Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chicken Satays

There's something fun about food that you can eat with your hands.  Especially small finger foods.  It's the perfect thing to have at a party as you walk around, mingle, and sip on your evening poison of choice.  Finger foods give you freedom, not only to shake hands and hug at your leisure, but it gives you the freedom to completely over eat - and I mean completely stuff yourself like a thanksgiving turkey.  Shrimp cocktail, dumplings, pigs in a blanket, smoked salmon canape, carrot stick loaded with vegetable dip, a chip buckling under the weight of guacamole, mini cheese cake, mini creme puff, another drink, and a "wait, have you tried these??" from the hostess as she points to the shrimp.  Your answer, of course is: "No! I haven't!  They look great!" as you take two.  Since there's no plate on your hand guiltily reminding you of what you put on it, what you ate, and what's left - you just continue eating. 
The only thing that's better than a regular finger food is food on a stick.  It doesn't matter if it has been deep fried, grilled, baked, frozen, etc., all it matters is that it adds a fun but a still discrete party food element, since no one will still know how many you really had. 

Chicken breast or thighs - cut into strips
1 jalapeno
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp ginger - chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Blend all ingredients except the chicken in a food processor.  Pour over chicken, mixing well, and marinade for 24 hours.  Soak bamboo skewers in warm water, place the chicken on skewers as shown. 

Grill on medium high heat, or bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. 

Serve hot with a side of carrot and sugar snap pea slaw and a dipping sauce if needed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carrot and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

A cross between a salad and a slaw - it encompasses all of the flavors of spring and summer in the middle of winter, thanks to the year-round availability of ingredients like sugar snap peas.  Sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy, and fresh.  Prefect palate cleanser for a spicy meal and the perfect salad to have after heavy and butter-loaded holiday food. 

3 carrots - shredded
2 cups sugar snap peas - cut on a diagonal
green chili - minced
2 garlic cloves - minced
mint - handfull chopped
cilantro - handfull chopped

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
salt / pepper

Combine all salad ingredients together in a bowl - tossing well.  Blend all dressing ingredients - taste for seasoning, it should be fairly aggressive on the heat and vinegar side.  Because the carrots and sugar snap peas are sweet, the dressing will balance them out.  Dress the salad, tasting for seasoning - adding more salt and pepper if needed.  Let stand refrigerated for at least half an hour.  Taste again for seasoning before serving. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

pork shoulder - about 5.5 lbs
2 tbsp whole grain mustard, or herb flavored mustard (not yellow)
1 tablespoon of garlic - mashed to a paste
fresh herbs - thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc
salt / pepper / adobo
1/2 cup white wine
bunch of parsley
2 garlic cloves
tarragon vinegar: extra virgin olive oil (1:3)

Make 1 inch deep slits in the pork, season pork shoulder all over with salt, pepper, and adobo.  Rub all over, including in the cuts made.  Mix garlic paste with mustard and rub all over over pork.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 days.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and roast the pork for about 6 hours total, or until completely fall-apart tender.  Cover half way through with foil.  About 4 hours in add the wine to deglaze and baste with the liquid.

Shred pork.  Mince parsley and garlic.  Add a vinegar and olive oil, whisk together, season with salt and pepper.  Spoon sparingly over the pork and serve. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Spaghetti with chickpeas, walnuts, and orange

One can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
olive oil
salt / pepper / smoked paprika
juice of 1/2 orange
white wine
handful of fresh parsley
handful toasted walnuts
about 1/3 lb of spaghetti

On medium heat saute garlic in a couple of tablespoons of oil until fragrant.  Add chickpeas, season with salt, pepper, and about a half a teaspoon of smoked paprika, and same of oregano.  Continue to saute until the chickpeas are beginning to turn a golden brown. 

Deglaze with about a 1/4 cup of white wine. 
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain and toss into the chickpeas.  Add the fresh orange juice and keep sauteing for a couple of minutes more.  Add about a tablespoon of butter and half of the parsley, cook until butter has melted and parsley has wilted slightly.

Add walnuts and the remainder of parsley.  Toss, season with a bit of sea salt, and fresh black pepper.

Serve, drizzling with good extra virgin olive oil.