Archive for the ‘spicy’ Category

Brining, the process of letting a hunk of protein soak in a salt solution for a few hours, is a great way to add flavor and moisture to any cut of meat. I brine these wings for 3 hours before using a sweet and spicy rub. I fry them in oil, then finish them off in the oven.

 

image

The brine…

1/2 cup Kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 whole bay leaf
2 quarts water

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup to keep it gluten-free)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

 

3 lbs. chicken wings
2 eggs

 

Place the chicken pieces in a Ziploc bag and pour the cooled brine into the bag. Place the bag in a bowl to prevent leaks and place it in the fridge for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, remove the chicken from the brine, rinse it with cold water and dry it with paper towels. Discard the brine.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pre-heat the oil in a heavy pan at 325 degrees.

Scramble the eggs in a bowl. Set it next to the bowl with the spice mixture. Dip the chicken in the egg, then in the spice mixture, shaking off the excess. Place the pieces in the hot oil and fry them until golden. They don’t need to cook all the way through. Turn the chicken wings over to fry the other side, then place them on a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil. When all the chicken wings are fried and on the sheet pan, place them in the oven to finish cooking, about 30 minutes. Watch the chicken so that it doesn’t burn.

 

 

It’s Fat Tuesday! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

I lived in Mobile, Alabama back in the late 80’s, and if you asked the locals, they’d quickly tell you that Mardi Gras originated in Mobile, not New Orleans.

Joe Caine paraded through the streets of Mobile dressed in a native American costume in 1868, and is credited for our current way of observing the Mardi Gras celebration. Of course, it’s hard not to think of New Orleans when you hear the phrase “Mardi Gras,” and I spent many a weekend on the streets and bars of the crescent city back in the day.

It was then that I fell in love with Cajun food, and needed to learn how to cook it myself. I bought cookbooks by two of the greats: Justin Wilson and Paul Prudhomme. I learned about layers of seasoning, and often I’d use those ideas in my own dishes.

When I moved to Rhode Island in 1990, I had yearly Mardi Gras parties at my house, and I cooked massive batches of these Cajun chicken breasts, using a spice mix I learned from my cooking experiments. They’re so good, my daughter asks for them all the time.

Double-dipping in the seasoned flour is a messy step, but it makes them extra crunchy and flavorful.

fullsizerender-8

 

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup flour to keep it gluten-free)
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon gumbo file (file powder), optional
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders or breasts
4 eggs
oil for frying (I like using avocado oil and some pork fat for flavor)

 

Cut the chicken breasts into manageable pieces. If they’re thick, slice them horizontally to make two thinner breasts. A thick piece of chicken won’t cook all the way through.

Combine the flour, salt, paprika, onion, garlic, basil, white pepper, cayenne, black pepper, thyme and gumbo file in a bowl. Mix well.

I like to separate the 4 eggs, placing 2 eggs in 2 separate bowls. This keeps the first bowl “clean” and not gummed up with flour. You’ll see what I mean once you start, because it’s a bit messy. So, crack 2 eggs in the first bowl and the other 2 eggs in the second bowl. Scramble them up and put the bowls on either side of the seasoned flour bowl.

Pre-heat a pan of oil to 350 degrees.

Dip the chicken in the first egg bowl and then the seasoned flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour and dip the chicken in the second egg bowl, making sure the flour is covered by egg. Then dip the chicken back into the flour for a second coat. Carefully place the chicken in the pan. Fry the chicken until it’s cooked all the way through and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

 

If you need to feed a crowd, just double or triple the recipe. I used to make a 10x batch for my Mardi Gras parties!

 

 

Fat Tuesday is February 28!

I lived in Mobile, Alabama back in the late 80’s, and if you asked the locals, they’d quickly tell you that Mardi Gras originated in Mobile, not New Orleans.

Joe Caine paraded through the streets of Mobile dressed in a native American costume in 1868, and is credited for our current way of observing the Mardi Gras celebration. Of course, it’s hard not to think of New Orleans when you hear the phrase “Mardi Gras,” and I spent many a weekend on the streets and bars of the crescent city back in the day.

It was then that I fell in love with Cajun food, and needed to learn how to cook it myself. I bought cookbooks by two of the greats: Justin Wilson and Paul Prudhomme. I learned about layers of seasoning, and often I’d use those ideas in my own dishes.

When I moved to Rhode Island in 1990, I had yearly Mardi Gras parties at my house, and I cooked massive batches of these Cajun chicken breasts, using a spice mix I learned from my cooking experiments. They’re so good, my daughter asks for them all the time.

Double-dipping in the seasoned flour is a messy step, but it makes them extra crunchy and flavorful.

fullsizerender-8

 

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use Cup4Cup flour to keep it gluten-free)
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon gumbo file (file powder), optional
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders or breasts
4 eggs
oil for frying (I like using avocado oil and some pork fat for flavor)

 

Cut the chicken breasts into manageable pieces. If they’re thick, slice them horizontally to make two thinner breasts. A thick piece of chicken won’t cook all the way through.

Combine the flour, salt, paprika, onion, garlic, basil, white pepper, cayenne, black pepper, thyme and gumbo file in a bowl. Mix well.

