Friday, March 20, 2015

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

I was looking to change up our menu from our standard Mr. Tom's Grilled Chicken and thought, why not try teriyaki sauce? Only problem was that I forgot to buy the teriyaki sauce at the store. I Google-ed several recipes and found it was a very straight forward fix and we have all the ingredients in the house!

I doubled the recipe below for 5 large chicken breasts (2 - 3 lbs?) and added in 2 smashed cloves of garlic and about 1/4 inch of sliced ginger into the pot to simmer. The corn starch will make the sauce thicker if you prefer. We were just hungry so I didn't bother trying to figure out the consistency :)

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

4 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. water
garlic (optional)
ginger (optional)

Combine all ingredients into small pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally. 

If using as a marinade - pour sauce (and garlic and ginger) over the chicken (or whatever you are marinading) and let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile start to preheat the grill. 
When grill is ready put the chicken on the grill and let it cook. 
Thicker pieces of chicken will take upwards of 6-7 minutes per size while thinner pieces can cook about 3-4 minutes per side. 
If you gently push down on the chicken you'll be able to tell the difference between squishier uncooked chicken and firmer cooked chicken. If you cut it open you can also see if it is cooked through.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chicken and Clouds

This was a creamy, filling, and comforting soup from The Pioneer Woman. If you go to her site the not chicken and dumplings.  However, As I'm assembling the soup Anthony says, "Oh yum! Chicken and Clouds!" Well then, if you think of this as chicken and clouds you won't be disappointed.

The comments on the origional recipe are great. People have definite opinions on what is a noodle and what is a dumpling and how her recipe is

Because I had some time and enjoy this stuff, I decided to take the more labor intensive path and so this soup was a labor of love. It took me 2 days to make but you can also make it in less time if you don't buy an uncooked chicken and use canned broth.

Roasted Chicken - I took a little 3lb chicken and rinsed it in cold water. I seasoned it with salt and pepper on both sides and rubbed it in with olive oil. I roasted it about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the chicken cool on the stove. While I was waiting I made Brown Butter and Toffee Cookies. Once the chicken is cool remove all the meat from the bones. The meat goes into a container for use the next day and the bones went into a larger pot. 

Homemade Broth - large chop about 1 cup of carrots and a stalk or two of celery. Cut an onion into half. Nestle it all around the chicken bones. Cover with water (I did about 8 cups of water). Season with salt and pepper if you'd like, add thyme or rosemary or any seasoning if you want as well. Bring to a boil on high heat and then reduce the to a simmer on low. Let it hang out on the stove for about 2 hours while you do other things. Like the dishes. When it is done, pour the broth through a strainer into another pot. This will remove all the bones and weird chunks. Then let it refrigerate overnight. Before using I skim the coagulated fat off the top of the broth. If you have never made broth before, it will be a squishy almost jell-o like consistency. It is OK and will be fine. 

Now that you have done this prep work, follow the directions below!

Some changes for next time (and updated below)
- omit apple cider (I just didn't like it)
- omit thyme (because I had made the broth with thyme it was a bit over powering)

Changes I made (reflected below): 
- I used half and half for whole recipe because it was cheaper than purchasing both heavy cream and half and half
-As the chicken was already cooked I put it in the bottom of the soup bowls. The chicken heated up when the broth and dumplings were put on top so that way the chicken didn't over cook.

I'll make this again! It was so good!

Chicken and Clouds
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 4

1 whole Chicken, meat is bite sized
Salt And Pepper
1/2 cup Finely Diced Carrots
1/2 cup Finely Diced Celery
1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
1/2 teaspoon Ground Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Half-and-half

1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1-1/2 cup Half-and-half
Salt As Needed

In the large pot, add diced onion, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir in ground thyme and turmeric, then pour in chicken broth. Stir to combine. Cover pot and simmer.

While chicken is broth is simmering, make the dough for the dumplings: sift together all dry ingredients, then add half-and-half, stirring gently to combine. Set aside.

Add cream into the pot and stir to combine. Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering pot. Cover pot halfway and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Check seasonings; add salt if needed. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Put meat in the bottom of the bowls (and some spinach) and cover with dumplings and the broth.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This takes a bit more effort but based on everyone's responses it was worth it! These are soft, chewy, salty, sweet, chocolate-y, and actually pretty good! 

I think these cookies would be better larger rather than my normal small bite size cookies if only because it was more difficult to sprinkle the salt. 

Keep your eyes on the browning butter. It is similar to making caramel where nothing happens and then it happens all at once! 

And you do need to wait a couple minutes before removing the cookies from the baking sheet otherwise they will become awkward oval shapes and you'll have to eat them because they are funny looking :)

Brown Butter Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Two Peas and Their PodYield: 32 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch (if you don't have any use an extra tablespoon of flour)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (milk or dark)
1/2 cup chopped Heath  or Skor or toffee candy bars
Coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top

Place 1 stick of butter in a medium skillet. Melt the butter over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. The butter will foam and pop. Continue to swirl the pan often. Remove pan from heat once the butter starts to brown and smells nutty. There will be small brown bits on the bottom. The butter should be an amber color. Pour butter into a small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

While the brown butter is cooling, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining 1/2 cup butter with dark brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat until creamy and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cooled brown butter and mix until smooth.

Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. Gradually mix in the flour on low speed until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks and toffee chunks.

Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats and set aside.

Remove dough from fridge and form into 2 tablespoon sized cookie dough balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Store cookies in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. These cookies also freeze well.