Volcano Chicken

So this didn't go as expected. My inner pyro was fascinated with the the Volcano Chicken recipe on Importfood.com. I love Thai food and I've never intentionally set my food on fire before so what's not to love? It looked easy and not too dangerous.

I made the marinade(screw the mortar and pestle I used my mini-processor). I also subbed Sambal Olek for the chili in oil.

Then I had the brilliant idea of putting this on the grill since it's a bit warm for the oven here and I've seen people grill their chickens on beer cans before. I'm not an experienced griller but it seemed easy enough. HA!

I wanted to light the chicken outside and take a picture of the flaming chicken by the pool. Who wouldn't want to see that?

Turns out the whiskey in the marinade is already flammable and my chicken set his own self on fire so no final flambee for me. Luckily I caught it before it burned to a crisp (I was able to salvage most of the skin-yay!) but was disappointed I couldn't get my picture.

Despite the fire the chicken was cooked perfectly and the marinade is delish. A definite keeper. I'll make this again this fall or winter. I'll do it in the oven then take it outside for that pool shot.

This is awesome

A funny parody of Star Wars designed to alert people aboutsome of the problems of our food supply.

I love the names!

Grill Roasted Clam Linguine with Spanish-Style Grilled Vegetables with Breadcrumb Picada

OK so I didn't make dramatic changes but after trying on multiple looks I decided simple is best. I also discovered I'm low on patience when things that are supposed to work fail. I did add one element I really wanted which was a tag cloud. Much cleaner than a list. I'll continue to tweak here and there.

On to the food. I've made this several times and it's great! Company always seems to be impressed too. I strongly suggest making the sauce ahead of time and leaving it on a low burner to warm. My littleneck clams weren't so little so I put fewer than 12 on the plate. Depending on your appetite for clams you could get away with less if they're large and you have a lot of sides.

The vegetables are amazing! I make these at least once a week in the summer. The crunch of the panko and the tang of the dressing makes this so much better than plain grilled vegetables.

Grill Roasted Clam Linguine Recipe

Spanish-Style Grilled Vegetables with Breadcrumb Picada Recipe


Are coming...I'm messing around with the layout of my blog so it'll look funky until I settle on what I want. I now have a copy of Blogger for Dummies in my hands and am anxious to get to work this weekend.

Please be patient :)

Spring Rolls....not pretty but tasty!

In my opinion spring rolls are the perfect summer meal. Easy and refreshing. I like to make my filling ahead of time and roll right before I'm ready to eat.

Yeah mine aren't photogenic but I haven't made these since last summer and need to get my "rolling mojo" back. Seems the first few aren't pretty but with practice it becomes second nature. I really meant to post this last summer. I have other recipes I can post at a later date.

For how to prepare the rice papers scroll to the bottom of the page. I pour hot water on a plate and use that to soak my papers. I also wasn't really careful about how I put the ingredients in. The most important part is to have a mis en place.

The rolls I made today are the Shrimp Rolls with Chili, Garlic, and Lime Dipping Sauce. I had extra ingredients and combined them with some of the sauce for a spring roll salad for tomorrows lunch. I also stuck a few cloves of my black garlic in one of them and that took the flavor to a whole new level.

From the May 2007 issue of Women's Health and Fitness magazine.

Shrimp Rolls with Chili, Garlic, and Lime Dipping Sauce
Mint leaves and crunchy bean sprouts make a great combo with sweet and tender shrimp.

Dipping sauce
2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (I used Huy Fong brand. 2 TBS makes it really hot so adjust if you're a wimp)
2Tbsp Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
1/4 c fresh lime juice
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

12 jumbo shrimp, shells and tails removed
4 oz rice stick noodles
8 large rice paper wrappers
16 large mint leaves, rinsed and patted dry
2 c bean sprouts, rinsed and patted dry
8 small leaves Boston lettuce, rinsed and patted dry, hard stems removed

1. In small bowl, whisk together all dipping sauce ingredients. Set aside.
2. Bring saucepan filled with water to boil. Add shrimp and noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Cut shrimp in half lengthwise. Set aside.
3. Prepare rice paper.
4. Place two mint leaves on lower third of wrapper and top with three shrimp halves. Lay cup noodles over shrimp. Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons sprouts. Fold one lettuce leaf and place on top.
5. Roll. Repeat until all wrappers and ingredients have been used.
6. Cut each roll in half. Serve immediately.

