Chicken Teriyaki

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My husband, thanks to me, has quite a developed palate, considering how he was cooked for growing up. He loves Indian food, he loves Ethiopian food, he loves most Mediterranean cuisines, minus the olives and capers, and he absolutely loves dim sum.

However, there’s no dim sum or Indian restaurant where we live. So when we go out, it’s more for me to get out of the kitchen, and much less about either of us having a great food experience. (Sometimes our experiences are downright comical.)

But I admit he seriously sacrifices himself when we go to this local Japanese restaurant.

The restaurant has the most beautiful salad, called the avocado ball salad with a crabmeat filling. It’s divine; I could have it every day. It’s really the main reason I ever want to have lunch at this specific restaurant, although their sushi and sashimi are also outstanding.

However, all my husband orders off of their menu is chicken teriyaki, and it’s not good.

One day I received a Nigella.com email, sharing her Chicken Teriyaki recipe, and it dawned on me that I’d never made it at home before. Chicken Teriyaki was something I learned early on, was grossly over-sweet. I think I figured that out when I purchased a bottle of teriyaki sauce. Horrible stuff.

So I decided to test out Nigella’s recipe, even though she made it abundantly clear that there is sugar in it.

From Nigella: “I know the world is full of good parents who never give their children food with salt or sugar, and this recipe proves conclusively that I am not one of them and, on top of these dietary failings, the following also contains alcohol!”

Here’s her recipe:

Chicken Teriyaki
printable recipe below

2 tablespoons sake
4 tablespoons mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
Splash of sesame oil
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
Sushi rice

In a glass baking dish, combine the sake, mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and sesame oil. Stir well.

Add the chicken pieces and let them marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a braiser. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the chicken out of the marinade, and let it cook until browned on all sides.

Pour in the marinade, and cook the chicken for five minutes longer. Remove the chicken with the slotted spoon to a serving bowl, loosely covered with foil to keep the chicken warm.

Lower the heat and reduce the marinade until thick and syrupy. Pour over the chicken, toss gently, and serve, with cooked sushi rice.

It’s a wonderful recipe, and of course my husband thought it was a thousand times better than what he orders locally.

I served the teriyaki with some chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

I looked at my Japanese cookbook just to see what an authentic chicken teriyaki recipe included, and I discovered something unexpected.

Teriyaki sauce is made up of mirin, soy sauce, and chicken stock. To turn it into a teriyaki glaze, sugar is added – 1 tablespoon of sugar for every 1/4 cup of teriyaki sauce.

That’s actually pretty sweet, which is why, obviously, teriyaki becomes such a syrupy glaze. Also, to serve the chicken, the recipe says to “spoon a little of the glaze over each serving.”

So maybe it’s not just the sweetness that can be overpowering, but also the volume of teriyaki glaze on the chicken in Americanized Japanese restaurants.

But in any case, if you dislike chicken teriyaki at your local Japanese-American restaurant, do try this recipe. My husband said, “It’s wonderful.”

And now I’ll probably never get him back to the Japanese restaurant so I can have my avocado ball salad…

 

Pimm’s Float

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This recipe is brought to you by Food Network chef Sunny Anderson. I wish I could claim it as my own, because it’s fabulous! Every summer I swear I’m going to make it, stack it with other recipe cards, and promptly forget about it. But not this summer.

If you love Pimm’s, and you love ice cream, then you’ll love this treat!
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I didn’t follow Sunny’s recipe to the T – hers included strawberries, and being passed strawberry season, I instead decided on blackberries and raspberries. So here’s what I did.

Sunny’s Pimm and Proper Ice Cream Float
Serves 4 or 2, depending on the serving size

1 pound raspberries and blackberries
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water

First place the berries in a small pot. Add the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and stir gently, until the sugar dissolves. Put the lid on, and lower the heat.

After about 5-6 minutes, remove the lid, and cook about 1 minute more. Place the pot in the refrigerator and let the berries and syrup cool completely.
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To complete the ice cream floats, you will need:
Pimm’s
Vanilla ice Cream
Fresca

To prepare the floats, but about 2 heaping tablespoons of the berries and syrup in the bottoms of ice cream glasses. Add an equal volume of Pimm’s to both. Scoop out the ice cream and place it in the glasses.


Right before serving, add the Fresca.

I also served a skewer of blackberries, just for fun.
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Sunny not only made a strawberry syrup in her original recipe, she also used strawberry ice cream. I chose vanilla because I wanted to taste the other flavors.

After tasting these, I’d still opt for vanilla. But I’m sure you could come up with many different ideas for these floats!
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They’re really refreshing, and would make a fun dessert after a summer dinner party as well!


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Pom Cider Vin

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I happened to have some pomegranate juice left over in my refrigerator from making festive cocktails in December, as well as some apple cider that I’d used for hot buttered apple cider over the holidays, so I had an idea. No, not more drinks, but instead – a flavorful and pretty vinaigrette.

If you read my fresh pear vinaigrette post, you know I like to make my own vinaigrettes. To me, there’s no need to buy them. Ever!

At home you can control the ingredients, and make the vinaigrettes customized to your liking. And the list of possibilities are endless.

So with the leftover juice and cider, I created this vinaigrette. Some people prefer a more oily vinaigrette than I do; I like the flavor of the vinegar, so I like a 50-50 ratio of oil to juice and vinegar. It’s a personal choice.

But this recipe is a place to start, if you’ve never made a vinaigrette from scratch.

Pomegranate Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Firstly, place the pomegranate juice and apple cider in a small pot. Begin the reduction process. Which means do not leave the kitchen for a good hour. It’s a slow procedure, but an important one.
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Towards the end you will have created a pomegranate cider syrup.

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While the syrup is still warm, pour it in to a heat-proof jar and let it cool for a little bit.
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Add the red wine vinegar. I’m using approximately an equal volume as the syrup.
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Then add the olive oil. I’m adding approximately an equal volume as the syrup and vinegar mixture.
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Add the salt, then close the jar and give the dressing a good shake.
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If you don’t like the brownish color of the dressing, omit the apple cider and stick with pomegranate and cranberry juices only.

The slight fruitiness of this vinaigrette pairs beautiful with all kinds of salad ingredients.
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Today I prepared a green salad with beets, orange slices, garbanzo beans, goat cheese, and pine nuts. I kept this salad light, but grilled chicken or salmon could easily have been added; both would also compliment the dressing.
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Because of the sweetness of the dressing, it would also be good on spicy greens like arugula, plus the addition of fresh pears or apples.

Get creative with these dressings. You can use just about anything that you have leftover – even champagne – for a wonderful and unique vinaigrette. I very often use leftover beet juice as well, as I did here, using a combination of the beet juice and apple juice for a little sweetness. Beet juice adds a wonderful earthiness that pairs with carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, and many other salad ingredients as well.

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note: Pomegranate and cranberry juices both make red vinaigrettes if you use the juices by themselves, without the addition of apple cider. So they’re really pretty to serve over the Christmas holiday season, or even for a special Valentine’s meal! !