Okay, so we’re known throughout the West for our New Wave Asian cuisine and this dish has become one of our most requested. It’s simple but you’ve got to cook the bird three times and you know what they say about the third time… it’s the charm!
What are the three cooking times? First, you brown the chicken. Second, you bake (sort of) the chicken. Third, you pop it under the broiler. Now you might be thinking how can you make this if your market doesn’t have plums. Logical question considering the title of this dish but, well, there are no plums involved. The “plum” in this dish is an Asian sauce called plum sauce and you can find it in the Asian section of your local supermarket.
Ingredients to make Asian Plum Chicken (serves 2):
- 6 chicken legs
- 1 green onion, minced
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- 2 Tbs. Chinese plum sauce
- 1/2 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 tsp. Asian chili oil
- Pre-heat your oven to 375.
- With a cleaver or chefs knife, remove the elongated bone from the legs. Set the chicken aside.
- Into a medium bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients.
- Into a medium saute pan or skillet, heat 1 Tbs. vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides
- Remove the pan from the heat and place in the oven 45 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Place a lid on the pan and cook 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat your broiler.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the lid from the pan.
- Place the pan under the broiler and broil 5 minutes.
- Remove from the broiler and serve.
When it comes to ocean fish, one of my favorites to eat and prepare is red snapper. The texture and the flavor of this fish fits almost any cuisine and for the most part, it is relatively inexpensive.
If you love the flavors of the Southwest, I think you’ll find this seafood entree to be pretty close to perfect. There is not one single over-powering flavor, simply a marriage of taste and texture. It is also pretty easy to make at home and you’ll only have to use one pan (for this dish, we use a grilling pan).
Ingredients needed to make Snapper Santa Fe (serves 2):
- 2 red snapper fillets
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 shallots, minced
- 1 tsp. chili oil
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped
- Rinse the red snapper fillets under cold running water and pat dry.
- Season the snapper fillets with salt and pepper.
- Light oil a gill pan and heat over medium heat. Place the snapper fillets on the pan and grill anout 5 minutes per side (or to desired doneness).
- Remove the snapper fillets and keep warm.
- To the pan add the butter and melt.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and cook 5 minutes.
- Place the snapper fillets onto serving plates.
- Spoon the sauce over the red snapper and serve.
So, what is a salad? As opposed to what many believe, it is not a mound of greens slathered in an industrial gunk called a “dressing.” It is not a plate of raw vegetables. It is not an unimaginative conglomeration of produce meant for only dieters. A salad is a perfect marriage of taste and texture which when properly created and structured, can be the highlight of any dining experience.
What we have here is a fusion of Asian and Southwest cuisines wrapped up in a healthy and delicious salad. You can use any variety of shrimp for this salad but it is recommended to use a medium variety, such as tiger shrimp.
The reason the shrimp are cooked with their shell still on is two-fold. First, the shell protects the shrimp meat from the intense heat. Secondly, the sauce will enter the shell, thus giving the shrimp the ultimate in flavor.
Ingredients needed to make Southwest Shrimp Stir-Fry Salad (serves 2):
- 1 pound shrimp, in shells
- 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. Asian chili oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- 2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
- 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and julienned (cut into thin strips)
- fresh basil leaves
- salad greens
- Rinse the shrimp under cold running water and set aside.
- Into a large saute pan or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute 5 minutes.
- Into a small bowl, whisk together the chili oil, garlic, 5-spice powder, sesame oil and hoisin sauce.
- Add the jalapeno peppers to the pan and stir-fry 1 minutes.
- Add the sauce and cook 3 minutes.
- Place the shrimp over the salad greens and drizzle with some of the sauce.
- Top with fresh basil leaves and serve.
Getting ready for Cinco de Mayo?
Almost all cultures have their own version of various nutcakes (no political pun intended) but what I love best about this one from Mexico, is it’s lightness, slight crunchy texture and it contains brandy!
Because of its lightness, this really does make for a great dessert to end one of your Cinco de Mayo dinners. I would not recommend serving this with ice cream or topped with freshly whipped cream, as the moisture from the topping would diminish the texture of the cake. You can top it, however, with some fresh berries!
