Sunday, May 24, 2009

Grilled Chicken

I always say anything worth cooking is worth grilling! In this heat when the sun goes down I want to grill. What? Chicken again? I had to stay a step ahead of my family or my BBQ Chicken with Slicks sauce would get old fast. I love the ease and simplicity of all of these recipes. Marinating chicken is great because it absorbs flavors very well; nearly anything goes. Keep brushing it while cooking as this will enhance the flavor and keep it moist. You can follow the instructions for the part of chicken used in each recipe or switch it to what you like. Citrus, fruits, and herbs play a big part in these recipes. Most of the sauces are quite simple. The challenge in grilling chicken is to cook it long enough so that the inside of the chicken is done without the outside being charred. Also over cooked chicken is really dry and tough.

Basic Steps to Grill a Chicken

1. Buy chicken parts or cut up a whole chicken. Remove skin and fat, if desired, then rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Prepare a bed of medium-hot coals in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-hot. Coat the grill rack with oil or nonstick spray for easier cleanup later.
3. Prepare the chicken as per the recipe. Place chicken parts on grill rack.
4. Cook chicken for about 30 to 45
Minutes. Turn chicken every 10 minutes for even cooking.
6. Check for doneness by cutting into the middle of a piece of chicken. The juices should run clear when you cut into the thickest part of the piece.
7. Serve immediately or cool, chill and serve cold.

Grilled Key Lime Chicken With Black Bean Sauce

3 pounds chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1-cup key limejuice
1-tablespoon honey
3/4-cup water
1/2-teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
2-tablespoon olive oil
1inch ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients except chicken in blender or food processor. Process until combined well. Pour over chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Grill over hot coals, turning once, until done. Garnish with cilantro and lime slices.

Black Bean Sauce Ingredients:
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 quart Chicken Stock
4 cloves garlic minced
One bunch of cilantro, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch cayenne Pepper

Prepare Black Bean Sauce while chicken is marinating. Place beans in a large saucepan or soup pan, and add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours.

Grilled Ginger Chicken
5 pounds chicken legs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-teaspoon salt
Juice of 3 oranges
4 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1-tablespoon brown sugar
1-1/2 inch ginger, peeled and minced
1/4-cup canola oil

Rinse the chicken and dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with the garlic and salt; place in a heavy plastic bag. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate in a cool place for at least one hour or refrigerate for up to two days. Prepare the grill. When the coals are medium hot, drain the chicken and cook over the coals, turning after 10 minutes and basting them frequently with the marinade, for a total of 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. If the chicken is browning too quickly, move to a cooler part of the grill. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Basil Grilled Chicken

4 chicken breast halves
1/3-cup butter melted
1/4 cup fresh basil -- chopped
1-tablespoon Parmesan cheese -- grated
3 cloves garlic
Pinch Salt and pepper
Basil; sprigs for Garnish

Sprinkle Salt and pepper onto meaty sides of chicken breast halves. Combine softened butter, the basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Brush on chicken. Grill chicken over med coals 8 - 10 min on each side, basting frequently w/ marinade.

Caribbean Chicken with Avocado Relish

5 pounds Chicken
(12 small pieces or 6 large
3 Cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 3 Oranges
1 cup Peanut oil
1 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in
Adobo sauce
1-cup cilantro leaves

Peel the garlic and put in food processor work bowl. Squeeze in 1 cup orange juice and remaining marinade ingredients; process until pureed; transfer to a Heavy Bag rinse chicken, pat dry and add to marinade insuring chicken is covered completely; cover and refrigerate 12 hours or up to 2 days. Remove chicken from marinade and let drain; grill turning once during cooking until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a skewer, about ten minutes. Transfer chicken to serving plate; spoon 1/4 cup relish along side chicken.

Avocado Relish
1large Tomato, diced
2 Avocados; peeled, pitted and diced
1 Red onion- diced
2 Clove garlic - minced
3 Scallions - thinly sliced
1 Jalapeno seeded and minced
1 Lime
1 Orange
1/2 bunch cilantro, minced cilantro
Splash red-pepper sauce
Splash Worcestershire sauce
Salt & freshly ground black
Pepper to taste

Put tomato and avocado in medium bowl; squeeze lime and 2 orange juices; add remaining ingredients; mix well and set aside.
(May be covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours).

