

1 (.25 ounce) package active
dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 pinch white sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup roasted red peppers
2 cups shredded mozzarella
4 tablespoons chopped fresh
1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, and mix in sugar. Proof for ten minutes, or until frothy. Mix in the salt, olive oil, and flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down, and knead in garlic and basil. Set aside to rise for 1 more hour, or until doubled again.
2. Preheat grill for high heat. Heat olive oil with garlic for 30 seconds in the microwave. Set aside. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Form each half into an oblong shape 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick.
3. Brush grill grate with garlic flavored olive oil. Carefully place one piece of dough on hot grill. The dough will begin to puff almost immediately. When the bottom crust has lightly browned, turn the dough over using two spatulas. Working quickly, brush oil over crust, and then brush with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Arrange 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/8 cup sliced black olives, and 1/8 cup roasted red peppers over crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons basil. Close the lid, and cook until the cheese melts. Remove from grill, and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the second pizza.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tarragon Chicken Salad

As much as I don't like mayonnaise, I do love a good chicken salad. I tend to like my chicken salad with just enough dressing to moisten the salad, and I like a little bit of acidity. This is a pretty basic recipe. I've taken Martha Stewart's classic chicken salad and adapted it a bit. Serve on good whole wheat bread or over a bed of mixed greens.

4 cups poached chicken breasts, cooled and shredded
1/2 cups green onions, diced
2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
1 cup diced celery
2 Tbsp fresh diced tarragon
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix chicken, onion, grapes, celery, and tarragon
2. In another bowl, mix dressing ingredients
3. Add dressing to chicken mixture
4. Add salt and pepper to taste

Monday, March 3, 2008

Spicy City Chicken

Source: Food tv

This is one of those recipes I would have never tried. On the food network, it only has two reviews, one of which is not great. And, the sauce is rather rich with some butter and cream. So, I have to give credit to Bernardo for finding and making this one. It has become in high enough favor to enter our normal rotation.

The chicken is very basic, but the sauce makes the dish. It has a flavor I would not have predicted from the ingredients list. It is very complex and aromatic with just enough acid from the vinegar. Serve over a bed of basmati rice with grilled pineapple. As I sit here entering the recipe at 8:55 am, I am hungry just thinking about it. Warning, this is a weekend meal. The sauce takes quite a bit of preparation.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 shallots, diced
4 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped with seeds
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 cups chicken stock or canned broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 pounds boneless chicken breasts and thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
6 scallions
Make the sauce by melting butter in a skillet. Cook shallots and mushrooms until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add cilantro stems and 1/2 the leaves, jalapeno peppers, and cumin, lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock. Turn heat to high and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add cream and return to a boil. Remove from heat. Puree in a blender, strain, and return to heat.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Pour one cup pureed sauce into egg mixture to temper. Then combine egg mixture and puree, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick and smooth. Keep warm.

Preheat broiler or prepare grill. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper, since sauce will be spicy. Mix oil and lime juice in a small bowl and brush chicken and scallions with it.

Broil or grill thighs about 12 minutes, breasts about 9 minutes, and scallions about 2 minutes per side. Always grill chicken skinside down first.

Arrange grilled chicken over a bed of Basmati Rice and spoon sauce over all. Garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves and scallions, and serve immediately.