Sambal Chicken Skewers

Wow. I really didn’t think I’d like these Asian flavors as much as I do, but I have to say they are pretty fantastic. And don’t worry, if you are worried about it being too spicy (like me) then just drop those ingredients. I didn’t have hot chili paste but sriracha more than makes up for it. I’m also not the biggest fan of ginger so I didn’t put that in either. However, I did put some sesame seeds on it which I thought were fitting.

The best thing about cooking international food is that once you have the ingredients that make up their stereotypical flavor profile, you probably don’t have to buy a whole lot more than that. I already had the fish sauce, rice vinegar and sriracha, so making this was a breeze.

Of course, I would have loved to make it on a grill, but it’s just as easy in a pan. (Make sure you have shorter skewers or else the chicken won’t touch the pan!) If you can, reduce the marinade first and coat the chicken several times with a brush to really make sure you don’t waste any sauce. You may want throw in some fresh herbs if you have them, they always help (I threw in some oregano).

Since we’re on a kick of eating less carbs, not really for health but just so we don’t feel so heavy, I also made a little corn, tomato, and avocado salad. Those are my favorite to make since they are light and flavorful, and, sorry to say, I’m not a huge fan of green salads.

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Here is the recipe from Bon Appetit:

Ingredients

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch pieces

Special equipment

8 bamboo skewers soaked in water at least 1 hour (you don’t have to if not on the grill)

Preparation

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and ginger in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.

Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half (about 1 cup), 7–10 minutes.

Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

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Banana Pancakes with Pineapple Marmalade and Creme Fraiche

This recipe looked so intriguing I just had to make it. I was so excited I made it for dinner tonight…They’re not really pancakes, but crepes (even better though). They’re very light and not sweet-wait for the marmalade! The addition of bananas are crucial, unless you hate them, because they’re warm and buttery when cooked with the crepe. I may have put a little too much sugar in the pineapple marmalade, so be aware that if your pineapple is really ripe, put less sugar in it. The Creme fraiche whip is also light and fluffy, which complements everything else on the plate very well.

Of course from my favorite magazine Bon Appetit.

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Ingredients

Pineapple Marmalade
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
3 cups finely chopped pineapple (from about 1 medium pineapple)
1 cup sugar

Whipped Crème Fraîche
1 cup crème fraîch
1 tablespoon sugar

Pancakes and Assembly
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4 ripe bananas, peeled, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Preparation

Pineapple Marmalade
Bring lemon, pineapple, sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until pineapple and lemon are soft, 35–45 minutes. Let cool completely.

Whipped Crème Fraîche
Whisk crème fraîche and sugar in a medium bowl until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Pancakes and Assembly
Preheat oven to 200°. Whisk flour, salt, eggs, milk, 4 tablespoons butter, and 1 cup water in a medium bowl.

Heat 1/2 tablespoons butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and swirl to coat pan. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and place 5–6 banana slices on top. Cook pancake until bottom is golden brown and top looks almost dry, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until pancake is just set and bananas are golden brown, 1 minute longer. Transfer to a baking sheet; cover loosely with foil and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter, batter, and banana slices, transferring to oven as you work.

Serve pancakes with pineapple marmalade and whipped crème fraîche.

DO AHEAD: Marmalade can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill.

Butternut Squash Soup with dubliner cheese and creme fraiche

Normally we wouldn’t make soup in the heat of the summer but I’m not feeling well and it sounded good. If you want you can eat it cold too. It said it serves 12 but there’s only 2 of us so we cut everything in half. We didn’t add sage since we didn’t have it but it came out well anyways. I’m still working on getting my consistency to be a little bit thicker, but each time I make soup I get a little closer!

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Here is the recipe from Bon Appetit:

8 cups (generous) 1-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (cut from 1 four-pound squash)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 large)
7 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese
12 fresh sage leaves (for garnish)

Preparation
Arrange racks in top third and bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Divide squash between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle cubes on each sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper; toss to coat. Spread out squash in single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Turn squash; reverse pans. Roast until tender and slightly brown in spots, about 10 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, heat crème fraîche and dried sage in small saucepan over medium heat just until small bubbles begin to form around edges of pan. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes.
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent and beginning to soften, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes. Add roasted squash, then broth. Increase heat and bring to boil; reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in processor until smooth. Return to pot. Whisk 1 cup sage cream into soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover soup and remaining sage cream separately and chill. Rewarm soup over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, before serving.

Divide soup among 12 bowls. Drizzle sage cream over, sprinkle with cheese, garnish with sage leaves, and serve.