Monthly Archives: August 2012

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay.  Now close your eyes and repeat after me.  Saa-taay…  While you are saying it, just imagine hot, juicy, succulent, flavorful barbecued chicken on bamboo skewers drizzled with peanut sauce.  Close your eyes and say it again.  Saa-taay…

Did I just catch you drooling?

If you have never had satay before, satay is an amazingly flavorful barbecued dish that is generally of Southeast Asian origin.  It is prepared with many different ingredients such as chicken, beef, shrimp, lamb, fish, pork, goat and even tofu.  One of my favorite ways to prepare satay is with chicken.  I like to use bits of boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated for several hours in coconut milk, Indonesian soy sauce and a variety of spices.  I then thread the chicken on to the skewers and cook them on the barbecue.

I like to serve my Chicken Satay with my homemade peanut sauce or drizzled with sweet chili sauce or sriracha.  I also serve it with a scoops of fluffy jasmine rice and fresh sliced cool cucumbers for garnish.  I also make sure that there’s plenty of sambal oelek on the side for those who love fiery hot food.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ cubes or strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 – 2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or sambal oelek (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

In a medium sized bowl whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken.  Once the marinade has been blended, add the chicken and toss well to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Take 10 -12 bamboo skewers and soak completely in water while the chicken is marinating.  Soaking the skewers in water prevents the skewers from burning off while the satay cooks on the barbecue.

Thread chicken onto the skewers and cook on medium hot barbecue or grill pan until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Do not brush it on the chicken while cooking and do not even think about reusing it.  Pay attention and turn your skewers occasionally for even cooking.  Be sure not to over cook or under cook the satay.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.

Chamorro Red Rice

Chamorro Red Rice

My dear friend Janie first introduced me to Guamanian cuisine several years ago and I have been a fan ever since.   One of my favorite Guamanian recipes is Guamanian Chicken and last night I decided to make up some Chamorro Red Rice as a side dish.  Chamorro Red Rice is a traditional Guamanian rice dish made with achiote seed powder (annato), onion, garlic and salt.  It has a beautiful reddish orange color and pairs very well with spicy dishes.  It’s surprisingly mild in flavor and tastes absolutely delicious!

If you have any favorite Guamanian recipes that you would like to share, please feel free to contact me via the comments. I would love to try them!  Thanks!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice (washed and drained)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp achiote (annato) powder
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

Grab a medium sized pan with a tight fitting lid.  Add canola oil and onion and saute until onion is opaque.  Add all remaining ingredients, stir, cover and turn stove on simmer or the lowest setting.  Cook until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (about 15 minutes). Fluff rice with a fork.  Remove from heat, cover and let the rice sit for about 3 – 5  minutes before dishing up.  Makes about 4 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Heirloom Pineapple Tomato

Heirloom Pineapple Tomato

One of my favorite variety of tomatoes is the heirloom Pineapple Tomato.  The massive yellow fruits are juicy, sweet, and can grow up to a whopping 2 pounds each.   Every year I purchase one or two plants at the Master Gardener Fair down at the Expo in late spring.  I plant them in the garden in late May and by early August, I am in the midst of my harvest.  My tomatoes are doing quite well (so far) and the biggest one that I have picked out of my little garden this year weighed over 1 1/4 pounds.   Wow!

I have learned over the years when preparing a dish for my family, sometimes less is more… What I mean by that is when you have a spectacular ingredient to work with, don’t cover it up with other flavors, seasonings or textures, simply showcase it.  That is exactly what I did with one of my fresh picked Pineapple Tomatoes.  I sliced it, drizzled it with olive oil and added a pinch of salt.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Simply perfect.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 Heirloom Pineapple Tomato
  • olive oil to taste
  • coarse salt to taste
  • garnish with a sprig of basil

Slice tomato into 1/3 inch slices.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Garnish and serve.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Bruce and I lead very busy lives so cooking dinner on weekday evenings can be a crazy mad scramble. I’ve learned over the years to prep what I can in the morning before work and by the time I get home in the evening all I have to do is toss together a salad, make a quick side dish and grill up dinner.  Done.  If there is any one dish that tastes great and easy to make, my Lemon Rosemary Chicken is one that fits the bill.

Fresh picked Rosemary from my garden.

To make the Lemon Rosemary Chicken, all you need is boneless skinless chicken thighs, fresh rosemary, fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and some spices.  Toss all the ingredients in a covered container in the morning before work, cover and refrigerate.  Come home, pull the chicken out of the fridge, toss on a grill or grill pan, and cook until the juices run clear.  See?  I told you that it was easy…  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Toss all ingredients in a covered container and let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Place on medium hot barbecue grill or grill pan.  Turn chicken when halfway cooked.  Cook until juices run clear or the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pull from grill, let chicken rest for about 5 minutes covered, garnish with sprigs of rosemary and plate up.  Serves 4 – 6 people.

