Posted in Food Favorites, Freedom Friday

Food Favorites

Whenever the family and I go to a restaurant, I look for something different to try. I do have my favorites, but I also go out of my way to find a dish that is unique in taste and original in presentation. Sometimes, I won’t know what I’ll be getting until the server places it in front of me.

For today’s feature Freedom Friday, I would like to give you a sampling of what I’ve had the pleasure of eating. I wish there was a way to transform the photos into real dishes in order for you to smell the aromas and savor the sweet flavors, but this is not the Starship Enterprise where I can say, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot,” and the replicator will create the item for you. Wouldn’t that be something? Instead, I’ll give you some background to the shot, and relate my thoughts about the experience.

My goal is to make you hungry.

Prime Rib Burger
Prime Rib Burger

Prime Rib Burger—For Mother’s Day, I thought I’d treat my amazing wife to one of our favorite restaurants here in Canada. They have a delicious gluten-free menu she can enjoy while the kids and I can gorge on the pizza and burgers. For this time around, I chose to order a Prime Rib Burger. Since I love mushrooms so much, I added them as a topping for a buck. I can only describe the meal as an explosion to the taste buds. The chef cooked the meat to perfection and the mushrooms added an extra level of flavor. The side Greek Salad complimented the meal, making it all the more enjoyable.

Curry Beef
Curry Beef

Curry Beef—During one of our Thursday night dinner dates, my wife recommended the Curry Beef. I’ve never liked beef unless prepared on a burger. This time, she was right. I had one taste of her dish, and I quickly ordered one for myself. The plate comes with tender sirloin drowning in curry sauce. Added in the mix is a sprinkling of onions and green pepper. A surprising finish to a morsel is the heat delivered by the sauce. Not overly strong, but having a kick, the dish leaves a satisfying aftertaste.

Salmon Sushi Combo
Salmon Sushi Combo

Salmon Sushi ComboThis year’s Canada Day festivities included a trip to our favorite sushi restaurant here in town. While the rest of my family was ordering Vegetable Maki, Chicken Fried Rice and Miso Soup, I order a Salmon Sushi Combo. I gotta tell you, of all my favorite dishes I’m writing about today, this is my absolute favorite. The meal comes with six salmon maki, three sushi and one salmon hand roll. Like all sushi meals, it also comes with a generous helping of soy sauce and wasabi. I have to tell you something. Sushi is the only meal that feels like home to me. I don’t feel stuffed, sick or bloated when eating sushi, and the next day, I’m gearing up for more. I wish the whole world was made of sushi because then I wouldn’t have to wait so long before eating it again.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled Chicken Salad—As part of an extended celebration my family and I had for my youngest, recently having performed in the drama troupe’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast at a Ribfest, we stopped by the Greek restaurant down the street. I typically order a lamb dish, but that night I had already eaten a bit at the Ribfest, I needed to go for something light. The Grilled Chicken Salad was perfect for this occasion. A Greek Salad topped with the moistest grilled chicken I’ve ever tasted made this meal a treat to enjoy. Every single ingredient was fresh. Every single bite had a perfect finish. One day, I hope to learn to cook chicken this way.

That’s it, folks. Are you hungry yet?

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What was the last thing you had that made your latest trip to a restaurant special?

Posted in Food Favorites, Freedom Friday

Curry Chicken II

I’ve been looking forward all week to tell you about my curry chicken recipe. If you’re keeping track, this is my second curry chicken recipe I’m sharing with you for my Freedom Friday series. Born from the many Saturday afternoon meals I cook for the family, this dish will boost the spirit of any crowd looking for something fun to eat. So, sit back, put your feet up and allow the sweet smell of flavor to take over your imagination.

Curry Chicken
Curry Chicken

If you read my post Curry Chicken, then you will know I love cooking and eating. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. The big difference with this recipe has to do with the way I cook it. I wish I’d taken shots of the entire process, but I’m sure if I provide you detailed instructions, you’ll have no problem cooking it yourself. I’ll get back to the way I cook this a little later on. I don’t bake it like the first recipe, that’s for sure.

Let’s start with the ingredients:

  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Coconut milk
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt

You’ll notice one ingredient missing from the original recipe and two ingredients added. That’s right I pulled the ginger from the list because I already had two different heats competing for your palette, black pepper and cayenne. You’re also correct if you’ve guessed I added paprika and coconut milk. You’ll see what I’ll do with those later.

Now for the directions:

Buying the right chicken makes all the world of difference. If you can afford organic skinless thighs, then I’d suggest saving some cash in order to make it a special treat. If you can’t go organic, try Costco chicken. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, and not wanting to sound like an ad, but they give you a lot for your money and you’ll have leftovers to boot.

The prep is super easy. Cut the thighs into smaller pieces about two inches in length all around. You’ll notice once you begin cooking, the pieces will shrink to bite-size portions. Toss your chicken in a cooking pot, preferably one of those deep two-handle ones with the glass cover. If you don’t have one of those, any deep pot will do. Make sure it can hold the chicken and the coconut milk.

Fries
Fries

This is the fun part, besides eating of course. Place the pot with the chicken on the stove and begin cooking it at a medium heat. No oils, butters or anything like that. Add half a can of coconut milk and stir with a wooden spoon. Plastic spoons do not do justice to this dish. Next, add the rest of your ingredients. Now, I have to say this, I’ve never measured how much of one thing versus another I should add. I always say “to taste” but you see the problem there, right? You don’t want to taste raw chicken as you cook it since doing so would make you violently ill or even worse, kill you. Don’t do it.

