Sunday, September 30, 2012

Broiled chicken thighs

When a person spends several years perfecting a technique and he then wants to share it, the least he can hope for is to show it off well enough that folks want to take a good look at it. That's the case with these chicken thighs. Details below, but notice that I have cut the meat away from the bone slightly on the non-skin side. According to Jacques Pepin this is a good technique for even cooking. Maybe, but it cost me all of 30 seconds to do it.

Broiled chicken thighs
5 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
ground Chinese 5-spice powder
garlic powder
black pepper

Brine the thighs for 2 hours, rinse thoroughly and dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them generously with the powders and pepper. Remember you don't need salt after the brining process. If you're not willing to brine, make a different recipe.

Place them skin side down on a greased rack on a baking pan and slide under the broiler (at least 4 inches from heat source). Remember not to close the oven door all the way to avoid the heating element or gas flame from cycling off.

After 10 minutes turn the thighs skin side up and place back under the broiler. Keep an eye on them so that the skin does not burn. If they start to darken too much, turn the broiler off and the oven to 400 degrees. Close the door and cook the cute little devils to 170 degrees internal temp. Let them rest 5 minutes. Eat them, but not too quickly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Asian noodle bowl

First things first. The picture is really lousy (it is likely the worst pic I have ever posted here), but the good news is that I have finally gotten my cell phone to send pix to my email address. Now all I need to is hold the camera still and get more light. Anyhow - I made this one-dish Asian dinner in my wok tonight. I didn't measure anything, I did onion and both Chinese and Japanese sausage first, set them aside and did the baby bok choy while the udon noodles were stewing in some broth for 3 minutes. Tossed everything together and served it up in hot bowls. Here's what went into it:

Asian noodle bowl
1/2 an onion, cut into half moon slices
4 Japanese sausages
2 Chinese sausages
a bunch of baby bok choy, bottoms trimmed and leaves separated (it was probably 6 cups of leaves)
2 packs of udon noodles (about 4 oz)
2 handfuls of mung bean sprouts
ponzu sauce, a few splashes
Shiaoxing cooking wine, a few splashes

I guess I've done my duty by getting all that written down (it wasn't written down before I started cooking). In spite of the picture it was very tasty and filling.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Corned beef and dill pickles (at home)

I decided today to get pickled. Making corned beef and dills is not complicated, it just takes a little time to assemble and heat and cool the ingredients, and then 3 days waiting for the pickles and a few weeks waiting for the corned beef. There's no real need for me to post a recipe for these; you can find dozens of them via Google. I think I'll just outline the basic parameters of what's involved and you can decide if getting pickled and corned is for you.

I'll be reporting further on the results of the curing process when it's time to begin consuming the fruits of my waiting.

Corned beef - The one kinky thing about this is that I'm not using brisket. I have two different cuts of chuck I am experimenting with. I can't believe that the only beef that can be corned is brisket. It makes no sense. In any case, for this you make a "cure" which you bring to a boil on the stove, cool completely, and use to submerge the meat in. Then you have to wait. Alton Brown says 10 days. Other sources say 3 to 5 weeks, which corresponds more closely to what a meat market I frequented while living in Denver did in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day. Did you know that the Irish don't eat corned beef? That's what I'm told by an Irish shop owner we befriended in Denver told us.

Dills - I wouldn't have made these (well, I started making them and will get to eat some of them on Wednesday or Thursday of the coming week) except for the fact that I went way out into the burbs to a large Asain market a couple of days ago and found Kirby cukes there. I didn't know they were available at this time of the year. You need to bring water and vinegar and curing spices to a boil and pour it over the cukes. They sit out on your counter (covered and submerged) for 24 hours and then get shoved into the fridge for 3 days. I've made them several times before and they are delightful. My recipe, part of a collection of nearly 700 pages Peter and I photocopied and have kept in 3-ring binders for 25 years (the oldest among them), is the only one I've ever used. Don't mean there aren't a bunch of other ways to do it. Knock yourself out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dry rub for anything

The picture has absolutely nothing to do with this posting. I just happen to like it.

I got a decent price on a rack of St. Louis-style ribs the other day and I have them in the fridge right now coated in a dry rub. I got this list of ingredients from someone at FoodNetwork and I don't remember who. In comparing it to a few other options I have determined that it is suitable for any meat or poultry. The quantity was enough for the rack of ribs and a T-bone steak coming up on Monday.

Here it is just in case you'd like to have it filed away somewhere for a rainy (or not) day. BTW, I am cooking the ribs in the oven and low-ish temp for probably 4 hours. But you don't need to learn how to cook ribs from me. I make it up as I go along.

Dry rub for meat and poultry
2 Tbs espresso powder (or ground coffee)
2 Tbs kosher
2 Tbs paprika (smoked is great if you have it)
1 Tbs chile powder
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander

Rub all over your meat and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Yield is enough for a full rack of St. Louis-style ribs plus 4 chicken thighs.

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