Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thai Coconut Chicken

Thai Coconut Chicken
Love grilled chicken, but looking for a different twist!

Galangal (a large root similar to ginger) and Thai basil can be found at Asian markets.

A whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

2 Tbl. dark brown sugar

3 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

5 cloves chopped garlic

3 Tbl. grated galangal or ginger

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped Thai purple or regular basil

4 green onions, finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped (tough outer leaves removed)

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 4 limes

1 Can coconut milk
(13 1/2-ounce)
3 Tbl. toasted sesame oil

2 Tbl. fish sauce

1. In a large bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and stir well. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
2. Place the chicken and marinade in a large, plastic bag. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Place the bag in a large bowl to avoid any spills and place in the refrigerator overnight, up to 24 hours.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and over a grill with medium-high heat one by one set the pieces down for a few seconds and drag the pieces back and forth a few times which helps keep them from sticking.  While watching brown well and then turn and repeat.  Once lightly browned move away from direct heat, cover and grill until the meat is firm and a thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the thighs and breasts reads 165f.
Place chicken on a platter and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice.  Serves 6

Tzatziki; Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Fantastic with Lamb, a warm pita and some good olives.  Tzatziki is also great with the Naan recipe from my last post.
Greek Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

1-1/2 C English cucumber, peeled
1/2 PT Sour cream
1/2 PT Yogurt
2 MED CLOVES Garlic, minced fine
1 TBL Dried mint

1. Shred the cucumber with a cheese grater.  Combine all the ingredients and allow to chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Traditional Naan Bread

We've been eating Indian Food for the past few days and I thought it was about time for me to make some Naan to go with it.  Naan is delicious and easy to make, in your home oven and if you're lucky enough to have a wood fired oven… well even better!


Naans are traditionally cooked in a Tandoor or earthen oven but can also be made in your oven at home. Serve this delicious bread hot, with Indian food, Tandoori Chicken or kebabs of different kinds. The dough for Naans needs to be made a few hours in advance.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours

1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110f about like bath water)
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
6 Tbl. ghee (clarified butter)
3 Tbl. yogurt
3 tsp. onion seeds

Add the dry yeast, sugar and warm water together and stir till the yeast is dissolved. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to form bubbles. This indicates the yeast is active. Set aside.
Mix the flour and salt to taste and sift into a large mixing bowl then add the yeast mixture, 3 Tbl. of ghee and the yogurt.
Use your fingertips to mix into a soft, dough. Once mixed, flour a clean, flat work surface and knead the dough till it is smooth and elastic.
Grease a large bowl with a few drops of cooking oil and place the dough in it. Cover and allow to rest for about 90 minutes or until the dough doubles in volume.
Punch the dough down and knead again for 10 minutes.
Equally divide the dough into pieces and roll between your palms to form round balls.
Lightly flour, (if using a wood fired oven, use rice flour to allow the Naan to slide off the peel)  the work surface and roll out each ball until you have a circle, 7-8 inches in diameter and about1/2" thick. You can also pat it into a the circles with your hands.
Gently pull on one edge of the circle to form the Naan into a teardrop shape. Do not pull too hard or you may tear the dough.

Traditional oven;
Preheat your oven 200 C/ 400 F.
Cover a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil and grease lightly with a few drops of cooking oil.
Place as many Naans as will fit without touching each other, on the baking sheet.
Brush each Naan well with some ghee and sprinkle with a pinch of onion seeds.
Put the baking sheet into the oven and cook till the Naan begins to puff out and get lightly brown. Flip the Naan and repeat.
Remove from oven and serve hot in a towel-covered bread-basket.
Wood Fired oven;
Push hot coal back away from desired cooking area.  Brush and clean well.  Slide the Naan into the hot oven and stay put, watching the Naan bread.  As it puffs up you may want to rotate the Naan if the side closest to the fire is rising faster.  As soon as it puffs up flip and brown the other side.
Remove from oven and serve hot in a towel-covered bread-basket.

Chipotle and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

Chipotle and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic
Everybody likes mashed potatoes.  The addition of smoky chipotles, white cheddar and roasted garlic makes this fantastic side something to write home about.  The next day I always make potato patties with eggs for breakfast.  Just the aroma of these delicious potatoes will drive your family crazy.

