My roommate’s take on fried chicken

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2010 by Kenkou

Alright, so I woke up fairly late this morning (I was up til 3 am writing the guacamole and truffle cream cheese article) but my roommate made this really tasty fried chicken, so good I decided to post it up here.  I don’t have an exact recipe, but its a fairly standard procedure for making fried chicken breasts.  Slice the breasts until they are fairly thin, tenderize them (pound them), drench them in coating and seasonings, and pan fry in vegetable oil until golden brown.  These were very flavorful, tender, and very crispy.  Here’s what was used for coating:

Tapioca Starch, the outer coating

This stuff did the job very well and from what I tasted, the chicken was coated quite generously with it.  You can find these at any Asian supermarket but apparently flour works alright too.  By generously, I mean generously.

A type of Japanese seasoning. All I know is that there's pepper and garlic in it

I have to tell you, I’m very proficient in reading hiragana and katakana (the actual Japanese characters) but I suck horribly at reading the kanji (the Chinese characters).  Sucks cause I’m part Japanese.  So all I know about this yummy seasoning is that there’s pepper and garlic in it and that it apparently goes good with barbecue, steak, french fries, hamburgers, salmon steak, and “yakitori” (grilled chicken pieces on a skewer).  You can find these at Daiso (lovely Japanese store with very cheap goodies) or likely any Japanese supermarket.

White Pepper Powder

Fairly standard white pepper powder.  Easily found anywhere 🙂

A finished piece of fried chicken

Yep, like I said, tender, juicy, crispy, and delicious.  Apparently you’re gonna need to keep plenty of oil on hand because the tapioca starch absorbs the oil pretty quickly.  A reason why pan frying is a good alternative to deep frying according to yes, Alton Brown, is that pan frying gives moisture a way out so that the crust doesn’t turn into a solid hard shell.  If the skin becomes a hard shell, the entire thing comes off when you take that first bite.  I’m pretty sure we’ve all experienced that when eating chicken from KFC.  With pan frying however, you’ll end up getting some crust in every bite.

Keep watch for an article on how to make one of my childhood (and adulthood) favorites, Chicken Katsu or Japanese-style fried chicken.  Good job Daniel!

Bon Appetit!

Tasty Party Snacks: Fresh Guacamole and Truffle Cream Cheese

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2010 by Kenkou

Looking for a way to keep your guests busy while you wait for your roast turkey to finish cooking?  Looking for a way to keep your friends from feeling hungry while slow cooking your barbecue ribs?  Looking for an easy party food idea?  Then check out these two simple ideas for delicious finger food: chips and guacamole (yes, real fresh guacamole made with fresh ingredients) as well as toasted bread slices with truffle cream cheese.  First, let’s head south of the border for Alton Brown’s take on guacamole (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/guacamole-recipe/index.html).

If store-bought guacamole has turned you off from avocados, this smooth yet chunky creation will definitely bring you back to enjoying fresh avocados combined with a variety of flavors and freshly chopped vegetables, the way guacamole is meant to be enjoyed:

– 3 Haas avocados (California Avocados)

– 1 lime

– ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

– ½ teaspoon ground cumin

– ½ teaspoon salt

– ½ white onion

– 2 roma tomatoes

– 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

– 1 garlic clove

– Optional: 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers

– Tortilla chips (I recommend Calidad brand tortilla chips because they are inexpensive and surprisingly delicious, but any tortilla chip will do so long as they are not flavored like Doritos.  We want to be able to taste the guacamole without any deterrents)

Calidad brand Tortilla Chips and Fresh Guacamole

The guacamole after being attacked by party guests!

