1/26/15

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers










Have you planned your Superbowl menu yet?
I thought it would be fun to create another recipe in honor of the Seahawks going to the big game. Again.
Last year, I posted an original recipe for Seahawk Sliders, a grilled salmon slider, complete with Sriracha mayo and my history with the Seahawks :) .  It was the hit of our party! We loved the Sriracha sauce so much, I decided to incorporate it into this dish as well.
This year, I'm sharing a recipe for a super simple chicken skewer. They are best when marinated for 24 hours, and then grilled on the bbq or on the stove. It takes less than 5 minutes to cook, then drizzle with some extra sauce, garnish and serve.
So simple and so very tasty. I'm predicting this will be our favorite appetizer at this year's Superbowl party.
You know what I'm going to say now.
Say it.  For all of my Seattle family and friend fans.
Seeeeeeaaaaa Haaaaaaaaawwwwwks! 
thanks.





Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Skewers
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

about 2-2 1/2 lbs chicken, boneless, skinless*

marinade ingredients:
1 cup Cola, not sugar free
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Aji- Mirin (Sweet Rice Vinegar)
1 cup prepared Teriyaki Sauce, I used Yoshida's or Very Teriyaki
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce (more if you like it hotter)
3-4 tablespoons honey

wood skewers about 12-24
for garnish:
Sesame seeds, toasted
chopped green onions, about 2-3

6-24 hours before serving:
Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl with whisk. Remove 1 cup of sauce from bowl, set aside in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Slice the chicken into one inch wide strips. If the breast meat is thick, you may slice the breast in half, then slice again the opposite way in long thin strips. The strips should be about 1" wide by 4-6 inches long, and about 1/2 inch thick.
Place the remaining sauce (that has not been saved for serving) in a Ziplock bag or a shallow pan with the chicken. Seal and refrigerate at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours. Move the chicken around a couple of times during marinating to insure all pieces are covered with sauce.
When ready to cook, discard sauce that was used to marinate chicken.
Thread the chicken onto the wood skewers and place on a baking sheet or a 9x13 pan.
Place the remaining reserved sauce in a small saucepan and heat for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until reduced and thickened a bit. Turn off heat.
Chop the green onion for garnish.
Heat a griddle or barbecue and grease lightly.
Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side at about 400 degrees, or until cooked through. Do not overcook, or the meat will dry out very quickly.
Place the cooked meat onto a tray. Drizzle with reduced sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with chopped green onions.
Serve immediately, or keep warm by covering with foil. Or refrigerate and serve cold. Do not garnish until ready to serve.


Tips:
-* I used boneless chicken breasts, boneless thigh pieces are also delicious.
-Before heating the sauce to drizzle on top of the chicken, I add about 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar for color and flavor. I like the way it adds a little more intense flavor to the sauce.
-If you would like to make this dish ahead, it's easy to do so!
Marinate the chicken. Follow directions for cooking. When the chicken is cooked, carefully place the skewers in a 9x13 pan and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator, let sit on counter for about 30 minutes. If serving warm, heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat uncovered on a cookie sheet in a single layer for about 3-5 minutes. Remove, and drizzle with sauce, garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve.


1/23/15

Fresh Lemon Ricotta Pancakes- Wildflower Bread Co. Copycat





For the past few years, we've spent a lot of time in Phoenix at baseball tournaments. Phoenix seems to be the chain restaurant capitol of the U.S. !  You know my rule about eating out while on the road, right?
Rule number one:
No eating at places we have back home.
Rule number two:
Refer to rule number one.

When we go on a baseball trip, I never really plan on eating good food due to two main reasons:
1. Baseball trips usually involve carting around boys who aren't interested in eating much besides pizza and burgers, and more pizza and burgers. And Powerade.
2. The games are usually at 8am and 3pm. Not always, but it seems like it.  Right when the thermometer hits about 118 degrees. By the time you return from the morning game, it's time to grab a quick lunch and head back to the field. After you've stuffed yourself with Red Vines, sunflower seeds and Diet Coke for the second time in one day, and if you're in Phoenix in June, all you want to do after the second game is pass out on your bed in the hotel room and cool off.
For the rest of your life the evening, then get up and start the process again.
It seems like the movie Groundhogs Day :)
Really though, all joking aside, good times. Great memories.


NorCal Valley 2014 18U team



These two.  Trouble.

Soaking baseball pants in the hotel tub.
The only way to get red dirt out.
Hot water, TIde and soaking. 

keeping cool. 

Championship game. West Coast Regional, USA Baseball.
we lost :(

Had to buy these shades for summer road trips...

