Archive for May, 2011

Happy Salad

Just in time for your holiday weekend (if you’re in the US) a quick and delicious salad to accompany your burgers, steaks, etc. This is a great way to use leftover roast chicken and/or another use for that package of bacon you’re opening for bacon cheeseburgers this weekend. If your spouse permits, adding shallots, onions, or green onions would probably be a tasty addition to this salad. Everyone have a fun, safe and delicious weekend!

KKF Memorial Day Chicken Bacon Salad

4 oz cooked chicken

5 slices bacon (home made recommended)

1 avocado, cut into chunks

1/2 cup chopped fresh broccoli

6-8 lettuce leaves (romaine or other leafy lettuce – not iceberg), cut into bite-size pieces

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/3 cup mayonnaise (home made if you got it!)

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Cut your bacon up into little chunks and fry until crisp. Whisk together the mayo and the red wine vinegar to make the dressing. Combine chicken, bacon, avocado, broccoli, lettuce and garlic and pour dressing over mixture. Mix thoroughly and salt and pepper to taste.

Makes two large or four small servings.

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Shallot butter medallions, ready for duty.

What’s better than butter? Not much. But here’s a way to make butter better.

In a couple of my recent cooking classes we steamed fish in parchment paper. For one of them, we made this amazing shallot butter that steamed in with the fish and made it really flavorful. Lucky for everyone, it’s super easy to make this:

2 sticks (8 oz) of unsalted butter at room temperature

shallots (I used 4 medium shallots)

2 cups white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)

1/2 t sea salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

handful of minced fresh herbs (recipe called for parsley, but I had cilantro so I used cilantro)

Simmer the shallots and wine together in a saucepan until reduced to about a 1/4 cup or so and allow it to cool. (I stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes.) Mix your salt, pepper, herbs and shallot reduction into your butter.

Shallot butter log

To make a log out of it, spread the butter in long row on some plastic wrap, then fold the wrap over the top of it so the butter is surrounded with the wrap. Squeeze and form into a log. Twist the ends, then pick it up by the ends with both hands and spin it. That will squeeze it into a tight log and you’ll be left with twisted sealed ends on the wrap. Chill thoroughly before attempting to unwrap or cut.

To use, just pull back the wrap and cut medallions. Delicious on just about anything.

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How to cook like Kitchen Kung Fu in four easy steps:

1) Find a great recipe

2) Make sure you have all the ingredients (well…the essential ones, anyway)

3) Carefully read all the instructions in advance (or at least know that there ARE instructions)

4) Go into the kitchen and do whatever the heck you want

KKF'd Jambalaya

Case in point. When I decided to try this jambalaya recipe, I made sure I had my chicken, andouille sausage, some ham, etc. Some things I knew I wouldn’t use (chicken boullion cube and green pepper, for example) and planned a substitute in advance. I started reading the recipe while I’m pulling stuff out of the fridge and then just kind of did as I pleased. Recipes are really just suggestions anyway (unless you’re baking, then playing fast and loose is generally a bad idea.) So this is how the recipe looked after I got done making my changes:

Kung Fu'ed recipe

The good news is, I didn’t screw it up. The soup was delicious. Whether you make it my way, or the way Linda originally intended for it to be, you will be happy. Even test subject Bill ate a few bowls as leftovers (a true measure of a quality dish – if he eats leftovers, it was good.)

I’d like to note that the Cajun seasoning I used is from Mill Creek Spice Company, a local (to me) company owned by a very nice man who grinds and mixes all his own spice blends using organic ingredients. I’ve tried a few of his mixes and really enjoyed them. You can find his quality products online at www.millcreekspice.com (he ships, as he recently did to the Kung Fu Mama – that’s my mammy – for mother’s day!) and I have also seen him at the Dahlonega Farmer’s Market at Rancho Alegre and the Suwanee Farmer’s Market if you live in the Gwinnett County area. If you don’t…well, visit the website 🙂

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Since I’ve been trying to go gluten-free these days, I’m looking up recipes from the pioneers that have gone before me into the world of gluten free baking. I’ve been finding some really great recipes. One of those I tried tonight – chocolate chip cookies. Uh huh.

I used this recipe from over at the Tropical Traditions recipe site, www.freecoconutrecipes.com.  Since I’m also avoiding white sugar, I substituted the 1/2 cup sugar it called for with 1/3 cup honey. Everything else I followed to the letter (other than accidently adding too much salt – 1/2 tsp instead of 1/8 teaspoon, which made no difference that I could tell). From reading the reviews, I decided to use my small-ish melon baller to scoop the dough into 30 small balls, then used the fork I mixed everything with to smush them down a little bit. (This had the added benefit of adding nifty texture to the top of the cookies – reminds me of the peanut butter cookies I made back in the day with Mom.)

Sweet Dreams

I baked for 12 minutes. Ok, the first batch I baked for longer than 12 minutes and the bottoms got a little burned. So the next batch got 12 minutes and they were golden brown and delicious. I was really suprised at how much the honey flavor came through, even more than the coconut even though I used coconut oil, flour and flakes. I think I could even make these sans the chocolate chips for like a tea cookie. Aside from being a bit dry, these were really fantastic cookies. Test subject Bill approved, and said that he even liked the dryness and told me not to try to fix it!

As an added note, these cookies were ridiculously easy. I had cleaned up everything I dirtied while they baked and was sitting there, waiting with my camera and a spatula when they came out of the oven. Total time from finding recipe to eating cookie was probably 30 minutes.

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