Per roll: 96 calories, 1g fat (0g saturated), 538mg sodium, 17g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4g protein

Veggie Rolls with Mango-Ginger Dipping Sauce
A sweet-and-sour sauce tempers the spicy radish sprouts in this produce-packed roll. Can't find mango fruit spread? Try apricot, peach, pineapple, or plum instead.

Dipping sauce
4 Tbsp mango fruit spread
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
1/4 tsp hot sauce
Finely grated peel from 1 small lime

8 large rice paper wrappers
1/4 c cilantro leaves, rinsed and patted dry
3 oz Thai-style baked tofu (such as White Wave or Wild Wood), thinly sliced
2 c radish sprouts
1/2 c shredded carrots
16 snow peas, rinsed and patted dry, ends trimmed
8 small, tender leaves Boston or romaine lettuce, rinsed and patted dry

1. In small bowl, whisk together all dipping sauce ingredients. Set aside.
2. Prepare rice paper
3. Place two to four cilantro leaves on lower third of wrapper and cover with two or three tofu slices. Top with cup sprouts, 1 tablespoon carrots, and two snow peas. Fold one lettuce leaf in half and place on top.
4. Roll. Repeat until all wrappers and ingredients have been used.
5. Cut each roll in half. Serve immediately.

Per roll: 67 calories, 2.5g fat (0g saturated), 137mg sodium, 9g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 3g protein

Cucumber and Soba Noodle Rolls with Sesame-Peanut Dipping Sauce
Just like your favorite cold sesame noodle takeout -- only healthier. Broccoli sprouts' natural nutty flavor mixes perfectly with the peanut sauce. This version uses less fat (a little sesame oil goes a long way).

Dipping sauce
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp hot water
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp honey

4 oz soba noodles
8 large rice paper wrappers
2 c broccoli sprouts
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut into 8 7-inch spears
8 scallions, rinsed and patted dry, ends and tops trimmed

1. In blender or food processor, blend all dipping sauce ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
2. Bring saucepan filled with water to boil. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Set aside.
3. Prepare rice paper.
4. Place cup sprouts on lower third of wrapper. Lay cup noodles over sprouts. Top with one cucumber spear and one scallion.
5. Roll. Repeat until all wrappers and ingredients have been used.
6. Cut each roll in half. Serve immediately.

Per roll: 115 calories, 5.5g fat (0.5g saturated), 289mg sodium, 15g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 4g protein

Watercress and Poached Chicken Rolls with Curry Dipping Sauce
The alfalfa sprouts add a fresh edge to this kicked-up variation of chicken salad. If you don't have time to poach, cheat with rotisserie chicken.

Dipping sauce
1/4 c Greek-style low-fat yogurt
3 Tbsp low-fat coconut milk
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp hot curry powder
Salt to taste

1 chicken breast (7 oz)
1 3-inch knob ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 dried Thai chilies (or other hot varieties)
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1 small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic
8 large rice paper wrappers
2 c watercress
2 c alfalfa sprouts
1/4 c thinly sliced red onion, cut lengthwise
1/4 c matchstick-cut Granny Smith apple

1. In small bowl, whisk together all dipping sauce ingredients. Set aside.
2. Fill saucepan with water. Add chicken, ginger, chilies, vinegar, yellow onion, and garlic and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from poaching liquid and let cool, then shred into large pieces.
3. Prepare rice paper.
4. Place cup watercress on lower third of wrapper. Top with cup sprouts and a few pieces of chicken. Sprinkle with red onions and apples.
5. Roll Repeat until all wrappers and ingredients have been used.
6. Cut each roll in half. Serve immediately.

Per roll: 53 calories, 2g fat (0.5g saturated), 21mg sodium, 2g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 7g protein

Rolling tips:

For easy rolling, avoid paper labeled "thin" or "mong," says Andrea Nguyen, author of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.

