Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yakitori Skewers and Rice

Here's a nice Japanese recipe from a few weekends ago, when S and I made a yakitori plate. I adapted this recipe from Jane Lawson's Yoshoku and a really fantastic website called VideoJug. It has video how-tos on all kinds of recipes and other hilarious things from how to get out of a car without showing your knickers and how to be the perfect boyfriend. To all that I say, it's never to late to learn!

But anyways, for the yakitori, the first thing to do is to marinate chicken thighs (whatever you have from 300 - 500 grams) in the following sauce recipe courtesy of VideoJug's How to Make Yakitori.

Marinade for chicken:
100 ml soy sauce
50 ml sake
50 ml mirin
2 Tbsp sugar

The VideoJug recipe recommends marinating for at least 5 hours, but I did it for one, used teriyaki sauce instead of the sake, and it turned out fine. (If I cooked this again and was sakeless once more, I would add more mirin instead of teriyaki, as mirin is more like sake by virtue of being an alcohol).

Mise en place:
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.
For chicken skewers:

  • marinated chicken thigh fillets, on fillet cut into three pieces
  • 2 baby leeks or fat spring onions, white part only, cut into eight short pieces
For asparagus skewers:
  • 4 thin bacon rashers, pre-cooked for a few minutes and cut in half
  • 8 5-cm lengths of asparagus

Thread 5 morsels on the chicken skewers starting with chicken, then leek or onion, then chicken, then leek or onion and ending with chicken. Thread two asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon per skewer. Arrange skewers on foil on a baking sheet, and fold the edge of the foil over the bare ends of the wooden skewers to keep them from blackening.

Cook in a hot oven (I did it under the broiler) for about 15 minutes, turning and marinating from time to time with a commercial teriyaki sauce. Serve with rice.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Mediterranean Menu in February

Without further ado, here's the scoop on my first dinner party in a long long time. Some friends and I get together every so often and this time it was my turn to entertain. It was mid-February and pretty cold and snowy, so to warm things up I cooked a bunch of Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes. On the menu: baba ganoush, hummus, bread and pita triangles to start; Moroccan chicken and a Tuscan green bean salad as the main; and maple-poached pears for dessert.

I made this baba ganoush using a delicious recipe of my boyfriend's mother, and it goes like this:

Baba Ganoush

1 large eggplant
2 teaspoons tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Peel the eggplant and quarter it. Salt the quarters and let them sit for an hour until the water comes out. Rinse the quarters. Slice thinly and lay in one layer on a baking sheet. Brush with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and bake in oven for half an hour at 375 F (or you could microwave for about five minutes). Mash with a fork and serve on a plate (more authentic) with olive oil drizzled on top and toasted nuts and chopped parsely.

This next picture is of the moroccan chicken with tomatoes and saffron-honey jam, a recipe I found on Chubby Hubby's website, originally published in Diana Henry's Crazy Water Pickled Lemons. It goes well with couscous, but I served it with a similar grain called quinoa (pronounced "keenwa") because one of my guests had a wheat allergy:

I served it with a Tuscan green bean salad, from Dana McCauley's Pantry Raid. I use this book a lot because most of the recipes are less than 10 ingredients - and they are all really tasty!

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/3 C diced pecorino or asiago cheese
1/2 lb green beans
salt and pepper

Whisk lemon peel with juice, garlic, salt and pepper, EVOO and cheese. Wash, trim and cut green beans in half. Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep the bright green colour. Combing with cheese mixture.

The best thing about these recipes is that I made them all in advance! I made the chicken a week in advance and froze it. The baba ganoush and the maple-poached pears I made the night before and the green bean salad I made a couple of hours before my guests came.

Welcome to beFOODled!

Welcome to my foodie blog. Here be adventures with food - successes, failures, embarrassing moments of pure befuddlement. I am not a professional chef, just someone who loves to cook and learn about the history, culture and science that surrounds all foods.

I have tried many different recipes in the past, but I'm at the point where I'm pulling mystery fare out of my freezer, finding it pretty tasty, but forgetting how I made it. So this blog is going to be a kind of cooking diary, so that I can keep track of all of my favourites.

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