1 bulb of garlic
2-½ lbs. White potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 canned chipotle chiles plus 1 Tbl Adobo sauce (The sauce the chiles come canned in)
1 ½ cups white cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup cream
2 Tbl sweet butter
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cut the pointed end off the garlic bulb exposing the end of the individual cloves.  Wrap the bulb in foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned and soft.  Meanwhile boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water for 20 minutes or until tender, remove from heat but leave in the hot water.  Allow the garlic to cool enough to handle and then squeeze out the roasted garlic paste.  Mash the chipotle chiles along with the adobo sauce and set aside.  Remove the potatoes from the hot water and mash well along with 2 tablespoons of the roasted garlic paste.  Immediately mash in the chipotles, cheese, cream and butter until creamy and the cheese is fully melted.  Season to taste and cover until serving.
Serves 6

Cilantro Chicken ala Madhur Jaffrey

Cilantro Chicken
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey
Kathy made this last night… WOW!  There are so many cookbooks out there.  After a while you just get a sense what will and will not work. Madhur Jaffrey is one of our 'go to' food writers that pay off time and again.
This low fat dish is amazing!

One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. Fresh squeezed, lemon juice
8 pieces chicken, skinned (whole, cut up chicken or 4 large breasts)
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 lightly packed cups cilantro leaves and small stems
3 Serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. Tomato paste
3 Tbl. olive or corn oil
1-cup yogurt, (Greek or regular) lightly beaten with a fork

1. Place the ginger, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the lemon juice into a blender. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and blend, working down with a rubber spatula if necessary, until smooth. Place the chicken pieces in a non-reactive bowl. Pour the ginger mixture over and rub it in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (foil will react) and refrigerate for 30 minutes or for up to 24 hours.

2. Without bothering to clean the blender, put into it the tomato, cilantro, chilies, tomato paste, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth.

3. Pour the oil into a large, nonstick, lidded pan and set over high heat. When very hot, but not smoking, put in the chicken pieces, together with the ginger marinade. Fry, stirring, until the chicken pieces are lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the tomato mixture from the blender. Continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clings to the chicken and the oil separates, another 10 minutes.

5. Add the yogurt. Stir and cook until the yogurt disappears and leaves a thick sauce edged with oil, 4 to 5 minutes.

6. Cover, reduce the heat as low as possible, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. If you think that the pan is drying out too much, stir in a tablespoon or two of water.

Serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice and Pita or Naan bread.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Notes and Recipes for the Guys

Kahlua Ganache dipped Strawberry, recipe below!

Valentines Day
Today I’m writing to the guys.  Valentines Day is, once again, a chance to tell that special someone how you feel.  Love and friendship, or the way I like to think of it, someone to take this “walk of life” with.
In the case of my girl, I first saw her in art class when we both were thirteen years old.  We liked each other right off.  A few weeks later on the corner of Granite Reef road and Valley Vista Drive in north Scottsdale, at about 8.30 on a cool October evening, I was walking her home, I kissed her.  This was her first kiss and I also took her on her first date.  We soon broke up, but remained friends.  I always thought about her and talked with her.  A few years later I was sitting on the edge of a cement planter at Saguaro High School, talking with Randy Smith.  She was walking across campus and I said to Randy, “That one right there… Kathy Ross,” pointing at her, “That’s the girl that I’m going to marry. 
After that, I asked her to go to the prom with me, and she said yes.  For the next few years we spent time together, almost daily, some romantic, some not, but hours upon hours, walking and talking.
We’ve now been married for 33 years.  We have two amazing children and have built a life together.  We love, laugh, support and help each other in everything, as the vows we shared, so long ago, said, “in good times and in bad” and I can’t imagine life without her. 
And so guys, today, Valentines Day, as you take some time to tell that special someone how they make you feel why not try your hand in the kitchen.  Good food is a wonderful way to say, “I love you.”  It’s so much more than a card or a box of chocolates. 
Here are a few easy recipes that are just right for a romantic evening. 
My advice, put on some music that reminds her of where or when you met, get out the good dishes, buy a nice bottle of her favorite wine, and if you really want to amaze her… pick up your dirty socks!

These three dishes are simple, elegant and the right choice for an evening alone.  The idea being eat a little, chat a little but by all means slow play the food.  You’ll be glad you did! 
Caprese Salad
8 OZ Water Buffalo Milk Mozzarella, sliced thin
3 Large Plum, vine ripe or Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced thin
1/2 C Fresh basil, finely chopped, save a few leaves for garnish
Fruity olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper
On a serving plate, arrange the mozzarella and tomatoes in circles, exposing at least half of the slices...a slice of tomato then a slice of mozzarella then a slice of tomato, and so on.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and then balsamic vinegar then add the basil and place a few of the leaves for effect.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  This can be made a few hours ahead of time.

