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Brown Rice Pulp Chips (+ rice milk)

Brown Rice Pulp Chips

                                                               Brown Rice Pulp Chips

I occasionally want to use rice milk in cooking, but I really dislike all the commercial rice milks that I’ve tried. I find them thin and flavorless. But in trying to use up  some leftover rice, I discovered that by adjusting the amount of water (and using really good rice, I could make a thick, almost cream-like rice milk that worked pretty well in baking. I still don’t really like rice milk for drinking — there’s something sort of “dry” about the flavor. That’s odd, I know, but that’s the best description I can come up with.

Anyway, any time I’m making rice and think I’ll have time for rice milk later in the week, I make a cup or two extra. It doesn’t take that much longer in the rice cooker. I’ll take the leftover rice and let it soak in mason jars overnight, and then blend it up the next day. If you strain it, it’s nice and smooth (depending on what you want to use it for, consider not straining it. It seems to add some bulk to bread and cake unstrained, but none of those recipes are blog-ready, I’m still playing.) But I hate throwing out the pulp and wondered if I could season it and make crackers out of it.

It worked! But they really have more of a chip texture than a cracker, so I’m calling these chips. I did these in the dehydrator, but if you don’t have one, I’m guessing that doing this on low in the oven would work. The times I’ve given will be wrong, though. I didn’t try this because I’ve not made them yet this summer when it was cool enough to want to use the oven. You can also use whatever seasoning you like, but I don’t really recommend a salt-free one. Those turned out really bland. I tried a bunch of the seasonings in my kitchen, and I’ve listed what I liked best.

On rice: I use a brown jasmine rice I buy in large bags at the Asian market in Nashua. Brown jasmine is my “all-purpose” rice at this point in time. It’s likely that the brown rice adds to the leftover pulp, so I would suggest using brown rice for this. But if you try it with a white rice — or something else, please let us know in the comments. You do get rice cream (which is easily thinned down to rice milk) and crackers out of this, so it’s a 2-for-1 recipe.

I did not give an exact number of chips, as it’s come out a little different each time for me, despite all attempts to create stringent measurements. Since this is basically a way to use up something you’d throw out otherwise, maybe a little uncertainty is okay?

Brown Rice Pulp Chips up close

                                                                  Brown Rice Pulp Chips up close

Brown Rice Pulp Chips

Fill a quart mason jar with the rice, lightly packing it in. Fill the jar with water. Put it in the fridge overnight. I’m not 100% sure it needs to be refrigerated, but better safe than sorry. The rice will soak up a lot of this water, and I think it makes a smoother milk.

Empty the water and about half the rice from the jar into your blender. Add a cup of water and blend. If you need more water, add it, but your goal is to blend the smoothest rice milk with the least amount of water here. You will need more, but add it gradually

Repeat with the other half of the rice, but add about 1 1/2 cups of water to begin, as you don’t have leftover soaking water.

Now strain the rice milk through a fine sieve. Keep stirring the mush to drain as much milk as possible out of the rice pulp.

I usually get about a quart of rice cream out of this.

With the leftover pulp, drop in about 1 Tablespoon blobs onto the fruit roll trays of your dehydrator (or onto a cookie sheet if you’re trying the oven). Sprinkle generously with seasoning.

Run the dehydrator at 155ºF for 9 hours, and check to see if your chips are crispy. They may need a little more time when it’s humid out. Lock these up in an airtight container to keep.

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DIY Curry Powder

DIY Curry Powder

DIY Curry Powder

Besides the fact that I have a spice obsession (as outlined in my post, WW Kitchen Stories: Rosemary or Denise’s Spice Issues) and it seems dumb to pay for blends when you already have all the stuff to make the blend, I’m getting to the point after the cumin scare that I’m going to try to make as much stuff from whole spices as I can, so that there’s less chance for adulteration with undisclosed allergens, anti-caking agents, or cross contamination. There’s only a few ground spices in here, but my plan is to eventually only buy whole spices and grind all my own stuff.

