Caribbean Rum Chicken for a Main course Dinner

Our local newspaper recently held its annual recipe contest. I submitted several recipes, entering under four different categories. However, it was in the Main Dish category that I became a finalist, and ultimately won second place.

My nearly Caribbean Rum Chicken is a fun, mouth watering entree that will appeal to all of your senses one at a time. It takes very little time to prepare and is easily adaptable.

One thing I will do differently when I make it again, is to substitute the white chicken breasts for thighs. This is just my preference, but I prefer dark meat, and believe there is much more flavor, moistness and a better texture than the white meat, which tends to be dry and bland.

Caribbean Rum Chicken

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/2 cup Myer’s Rum*

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves garlic, crushed

dash of red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground dry mustard

ground black pepper to taste

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips*

½ cup butter

¼ cup olive oil

Salt & Pepper

Brown the chicken strips in the butter and oil making sure they are cooked through, but not dried out. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, mix the brown sugar, chile sauce, rum, soy sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, red pepper, dry mustard, and black pepper. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chicken pieces, coating all sides and serve warm or at room temperature.

* If you cannot get Myer’s Rum, a good Dark Rum will do.

This recipe originally was just a sauce recipe, but I added the chicken to give it substance. However, it is fantastic on ribs, steaks, short ribs of beef over noodles, meatloaf, or even a pork shoulder.

Source:
1. Jamaican cuisine
2. South Beach Diet Foods Review
3. Caribbean-Style Chicken Recipes | MyRecipes.com

Image Credit
www.kuyaba.com

Butter Margarine Spreadable Melting Butter Lurpak

When it comes to butter I prefer those ones that really do taste like butter. There are two of them at the moment I usually buy: Lurpak and Sainsbury’s Buttersoft. I really like Buttersoft so most of the times I buy it from Sainsbury’s but when we do the shopping in Tesco I buy Lurpak. I don’t buy Tesco’s own branded butter as it is not spreadable at all.

Lurpak comes in a silver plastic tub with lid. Below the lid there is a paper cover which can be peeled easily. The tube can be reclosed after each use and as the lid fits well it prevents the butter from getting rancid too quickly. The butter itself has odd white colour which is more pale than other spreadable products. The reason is that Lurpak doesn’t contain any additional colouring ingredient. Lurpak is a slightly salted butter which is spreadable right after you take it out of the fridge.

Usually I buy the 500 g tub but it is available in smaller size as well (250 g). In Sainsbury’s a tub of 500 g costs 2.58 pounds. I think it is quite expensive so that is why I buy its cheaper version the Sainsbury’s Buttersoft whenever possible. Lurpak is also available in light version for those who find the 80% fat content too high.

It has very nice creamy texture and is really spreadable. I like as it melts on crumpets or on toasts. Last time we put them on fresh croissants. It was very yummy. I think its salty taste brings out the taste of the bakery products and makes them really delicious. It can be used on jacket potatoes as well. As it melts you can feel that it was made of milk. Has such a lovely taste that can never be compared to margarines.

The ingredients of Lurpak are as follows: Butter, Vegetable Oil, Lactic Culture and Salt (0.9%). It contains 80% fat so its energy content is 728 kcal / 100g. Lurpak is made by Arla Foods UK Plc (4 Savannah Way, Leeds, LS10 1AB). For more information about the manufacturer or the butter please visit www.lurpak.com.

To sum up, Lurpak does what the manufacturer says on its tub it is a slightly salted butter which is spreadable right after you take it out of the fridge. It has delicious taste and very nice texture. Do we want more? It is rich in fat (80%) which is natural and this makes it so delicious. Those who worry about its high energy content should choose its light version. As we don’t use too much of it I stick to the greasy and tasty version. Highly recommended!

Source:
1. Butter
2. Heart-Healthy Eating Plan
3. The great butter mystery: It's natural, so why is it no good for you …

Image Credit
www.dekalbhughes.net

Christmas 2009 Gift Ideas for Cheese Lovers

Christmas and cheese make a wonderful combination. In England it is traditional to have a whole stilton cheese at Christmas. The English call Stilton “The King of Cheeses” and so your pocket might not run to a whole stilton cheese but, happily, there are lots of gift ideas for the cheese lover in your life.

If you really want to buy your cheese lover Stilton cheese but can’t run to the cost of the traditional size many shops and cheese suppliers make a special miniature sized stilton cheese.

Any cheese lover would appreciate the gift of a cheese hamper or basket. You can buy these ready made but they are rather expensive. It is fun and cheaper to make up your own hamper or basket and you can tailor it to the recipient and your pocket. Cheese goes into your hamper or basket naturally but you could add items that match well with cheese.

If the centre piece of your basket is Stilton cheese, port is the traditional accompaniment. You can buy small or half bottles of port around Christmastime, they may look better in your basket than a large bottle. Other cheeses marry well with wine, your local wine shop should be able to advise you what wines marry well with particular cheeses. Other foods that could go in your basket or hamper are crackers, jars of pickled onions and chutneys and pickles. If you make your own chutney, a jar or two of homemade chutney would make your basket or hamper extra-special.

Interest has revived recently in small artisan and farmhouse cheeses. Artisan cheese makers now supply cheese and cheese related items online by mail order all over the World. It is great to get artisan made cheeses direct from their country of origin. You can also get cheese hampers, baskets and selections from many artisan cheese makers.

A brilliant gift for your cheese lover might be something to serve cheese or something to keep cheese in. A nice cheeseboard, a proper cheese knife or an antique or modern cheese dish or cover may add to a cheese lover’s pleasure.

Cheese is a useful ingredient in many dishes and can make a good meal by itself. A cheese cookery book can give lots of ideas for using cheese in ways that people might not readily think of. A book about the different cheeses in the World or about cheese making might also make a present that will be much appreciated.

Perhaps your cheese lover would like to make his or her own cheese? Cheese making kits are available from various on line suppliers. Several kits are available from Moorlands Cheese makers.

If your pockets are large, a trip to visit an artisan cheese maker, either in the recipient’s own country or abroad may prove a popular gift for your cheese lover.

Cheese is an integral part of Christmas. Cheese lovers would enjoy a Christmas gift embodying their love of cheese.

Source:
1. Gifts For Cheese Lovers | POPSUGAR Food
2. Best Sugar Substitute
3. Popular items for cheese lover on Etsy

Image Credit
www.hellomagazine.com

Christmas Rum Balls

I like this story because it is true. I worked at Springs Industries for 25 years. It started out as Regent Mills and then changed hands. This is in Calhoun, GA. I worked in the dye house stacking rugs and then moved to dye weigher and kept it up for 17 years. I had a friend who worked on first shift named Irene Colfax. She made a lot of Christmas candy and one recipe was for was rum balls. I talked her into giving me the recipe.

Well, I had never done any cooking with rum or any other kind of alcohol so when the recipe called for rum, that is what I used. My first husband was a drinker and it just so happened that he had some 151 Rum for mixed drinks and I sneaked out 1/2 cup for the candy. I mixed everything up and put it in a tin Christmas box for the flavors to meld until the Chrismas party at work. When I opened the box to sample one, the fumes almost knocked me down. Since it was a party, we just ate them anyway. We all were a little tipsy by the time the party was over. I never made them again for a Christmas party. 

Needless to say, I  don’t use 151 rum anymore for Christmas cooking. I found a cooking rum to use and then I found rum flavoring for the kids.

RUM BALLS

5 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs or graham cracker crumbs

1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup confection sugar

1/2 cup of rum or brandy*

1/4 cup of Karo syrup

2 Tbs. cocoa

Combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands. Shape into  balls and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Roll in confection sugar and store in a Christmas tin for about a week and serve. I make them the day after Thanksgiving and let them sit until Christmas.

 * mix 1 tsp. rum flavoring in 1/2 cup of warm water instead of the rum for the kids.

Source:
1. Christmas Rum Balls Recipe – Food.com
2. BPA Canned Food Plastics
3. Chocolate Rum Balls I Recipe – Allrecipes.com

Image Credit
frugalnewenglandkitchen.com

Casual Dining near the Outlet Mall

 It was just one of those Saturdays at the cottage and we decided to take a ride down to the outlet malls in Tannersville. I knew that there was a brew pub somewhere in the area and I decided that this was where we were going to eat. Had I done a little research I would have realized that Barley Creek have a tour of their operation at 12:30 on Saturday and I would have made sure that I was there for the tour. As it was we arrived at 1pm.  

The interior of the building is open with exposed beams and ductwork. There is a large dining room, a smaller area near the door and a bar area with lots of TV’s. Since it is a brew pub my husband  had to try a beer. He ordered the Navigator Pale Ale. I took a sip which is all I can have and found it way to light for me. There was a taste I didn’t like and I would describe as metallic. Maybe the copper from the tanks is leaching into the beer? I don’t know but that was not a good beer in my opinion. They do however have more robust options as well as seasonal brews.

The menu is pretty good sized but strangely I had a hard time finding something to order. The cost of most of the meals was high and this was after all lunch not dinner. My husband ordered a steak and had it served with French fries. He also got a tossed salad with good balsamic vinaigrette.  I ended up getting wings and a side Caesar salad. They have a reasonable selection of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees.

The Caesar was okay but it had onion and tomato in it. I have had this happen before in Pennsylvania, it always surprises me. The lettuce was a funny texture too as if some of it had been frozen perhaps, not quite sure but most of it was fine. The wings were well cooked and when I could taste it the honey mustard was good. I would try the wings again but maybe the Buffalo style.  

Al’s steak was a little under cooked. He ordered medium rare and it was definitely rare. It was well seasoned so he preferred to eat it as is to sending it back. The fries were nothing extraordinary.

Service was okay, she certainly didn’t hover but she did check back in with us once to make sure everything was alright. 

This is a good place to eat if you are in the area, especially if you are visiting Camelback Ski Area which is right on the same road. There are not a lot of choices in the area.  The entrees here are priced from $13.95 to $23.95.

Source:
1. Places to Eat Near Cincinnati Premium Outlets | Cincinnati USA
2. TLC Diet
3. The 10 Best Castle Rock Restaurants 2016 – TripAdvisor

Image Credit
www.discovernewengland.org

Bubble Pizza

Menu planning in my family is fraught with picky eaters, special diets and food restrictions.  Therefore, when I finally find a recipe that works for all of us, I cling to it tightly.  It gets printed and put in my special recipe book and eventually, it usually becomes engraved on my brain.  Bubble pizza is one of those recipes for me.  It’s very easy to make, is light on the budget, makes for great leftovers and the kids love it.  I couldn’t ask for anything more in a recipe.  This is the perfect recipe for a busy weeknight filled with sports, homework and other various chores. 

BUBBLE PIZZA

2 rolls of refrigerated biscuits

1 can pizza sauce

1 8 ounce package of shredded Mozzarella cheese

Assorted Italian seasonings to taste (such as garlic powder, oregano or basil)

Optional toppings like pepperoni, ham, peppers, onions, sausage or chicken

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

Open the biscuits and tear them into quarters, tossing in the pan to evenly cover the bottom.

Pour sauce over biscuits and season with the Italian seasonings.

Top with shredded Mozzarella cheese and any other toppings that you have chosen.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.

My 10 year old son often asks to help make this meal.  It is definitely a recipe that can be done with the help of children.  They feel very useful and it cuts down on the work I have to do, a perfect arrangement if you ask me. I usually serve this dish with a tossed salad because it doesn’t need much else to accompany all of its hot, gooey, melted, cheesy goodness. Enjoy!

Source:
1. Bubble Pizza Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. Butter vs. Oil: Which Is Better?
3. Bubble Pizza Recipe | Taste of Home

Image Credit
what2cook.net

Baked Peaches Recipe

Every now and then, we come across a wonderful recipe that somehow transcends any specific mealtime. It is a dish that can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacktime, and even dessert, and one that never fails to please. It is a dish that everyone seems to love, hot or cold, and any time of the year. The best part of all? It is a cinch to create and most people have all of the ingredients in their pantry already! I am speaking, of course, of one of these magical dishes: a delicious treat known as baked peaches.

Baked peaches are a Sunday tradition in my family. My grandmother bakes them for breakfast and reserves the leftovers, which we later slice up and put over vanilla ice cream for dessert after supper. They smell absolutely heavenly and look so beautiful on the plate! There are a couple of ways to serve them, but my personal favorite is just as they are, nothing fancy! My fiance, however, loves to slice them and put them on top of waffles, then top it all off with whipped cream and raspberry syrup. There really is no wrong way to enjoy this tasty treat! 

BAKED PEACHES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

Canned whole peach halves or slices, drained
Butter
Cinnamon
Brown sugar
Chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Splash of rum or brandy (optional) 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the peach halves or slices in a pan.

3. If using peach halves, add a bit of solid butter to each pit. For slices, drizzle a little melted butter over each one.  

4. Sprinkle cinnamon, brown sugar, and optional chopped walnuts or pecans to taste over the peaches. If desired, add a splash of rum or brandy, but it is not necessary. 

5. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serving suggestions: 
-Serve sliced peaches on top of waffles. Add whipped cream and raspberry syrup.
-Place the whole peach half in a dish and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or chop the peaches and serve cold with the ice cream.
-Splash with rum or brandy along with baked apples, pears, and cherries for a hot fruit salad that is perfect for the holidays.
-Serve as a terrific side dish along just about anything, but most especially with chicken or pork loin. Alternatively, serve peach slices on top of cuts of hot meat for a sweet, juicy flavor. 

Source:
1. Baked Peaches Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. why learning to cook can save your humanity
3. Easy Baked Peaches with Cinnamon Sugar Topping – I Heart Nap …

Image Credit
media.npr.org

Beer Reviews Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne

I love sour beers. Admittedly, they’re not for everyone but the puckering complexity of a good spontaneously-fermented ale is a thing of beauty to me. The musty nose, full of earthy goodness, and a palate replete with the tart flavors of ripe fruit, cider, and herbal notes is a singular experience. I’ll be the first to admit this experience isn’t for everyone and I’d wager that some beer drinkers, unaware of the intentionality of the unique characteristics of such brews, would pour them down the drain after the first sip or maybe before.

A crying shame.

One of my longtime favorite “sour” beers is classified in the Flanders Red category a wondrous beer known as Duchesse De Bourgogne, or sometimes called simply “The Duchesse.” This Belgian beauty is brewed by Brouwerij Verhaeghe. Here is a review:

A Belgian Flanders Red poured into a jumbo red wine glass. Presents itself a deep ruby brown with a thin pale tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving a fine lace in the glassware. Active carbonation bubbles are evident.

The nose is, to me, much like a good gueuze albeit a bit more subdued. Tart, over ripe fruits, port, slight cider vinegar notes, and a hint of spice. The palate is quite sour up front, causing the mouth to water instantaneously. The sourness quickly yields to a strong sweetness, delivering a taste of confectioner’s sugar, cider vinegar, cherries, and baker’s yeast all at once. The sweetness diminishes again in the mouth after swallowing, reminding you of the sour beginnings.

Really a complex play in the mouth. If you’ve not experienced a Gueuze or a Flanders Red before, this interplay may be a bit much for you. The brewers achieve this by blending both young and old (cask aged) ales to create these complex beers. Once you’ve acquired the taste for “sour” ales, however, you’ll be hooked.

The mouth-feel is medium, at best, and the finish is sweet mixed with sour, and lingers long. The feel would be a bit cloying were it not for the aggressive carbonation found here. Intentional … I’d bet on it. A very good Flanders ale, and one I wish I could find again more readily. This one took a trip to Indianapolis recently to find. These ales are a challenge to some, and very well may not be for everyone … but if you like a good Lambic, Gueuze or Flanders Red, this is one that will not only please you, but may well be the best exemplar of the style. Terrific.

This beer is a classic in the style and you’ll do well to pick a bottle or two up if you should come across it at your local retailer. I had to travel to obtain mine and I’ll do it again. This is one of my favorite beers, regardless of style. But if you don’t like sour beers or are thinking to yourself “sour beer, are you crazy?” then maybe you ought to pass on this one. Otherwise, pucker up and get ready for a truly unique treat.

Source:
1. Duchesse de Bourgogne (beer)
2. Gluten-Free Beer for Celiacs
3. Duchesse De Bourgogne | Brouwerij Verhaeghe | BeerAdvocate

Image Credit
www.beerlabels.com

Article Title Camp Cooking Quick Chilil Mac

Camping is a time for bonding and for enjoying the great outdoors.  No camping trip is complete without your favorite comfort foods.  No matter the weather, Chili mac is sure to be a camp favorite.  It is easy to prepare and relatively inexpensive.  You can be as creative with the recipe as you like and add any additional family favorites to the mix.  Are you ready to do some outdoor cooking? An easy Chili mac recipe for this special outing includes:

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno chili, seeded, minced
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, chili flavored is an added bonus
1 cup elbow macaroni
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Preparation

Make a nice hot fire for your evening delight.  You may use either a skillet or dutch oven preheated to 350 degrees; oil your dutch oven well with a stick of butter or Pam Olive Oil Spray; add ground beef and onion

Cook uncovered until ground beef is well browned, stirring often.
Stir in tomatoes and their juices, jalapeno chili, red kidney beans and elbow macaroni.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to about 250 degrees, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until elbow macaroni is tender and the water has evaporated.

Season to taste with salt and cumin.
Sprinkle Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese on each bowl when it is served.

Chili mac is a fun, easy and fulfilling meal which is sure to please your entire family as well as your camp neighbors and friends.  The great news is that if you choose not to use a few of the above ingredients, you are still sure to enjoy this meal.  So grab a chair and your favorite beverage as you wait only a short time for this meal to be done.  It is simple, inexpensive and sure to fill the bellies of those you choose to enjoy the stars with.  Make sure to store any extras or discard as the critters will enjoy this just as much as you. Sour cream is another great addition to this meal for those who are looking for a more creamy texture. Camping never tasted so good!

Source:
1. Cincinnati chili
2. Rice Diet Menu
3. On The Go Recipes – Allrecipes.com

Image Credit
www.chas-mac.com

Overview of black teas

Tea types produced depend upon their manufacturing process. They are generally classified on the degree of fermentation the tea leaves are allowed to undergo. The term fermentation is a misnomer in the tea manufacturing process. It actually denotes how much a tea is allowed to undergo enzymatic oxidation process by allowing the freshly picked tea leaves to dry. This process may be controlled either by pan frying or steaming the leaves until they are completely dried out.

All varieties of tea come from the Camellia Sinesis plant, but it is the processing that makes a world of difference. Depending on the degree of fermentation, teas are classified as: Non-fermented, Semi-fermented and Fully-fermented or black tea. Which has been fully oxidized or fermented and yields a hearty-flavored, amber brew.

Black teas are harvested, dried and well fermented to give them their distinctive flavors. As said before, the different classes of tea – Black, Green, Pouchong, Oolong etc. – are the result of differences in the tea manufacturing process and not derived from different types of tea plants.

However, certain varieties, locations, and seasons tend to produce Camellia Sinesis plants which produce better qualities of certain classes of tea.

There are two types of black teas: Orthodox teas and CTC teas. Most teas in the west are Orthodox teas which have the appearance of a leaf either whole or broken and are distinctly different from CTC (cut, tear, and curl) teas which tend to be in the form of round globules. Like the other teas, the process of producing orthodox black tea begins with picking of the top three leaves and a bud. The tea manufacturing process is quite an involved one.

The tea has to be plucked by hand and once the leaf basket is full, it is brought to the factory floor after weighing. Here the tea undergoes a withering process to remove as much moisture as possible and to prepare it for oxidation and drying. The tea leaves are spread out on a large tray of wire mesh, and hot air blowers are used to heat the leaf and drive the moisture out which makes the leaf limp and turns into a darker shade of green. The next process is rolling wherein the leaf is put into roller machines that twist and turn the leaf and break it, giving it the wiry shape characteristic of Darjeeling orthodox leaf.

The process of rolling releases the enzymes from the leaf as the leaf breaks, exposing the juices to natural process of oxidation. In the next step or the oxidation stage (for black tea), the leaf is allowed to oxidize by exposing it to air in large trays. As the leaf oxidizes, it generates heat, and slowly changes in color from green to red to brown to eventually black. Proper oxidation of the leaf is critical in the final flavor and color produced in the leaf.

Finally, the tea is ready for drying. Again, the leaf is exposed to hot air from air blowers, which drive the remaining moisture out of the leaf. Once the leaf is dry, the tea is marked and tasted by an expert taster who describes the tea and issues the certificate of release. Often a blender blends various batches of tea to produce a characteristic flavor. But blending work is not done at the tea garden level but at the blender and packers warehouse.

Well known black teas are either Chinese or Indian.

The Chinese varieties that are well known are:

‘Keemum’ is considered by most to be finest of all Chinese black teas. It is smooth and very aromatic and can be found in many quality tea blends. It is great by itself, or with a bit of milk and sugar.

‘Lapsang Souchong’ is another black tea from China which has a strong smoky flavor that many find delicious, but not everyone.

‘Yunnan’ a black tea with rich and slightly peppery taste liked by many for its flavor which has a bit of bite.

Though ‘Pu-erh’ is very famous, it fits into more than one tea type, which poses some problems for classification as a black tea.

Among the Indian black teas the following are worth mentioning:

‘Darjeeling’ is named after the Darjeeling district in the State of West Bengal in India. This region also produces excellent green and oolong teas. The black Darjeeling teas have a delicate flavor but are still full-bodied.

‘Assam’ as the name suggests, is from the state of Assam and is a very full-bodied tea. But lacks the hint of spice found in Keemun. The flavor is strong and rich, and great with anything.

‘Nilgiri’ is a lighter and more delicate black tea, from South India. This tea is excellent for the novice brewer. It is said that this tea is forgiving to the brewer even if not steeped quite right.