 

Green Zebra Pico De Gallo

 Green Zebra Pico De Gallo

Bruce and I were out of town for nearly a week on a trip to the Southwestern portion of the United States in the small desert community of Aguanga, California.  It’s about 20 miles southeast of Hemet and is nearly 2,500 feet in elevation.  It’s pleasantly rural and has some stunning high desert views.  We spent 5 amazing days with family and friends.

View across the valley…

Some prickly cacti…  The spines are crazy sharp.  Note to self… Don’t touch.

More cactus.  This one had small symmetrical bunches of reddish colored spines.

This plant is called a red hot poker.  The blooms are a beautiful orange red color.  They thrive well in the hot desert sun.

Succulents in a pot.

Agave cactus.

Thunderstorms over the valley.  There was plenty of thunder and lightning during our stay and when it rained, it poured…  The views across the valley were lovely, even when it rained.

Bruce and I got home late Sunday night and the next morning before I left for work, I found bunches of ripe tomatoes in our garden.  When I say a bunches, I mean at least a gallon of fresh tomatoes.  I picked at least 6 varieties before I headed out to the office.  When Bruce and I left on our trip, all the tomatoes on the vines were unripe and not ready to be picked.

Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable (technically, a fruit).  Every spring I make it a point to plant some of the wildest looking tomato plants that I can find.  I have pink tomatoes, black tomatoes, orange, green, yellow, and a couple of local red varieties.  When I plant tomatoes, Green Zebras are always at the top of my list.  I love the Green Zebras because they are deliciously mild in flavor and they always make for a uniquely colored tomato dish.

Do you see the pretty dark green stripes and the light green skin?  With some of these fresh picked Green Zebra tomatoes, I decided to make a simple pico de gallo to serve with chicken soft tacos and crunchy tortilla chips.  Pico de gallo is a fresh, uncooked Mexican salsa usually made with bright red tomatoes, white onions, peppers, lime and spices.  I decided to make mine with my Green Zebra tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, lime, jalapenos, garlic, salt and pepper.  It’s easy and delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used Green Zebras)
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs minced jalapeno (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Cover and chill for about an hour before serving.  Makes about 2 cups.

Stacked Caprese Salad

Stacked Caprese Salad

Here in Southern Oregon when the weather is hot outside, I try not to turn on my stove too much or even use my oven.  I don’t like living in a hot house nor do I like writing unnecessarily large checks to the power company.  During the warm summer months I like to cook our meals back out on the barbecue and serve fresh cool salads on the side.

This morning as I was checking out my garden, I noticed that I had quite the crop of heirloom tomatoes.  One of the first things that comes to mind when I have a bunch of tomatoes is making a simple Caprese salad.  I just love the flavor of fresh picked tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and herbaceous basil.  I like to drizzle the Caprese salad with olive oil and finish it with fresh cracked pepper and coarse salt.  It’s simply delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 8 heirloom tomatoes (about the same size as the bocconcini)
  • 4 – 5 balls of fresh mozzarella (bocconcini)
  • fresh basil
  • pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil for drizzling

Begin by slicing your tomatoes and the bocconcini.  Stack the tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and salt.  Garnish with additional basil and maybe a fresh edible nasturtium flower.  Serve.  Makes 8 little salads.

Melon, Prosciutto and Mint

Melon, Prosciutto and Mint

I love summer in Southern Oregon…  Fresh picked produce from our garden, local farmer’s markets and hot summer days.  Summer in my opinion, is three months of pure bliss.  Late this afternoon on my way home from work I decided to stop by my favorite food cooperative to check out the fresh produce.  While there, I picked up some organic boneless skinless chicken thighs, a bomber of a local micro brew and a sweet smelling cantaloupe for our dinner tonight.  And as a minor clarification, the bomber was for me :).

Fresh Mint.  The leaves have such a delicious aroma.  I snagged about 8 sprigs of it for my sliced Melon, Prosciutto and Mint.

Let me tell you a little tidbit of information about growing fresh mint.  What you need to know about mint is that you should never, ever, ever grow it outside of a pot or an enclosed space.  Why?  Because this pretty little unsuspecting plant, if not kept in check, will try to take over your yard.  Once established, mint is difficult to eradicate without the use of chemicals or herbicides.  If you have mint growing in your yard, you probably know what I am talking about…  I learned the hard way.  I now keep my mint in its very own pot.

Melon, Prosciutto and Mint is a wonderful little side dish on a hot summer day.  The sweetness of the melon, the saltiness of the prosciutto and the herbaceous aroma of the mint are a wonderful trio.  Not to mention, it’s delicious and easy to make.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cantaloupe melon
  • 4 oz. thin sliced prosciutto
  • 8 – 10 springs of mint

Begin by peeling, seeding and slicing your melon into 8 to 10 slices.  Wrap thin slices of prosciutto around the melon.  Garnish with sprigs of mint.  Place on platter and serve.

Note:  you can use honeydew melon or other sweet melon if you can’t find cantaloupe.