Ring in the New Year with these interesting oddballs
We round the corner on yet another year in Alaska. Christmas and New Year’s rapidly approach.
As you recall from the November issue, I presented appetizers for your holiday parties. It is my hope that this made your preparations a breeze.
With Christmas dinner being a traditional venue, I have decided not to breach this genre but to prepare you instead for New Year’s – a holiday in which all bets are off and the unconventional has become the norm.
My fondest New Year’s memories are a come-as-you-are potluck dining experience. Family obligations have been met and the pressure is off. For me, it has been a time to blow off some steam and take things to the culinary edge.
This is why this month’s recipes are something of a cornucopia of taste experiences. Throughout the year, I have countless cultural epicurean experiences – I spend much of my time in Asia, and as such, that is where my palate takes me. Often, I find a recipe that is a one off, or something that just does not fit the mold of a monthly theme.
With items like Evil Jungle Prince, and Tiger Tear salad, we will lean to the spicy and pungent flavors of the Far East. Check out the Jasmine tea-smoked chicken that you can prepare on your stovetop. And while not shown here, go a little wild and finish with chocolate ice cream with olive oil and sage! Yup, you should give it a try. No recipe required: Just drizzle olive oil and sage on the ice cream, and enjoy. It is surprisingly refreshing.
Back a little closer to home I present to you my Steak Sinatra, a tasty one-pan dish that is sure to please.
Start you New Year off right and explore cuisines that pique your fancy. Take a class, watch a show, or even just dust off that old 3-by-5 recipe card and give it a go.
— Mark J. Bly
The Flying Chef
½ pound boneless chicken breasts
2 to 6 small red chile peppers
½ stalk fresh lemongrass
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 3 Tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
10 to 15 sweet basil leaves
1 cup chopped cabbage
Thinly cut chicken in to 2-inch strips. Grind together red chile peppers, lemongrass and lime leaves in a food processer or mortar. Heat oil to medium-high and sauté pepper mixture for 3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in fish sauce and basil. Serve on a bed of chopped cabbage.
Serves 3 to 4
Juice of 1 lime
1 fresh chili, seeded and finely diced
1 small bunch of cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 steak, approximately 10 ounces
½ head iceberg lettuce
2 or 3 medium tomatoes
6 spring onions cut in to ½-inch slices
Mix dressing: lime Juice, chili, cilantro, sugar, garlic and fish sauce.
Cook steak, 2 minutes per side on a grill, or in a pan.
Rest meat for about 15 minutes and slice thinly.
Mix salad, spring onions and tomatoes.
Plate salad and add meat to the top. Drizzle on the dressing and enjoy.
2 bone-in chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Jasmine tea
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons long-grain rice
(Tools: Aluminum foil and a wok or saucepan with a rack)
First mix your smoking material. In a small bowl mix tea, sugar and rice. Set aside.
Place pan or wok on the stove, add 1 ½ to 2 cups of water and turn heat on high. Place rack into your pan or wok and place chicken on top. Cover and steam for about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Tear off a piece of foil and then fold and shape until you have what resembles a circle about 8 inches in diameter. It helps to fold up the sides a little bit to form a rim.
Drain your pan and place back on stove. Place your foil creation in the bottom of the pan. Add your smoking mixture on top of the foil and turn heat on high.
Place rack back in to pan.
Rub down your bird with some sesame oil, and when the smoke starts to rise from the tea place your chicken back on the rack and cover.
Heat on high for 5 minutes and then turn the burner off. Leave chicken covered for about 20 minutes.
Be sure that your chicken is fully cooked. At this point you should have a succulent and delightful treat.
I usually eat at this point.
You can however, take it one step further by removing the bones from your chicken, slicing, and returning to the wok with sesame or peanut oil and frying until a deep brown color occurs. Add a dash of Szechuan pepper and some salt then plate up and serve with rice and a salad.
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