Grilled Chicken, Plantain and Pineapple Skewers

8 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
2 plantains, ripe, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2-cup pineapple juice
1/2-cup limejuice
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-cup canola oil
Pineapple Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)

On eight 10-inch skewers, thread chicken, pineapple and plantains, alternating ingredients. Set skewers on a tray with sides or in a glass-baking dish. In small bowl, stir together pineapple juice, limejuice, oregano and garlic cloves. Pour pineapple juice mixture over skewers, turning to coat all sides thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours, turning skewers occasionally. Before cooking chicken, prepare pineapple sauce. Prepare grill. When coals are hot, lift skewers out of marinade and brush lightly with canola oil. Grill over medium-hot coals for about 20 minutes, turning often. Stir remaining marinade into sauce. Boil sauce over hot stove, stirring often, for 4 minutes. Serve skewers hot, passing Pineapple Dipping Sauce separately.

Pineapple Dipping Sauce:
In medium bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons vegetable oil; 1 large onion, minced; 1 (10-ounce) jar of pineapple fruit spread and remaining marinade. Boil as instructed before serving.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Memorial Day BBQ

Several years ago a friend of mine came over for a Barbeque armed with a package of ground beef and a box of Hebrew Nationals. She said that she was so tired of Barbeques where it was all “fancy” foods! While I love to grill fish, shrimp, a nice rib eye and vegetables I must admit that as a caterer my best selling Barbeque does not include any of these. I create a custom menu for each clients needs, but this menu works really well for any summer Barbeque party. These recipes are easily doubled or tripled depending on your crowd. And the salads can stand out for the afternoon so it can eliminate the need for starters or appetizers. (I like to keep the food inside if possible, or a the least in the shade.) I usually grill chicken breasts because that is what I like, but I am always surprised at how popular legs are. A bit less expensive and easy to handle. This menu is very well rounded and there is something for everyone. If you know your guests and have a large amount of vegetarians you can always add veggie burgers. People always just rave about my cheeseburgers. I am a bit embarrassed to say but the juiciest burgers come from the higher fat content. Good for a special occasion. I often make the burgers mini so people can nosh on a little bit of everything. I like the fruit finish, but anything chocolate would be great, too! We have published some of these recipes in previous Sun columns, but I thought it would be nice to have them all together. So double, triple and just say the more the merrier and have a wonderful Barbeque party.

Summer BBQ Party
Mini Turkey Burgers with Ginger, Cranberry and a Wasabi Mustard Sauce
Mini Slider Cheeseburgers
Chicken with Slicks BBQ Sauce
Mix Baby Greens with Herb Vinaigrette
Roasted New potatoes with Garlic and Mint
Spicy Bun Bun Noodles
Orzo Salad with Herbs and Grilled Vegetables
Melons and berries

Turkey Burger with Cranberries and Ginger

1-pound ground Turkey
2 scallions, thinly chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Splash soy sauce
4 burger buns or rolls
1 cup Asian lettuce mix

In a medium bowl mix the turkey, scallions, cranberries, garlic. ginger, red pepper and soy sauce. Divide into 4 patties. Over medium coals place on BBQ (or skillet or stovetop grill) and cook for 10 minutes and flip and cook 5-10 minutes longer. Serve on a bun with 1/4-cup Asian lettuce, Chinese style mustard and wasabi mustard. (In a small bowl whisk together 1/4-cup Dijon Mustard and 1 tablespoon wasabi paste.)

Slicks BBQ Sauce
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2-cup dark brown sugar
1 Shakes Worchester
4 shakes Tabasco
1 clove garlic minced
1-tablespoon black pepper
1-teaspoon celery salt
1 heaping teaspoon chili powder
4 tablespoons French’s mustard
1 cup Heinz ketchup
Mix all ingredients in an empty and clean 1/2-gallon milk jug. It is best to make a couple of days a head. Shake vigorously at least twice a day.
Minty Roasted Potatoes
FYI: I have discovered the is also amazing with dill instead of mint!

16 New Potatoes
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
8 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

Pre-heat oven to 350
Prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork and arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them in a serving bowl. While they are still hot, toss them with the oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Gently toss in the mint. This twist on a potato salad can be served warm or at room temperature.

Spicy Noodles
1 pound dry pasta- spaghetti or angel hair
1-cup smooth peanut butter
3 Tbsp. Sugar
1/2-cup soy sauce
1 tsp. Chile pepper flakes
3 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame oil
3 Tbsp. Minced garlic
3 Tbsp. Canola oil
Garnishes- slivered carrots, green onions, red pepper s, fresh cilantro, and sesame seeds, toasted peanuts

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water. Drain the noodles, let stand and use the warm pot to make the sauce. (It helps with the thickness of the peanut butter)

