A Brit, a Yank and a Kitchen

Monday, July 31

Poached Chicken

Pretty, isnt it? I unfortunately didnt have the forsight to take a photo of this bird in its pot of beautiful colorful veggies and herbs before boiling it all away. But I think this shot does a good job of conveying how tender the meat became.

I was inspired this weekend by Maki at I was just really very hungry, where she recently poached a chicken. Just something so simple... food at its most primitive and natural. Unadorned. Healthy and clean. Plus the house smelled wonderful... and I was left with the bonus of a giant amount of Chicken stock. =)

I modified Maki's recipe... but stuck with her method... I was hesitant at first, but it worked!

1 large chicken
3 celery stalk, including the leaves
1 large onion, quartered
2 carrots
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of parsley
1/2 lemon cut into slices
1 tbsp whole peppercorns

METHOD (from I was just really very hungry)
Remove any giblets, etc. from the birds and wash them under running water. (If your birds came with neck pieces you can add that to the water for additional flavor to the stock.) Place in the pot.

Put all the vegetables, herbs and lemon into the pot. Fill with water enough to completely cover everything plus about 2 cm / an inch.

Bring the pot to a boil on high heat. When it's come up to boiling point, lower the heat to medium-low (it should still be bubbling but not rolling). Skim off all the scum that comes up for 15 minutes. At the end of that time, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and let it sit for at least 1 hour, up to 90 minutes. (If you are using a ceramic or electric stove, pull the pot off the heat.)

Open the pot and cut into your bird around the legs. It should be perfectly cooked through, with no red or pink, but still moist. If it still seems raw, put the pot back on the stove, bring up to a boil again, then turn the heat off and leave with the lid on for an additional 30 minutes.

Take the chickens out of the pot, letting the liquid drain back into the pot (careful, it's very hot!). Let cool enough to handle. Remove the skin, and take off the meat in as big chunks as you can manage.

Store the meat, well covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it.

If you want to keep the stock, fish out the flavoring ingredients and put it in the refrigerator until it's cold and the fat has congealed on top. Strain and store in the freezer until you need chicken stock in a recipe.

Sunday, July 30

Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant

This was dinner a few nights back... Something I first tried at the dim sum joint in Orlando, "Chans". They do theirs a bit different, but so far this is the only recipe I've found that captures the flavors... but not quite the texture. The ones a Chan's I think are roasted, or simmered... not quite sure. We're going to Chans again next weekend, so hopefully I can focus a little more on trying to decontsructing one of my favorite items they serve.... but for now... this yummy crispy deep fried version does satiate the cravings ;-)

Chinese Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant

6 ounces shrimp, coarsley ground
1 scallion, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp cornstarch

In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp, scallion, salt, rice wine, and cornstarch, blending well. Set aside.

1 large egg
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb Chinese or Japanese eggplant (the skins on this variety are more tender)
oil for frying

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with 1 tbsp water and set aside. Sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt into a deep dish. Line 1 or 2 baking sheers with several layers of paper towels and set aside.

Cut off the ends from the eggplants and discard them. Cut the eggplants into 1 inch thick ovals, making 14 to 16 pieces total. Cut out a deep wedge from the side of each piece. It should go about 2/3 the way through each slice. Salt the eggplant pieces and let stand for 20 mins.

Wipe the eggplant with paper towels to remove salt and moinsture. Stuff the filling into the eggplants using a teaspoon.

Heat oil for frying to 350 degrees.

Drege eggplant in egg, then flour, then carefully lower pieces into oil, cooking for 4-5 minutes, turning several times to brown evenly. Remove and drain on paper towel lined baking sheet. Transfer to plate to keep warm while preparing sauce.

2 tsp vegeatble oil
1 scallion
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbsp water

Stir fry scallions in oil for 30 seconds or until bright green. Add stock, fermented black beans, soy sauce, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in cornstarch and cook for 1 minute, or until thickened.

Serve sauce drizzled over eggplant, or server the eggplants resting on a pool of the sauce. =)

Flavors dont get much better than these. The eggplant becomes silk inside a crispy batter. =)

Tuesday, July 25

Teriyaki Salmon and Gai Lan

I've been so inspired lately by Amy over at Blue Lotus. Her meals always look so beautiful and exotic... considering I have such a soft spot for traditional Japanese style cooking. I've been reading and learning quite a bit lately about the Japanese way of presenting food so that it is asthetically pleasing above all, and is more likely to satiate an appetite in less quantities. I've never seen anyone make a piece of unadorned tofu look so exquisite as Amy does, just by plating it nicely.

