Butter Grilled Bone-In Chicken

Rich found a deal on bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks at our market and thought he’d like to grill them.

“How do you want them prepped?” I asked.

“I think just butter.” he replied.

“Hmmm. An interesting choice.”

So, quicklikeabunny, I went to the interwebs, where I found several intriguing options of chicken bits and butter on the grill.

Sooo, I read and considered and then went my own way with it all.

And, you know what?

This is darned good chicken!

INGREDIENTS
•Bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks*
•1 stick butter, softened
•1 tbsp brown sugar
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp onion powder
•1 tsp paprika
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1 tsp Cayenne
•1/2 tsp cornstarch

*We had three thighs and four drumsticks.

Stir the brown sugar, cornstarch, and seasonings into the softened butter in a bowl until well combined.

Arrange the chicken pieces on a piece of waxed paper on a platter (skin side up, for the thighs) and spread the butter on one side of each piece.

Cover the chicken with another piece of waxed paper and set aside to rest at room temperature for about one hour.

Heat your grill, then place the chicken pieces, skin (and butter) side up over indirect heat.

Close the grill cover and cook the chicken for 15 or 20 minutes.

Turn the chicken over, brush with the remaining seasoned butter, close the grill, and cook for another 15 minutes, until the pieces are nicely browned and cooked through.

Note: at the end of the grilling time, we added just a bit of Honey Dijon Diana Sauce, and it was lovely. Unfortunately, I think the Diana Sauce is only available in Canada, so go ahead and try a bit of your favorite barbecue or chicken sauce. Mebbe a bit of zippy pineapple mustard?

Remove the cooked chicken from the grill and allow to rest for about ten minutes, loosely covered, on a platter.

Serve.

I was really kinda amazed at how very good this wicked simple preparation turned out.

Try it yourself and see if you don’t agree.

BTW: we prefer bone-in cuts because we believe they have better flavor, and thighs because they cook up juicier. Use your preferred pieces, but adjust your grill times accordingly.

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Parfait! Best! Carrot Cake

I’m not certain what the issue is. I’ve had the copy and images for this post ready for over a month, but every time a Friday has come around, I’ve avoided posting it.

And, the thing is, I absolutely LOVE this cake! It is also one of Rich’s favorites, which is a big reason we normally have it around about his birthday.

The recipe, based on Bobby Flay’s carrot cake is really pretty straightforward for a ‘from scratch’ cake, aside from the part where Bobby makes his own Marshmallow Fluff. I did that too. Once.

No, thank you! The nice folk at Fluff make a fine product that I don’t feel the need to try to recreate at home ever again.

I have made a few adjustments to the recipe; adding additional seasonings (trust me, the black pepper works here), and, for this cake, I tried using cake flour for the first time.

And you know what? I think it made an already good cake just that much better!

So. All that said, let’s make us a carrot cake!

INGREDIENTS
Pan Treatment:
•1 tbsp shortening
•1 tbsp canola oil
•1 tbsp flour

Cake:
Wet Ingredients:
•3 large eggs
•1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
•1/2 cup canola oil
•2 tsp vanilla
•1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
•1 lb carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 cups, lightly packed)
•2 tsp freshly grated ginger

Dry Ingredients:
•2 cups flour
•1-1/2 cup sugar
•1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
•2 tsp baking soda
•1 tsp ground cinnamon
•1/2 tsp ground cloves
•1/2 tsp ground ginger
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
•1 tsp salt

Add Ins (Optional):
•1/3 cup finely diced crystallized ginger
•3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Frosting:
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•1 stick unsalted butter, softened
•4 cups confectioners’ sugar
•2 cups Fluff
•1 tsp vanilla

First things first, make the cake pan treatment by stirring the flour together with the oil and shortening in a small bowl, then brush this on your cake pan(s). Works a treat, and no unsightly white flour splotches on the cake.

Note: I also lined the bottom of my cake pans with waxed paper.

Heat your oven to 350º.

If using crystallized ginger, pulse in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until finely chopped, then remove.

Add the drained crushed pineapple to the processor and pulse until smooth.

Using a wire whisk, combine the flour with the sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices until nicely mixed.

Beat the eggs in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 15 seconds, then add the oil, cooled melted butter, vanilla, carrots, pineapple, and grated fresh ginger and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until it is all well combined.

