cooking

Molasses & Garlic Yakitori Skewers

    Delicious Yakitori Skewers on the grill! 

 

Delicious Yakitori Skewers on the grill! 

Summer is coming and we have had a very warm spring so far so I wanted to share this delicious skewer recipe with you. I love Japanese, Chinese, Korean and other Asian cuisines and I love that all of them are so delicious! There are so many wonderful flavors to explore. 

I have a great memory of yakitori skewers from the month I spent in Japan living with different host families. One evening, my host mom and her daughter took me grocery shopping so that they could get groceries to make the evening meal. On the way to the grocery store we stopped by a small kiosk in the parking lot for a snack. The snack happened to be an amazing, freshly grilled yakitori skewer. I still remember that taste, and it all comes back to me when I make these yummy skewers at home. 

I love this recipe because it has few ingredients and is very simple to prepare, yet it feels like a special meal. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do in our family. 

    The yakitori sauce, bubbling on the stove. 

 

The yakitori sauce, bubbling on the stove. 

Molasses and Garlic Yakitori Skewers: 

10-12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

 

1.5-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small cubes

1 bunch green onions, sliced into 1 inch segments

 

Yakitori Sauce: 

1/3 cup gluten free (tamari)  soy sauce

1/3 cup mirin (rice wine)

1 tablespoon molasses

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

 

1. Thread chicken cubes & green onion segments onto skewers until you run out of chicken and green onions. Place on a platter and set aside. 

2. Heat your grill to medium high, (and oil the grill grates) or heat your oven to broil. Oil or grease a broiler pan if using the broiler. 

3. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat, stirring with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. 

4. Continue to cook the sauce until it bubbles and thickens. If it gets too thick you may add water to thin it out. It should be thick enough to coat the chicken & green onion without being too runny and falling off. 

5. Place the chicken skewers on the grill. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Once you turn over the skewer, brush the cooked side with yakitori sauce. Then, brush the other side. Make sure the chicken is cooked through, but not dry. 

If you are broiling the chicken in the oven, place on a broiling pan with slits in the top. Broil one side of the chicken for 1-2 minutes, then brush with sauce. Continue with the other side. Depending on the  strength of the  broiler, watch the chicken carefully. You want it charred, but not too dry or burned. 

I hope you enjoy this delicious and simple dish for dinner soon! 

If I made you hungry for a skewer, pass this post on to a friend! 

 

 

 

10 Tips for Throwing an Epic Party at Home!

    A punch bowl is the center of a great party!     

 

A punch bowl is the center of a great party! 

 

I love to cook which also means I love to entertain! I grew up with lots of parties and my grandma would love to celebrate just about every holiday with a family get-together. I am lucky to have been around so many parties. Through the years of observing those parties and throwing lots of my own, I have 10 essential tips for throwing an epic party at home that I want to share with you! 

 

Tip #1: Serve a Meal

I have found that if you want people to stay and really enjoy and savor your party, it is best to serve a meal. The meal need not be fancy, complicated or expensive, but if you serve a meal, people will love your party! It can be as simple as a main dish, side dish & one platter such as veggies and fruit. Choose breakfast, lunch or dinner and you are set! If you want to be creative, focus on one special item to make, such as a cake, or the guest of honor's favorite main dish. I have learned through the years that it is best not to make more than one complicated dish for a party. That way, you can enjoy the party too! 

    A simple and beautiful berry bowl for a buffet party! 

 

A simple and beautiful berry bowl for a buffet party! 

 

Tip #2: Let Everyone Know when Food will be Served: 

It is important to note either on the invitation or when people arrive when the food will be served. If you already have your food ready, buffet style to be served when people arrive, you may let them know to help themselves to the food right away. If you are planning on having appetizers, please let everyone know when the main course is to be served. This helps people plan before coming to a party. 

Tip #3: Make Sure to Have Plenty of Drinks: 

Guests really appreciate having a selection of drinks to choose from and it makes them feel very welcome. Make sure to have a variety of sodas, (regular & diet) juice or punch for the kids, water and any other drinks you think guests might enjoy. 

Tip #4: Use Real Plates/Silverware: 

In an effort to save money on paper goods and also to reduce, reuse and recycle- it is a great idea to use real plates, silverware and cloth napkins as much as possible. At my son's last birthday party we did use paper plates, but we used real silverware and cloth napkins. This way, we didn't throw away a lot of plastic ware and we saved money on those goods so that we could provide more food and drinks. 

Tip #5: Set up A Busing/Recycling Station: 

Make sure that you have designated areas for guests to put their plates, cups and silverware when they are done with them. Also, make sure to set up bags/boxes for guests to deposit their empty cans and bottles for recycling. If you use paper products make sure there is also a trash can near the recycling/busing station. 

Tip #6: Have a Place for Guests to Store Coats/Purses: 

Plan ahead which room, closet or area you would like guests to store their coats, purses or bags. This will make it easier for you when guests ask where to put their things upon arrival. 

    Cupcakes are easy to make plenty of! 

 

Cupcakes are easy to make plenty of! 

 

Tip #7: Provide Snacks/Food for Adults & Kids: 

If you are having a party that is primarily for children, if adults are expected to stay with their child, make sure that they have food/snacks/drinks/a piece of cake or cupcake too. Parents are special guests too and they love it when they feel included. Make sure that your guest count includes both adults and kids for your food budget. 

Tip #8: Make Sure there is Plenty of Seating: 

Make sure there are plenty of chairs for people to sit in. When it is an indoor/outdoor party it works well to bring out your dining chairs as well as any folding chairs you may have. People feel most welcome when there are plenty of places to sit. 

    An example of the main elements of a party buffet: a main dish, a veggie platter, fruit platter and chips. 

 

An example of the main elements of a party buffet: a main dish, a veggie platter, fruit platter and chips. 


Tip #9: BBQ Tips:

If you are hosting a barbecue, please let guests know how long snack/appetizer hour will be. Make sure to let guests know when to expect the main barbecued foods to be ready. This is so very helpful so that guests know when to arrive and what to expect. 

Tip #10: Top 5 Items to Plan for: 

The following are the most important things to consider when planning a party:

1. Number of guests.

2. Time and Date

3. Theme/Occasion/Guest of Honor

4. Budget. 

5. Menu

If you plan for all of these ahead of time, you will know what to expect and so will your guests. When you begin planning your party, be sure to fill in the information for these 5 items and you will be well on your way to throwing an epic party!

Bonus Tip #11: Menu Planning: 

Here are some quick ideas for planning a party menu so that there will be plenty of choices for both adults and kids at your party. 

1. Main Dish: Pick a main dish that can be made ahead or purchased. 

2. Vegetable/Dip Platter: This is often a hit with kids and adults alike. Dress it up with different types of hummus. 

3. Fruit Bowl/Salad/Platter: Lots of people love fruit and it makes a great centerpiece. 

4. Chips/Crackers: These are often great to have to round out a meal and a great snack if you are waiting for barbecued meats to finish cooking on the grill. 

If you have those 4 elements at your party you will have plenty of variety and will be sure to have foods that guests will love. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and got some good tips! If you loved it pass it on to a friend who loves parties! 

Trista

Yukon Gold Paprika Latkes

yukon gold paprika latkes

One night I wanted to create something delicious as a dinner side dish. I saw a basic latke recipe and it got my creative juices flowing. These lovely latkes are the result of this creative spark! I absolutely love when that happens! 

I love the golden look and love the taste these latkes get from using yukon gold potatoes and they get such a delicious flavor with the paprika. The oats add an additional texture to the latkes as well. It is so much fun to get creative in the kitchen when the mood strikes! 

I hope you will try these for your next family dinner or gathering. They are sure to be an instant success! 

 

Yukon Gold Paprika Latkes

1/4 cup gluten free oats

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1.5 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled

1/2 pound onions

1 large egg

2 tablespoons or more olive oil

1. Combine oats, salt, baking powder, paprika and pepper in a small bowl. 

2. Shred the potatoes and the onions on the large holes of a box grater or with a food processor. 

3. Transfer this mixture to a large kitchen towel. Gather the towel up around the mixture and squeeze it out over the sink. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the potatoes and onions. Once you have wrung it out once, open the towel on the counter, shake the ingredients to loosen and then gather them up to wring out the towel one more time. 

4. Transfer the potato/onion mixture to a large bowl, add the oat mixture and the egg. Toss the mixture with your hands to combine. 

5. Preheat the oven to 425. You will keep batches of latkes on a baking sheet in the oven between frying them to keep them crisp and warm. 

6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Test out a small bit of the latke mixture in the pan. If it sizzles around the edges the pan is hot enough. Drop 4-5 spoonfuls of the mixture at a time into the skillet. Flatten slightly with a spatula as the latkes are cooking. Cook each one about 2 minutes per side until golden and crisp on the outside. Once each batch is done, transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Then , transfer them to the oven to keep crisp. Keep cooking the latkes in batches until done. 

Makes 15-20 small latkes. 

Mexican Style Cinnamon Rice Pudding

Mexican Style Cinnamon Rice Pudding

The holidays and and all kinds of delicious foods are upon us! I really love this time of year because as a cook and baker I get to showcase all of my best work. I want  you to shine too, and with this delicious rice pudding, served in pretty glass cups, you can! 

This is a Mexican Style rice pudding, which is flavored with cinnamon and cooked till very thick. I love the creamy, rich texture of this pudding. It is a favorite of my son's. In fact, last weekend we brought this rice pudding to a party. There was a little girl who is a friend of ours there, and he simply couldn't understand why she didn't like or want to try the rice pudding. He kept asking her- why? 

Well, if you love creamy desserts sprinkled with cinnamon, you will love this one too! 

I hope you enjoy it soon with your friends and family. This recipe may easily be doubled to feed a larger crowd. 

Enjoy! 

Mexican Style Cinnamon Rice Pudding: 

Makes: 4 large or 8 small servings

4 2/3 cups water + 4 cups water

3/4 cup short grain white rice

2 cups  scalded full fat coconut milk (or whole milk)  (To scald the coconut milk, bring the milk to boil in a saucepan, then take it off the heat) 

1 cup full fat coconut milk (or evaporated milk) 

1 cup organic sugar

2 sticks cinnamon

Ground cinnamon to taste

1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Take off the heat and add in the rice. Let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse rice thoroughly and drain. 

2. Bring 4 cups water to boil in a separate saucepan. Boil uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain off the extra water. 

3. Mix the scalded full fat coconut milk, full fat coconut  milk, sugar and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook for 45 minutes or until the mixture becomes thicker and changes color. Add in the rice. Cook for about 40 minutes or until pudding thickens. Remove from the heat and stir to cool. 

4. Spoon the rice pudding into a bowl and sprinkle with ground cinnamon to serve. 

If you enjoyed this post, send it on to a pudding-loving friend!!