Guacamole on a chip

I have to be honest, when I first tried to make guacamole, I totally didn’t realize that the avocados had to be RIPE.  Yes, I tried once using hard avocados assuming the lime juice would soften them up.  They wouldn’t come out of the peel, so I ended up using a potato peeler to remove the skin!  Pretty dumb huh?  Haha, yea, so please, don’t make the same mistake.  Make sure you’re buying ripe avocados or if they’re not ripe, let them ripen on your kitchen countertop for a few days to a week.  I’ve heard you can also speed the process up by placing them in a paper bag and adding a tomato, apple, or banana to help accelerate ethylene gas production that causes ripening.  I haven’t tried that yet, but you’ll know an avocado is ripe when you apply firm pressure and the avocado feels fairly soft.  Do not refrigerate your avocados, especially if they are unripe, and plan to use them soon after they are ripe.

Dice onion and Roma tomatoes and set aside.  Chop garlic and cilantro and set aside.  If using a jalapeno, remove seeds before chopping it into small pieces unless you want to add a lot more heat.  Set chopped jalapeño aside.  Split each avocado in half, remove and discard the seed, and use a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh from the skin and place into a large mixing bowl.  Roll a lime, cut in half, and squeeze the lime juice onto the avocados.  This prevents the avocados from oxidizing and turning brown.  Add cayenne, cumin, and salt into the bowl and mash using a potato masher until the consistency is fairly uniform (a few small chunks here and there are okay).  Add onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic into the bowl and mix together with avocados using a spoon.  When the guacamole is well mixed, place into a serving bowl, cover the surface of the guacamole with plastic wrap to create a tight seal, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.  This allows the flavors to settle in and reduces the chance of oxidation.  Remove the plastic wrap after one hour, add seasonings if needed, and serve with tortilla chips or any other foods.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Next up, we travel across the Atlantic and explore Gordon Ramsay’s recipe for truffle cream cheese.  I remember watching this on a clip from one of his British shows.  He says that its a great idea for holiday feasts, particularly on Christmas, and it goes great with a glass of champagne or white wine before dinner.  Here it is:

– 8 oz. cream cheese (light cream cheese works too)

– 8 oz. sour cream (again, use light if you prefer)

– 1 to 2 handfuls of freshly chopped chives (use chopped green onions if you absolutely can’t find chives)

– Truffle oil (use about 1 to 2 teaspoons if you’re using the cheap synthetic truffle oil; use only 1 to 2 DROPS if you’re using a much stronger, more expensive, authentic truffle oil with a more pungent smell)

– French bread (8 to 12 ounces will do) cut into roughly ¼ inch slices

– Olive oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Optional but recommended: Garlic Salt

Truffle Cream Cheese with Toasted French Bread Slices

Close-up of the truffle cream cheese

Cream Cheese spread onto the bread slice

For this recipe, I strongly recommend using fresh chives and authentic truffle oil.  The authentic truffle oil will have a very small piece of truffle in it and will have a very strong pungent smell.  I remember when I first smelled it and boy, was I blown away.  It may cost around $30 for a small bottle but the flavor it creates is well worth it and its way cheaper than actual truffles themselves.  But whatever you do, when using the authentic truffle oil, be very careful not to use it in big amounts.  Also, using actual bread slices is a better deal (not to mention a lot cheaper), but if you’re not feeling up to the extra task or simply in a hurry, you can use store-bought toasted garlic bread croutons (not salad croutons), crunchy bread sticks, or other similar items.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (only if you are making actual french bread slices).  Let cream cheese sit at room temperature until it is soft for easier preparation.  The more chilled it is, the tougher the initial mixing process will be.  Place cream cheese into a mixing bowl and whip the cream cheese using a wooden spoon until the cream cheese breaks down and softens into a lighter texture.  Add sour cream and mix in with the cream cheese.  Chop chives (do not overly chop to prevent bruising) and place them into the bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.  Add truffle oil and mix until the cream cheese is well mixed.  Set aside or refrigerate if planning to save for later.

Slice French bread into ¼ inch slices.  Place slices in a single layer on a baking pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle salt (I used garlic salt) and pepper.  Drizzle olive oil on the slices and evenly coat them using a pastry or basting brush.  Place slices into the oven until the top is golden brown.  This should take about 3-6 minutes.  Keep an eye out for them and remove slices quickly when browned to avoid burning.  You can also use the broiler to toast the slices if you like, but make sure to set it to low and watch the slices carefully to avoid burning.  Serve bread slices along with cream cheese.

