Posts Tagged 'water'

BBQ Chicken

You don’t have to be a pitmaster to make finger-lickin’ good barbecue chicken. These tips and tricks will have you mastering the grill like a pro.

First, start with the sauce.  Whereas bottled sauces are a tasty convenience, homemade sauces can be much tastier. Surprisingly easy to whip up using pantry staples, homemade sauces have a fresher and brighter flavor than their packaged counterparts. The recipe below is a basic barbecue sauce. But you can doctor it up by adding ingredients like honey, hot sauce and even bourbon to make your own signature sauce.

When preparing your chicken for the grill, be sure to let the meat stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before putting it on the grates.  Taking away the chill will help your chicken cook more evenly and quickly.

For a boost of flavor, an easy trick is to season the chicken with a spicy dry rub instead of just salt and pepper. Brushing the chicken with a little oil before adding the rub will not only help the rub better adhere to the meat but will also help prevent sticking on the grill.

Two-zone grilling is especially helpful for cooking foods like bone-in chicken. Sear the chicken first over direct heat and then move it to an area with no heat to finish cooking by indirect heat. To create an indirect heating zone on your gas grill, simply turn off the burners on one side.  For a charcoal grill, place the hot coals only on one side of the grill. Also, closing the lid is essential when using indirect grilling. A closed lid helps the grill mimic an oven and evenly cook the chicken.

Finally, the key to perfect barbecue chicken is to apply the sauce when the chicken is almost done. This prevents the sauce from burning.

Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken

From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

For the Homemade Barbecue Sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Barbecue Chicken:

Vegetable oil, for grates
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds mixed chicken parts, such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings
1 cup barbecue sauce

To make the barbecue sauce:

In a large saucepan combine the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, red pepper flakes, onion powder, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 to 25 minutes. Measure out 1 cup of sauce. Refrigerate the remaining sauce for another time.

To make the chicken:

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

In a small bowl combine the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2  teaspoon pepper. Brush the chicken with the olive oil. Generously season the chicken with the dry rub.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until no longer pink in the middle, about 12 to 15 minutes per side. During the final 5 minutes of cooking, baste the chicken with the barbecue sauce. Remove the chicken from grill.

Serves 4.

The Photo was taken by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

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Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is the quintessential Louisianan comfort food. Nothing satisfies like steaming bowl of tender flavorful beans over classic white rice.

My uncle makes the best version.  The key is to start with good dried beans.  According to him, the best out there are Camellia Red Kidneys.  It’s the Louisiana brand he has been using his whole life … and the same one my grandmother used when she taught him this recipe oh so many years ago.

Whenever I go to New Orleans, I always pick up a few bags of this iconic dried bean.  I couldn’t imagine making this dish without them.  (If you don’t regularly visit the Big Easy, you can order them on-line.) To be honest though, my preference may be fairly rooted in the nostalgia of using my grandmother’s recipe and I am sure that any good dried red kidney bean would work if you don’t have easy access to the Camellia brand.

The hardest part about this recipe is remembering to soak the beans the night before!  It truly is a simple one to master and destined to become a favorite.

Enjoy!

Red Beans and Rice
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

1 pound dried red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted over
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup seeded and finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/4 cup finely sliced celery (about 1 rib)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound smoked ham hock
1/2 pound smoked Andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
10 cups water
6 cups cooked white rice, warm

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ham hock and sausage and cook, stirring, to brown the ham hocks and sausage, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and water.

Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water while cooking if necessary.

Remove the ham hock from the pot and pull the meat from the bones. Roughly chop the meat and return it back to the pot of beans. Adjust seasonings as needed. Discard the bay leaves. Spoon over white rice to serve.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Add Tabasco® or your favorite hot sauce for a little heat.

Do-Ahead: Cooked red beans store very well in the refrigerator. Some even say they taste better the second day!

Halloween Monster Bash

My motto for Halloween … “Don’t let the little werewolves go home hungry!”

At our annual Halloween party, I serve up treats like “Spider” PB and J sandwiches, “Skeleton” rib bones, and “Mummy” hot dogs.  Not sure who enjoys the menu more, the kids or the adults! To wash it all down, we make “Worm” Punch or serve apple cider with cinnamon “twigs.