To get rice paper ready for wrapping, first fill a shallow bowl with hot water. Dip one sheet at a time until it becomes pliable (about 5 seconds). Lay the wet wrapper on a damp towel and let it rest a few seconds until it's soft and slightly tacky.

Follow Nguyen's three-step process to turn a heap of ingredients into an easy-to-handle appetizer.

1 Place the filling on the lower third of the rice paper, an inch or so from the edge.

2 Fold up the bottom end over the filling.

3 Tuck in the sides toward the center and roll upward tightly.

Black Garlic With Scallops

I first saw black garlic used on Top Chef and was immediately intrigued. Back then a Google search just turned up Blackgarlic.com. At the time there were no vendors listed so I emailed the company to try to get my hands on some. The end result was my last email went unanswered. I was annoyed.

I kept seeing little tidbits about it-namely that it was set to be the new trendy ingredient. I went back to the site they had added vendors so I ordered from Sauce N Spice. I was surprised at the speedy service. I ordered on a Thursday, choosing the cheapest shipping option, and received it Saturday morning.

It's ugly but lack garlic tastes very very good! It's a bit like balsamic vinegar with soft garlic undertones and a sweet aftertaste. The texture is like a roasted clove of garlic.

I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it but THIS RECIPE from STEAMY KITCHEN looked too good to pass up.

In a word it was phenomenal! It would be great with regular garlic but the black garlic took it to another level.

I also sauteed a clove with baby bok choy in sesame oil and a little soy sauce.

I love my new discovery! Now that I have an idea of what it tastes like I'll be using up my supply. Do yourself a favor and if your local Asian market doesn't carry this order some.

Cedar-Planked Arctic Char Charmoula

We had another adventure in seafood grilling last night. This recipe is also from Fish & Shellfish Grilled and Smoked by Karen Adler and Judith M. Fertig.

This was excellent and a definite repeater!!! I served it with crash hot potatoes and Italian bread.

Jim had the fire a little too hot and the hot side of our plank was charred so we quickly heated the other side and laid the fish on that. I was pretty diligent in checking the fish as I was worried it would overcook. But he got the fire cooled to where it cooked close to the recipe. Cooking time for our fish was only 30 minutes on the indirect heat. Keep checking until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

The original recipe calls for an oak plank and salmon but I had a cedar plank left over from last year's grilling season. The cedar will give the fish a different taste than oak of course. We also used arctic char in place of salmon as arctic char is a better choice for sustainability according to Seafood Watch.

By the way Seafood Watch is an excellent resource for information on fishing and farming techniques as well as which fish are the best choice at the seafood counter. I carry their downloadable pocket guide in my wallet.

Oak Planked Salmon Charmoula
From Fish & Shellfish Grilled and Smoked by Karen Adler and Judith M. Fertig.

1 salmon fillet about 2 1/2 lbs skin on
1/2 cup charmoula (recipe below)

Vegetable Medley

2 tbs fresh lemon juice
8 small ripe Roma tomatoes
2 med cucumbers peeled seeded and diced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper seeded and diced
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup snipped chives
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Lemon, orange and lime slices for garnish

Soak plank in water for at least 30 minutes before smoking.

Rinse and pat salmon dry with paper towels and trim the fish to fit the plank if necessary.

Sprinkle the flesh side with charmoula. Combine the vegetable medley ingredients in a small bowl and mix to blend.

Prepare an indirect fire.

When ready to smoke place the plank over direct heat until it begins to smoke and pop 3-4 minutes. Turn the plank over and place the salmon skin side down, on the hot side of the plank. Top the salmon with the vegetables. Grill over direct heat for 4-5 minutes, then move the plank to the indirect side of the grill. Close the lid and let the salmon plank-smoke until it is opaque and begins to flake with a fork at the thickest part, about 45 minutes.

Remove the planked salmon from the grill and serve directly from the plank with the citrus on the side.


Charmoula is a traditional Moroccan herb and spice mixture that is excellent on fish and chicken.

1 large clove of garlic, peeled
2 tbs chopped Italian parsley
2 tbs chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 TBS ground cumin
1 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Process garlic through cayenne in food processor until smooth. Add lemon juice and olive oil and process into a paste

Burmese Noodles

I read so many rave reviews of this recipe I was prepared to have my socks blown off.