I tried to keep it reasonable for non-fire breathers, but you control how much curry powder you add to stuff. Start small and then taste, you can always add more, but you can’t really subtract easily. Also, if you want to make it a bit hotter, add 3 or 4 more dried chiles to the mix.  Be aware that you will need a blender or a coffee/spice grinder to make this.

DIY Curry Powder

Makes about 1 cup.

  • 6-8 dried chiles (I used Sanaam, but Arbol or Japones would work fine)
  • 5 Tablespoons of coriander seed
  • 4 Tablespoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons of fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of black mustard seed
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon of whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tablespoon of ground Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground fenugreek seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Destem the chiles if necessary. Place the chiles, coriander seed, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black mustard seed, green cardamom pods, cloves, black peppercorns, and cinnamon stick in a skillet over medium heat.

Seeds, spices, and chiles in skillet before toasting

Seeds, spices, and chiles in skillet before toasting

Move the skillet around constantly to shift the seeds, spices and chiles until you smell the cumin seed toasting, some of the seeds popping and the spices darken.

Seeds, spices, and chiles in bowl after toasting

Seeds, spices, and chiles in bowl after toasting

Remove the spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet, and allow them to cool completely.

Once cool, place the spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet and the ground turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, and nutmeg into a blender, and blend until you have a fine powder. Before opening the blender, let the powder settle for a few minutes so that you don’t gas yourself.

If you are using a coffee/spice grinder, place the ground turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, and nutmeg into a bowl. Grind the spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet in coffee/spice grinder in batches, adding the batches to the bowl until you have ground all of the spices, seeds, and chiles. Using a wire whisk, mix well so that the ground turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, and nutmeg are fully incorporated into the newly ground spices, seeds, and chiles from the skillet.

Store in an air-tight container and use where you would use curry powder. Stay tuned for some recipes using it in the coming weeks.

Enjoy!

 

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

Being allergic to foods that are staples of the Standard American Diet can mean that road trips are, well, a little sad. But not going on a road trip would be more sad. So thinking about road trips like setting out for the western frontier (or, in this case, Vermont, which is to the west) means that with a plan and a cooler (and a hotel chosen partly for the microwaves and mini-fridges in each room), means “yay! Road trip!” I admit that I really miss finding awesome, off-beat restaurants in new cities. Now, if I plan to eat out, I check ahead and carefully read menus. That’s hard to do when you don’t know where you’ll be for lunch. So, again, the cooler and the meal plan.

Hummus is a great road trip food. I’m a little bored of chickpea hummus, the standard, and I had time (and a plan) to make my own. I was going to make a black bean hummus I’d forgotten about — but in planning the grand meal plan, I forgot to see if I had black beans in the house. Oops.

I did have cannellini beans. And I have not yet killed my fresh herbs on the deck — I have chocolate mint, thyme, and oregano, and my neighbor is growing basil. Oregano and basil made me think of pizza, so I went that direction. Instead of tahini, I’ve used cashews, as I thought their more neutral flavor would be good with this combination. I think tahini would likely be okay (and make it nut-free), so if you make it that way, let us know in the comments how it turned out.

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

White Bean Pizza Hummus

  • 1/4 cup raw cashew pieces (yes, you can use whole. The pieces are usually cheaper, though.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (more, up to 1 teaspoon, if you want a prominent garlic flavor. Roasted garlic would also be excellent here, but I’m currently out.)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (Save the liquid!)
  • 5 large fresh basil leaves, rinsed
  • about 1 Tablespoon of fresh oregano leaves, rinsed
  • pinch of fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil, plus more to drizzle on top

In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, add the cashews and puree. They will not quite turn into nut butter (you’d need a little oil), but let them go until they are almost there.

Add the garlic and tomato paste and pulse it in.

Add the beans and puree the mix.