Piquant Black Pepper and Cognac Shrimp
These delicious shrimp flare up in the pan. It’s just so “Spago!”

1 ½ TBl. Olive oil
1 white onion, sliced thin
Sea salt to taste
1 Lb. Medium shrimp, in their shells (this adds flavor to the sauce)
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Crushed red chile
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/3-cup cognac
6 Tbl. Sweet butter, cut into chunks
1 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped fine
½ fresh lemon
Crusty French bread
Matches or a lighter (Use caution)

Sauté the onion in the oil over medium high heat until translucent.  Season to taste with salt.  Add the shrimp, black pepper, red chile and thyme.  Sauté until shrimp are just cooked and have turned pink, 2 minutes per side.  Add cognac (be careful it will flare up) and butter.  Stir the butter in, touch a match if it has not ignited, allow to flame for a few seconds, remove from heat.  Add parsley and toss well, drizzle with lemon.  Serve on a big white plate.  Peel and eat while mopping up the sauce with the bread!  Goes great with a good crisp Pinot Grigio or her favorite dark beer!
Serves 4

Kahlua Ganache

15 minutes

Serve this desert to your sweetie with slices of fresh, ripe mango, big strawberries, and Angel food cake cut into 2-inch squares. Add a little champagne and who knows…

1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Mandarin Napoleon, or your favorite liqueur
Fresh fruit or Angel Food cake

In a double boiler (if you don’t have a double boiler place an oven proof mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water), heat the cream just until it simmers. Add the chocolate. Remove from heat and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is fully melted. Drizzle in the liqueur and stir until mixed well. Serve with fresh fruit, cake, or anything that can use a bit of chocolate!

Makes 3/4 Cup

Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce

Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce

If you like your barbecue sticky, gooey, and spicy, this sauce is a must for your backyard arsenal.

1/2 C Jack Daniels whiskey
1/2 White onion, chopped
4 CLOVES Garlic, minced
2 C Ketchup
3/4 C Dark molasses
1/2 C Brown sugar, packed
1/3 C White vinegar
1/4 C Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C Tomato paste
1 Jalepeño chile, minced
1/2 TBL Salt
1/2 TSP Fresh ground pepper
1/2 TSP White pepper
2 DASHES Tabasco Habanero sauce
1-2 DROPS Liquid Mesquite Smoke

1. Sauté onion, garlic and bourbon in a medium saucepan until onion and garlic are soft, translucent and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 20 min. stirring constantly. Strain if you want a smooth sauce. Makes 4 cups.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thai Hot Sauce

Thai Hot Sauce
Talk about good, if you’re a salsa lover like me this one will blow your mind.  The flavors are definitely Asian, well defined, complex and it’s very hot.  I like it over white rice with grilled fish, pork or poultry.
Dried Shrimp
6 cloves, garlic
2 Tbl. whole dried shrimp, chopped (Asian grocery store)
4 dried chile de Arbol
1 ½ tsp. raw sugar
3 Tbl. fish sauce
3 Tbl. key lime juice
3 fresh Thai chiles, chopped fine
Assorted fish Sauce brands
Combine the garlic, shrimp, chile de Arbol, and sugar in a small food processor and grind into a course meal.  Remove from food processor and add all other ingredients.  Allow to blend for 1 hour before serving.  Keeps fresh in the refrigerator for a few weeks. 
Makes ¾ cup.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bread Tomorrow!

Bread tomorrow, The grotto at 10:30, Janie's at 4:30 and the Cave Creek Smokehouse at 7:00


A homemade Mexican fiesta beverage with a kick! It's tropical, tart, refreshing, and fun to make.

1 large, ripe pineapple
2 canela sticks (Mexican cinnamon)
10 whole cloves
1/2 gallon water
1 pound dry barley
3 pounds pilonacillo, broken up ( you can also use brown sugar, or raw sugar)
Cut the top off of the pineapple and discard. Wash the body of the pineapple well, cut up and then crush with a kitchen mallet, skin and all. 
Place in a large crock with canela and cloves and cover with 1/2 gallon water. Cover crock with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let stand, unrefrigerated, for two days.
In a large saucepan, simmer the barley and pilonacillo in 1 quart of water until the barley swells and cracks (about 1 hour). Allow the barley mixture to cool, then add to the crock with the pineapple mixture. Recover and let stand, unrefrigerated, for two more days. as with all fermentation it will come alive.  Strain well and serve over ice.
Serves 10 to 12 

