Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chicken Broth, Chicken Soup...You decide!

Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder of the basics. Making chicken broth is easy and economical and you get a bonus...cooked chicken for salad, tacos, casseroles, enchiladas, etc.

Yield 8 cups of chicken broth and 2 pounds of cooked chicken


4 1/2 to 5 pounds (about 6) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 carrots, quartered crosswise
2 celery, quartered crosswise
2 dried bay leaves
4-5 black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves
6 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon granules or 1 large Knorr's cube

Do not add in any salt to the water.


Place breasts in stock pot and pour water over the breasts to cover by about 1-1/2 to 2 inches.

Add the rest of the ingredients.

Bring to a boil then quickly reduce the heat to low so that the water is only at a bare simmer (do not boil fast it will toughen the chicken).

Simmer partially covered for 10 minutes only (important).

Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to sit in the water for 15-20 minutes (15 minutes for regular-size breasts and 20 minutes for large breasts). If you have a thermometer, the internal temperature of the chicken should be 160 degrees at the meatiest part of the breasts.

Transfer breasts to a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and let cool.

At this point, you can cook the broth more to concentrate the flavors and serve as chicken soup.

Remove vegetables from pot. Strain broth through a fine mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or moist paper towels. Measure broth and if you have more than 8 cups, return to pot and reduce on medium heat till you have approximately 8 cups. Cool and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and cube or shred for your desired usage. You should have around 2 pounds of chicken. The cooked chicken can be frozen for ups to 3 months.

NOTE: You can use a whole chicken instead of the breasts, but you will need to increase the cooking time from 15 minutes to 30 minutes and the soak time to 30 minutes. Check the temp in the thigh. It needs to be 160 degrees.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Taco Pinwheels

Recipe courtesy of Kittencal

These makes a wonderful addition to a buffet table and will be enjoyed by everyone! Plan ahead, the tortilla rolls must be chilled for at least 2 hours before slicing…

Serve with your favorite salsa

Servings about 4-1/2 dozen


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (16-ounce) can refried beans

8 (10-inch) flour tortillas (make certain the tortillas are at room temperature for easy rolling)

3 cups shredded head lettuce

2 large Roma tomatoes, finely chopped

2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chilies

1 cup finely chopped black or green olives (or can use half each)


In a medium bowl combine the soft cream cheese with taco seasoning and garlic powder until well blended.

Stir in the refried beans until thoroughly combined.

Spread about 3-4 tablespoons over each tortilla.

Layer the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, chilies and olives down the center of each tortilla.

Roll up as tightly as possible to about 2-inches in diameter.

Wrap each rolled tortilla in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Slice each rolled tortilla into about 1-inch slices (at this point you may place on a platter cover with plastic wrap then refrigerate until ready to serve).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shrimp Salad

Recipe courtesy of Cook's Illustrated

This recipe can also be prepared with large shrimp (26/30); the cooking time will be 1 to 2 minutes less. The shrimp can be cooked up to 24 hours in advance, but hold off on dressing the salad until ready to serve. The recipe can be easily doubled; cook the shrimp in a 7-quart Dutch oven and increase the cooking time to 12 to 14 minutes. Serve the salad on a bed of greens or on a buttered and grilled bun.

Serves 4
1 pound extra-large shrimp (21-25), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice plus 1 additional tablespoon, spent halves reserved
5 sprigs fresh parsley leaves plus 1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves
3 sprigs fresh tarragon leaves plus 1 teaspoon minced tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns plus ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Table salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small shallot , minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
1 small stalk celery , minced (about 1/3 cup)

1. Combine shrimp, 1/4 cup lemon juice, reserved lemon halves, parsley sprigs, tarragon sprigs, whole peppercorns, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt with 2 cups cold water in medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook shrimp, stirring several times, until pink, firm to touch, and centers are no longer translucent, 8 to 10 minutes (water should be just bubbling around edge of pan and register 165 degrees on instant-read thermometer). Remove pan from heat, cover, and let shrimp sit in broth for 2 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with ice water. Drain shrimp into colander, discard lemon halves, herbs, and spices. Immediately transfer shrimp to ice water to stop cooking and chill thoroughly, about 3 minutes. Remove shrimp from ice water and pat dry with paper towels.

