Friday, November 30, 2012

Berl C's Sassy Chicken Chili and A Friendly Cook Off

The blogosphere is an amazing place. The passion and the creativity of my fellow bloggers and virtual friends inspire me everyday.

We recently hosted a Chili Cook-off at our home. Why? It is a fun way to get your family and friends together to eat and have a good time.

The competition in these gatherings is stiff and I was bellying up to compete to make a respectable showing.  I did not have a personal chili recipe that I could call my own.  I needed a recipe!  My request was thrown out into the blogosphere.  Berl Childers came to my rescue and offered up his personal chili recipe.

This recipe is a creative off the traditional grid version of chili. The chicken breasts are marinated in tequila and seasoning including chillis, then grilled and shredded. The flavor in the chicken breasts really lend the flavor to the chili.  This is a great chili if you are looking for something more unique.

The votes have been submitted- Ready for the count!

The competition was rocking

And the winner is...Drum roll please...

A venison chili prepared by Gil Grignon

2nd place- A Texas style chili prepared by David Williams

And 3 rd Place a contemporary style chili prepared by Dianne Rodriguez

I came in a respectable fourth place. 

Berl C's Sassy Chicken Chili Recipe
Serves A Crowd
Recipe from Berl Childers

3 limes (including zest)
1/2 cup tequila
Red pepper flakes
Garlic, Dehydrated, Chopped
Chiles, Jalapeño Diced
3-16-ounce cans great northern beans, drained
2-lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (4-ounce) cans green chilies
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream
Chopped fresh green onions (scallions-freeze dried works well)

1.  Remove fat and tendons from chicken and place chicken breast in a container that can be covered.  Zest one of the limes and sprinkle the lime zest over the chicken breast.  Pour tequila over the chicken and 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle red pepper flakes, garlic and chopped and diced jalapeno over the chicken and marinate for 3-hours.

2.  Heat olive oil in stock pot and add onion and sauté for about 10 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic, green chiles, cumin, cayenne pepper, and cloves and sauté for 10 minutes.

3.  Add beans and chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for one minute while chicken is grilling.

4.  Grill the chicken breast for 5 minutes and pour remaining marinade over the chicken breast on the grill.  Turn the chicken breast and grill the second side for 4 minutes.  Remove the chicken breast from the grill and cut into small bite-sized pieces or shred.

5.  Add the chicken and 1 cup of cheese to the chili and stir until the cheese melts.  Ladle into bowls and serve with remaining cheese, chopped green onions, and sour cream.

Thanks Berl!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Michelle

Friday, November 23, 2012

Canning Goodness: Homemade Applesauce

We can get fresh apples from as far south as North Georgia. While spending time in North Georgia this year,  I took advantage of the opportunity to score a few bushels of apples from the local orchard.

Before departing, I also scored this apple peeler on Amazon.  You have to be prepared when you arrive home with "bleep" load of apples.  You can peel, core and slice apples all day with this nifty gadget.  My husband taking note of the purchase, just shakes his head.  My response is always the same "I could be in the bars" He laughs.

 Since starting our garden I have developed a deep respect and appreciation for preserving foods. 
I am learning how to home preserve foods and I do my best to keep it simple. Making applesauce is a good start, it is easy to prepare and preserve. 

Homemade Applesauce
Recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Makes about eight pint (500 ml) jars or four quart (1 liter) jars

Note:  If you prefer a tart flavor use half tart and half sweet apples when making applesauce and reduce the quantity of sugar as desired.

12-lbs apples, peeled, cored, quartered, treated to prevent browning (note: you can submerge fruit in a 1/4 cup (50 ml) of lemon juice and 4 cups water (1 Liter)

3 cups (750 ml) granulated sugar (optional)
4  (60 ml) tablespoons lemon juice

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.

2.  In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apples with just enough water to prevent sticking.  Bring to a boil over medium high-heat.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 20 minutes, until apples are tender (time will depend upon the variety of apple and their maturity).  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

3.  Working in batches, transfer apples to a food mill or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and puree until smooth.

4.  Return apple puree to saucepan.  Add sugar, if using, and lemon juice; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Maintain a gentle boil over low heat while filling jars.

5.  Ladle hot applesauce into hot jars, laving 1/2-inch (1 cm) headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot applesauce.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

6.  Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to boil and process both pint (500 ml) and quart (1L) jars for 20 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.


Spiced Applesauce: In step 4, add 4 teaspoons (20 ml) ground spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice, to the sauce with the sugar and lemon juice.

Chunky Applesauce: In step 4, coarsely crush half of the cooked apples and puree the remainder.  Combine before adding the sugar.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Photo from Bing Images

Friday, November 16, 2012

Autumn Sangria

Introducing the party punch of Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Argentina.

Serve up a homemade sangria that reflects the autumn season with pears, apples, oranges and a hint cinnamon.  Be generous with the fruit it makes a difference.  With that said, be generous with the Cointreau, or triple sec it makes a difference too.

A definite crowd pleaser!

Autumn Sangria
Serves 6-8

3 apples
3 pears
3 clementines or other orange slices
2-3 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
6-ounces triple sec or Cointreau
2 bottles of red wine 
Fresh cherries

1.  Core and cube all fruit and put into a pitcher or carafe
2.  Add 2-3 cinnamon sticks and honey
3.  Add cherries
4. Add liquor and wine, stir and let sit to allow the flavors to come together.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted Krista Bjorn

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roasted Fish With Green Sauce

I am not a fish lover (head hanging low, sigh) Worse, I was born and raised in South Florida where seafood is fresh and abundant.  Even worse, I like tuna fish sandwiches.   

Recognizing that I have missed out on an entire culinary experience I do my best in my middle-age to  say yes to opportunities to enjoy seafood.  I admit some experiences are better than others.  

