October 24, 2008

Marcella's Indonesian Satay

Satay, if you're not familiar, is a dish of Indonesian origin: meat grilled on a skewer (in that way similar to Japanese yakitori and the well-known shish kebab) with spicy seasonings. The flavor comes from a marinade of sweet soy sauce and finishing with a peanut sauce dip. This particular meal was put together from a number of sources, most of Marcella's selection, and so reflects a unique take on the classic chicken satay. The overall plan is to make a marinade for the chicken, grill the chicken on the skewers, and then cover the chicken in our peanut sauce.
To make the marinade, mix in a bowl a tablespoon of the following ingredients: coriander, salt, sugar, crushed or powdered garlic, vegetable oil, regular soy sauce, and sweet soy sauce (which you may need to get at an Asian market). Toss the chicken, cut into small cubes (probably smaller than you see in these pictures), with this marinade and cover it for 45 minutes to an hour. When the chicken is ready, put a fair number on each skewer (here I chose eight, but you may want more if yours are cut smaller). Grill for about three or four minutes, rotating, grilling, rotating, and then grilling until the insides are well-cooked (this varies depending on how large the pieces of chicken are). To make the peanut sauce, we'll whip together smooth peanut butter with the sweet soy sauce we used in the marinade. Lime can be added to cut the taste and then add hot water until the sauce can be beaten down into something pourable (to smother the satay in) or dippable.
The ingredients for the marinade are a tablespoon each of:
  • ground coriander
  • salt
  • sugar
  • crushed garlic
  • vegetable oil
  • soy sauce
  • sweet soy sauce
The chicken used were fresh, boneless breasts (think about half a pound per person) on wooden skewers. The peanut sauce was made with:
  • smooth peanut butter
  • sweet soy sauce
  • lime to taste
  • and hot water to soften the mixture

October 19, 2008

Lamb with Lemon and Rosemary

In the mood for a quick dinner, but want something healthy and delicious? Try lamb! This meal can be cooked inside, which is good since it's only around 45 degrees outside (autumn in New York). Grilled lamb is very tender and easy enough to cook. Your kitchen, however, will smell like lamb for days afterwards.
Brush both sides of your lamb choices with lemon juice and season with the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Grill for 4 minutes and flip, cooking for another 4 (for rare). Remove and cover for a few minutes before serving. Marcella and I chose to add baked potatoes to this simple meal. Hmm, I don't have much else to say. Sorry for the delay in posting. Happy cooking!
The ingredients for this lamb (excluding the baked potato) for four people are:
  • four pieces of lamb (chops, shanks, or shoulders - whatever your preference)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh rosemary sprigs
  • plenty of salt and pepper for seasoning

October 9, 2008

Apple Strudel

I am back from my two week trip abroad and I come bearing recipes! This apple strudel was demonstrated in a cooking lesson on our Viking River cruise ship, the Viking Sky. I brought back the recipe and, since it's apple season here in the Northeast, thought I'd try another dessert. Desserts are tough and my past record hasn't been so bright, but maybe this would turn out better with Marcella's assistance! This strudel is prepared in two parts: making (and then rolling) the dough and preparing the stuffing which is wrapped in the dough before baking. Since this takes some explaining, I'll use a few more pictures than usual. Again, I made half the amount the recipe calls for, which the pictures reflect but the quantities listed don't.
Making the dough required some guess work, so I'll just give you my advice. On a smooth surface or bowl, combine 0.75 or so pounds of flour (with two tablespoons of butter and an egg) with just enough water to keep it held together but not enough for it to be sticky. You don't want to see cracks in the dough nor should you have to pull it off your hands as you knead it into a ball. Cover the dough and let sit for 45 minutes.
Start preparing the stuffing by cutting up half a pound of apples (this is about one apple). Combine with raisins, bread crumbs, cinnamon, rum (Marcella recommends Myers's - great for cooking, a little rough for shots), shredded nuts, and sugar. When the dough is ready, spread it out on a cloth or wax paper (aluminum foil like I used is not a smart choice). Push the dough out to the sides in a rough rectangle (also unlike my picture), keeping it as thin as possible without having any holes. Too thick dough at this stage will result in a tough shell at the end (as you'll see I ended up with).
Tough yet? Here's the hard part: you'll want to use the cloth or wax foil to roll the stuffing up in the dough by forming a 'U' and sort of pulleying it around the strudel until it's completely covered. Try and get it something like the picture above (but more attractive). I forgot this step, but you should paint the top with melted butter. Ooops! Bake this at 340 (a European temperature?) for 45 minutes. Make sure you don't bake the cloth (or wax foil?). Remove and serve hot! The Viking Sky team recommends with vanilla rum or vanilla ice cream (you gotta love these folks).
The ingredients as provided to me by the Viking Sky team (thanks, guys, you were fantastic!) is as follows (twice what I used) for the stuffing:
  • one pound of apples (about two apples, your preference of type, I used McIntosh)
  • 2 oz of raisins
  • 2.5 oz of bread crumbs (plain)
  • one tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 2 cl of rum (a shot or so, told you it was European)
  • 2 tablespoons of shredded nuts
  • a half cup of sugar
And for the dough:
  • 1,5 (1.5) pounds of flour
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • one or two eggs
  • water and a pinch of salt (to taste, ha, take it)