I like to separate the 4 eggs, placing 2 eggs in 2 separate bowls. This keeps the first bowl “clean” and not gummed up with flour. You’ll see what I mean once you start, because it’s a bit messy. So, crack 2 eggs in the first bowl and the other 2 eggs in the second bowl. Scramble them up and put the bowls on either side of the seasoned flour bowl.

Pre-heat a pan of oil to 350 degrees.

Dip the chicken in the first egg bowl and then the seasoned flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour and dip the chicken in the second egg bowl, making sure the flour is covered by egg. Then dip the chicken back into the flour for a second coat. Carefully place the chicken in the pan. Fry the chicken until it’s cooked all the way through and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

 

If you need to feed a crowd, just double or triple the recipe. I used to make a 10x batch for my Mardi Gras parties!

 

 

HOMEMADE MUSTARD

Posted: September 25, 2016 in Food, mustard, Recipes, spicy
Tags: , , ,

It’s so easy to make your own mustard. And really good mustard. Mustard that hasn’t been sitting on the store shelf for a year. Mustard with real flavor.

Once the mustard is made, you’re supposed to wait a few weeks before using, letting its heat mellow a bit. But I enjoy it right from the start. Feel the burn!

 

mustard

The great thing about this recipe is that you make it with your favorite beer, so use what you drink and you’ll have a mustard like no one else. I used Samuel Adams Boston Ale for this recipe.

 

 

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
3/4 cup Sam Adams Boston Ale
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. fleur de sel
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

 

Put the yellow and brown mustard seeds in a bowl and pour in 1/2 cup of the beer. Push the mustard seeds down to submerge them in the beer. (I lay a sheet of plastic wrap down on top to keep them submerged.) Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of beer, the vinegar, honey, brown sugar, garlic, bay leaf salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the honey and the sugar. Boil for 1 minute, the immediately remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Toss the garlic and the bay leaf in the trash and pour the liquid into a blender. Add 3/4’s of the plumped mustard seeds and blend to break the seeds. Add the remaining 1/4 of the mustard seeds and pulse just once to mix. You want the mustard thick, with some whole seeds remaining.

Put the mustard in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 days, and up to a week, depending on how mellow you want it and how much waiting you can tolerate! After about 3 weeks, the mustard will be at its peak…but it will keep in the fridge for several months. (I can’t imagine it will last that long.)

I learned most of my Cajun dishes from the cookbooks of one of the masters: chef Paul Prudhomme. Sometimes, I’d use some of his great seasoning ideas in my own dishes. This was one of them. I would cook huge batches of these chicken breasts for my Mardi Gras parties and there would never be any leftovers! Don’t wait for Fat Tuesday to come around again to make these yourself.

Double-dipping in the seasoning mix is a messy step, but it makes them extra crunchy and flavorful.

Single-dipped breasts are at the top. The extra crunchy double-dipped are at the bottom.

Single-dipped breasts are at the top. The extra crunchy double-dipped are at the bottom.

 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon gumbo file (file powder), optional
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders or breasts
3 eggs
oil for frying (I like using avocado oil and some pork fat for flavor)

 

Cut the chicken breasts into manageable pieces. If they’re thick, slice them horizontally to make two thinner breasts. A thick piece of chicken won’t cook all the way through.

Combine the flour, salt, paprika, onion, garlic, basil, white pepper, cayenne, black pepper, thyme and gumbo file in a bowl. Mix well.

In another bowl, crack and scramble the eggs.

Single dip: Dip the chicken in the egg and then the flour mixture. Shake off an excess and place in a pan with oil that has been heated to 350 degrees on a thermometer.  Fry until it’s cooked all the way through. Drain on paper towels.

Double-dip: Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, then the seasoning mix, then the egg, then back in the seasoning mix and place directly in a pan with oil heated to 350 degrees on a thermometer. Fry the chicken until it’s cooked all the way through and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

 

If you need to feed a crowd, just double or triple the recipe. I used to make a 10x batch for my Mardi Gras parties!

This recipe is gluten-free if you substitute GF flour for the all-purpose flour.

 

Whenever I serve these tuna tacos to friends, I always get requests for the recipe. It requires a bit of setting up, but you can put it together right before serving to your guests…or yourself.

I use sushi grade tuna for this dish, which is easily found in small frozen “bricks” at Whole Foods or similar stores.

For the Marinade…
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper oil

The topping…

¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped fresh scallions

Other Ingredients…

½ lb sushi grade raw tuna, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
Tortilla chips
Finely chopped scallions
Assemble…

Make the topping in a bowl first, and place in the fridge. Mix marinade ingredients in a separate bowl. Chop tuna into ¼-inch cubes, and marinate in soy/oil mix for just 10 minutes, then drain. Keep it cold!

Just before serving, take a tortilla chip, place 1 tablespoon of tuna on top, top this with ½ teaspoon sour cream mixture, and garnish with chopped scallions.

Eat these quickly, before the tuna makes the tortilla soggy!