Add the basil, oregano, fennel seed, and olive oil and run until everything is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl or storage container and drizzle olive oil over the top — just a bit will help keep the hummus from drying out. Unlike in the photos, swirl it around so that it coats the top — I just wanted better photos, so I didn’t do that until I was done.

Serve with crackers, chips, or veggies of your choice.

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

So with the corn allergy all of the vegan mayonnaise products are a big no-no for me, as canola is notoriously cross-contaminated with corn, and I started to react to my favorite product. I haven’t had a safe mayonnaise in over a year. When I saw the aquafaba experiments with mayo, it rang a bell as a lot of the vegan products have pea protein, so I thought I’d give it a go. Only problem was, in order to get some aquafaba, I had to find time to pressure can some garbanzo beans at home, as I don’t really have a safe commercial garbanzo bean product I can buy. A few weeks ago I canned some garbanzo beans, but I just managed to find time to do the experiment recently. I used this recipe to start, but I modified it a bit because I was looking for a flavor that was more like Miracle Whip, as that was my mayo/salad dressing product of choice when I could still eat eggs, milk, and corn (I have more allergies, but those are the problem children for commercial mayo products). When I think of all the things I can make again, I seriously want to cry. Many thanks to Peanut Butter & Vegan for the post on using aquafaba for mayo to get me started. As suggested by the original post, I used an immersion (stick) blender, but if you try it in a regular blender, let me know how that goes.

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing 

Makes about 1 cup.

  • about 1/4 cup of aquafaba (the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of lime or lemon juice (I used lime because I had limes in the house, but no lemons)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s as it is generally safest for people with corn allergies)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • dash of paprika
  • 3/4 cup of safe for you, neutral tasting oil (I used grapeseed oil)

In a small bowl or measuring cup that isn’t much bigger in circumference than your immersion blender, add the aquafaba, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, mustard, sugar and paprika. Mix with the immersion blender for a few seconds so that the ingredients are all combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil, while the immersion blender is running, moving the immersion blender around when the mixture becomes thick to make sure all the oil gets incorporated. Once the mixture is nice and thick, place the salad dressing in a container and place it in the fridge, where it will continue to thicken.

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Aquafaba Vegan Salad Dressing

Yay!! You have salad dressing! Go forth and make yummy dishes that require mayo/salad dressing like substances!

Vegan, soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream (using aquafaba)

Vegan, Soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

Vegan, Soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

Okay, full disclosure: This isn’t really ice cream. There’s no cream. There’s no eggs. That’s what makes it vegan. And it’s a little lighter and less creamy and heavy than ice cream. So I should really call it “strawberry frozen dessert.” But frankly, that’s awkward, and if you’re playing in the cooking realms of “vegan” and “allergy-friendly,” you’re used to substitutes, so you know what I mean.

YOU DON’T NEED AN ICE CREAM MAKER! I have one. It’s great. But this is a quicker and easier and doesn’t require as much planning ahead. This is much easier with a stand mixer, but if you’re patient (or have someone who will spell you with the hand mixer), you can do this without one. I would not try it without any mixer at all, though. Electricity is your friend, here.

The key “secret” ingredient in this dish is aquafaba or “bean juice.” It’s the stuff you drain out of the can of beans before using them, and I’ve raved about it before on the blog. If you cannot eat canned beans, or would just prefer to make your own, try this recipe posted by noted cookbook author Bryanna Clark Grogan on the Vegan Meringues FB page. You need half a cup here, but I’m sure you can find 100 other uses for it (I have). Aquafaba acts as an egg replacer, specifically egg whites, and can be whipped into an incredible meringue, which is what you start with here. You’ll make the whipped base and the flavor base, and then fold them together and freeze. That’s it!