Fold in the crystallized ginger and pecans, if you are using them. I skipped the nuts in the cake, but I do love the extra bit of ginger hit adding the crystallized pieces.

Divide the batter between your prepared cake pans and bake for 40 to 55 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Remove the cakes to a rack to cool completely, then invert the pans and turn out the baked cakes.

Once the cakes have cooled completely, make the frosting.

A note about this frosting: it is extremely ‘loose’ and will slide off and around the cake. Keeping in the fridge will help, but I don’t really care for a cold cake, so just be prepared for a bit of messiness.

Fit the whisk attachment to your mixer, then beat the cream cheese with the butter until light and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined.

Increase the speed and whip until light and fluffy.

Add about 2 cups of Fluff and the vanilla and whip until combined. Refrigerate for 15 minutes if too soft to use as frosting.

Frost your cake. I topped mine with chopped pecans, then stash in the fridge until about an hour before you plan on serving it.

This is a gloriously messy cake, but it is also just so very tasty no one will really mind the mess.

Ermmm, yeh, the top layer will more than likely slide off of the bottom (hazard of the frosting, really) but, it is still good!

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Peach Cosmopolitan

“What’s this?” you ask.

“A Cosmo?”

Surely not, why, where’s the martini glass and lime wedge?

Thing is, this is a Cosmo, a Peach Cosmo, and it’s kinda meant to be served over ice with a macerated strawberry and mebbe a splash of club soda.

So very refreshing!

INGREDIENTS
•2 parts vodka*
•2 parts cranberry juice*
•1 part peach cchnapps*
•Club soda
•Strawberry slices

*Use these proportions when making a single drink or a pitcherful.

Combine the vodka, cranberry juice, and peach schnapps together and pour over ice in a glass.

Add a splash or two of club soda and a strawberry (or cherry).

Settle back and enjoy your summer afternoon.

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Macerated Peaches

Yesterday, I posted a really nice (and gluten free!) recipe for a baked cheese blintz casserole.

Today, we’re gonna prep some fruit to scatter over the top of your blintz slices.

How about peaches?

The market had some nice white peaches, and I thought they’d work a treat with the blintz. As an added bonus, the recipe itself couldn’t be easier.

INGREDIENTS
•Fresh peaches, sliced
•Sugar
•Brandy

Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with some sugar.

Drizzle a bit of brandy over the top, then toss until all of the slices are coated with the sugared brandy. Stash in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.

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Try a Blintz for Brunch!

Traditionally, a blintz is kindofa cheese filled crêpe; but here, I’ve gotten rid of the flour in favor of an almond crust, and turned a Kraft Foods recipe into a tasty little gluten free treat for really any time of day. My book club buddies – who cannot have flour – were quite taken with this and thoroughly enjoyed it topped with brandied peaches as a not too sweet dessert at lunch.

Mira enjoyed the buttercream frosting from the Cherry Sprite Cake, too, but that’s a whole other story…

INGREDIENTS
Blintz:
•2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese
•1 (15 oz) container Mascarpone cheese
•2 eggs
•1/4 cup sugar
•2 tbsp lemon zest
•3 tbsp lemon juice

Almond Crust:
•3 cups almond flour*
•1 stick unsalted butter, melted
•2 tbsp sugar
•1/4 tsp salt

*Available in the specialty flours section of most markets.

Heat your oven to 325º.

Apply cooking spray to a 13×9 inch glass baking pan.

Stir the almond flour together with the melted butter, sugar, and salt until you have a coarse meal that sticks together. Spread about half of the almond meal in the bottom of your prepared baking pan and set aside.

Combine the cheeses together with the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a mixing bowl until nicely blended and mostly smooth (there may be a few lumps from the mascarpone, don’t worry about them).

Pour the cheese over the bottom crust, then sprinkle the remaining almond meal over the top.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until it is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Store the cooled blintz in the fridge, but bring up to room temperature before serving.

To serve, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and/or macerated fruit. For this batch, I went with brandied peaches.

Those details, tomorrow.

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Best! Pineapple Mustard

Years ago, I was able to buy a slightly sweet, slightly hot, and totally wonderful Pineapple Mustard, which went unbelievably well as a glaze over lobster stuffed breast of veal.