So whether you’re looking for a zesty southwestern dip or a gourmet canapé, you’ll surely please your party guests with these tasty snack ideas.  Just don’t make so much that they end up indulging on your appetizers while leaving no room for the actual meal that is yet to be eaten.

Bon Appetit!

How Obama likes his Burger and Tuna Melt

Posted in Uncategorized on December 4, 2010 by Kenkou

So I had a chance to see some of the president’s takes on some popular favorites.  The first one was shown on a National Geographic Documentary (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/on-board/all/44#tab-Videos/06286_00) where Barack Obama decided to see how Air Force One did burgers on his first flight on the plane as president-elect.  Here’s what Obama requested from the plane’s flight attendant:

– Cooked Medium-well

– Cheddar Cheese

– Dijon Mustard (the flight attendant asked if he would like Grey Poupon, to which Obama responded, “that’s fine”)

– Lettuce and Tomato

– Served with a side of salad or vegetables

– No fries?…Wait, never mind as Obama said, ”Oh, I’ll still take the fries”

Pretty standard way of making a burger.  Personally, I also like adding some slices of red or white onion in addition to maybe some grilled mushrooms.  What stands out here is the president’s love for Dijon mustard and more specifically Grey Poupon.  I don’t think I’ve had a burger with Dijon to my knowledge but I’m pretty sure its strong flavor will certainly add some zest to any burger.  Or, better yet, how about tuna melts?

Grey Poupon mustard, a flavorful condiment favorite of the president

Obama also showed us how he liked his tuna salad melt on an episode of 60 minutes early 2008 during his campaign.  Since I love tuna melts, I decided to try making this myself and I have to say I’m quite pleased with the president’s tastes.  The tuna salad itself is quite savory with a combination of sweet and zesty flavors coming from the gherkins and mustard respectively.  So here is how I made it and remember, the quantities of any of the ingredients can be altered to suit your tastes.  This ingredient list is for 2 sandwiches:

– 1 5 oz. can of chunk light tuna

– 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

– 1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Mustard

– 2 chopped sweet gherkins (You can find these near the pickles at your grocery store)

– 2 slices of cheddar cheese

– 4 slices of bread

– Butter

– Choice of toppings if desired

Drain tuna of excess liquid and place into a bowl.  Mix mayonnaise, mustard, and gherkins in until the tuna salad is well-mixed.  Assemble sandwiches by layering tuna salad, a slice of cheese, and any preferred toppings on the bread.  Spread a light amount of butter on each side of the sandwich.  Place sandwich in a medium skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until outside is golden brown and cheese is melted.  Be careful not to burn the outside.  Cut across the sandwich and serve.

Obama-style tuna melt served with waffle fries. The second sandwich was still being grilled while I took this pic

According to 60 minutes, Obama can apparently also make Chinese and Indian food stemming from growing up in Hawaii and once living with an Indian roommate.  Either way, the president’s got a good take on food.  Thumbs up!

Bon Appetit!

Dry turkey or other meat leftovers? No problem!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 29, 2010 by Kenkou

So Thanksgiving has come and gone and if you’re like me (who made a tad too much turkey), you’re wondering what you’re gonna do with all those scraps of leftover turkey meat that are drying up by the day.  But before you send the remains of your bird to the trash can or to your dog’s food dish, take a gander at some of these recipes that can breathe a brand new and maybe even tastier life into your leftover turkey and other thanksgiving dishes.  Feel free to use these recipes for other leftover meats like chicken or beef or even fish as well!