Then how do I measure the ingredients to add? Well, imagine all the chicken laying on the counter in a straight line. How would you go about sprinkling the ingredients on them? That’s how I imagine it. I add a lot of curry powder enough to cover each piece. As for the rest, add a few shakes of each ingredient except cayenne pepper. You don’t want to make it too hot. If you have fresh ground pepper, go with that. Nothing quite beats the flavor of fresh. Regarding the salt, up to you how much you want to add. If you add a little, it’ll taste bland. Imagine the chicken spanning the counter again. You’ll get the hang of how much to add.

Keep stirring the chicken in the milk every few minutes or so on medium heat. Leave it uncovered because what you’re trying to do is to allow the milk to reduce to a creamy gravy, which will contain all the flavors you’ve added. Cook for about forty-five minutes but it may be less depending on the stove. I tend to cook it until I see a thick gravy forming and that’s when I reduce the heat to simmer and cover.

On this particular Saturday, I made shoestring fries in the oven to compliment the dish. Rather than slapping the fries on a tray and shoving them in the oven like the instructions say, I add a couple of ingredients to the mix. I sprinkle onion powder and salt on the fries, then toss them in the oven. Believe me, if you have kids, they’ll love the restaurant quality fries you’ll serve them and may even brag about it to their friends.

Peas
Peas

As for the veggies, up to you what you want to serve with the dish. I had peas on hand and made those by steaming and adding some butter to them. They actually tasted great with the dish.

Before serving the chicken, grab a fork and knife and cut through a piece of chicken to make sure it’s cooked. If it’s white inside and the knife cuts the meat evenly without it feeling rubbery, then you know you’ve got yourself a winner. Try it before plating. If it’s missing flavor, more than likely you didn’t put enough garlic or onion powder. Add the missing ingredient to the pot and stir until dissolved.

When you’re serving the dish, make sure to add in the gravy, it makes for an awesome dip for the fries. Other than that, that’s all there is to it. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I had writing about it!

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Have you ever had curry chicken? What do you like about it the most?

Posted in Food Favorites, Freedom Friday

Curry Chicken

Having watched the Food Network for a full year made me appreciate the culinary delights of cooking with a few simple ingredients. No, this is not a zombie post. Nor is it a piece dedicated to strong chicks that kick butt. But this Freedom Friday entry is about a quick and easy recipe you can try at home with minimal to no chef experience. Yeah, that describes me, all right.

Curry Chicken
Curry Chicken

Real Jamaican curry chicken is hard to make. I know because some of my best friends are Jamaican and theirs is beyond description. Does the term “mouthwatering, savory dish” mean anything to you? It will be once you taste the real thing. Mine is a cheap imitation knock-off. But, as my kids have indicated several times, “Is this ever good.” It’s an ever-good, cheap imitation knock-off.

Okay, enough with the chitchat, let’s get to my recipe, as I know you’re dying to get started on it!

You will need chicken. I always get my chicken from Costco since they package their meats in affordable units. For instance, in my neighborhood, 24 skinless chicken thighs is about $24. I’m paying a buck a thigh. I think that’s a good deal. If you don’t have a Costco, you can try the regular supermarket, although I’m sure you’ll pay much more for the same package.

Once I get my chicken, I tend to soak 12 pieces in brine overnight. Not to make it complicated or anything, my brine is salt water. You can use a pot, which works well. Load the pot with the chicken thighs, add water, and add lots of salt. I can’t say how much salt. I go with what I’m used to—about ten dashes. How’s that for a scientific measuring system? Make sure the fridge is cold enough so as the chicken doesn’t spoil. I can’t stress enough how important it is to ensure food meets health and safety specifications.

Before going on, the reason for soaking the chicken in brine is to plump up the pieces. Ever wonder how restaurants get their chicken to look so huge? They soak them in brine to get the meat to swell at massive proportions. Nice trick, eh?

Next, set the chicken in a skillet/baking pan—your choice. We use a glass skillet in our house and it works fine for our family. If you have something else, that’s fine too. It’s nothing to get hung up about.

Raw skinless chicken thighs
Raw skinless chicken thighs

Add your ingredients:

  • Cayenne
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger powder
  • Onion powder
  • Pepper
  • Salt
Ingredients
Ingredients

And when I mean add your ingredients, I mean sprinkle to taste. You may only want to give a couple of dashes of cayenne, but pour on the curry. After all, it is curry chicken. Have a gander at the photo to get an idea of what it looks like before baking.

With ingredients
With ingredients

What you’ll want to do is set your oven to 375°F and cover the dish with aluminum foil. This will trap all the flavors inside the skillet to make the meat nice and tender when serving. Leave it in there for an hour and prepare the side dishes. I typically make peas or have some fries on the side. On this particular Saturday, my wife jumped in with some corn on the cob. It was goo-ood!

Covered
Covered

Once done, take the chicken from oven, let stand for about five minutes in order to allow it to absorb the juices from the skillet, then serve with side dishes.

Out of the oven
Out of the oven

In the photo at the beginning of the post you see the curry chicken served with corn on the cob, marinated egg plant, and green beans. What a wonderful, delectable dish!

Enjoy!

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Have you ever cooked Jamaican-style curry chicken? If so, how do you do it? Do you have any chicken recipes that have become a staple with your family?