Marinated Chicken Legs

Game time. Snack time.

Prep Time: 2-8 hours

Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

Passive Time: 5 minutes rest

Servings: 4
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup Hoisin marinade, slightly diluted
1/4 cup Rice wine vinegar, unflavored
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 pounds Chicken drumsticks

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the chicken to the marinade. Toss with a pair of tongs to coat marinade all over the chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 8 hours would be great. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes – longer is you don’t like to see pink near the bone. When finished eating, save all those bones. We’re going to use them in the next recipe.
RECIPE NOTES
Roast on a broiler pan or wire rack. Don’t turn.

Salmon with Spinach Puree and Lemony Garlic Butter

Ingredient List

3/4 pound salmon divided into 2 portions
5 ounces spinach
1/2 pound baby asparagus
2 tablespoons butter for the asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil for the asparagus
1 tablespoon butter for the spinach puree
1 tablespoon butter for the sauce
Oregano for the sauce, as desired
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper throughout the dish as desired

Juice of 2 Lemons

Lemon juice for the butter sauce, as desired
Lemon juice for the spinach puree as desired

Salmon

Brush with olive oil on both sides. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Bake in preheated 200 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.

Spinach Puree

Steam 5 ounces of spinach until wilted.

Put the spinach and cooking water into a blender and puree until very smooth.

Put the puree back into the cooking pot. Season with salt, pepper, butter and lemon juice.

Simmer until thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon – thick enough that you can’t shake it off.

Garlic Lemon Butter

Combine minced garlic with softened butter. Melt in a microwave. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice.

Asparagus

Trim the hard ends off of the asparagus.

Sautee in a pan with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper for about 3 minutes. You still want some crunch, not mush.

Plating

Put the puree on a plate.

Place the salmon in the center. Add the asparagus. Dot all over with the garlic lemon butter.

The puree is excellent. You might want some crusty bread to sop up some of the sauce.

Light Lime Pie

This was an exercise in overcoming failures in the kitchen. In the end, I saved the pie.

First, I tried to put my twist on the dessert by candying some shaved lime peels. They came out like sugar coated rubber strips.

Next, the whipped cream. It didn’t whip. I was using light cream. If you freeze a stainless steel bowl, pour in the cream, even low fat cream should whip. It didn’t. It did however triple in volume though it never got to the soft peak stage.

I remixed the milk, lime and cream with a hand mixer on high. The pie did set up after about 3 hours in the refrigerator.

I tried freezing it as well and the result is what I would call, an “ice box” cake. The texture of the frozen cream filling was very good.

Refrigerated or frozen, give it a try.

1 store bought graham cracker lined pie plate
1 14 ounce can light, sweetened, condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice (4 to 5 limes)
Lime zest from 1 lime
1 cup light cream

Wash the limes. Juice enough limes until you have 1/2 cup.

Zest a lime with a microplane or the use finest openings on a box grater. Add to the condensed milk. Add the lime juice.

Mix the condensed milk, lime juice and zest on high until slightly fluffy.

Whip the cream and add to the milk and lime mixture. Mix on high again for 2 minutes.

Pour into the pie crust.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours so it sets up. Alternatively, you can freeze the pie to make a frozen dessert.

Decorate with lime pieces.

Picnic Time – Salad in a Jar

You can have an ice cold salad on a hot sunny day. Put it in a jar! It takes up less space in the cooler and you eat it right out of the container. Make a jar for each person.

Layer your favorite salad ingredients into a Mason jar. At this point, you can cap it and put in the fridge for later. Or, add the salad dressing we made previously and give the salad jar a little shake.

It is now ready to be forked and enjoyed.

Salad Dressing in a Jar

I haven’t bought salad dressing in a few years now. It is simple and inexpensive to make. This is an all purpose dressing.

Here we use a Mason jar as container. They are fantastic, cheap and used for canning and preserving as well.

Walmart, Kmart and grocery stores carry some brand of Mason jar in various sizes and quantities. I am using a wide-mouth 32 ounce jar. You can also use a clean, spaghetti sauce jar. 

You’ll need this stuff:

200 ml red wine vinegar (about 3/4 cup)
200 ml extra virgin olive oil (about 3/4 cup)
2 rounded tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Put all the ingredients in the jar and shake.

The mixture stays emulsified for quite a long time before the oil and vinegar separate.

I am using a 1 to 1 ratio of oil to vinegar. I like dressing with a punch. The sugar and extra virgin olive oil tame the tartness from the vinegar and mustard.

Possible Additions: Finely grated garlic; minced onion; lemon juice

Picnic Time – Classic American Potato Salad

What kind of potato? The new potatoes below worked well. Normally you would peel the potato, but the thin skin on the new potato (I think it might be a baby Russet) means peeling them is optional.

I did peel the carrot before grating. I also peeled the fibrous outer layer on the celery.