Then, the company stopped making the wonderful mustard, and I moved away from New England and haven’t seen a frozen can of lobster or a breast of veal since.

But I still thought about that mustard, and then, one day, I thought, why not siply add pineapple to my new, fave spicy mustard?

Genius!

What makes it work?

I believe that the true secret ingredient is Trader Joe’s Dijon mustard. It has a bit of a a bite to it that almost tastes like horseradish. It is also under $2 a jar, so, even if a TJ’s isn’t close, it is well worth the drive to stock up, as I do for our friends in Wisconsin.

I believe it also works because it is so stoopidly simple! Check it out…

INGREDIENTS
•1/4 cup Dijon mustard
•1/4 cup yellow mustard
•1/4 cup honey
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Stir all of the ingredients together until well blended, then transfer to a jar, cover, and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend.

See? Dead simple, and oh! so tasty on grilled brats and pork and potatoes and veggies and cheese sammiches and…

Well…

you get the idea.

Seriously, try this mustard, and then mebbe go in search of a breast of veal, and invite over for dinner.

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Cherry Midori Lemonade

We were at Navy Pier in Chicago, enjoying lunch at Riva before attending a matinée at The Shakespeare Theater, and opted to sample a cocktail; specifically, a cherry limeade, notable because, aside from the bright green color, it contained no lime – well, other than that slice.

Still light, refreshing, and tasty, though. Made with cherry vodka, Midori (a melon liqueur), and lemonade, I thought it may just be the cocktail to serve friends this summer when a Kalimotxo just won’t do.

To be perfectly honest, this is still a bit of a work in progress, but is really quite nice enough to share.

INGREDIENTS
•3 oz Midori
•3 oz cherry vodka
•2 oz lemonade
•1 oz Cointreau
•Sprite or club soda

First off, I took Riva’s menu description at face value and used equal parts cherry vodka and Midori, then added a splash of lemonade to the glass over ice.

Not bad, but…

A bit of Cointreau with the lemonade made it just a bit better.

Then, I got to thinking…

The cocktail at Riva was light and refreshing and just a touch on the sweet side, so I tried combining the lemonade with the Cointreau, Midori, and cherry vodka, then added a splash of Sprite.

Note: our market carries an assortment of Mexican sodas, made with real sugar and no corn sweeteners.

Nice, but, mebbe a touch too sweet for my taste; so, try it and see if you agree, then swap out club soda for the Sprite.

Much more better.

Bring on summer!

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Yogurt Marinade for Pork Chops

We were at the market, and Rich was perusing the butcher’s case. He came across these lovely thick cut, bone in pork chops and asked me about having a couple for dinner. We were a couple of days away from leaving on vacation, and I had some Greek yogurt in the fridge and an idea I wanted to try out, so I said “Sure!”

Turns out it was a very good call.

We had planned on grilling these, but the weather turned gray and cold, so…

the oven it was. I should note that these came out totally fine in the oven, but can only imaging how much better they would’ve been on the grill.

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 to 3/4 cup plain yogurt
•1 tsp curry powder
•1 tsp chili powder
•2 tbsp Spicy Honey Mustard*
•3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
•1/4 cup diced onion
•2 thick cut bone in pork chops

*Stir together 1/4 cup each honey, yellow mustard, and a nice, spicy Dijon mustard until well blended. A half teaspoon of Allepo pepper, if you have any, is nice in this.

Place the onion, garlic, curry powder, and mustard in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until well chopped.

Note: I used my mini food processor because there were only two chops and so not that much marinade needed. Feel free to double (or triple) the marinade amounts and go ahead and use your big boy processor.

Add the yogurt, cover, and pulse until nicely blended.

Place the chops in a gallon sized zipper bag and scoop the marinade in on top – it’ll be quite thick, so pouring won’t really be an option. Close the bag, squeezing out any excess air, and push and prod to coat all sides of the chops with the marinade.

Place flat on a rimmed plate (for to catch any drippage) and pop into the fridge for four hours, flipping the chops and giving ’em a nice squeeze after two hours.

About an hour before you plan on cooking them, pull the chops from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.

Heat your oven to 350º, or prepare your grill as you would for chops.

Note: Rich is the griller here, so all I can say is use your own judgement, oil the gill grates well, and follow your own experience for grilling thick pork chops.

