The Missing Ingredient

A Food Blog

Jerk Chicken July 30, 2008

Filed under: Chicken,Grilling,Spicy — xigumdrops @ 9:20 pm
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I didn’t have Scotch bonnet or habanero on hand and substituted 1 huge jalapeno and 1 serrano chile pepper.  It was not hot enough to be called jerk.  Sub 4-6 jalapenos if you can’t find Scott bonnet or habanero.

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated

1 bunch scallions, root ends and tops trimmed, chopped course

2-3 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed.  (Be sure to use gloves or take out your contacts first if you wear them.  Trust me you will thank me later.)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbs. light molasses

1 Tbs. dried thyme

3 medium garlic cloves, peeled

2 tsp. ground allspice

2 tsp. table salt

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, legs, or breasts, trimmed or excess fat and skin

1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

1.  Puree scallions, chiles, oil, molasses, thyme, garlic, allspice, and salt in blender or food processor until almost smooth, scraping down side if necessary.  Wearing disposable gloves and working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, slide finger between skin and meat to loosen skin, then rub 1 Tbs. spice mixture under skin of each piece and transfer chicken to 1-gallon zip-lock bag.  Pour remaining spice mixture over chicken, seal bag, and turn bag so that chicken pieces are covered with mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 36 hours.

2.  Light grill to build a two-level fire.

3.  Remove chicken from bag and arrange skin-side down over hot side of grill.  Cook chicken until well browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to cooler part of grill and continue to cook, turing occasionally, until very dark and fully cooked, 15 to 22 minutes.  Serve with lime wedges.


All-American Potato Salad July 28, 2008

Filed under: Side dish — xigumdrops @ 8:55 pm
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Delicious!  Nothing more to say except do not leave out the celery seed!

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated

2 pounds russet potatoes (3 to 4 medium, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes)

Table salt

2 Tbs. distilled white vinegar

1 medium celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)

2 Tbs minced red onion

3 Tbs sweet pickle relish

1/2 cup mayo

3/4 tsp. dry mustard

3/4 tsp. celery seed

2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley leaves

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes (optional)

1.  Place potatoes in large saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1 inch.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat; add 1 Tbs. salt, reduce heat to medium, and summer, stirring once or twice, until potatoes are just tender when tasted, about 8 minutes.

2.  Drain potatoes and transfer to large bowl.  Add vinegar and, using rubber spatula, toss gently to combine.  Let stand until potatoes are just warm, about 20 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together celery, onion, pickle relish, mayo, dry mustard, celery seed, parsley, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Using rubber spatula, gently fold dressing and eggs, if using, into potatoes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour; serve.


Cajun Spice Rub

I love steaks with rubs.  This one works well with chicken or flank steak.  You can either make the entire recipe and have tons of leftovers to store or cut the recipe down to suit your needs.  The recipe makes 1 cup or about enough to cover 16 chicken breasts.

1/2 cup sweet paprika

2 Tbs. kosher salt

2 Tbs. garlic powder

1 Tbs. dried thyme

2 tsp. ground celery seed

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Store rub in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 months.


1.  Bring steaks to cool room temperature for even cooking.

2.  Rub steaks in mixture covering all sides.

3.  Grill to medium doneness or to your liking.


Scallops with Avocado Salsa July 27, 2008


I found this recipe in the advertisement section (Gasp!) of the July 2008 Food and Wine magazine.  I served this dish with white steamed rice.  The next evening, we had company for dinner and I put together small versions of the dish as an appetizer.  I served it cold with a big tortilla chip as a spoon.  It was a hit!  I think I actually preferred it the second day.  The guacamole would be good on its own.  My edits are in green.

Serves 4

1/4 cup finely shredded basil leaves

2 Tbs fresh lime juice

1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, minced (1/4 large red onion)

1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced (finely chopped)

1 small garlic colve, minced

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch dice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 Tbs vegetable oil

2 pounds sea scallops

1/4 cup water

4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar


1.  In a large bowl, combine the basil, lime juice, olive oil, onion, jalapeno and garlic.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the avocados and season with salt and pepper.


2.  In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering.  Season the scallops with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browed outside but still rare in the center, about 2 minutes per side (I cooked all the way through as I am completely against most things raw).  Transfer the scallops to a warmed platter.


3.  Add the water and tomatoes to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, until the water has reduced to 2 Tbs, about 2 minutes.   Remove from the heat.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the pan sauce over the scallops and serve the avocado salsa on the side.  Serve with rice.