'tis the season: crunchy chicken spring rolls, panko crusted crab cakes, bacon-wrapped shrimp, peanut chicken skewers, & mini beef tenderloin sandwiches

>> Sunday, December 27, 2009

the holiday season is official over and sis and i can finally get back to you guys.  we've had a busy couple of weeks with an unruly snow blizzard, puppy babysitting and visitors galore.  we had to cancel peg's first annual christmas party after waking up to 20 inches of snow last saturday morning.  never one to just give up, i decided to whip up some of the appetizers i had planned to make, just in much fewer quantities.  some of the recipes can be found at the link above and the others are listed below.

crunchy chicken spring rolls

bacon-wrapped shrimp with basil garlic stuffing

peanut chicken skewers with chili mayo

panko crusted crab cakes with spicy avocado aioli

mini beef tenderloin sandwiches with mustard-horseradish sauce

crunchy chicken spring rolls
(adapted from martha)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup grated carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 cup grated cabbage
1/4 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, plus more for frying
20 spring roll wrappers
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. add chicken, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, sugar snap peas, cabbage, fish sauce and soy sauce. cook for about 4 minutes and season with pepper. remove from heat and set up a work station. beat egg and water in small dish to make an egg wash. cover wonton wrappers with damp paper towels to prevent from drying out while making the spring rolls. working quickly, place about a tablespoon or more of chicken mixture in corner of wrapper. (you will need to fold this spring roll like you would fold a burrito.) roll up corner until you cannot see mixture anymore. fold up sides to meet in the middle and continue to roll into right cylinder. brush top corner with egg wash and seal. cover rolls with damp paper towel as you continue to make the others. heat oil in large skillet to 350 degrees. working in batches, fry up spring rolls for about 2 to 3 minutes, placing on paper towel to absorb left over oil. you must continually turn rolls to make sure they don't burn. serve immediately with asian duck sauce.

panko crusted crab cakes with spicy avocado aioli
(adapted from cooking light)

16 oz crab meat
1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
couple dashes of hot sauce

preheat oven to 450 degrees. combine crab, 1/2 cup panko, celery, 1/4 cup mayo, egg, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and s&p in a mixing bowl.  stir together and form into 2 inch crab cakes. place remaining panko on plate and roll each crab cake into breadcrumbs, making sure they stick.  place crab cakes on non-stick baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

combine 1/4 cup of mayo, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce and s&p in food processor and blend.  once crab crabs are finished, scoop a little of the avocado aioli on each.  serve immediately.

and don't forget the other recipes:
bacon-wrapped shrimp with basil garlic stuffing
peanut chicken skewers with chili mayo
mini beef tenderloin sandwiches with mustard-horseradish sauce
the impromptu family party was a a hit, including a round of drunken dominoes till 3 a.m. and this little pup came just in time to enjoy the holidays with us.


layer up: brie chicken salad

>> Thursday, December 17, 2009

this week i've been trying to make meals with stuff we already had in the fridge.  i saw a huge block of brie cheese and immediately knew i wanted to incorporate the gooey deliciousness into dinner.  i came up with a layered salad that was inspired by robin miller's grilled chicken with brie and baby spinach recipe.  here's what we got.

4 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
8 slices of brie cheese
4 cups of lettuce (any kind your heart desires)
4 small red potatoes, quartered
1 bunch of asparagus (about a pound), trimmed
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
your favorite balsamic vinaigrette

preheat oven to 400 degrees.  line baking sheet with foil, season potatoes with evoo and s&p and cook for about 15 minutes.  once those are done add asapargus to baking sheet and cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes.

meanwhile, preheat grill pan to medium high heat.  season both sides of chicken with s&p and garlic powder.  cook chicken about 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.  add two slices of brie to each chicken and cover pan with aluminum foil or the top to the pan.  let the brie melt for about 2 minutes.

to serve dish, get a large oval serving platter and add lettuce.  add roasted potatoes to one side, put the chicken in the middle and add the asapargus to the other side.  garnish with bacon and drizzle your favorite balsamic vinaigrette over it. 

this was a really simple, easy recipe.  its great for those who say they don't eat salads.  i got tony to eat a whole plateful of spinach and he didn't even realize, not to mention he gobbled up some asparagus too.


good things coming to cotton top

>> Tuesday, December 8, 2009

next weekend, peg is hosting her first annual cotton top christmas bash.  she has asked me to cater the party where the guest list will be anywhere from 30 to 45 people.  my heart is filled with culinary glee as i have begun to plan out the menu.  my girl ina taught me the best way to host a successful party is to make half of your food in advance and the other half right before the party.  you'll notice half of the menu can be served at room temperature or cold. here's what i have going on so far:
  1. panko crusted crab cakes with spicy avocado aioli*
  2. bacon-wrapped shrimp with basil garlic stuffing
  3. mini beef tenderloin sandwiches with mustard-horseradish sauce
  4. vegetable spring rolls with sweet dipping sauce*
  5. layered sundried tomato and basil cheese spread
  6. prosciutto crostini with lemon fennel salad
  7. peanut chicken skewers with chili mayo
  8. spiced mixed nuts*
  9. vegetable crudite platter with green goddess dressing
* these recipes are messy chef originals.  i will post the recipes the day after the bash.
    is your mouth watering yet? i hope the guests are hungry. 
    stay tuned for pictures.


      cheese squared: potato chip crusted chicken and cheesy grits

      >> Wednesday, December 2, 2009

      let's call it a weak moment, shall we? by the end of "tomato week" i had had enough of eating healthy and wanted to splurge a little.  meagan shared the same sentiments as me and requested something really cheesy.  i whipped up potato chip crusted chicken and cheesy grits.  and a little broccoli so we didn't feel too guilty. 

      chicken breast
      crushed up sour cream and cheddar chips
      3 cups of chicken stock
      3/4 cup of 5-minute grits
      1/4 cup velvetta, plus extra if you're feeling generous

      preheat oven to 350 degrees. pound out chicken breasts, until about 1/2 inch thick. brush some evoo over chicken and season with s&p.  coat chicken with crushed potato chips, press down to make sure they stick.  cook for 20 minutes or until done, flipping halfway through.  this will ensure that both sides get crispy.  in another pan bring chicken stock to boil. add grits and cook for 5 minutes. stir in velvetta cheese and s&p. cook broccoli in vegetable steamer for 10 minutes.  season with evoo and s&p.

      the results were well worth any self-inflicting guilt i may have imposed on myself.  next time you're having one of those days, go ahead and try this cheesy decadence. i promise you'll fall in love.


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