To do them in the oven, line a rimmed baking pan with heavy duty foil, and apply a bit of cooking spray.

Remove the chops from the marinade, place on the baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes, then flip ’em over and bake for another 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil, and set aside to rest for ten minutes or so before serving.

Moist, tender, and very flavorful chops; with a minimum of fuss.

I like that in a pork chop!

 

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Champagne Cake

Folk who follow this here web thing-y will be aware that I have made a ton of “soda cakes” – cakes made with a cake mix and a can (12 ounces) of soda, and nothing else.

I’ve made a Dr. Pepper Espresso Cake, a Ginger Beer Spice Cake, a Strawberry Soda Cake, and more, so, I got to thinking…

If soda and cake mix works, how’s about champagne? It’s fizzy. It’s kinda sweet (even though I used extra dry sparkling wine), what could go wrong?

Nothing, as it turns out.

Champagne works a treat with cake mix and, the best part?

Just as with the soda, you only need 12 ounces of bubbly to make a fine, fluffy cake, so you get to drink the rest!

So.

Recap.

You get a cake. You get a couple of glasses of bubbly. Life it good!

A note on the bubbles. We have several very nice bottles of bubbly in our wine racks, but I was not gonna pour a $40 or more bottle of wine into a cake mix! So, bonus, Barefoot Bubbly, which our local market has on sale for $7.50, makes a pretty darned nice Extra Dry! They also have a Brut, a Moscato, and a Pink Moscato, so you are pretty well covered for inexpensive, but tasty bubbles.

Back to the cake, I went strawberry for this one, and a cream cheese frosting, but I would think a yellow cake would work as well. Play around and fine your favorite combination.

INGREDIENTS
Cake:
•1 super moist cake mix
•12 oz champagne

Frosting:
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•1 stick butter, softened
•2 cups confectioners’ sugar
•1 tsp vanilla
•1/8 tsp salt (if you use unsalted butter)
•Black pepper – trust me on this

Heat your oven according to cake mix directions and prepare a cake pan(s). I was bringing this cake to a gathering, so chose a 13×9 pan for ease of transport.

Add the champagne to the cake mix in a bowl and mix according to package instructions.

Note: you do not need eggs, oil, water, or anything else, just the 12 ounces of champagne and the cake mix.

Don’t forget to enjoy the rest of that bottle of bubbly while the cake is baking.

Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake according to package instructions. I would recommend checking on your cake at the earlier end of the tome range. I checked mine at 30 minutes and the surface cracked a bit. The cake, however, was terrific; and, it’s gonna be frosted so, what’s a crack or three?

Set the cake on a rack to cool while you make the frosting.

Add the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt (if using unsalted butter) and black pepper to a mixing bowl and whip until blended and fluffy.

A note on the pepper: I learned this trick from a chef in Baltimore and that little bit of a peppery bite brings out the richness of the frosting.

Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low (you don’t want that stuff flying all over the place) until it has been blended in with the cheese and butter, then increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy.

Frost the cake and enjoy.

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Jeanette’s Salad Dressing

Who is/was Jeanette?

I have no idea, and, sadly, I neglected to note where I came across this interesting take on the classic French dressing, so…

Thanks, Jeanette, whomever and wherever you may be, you make a fine salad dressing.

I was interested in this recipe because, unlike so many others, it actually called for a kinda restrained amount of sugar, and, it skipped the more usual seasonings for…

Worcestershire sauce.

Hmmm, interesting.

I thought that this could be really bland or nice, and it turned out to be very, very nice.

Note: Jeanette was kinda sketchy about some of the amounts, making me think that this is an authentically vintage recipe. I don’t play like that, so these are the amounts I used.

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 cup canola oil
•1/2 cup diced sweet onion
•1/4 cup sugar
•1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (or more)
•1/4 cup white vinegar
•1/4 cup ketchup

Place the onion, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and ketchup in the jar of a blender and pulse until smooth.

With the blender running, slowly stream the oil in through the hole in the lid until it has been absorbed into the dressing and you have this creamy, dark orange blender of goodness.

Transfer to a jar, cover, and stash in the fridge until needed.

This is lovely on a tossed salad, but try it in other recipes, too. Mix in with some mayonnaise and chopped pickle to make a Thousand Island type of dressing/sauce.

It’s all good.

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