Turkey Shepard's Pie with Mashed Potatoes

Close-up of the Shepard's Pie

Turkey Shepard's Pie with Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Close-up of Sweet Potato Shepard's Pie

Turkey with stuffing casserole variant

A twist on what Gordon Ramsay calls a “Great British Classic”, Turkey Shepard’s Pie is not just a creative turkey encore for your next get-together, but its also a great way to inject precious moisture back into your bird in addition to finding use for leftover mashed potatoes.  This recipe is based on a Yahoo! article I stumbled upon, with a few minor changes.  I originally made this for church on Sunday (It was me and Steve’s turn to make food for the congregation) with the leftover Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes and when I realized that I had more turkey than potatoes, I made a second casserole dish by omitting the potatoes and instead stirring in leftover stuffing.  I then made this dish again today with regular mashed potatoes.  So heres the recipe, with instructions for both sweet and regular mashed potatoes as well as the stuffing casserole variant.  Note for when I made the dishes, I went through the recipe twice each time to make two batch layers of turkey and veggie mixture (thus using double the ingredients) before adding the mashed potatoes.  Enjoy!

– 2 tablespoons of olive oil

– 6 chopped green onions

– 1 to 2 carrots, finely minced

– 3 cloves chopped garlic

– 1/3 cup white wine

– 3 tablespoons flour

– 1 tablespoon dry basil

– 2 cups chicken stock

– 2 cups cooked turkey

– 1 cup frozen peas

– 5 to 6 russet potatoes or sweet potatoes

– 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream (only if you are using regular potatoes)

– 2 to 3 tablespoons butter (use more butter if using sweet potatoes)

– Salt and pepper to taste

– 1 canned chipotle chili pepper (only if you are using sweet potatoes)

– Stuffing (only if you are making the turkey and stuffing casserole variant)

– Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or sauce pan over medium heat.  Finely mince carrots using a grater.  Saute carrots and green onions until onions appear well cooked.  Add wine, stir, and reduce until it’s gone.  Add flour and basil and stir until flour dissolves.  Add chicken stock and stir consistently until it begins to boil.  Heat peas separately and add cooked turkey and peas and stir into mixture.  Pour into a casserole dish and set aside.

Peel and chop potatoes into cubes.  Cook potatoes until chopstick tender (it is recommended that regular potatoes be boiled and sweet potatoes be steamed).  If using regular potatoes, add butter, salt and pepper to taste, and ½ cup of cream and mash.  Add more cream and seasonings gradually to make potatoes creamier and more flavored and continue mashing until desired texture and flavor is achieved.  If using sweet potatoes, add butter, salt, and pepper and mash until desired texture and flavor is achieved before spooning in a chopped chipotle chili pepper.

Spread mashed potatoes over the turkey and vegetable mixture.  Top potatoes with parmesan cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

If you are making the stuffing variant, simply add leftover stuffing to the mixture after adding turkey and peas.  Stir, pour into casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake until cheese is golden brown.  Serve hot.

Turkey Tarragon Pasta Salad

Perfect for picnics and outdoor lunches, this tasty Pasta Salad is a Eurasian Epicurean original!  I conceived this idea while trying to think of a variant of chicken salad using turkey.  It began with combining turkey and mayo.  Then I thought of adding classic picnic salad vegetables like olives, corn, celery, and onions.  Then, to add a bit more texture to the dish, in came the penne pasta (Just for the record, I absolutely love cooking with pasta).  And finally, while preparing the dish, I fumbled through some of my herbs and out popped tarragon, a very handy herb used in many salad bar pasta favorites.  This dish can be altered in many ways and you can add whichever produce or pasta you like in addition to substituting meats such as chicken or fish for turkey.  But keep the tarragon and mayo whatever you do!  Here’s the recipe!

-2.5 cups cooked turkey

-1 can (15-16 oz) canned corn

-1 can sliced olives

-1 onion chopped

-1 cup chopped celery

-1 lb dry penne pasta

-2.5 cups mayonaisse

-2 to 3 tablespoons dry tarragon

-1 to 2 tablespoons dry cumin

-Optional: 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (more if desired)

Drain corn and olives and place into a casserole dish.  Combine with raw chopped onions and celery.  Boil salted water and cook dry penne pasta all the way to tender perfection (12-14 minutes).  Drain well and let it cool.  Add pasta, turkey, and mayonnaise to casserole dish and mix with vegetables

Add tarragon and cumin and mix well.  Add cayenne pepper if desired.  Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Rachael Ray's Hearty Turkey and Corn Chili

Original Recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/turkey-corn-chili-recipe/index.html.  This is Rachael Ray’s Turkey and Corn Chili.  My variant has a few very subtle changes (the biggest ones being me using freshly chopped tomatoes and canned tomato sauce and omitting the bay leaf) but nothing too deterred from the original recipe.  I added an option of adding beans as well.  Enjoy!

