Sunday, May 26, 2013


A coworker has been after me to try and make Chicken Satay.  It's an indian style chicken with a peanut sauce.  I've been wanting to make it for quite some time now, and I had the perfect opportunity yesterday.,,Memorial Day family get together.  First off, the recipe says to use bamboo skewers.  I say screw that and just grill the suckers as is!  Reason being, even though I soaked them prior to use, the lil bastards still burned, and it made uneven cooking of the chicken.  The "peaks" of the chicken were cooking faster than the "valleys".  Ultimately, I ended up just pulling off the skewers during cooking and just finished them regularly.  Another noteworthy mention, I used "chicken tenderloins".  They are chicken breasts cut into "chicken fingers". I bought 2 packs for the party, which was about 18 pieces and there was plenty of marinade with some to spare.  So, keep that in mind when you are making this dish for yourself...there will be LOTS of marinade.  I suppose you could reserve some and use it to baste while you grill.  I however, was short on time so I did not baste.  Chicken was a HUGE success...the rave of the party...and it was soooo easy to make.  All I had to do was turn all the ingredients into a paste with my food processor, marinade, then grill.  How easy is that?  Anyway, here it is in all it's glory....


8-12 skinless chicken tenderloins
1 package wooden skewers

1/4 cup minced lemongrass , fresh
2 shallots OR 1 small onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced
1 tsp. minced fresh turmeric OR 1/2 tsp. dried turmeric
2 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
4 Tbsp. fish sauce
5-6 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Dipping Sauce: see Easy Satay Peanut Sauce

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning). The kitchen sink works well for this.
Place chicken in a bowl.
Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Process well.
Taste-test the marinade - you will taste sweet, spicy, and salty. The strongest tastes should be SWEET and SALTY in order for the finished satay to taste its best. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You can also add more chili if you want it spicier.
Pour the marinade over the meat and stir well to combine. Allow at least 1 hour for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
When ready to cook, thread meat onto the skewers. Tip: Fill up to 3/4 of the skewer, leaving the lower half empty so that the person grilling has a "handle" to easily turn the satay during cooking.
Grill the satay on your BBQ, OR on an indoor grill, basting the first time you time it with a little of the leftover marinade from the bottom of the bowl. OR you can broil in the oven on a broiling pan or baking sheet with the oven set to "broil" Place satay close beneath the heating element and turn the meat every 5 minutes until cooked (be sure to soak your wooden satay sticks in water before skewering). Depending on how thin your meat is, the satay should cook in 10 to 20 minutes.
Serve with Thai jasmine rice and Satay Peanut Sauce for dipping. ENJOY!

Satay Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, depending on desired saltiness/flavor
1/2 tsp. tamarind paste OR 1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)
1/3 cup coconut milk

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.
Do a taste test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you'd prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
Serve warm or at room temperature with my Thai Chicken Satay, Thai Pork Satay, or Vegetarian/Vegan Thai Satay. It also makes a great dip with fresh veggies, fresh rolls, or other Asian finger foods. Or combine with noodles to create a Thai-style noodle dish or cold noodle salad. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicken Peht Peh

ER ME GERD...this is mahhhhhhvelous!!!!  If you prefer to make your own pie crust, by all means do so.  I take the easy way out and use store bought.  Also, this recipe makes for a great chicken a la king.  Just pour over fresh baked biscuits. 


1 1/2 pounds chicken, cubed into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano
3 tbl butter
3 tbl all purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
half a med. onion, chopped small
1 cup chopped fresh asparagus
1 cup frozen peas and diced carrots (or fresh if you prefer fresh)
 5 cloves garlic, minced (I like mine garlicy)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 store bought pie crust, unbaked and thawed if frozen


Special equipment: 9-inch cast-iron pan or pie plate

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil begins to swirl, add the seasoned chicken and saute until cooked through.. Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl.

To the same pan, melt the butter over med/med high heat.  Once melted add in the veggies, onion and garlic and half the herbs.  Stir and cook to tender. Then sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat the veggies and cook for about a minute to remove any flour taste it may have. Next, add the chicken stock. Stir untill the sauce becomes thick.  Then add in the cream and remaining herbs and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the mixture.  Simmer for a few minutes to allow all the flavors to develope and the sauce thicken and reduce.  Once you have acheived your desired thickness, remove to heat and pour into pie plate.  Unroll your pie crust over the top, scoring the top middle to allow steam to escape. Brush a little olive oil over the top.  This will make the crust nice and brown.  Place in the oven and bake till the crust is golden brown...about 20 min or so.

a Guy and his knife are NEVER parted!