 

Brining, the process of letting a hunk of protein soak in a salt solution for a few hours, is a great way to add flavor and moisture to any cut of meat. I brine these wings for 3 hours before using a sweet and spicy rub. They can be grilled or roasted in the oven.

image

The brine…

1/2 cup Kosher salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 whole bay leaf
2 quarts water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat, and let it cool to room temperature.

The rub…

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated onion
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Place 3 lbs. of chicken wings in a Ziplock bag and pour the cooled brine into the bag. Place the bag in a bowl to prevent leaks and place in the fridge for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, remove the chicken from the brine and dry with paper towels. Discard the brine.
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the rub, tossing to coat the chicken well. Place the bowl with the chicken in the fridge until ready to cook.
About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the bowl from the fridge and let the chicken come to room temperature.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 or light a grill.
Toss the chicken with some more of the rub, if you like, then place the pieces on a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done. Lower oven temperature if it starts to burn.

If grilling, cook over medium heat, turning frequently to prevent burning. Cook until the wings are done.

 

I learned most of my Cajun dishes from the cookbooks of one of the masters: chef Paul Prudhomme. Sometimes, I’d use some of his great seasoning ideas in my own dishes. This was one of them. I would cook huge batches of these chicken breasts for my Mardi Gras parties and there would never be any leftovers! Don’t wait for Fat Tuesday to come around again to make these yourself.

Double-dipping in the seasoning mix is a messy step, but it makes them extra crunchy and flavorful.

Single-dipped breasts are at the top. The extra crunchy double-dipped are at the bottom.

Single-dipped breasts are at the top. The extra crunchy double-dipped are at the bottom.

 

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon gumbo file (file powder), optional

 

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders or breasts

3 eggs

oil for frying (I like using avocado oil and some pork fat for flavor)

 

Cut the chicken breasts into manageable pieces. If they’re thick, slice them horizontally to make two thinner breasts. A thick piece of chicken won’t cook all the way through.

Combine the flour, salt, paprika, onion, garlic, basil, white pepper, cayenne, black pepper, thyme and gumbo file in a bowl. Mix well.

In another bowl, crack and scramble the eggs.

Single dip: Dip the chicken in the egg and then the flour mixture. Shake off an excess and place in a pan with oil that has been heated to 350 degrees on a thermometer.  Fry until it’s cooked all the way through. Drain on paper towels.

Double-dip: Dip the chicken pieces in the egg, then the seasoning mix, then the egg, then back in the seasoning mix and place directly in a pan with oil heated to 350 degrees on a thermometer. Fry the chicken until it’s cooked all the way through and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

 

If you need to feed a crowd, just double or triple the recipe. I used to make a 10x batch for my Mardi Gras parties!

This recipe is gluten-free if you substitute GF flour for the all-purpose flour.

 

Whenever I serve these tuna tacos to friends, I always get requests for the recipe. It requires a bit of setting up, but you can put it together right before serving to your guests…or yourself.

I prefer to use sushi grade tuna for this dish, which is easily found in small frozen “bricks” at Whole Foods or similar stores.

SPICY SOY MARINATED TUNA ON TACO CHIPS

Marinade…
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper oil
Topping…
¼ cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped fresh scallions
Other Ingredients…
½ lb sushi grade raw tuna, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
Tortilla chips

Finely chopped scallions

Assemble…

Make the Topping in a bowl first, and place in the fridge. Mix marinade ingredients in a separate bowl. Chop tuna into ¼-inch cubes, and marinate in soy/oil mix for just 10 minutes, then drain. Keep cold!

Just before serving, take a tortilla chip, place 1 Tablespoon of tuna on top, top this with ½ teaspoon sour cream mixture, and garnish with chopped scallions.

Eat these quickly, before the tuna makes the tortilla soggy!

 

It’s so easy to make your own mustard. And really good mustard. Mustard that hasn’t been sitting on the store shelf for a year. Mustard with real flavor.

Once the mustard is made, you’re supposed to wait a few weeks before using, letting its heat mellow a bit. But I enjoy it right from the start. Feel the burn!

 

mustard

The great thing about this recipe is that you make it with your favorite beer, so use what you drink and you’ll have a mustard like no one else. I used Samuel Adams Boston Ale for this recipe.

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds

1/4 cup brown mustard seeds

3/4 cup Sam Adams Boston Ale

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. brown sugar, firmly packed

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. fleur de sel

1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

 

Put the yellow and brown mustard seeds in a bowl and pour in 1/2 cup of the beer. Push the mustard seeds down to submerge them in the beer. (I lay a sheet of plastic wrap down on top to keep them submerged.) Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of beer, the vinegar, honey, brown sugar, garlic, bay leaf salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the honey and the sugar. Boil for 1 minute, the immediately remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Toss the garlic and the bay leaf in the trash and pour the liquid into a blender. Add 3/4’s of the plumped mustard seeds and blend to break the seeds. Add the remaining 1/4 of the mustard seeds and pulse just once to mix. You want the mustard thick, with some whole seeds remaining.

Put the mustard in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 days, and up to a week, depending on how mellow you want it and how much waiting you can tolerate! After about 3 weeks, the mustard will be at its peak…but it will keep in the fridge for several months. (I can’t imagine it will last that long.)