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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Experiment #28: Not so Spicy Spicy Hoisin Chicken

Today I had a request from my husband for something we haven't eaten before.  Well, somehow I came up with the idea for hoisin chicken, since I had a bottle of hoisin sauce in my cupboard that has been sitting there for a month at least and I bought boneless skinless chicken thighs for lunch today.

I did a quick search for hoisin chicken and came across a recipe from the Epicurious website for Spicy Hoisin Chicken.  Since I was making it for my little one as well as my husband I decided to make it a little less spicy, I wanted to make sure he liked it.  The recipe only has a few ingredients and looked easy so I tried it. My modifications are that I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and I reduced the dried hot red pepper flakes and I added sesame seeds for some texture and because I like sesame seeds.

Not so Spicy Spicy Hoisin Chicken adapted from Epicurious website
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (I used a microplane)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Sesame Seeds

Preheat oven to 500F.
Whisk together all ingredients except chicken and sesame seeds, then coat chicken all over with sauce.  Arrange thighs, in one layer without crowding in a baking dish (1 inch deep). Sprinkle sesame seeds over top of the chicken and roast until chicken is cooked through and glaze is brown about 15 to 20 minutes.

I served this chicken with organic udon noodles and steamed broccoli.  The chicken was tasty, but it was very sweet.  I think the balance of sweet and salty was not quite there.  I would make this again, but next time I will reduce the hoisin next time and increase the soy sauce.

Link to the recipe:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spicy-Hoisin-Chicken-108096

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Experiment #27: Homemade Granola

I have been working on my granola recipe for some time and I think it still needs tweaking.  The recipe is a combination of two recipes on I found on Martha Stewart online and an Alton Brown recipe from the Food Network.

Over the years I reduced the sugar over time and I was using a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup, but I found that the brown sugar just recrystallized in the oven and so this time I tried to use just maple syrup.  I added the water a few variations back because the oatmeal did not seem to be cooked.

Nutty Maple Coconut Granola adapted from
3 cups old fashioned Oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped Pecans
1/2 cup chopped Almonds
3/4 cup unsweetened Coconut flakes
water
5 tablespoons Maple syrup
olive oil
salt

In a large bowl, mix together oatmeal, chopped pecans, almonds, and unsweetened coconut flakes.

In a liquid measuring cup, mix together water, maple syrup and salt.


Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 300 F for 40 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.


Enjoy!

The Results:
I enjoyed the granola, but I have to figure out the whole coconut thing.  The coconut seems to get overdone before the rest of the granola is done.  My husband suggested that I pour the liquid ingredients over granola and strain it so that the coconut gets the flavor and then pour the liquid over the rest of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  So.. Until next time.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Experiment #26: Pork Medallions with Rosemary and Mushrooms

I was feeling like making pork tenderloin tonight.  I really enjoy making pork because it is very quick cooking and very versatile.

I decided upon a recipe that I have never tried before Pork Medallions with Rosemary and Mushrooms.   The recipe comes from a book a friend of my gave me a few years ago the I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook by Cherie Mercer Twohy.

I was making this pork tenderloin for my family, including my 10 1/2 month old, so I decided to replace the red wine with chicken broth.  I also removed the creme fraiche, because well, I forgot to buy it.  I also added chopped red onion since I thought it would add another delicious note.  You can use a yellow onion. I just used what I had around.

Pork Medallions with Rosemary with Mushrooms adapted from I Love Trader Joe's Party cookbook by Cherie Mercer Twohy
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds Pork tenderloin sliced into 1/4 inch thick medallions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
salt and pepper
8 oz. organic white mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chicken broth

Season pork medallions generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium low heat and working in batches sear all the medallions on both sides about 3 minutes and remove to a platter.  When all the pork is seared, saute garlic, onion and rosemary until fragrant about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 6 minutes.


Carefully add chicken broth, bring to a boil and reduce heat scraping the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Simmer until reduced by half, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add pork medallions and any accumulated juices to sauce, and simmer until pork is cooked through.  Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

The pork was incredibly tender and the mushrooms and rosemary gave the dish a delightful earthiness.   I would definitely make this dish again.  My only thing is that I would add more mushrooms and more chicken broth.  I always seem to want more sauce.  :)

The dish was incredibly fast and delicious.   It is easy enough to make on a weeknight and fancy enough for a date night.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Experiment #25: Vegan Chocolate Truffles

I have been eyeing this recipe for Dark Chocolate Truffles from Whole Living Magazine from December 2012 and I was itching for an excuse to make them. It is my friend's birthday on Monday and my sister in law was visiting from Hawaii so I thought it might be nice to give this Vegan Chocolate truffle recipe a try.

The recipe is really simple, just 5 ingredients: dark chocolate, coconut oil, vanilla extract, sea salt and a variety of toppings, but I just used cocoa powder.  In honor of my sister in law visiting, I used the sea salt that she and her husband hand harvested from sea water that had dried on lava rock in Hawaii that I only use for special occasions.

I am not vegan by any stretch but I love vegan recipes because I can just think about making a recipe and I don't need anything perishable, dairy, eggs, etc. and I can make recipes in the flash.  I have never made vegan truffles before only traditional truffles which are made with chocolate and heavy cream.  No dairy necessary for these truffles so you can make these if you have the ingredients on hand at home.

Dark Chocolate Truffles from Whole Living Magazine December 2012
8 oz. dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder, for rolling
(Assorted toppings: cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, toasted unsweetened shredded coconut)

Heat chocolate, coconut oil and 3 tablespoons water in a double boiler, (a bowl over simmering water), stirring until just melted.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and sea salt.

Transfer to an 8 inch baking dish and refrigerate until mixture is set but still pliable, about 2 hours.

Using a tablespoon, scoop a chocolate mixture and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place cocoa in a bowl and roll rough balls in the cocoa coating the exterior.

Refrigerate on parchment lined baking sheet 10 minutes to firm up.

Enjoy!

The flavor of the coconut came through in this truffle.  The velvety texture was amazing!  I enjoy salty and sweet flavors and I thought a bit more sea salt would be nice.  They were delicious and extremely decadent. I found that I did could not possibly make 28 truffles that were 1 inch balls.  I think I ended up with 17?  They were pretty decadent though, maybe I should have used a teaspoon to scoop the balls.  I ended up eating half a truffle at the time because they were so rich.

These truffles can be refrigerated in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  I found that they get too hard to enjoy so if you want them at perfect eating temperature it would be best to let them sit out for at least 10 minutes.