In order to get the fat content up and add a little tang and creaminess, I have used vegan cream cheese. I know this can be a problematic ingredient for those with multiple food allergies — I use Daiya brand, as I have no issues with it. I was perfectly happy with Tofutti when I could still eat soy, and I assume that would work here, too. The Daiya contains coconut oil, so it’s not entirely nut-free. I believe Tofutti is. Choose what works for you. If you make a homemade version of cream cheese that works for you, share it with us in the comments.

Stiff whipped aquafaba foam, foam and strawberry blend, ice cream in the making

Stiff whipped aquafaba foam, foam and strawberry blend, ice cream in the making

Vegan, Soy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of beans. Any beans! I used cannellini beans here)
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar, divided in half
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons vegan cream cheese (check the ingredients!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Into a very clean bowl (any traces of fat will interfere with the whipping, I understand, just like with egg whites), add the aquafaba. Beat until you achieve stiff peaks. This can take up to 10 minutes, so be patient.

Slowly add 2 Tablespoons of sugar, while you continue beating, and then the cream of tartar.

If you’re using a stand mixer and have only one bowl, empty the foam into another bowl and reuse the mixer bowl. If you’re using a hand mixer, just get another bowl. Beat the cream cheese, strawberries, and vanilla until smooth.

Fold the strawberry mixture into the aquafaba foam using a large spoon or spatula. Don’t stir. Fold. You will lose some of the air you’ve just whipped into the foam, but that’s okay. You just don’t want to lose all of it. When the mixture is fully incorporated, pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours, maybe more depending on the size and shape of your container(s). This will never be as dense as “normal” ice cream, but it will take on a nice texture, distinct from the original unfrozen mousse.

Chili Flavored Russet and Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

I’ve been meaning to fry stuff for sometime, because I miss fried food and the last time Mary Kate and I had a fry-a-palooza was this past Thanksgiving. And I wanted potato chips. I tried a recipe where you baked them, but it took two hours of prep, and seriously, I can fry them faster than that, with less aggravation. This is one of those recipes where having good tools helps. I used a mandoline to slice the russet potato and sweet potato, and I used a Thermopop thermometer to keep track of the temperature of the oil.  Also, I used a cast iron wok to fry in, because I like it and it uses less oil, but you can use a regular skillet or stock pot if you use enough oil.

Chili Flavored Russet and Sweet Potato Chips:

Serves 1 (let’s be realistic about this…I ate them all in 10 minutes).

  • 1 Russet Potato, sliced extremely thin
  • 1 Sweet Potato, sliced extremely thin
  • a pinch of DIY Chili Powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • safe oil for frying enough to fill the pot about 3 to 4 inches deep

For the frying:

  • A pot deep enough to accommodate about 3 inches of oil and the frying thermometer, a thick stainless steel stock pot or an enameled dutch oven would be best, although I used a cast iron wok and just fried less chips at a time. You also want a pot that’s tall enough that the edge is 4 or more inches above the oil level. It’s safer and there’s less splatter all around. We do not recommend using anything with Teflon or nonstick coatings. Of course, if you have an actual deep fryer appliance, use that.
  • frying thermometer (but you can’t use this one with a wok, in case you planned use a wok instead, I used this one and just stuck it in the oil periodically to check.)
  • tongs and/or slotted frying spoon/spider  (we used a silicone one rather than the traditional wire and bamboo, but I can’t find a picture of ours)
  • plate or cookie sheet, lined with paper towels

Set up your frying pot, add your safe oil, and set up your thermometer. Start heating your oil over medium heat, as it will take some time to reach the right temperature.  You are aiming for about 380ºF.

I used a mandoline, shown below, to slice my potatoes, but you can slice them with a knife if your knife skills are that good.

Mandoline

Mandoline

The slices of your Russet potato will be wet and starchy. Place them in a bowl and water and agitate them a bit to rinse the starch off.

Rinsing off the starch from the Russet potato slices

Rinsing off the starch from the Russet potato slices

Place the rinsed slices in between the folds of a clean kitchen towel to dry them off.

