MEMORIES OF THAILAND ~ Honey “Thai” Thighs

MEMORIES  OF THAILAND
There are  many recipes for chicken and chicken thighs. I really liked Linda’s “Honey Thigh Recipe” from the Fabulous Fare Sisters. Linda wrote that she would like to see my version of her Honey ~”Thai” Thigh Recipe”  after I commented on Linda’s Yummy honey Thai chicken recipe. . . .from LINDA: Thank you! Hope you give it a try – would love to see your version!  Being a lab rat, I enjoyed experimenting with this chicken recipe;  originating from Thailand.  I prepared Linda’s  wonderfully tasty chicken thigh dish. The selection of spices was too good! I did not adjust the original recipe. The great flavours of Turmeric, chives basil, ginger and soy sauce were so good already. You don’t want to change something that is already spectacular.  The only variation I made was  in the added honey;  used for  sweetness and caramelization.

Memories of Thailand!

Memories of Thailand!

TEST-TUBEMY TEST KITCHEN 
I made 3 versions of this  “dish” by  altering the method of adding sweetness to this dish. I wanted to see if there was any change in the flavour and the caramelization.
I made my first version almost the same as the original Fabulous Fare Sisters recipe. (on March 10, 2016).  In my version I used green onions instead of chives.  I doubled up on the turmeric,  basil and ginger since I am fortunate to live near “St. Lawrence Market” where I am able to get fresh ginger and turmeric along with fresh basil all year round. I grow my basil in the summer. The fresh turmeric is not as common as fresh ginger from local supermarkets here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was very generous with the cilantro. I used 1/4 cup of cilantro instead of a few leaves since I like it so much!
I made the second version  and added  the honey at the end, with one tablespoon of soy sauce glazed on top to see if the flavour and caramelization was affected.  I assumed that the caramelization would be less.
I made a third version with two tablespoons of stevia substituted for the honey and used chicken legs.

All Natural, Healthy Stevia

All Natural, Healthy Stevia read more from godshalingplants.wordpress.com

All versions were marinated for 24 hours. I shared my Thai chicken with my  friends, neighbour and  the concierge in my building.  The concierge is very please that I include him in my test kitchen.
RESULTS
The results surprised me a little.  The first version was good.  I had thought that the second version would have less caramelization. It did not. It was the same as the first. If the caramelization is too much and carbon is formed then this is not very healthy.  The third version with the stevia was just a little too sweet. I would perhaps change it to 1 tablespoon of Stevia instead of two tablespoons.
THE VOTE WAS UNANIMOUS!
All the critics favoured the version that had the honey and soy sauce glazed on top at the very end. The sweetness of the honey was enjoyable but it did not permeate through the entire dish.  This gave a pleasant contrast between the sweet and the savory.  It was the winner with everyone here!
print_recipe
.
.
RECIPE
HONEY THAI THIGHS
INGREDIENTS
6-8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs  ( or bone-in or legs)
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon grated ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt  fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 limes
1/4 cup honey (or 2 tablespoons stevia)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves.

IMG_2400

Ingredients for the chicken thighs on the left and chicken legs with stevia on the right

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Season the chicken with the chives, turmeric, basil, ginger, salt, pepper, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce,
2.  Zest the lines and squeeze the lime juice over the chicken.
3.  Drizzle with the honey and add cilantro.
4.  Allow to marinade for 10 minutes(up to 24 hours).
5.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the seasoned thighs 6-10 minutes on each side until cooked through.
6.  If using bone-in or legs cook 2 more minutes on both sides.
7. Test to an internal temperature of 165 degrees away from the bone. Serve and garnish with more cilantro leaves.

IMG_2403

Chicken thighs that had honey glaze on the left and chicken with honey in the marinade on the right

IMG_2404

Chicken legs in stevia marinade cooking

IMG_2408

Chicken thighs and legs garnished with cilantro

I would like to thank the talented Fabulous Fare Sisters for their delicious recipe .  The challenge was truly interesting and made me consider all options to improvise and test this recipe.  The recipe was wonderful.  Everyone enjoyed it. The version that had the same amount of honey as in the original recipe but used as a glaze was the winner with my group of taste testers.  Many thanks to them as well and I hope that everyone keeps cooking happy and healthy.

Advertisements

Better Than Swedish Meatballs

Another great comfort food for game day and those cold winter nights!  Everybody loves meat balls!  suomenlippuSwedish meatballs are famous possibly because of IKEA . Better than Swedish meatballs are Finnish meatballs. I make them in quantity, serve them or make ahead and freeze until the big event!  Deeeelicious!
print_recipe
.
.
INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 pound lean ground meat
1/2 pound ground pork
1 onion, minced
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons butter for frying
1 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons flour (optional for sauce)
meat_ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Soak the bread crumbs in cream.
2.  Mix together the ground beef, ground pork, minced onions and soaked bread crumbs.
3.  Mix together the beaten eggs, salt, allspice and minced parsley.  Add to the meat mixture and combine well but do not overwork.
4. With about 1 teaspoon of the mixture, form meatballs avoiding “packing” the meat, which makes for tough meatballs.  Melt butter in a frying pan and put in the meatballs a few at a time.  Shake the pan to swirl the meatballs, cooking them on all sides.IMG_1451
5. After all the meatballs are fried return them to the pan and cook another 25 minutes or alternatively place in a 300F oven for 25 minutes.

