3 pounds chicken wings, thighs, drumsticks
for the marinade:
1 6-inch cinnamon stick, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 5 small red chilies, such as arbol, stemmed
1 TBSP coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
5 shallots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
Now make the marinade. Place the cinnamon, chiles, coriander, cumin, fennel, pepper, and turmeric in a small food processor. Pulse until ground to a dusty powder, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar, salt and shallots to the ground spices and pulse until you have a smooth paste the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. If the paste won't puree properly and repeatedly creeps up the side of the processor instead of grinding, add 2 TBSP of water, 1 TBSP at a time, periodically turning the processor off and scraping the unground portions toward the blade.
In a large nonreactive bowl roomy enough to hold all the chicken, combine the ground paste with the coconut milk. Stir the mixture well to combine, making sure that there are no lumps of paste. Add the chicken pieces and stir well to cover every piece of chicken with the marinade.
Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator at least 3 hours, stirring once or twice to make sure that the marinade coats every piece. (If you can spare the time, marinate the chicken overnight.) About 30 minutes before you're ready to deep-fry the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator so it can come to room temperature.
Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and thoroughly pat them dry with paper towels, gently squeezing each piece to remove excess liquid. Set aside.
Pour oil to a depth of 1 inch into a 12-inch skillet and place over medium to medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. When the oil is ready, stand back from the stove and gently slide as many of the chicken pieces into the hot oil as will fit without touching (you can do this in batches). Fry on the first side until golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes; the timing will depend on how hot the oil is. Turn the chicken pieces over with 2 forks or a pair of tongs and continue to fry them. You may need to raise and lower the heat a few times to maintain the proper frying temperature. The oil should always be bubbling vigorously. It should take 20 to 25 minutes total to fry the chicken. If you're not sure if the chicken is cooked through, test it by poking a fork into the thickest portion and then pressing down on it. The juices that are released should run clear, not pink. Be careful not to overcook the chicken to the point that the bits of marinade clinging to the surface start to blacken or the dish may taste bitter.
Remove the chicken pieces to wire rack or paper towels and let drain for a few minutes before transferring them to a serving platter. Serve promptly along with dipping sauce.
Serve with dipping sauce made with Worcestershire and lime juice: 2 TBSP Worcestershire, 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, 1 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp sugar, 1 chile diced; all mixed together.
Notes: Spices. Yum. That is all.
Sauteed Pork Chops with Green-Grape Rosemary Pan Sauce
from How To Cook Without a Book
1 TBSP butter
1/2 TBSP oil
2 boneless center cut pork chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over low heat. While the pan is heating sprinkle the chops on both sides with salt and pepper, then dredge them in flour. Just before sauteing, increase the heat to medium-high. When the butter stops foaming, arrange the chops in the skillet. Cook until a rich golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet to warm oven.
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup green grapes, halved
1/2 tsp minced rosemary
2 TBSP heavy cream
Deglaze skillet with chicken broth. Add grapes and rosemary to pan. Reduce liquid to about 1/4 cup. Whisk in the cream, and spoon a portion over the top of each chop before serving.
Notes: I have wanted to try this out for a while and never seem to have the ingredients on hand. Finally, I did. It was somewhat of a departure from the other reduction sauces I've made. The sweetness of the grapes was an interesting counterpoint to the rosemary. I don't know if I'll make it again. It liked it, but it didn't blow me away.
The winner in Asian Cooking and the winner in Baking are already on my shelves. I think The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg needs to join them.
In non-cookbook categories, Leite's Culinaria (linked in the sidebar to the left) won the website award.
Winners in the various cookbook categories for best cookbook published in 2006:
# Cookbook of the Year
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
Matt Lee and Ted Lee
# Cookbook Hall of Fame
# Asian Cooking
Cradle of Flavor
# Baking and Desserts
Baking: From My Home to Yours
# Cooking from a Professional Point of View
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
Alain Ducasse and Frederic Robert
# Entertaining and Special Occasions
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
# Food of the Americas
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook
Matt Lee and Ted Lee
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
# Healthy Focus
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
The Soul of a New Cuisine
What to Eat
# Single Subject
The Essence of Chocolate
John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg
# Wine and Spirits
Romancing the Vine
# Writing on Food
The Omnivore's Dilemma
Photographer: Karl Petzke
For the syrup
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups water
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP honey
1 pound filo
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 cups pistachio nuts or walnuts, ground medium-fine
Prepare the syrup first. Dissolve the sugar in the water with the lemon juice and smimer a few minutss, until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. Add the honey and simmer for 1/2 minute. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
In a greased baking pan, a little smaller than the sheets of filo, lay half the sheets, one a time, brushing each with melted butter and letting the edges come up the sides of the tray or overhang.
Spread the nuts of your choice evenly over the sheets. then cover with the remaining sheets, brushing each, including the top one, with melted butter. With a sharp knife, cut diagonal parallel lines 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart into diamond shapes right through to the bottom.
Bake the baklava in a preheated 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes, or until it is puffed up and golden. Remove from the oven, and pour the cold syrup over the hot baklava along the slashed lines.
When cool and ready to serve, cut the pieces of pastry out again, and lift them out one by one onto a serving dish.
Notes: Baklava is one of my most favorite desserts. It and creme brulee are constantly duking it out for supremacy. Now I've made the former and hope to someday attempt the latter. Actually, I did make baklava once as part of a group effort in a class in 7th grade. But I have only vague memories of the layering being quite detailed and time-consuming. Those memories are now less vague. This was certainly worth trying and I'm happy to have been enjoying this treat for several days.