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 onion, chopped

-1 bell pepper chopped

-1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

-1.5 pounds cooked turkey

-1.5 to 2 tablespoons chili powder

-1.5 to 2 tablespoons ground cumin

-1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot for this one)

-Salt and pepper to taste

-2 cups corn (frozen, canned, or leftover works fine)

-1 32-ounce can of chunky style crushed tomatoes (You can also try using canned tomato sauce and 4 freshly chopped roma tomatoes)

-2 cups chicken stock

-Optional: 1 can of black or pinto beans, drained

Heat olive oil in a pot over medium high heat.  Saute onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno until onions are transparent.  Add the cooked turkey and season with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.  Add corn, tomatoes, and chicken stock.  Add beans if desired.  Stir well.  Bring to boil and turn down heat, let simmer for 10 minutes before serving hot.

So there you have it, a few ideas that you can put to use the next time you have a mountain of holiday leftovers that you don’t want to go to waste.  Don’t forget that you can also use your turkey bones and carcass for making soup and stock.  And remember, all these recipes work great for leftover chicken, beef, and many more kinds of leftover meat.  Oh yeah, if you happen to have leftover ratatouille, by all means keep in it the fridge and age it further, then reheat and eat for more flavor!   Feel free to comment and share any ideas you may have as well!

Bon Appetit!

Thanksgiving Food! Round 2 (more recipes on this one)

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2010 by Kenkou

Alright, round 2 of belt-busting thanksgiving food.  This one took place at Emily’s house and it was just as good as Round 1, if not better!  Since I had made more of the food here (including the turkey), there’ll be plenty more tips that you can use for your next holiday meal.  So here goes:

Turkey!  OK, heres what was used for the moist turkey and gravy (my roommate Daniel helped with the gravy haha):

– 12 lb whole turkey

– 10 tablespoons butter

– 2 cups chicken stock (keep at least 2 cups extra on hand)

– 1 parsley bunch

– 1 onion, chopped into quarters

– 1 lemon, halved

– 1 whole garlic halved

– Potatoes and Carrots to surround the bird

– ¼ to ½ cup flour, depending on desired thickness of gravy

– Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  To start, defrost turkey if necessary.  Remove innards.  You won’t need them in this recipe but you can incorporate them in if you like.  Wash and season turkey with salt and pepper inside and out.  Stuff the bird with onion, 80% of the parsley, and garlic.  Place bird in a roasting pan (no rack) breast side up.  Melt 8 tablespoons of butter and add the remaining chopped parsley and some lemon juice (don’t completely juice the lemon) to melted butter.  Baste the bird with melted butter and get it well coated.  Stuff the lemon into the bird.  Pre-cook the potatoes and carrots until somewhat tender.  Surround the bird with vegetables and pour two cups of chicken stock into the roasting pan.  Place bird into the oven for 3 and a half hours.

About halfway through the roasting process (1 hour, 45 minutes remaining), melt remaining butter and baste turkey.  Also, check to make sure the stock doesn’t dry up.  Add more if necessary.  Then with about 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes remaining (when the breast of the bird looks golden brown but some the back of the bird still looks fairly white), flip the bird over so that the breast side is now immersed in chicken stock.  Return to oven for remainder of the cooking time.

Remove bird from oven upon completion of roasting and transfer the bird and vegetables to another dish, breast side down, cover, and let rest for 20 minutes.  Pour the liquid from the roasting pan into a pot and bring to a boil.  Mix flour and water together separately until flour appears dissolved and pour into pot while stirring the liquid consistently.  Stir until liquid comes to a boil and thickens.  Transfer to a bowl.  Turn the turkey back on its back after resting and serve.

Ahh, stuffing, a true compliment to turkey.  This was a standard Mrs. Cubbison’s stuffing mix and the recipe can also be found on the box.  Only difference is I recommend using chicken stock instead of the bouillon, so here is my slightly modified recipe:

– 1 6 ounce bag of stuffing mix (I used 4 bags, so all quantities were multiplied by 4

– 1/2 cup chopped celery

– 1/2 cup chopped onion

– 2 tablespoons butter

– 1 and 2/3 cups chicken stock (add more if you like moist stuffing)

Melt butter into a sauce pot.  Cook onion and celery until onions are transparent.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Then turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 3 minutes.  Add stuffing mix and stir in to incorporate.  Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 3 to 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork, transfer, and serve.

Ahh, the new twist on the old favorite, Alton Brown’s Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes.  The recipe for this bad boy can be found on my other blog article: https://eurasianepicurean.wordpress.com/2010/11/20/chipotle-smashed-sweet-potatoes/

Adding some flavorful vegetables to the mix here, Thanksgiving Ratatouille.  Here’s the recipe (prepare this at least a day in advance for best results):

– 1 chinese eggplant (or half of a large eggplant)

– 1 to 2 zucchinis, depending on size

– 1 medium red onion

– 1 to 2 bell peppers, depending on size

– 2 tomatoes (use at least 3 if you’re using roma tomatoes)

– Salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and olive oil to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice all vegetables to about a quarter to half an inch (except bell peppers, slice those thinner).  Season and pan sear eggplant slices in olive oil until slightly browned and slightly tender.  Place eggplant into roasted pan.  Top with salt, pepper, drizzles of olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.  Saute onion slices until slightly soft.  Place on top of eggplant and top with salt, pepper, oil, and cheese.  Add raw zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes in layers of that order topping each layer with salt, pepper, oil, and cheese.  Cover and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes or until Cheese on the top is golden brown.  Remove and let sit until cooled.  Then cover and refrigerate at least overnight.  This allows the ratatouille to age and the vegetables to soak up the juice in the pan, adding more flavor.  Reheat upon removal from fridge (275 to 300 degrees for about 15-25 minutes) or until hot and serve.

Thats it for what I made.  Take a look at some of the other foods we had!  Sorry, no recipes for the remaining pics.

Steve made this spaghetti.  Very flavorful and meaty.

Our Pastor’s wife Pastor Michelle made the corn and Steve brought the shrimp cocktail (Try to guess the price of the shrimp!)

Our dear friend Jennifer made this succulent ham.  Extremely juicy and the pineapples added a nice touch of sweetness.  Also note the delicious chocolate and whipped cream pie that Daniel brought.

Stay tuned for what we did with some of the leftovers!  Bon Appetit!

Thanksgiving Food! Round 1

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 by Kenkou

There are definitely many things to be thankful for this year!  And one of the things our church can definitely be thankful for is the privilege to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast before another Thanksgiving feast that will take place later in the week!  Sunday, November 21, 2010 was the day of our thanksgiving celebration at church complete with loads of delicious food!  So lets get into what was on the menu that day!  Apologies for the some of the picture qualities.  I didn’t realize some of the pics were bad until i uploaded them and by the time I did, well, there wasn’t any food left for a second picture haha.  But anyways, enjoy!

Ahh, the star of the show!  This turkey was brined and roasted by our Pastor’s father-in-law.  The skin was very crispy and the meat was nice and tender, especially the dark meat.  I’m a huge fan of dark meat on any bird, absolutely full of flavor!

Of course, no turkey meal’s complete without the stuffing.  Growing up, I never actually understood what stuffing was until probably middle school, but I always remember it being one of my favorite parts of thanksgiving dinner!  Never had a chance to eat it year-round either, which definitely added to the appreciation of the dish.

