Root Beer Chicken Wings? It Works. Honestly!

Root Beer Chicken Wings

Root Beer is generally NOT something I’d typically apply to chicken wings, chicken or most anything else I can think of. But the truth is, these root beer chicken wings actually work — much better than I would have thought.

First of all, I started out with some chicken wings with some oil and a little salt, made sous vide, and ready to go. With nothing else in the chicken, I breaded them with some flour, egg and panko bread crumbs and cooked them in a deep fryer. From there, you can use any number of sauces, but this time I wanted to do the root beer sauce which began from a blogger friend, who offered up the idea. I was skeptical, of course, but with a great chicken base, what could go wrong, right?

For the sauce, I used root beer, ketchup, a little brown sugar, some honey, Worcestershire sauce a little lime and a bit of garlic and onion. You can taste the root beer in the sauce, but fortunately, it’s not the only or even the strongest flavor in the sauce. And on the chicken, it blends nicely and works very well. I wouldn’t have tried it without a friend’s suggestion, but yeah, it really does work.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad

Shrimp and Noodle Salad

Here’s a great way to refresh your day with a very nice shrimp and rice noodle salad. It takes only a little time to make and it has just about everything you can ask for — shrimp, asparagus, some carrots and some mushrooms, all done over the fantastic rice noodles. You really can’t beat this dish.

I believe the original for this came probably from the food channel, but for a number of reasons, I really didn’t have a grill handy, so I just simply gave the shrimp its bit of marinade and finished it in a very nice hot saute pan. Worked just as well as the grill, and unless you’re really into that smoked taste, I’d say they’re about equal. Like the man sometimes says: Use what you’ve got.

The rest of the salad is pretty easy.

 

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A Nice Little Italian Minestrone

Italian minestrone

This is called an Italian minestrone — which usually means whatever you have in the fridge made into a soup — and it is a wonderful soup for those occasionally cool rainy days that still show up in April. This came originally from a Bon Appetite article I saw, probably four or five years ago, and with a little tweaking, became a fast friend at my house, at least.

The base for this soup is relatively easy, and it’s very good in just about every situation I can think of. But what’s great, is there are a whole host of other things you can add, which only make it better. I’ve use a little broccoli, some asparagus, some spinach (added late in the soup) and a few other things. I’d stay away from zucchini (courgette) for this recipe, mainly because it drastically changes the taste, but otherwise — go for it. I tend to like the leeks and carrots in this soup. You might try scallions or better yet shallots instead of the leeks, but keep the carrots.

And for the pasta, main thing is to keep it small, little pasta leaves, ditalini, small shells. Just small.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Miso Salmon

miso salmon

Salmon is both a quick and easy meal, whether for lunch or a full meal. And this miso salmon is definitely at the top of that list. The only tough part is getting a good salmon, and while that’s generally easier than it once was, getting a really good salmon from Alaska or the northwest coast still can be a problem sometimes. Generally, I try to stay away from farmed salmon, in part because they often use color enhancements to make the fish look better in the case. I get why they do it, but well, it doesn’t sit right with me. 

So when I can get good salmon, the miso salmon is one of those “go to” recipes I often use, because it requires only a little marinade and a bit of time in the oven. At that point, your pretty much done. It’s really fast and gives you plenty of time to focus on a great side dish if you’ve got something special or just want to get a quick meal on the table and be done with it. The marinade does have only one ingredient — the miso — that can be difficult to find, but honestly, with online shopping, it’s really not hard. And the miso can last a long time if kept pretty well in the fridge or the freezer.

Give this a try the next time you need something in a hurry.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken

Cashew chicken.  There are a handful of recipes you can find on almost any Chinese restaurant menu you can think of, yet most of them are very Americanized to say the least. But I spent a great deal of time in China, and yes, I’ve had cashew chicken there, and I can tell you that with a couple of changes in ingredients, you can have the “real” dish on your own menu, in a flash.

Here are the things you’ll want to have before you start the dish: Shao Xing cooking wine, dark (mushroom flavored) soy sauce, and Zhenjiang vinegar. If you have a local Chinese grocery available, these are things that are easy to find. If not, all of them can be found online. You might have to wait a few days, but trust me, it’s worth it. Generally, this would be one of several dishes at a Chinese banquet, but you can either serve with other things or simply serve it itself.

It will be darker, and have a few hints of flavor you might not otherwise expect, and yet it will be the same in most respects. The main thing is it will have nothing but actual Chinese ingredients in it, which is a good thing. How much different is it from Americanized cashew chicken? Well, a great deal of it has to do with how sophisticated your palate might be, but in general it’s richer and a lot more filling than the kind of thing you might find in any but the very best Chinese restaurants. 

For a lot of reasons, I used a wok to make my version. You can use a large skillet, but like a lot of things in Chinese cooking, a decent wok does make a difference (though probably small) in the final recipe. If you’ve got one, use it. If not, don’t worry much about it.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Huli Huli Chicken, from Hawaii

huli huli chicken

Huli huli chicken? It’s one of those special dishes that somehow manage to come straight from Hawaii, even though they don’t really require any special ingredients or exotic know-how. But done right, huli huli chicken is quite a treat. Apparently, if you know something about trademarks and the literal translation that huli huli means turn, turn, you’ve got the whole idea about the chicken dish underway.

The trademark notion came from Ernie Morgado, the early 50s chef who is thought to have made the first huli huli and a few years later, decided to trademark the name. That meant that every chef or would-be chef in the area had to call his chicken dish something else, even though it was in fact huli huli. As far as I know, that still holds true there. And the key to huli huli, it’s literally to turn the chicken often, to cook it evenly and to even out the browning all around.

The marinade for the chicken is basically pretty simple, and then there’s the little extras that make’s each cook’s recipe a delight, and a great way to tool around the islands, try one huli huli here and another somewhere else. You could almost spend several days trying them all out.

In any case, here’s my huli huli.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

A Great Pizza Crust Recipe

pizza crust

Ah. There is nothing better than a great pizza on a nice Sunday afternoon with a great bottle of wine. And this pizza crust is easy to make and ready to go.

For those who care, this pizza is one of my favorites, with onions, garlic, sausage, a little green pepper and some mushrooms, with way bunches of cheese (Provalone and mozzarella and some pepperoni and basil on the top. You can, of course, make your own.

Just so you’ll understand, I made this after a rather unpleasant and (I hope) providential visit to the hospital late last week, so pardon me if this is a bit short today. We’ll try making up for things as we go along here.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
%d bloggers like this: