Here is a delightful Sweet n Spicy Oriental dish in a rich sauce that can be served along with white or brown.  This is an recipe that is similar to Bourbon Chicken or Orange Chicken that is lightly breaded with a rich thick sauce.

1 large boneless chicken breasts; cut into bite size pieces
1/2  cup Unbleached flour
1/4 cup Bread crumbs; Panko Japanese Style
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil

2013-05-11T20-09-46_1

SAUCE
1/2 cup water
1 clove Fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes; or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon Ginger; ground
1/4 cup Brown sugar
2 tablespoons Ketchup
1 tablespoon White wine vinegar
1/3 cup Dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons Corn starch; or more for desired thickness

 2013-05-11T20-09-46_3 (2)

Preparation

Cut large chicken breast into 1/2 as though  were going to butterfly.  Especially if they are thick in size.  If not you will not need to cut in half.  Then cut into bite size pieces.

Place flour and Panko in medium size bowl large enough to hold chicken, Panko and flour.  Add pieces of chicken and using two forks flip slowly until all pieces are dredged in a light coating of flour and Panko Bread Crumbs.  Let rest while you prepare the skillet and heat the oil to a hot temperature.

2013-10-30T09-34-21_4

In a large non-stick skillet, add vegetable oil.  Allow oil to come to a medium high temperature that is hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle the oil.  Using kitchen tongs, add the chicken bits one piece at a time allowing room to turn the chicken.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 300 degrees so that you can place the chicken in the oven to continue cooking while you later prepare the sauce.

Let the chicken pieces cook 3-5 minutes per side or until the first side is lightly browned.  Turn over and brown second side another 3-5 minutes.  As pieces brown, remove from oil and place in 12x8x2 (or larger) clay or non-stick baking dish.  Add additional pieces to the skillet as room allows and continue to brown as before.  After the last chicken is browned, remove from skillet and place remaining pieces one layer deep in the baking dish.  Place baking dish in oven while sauce is prepared and until it has simmered at least 10 minutes.

SAUCE:

Using a paper towel, remove excess oil from the skillet.  Mix together all sauce ingredients except corn starch in the skillet and bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add corn starch a little at a time until the sauce begins to thicken.

2013-10-30T09-34-21_1

Make sure sauce has thickened before adding the first chicken.  Add chicken pieces to sauce and stir gently to coat.  Continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes at a slow simmer.  Add more corn starch if necessary to ensure sauce coats chicken and is of a gravy like nature.

2013-05-11T20-09-46_3 (2)
May 2013: More delicate version that I preferred.
2013-10-30T09-34-21_5
October 2013: Had more soy sauce or brown sugar. Too robust for oriental fried rice.

 

Serve along side or over white rice or brown rice.

This sweet and savory stuffed mushroom appetizer is made with ground sweet Italian sausage, goat cheese & chopped Calimyrna figs.  For a little extra eye appeal they’ve been topped them with slivered almonds.

Fresh Calimyrna figs  are definitely my preference over the darker variety fig as they have a milder flavor that doesn’t over power the other ingredients.  The tastes of this stuffed mushroom will burst with variety of sweet and savory flavors that seem to crunch and pop out individually.

DSC_0141

You can easily substitute golden delicious apples and feta cheese for figs and goat cheese if not available.  Sometimes you can find dried figs packaged on the same aisle in the grocery as where you find raisins.

