Friday, July 29, 2011

Last Night's Salmon

Another dinner of ordinary salmon (see Ordinary Salmon Part I and Part II). Last night it was grilled with tarragon and chives (both from the backyard), lemon juice, a little olive oil, and quite a bit of butter. A little over-done (as usual - this is my downfall when cooking fish), but still delicious.

Looking forward to the roast chicken tonight. It's in the fridge, marinating now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Burnt Chicken (in a good way)

I'm working on a roast chicken recipe to share, but I haven't made it myself yet. I need to make it to be sure I've got it right and to take a photograph - I'm planning on tomorrow night. First, however, I'll be making a beautiful side of wild salmon on the grill. I need to make that while the fish is still gorgeous and fresh - that's tonight.

In the mean time, here's an easy and flavorful chicken recipe. The original recipe was given to me by a woman I used to know who came from Tennessee. It really is burnt, at least on the outside. Don't be afraid to broil until the skin is charred black and your kitchen is getting smoky. (Be sure to turn on the exhaust fan or open a window.)

When it's done, you'll have some delicious pan juices, which are wonderful with potatoes as well as the chicken. Standard mashed potatoes, or boiled or roasted new potatoes - any kind will do. Lots of flavor here with minimal work - enjoy!

Tennessee Burnt Chicken  PRINTABLE RECIPE

4 chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves - minced
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Preheat broiler. Place chicken in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with half the garlic and pour half the lemon juice over. Broil until black.

2. Remove chicken from the oven and turn the broiler off. Set heat to 375°. Sprinkle the rest of the garlic over the chicken and pour the rest of the lemon juice, wine, and soy sauce over. Return chicken to the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until done.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Grandma's Cucumbers with Sour Cream

We grilled up some chicken sausages the other night, heated some baked beans (out of the can), and put out some good mustard and sauerkraut. I was trying to think of something other than the usual side salad or coleslaw to serve with our meal, and my grandmother's cucumbers with sour cream dressing came to mind. I couldn't remember the last time I had these cucumbers - maybe not since my grandmother, who died many years ago, made them. The recipe was not to be found in my collection, so I went to epicurious on my iPhone and found a recipe from House & Garden, 1956!

I used fresh chives from my backyard and fresh dill from the grocery store. Lowfat sour cream worked fine, but I probably wouldn't try it with nonfat. The salad turned out pretty good - cool, crisp, and creamy all at once. Next time I think I'll add a little extra sugar and maybe a bit more vinegar too to give it some extra zing. For now, here's the original recipe from 1956:

Sour Cream Cucumbers  PRINTABLE RECIPE

1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped chives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp celery seed
2 firm fresh cucumbers

1. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar, add the sour cream and stir until smooth. You may like more or less vinegar, salt or sugar, but don't make the dressing too sweet. Add the chives, dill and celery seed.

2. Slice the unpared cucumbers paper-thin and combine with the dressing.

3. Chill for 1 hour or more. Sour cream cucumbers improve in taste as they stand. The flavor of the cucumbers seeps into the dressing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Village Hut Bento

I lived near this little bento place in Multnomah Village for eight years and somehow never managed to stop in to try the food. Then, a few months ago, I moved away, never giving a thought to the little shack on the corner of SW Capitol Hwy & 31st Ave.

Yesterday afternoon, however, I was back in the old neighborhood for an appointment and my stomach was really grumbling. I needed something to eat and fast, so I could still get to my appointment on time. I figured Village Hut would be my best bet for a quick, gluten-free meal and so, for the first time ever, I stepped inside the tiny building and ordered a small chicken bento box with brown rice (there's a choice of brown or jasmine). It was quickly prepared and served, and from the assortment of condiments on the counter, I chose a little sriracha to put on the side.

I took an eager bite, not even caring if it was good, and was amazed by the tenderness of the chicken and the great flavor of the sauce - homemade (I assume) teriyaki sauce. In addition to the rice, which was done just right, it came with Asian coleslaw and a small slice of watermelon. I loved the crisp slaw, which was perfect with the teriyaki and grill flavors. And the watermelon was cool and sweet - also a nice accompaniment to the chicken dish.

Now, of course, I'm dying to go back to try their other offerings, including smoked pulled pork, salmon, beef, and even halibut! They have a veggie box and grilled tofu too. The ingredients are fresh, local, and handled with care. Very impressive!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finally, a Chicken Recipe

This grilled chicken is soooo good! I found the recipe last year in Food & Wine magazine and it's now my go-to recipe for summer grilling. The Food & Wine recipe calls for whole chicken legs (legs with thighs still attached as in this photo), but it works better for me with a whole cut-up chicken. Get started early as the chicken needs to marinate for at least four hours. Then watch the heat when grilling. My gas grill tends to be hot-hot-hot and I have to keep adjusting the heat, to keep it at 325°, and/or moving the chicken around (especially the smaller pieces), so it doesn't get over-charred (again, see photo - too much char). Serve this with corn on the cob, and watermelon or a fruit salad for a really wonderful backyard barbecue.

Fennel-Garlic Chicken  PRINTABLE RECIPE

1-1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
1-1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 whole cut-up chicken

1. In a mortar, pound the garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, and crushed red pepper with 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt until a coarse paste forms. Stir in the 1-1/2 tablespoons of oil.
2. Make two to four deep slashes on each chicken piece, cutting to the bone.
3. Rub the paste into the slashes; cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
5. Start the grill and while it's heating brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt.
6. Grill over moderate heat (325° to 350° max.), turning, until lightly charred and cooked through - about 25 minutes.