Saturday, May 14, 2005

Confessions of a Chocolate Junkie

Chocolate Decadence

I had a treat today from the bakery around the corner. It was a chocolate overload. First they take a chocolate box, place a layer of chocolate cake inside on the bottom. Next they fill the box with chocolate mousse and put a huge slab of chocolate on top. I was in hog-heaven even though I got it on my glasses somehow...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Brown Chicken Jambalaya

This recipe makes very good jambalaya, it is a brown Cajun style rather than the red tomato-based jambalaya you see in New Orleans. This one doesn't need a chicken stock because the dish makes it's own while it cooks. But using broth instead of water makes it extra savory.


  • One 3 to 4 pound hen cut into serving pieces
  • 3 cups long grain rice - uncooked
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 3 medium white onions - chopped fine
  • 6 cups Water or Chicken Stock
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • 2½ teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 cup green onions - chopped
  • ½ cup green peppers
  • ½ cup celery - chopped fine
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana hot sauce


  1. Fry chicken in cooking oil until golden brown.
  2. Remove chicken and oil leaving just enough oil to cover bottom of pot.
  3. Add onions, and fry until golden brown.
  4. Put chicken back into pot with onions
  5. Add 6 cups of water to the skillet.
  6. make a note of the water level.
  7. Add remaining seasoning.
  8. Simmer covered until chicken is tender.
  9. If necessary, add enough water to bring back to previous level.
  10. Bring back to a rolling boil, and add the rice.
  11. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes
  12. Turn the rice gently from the bottom to avoid scorching.
  13. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid
  14. steam for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  15. Turn rice once more, and remove from heat.
  16. Let stand covered for 10 minutes Do Not Peek.
  17. Turn out the rice out gently into a serving container.

Jambalaya is more tasty if highly seasoned, so don't forget the cayenne pepper. When adding salt, water should taste a little too salty, as rice absorbs a considerable amount of salt.

Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings.

Helpful Hints For Jambalaya Virgins:

Most jambalaya cooks prefer to cook in cast iron pots. Whether a cast iron or aluminum pot is used, it should be heavy enough to prevent easy burning, and have a tight fitting lid.

To brown onions:

Onions and oil are put into the pot, covered, and cooked over low heat until golden brown, stirring frequently. A little water added to the onions will help prevent sticking.

Jambalaya should never be stirred - turn rather than stir after the rice has been added. This prevents the grains of rice from breaking up. Most cooks turn jambalaya only two or three times after the rice is added, being sure to scoop from the bottom of the pot to mix rice evenly with other ingredients.

A Little Jambalaya History

Similar in many ways to Spanish paella, the term "jambalaya" is derived from the Spanish Jamón for ham. Jambalaya found its way into Creole cookery in the late 1700's where it soon took on the flavor of added local ingredients.

It can be made (separately or all together) with ham, chicken, sausage, fresh pork, shrimp and oysters, to which is added shortening, rice, onion, garlic, pepper and other seasonings.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thai BBQ Chicken with Sticky Rice


  • 1 whole (about 3 pound) chicken, cut in half
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 Teaspoons minced cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoon cognac, whiskey, or rice cooking wine
  • 2 Tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1 Teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoon soy sauce


  1. Rub the entire chicken with the marinade ingredients .
  2. Marinade the chicken for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes
  4. Then broil or grill for 10 minutes until done.
  5. Cut into smaller pieces before serving.

Serve with Sticky Rice

Fried Rice With Basil

Fried Rice With Basil - Koa Pad Krapao

This is a tasty and fragrant dish that is easy to make. Any meat will do, or you can substitute fried tofu for the meat if preparing a vegetarian meal.


  • 6 cloves Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Thai Hot Chili, finely chopped
  • 6 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Pound Fresh Chicken, pork or shrimp, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 Pound Cooked Jasmine rice, preferably chilled overnight
  • 2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoon Green Onions, finely sliced
  • 8 Tablespoon Fresh Sweet Basil Leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Coriander Root, chopped


  1. Heat oil in a wok or fry pan.
  2. Stir-fry garlic until golden.
  3. Add Chili and chicken, cook until done.
  4. Add cooked rice, sugar, fish and soy sauce.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring and tossing gently.
  6. Continue stirring until it is mixed well
  7. Stir in green onions, basil leaves & coriander.

Makes 4 servings.

Wild Rice with Mushroom Duxelle

Wild Rice with Hen of the Woods Mushroom Duxelle

Mushroom Duxelle is a very classic french method. It is a way to concentrate the flavor of a mushroom.The basic idea is to reduce the moisture content, I have seen some cooks, including Julia Child wring out the excess moisture from the raw chopped mushrooms in a cheesecloth before cooking.

Since I am still on the new uses of Hen of the Woods mushrooms I am using them today. Crimini, Button, Portabella all work well in a duxelle. If fresh Chantrelles can be found they might work well in this recipe.

This is a great accompaniment to almost any meat dish or can be part of a vegetarian menu.

Wild Rice with Mushroom Duxelle
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 8 ounces fresh Hen of the Woods mushrooms
  • 2 shallots finely minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon herbs, thyme, rosemary, sage or marjoram.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  1. Clean the mushrooms well and chop fine.
  2. Heat a large skillet on the top of the range.
  3. Add oil and mushrooms.
  4. Add the shallots and garlic.
  5. Sauté for 5-6 minutes, until the moisture has been absorbed.
  6. Add cooked wild rice and heat through.
  7. Add fresh herbs. Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 Servings

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay (Kai Satay)

Satay was originally an Indonesian appetizer. Satay is meat skewered on sticks that is marinated and grilled to perfection. The meat is tender and aromatic. Satay is served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. It is a wonderful start to a meal.

  • 1 Pound Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Teaspoons Coriander powder
  • ½Teaspoons Cumin powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Galangal or ginger , finely chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon grass, finely chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • ¼Teaspoon Ground black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Palm sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Melted butter
  • ½ Cup Coconut milk
  • 50 pieces Bamboo skewers (6 inches long)
  1. Cut the meat across the grain into ¾ inch wide and 2 inches long.
  2. Pound the coriander, cumin, galangal, lemon grass, turmeric, salt and pepper in a mortar until it is finely ground.
  3. Pour the spice mixture over the meat along with the palm sugar, melted butter and the coconut milk.
  4. Mix thoroughly, and set aside to marinade 45 minutes.
  5. Skewer the meat strips lengthwise and broil over a medium charcoal fire
  6. Brush occasionally with the remaining marinade.
  7. Serve them with satay sauce and the cucumber salad.

Satay Sauce:

  • ¼ Cup Red curry paste
  • 2 Cup Coconut Milk
  • ½ Cup Ground roasted peanuts
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Tamarind concentrate
  • 1 ½Teaspoon Salt
  1. Mix the peanuts and the red curry paste together well.
  2. Heat the coconut milk in a wok until the oil surfaces
  3. Add the peanut-curry mixture and mix them well.
  4. Add the remaining coconut milk and reduce the heat.
  5. Continue to stir regularly.
  6. Season to the taste with sugar, tamarind juice and a little salt.
  7. When the sauce has thickened, spoon it into a serving bowl.
  8. Serve with Cucumber Salad.