Rinsed slices on clean kitchen towel

Rinsed slices on clean kitchen towel

Fold towel over slices to dry both sides

Fold towel over slices to dry both sides

The sweet potato slices should be dry enough after slicing as there is less water content than a Russet potato.

Sweet Potato Slices

Sweet Potato Slices

When the oil temperature is 380°F, carefully add some of the potato slices to the pot. You don’t want to overcrowd them.

Russet Potato frying

Russet Potato frying

Sweet Potato frying

Sweet Potato frying

Fry the potatoes, turning them occasionally with tongs until they are golden brown. They should be fried a bit darker in color than normal potato chips so that they are crispy. The mandoline does not quite cut the potatoes as thinly as a commercial potato chip, and in order to get some crisp, you need to cook them a little longer. The potatoes will start to wave and distort when they are close. if the potato chip seems pretty flat still, keep frying a bit.  When the potato slices are fried, place them on the plate or cookie sheet lined with paper towels to drain.

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

Russet Potato Chips

Russet Potato Chips

Once the chips have cooled a little, place them in a bowl and sprinkle the salt and chili powder on them to taste and toss them a bit to coat them and distribute the seasoning.

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Sweet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

Chili Flavored Russet Potato Chips

Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Dressing over White Beans, Mushrooms, and Spinach Salad

Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Dressing over White Beans, Mushrooms, and Spinach

Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Dressing over White Beans, Mushrooms, and Spinach

I am not a big eater of salads. Mostly, that’s because “salad” to me equals lettuce, and I don’t eat lettuce. I don’t like it that much and my body hates digesting it. But the thing is, salad doesn’t need to be lettuce at all. I love chopped salads, and I’ve been experimenting lately with meal salads that are spinach (which I do like) with something warm and cooked over top. Putting something hot on spinach slightly wilts the spinach, which I love, and somehow makes the salad seem more like a hearty meal. This salad is one of those.

Actually, this salad is several of those. The point of this salad is the dressing, which I originally whipped up to go over a grilled steak salad. But as I was getting ready to make it again for better photos, I really didn’t feel like steak. So I made a white bean, dill, and mushroom saute, instead, and it was really good. Again, the point is the dressing. Make that, and then put it over whatever you think will taste good with caramelized onions on it (so, basically, anything up to dessert). The salad is the vehicle for the dressing. It keeps in the fridge overnight, but I’ve never had it around longer than that.

Overall, this recipe makes 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are. It’s about 2 servings for me.

Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Dressing over White Beans, Mushrooms, and Spinach

Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Dressing over White Beans, Mushrooms, and Spinach

Caramelized Onion Balsamic Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil (cooking quality, not finish quality — you’re heating this)
  • 1 cup of onions, halved, then quarter each half and slice thinly. This is about one baseball-sized onion
  • 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt (how salty do you like your dressing? I like the high end of this range, but to just get good flavor, 1/2 teaspoon is enough)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic (about one largish clove)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (again, adjust for your preferred tanginess)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon faux tamari, or 1/2 Tablespoon tamari and 1 teaspoon maple syrup or other liquid sweetener

Place a large skillet (I always use my cast iron) over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and let it heat until shimmering.

Add onions, and stir well. Cook until translucent, stirring frequently.

Add salt. Stir well, and turn heat to medium low. Cook until caramelization begins (golden browning), stirring infrequently, knowing that this will take up to 45 minutes. It’s worth it.

When the browning has begun across the pan of onions, add the garlic, Dijon, balsamic, and tamari, stirring well after each addition. Stir this over the heat until everything has really incorporated (2-4 minutes), and then remove from heat.