IMG_1452IMG_1457

jing_yangIt’s all in the  SAUCE!
WHITE SAUCE: You can add a few tablespoons of flour to the drippings in the frying pan, cook and then add a cup of milk to make a white sauce to serve with the Finnish meatballs*.
BROWN SAUCE: is served with Swedish meatballs.
*The single addition of the ground allspice is what really elevates the Finnish meatballs.

These Finnish Meatballs Are Rough Looking Because They Are Soft And Tender As Any Tenderloin Steak!

These Finnish Meatballs Are Rough Looking Because They Are Soft And Tender As Any Tenderloin Steak!

HAT2SERVING SUGGESTIONS ( TIPS ): As a main course, Scandinavian MEATBALLS are classically served with lingonberry preserves, cucumber salad and dilled or mashed potatoes.  For a crowd of people, you can serve these savory meatballs as a snack or an appetizer. You simply leave the meatballs in a slow cooker for hours and let people help themselves. Place shish kabob fine wood skewers in a glass next to the meatballs. Let people help themselves.  Include assorted raw vegetables as finger food; sticks of raw celery, carrots, bell peppers (not ghost peppers), cucumbers and green beans (slightly blanched).  If you make the meatballs ahead of time, they are just as tasty reheated on game day!  These meatballs are high in protein and will keep you going for hours.
VARIATION: Mix chopped spinach into your meatball mixture before constructing  the meatballs. Once I tried it for fun and I got future requests. It’s actually quite good!

YOUR FOODIE TIP
Do you have garlic smell on your fingers when you have finished handling garlic while cooking? Or, onion odour on your fingers after chopping onions?
You can either:
1) Scrub your fingers
2) Purchase a stainless steel bar and wash your fingers gently with this bar.
3) Rub your fingers along the back of your stainless steel knife.

Pick no 3.  Rub your fingers along the back length of the knife! Grasping the knife with all 5 fingers ~ see diagram . You’ve got a knife in your hand anyway. You will save on the cost and having to store the stainless steel bar or won’t be scrubbing your skin until it’s red. Your fingers will be immediately wonderfully odourless! It only take a second.

IMG_1544

Chili Recipe ~a winner

Winning Chili Recipe to Remove the Fall Chill!
Another great fall dish is chili.  We had a taste testing dinner and this was absolutely the winner!  (I have one book just devoted to chili.) This is such a versatile dish that takes well to freezing as well as serving to a crowd. chili_football  The guests can serve themselves. A great dish for those fall sports parties.  Those TRUE CHILI aficionados claim there should only be meat and no beans in chili.  What the beans do is to maintain you blood sugar at a steady even level with no spikes and you have energy for hours. A fantastic meal for diabetics.
FAST FOOD: When you have to stop at a fast food place in lieu of starving, chili is a fabulous choice.  Better than salads since these will come with dressings filled with sugar and preservatives.  I will also freeze dishes like chili in individual oven proof dishes.  When  I come home from a busy day, I immediately take one out the the freezer, defrost and bake.  Serve with a salad with your homemade dressing and it’s a tasty, satisfying and healthy meal.  This recipe seems like there are a lot of ingredients but you will find almost all of them already in your pantry and the flavour is worth it!  Perfect for game day!

print_recipe
.
.

INGREDIENTS
img_chili1/2 cup dried black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup  dried red kidney beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4  cloves garlic, minced
6  jalapeno chilies, stemmed and seeded
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 lb. cubed beef chuck or blade steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2  tablespoons chili powder
1  tablespoon cumin seed (ground)
1  stick cinnamon 3 inches long
2  28 oz cans diced or crushed tomatoes
1  12 oz  can stout beer
2  tablespoons tomato paste
1  tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion for garnish (optional)
1 cup strong cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
1 diced avocado pear for garnish (optional)
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Put the beans into separate pots and cover with 3″ of salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.  Cook covered, stirring occasionally until beans are tender about 60 minutes.
2.  Heat a heavy bottomed 6 quart pot over medium heat. Add  a few tablespoons of the olive oil and the diced onions 4-5 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic, green pepper, celery, and chilies.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes, adding more olive oil if required.
3.  Add meats and cook until brown.
IMG_1411
4.  Add chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cocoa and tomato paste.  Cook for a few minutes and then add tomatoes and beer.
IMG_1415
Add beans (drained).
IMG_1417
5. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 or 2 hours.
6. Ladle into bowls and let people help themselves to the garnishes.IMG_1436

Serves 8 to 10 adults