Whisk the rest of ingredients until blended. Mix in the pasta. Let Stand in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Before serving toss with the garnishes of your choice.
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
2 boxes (16 ozs) orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups feta cheese, diced
2 cucumbers, diced
2 red peppers, diced
2 pounds asparagus, grilled and chopped
2 cans large olives, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-cup basil, chopped
1-cup virgin olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
Splash green Tabasco (to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté 1 box of the orzo until golden brown. In a large soup pot bring water to a boil and cook all orzo until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once orzo has cooled, in serving bowl mix orzo, olives, feta, red peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, parsley and basil. In small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice and green Tabasco. Mix into salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate and chill before serving.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day Brunch

"We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
-Julia Ward Howe, Mother’s Day, 1819

Being a mother is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I have such respect for my mother and my grandmothers because it is also by far the most challenging. I have never worked so hard and juggled so much. (As I write this my daughter is laying on the couch with a fever and tippy tummy, totally shifting my day!) No matter what is going on and how sorry I can feel for myself, when Emma Rose giggles nothing else matters. I look in my little girl’s eyes and understand unconditional love. The journey to becoming a better mother has also taught me to be a better daughter, sister and friend. It has made me more aware of everything from pesticides to air pollution to how sensitive children can be to some of the harsher sides of this world. It has taught me a level of compassion that I did not know existed.
As Mother’s Day quickly approaches I sit and ponder what I want on this special day. Well aside from anything chocolate or in that” little blue box,” I can’t think of a thing. Nothing could make me happier than hanging out with my family and celebrating all of the amazing mothers that have so touched my life. I always say the more the merrier and I love a big family brunch. And like any mother hanging with our kids and watching them create and grow is so special. I have created a mothers day brunch for a crowd that with a little supervision children of all ages can participate in. (That would be dad or a friend hint…hint…so mom can sleep in a bit!) A waffle bar is so much fun. A great way to do waffles is right at the table. If you have or can borrow, several waffle irons running together work well. While all the kids can help with the batter, an adult or older child should man the waffle irons. If you want to make them earlier in the day you can re warm them in a 400-degree oven for 6 minutes or until crispy and warm. Have the butter, syrups and sauces on the table and let everyone make their own. My friend Wendy has been making cream cheese eggs for her mom JoJo since she was a kid. They are really simple and can be served as part of the waffle buffet or on their own with bagels, slices of tomatoes, onions and smoked salmon. Have the little ones pick out fresh fruit and make a festive fruit salad. Mostly have fun and be creative and celebrate the most amazing women in your life.

2 egg yokes
2 cups milk
2 cups flour
1-tablespoon baking powder
1/2-teaspoon salt
1/3-cup oil
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat waffle maker. Spray with bakers Joy or brush oil evenly. This will help the waffles not stick. Put all ingredients except egg whites in a large mixer bowl. Beat on low until moistened. Increase to medium, mix until smooth. In a clean medium-mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff peak form. By hand, gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour 1/2-cup batter over griddle. Close waffle maker; bake until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite topping.

Blueberry Waffles
Follow above recipe then fold 2 cups fresh blueberry into batter. . Pour 1/2-cup batter over griddle. Close waffle maker; bake until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite topping.
Chocolate Chip Waffles
Follow the above recipe then fold 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (or one-cup regular) into batter. . Pour 1/2-cup batter over griddle. Close waffle maker; bake until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite topping.

Sourdough Waffles
These are a little more time consuming, but kind of like a science project for the kids! I have been making sourdough breads, biscuits, pancakes and waffles since I was a kid. It is really a blast!
1 1/2 cups Sourdough Starter
1/2-cup milk
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1-cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1-teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, salt, baking powder and flour. In a large bowl whisk together egg, butter, milk and starter. Add to the flour mixture and stir until well mixed. Let stand covered for 1 hour. Spray the waffle iron with bakers joy. Using a four-ounce ice cream scoop pour the batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden. Repeat until all the batter is gone and serve with butter and maple syrup.

Sourdough Starter

1 Package dry yeast
1-cup warm water
1 cup warn nonfat milk
2 cups flour
In a medium bowl mix yeast over water. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix in warm milk. Add flour; mix to blend then beat until smooth. Transfer to a large container. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then with a towel and let stand at room temperature 24-48 hours… until mixture smells sour….
Stir down upon occasion. It will be quite active for several hours after it is prepared. Use starter or refrigerate in a tightly covered container until ready to use. Between uses, refrigerate and bring it to room temp between uses. Replenish by using equal parts of flour and nonfat milk. (For example, if you use one cup of starter, mix one cup each of warm milk and flour and let stand until bubbly and refrigerate, tightly covered, until ready to use again. Or until you clean out your fridge…then when you are in the mood…start again!!