DSC_0147Read More →

Turkey stuffing for those of us who used to hate stuffing.  I started making this dressing many years ago and it’s always been a hit.  Can be prepared the day before and then baked with Turkey the next day.   For a vegetarian version use Knorrs vegetable cubes prepared in water to replace chicken broth.

apple-pecan-rice-bread-turkey-stuff

Rice Mixture:

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup mild onions; chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup celery; chopped into small pieces
1 cup Basamati rice
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 pinch saffron; optional
1 teaspoon ground sea salt; or to taste
1/2 teaspoon Cavendars Greek Spice; or substitute poultry seasoning 

apple-pecan-rice-bread-turkey-stuff-3 apple-pecan-rice-bread-turkey-stuff-4

Bread Mixture:
1 pound bread stuffing; cubes/seasoned
1/2 cup mushrooms; canned/drained & chopped into small pieces
2 small granny smith apples; chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup pecans; chopped, can substitute slivered almonds
2 cups chicken broth; substitute Knorrs Vegetable cubes in water for Vegetarian

Preparation

1.  In a very large skillet, saute onions and celery in butter over low heat.  Add rice and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes until onions and celery are slightly tender.  Add chicken broth, salt and Cavendars Spice. .  Bring to a boil.  Cover pan tightly, lower heat to maintain slow boil, and continue to cook 15 minutes (rice will not be fully cooked).  Rice will be soft and of a thick soup consistency.

2.  Remove rice mixture from heat and mix in bread croutons, canned mushrooms, apples and pecans.  If your pan is not large enough then combine rice and bread mixture in a mixing bowl large enough to handle all the ingredients.

3.  With a large spoon, mix bread and rice together along with other ingredients until well blended.  I like my stuffing to be of a slightly dry texture prior to adding to the bird. After combining all the ingredients, I then slowly add more chicken broth and continue to turn the stuffing until I reach my desired consistency which is loose and slightly moist.  If you like your stuffing more on the dry side, then leave the texture loose and slightly moist.  If you like your stuffing soft and thoroughly moist, like bread pudding, then continue to add broth until the bread and rice begin to pack together into a slightly tight and soft consistency.

apple-pecan-rice-bread-turkey-stuff-6

(If prepared the day before: place 1/2 of dressing in a one gallon bag and the remaining in a baking dish.  Refridgerate until following day.)

4. Fill the cavity of a medium sized turkey or large roasting chicken with lightly packed dressing and allow to overfill a little.   Fill the breast pocket if the turkey with more dressing as well and make sure to tuck and secure the skin with a metal or wooden skewer.  When you begin to brown the bird, cover the dressing with foil so that it will not burn, but is brown and slightly crunchy on top. Bake according to Turkey Recipe instructions.

apple-pecan-rice-bread-turkey-stuff-5  apple-pecan-rice-bread-turkey-stuff-7

5.  Place any remaining stuffing in a covered clay baking crock or fancy baking dish if for a holiday.  Cover and refrigerate baking dish until the final hour before dinner then bake in 350 oven for 1 hour.

6.  Remove the cover from the baking crock for the last 15 minutes of cooking so that it can crisp a little on the top.

7.  Serve hot in baking dish.

Gus and I stopped by the Open Range Grill & Tavern in Sedona, AZ on our way back from Flagstaff to Prescott last week.  The restaurant rests in a beautiful setting within the Red Rock area of Sedona on the East Side of highway 89A that threads its way through town.  Since Open Range is on the second level of the Singua Plaza, you get spectacular views of the mountain range on the East Side of Sedona. The picture below will give you a great idea of the view from the dining room.  The restaurant itself is appointed in a combination of industrial and western design that somehow works well together.  It has a very open yet inviting look.   The restaurant service was excellent and our server Jeff was pleasant, friendly and took very good care of us during our lunch visit.

Open-Range-Logo

Best-Burger-Sedona-50x50

We selected the Bison Burger from the menu.  I have on occasion made bison burger at home and it is usually okay but not quite as juicy as a standard beef burger.  This same holds true for the Bison Burger at Open Range Grill.  I can’t place blame in the restaurant for serving a dry tasting burger.  When you cook a burger, whether it be bison or beef, when it is served medium it just doesn’t have the taste and texture that is to my liking.

However, I am sure that they have other items on their menu that would satisfy me more when we visit them next time.  For a look at what they are all about and other menu items, visit their website at Open Range Grill & Tavern.    I think I may give their Sage Rubbed Chicken a try next time.   I suggest you give them a try too if in the area, but do avoid the Bison Burger.

For the love of Lamb this is one of the best ways to introduce someone to a Lamb dish. I served this lamb for a Holiday Dinner party; doubled the recipe and it was perfect for 8 people.

Some of my best friends, Scott & Pam, Barry & Gina along with my hubby Gus, of course, enjoyed and savored the meal.  Scott made his famous Port Mushroom Gravy Sauce that complimented the lamb wonderfully.  I’ve tried to get the recipe from him but he only has it in his head and says it always turn out different each time.  The dinner was also served with roasted potatoes along with sauteed fresh green beans with almond slivers.

If serving for 4 people, just stay with the recipe as is. There should be 4 individual chops per person.

Ingredients

2 racks of lamb; about 3 lb. total, Frenched 2  Tbs. Parsley chopped
1  teaspoon Kosher Salt; plus to taste 1  Tbs. fresh thyme chopped
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper; ground pepper 2  Tbs. Dijon mustard Optional
1  cup Croutons; garlic & olive oil seasoned , crushed

Preparation

Place a roasting rack in a large roasting pan and set the lamb racks on top. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

1.  Using a sharp paring knife, remove as much of the coating from the individual bones so that they do not discolor during cooking.  This step is not necessary for the ultimate taste, but only for the ultimate look of the lamb.

crouton-crusted-rack-of-lamb-2

2.  Remove as much excess fat as your desire. I cut off all the fat that I can because I think it helps to keep the lamb final flavor a little more on the milder side and less greasy. Make sure to remove as much fat as possible to take the edge off the taste of the lamb.

3.  Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper. If the time of year permits or if you have an indoor grill, sear lamb over high heat to add heat scoring and to seal the juices in the meat.

4.  Place the racks, fat side up, on a roasting rack, with the bones facing outward and the loins towards the center of the pan.  See the pictures for clarification.  Cover the lamb bones with foil to keep them from browning to much.  If you like dijon mustard, then you can evenly spread 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard over each lamb loin prior to adding the crouton crumbs.

crouton-crusted-rack-of-lamb-4

5.  In a small bowl, stir together the crushed croutons, parsley, thyme, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the loins of each rack, pressing gently to form a loose crust.  (I use Fresh Gourmet Roasted Garlic Croutons — one of my favorites and there is enough garlic and olive oil in the crumbs at the bottom of the bag to do 1/2 a recipe.  If I don’t have these croutons on hand then I would substitute plain croutons or a coarse bread crumb then add 2 minced garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons olive oil to the crouton mixture.)

crouton-crusted-rack-of-lamb-5

6.  Transfer to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers 125 Degrees F for rare, 35 to 40 minutes.  They will continue to cook a little more as they rest.  (When planning for a dinner party, place lamb in oven as the last guest arrives to ensure that it doesn”t over cook.

7.  Transfer the lamb racks to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Cut the racks into chops, transfer to individual plates.   Serve immediately.

crouton-crusted-rack-of-lamb-6

Cuisine:French    Main Ingredient: Lamb

It’s late September and I just had to make this rib recipe again for Sunday dinner with friends. I still had sauce in the fridge from the last venture so didn’t need to make it up. That’s a time saver.

While the ribs are cooking, I’m doing a little house sprucing and now updating the recipe. Our friends will be here in a few hours and are bringing a side of macaroni and cheese. What’s great, too, about cooking ribs this way is that you can bake them the full 3 hours, turn the oven off and then finish them on the grill after your guest arrive. No stress about planning the cooking right to the second!!

The recipe appears to take a long time, but most of the time is in the oven baking time or stirring the sauce occassionally.  It’s worth the time.

