Jalapeno-Lime Glazed Drumstick

Are you having a wonderful Tijuana Tuesday? Gosh, I hope so. I also hope you are in the mood for some very sticky-spicy drumsticks. These were finger-licking good. You’re gonna need wipes, not napkins, with this chicken because the paper will stick to your fingertips.

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Simple Onion-Garlic Drumsticks

Sometimes the most simple meals are the best. After all, simple does not mean one-dimensional. What makes food worth eating are layers and textures and aromas. How do we eat? With our senses fully engaged – with our eyes and our noses long before that first bite.

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Catalina Chicken and Sunny California

When I first saw the title of this recipe, I didn’t think Catalina, as in the dressing but rather of Catalina Island. Years ago, Hubby and I spent a Mother’s Day get away on this beautiful island. It is said that visiting Catalina is a lot like visiting the Mediterranean, in that the climate and atmosphere are similar.

We loved the island despite the fact that it rained nearly every day. The one day with sunshine was awesome, with an early morning horseback ride and strolls through the streets of Avalon.

Early that morning we walked from our hotel to the horse stables. As we made our way through the sleepy streets, we saw a man standing alone on the street corner. He was looking out at the bay, and seemed deep in thought. His eyes were an amazing blue, like windows into what seemed to be a very old soul. As we approached, he smiled and we exchanged the pleasantries of strangers crossing paths. As we turned the corner, I glanced back for one last look. His stare had returned to the sea. There was a sadness about him that made my heart ache. I whispered to Hubby who I thought the man looked like. Hubby said he agreed it did look like him, but really? No way.

robin dead poet2
I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.

The next morning, the Today show was setting up for an interview. Robin Williams was promoting his newly released movie “The Dead Poet Society.” Our encounter with a sad stranger on the street the day before had been with Robin Williams.

Hubby and I had promised to return to Catalina one day. It’s been 30 years, and we have yet to visit the island again. If we do, it will be in the off-season, when the island is quiet. For it is in the quiet moments that we can truly connect to our inner selves.

Catalina Chicken
1 envelope Dry Onion Soup Mix
12 oz Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
1 Cup Catalina Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
Black pepper to taste
1 Package Picnic Chicken (4 thighs, 4 legs) skin on

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry soup, jelly and Catalina Dressing. Whip with a wooden spoon to blend well.

Season with onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir to blend and distribute seasoning throughout.

Place chicken pieces into the bowl, making sure all the pieces are well coated.

Cover and refrigerate chicken for several hours to soak in the flavoring. The longer the better.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Arrange the chicken pieces on the prepared pan. Cove tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes undisturbed.

Remove chicken from the oven, reduce temperature to 325 degrees.

Remove foil covering, return chicken to the oven and continue to bake for another 25 minutes or until cooked through, checking after 20 minutes. Serve chicken over a bed of steamed rice.

Original Recipe: Myra Byanka at Cook Eat Share

catalina oven baked chicken

Caramel Honey Baked Chicken Legs

In my pantry are jars of honey, all locally made from various blossoms. There’s the usual clover honey and orange blossom and sage and wild flower and a whole host of other honeys. Not far from where we live is a Honey Bee Farm, Honeydale Farms. They are a small vendor, supplying raw honey to the central valley and San Francisco Bay Area. The honey is in bottles sealed with a cork much like the way honey was bottled in the 1800s. Whenever we go to country fairs or harvest festivals, I always look for their booth and stock up. These bottles make great gifts, too. Two of my favorites are the Orange Blossom and the Sage variety.

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Forty-Cloves Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken Legs

What can I say – love all those French garlic rich chicken dishes. I adore chicken kissed with wine. I love playing around with new recipes. So here we are; with a new recipe to play with from Eat At Home Cooks.com. She has a great take on the Forty-Clove chicken – utilizing legs and cooking everything up in a slow cooker. The only changes I’ve made is to include warm baguettes and create a sauce of sorts using the chicken juices that accumulate in the pot reduced with a little white wine. Let’s face it, just about everything is elevated when wine is added to the dish. This recipe is a blend of her awesome crock pot method and my rendition of French Country Forty-Clove Garlic Chicken.

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Japanese Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

Kiddo has always been a fan of all things Japanese. When he was younger, we took “pretend” trips to other countries via Imaginary World Travels. When asked “which country would you like to visit”, his initial response was “Japan!” Kiddo was disappointed when I would remind him we had already visited Japan, and the point of our Imaginary travel was to visit a different country during each school break. Needless to say, the title of this recipe alone made it an automatic hit with him. It’s very similar in taste to Filipino Chicken Adobo, but with a thicker, sweeter sauce.

The first time I made Japanese Glazed Chicken Drumsticks, I made a mistake, which turned out to be a good thing. (Don’t you just love it when that happens?) I had transferred the chicken to a serving bowl, and was allowing the sauce to thicken just a little more when something happens (can’t remember what) that needed my immediate attention in the backyard. I turned down the heat, and had Kiddo stir the pot while I ran outside to help Hubby. It took a little longer than planned, and I hadn’t set a timer or instructed Kiddo to remove the pot after 5 minutes. The sauce became this wonderful, thick ultra-sticky glaze.

Note: Looking for something a little different in the Chicken Wing Appetizer Department? Both Adobo Sauce and Japanese Glaze are excellent alternatives. Just remove the chicken from the sauce using a slotted spoon. The wings will be awesomely delicious while still in the sticky-finger game.

Japanese Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
12-16 chicken drumsticks
1/2 Cup Water
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman’s)
2 1/2 tablespoons ultra fine sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
1 small hot chili peppers, slit open, seeds removed
2 Green Onions, chopped for garnish (Optional)

Peel and bruise garlic. Chop hot chili peppers and green onions. Set aside until ready to use.

Place all the ingredients except green onions in a saucepan over a high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 40 minutes.

Increase the heat, turning the drumsticks frequently in the liquid, and cook until the liquid has reduced to a thick glaze, about 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from glaze, keep warm. Lower heat and continue to allow glaze to reduce and thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes longer, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  Return chicken to the pot, coat well with glaze.

Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Remove the garlic clove and chili from the glaze, then spoon any remaining the glaze over the drumsticks. Garnish with chopped green onions just before serving.

Serve with steamed rice or Spicy Asian Stir-Fry Spaghetti.

Sweet Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken

The weather is still beautiful. Perfect for some late season barbecuing on the old trusty grill. Let’s face it, nothing beats meats cooked over an open fire. It has got to be one of our favorite methods of cooking. I especially like grilled foods because Hubby gets involved. I just adore it when we cook together. It is one of the most romantic, intimate things a couple can do together.

I came across the original recipe for Carolina Style Barbecue while strolling through Mary Yonkin’s blog – Barefeet in the Kitchen. I just love the name she’s given to her blog – it sounds so down to earth and inviting, don’t you think?

Anyway, we gave her recipe a try about a year ago, and have made it several times since – with a few alterations along the way. You know me, I can’t resist tinkering with recipes. Mary’s original recipe called for 6 pieces of chicken – 3 legs and 3 thighs. I’ve doubled that, and in so doing doubled the marinade as well. Her recipe uses a lot more Dijon Mustard (1/3 cup in a single batch of marinade), while I’ve cut that way back. If you are a fan of Dijon, go for it. Hubby thought the Dijon was a bit too strong the first time around, so I’ve played with the amount to find a happy medium before coming up with the current version of the recipe. Mary has you soak the chicken in half the marinade, reserving the other half for basting while cooking. I pour it all on and skip the basting. The other difference is that I let the chicken sit on the counter for about an hour before grilling over a nice bed of coals.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to letting food sit on the counter to “warm” before grilling – one says it makes no difference, and that letting food come to “room temperature” isn’t safe. The other swears that allowing the food to warm allows for a more even cooking, and that letting the food sit out isn’t all that risky. Personally, we have found that taking the chill off the meat does make for easier grilling. I wouldn’t do this with ground meats or sea food – but it’s fine for large cuts of meat such as tri-tip or bone-in meats – be it steak, chicken or even pork. If you aren’t comfortable letting the meat rest on the counter before grilling, skip that part. Whatever works best for you, your grill and cooking style is fine.

This recipe renders a chicken that isn’t too sweet or spicy (despite the use of brown sugar and Sriracha). The Dijon mustard isn’t overwhelming – giving a little kick to the flavors. The chicken is moist and oh so delicious. My guys rave about how great it tastes – and that’s always a good thing.

Sweet Carolina Style Barbecue Chicken
6 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided (3 tablespoons per batch)
9 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided (4 1/2 tablespoons per batch)
2/3 cup brown sugar, divided (1/3 cup per batch)
2 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (1 tablespoon per batch)
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (3/4 teaspoon per batch)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 chicken legs
6 chicken bone-in thighs

Season all the chicken well with salt and pepper. Place legs in a gallon size Ziploc bag, thighs in another. Spread chicken out so that the bag lays flat and the chicken is in a single layer.

In a small bowl, whisk together half of remaining ingredients for the marinade. Pour the marinade into one of the bags, turn to coat evenly. Repeat with the remaining marinade ingredients. Pour into second bag. Let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. DO NOT marinade overnight, as the vinegar will react with the chicken if left too long and “burn” the meat.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place bags flat on the counter for an hour before grilling. While the chicken rest on the counter, build a nice fire in the grill for direct cooking. Make sure the grate is clean and freshly oiled to prevent chicken from sticking.