Dancing Through the Fog A poem by Daigneault

Dancing Through the Fog
A poem by Daigneault

Through the breach
A misty gauze

Distant language
Her tender hands

Words float like cotton
Taste like cream

Yes cotton and cream
A fragrance her own

Funny how the drops seams to hum 
Singing as they soak in

I know the tune
And all the words

But the song
Was written in hell

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sixteen Foot Tall Prickly Pear

Sixteen Foot Tall Prickly Pear
The other day I mentioned a sixteen foot tall prickly pear in a blog post.  I was sent a comment that questioned this.  Here is a picture directly in front of our front door, keep in mind that I'm six feet tall and was looking straight up when I shot this!  What you see is over my head.  Enjoy!

Homemade Ketchup

 If you’ve never had homemade ketchup it’s well worth the effort. I know the San Marzano Tomatoes (from italy) are about $6 a can, trust me this is the best extra $5 you can spend in your kitchen!
When speaking of Ketchup we are thinking Tomato Ketchup, But mushroom and even banana varieties have been popular. There are several different stories about the derivation of the word ketchup, every thing from, fish sauce to type of soy sauce to a sauce of pickled vegetables.
Ketchup like Salsa can be made from many other ingredients, and for my money homemade ketchup again like salsa is far superior to its canned or bottled relative. Once again convenience provides a very stable middle of the road flavor that appeals to the masses but the wow factor is completely lost. 
Oh… and I might try substituting Chipotle (a peat smoked jalapeno) for the cayenne, but that’s just my Sonoran twist!
Mad Coyote Joe

 2 tablespoons olive oil
 1 medium onion, chopped medium
 1 clove garlic, minced
 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomato puree 
 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
 1/4 cup cider vinegar
 1 tablespoon tomato paste
 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
 1/8 teaspoon allspice
 1 teaspoon Chipotle chile 

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add all other ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of, well… ketchup, 45 to 60 minutes. 

Puree in a blender until smooth. 

Work the ketchup through a wire strainer into a bowl using a rubber spatula.

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month. 

Crock Pot Carne Adovada

Crock Pot Carne Adovada
Meat marinated in Adobo sauce.  This is an often-overlooked dish on menus throughout the southwest.  It has a rich, delicious taste, followed with a burning fire.  It’s an old family favorite.  If you’re in a hurry you can cut the pork into chunks, brown it and toss it in with the sauce!

Adobo sauce:
24 hot New Mexico red chile pods
10 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl. Mexican oregano
2 tsp. Ground cumin
1 tsp. salt

4 to 5 Lb.  pork shoulder (bone in more flavor/ boneless easier to cut into chunks)

Remove stems, seeds and veins from the chiles.  Carefully toast the pods, in a dry iron frying pan until soft and pliable but not until burnt (if the chiles burn they will become bitter).  Simmer the chiles in the chicken broth along with the garlic, oregano, cumin, and salt for 20 minutes.  Run chiles and broth through the blender one-half cup at a time.  (Be careful hot liquids expand in a blender and can spill out the top and burn you).  Work sauce through a wire sieve with the back of a spoon into a mixing bowl, until only the chile solids are left in the sieve.  Discard chile solids.  Slow smoke the pork until fully cooked, 165f, cut into bite sized pieces (and the bone if the roast has one) and place in a crock-pot (or large french oven or heavy cast soup pot, with lid) with the sauce for several hours on low.  Serve with hot corn tortillas and ice-cold beer.
Serves 10-12

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Open Mic at the Horny Toad in Beautiful Cave Creek, Az

Hatman Dan and I enjoying the Music
New Open Mic at the Horny Toad in Beautiful Cave Creek, Az

Well we kicked off the new Open Mic today at the Horny Toad.  Hatman Dan has a steady gig Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday in the day from 1-5.  He generously offered me a hosting gig to help run an open mic.  Dan is one of true professionals playing here in Cave Creek, he is a well defined country player with his own sound!

Local Singer Guitarist Rick Strole was great as usual
I want to thank all the people that came out and got this started on a strong foot.  I took several pictures but only a few turned out here are some highlights. Special thanks to Tim Brady, Glade and Steve Norris for their help.
Steve Purcell showed up and played Drums!
East Coast Al Catarino blew the room away on my DeArmond Arch Top

This how Steve felt at one point… in a good way!