Due to the fact this cake is baked in a rather slow oven (meaning low temperature) it does take awhile. You want the slow oven to achieve the proper lightness and texture. As you may have guessed from looking at the ingredients, it is a rather delicate cake (actually more along the lines of a pastry) so you’ll want to be careful when handling it.
Ingredients needed to make Mexican Almond Sponge Cake (makes 1 cake):
- 2 cups almonds
- 5 eggs, separated
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 1 Tbs. flour
- 1 tbs. brandy
- ½ tsp. almond extract
Pre-heat oven to 325. Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper.
- Into a food processor or blender add the almonds and grind until fine. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Add the salt and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until combined.
- In a medium bowl whisk the almonds, sugar, baling powder and flour until combined.
- Fold the almond mixture into the eggs.
- Into the batter stir in the brandy and almond extract.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Place in oven and bake 1 ¼ hours or until a tester comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Very carefully remove the cake from the pan and place on serving plate.
When I created this dish, I basically wanted to fuse the typical southern fried chicken with the tastes of Asia. So instead of soaking the chicken in buttermilk (as you would for southern fried chicken) here we will soak it in coconut milk. Instead of dredging the chicken in a seasoned flour mixture, we’ll dredge it in seasoned rice flour. Then of course you have the real treat — after you fry it you drizzle it with a hot honey syrup!
So the next time you have a hankering for fried chicken, add a little exotic taste of Asia and enjoy Asian Hot Honey Fried Chicken!
Ingredients needed to make Asian Hot Honey Fried Chicken (serves 2):
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 8 chicken legs (or drumsticks if you’re musically inclined)
- 1 1/2 cups sweet rice flour (available in the Asian section of your market)
- 1 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 Tbs. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 Tbs. Chinese hot chili oil
- 2 Tbs. honey
- Into a large bowl add the coconut milk and the chicken. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let the chicken marinate 2 hours.
- In a shallow dish whisk together the sweet rice flour, 5-spice powder, garlic powder and black pepper.
- Remove the chicken from the coconut milk and discard the coconut milk.
- Dredge (coat) the chicken in the rice flour mixture and set the chicken aside 10 minutes.
- Into a large saute pan or skillet, heat about 2 inches of peanut oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.
- Carefully place the chicken into the pan and fry 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and fry 5 more minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low. Turn the chicken over, cover the pan and fry 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over again, place the lid back on the pan and fry an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken to a platter.
- In a small bowl whisk together the hot chili oil and the honey.
- Drizzle the chili oil and honey mixture over the chicken and serve.
You can’t really get more fresh and easy than this stunning dish from Iraq, a land as old as time. Here you have a chicken which is stuffed with fruit and roasted to perfection. A very simple dish which, at one time, was prepared only for royalty.
As you will note from reading the recipe ingredients, this dish calls for dried fruits (very Middle Eastern). When buying dried fruits you want to stay away from any sulfates. Sulfates are often added to dried fruits. Look at the label of the dried fruits and go organic. They might cost a little more but the taste will be real and the fact of the matter is, sulfates are bad for your body!
Ingredients needed to make Persian Stuffed Roasted Chicken (serves 4):
- ½ pound pitted dried prunes
- ½ pound dried apricots
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- In a medium bowl of hot water add the dried prunes and dried apricots and soak 1 hour. Drain and the fruit and discard the soaking liquid. Chop the fruit.
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Wash the chicken, inside and out, with cold water and pat dry.
- In a medium sauté pan or skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add the chopped dried fruit and raisins and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and cinnamon and remove the pan from the heat to cool.
- Stuff the chicken cavity with the fruit mixture and sew or truss the cavity shut.
- Place the chicken, breast-side up, on a roasting rack and place in a roasting pan.
- Place in oven and roast 35 minutes or to desired doneness, basting often with the juices.
- Remove from the oven and place on a carving board. Let sit 10 minutes before carving and serving.