3. Whisk together mayonnaise, shallot, celery, remaining tablespoon lemon juice, minced parsley, and minced tarragon in medium bowl. Cut shrimp in half lengthwise and then each half into thirds; add shrimp to mayonnaise mixture and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Poop Deck Cocktail

Recipe from Harry Craddock's "The Savoy Cocktail Book," Pavilion, 2007

Named after the nautical term for a deck over the stern of a ship, this sweet recipe comes from the classic "The Savoy Cocktail Book," which collects the recipes of renowned London barman Harry Craddock.

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

1 cup cracked ice

1 ounce blackberry brandy

1/2 ounce port

1/2 ounce brandy

Place the ice in a 2-cup measuring glass. Add the blackberry brandy, port and brandy, then stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vietnamese Shrimp Pops with Peanut Sauce

Here's a great recipe from Weber's Way to Grill. As far as technique goes, this is fairly easy, but it tastes like you put a lot of effort into it.

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

WAY TO GRILL: direct high heat (450° to 550°F)
GRILLING TIME: 4 to 6 minutes
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
1⁄3 cup old-fashioned peanut butter, stirred
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Shrimp Pops
1 pound ground pork
¾ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
2 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup vegetable oil

1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sauce ingredients. Place over medium heat and cook (but do not simmer), whisking constantly, just until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes (the sauce will thicken further as it cools). Remove from the heat.

2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the shrimp pop ingredients and process until a chunky paste is formed. Pour the vegetable oil onto a sheet pan and brush it evenly all over the surface. Using 2 spoons, shape the mixture into small ovals or quenelles, placing them on the oiled sheet pan as you make them. Turn them, making sure they are well coated with oil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm up the texture.

3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat.

4. Place a quenelle on the end of each skewer. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the shrimp pops over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once or twice (cut one open with a sharp knife to test for doneness). Arrange the shrimp pops on a serving platter. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.

©2009 Weber-Stephen Products Co. Recipe from Weber’s Way to Grill™ by Jamie Purviance.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Super Easy-No Machine Chocolate Ice Cream

Recipe and photo compliments of Cook's Illustrated

Makes 1 quart

If you plan to store the ice cream for more than a few days, place plastic wrap directly on its surface before freezing. See Notes below.

1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
1 tablespoon hot water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream , cold

1. MELT CHOCOLATE BASE Combine coffee (or espresso) powder and hot water in small bowl. Let stand until coffee dissolves, about 5 minutes. Microwave chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and coffee mixture in bowl, stirring every 10 seconds, until chocolate is melted, about 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and salt. Let cool.

2. MIX AND FREEZE With electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream to soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Whisk one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture until incorporated. Freeze in airtight container until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 2 weeks. Serve.


Follow these steps for chocolate ice cream that’s incredibly easy—and delicious.

1. Skip the double boiler. Start by microwaving the chocolate, coffee, and condensed milk until the chocolate is melted.

2. Skip the ice cream machine. For fluffy texture that mimics churned ice cream, gently fold in whipped cream.

3. Skip the stirring. Simply pour the mixture into a container and freeze for at least six hours.


  • We used sweetened condensed milk in place of cream because it maintained its velvety texture in the freezer.
  • Instead of a double boiler, we kept things simple and used the microwave to melt the chocolate and combine the ingredients.
  • For a fluffy, light texture similar to churned ice cream, we took a cue from the Italian dessert semifreddo and folded in whipped cream.
  • Bittersweet chocolate also worked well in maintaining the texture. To heighten chocolate flavor even more, we turned to instant coffee powder. The note of bitterness intensified the chocolate without making it taste like a cup of coffee. It also helped balance the sweetness of the condensed milk.
  • A pinch of salt and a little vanilla extract rounded out the flavors.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lemon Tea Cookies

This is a delightful recipe I found on RecipeZaar posted by Lavender Lynn. This recipe is extremely close to the one I use for catering. These are very easy to make. You can use store-bought lemon curd for convenience. They are always a hit.

3 hours | 1¼ hours prep

Yield: 3 dozen


  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar


  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest, grated
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. In large bowl, Beat butter, 1/3 C powdered sugar, and vanilla with mixer on medium speed until well blended.
  2. Stir in flour until dough forms.
  3. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes
  4. Heat oven to 350°F Shape dough into 1" balls.
  5. Place balls 2" apart. Press thumb into center of each ball to make indentation.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove to cooling racks and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  8. In 1 qt saucepan, heat all filling ingredients over low heat about 25 minutes, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened.
  9. Cool about 15 minutes.
  10. Fill each thumbprint with rounded 1/4 tsp filling. Sprinkle 1 T powdered sugar over cookies.