Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dinner for 16 - Jerk Chicken, Harissa-Spiced Shrimp & Chorizo Skewers, Flank Steak

We had my family over for a dinner a few weekends back. We handled the main meal, plus some appetizers. We had probably 10 lbs of food for 16 people - all but about maybe 1 lb of chicken was devoured. Now that's the sign of good food!

Jerk Chicken
1 bunch green onion, white parts only, coarsely chopped
2 habanero chiles, stemmed, seeded, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp like juice
2 tbsp minced garlic
4 tsp dried thyme
4 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 whole chicken, cut up, plus 2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts

Mix all marinade ingredients together. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Add chicken to plastic bag, add paste to the bag. Seal and rotate the bag to distrubute paste over the chicken. Refrigerate 6-12 hours. Grill over direct medium heat until chicken is done.

Flank Steak
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup evoo
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1 flank steak, about 1 1/2 -2 lbs

Mix marinade ingredients together. Add flank steak to a plastic bag, pour in marinade, seal bag, rotate to coat flank steak. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Grill over direct medium heat until done (about 10 minutes, turning steak halfway thru)

Harissa-Spiced Shrimp & Chorizo Skewers
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup evoo
2-3 tbsp harissa
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pkg chorizo sausages (4 in total)

Mix lime juice, evoo and harissa. Add shrimp to plastic bag, pour in marinade, seal bag, rotate to coat shrimp. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

While shrimp marinades, bring a pan of water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, add in chorizo. Cook 20-30 minutes or until sausages cooked thru. Slice sausages into 1/2" pieces.

Remove shrimp from bag, discarding the marinade. Add shrimp & chorizo to skewers, alternating between the two. Grill over direct medium heat until shrimp is done, about 5 minutes, turning skewers halfway thru cooking time.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Chocolate Chip & Walnut Scones

I've never posted photos of what I cook, mainly because I am not the best photographer - I leave that to The Spouse. However, Sunday morning I revisited my scone recipe, tweaking it even more, as I'll post below.

The end result was some of the most beautiful scones I've ever made. So, I determined I had to at least try photographing them.

The trick was the change I made in the glaze. Instead of using a whole egg, I whisked the whites until just before they started to stiffen, then added in about a tablespoon of milk.

The scones themselves were soft and tender, fluffy yet filling. Suffice to say, The Spouse was quite pleased with the result.

2 cups all purpose unbleached organic flour
1/4 cup Splenda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tbsp Smart Balance, cold and cut into pieces
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup roasted chopped walnuts
2/3 cup buttermilk substitute
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones:
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven temperature to 400ยบ F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture until the mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. In a small measuring cup combine the buttermilk with the maple syrup and then add to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges. You will have 6 scones altogether. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.

Bake for about 16 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.