Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicken Satay

Finally we come to the end of our New Year's Eve feast. We'll finish in Thailand with some chicken satay. I marinated some thinly sliced chicken breast in yogurt seasoned with curry powder, turmeric, garlic and ginger for about 5 hours. The chicken was skewered and cooked in my grill pan. I served it with a Thai peanut sauce made from creamy peanut butter, soy, sesame oil, sriracha chili oil, rice vinegar, a pinch of sugar and some water.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Potato Jalapeño Poppers

Admit it. You love those fried jalapeño poppers you get at your local sports bar battered, fried and oozing with cheese. I didn't make those for New Year's Eve. Instead I created a potato bite spiced with jalapeño peppers. I made a dipping sauce with some yogurt, mayo and a splash of sriracha chili sauce.

How did I make them? Well, it all started with six large potatoes. I used yukon gold potatoes and boiled them just until fork tender. I didn't want them too soft. I let them cool and then passed them through my ricer. These went into the fridge to be well chilled. When it came time to make the poppers I mixed in some finely diced jalapeño peppers, salt, pepper, a couple of beaten eggs and a couple tablespoons of flour. The mixture was rolled into 1 inch balls, coated with bread crumbs and deep fried in hot oil (375 F) until golden brown.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad

Chicken salad spiced with Indian flavors were a hit on New Year's Eve. I started by poaching some boneless skinless chicken breasts in salted water just until cooked. This was diced up with some celery and carrots. Walnuts and dried cranberries were added. I made a homemade curry powder with cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, asafoetida and salt. This with a little bit of mayo was the dressing. I served it in bite-sized portions wrapped with romaine lettuce leaves.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cheese and Crackers

You can't have a New Year's Eve party without cheese and crackers. No easy cheese on ritz crackers here. I found some very nice cheeses from my local market and paired them with some not so plain crackers. My favorites were the triple cream St. Andre and the Humboldt Fog.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Garlic Shrimp

Here's an other classic Spanish tapas that I served on New Year's Eve. It couldn't get simpler. I just heated some olive oil in a pan, added some red pepper flakes and lots of chopped garlic. This was cooked for just a few seconds and the shrimp was tossed in. It only takes a couple of minutes of stir frying to cook the shrimp through. Near the end I squeezed a lemon over the shrimp and plated it up. It is important NOT to skimp on the olive oil. Use a good amount so you'll have a little bit of heaven to dip your crusty bread into.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chipotle Spiced Almonds

I was in the tapas mood so I made some Spanish inspired dishes for New Year's Eve. These snacks are reminiscent of some Spanish spiced almonds I once had at a tapas bar. These were crazy easy to make. I started by toasting some cumin and coriander seeds. These were ground and mixed with some coarse salt, sugar, paprika and wonderfully smoky chipotle pepper powder. The almonds were baked for 1o minutes in a 400 degree oven then mixed with a bit of olive oil and the spices and roasted for another 10 minutes. See! Easy as spiced almonds!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Sushi

On New Year's Eve I hosted some friends for an evening of appetizers and drinks. Over the next few days I'll be posting some of the items I made throughout that night. I love to celebrate the diversity of cuisines on New Year's Eve so let's go to Asia. Well, sort of. I've never had this particular combination in Japan but my guests really enjoyed this East meets Pacific Northwest sushi roll. I used Korean rice and cooked it with some konbu (kombu - seaweed). The rice was seasoned with rice vinegar and sugar. I used strips of smoked salmon and cream cheese. The combination was fantastic. The flavor of the salmon permeated your mouth and the cheese provided a wonderful creamy texture. I'll definitely make this again.

Fried Rice

Leftover Christmas ham and leftover rice = a hearty and tasty meal. I made this the day after Christmas but am just getting around to posting it for you all. Fried rice works best with cold day-old rice. It is pretty simple to do. I fired some chilis, garlic and ginger in my wok for a few seconds then added diced onions and carrots. These were fried for a few seconds and diced ham and frozen peas were added. After this had warmed up a bit I added the rice and fried it up with constant stirring until it was heated through. I seasoned it with some sesame oil and soy sauce. Near the end I made a well in the bottom of the wok and fried up a couple of beaten eggs and stirred this all together.