Ingredients

2 large pork baby back or back ribs; full racks
=== RUB ===
2 tablespoons Carrol Shelby’s Chili blend; 2 T Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic; cloves, minced
2 tablespoons black pepper; freshly cracked
Salt to Taste
=== BASTE SAUCE ===
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh onion; minced
1/2 cup Water
1 can Tomato sauce
1/2 cup White vinegar
1/2 cup Light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Light corn syrup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon liquid Barbecue Smoke
1 teaspoon Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
1/4 teaspoon Cracked black pepper
1/4 cup Catsup

Preparation

To make the ribs, cut each large rack of ribs in half so that you have 4 half-racks.  Trim away any excess fat from ribs and remove membrane from under-side of the ribs.  Mix the dry spices together in a small bowl, except for the pepper and salt.  Then sprinkle a light even coating spice rub over ribs and press into meat.  If your spices are all in shaker bottles, the just sprinkle the desired amount of each spice.  Scatter the minced garlic over the top of the ribs.  Then press spice and garlic against the meat.  Add the amount of spice according to your desired level of hot and flavorful spice desired.  Top with fresh ground pepper and salt.   Wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 275 degree oven for 3 hours.  I line the baking dish with a large sheet of foil that can then be folded over with the meat sealed inside. This makes for easy clean up.

DSC_0048

As the ribs cook, make the sauce by heating the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions for 5 minutes or until they start to brown.  Add the remaining sauce ingredients, bring mixture to a boil; then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, uncovered, or until sauce thickens.  Check sauce every 15-30 minutes to stir and make sure not boiling.  Remove from heat and set aside until the ribs are ready.  Preheat your barbecue grill.

DSC_0050smDSC_0058

When ribs are finished in the oven, the meat should have pulled back about 1/2-inch from the cut-ends of the bones.  Remove the ribs from the oven, let them sit for 10 minutes or so, then remove the racks from the foil and put them on the grill.  Grill the ribs for 3 to 4 minutes per side.  They should be slightly charred in a few spots when they’re finished.  Brush barbecue sauce on the ribs while they’re grilling, just before you serve them.  Don’t add the sauce too early or it will burn.

DSC_0063

This recipe yields 2 (full-rack) to 4 (half-rack) servings.

 

BigOven Reviews:

Without question the best ribs that I’ve ever had. Worth making the sauce. Wow..my wife and I were sucking the bones cause it was so good lol. Thx for sharing this recipe. My now staple rib recipe for sure. Patg73

These were a hit at the annual 4th of July BBQ. I had four different families tell me they were the best they’ve ever had. I’m definitely making these again!! Ncrisp24

Watch out Famous Daves. This recipe is awesome. Maderacopy

This is a GREAT recipe, everyone in the house loves it!  Very tender and a fabulous sauce.  I’ve made it again and again by request. NR

THE FELLAS AT THE FIRE HOUSE COULD NOT GET ENOUGH.  THE BBQ SAUCE WITH THIS RECIPE IS A MUST.  I HAVE TRIED SOME BOTTLED SAUCES AND THE RIBS WERE JUST OK  INSTEAD OF BEING ‘GREAT’! tonyparT

We loved these ribs!  We might reduce the chili powder a bit next time.  They certainly have a robust flavor.  I didn’t have the tomato sauce so pureed a tomato instead. You’ll notice our sauce looks a little chunky in the picture..but ohh soooo good!  cbigovenp

Click here to veiw this recipe on BigOven. 

Click Here to View All Big Oven Recipes

Almost without fail, when I have a dinner party or a gathering  for a fun cocktail hour evening, I will serve this appetiser.  It’s a great one to mix up for your friends and to get your friends to mix together.  Sometimes, a Bruschetta is served with the tapanade already on the bread.

I like to serve mine with toasted baquette and the Bruschetta on the side so the bread does not get soggy.  Hate soggy bread for some reason.

So, if you like to have the tapenade flavor mix into the bread, then feel free to serve the toasties already topped.  The difference though is that your friends may just load their plate and not mingle as much around the appetiser table.  There are a couple of other appetisers in the feature image; Stuffed Mushrooms.  One is a Stuffed Mushrooms with Sweet Italian Sausage, Goat Cheese & Figs and Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Water Chestnuts.  Look for these in the future.