Once the coals are ready and the chicken has warmed on the counter, place chicken directly over the fire. Raise the grate or lower the coals, however your barbecue is build, so that the chicken isn’t so close to the coals that it burns. Grill 15-20 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.

carolina-bbq-chicken-2

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To view Mary’s original recipe; follow this link:

http://www.barefeetinthekitchen.com/2012/01/carolina-style-barbecue-chicken.html

Apricot Sage Honey Glazed Drumsticks with Young Carrots

Recently Hubby, Kiddo and I spent a day at a Flea Market (of sorts) on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. TreasureFest, as it is now called, is a mixture of vintage peddlers, Treasure-Island-Flea_c-580194b55f9b5805c2782a8dand local craftsmen. There is everything from recycled art to small cottage-kitchen homemade goods. We found a vendor peddling her homemade marshmallows in a variety of flavors (our favorites were the salted caramel and peanut butter mallows). We sampled some wonderful, creamy goat cheeses from a nearby farm (bought four different flavored cheeses), various honey from local keepers, balsamic vinegars, and bottles of the most flavorful olive oils. These vinegars and oils are lovingly made in small batches – a bit pricey, but well worth the extra costs. If you are ever in the San Francisco area on the last weekend of the month, I highly recommend a side trip to Treasure Island. The views of the bay are spectacular, the merchandise offered is unique and the endless assortment of food trucks (the best in the bay) are sure to satisfy whatever craving you may have. Get there early, as the crowds grow throughout the day. And plan for a lot of walking.

Needless to say, we were in hunter’s heaven. Hubby bought a great hand-crafted leather belt. I found vintage dishes, hand-painted serving bowls and all sorts of honey, cheeses, vinegars and oils to stock my pantry. The Cherry Balsamic Vinegar was a great update to my refreshing Compressed Watermelon,Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad. This awesome summer salad was part of my Summer Birthday Bistro. I’ve got big plans for the Lemon-Goat Cheese (for a creamy sauce to add with chicken – but that’s a post for another day). I love these types of markets – so filled with inspiration!

The sage honey was awesome in this glazed chicken recipe. So golden, so delicate, so down right delicious. Both the apricots and young carrots came from a visit to the farmer’s market. While large carrots can be used, or the baby carrots in a bag, there is something sweet about the young, tender carrots with their tops that add to the dish (just be sure to cut off the green tops before using!)

farm2Needless to say, the quality of your chicken will greatly impact the flavor of your dish. Whenever possible, look for hormone-free, antibiotics free, all natural chickens. The “brands” that I prefer are Rocky or Rosie Chicken – both from the same company.  Their chickens come from Sustainable Farms in and around the Sonoma area of California. The chickens are then packaged in nearby Petaluma. Beautiful country – great farms, vineyards and awesome foods abound throughout the Sonoma Valley.

Apricot Sage Honey Glazed Drumsticks with Carrots
Chicken Drumsticks
10 drumsticks
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 fresh apricots
10 young carrots

To prepare Chicken: Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pit the apricots, then slice into strips. Set aside.

Wash carrots, trim tops and ends. Cut as necessary into 2″ long sections. (Mine were perfect, needing almost no cutting beyond the trimming stage). Set aside.

Heat oil in heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, brown the drumsticks on all sides, about 8-10 minutes, turning as needed. While chicken is browning, make apricot glaze.

Apricot Sage Honey Glaze
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Sage Honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

To Prepare the Apricot Glaze: Combine apricot jam, red wine vinegar, sage honey, mustard, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Whisk mixture thoroughly to combine. Reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of the glaze and set aside.

Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining glaze over the drumsticks on all sides. (You will not use all the glaze in this application).

To the remaining glaze in the bowl, add carrots and apricots. Mix to coat well. Set apricot/carrot mixture aside.

Arrange drumsticks in a large casserole dish. Spoon carrot/apricot/glaze mixture over legs, spread evenly.

To Bake the Chicken: Place chicken in the oven to bake. After about 20 minutes, remove dish from oven, close door to retain heat, Rotate legs, and brush with reserved glaze. Return dish to oven for another 20 minutes.

Check for drumsticks for doneness. If more time is needed, rotate legs once more and return to oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes of baking.

To serve: Plate legs and carrots, drizzle with juices from the casserole dish. Serve with fluffy rice such as Rice  Pilaf.

Chicken Provencal

provence-france-1A little research revealed the follow about this lovely dish: Chicken Provencal hails from South France – in the Provence region. The basic characteristics of Provencal cuisine are herbs, olives and slow cooking. Naturally, there is much more involved; but those are the basics in a nutshell. One look at the breathtaking charm of the countryside and it’s easy to see why. The use of Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram and Sage are prevalent in Provencal cooking, as are olives and olive oils. Slow cooking is a must. After all, who would want to be in a hurry here? The countryside invites one to slow down, to savor and live in the beauty of the moment; don’t you think?