**This recipe is from the bestselling cookbook “Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey’s Elegant Meals” by Chef Larry Edwards**
This is the only bread served at the abbeys that was eaten with a knife and fork. As a matter-of-fact, at times it was served as one of the courses. There were also the rare times when this bread was served during High Tea, where it was presented as thin wedges. It is a delightfully tasty bread with a slight zing thanks to the caramelized onions.
When prepared at an abbey, this bread would be made in a cast iron skillet. Due to the intense heat of the wood-burning ovens, this was the only way to ascertain the rich dough would bake properly and in time with the topping. For today’s kitchen, it can be made in a simple round cake pan.
Ingredients needed to make Sour Cream and Onion Bread (makes 1 loaf):
- 3 Tbs. butter
- 2 sweet yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup shortening, chilled
- 2 Tbs. minced parsley or cilantro
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium saute pan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the shortening and using a pastry blender or pastry fork, cut the shortening into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal (crumbly).
- Stir in the parsley and milk until well blended.
- Spoon the dough into the prepared pan and even out.
- Spread the caramelized onions over the dough.
- Spread the sour cream over the onions.
- Place into the oven and bake 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes.
- Remove from the pan, cut into wedges, and serve.
To help you through your Downton Abbey withdrawals, enjoy a regal entree with Orange Scented Cognac Chicken. When chicken was prepared at the Abbeys, only the breast meat was used and for rather obvious reasons. Can you really imagine the Dowager Countess grasping a drumstick?
Ingredients needed to make Orange Scented Cognac Chicken (serves 4):
- 2 whole chicken breasts, halved, skinned and boned
- 1 cup orange juice
- ¼ cup Cognac
- 1 tsp. grated orange zest
- ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup butter
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/8-inch thickness. Place the breasts in a shallow baking dish.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the orange juice, Cognac, orange zest, nutmeg and cardamom. Pour over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Place the flour on a plate. Place the eggs in a bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then dip into the eggs and finally coat with the breadcrumbs.
- In a large sauté pan or skillet melt 3 Tbs. butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and fry until golden on both sides. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm.
- Remove all the fat from the sauté pan. Add the marinade and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the remaining butter and cook 3 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.
You won’t find this dish on any menu in the Caribbean, unless you happen to be a Chef there. True you will find fruit salads made from fresh locally grown fruit, but it is the dressing which won’t make it on the menu (but the Chef’s will be eating it in the back of the house). This dressing will bring out the tastes of the fruits unlike anything and it is very simple: rum, honey and lime juice! When I was stumbling around the islands as a young Chef and attempting to taste every type of rum being offered, I was taught to make this dressing. Now, every time I make a fruit salad this is the only dressing I will ever use.
So this summer enjoy the favors of the Caribbean at home with this Caribbean Fruit Salad with Rum Dressing!
Ingredients needed to make Caribbean Fruit Salad with Rum Dressing (Serving size depends on how much fruit you use):
- Pineapple, fresh and cubed
- Strawberries, hulled and quartered
- Kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
- Mango, pitted, peeled and cubed
- Cherries, pitted and halved
- Bananas, peeled and sliced
- 1 lime, juice only
- 2 Tbs. rum
- 1 Tbs. raw honey
- Combine all the fruit into a large non-aluminum bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, rum and honey.
- Pour the dressing over the fruit and toss to coat.
- Let the fruit sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
This particular pound cake is from the Edwardian era of England. An era now becoming very famous thanks to the success of the PBS television show Downton Abbey. When the cooks of the Abbey made this particular pound cake it was served at breakfast, usually with some heavy cream or Devonshire cream and fresh fruit. If it was served at High Tea, it was simply sliced and placed upon platter. It is not as sweet as most other pound cakes and actually has a much lighter texture.
Ingredients needed to make Edwardian Marmalade and Buttermilk Pound Cake (makes 1 cake):
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbs. vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Into a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt to combine.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter and beat until you have a batter.
- Beat in the buttermilk and orange marmalade until well blended.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and even out.
- Place in the oven and bake 60 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan 10 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack until ready to slice and serve.