This baquette toastie is different from most that I have tried because it is a nice appetiser all on it’s own.  It has a robust flavor that is enhanced by the Bruschetta.  You can use this baquette recipe for almost any tapenade.  Enjoy… from KCinAZ.

Ingredients

Bruschetta Topping:   Baguette:
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil 1  pound French bread Baguette
1  tablespoon Champagne Wine vinegar 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
2  cloves garlic, peeled; chopped 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt
3  large Tomatoes; chopped  Italian seasoning to taste
12  sprigs Basil; chopped 1/4 cup Asiago Cheese shredded
Salt; To taste

Preparation

Remove seeds and pulp from tomatoes and then dice into small pieces.  Mix together tomatoes, chopped or minced garlic cloves, olive oil, Champagne wine vinegar, chopped basil, salt and pepper and set aside to serve at table.

asiago-cheese-tomato-bruschetta-12

Slice French bread baguette into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices; your choice depending on the crowd.  Place on flat baking dish like a heavy cookie pan.  Brush top of each slice with extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic salt and lightly top with shredded Asiago Cheese on each bread slice.  Place under hot broiler and cook on BROIL until lightly browned.

asiago-cheese-tomato-bruschetta-11

If you don’t have Asiago Cheese on hand, feel free to substitute fresh shredded Parmesan.  It will still be great!

Makes 12 servings.

For a refreshing summertime appetizer, fill bite-size cherry tomatoes, round or pear shaped, with a savory mixture of cream cheese flavored with basil. Minced tarragon or chervil can be used in place of the basil.

Original Yield: 24  Main Ingredient: Cream Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes
Ingredients:

24 Cherry tomatoes
1/2 pound Cream cheese; regular in tub
2 tablespoons Half-and-half cream
1/4 cup Fresh basil; minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper; freshly ground
1 package Fresh parsley
2013-03-31T12-41-25_12013-03-31T12-41-25_7

Instructions:

Chop or mince basil into small pieces especially if you are going to use an icing tube to fill the tomatoes with the cream cheese mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine the cheese, 1 tablespoon half-n-half, basil, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork or spatula until well blended. Continue to add last tablespoon of half-n-half slowly until desired consistency is met. Allow to come to room temperature as you prepare the tomatoes. This will allow for an easier time when filling the tomato shells with the icing tube as the cream cheese comes to room temperature.

Remove the top of each tomato with a serrated knife and trim if necessary to flatten the bottom. While having tomato still in hand, attempt to remove as much pulp as possible and discard. Save tomato tops for garnish.   Turn  tomato upside down on an paper towel to help in absorbing the juices. After all tops have been removed and this first step is complete then move on to the next step. The messy part is mostly over.

Using a small spoon or small mellon baller scoop out any remaining inside pulp to make a hollow yet sturdy shell. Set each shell open side up on serving dish. Garnish with parsley sprigs to help keep tomatoes in place.

Using the small spoon, fill each tomato with about 1 tsp. of the cheese mixture.

If you can use a cake decorating tube, then you can also use this to fill the tomatoes and create a pleasant swirl. You will need to add enough half-n-half so that the consistency is like frosting. Pick a large enough tube end so that the basil does not get stuck.

To finish off the platter, fill a center dish with extra or leftover basil cream cheese.  Place tomato trim tops around the inside of the bowl and add additional parsley for garnish.  If you have leftover room on you platter, fill it with cucumber slices, crackers, sweet garden peas or any other food that would go great with the cream cheese.    I used the tomato tops around the inside of the center bowl that contained extra filling.  If you do not use an icing tube to fill the tomatoes, you can use the little tops to garnish each filled tomato.   Sprinkle a little parsley over the entire platter for a final finish.