It’s all about fun foods for the whole family. My kids love to get in on the action and help prepare our ghoulishly good feast!

Devilishly Good Halloween Menu
Spider Sandwiches
Rib Bones
Mummy Dogs
Worm Punch

Go all out this All Hallows’ Eve and fill your table with these frighteningly fun party foods.

Happy Halloween!!!

Spider Sandwiches

Serves 12

24 slices wheat sandwich bread
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups grape or strawberry jelly
24 raisins
2 cups Cheetos

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut a circle from each bread slice.  Discard the edges. Spread about 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 tablespoon jelly on half of the bread rounds. Lay three Cheeto “legs” on each side of the bread rounds. Top with the remaining bread slices.  Make 2 small indentions on the top of each sandwich for the “eyes.”  Press a raisin into each. 

Mummy Dogs

Serves 10

1 can (11 oz.) refrigerated bread sticks
10 hot dogs
20 capers
French’s Yellow Mustard

Heat oven to 375°F.

Unroll the dough. Using 1 dough strip for each, wrap hot dogs to look like mummies. Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Press 2 capers on each for “eyes.”

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature with French’s Yellow Mustard on the side.

Worm Punch

Serves 12

1 0.13-oz. package lemon-lime Kool-Aid
1 cup sugar
8 cups water
1 6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
4 cups ginger ale
Worm cubes (ice cubes with gummy worms frozen inside)

Empty the Kool-Aid package into a punch bowl. Add the sugar, then the water and stir until dissolved. Stir in the orange juice. Just before serving, add the ginger ale and worm cubes.  Garnish each cup with a gummy worm.

Adult variation: Add vodka to taste to turn this worm infested beverage into a “grown-up” libation.

***Photos by the talented Jay Adkins.  Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

Lemony Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

With its bright green leaves and stems of yellow, orange, and red, rainbow Swiss chard is by far the prettiest green around.  And in my opinion, the tastiest!

But I have to admit, for years I was not a greens fan.  I’d turn my nose at all different types: turnip, mustard, kale …. You name the variety; I was not going to eat it.

Then last year in my weekly Fall CSA, I kept getting a big bunch of Swiss Chard. The first bunch died in the back of my fridge.  The second week, I gave my Swiss Chard to a friend.  The third week I decided, “I have to give this a try.” Wasn’t one of the reasons I participated in a CSA to try new ingredients?

I called my friend Melissa (who had happily taken that second bunch of  Swiss Chard off my hands) and asked her how she prepared hers.

“Be sure not to overcook the Swiss Chard. Its flavor is best when it is just lightly sautéed ,”she advised.

So, I cooked it just like a do spinach …  sautéed with garlic in a little olive oil until just wilted.  

Before I took the first bite I wondered, “Is this even cooked enough?”  All the greens I had encountered on menus in the South had been cooked for hours … not minutes.

But Melissa was right!  Lightly sautéing is the trick!

As I continued to get Chard (and other greens) in my weekly CSA, I played around with a few other recipes. This lemony version is my favorite.  The lemon brightens the flavor of the greens and the pine nuts and golden raisins add a delicious texture.

Swiss Chard is in season in the Fall. Go out and give it a try.  Who knows?  This nutrient-packed green may become a favorite of your too!

Enjoy!

Lemony Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely-diced shallots
6 cups coarsely chopped rainbow Swiss chard leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the chard and cook, stirring, until the leaves just begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, water, lemon zest, and raisins. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender and the liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: I prefer rainbow Swiss chard due to its brightly colored veins, but varieties with only white or red veins are equally delicious.

Variation: For more texture and color use the stems in this dish as well. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces, add to the pan before adding the leaves and cook until the stems are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the leaves and continue with the recipe.

Note: A CSA (short for Community-Supported Agriculture) is also known as “subscription farming.” At the beginning of the growing season, you purchase a subscription from a local farmer just like you buy a subscription to magazine. But instead of receiving a magazine each week, shareholders receive a weekly supply of veggies, herbs, fruits and sometimes even eggs and meat. It’s a win-win for the customer and the farmer. The customer gets fresh, locally-grown foods.  The prepaid CSA fees are a source of financial security for the farmer.

