Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Alabama-Style" Chicken Kabobs

This recipe taught me two things. First, that "Alabama-style" is code for mayonnaise. Lots of mayonnaise. (But that it tastes good!) And second, that skewers and kabobs are not interchangeable. Skewers are actually the metal or wood sticks that you put the meat and vegetables on, and kabobs are the result. Learning! The more you know...

Anyway, back to the recipe. This is very simple, which is always nice. And it's actually really tasty as well. The chicken gets nice and juicy, with a little char and flavor from the grill, and a little kick as well. It's not the healthiest way to cook chicken, but it's not too bad for an occasional thing. Serve it with a nice big side of veggies if you need to settle your conscience. I found this recipe on my latest favorite food blog: food52.

1 1/2 cups mayo
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp sambal oelek (more to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into kabob sized cubes

First, mix up the sauce (everything but the chicken). I eyeballed the ingredients, mostly because I hate scraping things like mayo out of a measuring cup. But it turned out fine. Then (carefully!) stick your chicken on the skewers, leaving a bit of space between each cube so it will cook through. Drizzle a little olive oil on the skewers, followed by a touch of salt and pepper to taste, then put them on the grill. Reserve about half the sauce, and use the other half to baste the kabobs as you grill them. Once they are cooked through and have a little bit of color on them (about 8-12 minutes depending on size) they are ready to eat. Serve with the reserved sauce on the side for dipping, or just drizzle a little on top of the chicken. There you have it. Kabobs on skewers, Alabama style.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Easy Duck Confit

The Hubs and I don't really do that much for Christmas. It's just the two of us, and we usually have already given our gifts (or bought them for ourselves) in early December (or November, don't judge). It's not for everyone, but it works for us. This year, we wanted to make a special meal for Christmas, just to give the day a little "Tjuz" (shout out to you Queer Eye fans). So, we settled on duck. Specifically, this recipe on Food52 for "Melissa Clark's Really Easy Duck Confit." Except... we didn't get our act together before Christmas, so we actually had it for New Year's Day. Hey, listen. Duck is really hard to find in the RVA. We checked our go to for good meat, Fresh Market, and they don't carry it. So the Hubs asked around and found a place called Yellow Umbrella. I'd never heard of it, but apparently it's the place to get duck (and seafood, I hear).

Anyway, once you get your hands on some duck, try this recipe and I promise you won't be disappointed. She's right, it IS really easy. Like, really. And it's seriously good. The right amount of flavor from the thyme and salt, but not enough to overwhelm the duck. The skin was delicious, the meat was mouth watering, and the bone...well, that was all that was left at the end. We served it with a easy side of pancetta & shaved Brussels sprouts. The only thing we'd adjust is the cook time. It was a bit overcooked. I've adjusted the times in my instructions below.

4 duck legs (about a half pound each)
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled

If your legs are bigger than a half pound (ours were) adjust up the seasonings accordingly. Put the duck legs skin side up in a dish or tupperware, or if you don't like cleaning extra dishes like me, in the pan you will eventually cook them in. Mix up the salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf and sprinkle generously over the duck. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it hang out in the fridge for 24 hours.

Bring it out of fridge about 15 minutes before you're ready to cook just so it's not straight out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 325. Flip the legs so the skin and fat is down, and cook on the stove tope for about 20 minutes over medium heat. Watch it, as ours got a little burnt on that side (still good). What you're looking for is for the fat to render out into delicious fatty liquid. When that liquid is about 1/4 inch deep, it's time to cook. Flip the legs back over again (skin side up) and cover your pan with foil. Cook for about an hour with the foil on, then remove the foil and cook for another 45 minutes. The original recipe called for two hours with the foil on and an hour with it off, but that was far too long. We cut it down and it was still too long, so I think the hour with foil on and 45 with foil off will be perfect. It's just right to make your Christmas (or New Year's) special!