Friday, June 13, 2008

Mouth Watering Recipes

Cleaning out my list of topics to blog about, I came across a promise to post some recipes. So with out any further ado, here they are:

Chicken Teriyaki
Since I learned this recipe, it has been a favorite of ours and all our friends. We usually end up serving it whenever we have guests. It is ridiculously easy to make and takes only about 30 minutes from start to finish, which is a plus.

1 cup Soy sauce 1 cup
1 cup Mirin or water
Couple cloves garlic (I'm like Emerill. You can never have too much garlic.)
1 Tbsp fresh ginger grated. (You can buy this by your potatoes and onions at the grocery store. Simple peel what you need, cut off a 3/4-inch cube of it and grate it. Store the rest just like you would potatoes for later use.)
Cornstarch couple tablespoons

The rest: chicken thighs with the skin (this is very important to have the skin)

The hardest part is deboning the chicken thighs but it is really easy if you know the secret. Place the thigh on the cutting board skin side down and feel the bone. It runs in the interior of the thigh. With a sharp knife, slide it down each side of the thighbone but don't cut all the way through the thigh. Just deep enough so that the tip is slightly deeper than the bone. Pick up the thigh and fold the thigh so that you can slide the knife underneath the center of the bone and cut towards the end. Repeat the other direction. The end with the cartilage will usually have some remaining after this procedure and will have to be trimmed out. When you are done you have a boneless thigh. The next time I make this and think about it, I will take some pictures of this process and post it as it is really simple to do but difficult to explain. You can always just do the recipe with the bone in but it just makes this more professional looking without the bone if serving to guests. Once you have the chicken deboned, flip is skin side up and slash the skin in a few places. This allows the air to circulate under it and provides a nice crispy skin that gives good texture to the final product and helps keep the chicken moist. I usually line a cookie sheet with tin foil to make for an easy cleanup and then set some cooling racks inside to keep the chicken out of the grease drippings. Place the chicken skin side up and season with salt and pepper. With your oven on the highest broil setting, place the pan on the upper rack. Broil the chicken for about 7 to 8 minutes and then rotate the pan, not the chicken, 180 degrees. Broil another 7 to 8 minutes. The tips of parts of the thighs will start to blacken and the rest will turn a nice golden brown. Cook until the inner temperature is about 170 degrees.

Mince the garlic and grate the ginger into a pan. Add the soy sauce and mirin. Since mirin is hard to find in local grocery stores, I have used plain old water with good results but if you can get mirin from an ethnic food store, it adds some great tastes. Turn on heat and get the sauce boiling. Mix some water into the cornstarch and add to the pot. Stir until it thickens to desired consistency adding more cornstarch slurry as necessary. Place the chicken on a platter skin side up and pour the teriyaki sauce over it reserving extra for the table. Serve over rice.

Smoked Pork Loin
I got a smoker from my brother for my birthday and this was my first attempt at smoking anything. It was so easy and tasty, I'm just counting the days until I can smoke something else.

One large pork loin (I bought a 15 pounder this last time)
Olive oil
Old Bay Seasoning (this is a southern spice but I can find even up here in Yankee country)
Apple jelly
Wood chips of your particular flavor

Soak wood chips overnight in water. Oil the pork loin well and then sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning. I probably used a good cup of the spice for the whole pork loin. It gives the edge of the pork loin slices a nice kick that goes well with the sweetness of the jelly and the smokiness of the wood. After you have given the loin a good rub down to work the spices in, wrap it in plastic and marinate it in the fridge overnight. Get your smoker going with the chips and put in your loin. My smoker runs at 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit depending on outside temperatures. I usually checked on it once every hour to hour and a half to take its internal temperature, change out the wood chips and baste it liberally with the apple jelly. I whipped the jelly ahead of time with a wire whip to make it easy to spread onto the loin. Repeat this process until an internal temperature of 150 to 160 degrees has been reached. Any higher than that and the pork loin just gets dry. At this point I tent it up in some aluminum foil on the counter while I get the oven up to temperature on the broil setting. I then untent the loin, baste one last time with the jelly, and stick it in the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize the top nicely. Let set for ten minutes or so, slice up and serve. As with most smoked things I eat, they are good at this point but ten times better the next day after cooling in the fridge. I ate cold smoked pork loin sandwiches the rest of the week after doing this and would have done so for another few more weeks if I hadn't run out. It was outstanding. Too bad I sent most of the leftovers home with my parents and other guests at the birthday party.

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