Looking for good restaurants takes a back seat at ball tourneys.  I usually head into survival mode which means- try to find a place to eat that doesn't either fry their entire menu and/or are known for their drive thru!
Occasionally, I  get lucky and find a place like Wildflower Bread Company. It's an Arizona chain (on the approved list of chains for vacay dining, because it's not in Utah). I love Wildflower's Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. They're light and fluffy and taste far better than anything you're used to eating in a semi-fast food place, or any place, for that matter!
If you've never made pancakes from scratch, this recipe is quick and easy and something you'll be able to enjoy in just a few minutes after mixing together.   I promise you this- you'll wonder why you ever bought a box mix, and vow to never, ever go there again.







Fresh Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

2 eggs
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat griddle to medium high heat or 350 degrees. You may also wait to heat griddle until after the pancakes are mixed. I do this before mixing the batter because my griddle takes a while to fully heat.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add ricotta, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk together.
Add the water and whisk again.
Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt all at once. Mix just until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated.  Do not over mix. The batter does not need to be smooth. Let sit for a couple of minutes.
Grease hot griddle with little butter or oil.
Check the batter, it should be similar to the  consistency of a cake batter that can barely be poured.
Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out the pancake batter onto the griddle. Cook until the edges of the pancakes bubble and the bubbles pop. Flip the pancakes. Do not pat down. Do not flip more than once. The pancake is done when you quickly touch the middle of the pancake with a spatula, and the pancake springs back. If the batter is too thick, thin with a little water or milk.
Serve immediately with fresh blueberries and syrup.
Serves 4.

Tips:
-Bottled lemon juice may be substituted, but fresh is best.
-This recipe is easily doubled, if doubling, you may use 3 eggs instead of 4.


1/19/15

Banana Bread with Coconut Oil













A while back, a reader suggested I try using coconut oil instead of butter in my favorite banana bread recipe. I was a bit hesitant, but so glad I switched out coconut oil for butter because the result was
W O W! Sometimes a fat substitution = less flavor, or inferior flavor, or a less than desirable texture. Not so with coconut oil.




Opinions differ on the benefits of coconut oil, but most critics agree coconut oil is better for your body than butter.  If it's better for you, and taste is not compromised, I'm in.
I also experimented a bit with a pineapple banana bread and a chocolate loaf variation.
Loved all three, recipes below.
Give it a try.
I think you'll love it too.







Banana Bread with Coconut Oil 
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe, mashed bananas

Grease and line (with parchment paper) one large or two medium loaf pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place rack in middle of oven.
Place the coconut oil, sugars and vanilla in a bowl. Mix on medium speed until oil and sugars are combined and smooth. Add eggs. Beat for an additional minute on medium speed, add buttermilk until combined.
Add all dry ingredients. Mix on low speed just until wet and dry ingredients are combined, about 20 seconds. Add mashed bananas and mix on low for about 1-2 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl one time to make sure the ingredients are all incorporated. Blend until bananas are mixed in well with other ingredients. Do not over mix, do not mix on high speed.
Spoon batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (for two medium pans) 50-55 minutes for one large loaf pan, or until toothpick inserted in middle of loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. When the loaf is touched in the middle, the loaf should spring back.

Pineapple-Coconut Bread
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Chocolate Banana Bread
same ingredients as original banana bread with the addition of:
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Add the cocoa powder and chocolate chips at the same time the flour is added to the bowl. Mix as directed.

Tips:
-To line the pans with parchment, I place the paper on a counter, then place the pan on top of the paper. Trace around the bottom of the pan with a pen, then cut out the shape and place in the bottom of the pan. I usually double or triple the paper and cut several out at one time. You may also purchase pre cut liners in a baking supply store. I always recommend using a liner so the bread does not stick to the bottom of the pan. I also always grease with spray oil the bottom and sides of the pan to insure the bread does not stick.
-For the best banana bread, the bananas should be very ripe. I use bananas that have black skins and are so soft, they can easily be mashed with a fork in a small bowl. If the bananas are extremely ripe, and you are using a stand mixer, the bananas may be added whole and will easily break up with the use of a paddle attachment.
-Remember, do not over mix the bread. If the mixer is set on a high setting, air will be mixed into the batter and the bread will have a light texture, instead of a dense texture, which is desired in a quick bread.
-If you have an abundance of bananas and no time to make banana bread:
Peel the whole, ripe bananas.
Place the whole bananas in a ziplock bag. Freeze until ready to use.
When ready to use, thaw on counter, or place in microwave for a few minutes or until softened and thawed. Drain any water off of thawed bananas before using.