4 medium new potatoes – about 1-1/4 pounds – cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 rib of celery, diced small
1/3 of a large carrot, grated
3 heaping tablespoons of light mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon of bright, green, sweet relish
1/2 teaspoon of celery seed
1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 pinch of kosher salt if needed
1 gallon of well salted water in a pot for boiling the potatoes

Cut the potatoes in half length-wise. Cut the halves in half length-wise.

Slice into bite sized pieces.

Boil the sliced potatoes in the salty water for 25 minutes or until tender.

While boiling, grate the carrot. Finely chop the celery. Peel and chop the hard boiled eggs.

Drain the water and potatoes into a colander. While still hot, sprinkle the white vinegar on the potatoes while still in the colander. Transfer to a big bowl.

Add all the other ingredients and gently fold the mixture well with a rubber spatula.

The white vinegar adds a crisp punch of acid. I like it best for this recipe.

The “secret” ingredients in this recipe are the celery seed and sweet relish.

Variations:

  • Substitute apple cider vinegar
  • Add chopped, crispy bacon or finely chopped ham
  • Add hot sauce
  • Substitute sour cream for the mayonnaise
  • Add finely chopped red onion or shallots

It’s important to sprinkle on the vinegar while the potatoes are still hot so they absorb the flavor.

If the sliced potatoes are cooked in well salted water, you should not need salt for this recipe. Possibly, you may want to add a pinch to the final product based on taste.

This recipe makes 8-10 servings at about .25 cents per serving.

Picnic Time – Classic Coleslaw

I see these 16 ounce containers of prepared coleslaw in the market. $4.99 seems like a lot of money for cabbage. You can make it fresh yourself for less than a dollar. It’s about .20 cents per serving. This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. Double the recipe if you need more.

1/4 head green cabbage, sliced thin
1/2 large carrot, grated
2 rounded tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Remove the hard white core from the cabbage. Slice the cabbage as thin as you can.

Grate the carrot on a box grater or in a food processor. Place all the ingredients in a container.

 

Apple cider vinegar and cabbage work well together. Sprinkle in the vinegar. Toss by hand. Add the salt and pepper and toss again.

Finally, mix in the mayonnaise. Mix well.

You can eat it right away. It will be better if you keep it in the fridge overnight. The vinegar will soften the cabbage slightly. The salt will pull some water out of the cabbage. Mix it again. It will be nice and creamy.

Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Preserves

This is one great tasting cake.

The idea was to create a cake to hold fresh fruit preserves. In this case, angel food cake seemed like a better choice than say a pound cake. Angel food cake has lots of protein from the egg whites and is fat-free. There is plenty of sugar, though.

I followed the recipe on allrecipes.com http://allrecipes.com/recipe/7324/angel-food-cake-i/. Alternatively, you get the cake mix in a box from the local market. It’s a real time saver.

Because it is generally just me and sometimes a ‘plus one’, I scaled the recipe back by 25%.

I used a regular cake pan instead of the traditional tube pan. Why? To better hold the berries.

The strawberries: I sliced up two pounds of strawberries, put them in a pot with one cup of sugar and a splash of water. They simmered for about an hour, only because the strawberries gave off so much liquid, it took that long for them to come to a syrup-like consistency.

Top the cake with the strawberry preserve, slice and enjoy.

Leftover preserves? Add to plain yogurt. Top pancakes, waffles or ice cream.

Chicken Stock – Roast Chicken Part 4

We roasted a chicken. We made chicken chili and chicken salad. Now we’ll make stock.

What good is stock? You can sip it hot as a cure-all with a little salt and lemon juice added. Or, you can make chicken soup. You can use it as the base for other soups like my hot and sour soup here.

Put the leftover carcass in a big pot. Add a little more than a gallon (1 gallon plus 16 ounces) of bottled or purified water to the pot.

Bring to a boil and simmer for three hours. Take off the heat.

Strain the chicken stock through a mesh strainer into a big bowl. Ladle the stock into Mason jars. A funnel helps.

If you want to go the extra step, boil the filled Mason jars in water, enough to cover, for 20 minutes. Re-tighten the lids. The chicken stock should now be shelf stable at room temperature for at least a month. If refrigerated, it will keep much longer. If frozen, one year would be not be unreasonable.

Chicken Salad – Roast Chicken Part 3

We made the chicken. We made the chili. We still have meat leftover. Here is a classic chicken salad.

1 pound leftover chicken, chopped
1 medium carrot 
1-1/2 stalks celery 
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2-1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise

Chop the celery and carrot finely in a mini food processor. Alternatively, you can get a workout using a chef’s knife.

Chop up the chicken with a chef’s knife. The mini-prep will turn into mush – unless that’s what you want. It could be like a dip.

Combine all the ingredients, mixing well. Adjust the seasonings to your particular taste.