So last night I decided to try my hand at preparing a traditional Japanese meal... that usually consists of miso soup, rice, and a couple of side items. For Dave and I last night, our side items were gai lan (Chinese brocolli, bathing in a pool of warm oyster sauce), a small slice of grilled salmon marinated in teriyaki with sesame, and of course, a piece of chilled tofu, topped with scallions, toasted sesame and a touch of soy sauce. In the end... we actually had leftovers, and if you had seen how little food there was there when I had it all together while preparing it... you would swear it wouldnt have been enough.

I highly suggest trying this way of eating... if youre a freak like me... for the fun of it if nothing else! ^_^

Monday, July 24

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

I found this recipe in the latest issue of "Eating Well". Of course I modified it a tiny bit.. I really enjoy this magazine so far, its healthy, fresh, seasonal food, but doesnt bother to buy into the whole health/low fat craze biz... Avocados are high in fat. Deal with it. =)

So of course these turned out excellent! There was plenty left over as well, so I packed some over rice for lunch the next day... I still have a tiny bit left... I might just experiment and try to make "egg rolls" out of them.. since I still have a box of phyllo in the freezer from my mushroom parcels adventure. =)

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup instant brown rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
a couple of handfuls of cashews, chopped, but not too finely
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 large carrot, shredded

1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, cashews, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
3. To serve, spoon portions of the turkey mixture into lettuce leaves, top with chives and carrot and roll into wraps.


Thursday, July 20


I've been wanting to cook rabbit for a long long time. Petty's sells it very cheap, at less than $5 for a whole rabbit, how could I resist? Granted, this one definitely wasnt near the size that the critter I ate in Paris must have been, but yummy none-the-less. Tastes just like chicken... but is much leaner and is said to have more protein. So why not?

I served this with potato pancakes I made from leftover mashed potatos, some flour & scallions, fried in a bit of oil.

1 Rabbit, cut into service pieces
1 tsp Chopped Parsley
3 Tbsp Butter
½ tsp Thyme
½ tsp Salt
1 Bay Leaf
1 medium Onion
¼ cup Lemon Juice
4 Whole Cloves
1 cup Port Wine
12 Whole Black Peppercorns
2½ cup Beef Stock

Stud the peeled onion with the whole cloves. Make a small bouquet garni by tying the peppercorns, parsley, thyme and bay leaf in a small cheesecloth pouch. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Sprinkle rabbit pieces with salt and pepper and sauté in the butter until brown on all sides. Place in a 3 quart casserole. Add salt, bouquet garni and studded onion, followed by the lemon juice, port and stock or boullion. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Ten minutes before it's done, remove the cheesecloth bag. The pan juices can be thickened to make a gravy.

(I modified this recipe slightly by marinating the rabbit in the port, lemon juice, and about 1/2 cup of vinegar for 3 hours beforehand)

Tuesday, July 18

I've Been Tagged!

Doodles at Peanut Butter Etouffee has tagged me!! =D I've never done one of these... funfun!

Five things in my freezer
Beef demi-glace
Chinese crullers
prepared buffalo wings

Five things in my closets
Dave's Royal Navy uniforms
My dad's old Army uniform
clothes all crammed together
piles of shoes

Five things in my car
abandoned sketchbooks
"Driving Like a Psycho is Fun" floormats

Five things in my purse
more receipts!
a small mirror
car keys

Someone I'd like to tag

Wednesday, July 12

Banana Blueberry Muffins

In an effort to be thoughtful of my sweets heart.. I decided to try these muffins from my American Heart Association cookbook. They turned out nicer than I thought they might, given the ingredients that they called for!


Vegetable oil spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 medium banana, mashed
1/3 cup acceptable margarine, melted and cooled
Egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg
½ cup orange juice
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and stems removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray muffin tin with vegetable oil.
In a bowl, combine flours, sugar, wheat germ, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir until well mixed. Set aside.

In another bowl, mash banana. Add margarine, egg substitute, and orange juice to it. Whisk until well blended. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened. (Mixture may be lumpy.) With rubber spatula, carefully fold blueberries into batter. Pour batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake 15 minutes.

Tuesday, July 11

Shizu's Okonomiyaki

So I promised I would post this recipe once I tried it, so here it is!

I fixed this for Dave and I for a late lunch Sunday.... and it was so filling we didnt eat for the rest of the day!!

It's really hard to compare Okonomiyaki to anything we eat in the Western world.... is it an omelette? A pizza? A pancake? Its none, or all... I cant decide. But one thing it is.. and that is friggin awesome!

The word okonomi means, "As you like it".. so outside of the basic flour/egg/water batter, you can add absolutely anything you want... and as much of it as you want, as I've seen from various online images, some look just like an eggy omelette, some look like masses of cabbage barely being held together by a bit of egg batter. So I guess your taste and imagination are the limit!