My husband and I bellied up and prepared a real fish entrée at home.  Our motivation?  Our Spanish student that we are hosting this year.  Unlike his American host family, his family food culture is focused on seafood, and he has been missing it at our house.  In an effort to rectify the situation,  I sought advice from his mother, gathered a few friends, and fish was served.

We selected a variety of corvina.  This fish had a large flaked flesh which is pinkish when raw but cooks up white.  The flesh resembles snapper.  In South America Corvina is regarded as a prime table fish and is very popular for ceviche.

We did not follow the recipe exactly (No surprise there).  Instead of pan roasting, we grilled the fish with excellent results.  The corvina had a rich buttery taste, which was a genuine surprise for me.  The green sauce? That was just icing on the fish (laugh).

Roasted Fish with Green Sauce
Serves 12

2- (3-4 pounds each) red snapper, sea bass, sea trout or other preferred fish filets
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon slices for garnish
2 cups flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup drained capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

1. Line jelly-roll pan with foil.  Place fish on foil; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the rosemary and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.   Place several lemon slices on top of filets.  Rub remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons rosemary over fish.  Cover; refrigerate up to 8-hours.

2.  Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Remove fish from refrigerator; let stand 15 minutes.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Roast 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Transfer to serving platter; garnish with rosemary sprigs and lemons slices, if desired.

3.  Make Green Sauce: meanwhile chop parsley and capers in a food processor.  Add mustard, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the 1/8 teaspoon pepper, pulse.  With machine on, gradually add oil through teh feed tube until just blended.  Serve with Fish.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Vicki Tewes 
Thistlehair Farms

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Grilled Korean Marinated Flap Steaks and a Mountain View

Let me start this blog post right with my cabin view in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

The drive to the cabin almost requires medication to drive up and around the winding mountain roads.  There are moments when you seriously clutch your friend's hand, who is gritting her teeth and closing her eyes just like you.  Oh, but once there, it is another world.

We are three families who have known each other for over two decades.  We have grown-up together in our young adult lives, to having children who are young adults themselves.  We are a tight group.   Simply stated we are family.

Each year, our families come together and put our hectic, crazy daily lives behind us for a few days. We take the opportunity to take in the nature and beauty that surrounds us.  We laugh, eat, drink, stare at the scenery, hike on the trails and sleep with the windows open.  There is something about sleeping in cool crisp mountain air.

My husband prepared the main entree for a late lunch on our last day in the cabin.  He grilled beef steaks that were marinated in a Korean bulgogi marinade.   Bulgogi in Korean means "fire meat".  The marinade is a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, scallions and a touch of sugar.  If you enjoy Asian flavors this will be one of the best marinade recipes in your file.

The recipe calls for flank steak.  We used a flap steak which is similar to flank, and is often referred to as a "skirt steak" or as the French like to call it a "Bistro Steak".

Now, don't think for a second that I could be a mountain girl-NOT!  The idea of driving mountain roads, with regular frequency, causes me anxiety.  I am also afraid of bears, and these mountains have plenty of bears.  I don't need to casually meet up with a mama and her cubs at the mailbox.  While walking on the mountain trails I sing Carpenter lyrics and do my best to stay in the middle of the pack, not my usual slow wildebeast lolli-gagging that I do.  Still, for a few days each year living on mountain time gives me perspective, and an opportunity to chill.

Bulgogi Grilled Beef
Recipe Adapted from Asian Grills

2 pounds flank steak or other preferred beef cut

3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
5 tablespoons soy sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 to 4 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon crushed roasted sesame seeds

1.  Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, stirring to blend them well.  Add the meat and toss to coat the meat well with the marinade.  Cover the dish or place in a plastic freezer bag and refrigerate about 1-1/2 hours.  To prevent toughness, remove the meat from the refrigerator  30 minutes before grilling.

2.  Grill by direct method for about 10 minutes, or until done, turning once.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Fall Favorite: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

The soup and stew wagon has arrived.  Cold weather or not, it is my favorite season.  I am ready to fill the bellies of my family and friends with hearty and soul warming foods. Who cares if it is still 85 degrees, it is autumn for crying out loud!

This is award winning recipe belongs to Alcee "Butch" Bayard.   He has been crafting and tweaking this recipe for nearly a lifetime.  He recently walked away with a first-place trophy.  He said that the addition of whole wheat flour in place of a portion of the all-purpose flour made the difference in preparing the roux, and it scored him a first place trophy, after years of placing third.

A definite crowd pleaser.   There is what seems like a million versions and twists on gumbo, and most are good.  This one is very good, and it ranks as a keeper at my house.  Careful, this version can pack some heat as it sits overnight, or in my case a few days before I served it up to the crowd.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Serves a Crowd (12-15)
Recipe from Food Network Alcee "Butch" Bayard

2/3 cup canola oil 
3/4 up all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, plus 2 cups roughly chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1pound smoked sausage, sliced
8-ounces tasso ham or andouille sausage, diced
1-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
3-4 scallions, chopped
Cooked white rice, for serving (optional).

1.  Make the roux: Heat the canola oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk in both flours and cook, whisking constantly, until he roux is dark brown, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes, then stir in the finely chopped onion.

2.  Meanwhile, bring the broth and 20 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the roughly chopped onions, the celery and bell pepper; cook over medium-high heat, 15 minutes.  Stir in the roux in 3 batches; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 minutes.  Add the cayenne, garlic powder, 2-1/2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.  Stir in the smoked sausage and tasso ham or smoked sausage.  Reduce the heat to low: simmer 1-hour.  

3.  Return the mixture to a boil.  Add the chicken thighs and breasts and cook 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Skim the fat from the surface, then stir in the scallions.  Serve over rice.