So for Christmas 2012, I got probably one of the best presents EVER!!!  I got a 3 piece knife set.  But not just any knife set.  It is Guy Fieri "Knuckle Sandwich" knife set! We have a bromance every time I use them ;)  I didn't get all of them, just the 8" chef knife, 5.5" santoku, and 4" paring.  The rest will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine!

Pickles???...Chicken???...PICKLE CHICKEN????

Who would have thought that these two would go together? Let me tell you what, I could eat my weight in this dish! Super cinchy to make and DELICIOUS to the max!!!


4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup chicken stock
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dill pickles, plus 1/3 cup juice from the jar
5 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally (butterfly) to make 8 thin cutlets. Season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Heat the butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken in batches and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Cook until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook until slightly reduced, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low.

Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks, pickles, pickle juice, scallions and parsley in a bowl. Stir into the broth and cook, stirring, until the sauce begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook until the sauce thickens and the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes (do not boil). .

Where did he go, George, where did he go...

Apparently it's been OVER a year since I last blogged.  Not sure what happened or where the time went.  Guess I've been spending too much time eating and drinking to post about it...hahaha...

Soooooo, I guess I will just make a great big GIANT blog with an assortment of things in it.  However this means I have to pull out both of my wine journals and my cookbook...oh, and lest we forget the plethora of photos on my phone that I naturally had to take of the creation delicacies.  This is going to take some time!!!   Get your doughnut ring ready and get comfy because you're in for a loooong ride...


In the first installment of this blog entry, we will travel back to the 1920's (well, actually it was March 16, 2013) to the rural countryside of England in a large estate, duly named "Downton Abbey".  A party was in the works- full formal table settings, 8 course meal, 8 different wines from around the world to compliment each course, and 4 friends together to share in the experience.  Ok ok, I had a Downton Abbey themed birthday party this year.  Yes it was 8 courses and yes there were 8 different wines.  Let's just say we all had A LOT of fun :)

Course #1: Rasperry Savouries
Wine #1: Muga- Rioja Spain

Ingredients for Raspberry and Blue Cheese Savories

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • Ground black pepper
  • Raspberry preserves (about 1/4 cup)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the flour, butter, and blue cheese along with few grinds of black pepper into a food processor.
3. Process the dough until it comes together and starts to form a ball.
4. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to pull the dough together.
5. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick with a floured rolling pin.
6. Cut rounds out of the dough with a floured 1-inch cutter (we used a 3/4 inch cutter)
and transfer the rounds to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Using the back of a round half-teaspoon, make an indention on top of each dough round.
8. Spoon about 1/8 teaspoon of preserves onto each dough round.
9. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the preserves are bubbling and the pastry is light golden on the bottom.

Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 4 dozen with the 1 inch cutter and 6 dozen with the 3/4 inch cutter.

These can be stored for two days in an airtight container, place wax paper between layers.

Wine: was a good solid red wine with the perfect abount of oak and was fruity and lush.  It was not to heavy and easy on the wallet at around $20 a bottle. 

(Side note: this recipe actually came from the actual Downton Abbey menu)

COURSE #2: Hungarian Mushroom Soup
WINE #2: Cercius- Cotes du Rhone, France

...yes, Hungarian soup isn't very English or Downtony...but I'm Hungarian and this soup is to DIE FOR!!!! (NOTE: even better the next day)

  • 12 ounces mushrooms , -sliced
  • 2 cups onions , chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups stock
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice , -fresh
  • 1/4 cup parsley , chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper , -to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Saute onions in 2 Tbsp stock, salt lightly.
  2. A few minutes later, add mushrooms, 1 tsp dill, 1/2 cup stock or water, soy sauce, and paprika.
  3. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Melt butter in large saucepan.
  5. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, a few minutes.
  6. Add milk and cook, stirring frequently, over low heat about 10 minutes - until thick.
  7. Stir in mushroom mixture and remaining stock.
  8. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.
  9. Just before serving, add salt, pepper, lemon juice, sour cream, and, if desired, extra dill (1 tsp).
  10. Serve garnished with parsley  
WINE: A delicious French red: 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah.  It kind of kicks you in the teeth but is fruity and smooth.  Very aromatic.  Perfect amount of acidity to cut through the soup. 