Chocolate Waffles with Raspberry Sauce

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons butter
1-cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
1/4-teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm. In large bowl whisk together flour, sugar baking powder, baking soda. In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks and buttermilk. Meanwhile in the small bowl of an electric mixer beat egg whites until stiff. Mix the yolks and buttermilk with the flour mixture. Fold in the whites. Spray the waffle iron with bakers joy and place 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup in the center of the iron. Close the lid and cook about 5 minutes until waffle is cooked through and dark golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve at once with powder sugar and raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce
3 cups fresh raspberries
2-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-cup sugar

Puree the raspberries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Transfer the berry mixture into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and whisk together until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Wendy’s Cream cheese eggs for a crowd
My dear friend and designer Wendy Lorenz c can make anything look amazingly beautiful, but can only cook about three things! What she does…. she does so well! These are no exception!

3 tablespoons butter
1 dozen eggs
1/2-cup milk
1/2-cup cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet melt butter over medium/high. In a large bowl whisk together eggs milk, salt and pepper. Pour into skillet and scramble until soft. Add the cream cheese and continue to scramble until eggs are firm and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Traditional pesto is a sauce made from fresh basil, garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts. It is of Italian origin, and the word pesto means "pounded," It got its name because it was made by grinding the ingredients together by hand with a mortar and pestle. How far we have come since then! I still make my great grandmothers even though I use a blender! My grand mothers always turned her nose at her mother’s pesto because it was not a delicacy as it is today, but something you had when you could not afford meat! It is the best I have ever tasted and I serve it often. Because I love to play with my food and a girlfriend has an amazing organic herb garden and is constantly giving me herbs I have come up with other varieties. These pestos are great with pasta, ravioli, vegetarian lasagna, and pizza and over grilled chicken and fish. I love them over grilled portabella mushrooms as well as mixed with scrambled eggs. I even mix these pestos with a bit of balsamic and use them for dipping warm fresh bread. It is lighter than most sauces and is quick and easy. Remember to use the freshest ingredients and have fun and adjust the flavors to the herbs and cheese that you like!

Little Noni’s Pesto
5 large garlic cloves
1-cup pine nuts (or Walnuts work as well)
5 cups packed fresh basil
1-cup fresh parsley
1 cup fresh Parmigiano, coarsely grated
1 1/2 cup olive oil
In a blender or food processor mix garlic, nuts, basil, parsley and cheese and process until finely chopped. With motor running add oil mixing until incorporated. This will be enough sauce for one pound of pasta or for one tray of lasagna.

Lemon Dill Pesto
1 bunch dill
2 cloves garlic
1/2-cup walnuts
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
1/2-cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Make about 1 cup.

Arugula Pesto

2 cups Arugula leaves
4 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Asiago cheese
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup Pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

In blender or food processor place arugula, garlic and cheese and blend until smooth. Slowly add olive oil and nuts. Blend until desired consistency. Makes 1 cup.

Beet and Sage Pesto
4 beets
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Red onion, chopped
6 sage leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 cup Walnuts, toasted
1/3-cup olive oil

Trim the greens from the beets. Wash and then roast in a 350 oven for about 40 minutes until fork tender. When cool enough to handle peel them and set aside. In a skillet heat oil and cook onions, jalapeno pepper and garlic. Transfer to a processor or blender and puree with the cooked beets and add the rest of ingredients and puree again, adding more olive oil if necessary. Makes about 2 cups.

Mixed Herb Pesto
2 tablespoons Pine nuts
4 Cloves garlic
2 cups spinach
3/4-cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup Arugula leaves
1/2-cup oregano leaves
1/4-cup thyme leaves
1/4-cup chives
2 tablespoons Parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a blender or a food processor puree all of the ingredients except the oil. . With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute. Process until well blended. Makes about 2 cups.

Cilantro Pesto
1 cup packed cilantro
1/4-cup olive oil
2-tablespoon pine nuts or 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4-cup Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In food processor or blender, whirl cilantro, oil and nuts until
smooth; transfer to large bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Rosemary Olive Walnut Pesto
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bunch parsley
1 cup black olives
1-cup walnuts
1/2 cup Romano cheese
1/2-cup olive oil

In a blender or a food processor puree all of the ingredients except the oil. . With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute. Process until well blended. Makes about 2 cups.

Asian Pesto
1-cup radish sprouts
1-cup cilantro.
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
1-tablespoon limejuice
1-cup almonds
Pinch Chinese Five Spice
1-tablespoon sesame oil
5-tablespoons peanut oil

In a blender or a food processor puree all of the ingredients except the oil. . With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute. Process until well blended. Makes about 2 cups.