So here we are... Shizu's Okonomiyaki, the way Shizu likes it ;-) And Dave and I apparently too.


for the batter
2 eggs
1/2 cup okonomi flour (a special seasoned flour, I did a search on google, some online Asian markets sell it)
3 tbsp water

for the filling
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced pork (we marinated thin pork loin in soy sauce, then sliced into strips)
1/2 cup corn

for the topping
chopped scallion
bonito flakes
Utsa-sauce (very much like Worcestershire sauce, but thicker and sweeter)
Kewpie mayo (Japanese mayonaise, a little runnier and sweeter than our mayo... reminds me of English salad cream)

Mix the batter, once smooth, add corn and cabbage.

Fry the pork in a bit of oil until cooked, then pour over top the batter. Cook until it begins to firm, then flip... cooking through.

Serve with toppings drizzled, spread, sprinkled... however you like it.

Thanks so much Shizu for sharing this with us!!

the photo, by the way, is the recipe and photo Shizu sent us. =)

Tuesday, July 4

Spicey Orange Ginger Sauce

This was last nights dinner, a strange China meets Italy fusion. Weird, but whatever, it worked. And that was how Publix (my grocer) pitched the recipe to me anyways, smelling up the aisles with some really nice mystery scents. If you've never shopped at a Publix, every weekend they set up some lady in the front of the store, who cooks a recipe from their "Aprons" collection of recipes, basically, I discovered, a recipe containing a GIANT list of ingredients, usually for 2 different dishes, that share absolutely zero similar ingredients. Thus, poor shopper, must spend gobs of money purchasing alot of unusual ingredients they probably dont have on hand. Thankfully, I'm a big enough foodie freak that has an overly stocked pantry of bizarre stuffs, so I only needed to buy roast garlic (which I suppose I could have made on my own, but the convenience of this little jar I'd never even noticed before had me entranced)and orange marmelade.

The recipes consisted of grilled shrimp (sprinkled with sesame oil and Chinese 5 spice powder), and a grilled eggplant salad (eggplant grilled with a bit of olive oil, and tomatos diced and mixed with balsamic vinegar and basil)

The star of the recipes I thought was the sauce that goes with the shrimp. So I'm gonna share that recipe =)


1/2 cup ginger dressing
1 tbsp roasted garlic
2 tbsp orange marmelade
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chile pepper paste


Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan, allow to simmer on low for approx 5 minutes, stirring, then serve drizzled over shrimp (or whatever you feel like drizling it on!) I imagine this would rock as a dipping sauce for coconut shrimp. =)

Veggie Stack

I had a mass of veggies in the fridge that needed using, and a couple of avocados. So this was the mountain of mess I came up with. We thought it was a pretty tasty (and healthy!) mountain. =) (To make up for the onion rings and pizza the night before!)


2 large portabella mushrooms
1/4 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 veggie burger
a few generous crumbles of blue Stilton cheese
1/2 beefsteak tomato sliced thickly
2 large cloves garlic
balsamic vinegar
avocado oil (or olive oil)

2 avocados (HAUS!)
several squirts of lime juice
1/4 yellow onion diced
1/2 beefsteak tomato diced
dried (or fresh) cilantro
salt to taste


preheat your oven to 375.

Arrange the onion, portabella, garlic (whole), and red pepper onto a baking sheet.
Drizzle oil and vinegar over top, and season with a bit of salt.
Roast for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare your veggie burger according to its instructions.

Prepare your guac: mash up the avocados, immediately squirting the lime juice, mash some more, and mix in the onions, tomato, and cilantro. Season to taste.

Once everything is cooked, stack in this order, from bottom to top: portabella, onion, a couple red bell pepper slices, veggie burger, garlic (mashed into a paste), Stilton, tomato, guacamole, and a couple more slices of pepper.


Guinness Battered Onion Rings

Dave got all excited while watching Emeril last week, and witnessed the making of some Guinness battered onion rings. We're both big fans of some Guinness. =)

Dave even donned the apron and made these himself... always fun watching him making a bigger mess than I do! ;-)

Dave followed the recipe exact, but we agreed they were a bit on the bland side, tho the batter was an excellent consistency. We figure we'll add some garlic powder and some paprika next time.


* 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
* 2 cups flour
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
* 1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness, at room temperature
* 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick rings


In a deep stockpot or deep-fryer, preheat oil to 360 degrees F.

Place 1/2 cup of the flour and the cayenne pepper in a resealable plastic bag or paper bag and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining flour, the baking powder, cornstarch, salt, and white pepper. Whisk in Guinness until smooth.

Place the onion rings in the bag containing the flour mixture and toss to coat well. Working in batches, transfer the floured onion rings to the beer batter, making sure that each ring is thoroughly coated with the batter. Remove the rings from the batter and allow excess batter to drip off from the onion rings and immediately place in the preheated oil. Fry, in batches, until golden brown, turning rings as needed, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Remove the onion rings, place on a paper towel-lined plate, and season with salt. Repeat with remaining onion rings. Serve hot.