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Smoked Paprika Chicken – Dark Meat Chicken At It’s Best!

In recent weeks, I’ve been organizing and reorganizing my Yumprint recipe collection.  Originally my “cookbooks” within Yumprint were organized in categories such as a beef cookbook, a chicken, a pork and so forth. In other words, all my beef based recipes were lumped into one book aptly named Beef.  As the collection grew, finding something Italian or French within a sea of Beef or Chicken recipes became increasingly more difficult. While searching through recipes often brought inspiration, it was also a pain if I were looking for a particular type of cuisine in a hurry. Naturally, I went through all my various cookbooks and redefined the recipes (Yumprint sorts recipes in an alpha-numerical listing within each book). the only way that seemed to make sense – I read each recipe, then gave it a country of origin such as Chicken – Italian: Chicken Parmesan for example. This worked well for a while, but did not completely solve the hunt and peck grind. Sure, I could have simply typed Chicken Parmesan into the search parameters, but when you have thousands of recipes to search, it takes a minute. No, this simply would not do – more information was needed. What if I were standing in front of a freezer packed with chicken legs that I needed to use up but did not have clue one as to what I wanted to make with all those legs. Now the focus had shifted from just a country of origin to inspiration using a particular cut of meat. Problem solved. Everything was renamed yet again.  Chicken- French: Chicken Provencal  became Chicken, Legs – French: Chicken Provencal. Now all my recipes using breasts or legs or thighs are lumped into separate groups,  followed by country, followed by the actual name of a dish. As I plunged head-long into this process, I began to notice something that caused me to wonder. Chicken, Breast – American held far more recipes than Chicken, Thighs – American. Why was that? Do Americans eat more white meat than dark, thus explaining a broader assortment of recipes calling for breast? The answer? Yes, we do. Studies indicate that an average, meat-consuming American will eat approximately 60 pounds of chicken a year. (Obviously this study does not take into consideration chicken wings and Super Bowl Sunday). Of the chicken eaten, a whopping 80% of that is breast meat. Wow! The real kicker here is that most professional chefs would rather work with dark meat – thighs in particular. Dark meat is less dry that white meat, it has more depth of flavor and that slightly gamey wow factor. So what gives with the rest of us? There are all sorts of theories floating about, but the bottom line is we need to embrace the deliciousness of dark meat. I for one intend to do just that!

To begin with, isn’t the picture lovely? In all fairness, it’s not mind – the photo; like the recipe, is a William-Sonoma creation (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/paprika-chicken.html). When I cooked for my guys, they were far to hungry to wait for the usual “photo” section – we cooked, we ate, we enjoyed. Boy, it was good!

This recipe is perfect for a delicious week-day meal. From start to finish, it took under an hour. Okay, so maybe it’s not speedy-quick, but it’s one of the tastiest chickens I’ve prepared in under an hour. I will admit, I did find that the cooking time was a little longer than the recipe called for, but then again I had fairly large thighs in the skillet, so it would make sense. Not only was the finished dish very tasty, it was juicy, too. Hubby and Kiddo have let me know this recipe is a real “keeper”. Now Hubby has always been a fan of dark meat, so it’s no surprise that he enjoyed it. However; Kiddo is funny when it comes to chicken – he rarely likes chicken on the bone, although I don’t have a clue as to why. And he prefers white meat over dark meat hands down. So for Kiddo to say he want this again, that’s two thumbs up. Yeah, it’s good!

As usual, I made a few changes to the original recipe. First off, as the photo shows, William-Sonoma uses legs and thighs in their recipe (3 each). I elected to go with just the thighs (7 – strange package) because it’s what I had in the freezer. As it turns out, the rub was perfect for the amount of chicken I had on hand. I did change the rub just a bit – using chopped roasted garlic rather than roasted garlic powder. (What can I say, I’m a huge fan of garlic!) The only other change I made was to lift the skin from the thigh (without removing it) and put some of the rub between the meat and the skin, thus increasing the wonderful flavor throughout the meat. Beyond that, no other changes or alternations were necessary.

Now that I’ve shared my tips and alterations, let’s get down to the real reason we’re here – to cook up a wonderful chicken recipe using dark meat that is fast and tasty.

Smoked Paprika Chicken
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Chopped Roasted Garlic
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
6 Chicken Thighs, bone-in; Skin-on*
1 Tablespoon Cooking Oil

Note: I prefer thighs, but this recipe will work with all legs or a combination of legs and thighs.

In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, garlic powder, salt, cayenne and brown sugar. Set aside.

Gently lift skin from meat without removing the skin. Sprinkle a little rub under the skin, gently message into meat.  Rub remaining spice mixture evenly over the entire chicken pieces.

In a nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken skin side up. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook about 15 minutes.  Turn chicken, cover and continue to cook until juices run clear, about 10 minutes longer.

Uncover the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the skin begins to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.