Tag Archives: garlic

more chicken

I have to admit a bias toward drumsticks when it comes to cooking with chicken. Many of the treatments I give them are easily adaptable to breasts and whole birds for a more formal dining experience and that’s precisely why I lean toward drumsticks; they’re very informal, finger food, go with just about anything and therefore make children happy. I often make a bigger batch than is necessary as they’re something the sprogs will willingly pack in their lunches for the next day.

This recipe is nice because it goes together very quickly and the heat output from the chili sauce is very controllable – it gets diluted quite a lot by the butter and lime but more can be added as desired or can be served on the side for the more adventurous to dip into.

What you need:

16-20 chicken drumsticks

1 stick of butter

Juice of 2 lemons or 4 limes

1 tbsp dried thyme or you can remove the leaves from two or three fresh sprigs

2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (I use this but one can easily make their own)

2 tsp powdered ginger or 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger grated (I recommend having one of these on hand for that job)

Melt the butter in a medium sized microwavable bowl or on the cooktop in a medium sized saucepan, stirring constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn (if you’re doing it in the microwave be sure to give it a stir at the one minute mark.) Add the lemon/lime, thyme, chili garlic sauce & ginger to that. Stir until combined. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dip each drumstick into the mixture and move to a roasting pan, preferably one with a rack to keep the chicken off the bottom of the pan – this makes clean-up so much easier. Once all of the drumsticks have been dipped & arranged brush each one with a little more sauce and toss the pan into the oven. Cook for 30 minutes & serve hot – or let them cool and take them on your next picnic or as your incentive to not eat out for workday lunches.

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Sweet Hoisin Chicken

Those are the remnants of last night’s reasonably-healthy-food-masquerading-as-junk-food supper. They’re dead simple to put together and everybody loves them to death. The recipe can be applied to just about any chicken cut but I like the way the dark drumstick meat takes in the flavours while still giving us the finger food experience.

What you need:

10-12 chicken drumsticks

3/4 cup of hoisin sauce

1/4 cup dark soya sauce

1/4 cup cooking sherry

3 crushed cloves of garlic

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lay drumsticks in a single layer in a deep casserole dish (or two.) Mix all of the other, non-chicken ingredients in a bowl and pour or spoon the mixture evenly over the drumsticks in the casserole dish(es).

Once the oven is heated, put the chicken in, on the middle rack, for about 30 minutes. Once those 30 minutes are up the oven should be turned up to 425 for about 15 minutes. This turns our otherwise liquidy ingredients into a glaze but the chicken should be removed if there are any signs of burning at this temp…and, because oven temperatures will vary, this is the time to keep an eye on it.

That’s it. That’s all.

Enjoy!

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Focaccia

By popular demand (or frustration, as the case may be) this will not be a recipe as much as it is a tutorial. I’ve shared this recipe with many people only to have them come back at me, after attempting it, with ‘IT DOESN’T WORK!!!’ which always has me scratching my head because it really does just work.

After pondering it for a while I’ve come to the conclusion that folks are a little intimidated by things which involve leavening agents and the fomentation process – I know I am. The temptation is to work it into the ground and that’s the only way one can go wrong with this recipe.

I believe I made my first (failed) attempt at focaccia about 10 years ago through the discovery of a recipe for it in grilled form in an LCBO Food & Drink magazine. It came off the bbq as a charred-bottomed lump of…something. I attempted the same recipe in the oven with better results but it came out with a very un-focaccia-like texture. No good that. So, I played with the ingredients and times and cooking methods until I came up with the recipe I share today:

Ingredients:
1 tbsp liquid honey
1 cup hot (but not boiling) water
2 tsp dry active yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow corn meal
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the honey in the water then sprinkle the yeast on top of this and allow to stand about 10 minutes until foamy.

Foamy yeast looks like this:

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2. Add the flour, cornmeal, salt and olive oil to the yeasty mixture.

3. Stir with a wooden spoon. I believe this is where most people go wrong. It’s important to not overwork the dough – there’s no kneading involved. The aim here is to simply get all of the ingredients together as a gooey (and it really should be gooey) mess. Like so:

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As you can see, the dough is not uniform. It’s sticky and doesn’t hold together very well. That’s exactly how it should be.

4. With the spoon work the dough into a rough ball and pour a little olive oil into the bowl. Coat the ball in the oil by rolling it loosely in it. Cover with a tea towel and let stand in a warm place about 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

5. Lightly oil whatever baking surface you’ll use to cook it on (this one is on my extra-uber-special pizza stone – we’ll talk about him another time) and turn your ball out onto it. Loosely pat it down to a circle then use your fingers to poke little craters into it:

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6. Add your topping. On this one I used a very simple blend of 3 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tbsp oregano, loads of cracked multi-coloured pepper and olive oil but you can take the topping anywhere your little hearts desire. Using the back of a soup spoon helps to push the topping around and into the craters. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and allow the focaccia to rest as it heats up. Here’s what our delectable brain child looks like now:

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7. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Et voila! We have focaccia =)
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