I really did like it but it didn't live up to my expectations. I think that's my fault because I tasted the curry before it was complete and thought it was awful. However when I added the rest of the ingredients and the garnishes it was a 500% improvement. So if you make this, no tasting before it's done.

I have the leftovers for lunch today and I definitely want to make it again. It's very good-just not "greatest hits" worthy.

Burmese Noodles
Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone

Curry paste

1/2 onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves
2 1/4-inch round slices of ginger root, peeled
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 red bird chilies or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Noodles and veggies

5 dried shitake or black Chinese mushrooms
8 ounces fresh Chinese noodles or dried fettuccine
1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 can unsweetened coconut milk, cream reserved
1 handful of snow peas, trimmed
2 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Cilantro, basil, and mint leaves, sliced, for garnish

Use a mortar and pestle, or food processor, to make the curry ingredients into a thick paste.

Soak the mushrooms in the warm water for 15 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and save the liquid. Discard the stems and chop the mushrooms into thin slices. Separate the fresh noodles, if using them. Chop the peanuts.

Heat the oil in a wok until it's hot, and add the curry paste. Cook on high heat for 30 seconds, then turn heat down to medium and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a little water if it starts to stick. After 15 minutes, raise the heat and add the tomato and the mushroom liquid and coconut milk. Simmer for a minute, then add the mushrooms, snow peas, scallions, and soy. Turn off the heat.

Cook the noodles until tender and drain. Add them to the mixture in the wok and lift and mix the noodles until they are covered with the sauce. Put the noodles into a large serving dish and scatter the peanuts and chopped herbs on top.

Zesty Lemon Basted Whole Grilled Trout

I've made this several times and everyone has loved it.

It's especially fun to see people who aren't accustomed to eating whole fish take in the presentation. People also seem to think you went to a lot of trouble when this is the easiest recipe evah!

Sorry about the blurry picture but I was at my bf's house and it looked fine on my little monitor.

Anyway the recipe is from Fish & Shellfish Grilled and Smoked by Karen Adler and Judith M. Fertig. It's an excellent book and I haven't had a failure yet. We had this with grilled asparagus and Italian bread.

Now the original instructions say to grill 8-10 minutes each side but I have never grilled them that long. I did 5 minutes on one side and 2 on the other. I think it all depends on how hot your fire is and I've developed a "fish-stinct" to where I can tell it's done. Keep testing.


4 12 to 16 oz dressed rainbow trout (I always get bone in)
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Fresh Italian parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Zesty Lemon Baste (recipe below)

Prepare med/hot fire

Place 2 onion slices, 2-3 lemon slices and a sprig of parsley in the cavity of each fish. Season with salt and pepper. (I put a dollop of the lemon baste in the fish too).

Grill until meat is opaque and just beginning to flake with a fork, turning once and brushing frequently with the lemon baste.

Serve garnished with lemon slices and parsley.

Zesty Lemon Baste
(You can also use lime orange or grapefruit juice)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 minced garlic cloves.

Combine all the ingredients and blend (I used my hand mixer)
Will keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

A later note- I realize I blogged this twice! Eesh I really need to chack myself.

Spicy Coconut Noodles

A friend of mine was raving about Spicy Coconut Noodles. I don't know if this is the recipe she made but it's what my pal Google found for me.

They are insanely good! And since I didn't toast coconut it went together in about 10 minutes. To cook rice noodles just cover with boiling water and let them sit for about 5 minutes or until done. Do not overcook or you will end up with a gummy mess.

I used the really thin rice noodles. I think next time I'll use wider noodles. I think it would be good on the fresh Chinese egg noodles too.

I'm also a basil snob. In Asian dishes I like to use Thai basil not Italian and if it isn't available I substitute mint. Well I couldn't get to the Asian store for the Thai basil and the regular grocery store was out of mint. So I succumbed to the Italian. It would be sooo much better with Thai basil or mint though.

For chili paste I used a wee bit of Sambal Olek, made the sauce, tasted and added more.

Recipe HERE. Courtesy of Real simple Magazine.