Baked Cheese Grits

It’s just one of those days.  You know … one of those days when you are just craving something warm, cheesy and delicious. For a Southerner like me, nothing fits that bill like a big bowl full of Cheese Grits.

I always joke with my friends up North … “Do y’all even know what grits are?!”  (By the way, if you haven’t heard of them … it is always plural … never refer to this iconic Southern staple in the singular!) Basically, grits are made from coarsely ground corn. It’s the Southern version of Italy’s polenta.

Good old Martha White (of the flour fame) offers a very comprehensive definition on her Martha White’s Southern Cooking Glossary:

Grits are related to corn meal, since both are made from dried corn. Grits are just more coarsely ground than corn meal. White grits made from white corn are the most familiar; however, yellow grits made from yellow corn also are available. Whole ground grits are made by grinding the whole corn kernel, including the bran, germ and hard starchy endosperm. Quick and regular grits, the two most popular types, cook much more quickly. They’re made by tempering dried corn, removing the brand and germ, then grinding the hard starchy endosperm. Instant grits are cooked and dehydrated before packaging and are prepared by adding hot water.

In my baked cheese grits recipe, I use quick-cooking white grits since they give this dish a deliciously creamy texture. For a “grittier” texture, you can substitute stone-ground grits.  (Just keep in mind that stone-ground grits take much longer to cook so be sure to prepare them per the package directions before adding the cheese, butter, and eggs.)

This dish is one of those few exceptions that can be perfectly served at any meal … breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Enjoy!

Baked Cheese Grits
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking grits
3 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the grits and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the butter and 3 cups of the cheese until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the garlic and eggs until well combined.

Pour the grits into the prepared baking dish. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of the cheese across the top. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Serves 8 to 10. 

Cooking Tip: For an added kick, add chopped jalapeno peppers.

Double-Decker Peach Cobbler

When my friend Laurie Major told me about her grandmother’s peach cobbler I just had to give it a try. 

Mrs. Mohler made it with 3 layers of crust!  I am all about the crust, but am a little lazy at times. I have made this into a double-decker cobbler. But if you have an extra 10 or 15 minutes, you can add that third layer of pastry.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I thought it was so good I included it in my new cookbook Simply Suppers!

Enjoy!

Double-Decker Peach Cobbler
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
2 bags (16-ounce) frozen peaches, thawed, or 12 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (about 5 to 6 cups)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons bourbon
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 unbaked pie crusts (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pint vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and water and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peaches, lemon juice, bourbon, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir to coat, and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Evenly spoon 1/2 of the filling into the prepared dish. Top with a layer of pie crust. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon the remaining 1/2 of the filling evenly over the crust. Top with the second pie crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon over the top. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Serves  8.

Cooking Tip: To make the third layer, place a pie crust on the bottom of the pan. Par-bake the bottom crust for 10 minutes. Then layer as directed in the recipe above.

Time-Saving Tip: I love fresh peaches, but they can be a hassle to peel. Frozen peaches are in-season year-round and work just as well in this dish…without the extra work!

Freezes well.

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

My good friend Kristen Keegan won “Best in Show” at the Mid-South Fair with this cake.  Moist and delicious, it has just the perfect amount of lemony flavor. Serve it on its own or with freshly whipped cream and fresh berries.

Enjoy!

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened, plus extra to grease the loaf pan      
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra to flour the loaf pan
1/4 teaspoon baking powder                                 
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                
1/4 cup butter flavor all-vegetable shortening                     
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest 

For the Lemon Glaze:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted                              
1/2 cup granulated sugar                                             
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- X 5-inch loaf pan.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Add the reserved flour mixture and mix until well blended. Add the milk, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest and stir to blend. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about  60 to 70 minutes. While it is still in the pan, pierce several holes in the cake with a knife or skewer. Prepare the glaze and top before the cake is completely cooled or removed from the pan.

To make the glaze: In a small bowl combine the melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the glaze over the cake and let the cake sit in the pan until the glaze is fully absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8. 

Cooking Tips:

Cooking for a crowd? You can easily double this recipe and bake it in a Bundt pan.

For 1 tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest, you will need 1 large (or 2 small) lemons. For no waste, first zest your lemons and then juice them. 

Freezes well.

 

 


Jennifer Chandler

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