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Twice Basted Asian Barbecue Chicken
Apr 2nd, 2012 by

You bake this chicken but the sauce makes it taste like it was barbecued.

You bake this chicken but the sauce makes it taste like it was barbecued.

I invented this recipe probably close to 20 years ago. However, I made it last night for the first time in years.

It’s easy and very flavorful. The soy sauce makes it salty and the mixture of herbs makes it memorable. So I’m not sure why I forgot about it but I’m glad I remembered it.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts with the bone in (About 3, each cut in half)
  • Dijon mustard (About 1/4 cup)
  • Soy Sauce (About 1/2 cup)
  • Roasted sesame oil (1 teaspoon)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (I prefer the “in-oil” kind for this recipe, but the dry ones are fine too) (About 1/4 cup)
  • Tabasco sauce (2-3 drops)
  • Fresh rosemary (1 tablespoon)
  • Tarragon (A pinch of dried, or a tablespoon of fresh)
  • Chopped scallions (about 1/4 cup — chopped onion is fine too)
  • Ginger (About a tablespoon of freshly grated or a pinch of dried)
  • Mushrooms (About 6 or 7 small ones cut up)

What I did:

Put chicken pieces in lightly oiled baking pan.

Mix up all of the ingredients, except for the mushrooms, and spread about 1/2 to 3/4 of it over the chicken pieces.

Bake in a 350 oven until done (about 60 minutes).

Blend mushroom pieces into the left over sauce. And then spread sauce over chicken pieces during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Serve with corn on the cob, bok choy, baked potatoes, rice, corn bread or whatever suits your fancy.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Nine Recipes That Will Make Your Cookout Memorable
May 21st, 2010 by

This braciole is easier to make and tastes even better than the traditional oven variety.

This braciole is easier to make and tastes even better than the traditional oven variety.

The unofficial kickoff of the summer season is only a week away (Memorial Day Weekend). So break out the grill and try one (or more) of these nine time-tested recipes.

Your guests won’t forget these simple, extra touches.

And here’s some music to grill by, written and performed by my friend Kenny Hogan: Watch the Video of “Backyard Barbecue“.

Main Courses

1.) The Perfect Burger: Think you know how to cook a hamburger? Think again.

2.) Grilled Braciole Fit for a Saint: A favorite at the St. Rocco Feast in Malden, Mass.

3.) Athens Grilled Chicken: A twist on the above braciole recipe.

4.) Italian Fried Chicken: A no-fry way to get that deep fried taste.

5.) Neely’s Barbecue Chicken: A Memphis delight!

6.) Grilled Pork Chops with Peppers and Capers: Batali’s dish with a hundred flavors.

Appetizers and/or Side Dishes

7.) Italian Corn on the Cob: This is not your grandmother’s corn.

8.) Grilled Artichokes with Mint and Jalapenos: Another favorite from Batali’s cookbook.

9.) Barbecued Shrimp: One of the recipes from my “Sex on the Kitchen Table” meal.

Find more recipes in the Food section

‘Beacon Hill’ Backyard Makeover (Slideshow included)
Aug 3rd, 2009 by

Here's the RootsLiving backyard after a "Beacon Hill" makeover.

Here's the RootsLiving backyard after a "Beacon Hill" makeover.

(Click here or the photo above to see a slideshow of the new backyard. To watch it full screen, click on the arrows in the lower right corner of the slideshow.)

Last year, I wanted to turn my small backyard in Malden, Mass. into something rivaling a Beacon Hill garden.

And this is what the yard looked like before the makeover.

And this is what the yard looked like before the makeover.

My home is right outside of Malden Square and friends and family are often surprised at the amount of privacy we have: we have more privacy in the heart of the city than most people have in more suburban neighborhoods.

Yet, the yard was run down so I sought inspiration on Beacon Hill. Every year the Beacon Hill Garden Club has a tour of the hidden gardens there and so as news editor of Boston.com I conveniently decided I would create a photo gallery of the tour.

I knew I wanted to replace the old, crumbling asphalt walkway with bricks and extend the brickwork into a small patio. I also knew I wanted to add some small trees and bushes along the back fence. And I also knew none of this would be cheap, so I did what I usually do before starting a big project: I consulted a design expert so I wouldn’t miss any unforeseen opportunities to improve the yard.

This peace of mind cost about $250. For that, landscape designer Sally Muspratt came to my house and gave me suggestions for about an hour. She liked my basic plan and told me the best way to accomplish it by making a few structural suggestions and by letting me know what plants would do well in each area of the yard.

Here's another look at my urban oasis before improvements were made.

Here's another look at my urban oasis before improvements were made.

And here's the after-shot of the same scene, after the work was done.

And here's the "after" shot of the same scene.

The most important thing she told me was not to waste money planting along the back fence, because a Norway Maple tree in the neighbor’s yard was putting its roots into my yard and would make it difficult for anything to survive. Instead, she suggested I build raised beds there where small trees and shrubs would be able to put down their roots.

I decided to buy the raised beds online at a site called, Naturalyards. And I also decided to buy two trellises; one in each raised bed at Trellis Structures. My friend, Jay Martinez (who works in engineering) supervised and helped install the trellises and build the beds. He also lent me his wheelbarrow, which came in handy when the local nursery dumped five yards of dirt in my driveway for the beds.

The two L-shapped raised beds are mirror images of each other. I planted the same plants in the same location in each one: two Japanese Stewartia trees; two climbing hydrangeas to climb up the trellises; two Japanese Maple trees; six low-bush blueberry plants; two Virginia Sweetspire; and two Redvein Enkianthus.

A look at the side yard before the makeover.

A look at the side yard before the makeover.

And a look at the side yard now.

And a look at the side yard now. Bricks replaced broken asphalt and cobblestones replaced crumbling cement borders.

All of the plants are historically accurate to go with my 1848 house. In other words, most of these plants were readily available in the Boston area during the second half of the 19th century.

For the brick walkway and patio, I got three bids and they ranged from about $5,000 to $15,000. I went with the lowest bid, not only because of the price, but also because I had used these masons before and was a big fan of their work.

After the structural elements were in place, I tended to the smaller details: replacing an old, worn out patio table with a funky, painted, farm table; adding urns, window boxes and planters filled with flowers; and even stepping up the efficiency of my barbecue area by adding a baker’s rack someone was throwing out in the trash.

I may not be able to afford to live on Beacon Hill just yet, but now when I step in my yard, I feel like I’ve arrived.

(Photos and text by Mark Micheli)

Check out other RootsLiving home projects.

Italian Fried (not really) Chicken
Jul 22nd, 2009 by

Any grilled green vegetable, such as zucchini, makes a good side dish.

Any grilled green vegetable, such as zucchini, makes a good side dish.

I call this dish, Italian Fried Chicken, which is a misnomer because there is no frying involved. But the end result — with it’s moist, breaded, and savory crust — is reminiscent of that traditional American favorite.

I got the basic recipe for this dish from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill cookbook. However, I tried making it his way and didn’t find the breadcrumb crust flavorful enough. So I substituted Ritz Crackers instead. I also omitted his suggestion of drizzling the chicken with “olio piccante,” a spicy oil made with 5 jalapeno peppers and a half cup of hot red pepper flakes. I’m not sure if he wants to be Italian or Mexican?

The other thing I did was to finish off the crusty brown succulent pieces of chicken with a sprinkling of course Kosher salt and fresh dried crumbled sage.

If you’re looking for something different to cook out on the grill — an easy recipe that doesn’t take much more work than grilling a few hamburgers, and is probably less expensive — try this:

Italian Fried (not really) Chicken

Ingredients

  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 good squirts of anchovy paste (or 2 salt-packed anchovies, filleted, rinsed, and patted dry, or 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups of crushed Ritz Crackers (about 1 1/2 sleeves)
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (although I used 10 bone-in, thighs with skins and the same directions worked well.)

The indirect grilling method calls for piling up the hot coals on one half of the grill and then placing the meat on the other side. Don't forget to close the cover.

  • Combine the garlic, 1/2 cup of oil, anchovy paste, parsley, and Ritz Crackers in a food processor and mix until smooth.
  • Put chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle with the Ritz Cracker mixture, turning and applying pressure to coat well.
  • Arrange chicken in a single layer on a platter or cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and put in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  • Prepare grill for indirect grilling. For a charcoal grill, this means lighting the coals in a pile and when they’re ready to cook on, push all the charcoal to one half of the grill.
  • Place chicken skin (or skinned) side up on the cooler part of the grill. Cover the grill and cook for 15 minutes before turning over and cooking the other side for 15 minutes.
  • Put cooked chicken on a platter and sprinkle with course Kosher salt and chopped fresh sage or dried sage.

Good side dishes include grilled zucchini or asparagus or green beans and a side arugula salad.

(Photos by Mark Micheli)

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Mmm. Mmm. Memphis
Jun 16th, 2009 by

Neely’s Barbecue Chicken

Neely's Barbecue Chicken, with corn bread and corn-on-the-cob.

Neely's Barbecue Chicken, with corn bread and corn-on-the-cob.

I promised I’d try to reproduce some of the recipes of the wonderful food we ate during our trip to Memphis (audio slideshow) in April.  And this chicken recipe was easy to duplicate, since I found the recipe on the Food Network, courtesy of the Neelys.

For those who don’t know, Patrick and Gina Neely have their own show on the Food Network.  Their restaurant is about a 10 minute cab ride from downtown Memphis. It doesn’t look like much: kind of a dive with red Formica tables and some neon Bud signs hanging on the walls. But the food is fantastic and cheap!!

This barbecue chicken was my favorite: tender meat with a thousand flavors eminating from a not too spicy, savory barbecue sauce. This is roots cooking at its best.

(Photo by Mark Micheli)

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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