Bonus Salad Recipe: Mushrooms, White Beans, and Dill over Spinach

  • 2 -3 teaspoons of oil
  • 1 package (8 oz) mushrooms, washed and chopped roughly
  • 1 can (15 oz) small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 packed Tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped
  • 5 oz of spinach, washed and torn (if big)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat — since you’re combining everything, feel free to use the skillet you made the dressing in without washing it. When hot, add the mushrooms and oil. I always add these two together since I “measure” the oil by adding just a little to the pan, adding the mushrooms, and stirring well. I keep adding little bits of oil while stirring until the mushrooms are all lightly coated. This is probably less than you’d imagine, or less than you would start out with, so it keeps the mushrooms from sticking but also keeps them from being greasy.

Cook over medium heat as the mushrooms release their liquid. Stir frequently. When they’ve shrunk and look cooked, add the beans. Stir well, and add the dill. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until all the beans are hot.

Place the spinach in a large bowl. Pour beans and mushrooms over spinach, then dressing. Let sit for about 5 minutes to wilt the spinach, then toss. Let it sit again, if you like, for further wilting, and then serve.

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce

My friend Mary S, of the green thumb, has been gifting me garlic scapes. Since her garlic was planted in the fall and is almost as tall as me, her garlic has lots of scapes, whereas my garlic was planted in the spring, and the tallest plant might be, oh, six inches high, and there are no scapes to be seen. Since I had some basil leftover from another dish, I decided to make a sauce. You will need a blender for this recipe.

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce

  • 1 cup of tightly packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup of garlic scapes, chopped into 1 to 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup of olive oil (make sure it’s safe for you, I do well with California Olive Ranch)
  • 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar (make sure it’s safe for you)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Roughly chop up the basil leaves. Add the basil, garlic scapes, olive oil, and vinegar to the blender.  Process until the sauce is pulverized to your liking. I like mine pretty smooth.

This is a pretty versatile sauce. It can be used mixed into cooked hot rice noodles or even just brown rice to use as a savory side dish. You can use it as a dipping sauce for grilled meat, or toss it with steamed veggies. You can thin it down with a little more vinegar and use it as a salad dressing.  If you come up with other ways to use it, please let us know.

Enjoy!

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce mixed with rice noodles

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce mixed with rice noodles

Grilled Caribbean Chicken

Caribbean Chicken on Denise's fancy grill

Caribbean Chicken on Denise’s fancy grill

I’m hoping this is the last post on my slow-as-tortoises laptop; new one should ship this week!

I’m not sure why this chicken is “Caribbean,” exactly. The lime juice, maybe? What I can tell you is that this is an “old” family recipe (and by “old,” I mean my mother learned it sometime in the early-mid 1980s) and it’s a family classic. And that’s what it is called. This chicken tastes like summer to me, as we always had it in the summer. It should really be grilled for the best flavor, but be aware that a marinade with olive oil in it means FLAMES, so you’ll need to be on top of putting those out (or know that you’ll have some burned chicken skin). You could also broil it, I assume, but I have never tried this. Frankly, I think the flames are part of the fun, but I’ve been told I’m a little weird.

DON’T skip the soaking step. It seems like you could, with little change, as it’s not very long, but don’t. Somehow, this keeps the chicken incredibly moist and tasty.

Grilled Caribbean Chicken

Grilled Caribbean Chicken

Grilled Caribbean Chicken

  • 1 to 1 1/4 lbs. chicken, BONE-IN, SKIN-ON. My favorite is chicken breasts, but drumsticks are also really good. Use what you like.
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • cold water to cover
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar (cider vinegar will also work in a pinch)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
  • 2-4 teaspoons salt (depends on how salty you like it — I’ve gone down to the low end and add a bit more at eating if I want it)
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, preferably freshly ground

Place the chicken in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Add the lime juice and agitate the chicken a little to make sure the water’s getting in between all of the pieces. Let sit 15-30 minutes.

Make the marinade by combining everything else — olive oil through pepper — and stirring or whisking well. Drain the chicken well and then brush or pour on about half the marinade.