COURSE #3: Salmon in a mushroom cream sauce over asparagus.
WINE: Sancerre- Loire Valley, France

Salmon with Capers and Cream Ingredients:

  • Two pounds of salmon filets
    • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
    • Five cloves garlic
    • Four tablespoons olive oil
    • Two tablespoons mustard
    • Dash of salt (to taste)
    • Dash of dill weed (to taste)
    • 1/2 cup dry red wine
    • 2-3 tablespoons of capers
    • 2 cups of heavy cream 

  1. Wash and slice mushrooms.
  2. Mince five cloves of garlic. Use more or less garlic according to your taste. With salmon, it is hard to overdo the garlic.
  3. Wash and pat dry two pounds worth of salmon filets. The washing is important because often the water content around and on the filet is beginning to smell much stronger that the filet itself. Patting dry is important because water on the fish will dilute the flavor of the sauce you are about to prepare. This is toooo good to dilute.
  4. Sauté half of the garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep stainless steel skillet that has a fitting lid. Sauté for just a moment or two. The garlic will not be cooked, just warm enough to release flavor into your oil.
  5. Add the sliced mushrooms, tossing well to distribute the oil. Salt lightly. Keep tossing. When the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, remove them to a small bowl.
  6. Add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and add remaining garlic. Stir it around to spread the minces evenly in the pan.
  7. Position the salmon filets, skin side up, over the garlic and allow them to cook for 5-10 minutes. This cook time varies a great deal from one cookware to another, one stove to another, one altitude to another. What you want is for the garlic to cook down there without turning dark. Dark garlic is bitter.
  8. Turn your filets with a large spatula. Work carefully so that most of the garlic will stick to your salmon and be staring at you after the turn is complete. Now you have the absorbent side of the fish available for flavoring. The garlic is a good start.
  9. Sprinkle with salt, smear with some good mustard, sprinkle with some dill weed, top with the mushrooms that are sitting in their little bowl waiting for this moment.
  10. Pour about a half cup of dry red wine around the sides of the pan, not on top of the fish because you will wash the flavorings off.
  11. If you like capers, sprinkle on 2-3 tablespoons of drained capers.
  12. Cook for 15-20 minutes. This time can vary greatly. The fish is done if it flakes easily with a fork.
  13. If you want to be festive and calories are not a consideration, add 2 cups of heavy cream about 5 minutes before the fish is done. The cream will get bubbly and thick, forming a delectable sauce.
  14. Serve over a bed of roasted aparagus 
This was my favorite of the night.  It was a delicious French Chardonnay, and if you know me, I do NOT drink chardonnay.  This was by far the best I've every had and will buy again. It was sooooo much different than anything I have ever had. Had a light citrus and oak. Not overwhelming.  Was buttery and crisp with a price tag of around $25 for the bottle. 

 COURSE #5: Slowcooker English Pot Roast
WINE #5: Tormasesca- Mepricia: Puglia, Italy

  • 2-3 pound English Roast {aka chuck shoulder}
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 - 2 Tablespoons of Spices {I used salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, & a French spice mix}
  • 1 1/3 cups of red wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup balsamic or cider vinegar 

  1. Put the English roast on top and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and spices.
  2. Pour the wine, vinegar, & olive oil into the slow cooker, cover and turn on low.
  3. Cook for 7-8 hours and enjoy!
 The one thing I would have really liked to have done is make a roux and pour some of the sauce from the slow cooker into it along with some heavy cream to make a luscious and rich sauce/gravy to pour over.  Maybe I'll try that next time.

I picked up this little red head because it was made in the "heel" region of Italy.  I've never had wine from there before.  Also, because it has 2 grapes I've never had the privilege of indulging before. This wine is a blend of: 40% Negromaro 30% Primitivo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. It's complexity complimented the beef very well. Very fruity and spicy.  Needed to breath a bit more than I allowed though.

That's all I really care to share for my party.  If you want to know more, ask me and I'll tell you :)

Chapter 2: Fun with Figs

I happened upon a recipe one day that sounded intriguing.  I thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it for a number of days.  Finally I said to myself, "DUDE, JUST FREAKING MAKE IT".  So I did.  It was a rather complex dish to make which was surprising, however I was UP for the challenge, and it gave me a reason to use my new knife set I got for Christmas-

Pork Loin with Fig and Port Sauce



  • 2 1/2 cups port
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 dried black Mission figs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • R>2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2-pound) boneless pork loin


For the sauce: In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the first 6 ingredients. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Discard the herb sprigs and cinnamon sticks (some of the rosemary leaves will remain in the port mixture). Transfer the port mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Blend in the butter. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)  Sauce is very seedy.  If you don't care for hundreds of tiny seeds in your sauce then leave it, otherwise strain through a fine strainer to remove seeds from the sauce.

For the pork:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Stir the oil, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper in a small bowl to blend. Place the pork loin in a heavy roasting pan. Spread the oil mixture over the pork to coat completely. Let stand for 20-25 minutes.  Then transfer to a skillet where you will brown all sides to lock in the juices.  Then, move to an oven safe dish, cover in foil and bake for about 40-45 min or until juices run clear..

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Let the pork rest 15 minutes. Pour any juices in with the port sauce if you wish to add more of a savory flavor to the sweetness of the figs. .

Using a large sharp knife, cut the pork crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the pork slices on plates. Drizzle the warm fig sauce around and serve immediately.