Saturday, September 18, 2010

Greek Fest 2010

There are some foods enjoyed while traveling that I just haven't attempted to replicate (not that I could even do so successfully.)  Pain Au Chocolat, Doner Kebab, Duck Confit... and Gyros, to name a few. Sadly, the three former haven't graced my mouth in a long time. Fortunately, Gyros come once a year to good ol' Oklahoma.
You know, I'm not sure if there's an awesome Greek restaurant in Tulsa. If there is, I could stop this whole "once a year" nonsense.  Someone please let me know because I'm not sure I can wait another year for this stuff. Also, I need more of these squares of feta in my life...

And these balls of honey...  Actually, don't tell me about any Greek restaurants in town unless they have these honey dumps ( proper name escapes my mind. I was too busy trying to make sure I got my fair share of these before Aubrey inhaled them.)
It's okay if any Greek restaurants in town don't serve this stuff...
The term "cough syrup" comes to mind. But, hey, had to try it. If you're local, you have a chance to score some delicious grub. Greek Fest runs through tomorrow. Get the scoop here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jerk Chicken

Aubrey recently spent a week in Yellowstone backcounty equiped with a can of bear spray, some underwear, and a backpack full of dehydrated food ( there might of been some other items essential for survival, too.) He organized his meals by day in ziploc gallon bags. Cute, but certainly not appetizing. At least not my style of appetizing but, then again, I've never spent a week hiking 10 miles a day with 50 pounds on my back and no shower. I'm sure then anything would be tasty. 
Nevertheless, after a few days of making his own meals in a plastic pouch, he was missing me. I don't think we made it to the front door before he started a running list of all the meals I needed to make him asap. Before kissing me hello, he requested this jerk chicken... and, I get it. I would totally understand if this was his LAST meal request. This is some good chicken. And, it's really fun to place a plate piled with browned and juicy chicken  in front of a man who's just spent a week with three non-showered guys in a leaky tent. It's good to be appreciated.

Jerk Chicken
Gourmet, May 2002

There's no standard recipe for jerk chicken. Some are screamin' hot while others really allow you to feel the complex warming spices. Jerk chicken typically shows up in mid summer cookouts but I think it's great for early fall when I am craving some cinnamon and nutmeg. I used serrano peppers in this version but you can turn up the heat with habaneros or scotch bonnets.

For the marinade:

3 scallions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 to 5 fresh chiles ( Serrano, Scotch Bonnet, Habenero...your choice), stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Chicken
Roughly 3 lbs of chicken, portioned- I used 10 drumsticks but you could use any combination of dark or white meat.

1.Add ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.

2.Place marinade in a large Ziploc bag ( or, two bags if needed) and add chicken, shaking to coat. Sealm pressing out any excess air and place bag in a shallow dish ( to avoid any drippage.) Marinate for at least 2 hours and up to a day in the fridge.)

3.Remove chicken from fridge one hour prior to grilling.

For Gas Grill
Preheat burners on high, then adjust heat to moderate. Cook chicken until well browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust heat to low and cook chicken, covered with lid, until cooked through, about 25 minutes more.

For Charcoal Grill ( from Epicurious)

Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Light a large chimney of charcoal briquettes (about 100) and pour them evenly over 1 side of bottom rack (you will have a double or triple layer of charcoal).

When charcoal turns grayish white and you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds, sear chicken in batches on lightly oiled rack over coals until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Move chicken as seared to side of grill with no coals underneath, then cook, covered with lid, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Skillet Cornbread

First- I'm calling this summer officially completed.
Now-Enter skillet cornbread. Nothing is tastier on a crisp fall day than some old-fashioned beans and skillet cornbread. ( wishful thinking here in OK... not quite there yet.)
I'll get to the beans someday but let's devote our attention where attention is due. Look at those crisp brown edges...those buttery crevices ( buttery crevices?)...the rustic presentation....  Okay, quit looking. Just go make some. You'll never use a boxed mix again.

Skillet Cornbread
Adapated from The Pioneer Woman

The key to this cornbread is a piping hot skillet and a properly preheated oven so don't rush it! Also, you can make this in a casserole or baking dish but that hot skillet really sends those browned edges into a whole new realm of tastiness. LodgeLogic makes high quality and affordable cast iron skillets ( and a panini grill and press that would make a really great birthday present for someone...just sayin.)


¼ cup plus two Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup Yellow Corn Meal
½ cup All-purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup Buttermilk ( don't sweat if you don't have it... just add a Tbsp. of lemon juice to a cup of milk and let sit at room temp. for 5 minutes- Voila! Buttermilk!)
½ cup Milk
1 large Egg
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda  ( PLEASE, don't confuse the baking powder and baking soda measurements. It tastes nasty when you do. Trust me.)

1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Melt butter
3. Combine cornmeal, flour and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine egg, buttermilk, and milk.
4. Join in happy matrimony the wet and dry ingredients you just combined until just incorporated.
5. Sprinkle in baking soda and baking powder- Stir.
6. Add in melted butter, stirring constantly. Also, start preheating your skillet over medium to medium high.
7. When your pan is hot, add the two Tbsps. butter reserved and spread along the sides and bottoms to coat. Pan should be hot enough to readily melt the butter but not hot enough to scorch it.
8. Add batter to hot skillet.Smooth with a spatula and let set for 15-20 seconds.
9. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and beautiful.