Start the grill. You want medium to medium high heat, if you have a gas grill with temperature settings. For charcoal, you want a “hot” side with a three-second hand (if you can hold your hand just above the cooking grate for three seconds, you are around 300-325ºF, about right for poultry) so when your coals are ready, push them slightly to one side.

When your grill is ready, place the chicken on the grill, skin side down (or just on, if it’s drumsticks). Be ready to put out flames (a water gun is fun) or move the chicken around a bit as the oil drips down. Cook about 5 minutes, skin down, and then base your back side and flip. After another 5 minutes, move the chicken to the indirect heat side of the grill for another 5 (drumsticks) to 15 (breasts) minutes to reach an internal temperature of 165ºF. Baste again at this time (though that should be enough). Check every 5 minutes. I’d love to give you an exact grill time, but I can’t — grills vary too much.

Once your meat is done, let it rest a few minutes before cutting. It should be plenty juicy, and if you haven’t burned the skin, it should be wonderfully crispy and tasty. Actually, if you have burned the skin a bit (see the chicken breasts in the grill photo), it still tastes pretty good.

Serve with grilled veggies or just a salad.

DIY Chili Powder

DIY Chili Powder

DIY Chili Powder

If you’re like me (okay, probably not, as I have issues as outlined in my post, WW Kitchen Stories: Rosemary or Denise’s Spice Issues), you might have a few dried chiles kicking around. Or more than a few. Since I have so many, and since I was running low on chili powder, I started looking into how to make it. Although Mary S. of the green thumb gave me some chili powder that I tolerate after I mentioned I might do a Penzey’s order, it’s good to be able to make your own so that you know that there’s no anti-caking agents, disclosed or undisclosed, and less chance for cross contamination. Plus, I really have a crap ton of whole dried chiles, thanks in part to the harvest I got from Mary S. last year that I dehydrated.

Although this might be a bit spicier than your normal chili powder, I tried to keep it in the realm of reasonable for those of you who are not fire breathers. Feel free to switch out dried peppers based on your own tastes and/or what you have on hand. You will need a blender or a food processor.

DIY Chili Powder

Makes 1 cup.

  • 2 dried, whole chipotle chiles
  • 2 dried, whole guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried, whole New Mexico chiles
  • 2 dried, whole ancho chiles
  • 2 dried, whole cascabel chiles
  • 2 dried, whole arbol chiles
  • 2 dried, whole habanero chiles
  • 2 Tablespoons of cumin seed
  • 2 Tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of Mexican dried oregano (you can use plain oregano if you don’t have Mexican)
  • 1 Tablespoon of smoked paprika (you can use plain paprika if you don’t have smoked, but the smoked is nice)
Whole Dried Chiles before prep

Whole Dried Chiles before prep

Destem, seed, and slice the dried chiles.

Destemmed, deseeded, and sliced dried chiles

Destemmed, deseeded, and sliced dried chiles

Stems and seeds removed from chiles to be discarded

Stems and seeds removed from chiles to be discarded

Place the dried chiles and the cumin seed in a skillet over medium high heat.

Dried chiles and cumin seed before toasting

Dried chiles and cumin seed before toasting

Move the skillet around constantly to shift the cumin seed and chiles until you smell the cumin seed toasting.

Dried chiles and cumin seed after toasting

Dried chiles and cumin seed after toasting

Remove the chiles and the cumin seed from the skillet, and allow them to cool completely.

Once cool, place the chiles, cumin seed, garlic powder, oregano and paprika into a blender or food processor.

Dried chiles, cumin seed, garlic powder, oregano and paprika in blender

Dried chiles, cumin seed, garlic powder, oregano and paprika in blender

Blend or process until you have a fine powder. Before opening the blender or food processor, let the powder settle for a few minutes. You really don’t want to gas yourself.

DIY Chili Powder after blending

DIY Chili Powder after blending

DIY Chili Powder after blending

DIY Chili Powder after blending

Store your chili powder in an airtight container, and use as you would normally use chili powder.

Enjoy!

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