Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Teriyaki chicken

It appears the new trend on FaceBook is to post a photo of a dish, then share the recipe that goes along with it.  The only problem?  In most cases, the recipe doesn't yield the result shown in the photo.  With so many people feeling like they can't cook, even with a basic recipe, these fake recipes kind of irritate me.  Cooking really isn't difficult, and it can be very easy, provided you have a *real* recipe.

To debunk these fake recipes floating around on FaceBook, I decided to try the "crock pot teriyaki chicken". From the moment I read the recipe, I knew it wasn't going to work.  The photo showed beautifully browned chicken chunks, in a thick glaze.  Meat will not brown in liquid, slow cooked in a crock pot, and a glaze is only possible from liquid when a thickening agent (flour, cornstarch, etc.) is used to tighten it up, or through a process called 'reduction'.

I did like the idea of slow cooking the chicken, though, so I did an adaptation that should satisfy those who want to believe in "crock pot teriyaki chicken", but would like a recipe that actually yields something resembling the accompanying photo.  Here is how I did mine.


Ingredients:

1-2 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, and extra for glazing chicken (use prepared or make your own)
Sesame oil
1/2 lb. green beans, sorted, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced
Sesame seeds, toasted

Directions:

If you're feeling adventurous, I recommend making your own teriyaki sauce.  It's easy, and you can control the flavor by adjusting the ingredients to your desired taste.  Like less salt?  Use low sodium soy.  Like a bit of a bite?  Add some red pepper flakes.  Whatever you wish.

To your crock pot, or slow cooker, add the chicken broth and 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce, and whisk to combine.  Set temperature to low.  Add chicken chunks, and cook for 4-5 hours, or until cooked through, and fork tender.

When chicken is done, drain with a strainer, and set aside.

To a wok, add 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil, and set heat to high.  When oil is heated, add green beans, and cook until lightly charred, and tender, tossing continually, for about 3-4 minutes.  Add drained chicken and water chestnuts, and continue cooking until chicken develops a light char, about a minute.  Add teriyaki sauce, a couple tablespoons at a time, until a glaze develops, and all pieces are lightly coated when tossed.


Serve over a bed of steamed rice, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Teriyaki sauce

I love this recipe.  It's easy, keeps in the fridge, and makes a nice, lightly sweetened sauce that can be used in several different dishes.  Use it in stir fry, as a sauce on a burger, or toss a bit with your favorite pasta, and top with sesame seeds and bean sprouts.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups cool water
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-1/2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, and whisk well.  Transfer to a medium saucepan, and over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook until sauce darkens and begins to thicken.  Remove from heat, cover pan with a dish towel, and allow to cool.  Transfer to an air tight container, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use (up to a week).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cream cheese pound cake with strawberry glaze

There is little I like better than a truly special pound cake, and this recipe makes exactly that...


It really defies description.  I can't tell you where I got the recipe.  It's been long ago, and my memory fades. I wish I knew, because I'd love to pay tribute to the recipe creator.

The flavor, texture and color are all pound cake, but there is something else.  I can't quite put my finger on it. If you make it, you will understand.

This time I decided to add a strawberry glaze, as fresh strawberries are not yet in season, and won't be for a while.  It turned out to be a lovely compliment to the pound cake, and using frozen strawberries, it makes this glaze an 'any season' treat.



Ingredients (cake):

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Ingredients (strawberry glaze):

2 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed
1-3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour a bundt or tube pan.

In a large bowl, combine the first three ingredients until well distributed, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar, and beat on speed 2 until creamy.   With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined.  Add extracts, continue to beat.

Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl.  Add dry ingredients, slowly, with the mixer running, until a thick batter forms.

Transfer batter to your prepared pan, and bake until the top is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven, allow to cool about 15 minutes in the pan, then invert pan over a wire rack to remove, and let cake cool completely.

While cake is cooling, make the glaze.

To the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese, and beat until creamy.  Add pureed strawberries, and continue beating until well incorporated.

One half cup at a time, add the powdered sugar, and mix well after each addition.  Keep up with your additions until you have a thick glaze.

Drizzle over cooled cake, or top individual slices with glaze.  Store unused glaze in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Use as desired.

In the summer, when strawberries are fresh, top this cake with fresh strawberry slices, and fresh whipped cream.