Who says ham is only for Christmas?  Moist slices of ham with cranberries in the middle were a nice compliment to the meal.  Notice the darker meat kind of near the bottom.  Yep, just like on the turkey, the dark meat of the ham was very intensely flavored.

You know, I clearly remember taking a picture of this dish, but it wasn’t on my camera for some reason.  But no worries, I brought some leftovers home and was able to take a picture of what was left.  But anyways, this is our worship leader Steve’s take on Macaroni and Cheese, a gourmet version made with Asiago cheese.  Yes, as expected, clearly the most aromatic dish in the room and Steve claimed that he apparently made about 10,000 calories worth of it, wow!  The rolls next to it were also part of the meal that day.

Steve’s girlfriend Jessica made the mashed potatoes, always a favorite around thanksgiving!  And apparently one of the ingredients was actually mayonnaise.  Very different, but very creamy and delicious at the same time!  Nice job!

The garlic bread was made by me, haha.  Garlic was ground up into a paste before being spread over French bread slices with butter and oregano.  Baked at around 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes just long enough to melt the butter and crisp the crust.

I think the chicken got jealous of the turkey and decided to crash the party!  Sorry for the blurred picture.  Fried chicken wings which were actually very crispy and had a very sweet flavor.  Couldn’t tell what it was, but certainly a hit as it was gone quickly before the turkey was, haha.

The second wave of jealous chickens came in salad form this time!  Very creamy with refreshing veggies added a nice contrast to the rest of the meal.  “You are indeed a worthy opponent!” said the turkey.

Always a favorite for me while growing up!  Macaroni salad.  Good with sandwiches and just about anything or in this case, a thanksgiving meal.  And not a bad compliment to the mac and cheese either.

Fresh fruit to help ease off high calorie items.  Note the better picture of the chicken salad on the bottom right.

No meal’s complete without a bit of dessert.  Or should i say way more than a bit.  Chocolate brownies, pumpkin pie, jello, and lemon meringue pie call for a sweet ending to the meal…if theres still room that is, haha.

Yes, we needed extra large plates for this party!  I brought some food home too and had some at work for lunch and some more for dinner just now.  Stay tuned for more thanksgiving meals later this week!  Bon appetit!

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2010 by Kenkou

Growing tired of the same ol’ mashed potatoes?  I don’t think I ever did, as they are one of my favorite sides.  But theres nothing wrong with a new twist on an old favorite.  Just ask Alton Brown from the Food Network show “Good Eats” who comes up with a very unique take on mashed potatoes, using not ordinary potatoes, but their rather sweeter cousins : http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chipotle-smashed-sweet-potatoes-recipe/index.html

The recipe for a batch of Alton Brown’s Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes called for the following ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used a different butter, worked fine)
  • 1 whole canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (Note: use one PEPPER; do NOT use the whole can as some people have mistakenly done so before)
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (optional in my book)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or whichever amount to your liking)

I changed it up a bit by adding some fresh ground black pepper, using garlic salt, and omitting the adobo sauce as the pepper itself was already pretty drenched in it.  Whichever way you choose to make it, you’re sure to come out with a good product.

I made this one night for Emily and they turned out surprisingly good.  I steamed the potatoes on medium heat until they were “chopstick tender” as my mom would say.  That is, seeing that a chopstick will easily go through the cubed potato.  I then added the potatoes, butter, salt, and pepper together and mashed them until the potatoes were of an even consistency.  After that, came the chopping of the chipotle pepper and mixing them into the potatoes.  After the peppers were well mixed in, voila, Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

This dish is not only pleasing to the eye, but gives a very good contrast of sweet and spicy flavors and it went great with the medium rare skirt steak and green beans that I boiled before stir frying with minced garlic and mushrooms.  One pointer with the chipotle pepper: use one and ONLY one per batch unless you have a solid tolerance for spicy food.  Two peppers is quite spicy and three is likely only for the few and very daring.

Here’s an image of the end product.  Bon Appetit.

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes