Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Has Many Legs, But Doesn't Run Away?

Barbecue-Braised Thai Chicken Legs with Lemongrass Glaze

Often recipes are taken from other sources and embellished, or worked with. This is one such occasion. The basic recipe is from a cracking issue of Fine Cooking magazine. Here is the basic recipe:

For the chicken:
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Kosher salt
6 whole skin-on chicken legs
For the braising liquid and glaze:
2 tsp. peanut oil
1 cup finely chopped scallions (white and light-green parts only)
1/3 cup finely chopped lemongrass (1 to 2 large or 3 medium stalks)
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. Thai green curry paste
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
Kosher salt
For serving:
1-1/2 cups Thai jasmine rice, cooked

In a small bowl, combine the turmeric, ginger, coriander, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt. Rub all over the chicken legs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

Prepare a gas grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Grill the legs until they begin to brown on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side (watch carefully for flare-ups). Set aside.

Prepare the grill for indirect grilling. In an 8-quart heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and stir for 1 minute. Add the lemongrass and stir for 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste until the vegetables are evenly coated. Add the broth, fish sauce, and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Nestle the chicken legs into the braising liquid. Set the pot on the grill over the cool zone. Cover the pot, close the grill lid, and cook until the legs are tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a tray.

Pour the braising liquid into a heatproof vessel, such as a Pyrex measuring cup, and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Skim off and discard the fat.

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Strain enough of the braising liquid to yield 1 cup and boil over medium heat in a small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup glaze, about 15 minutes. (Return the strained solids to the remaining cooking liquid).

Brush some of the glaze over one side of each chicken leg and grill glazed side down until the glaze begins to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush the other side of the legs with glaze and flip them over—the skin may stick to the grill a bit, so gently pry up any stuck areas before you flip. Grill until browned on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, reheat the remaining cooking liquid if necessary and season to taste with salt. Put some rice in each of 6 serving bowls, lean a leg against the rice, and ladle in some of the cooking liquid.

Here is the link to the recipe and Fine Cooking mag site:

Notice the cilantro, scallions and peas? Guess where they came from....Yes, the garden. Hurry and get yourself a bowl, before they do get up and walk away....With my boys around they may do just that!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Location and another gourd.


I know I keep banging on about my garden. It changes quickly and it is nice to have a record of all it has been through. I went crazy taking pictures of it yesterday, so a collage should gather it neatly in one image. These are pictures of the veggies on location....nothing has been plucked in this collage. Well, many weeds were plucked!


Gourd project #2 is a gift for my niece Megan.

The gourd's humble beginnings:

What the finished bowls looks like today:

The design is based on Megan's henna tattoo on her leg for her wedding. Her whole wedding had a bird theme.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Flowers and the Bees.

I saw this someplace and filed it away in my mind...Don't remember where I saw it. While watering the garden a bee appeared on a volunteer sunflower. Voila, something clicked in my mind.

The Great Sunflower Project

Just follow these simple steps to help with the research of bees. They are very attracted to Sunflowers and vital to a healthy garden.

1. Sign up and plant your sunflower
2. Describe your garden
3. Time how long it takes 5 bees to visit your sunflower plant
4. Enter your data online or send us your form.

Another link that helps explain.

Glad we let the volunteer Sunflowers be to grow naturally and help this project.

I will update this when I have better results. Today there were 2 bees on one of the flowers in 30 mintues. There was a storm brewing as you may be able to see in the pictures. Here's further proof of a storm; this is Misty hiding from the rain under the trampoline, she goes there for shade as well. Just in case you didn't believe Moi. LOL!



Here are some pictures of your "Flagstone Wildflower Garden" after it was weeded.

I think I can identify Poppies, Flax and Cosmos, not sure of some of the others. One of them looks kinda like Baby's Breath. Not bad for a $1 pack of seeds eh?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The bounty keeps coming.....

From this:

To this:

Barbecue Braised Country Spareribs with Beer and Mustard Glaze

The ribs were made loosely following the Fine Cooking mag recipe:

I did my own little things that were different to the recipe.

The sides are Courgette/Tomato salad with Nasturtium Mayo and Beans Almondine. The lovely sage that garnishes the plate is from the herb pot in the front garden. I made some fresh foccacia bread today too, it was topped with Italian herbs, sun-dried tomato, garlic, olive oil and Asiago cheese.

I'm full.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

She Has Arrived at her Trip of a Lifetime!

We got to Skype with Cait last night. She was snug at a Buenos Aires hotel. She was excitedly telling us about her couple of days in Buenos Aires. She is is heading to Mendoza and meeting her host family today. She is also heading to intensive Spanish language classes, city walking tour, power walking in the park, visit to a winery with a wine tasting class, a cook out, Argentine movie festival, Argentine history sessions.....The jammy sod! ;-) Here is her blog if you want to see what she posts as her trip unfolds.


Last night I welcomed the first taking of "green" beans from the garden with a nice plate of them along with Salmon w/ Tangerine and Cardamom Vinaigrette. Kathy's wonderful smoked salmon made me hungry for salmon. Just look at it:

My plate was also graced with wonderfully colourful Swiss chard, also from the garden. Please notice the plate is garnished with toasted cardamom seeds.

Tangerine and Cardamom Vinaigrette

1 lrg. clove of garlic
1 2" piece of ginger, peeled
4 sm. tangerines, juiced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 c. champagne vinegar
1/4 c. mirin
1 tbsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. honey or a pinch of sugar
1 tbsp EVOO
1/4 c. canola oil

Put the garlic and ginger in a blender with the mustard, vinegar, Mirin, honey and ground cardamom. Add the oils slowly until everything is emulsified and gets somewhat thicker. Season with salt and pepper.

Notice how I wrote "green beans?" Well, the beans look like this until they hit hot water:

Another garden note, I am having the darndest time with tomatoes this year. First cold, windy weather, then a tree shading some of them too much, that and the much dreaded HAIL! Just look at the poor dears and what the nasty hail did to them:

I did get the first taste of a yellow pear tomato today, as I was watering. I didn't waste any time plucking it from the vine, washing it in the garden hose, then popping it in my mouth....It was just one of those occasions. :-) Plenty of green tomatoes of many different varieties, turn already will they?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Harvest Dinner

Pine Seed Crusted Mahi-Mahi and the rest.....

The Sorrel grew back and I wanted to try a lemony cream sauce for fish (with chix stock and white wine, can you say umami)! We found more peas, onions and parsley as well. The dish was garnished with nasturtium petals....Colourful from the garden to the plate and a nice tangy bite. A special apology to my chef teachers for not putting protein forward on the plate. The reason is the Sorrel sauce is not very attractive and I made the judgement to put the colorful peas forward. I have never seen an attractive Sorrel sauce, but it is far worth it as it is very lovely to eat. All this is rounded out with brown rice.

Delicious, nutritious and rewarding.


Tired of suburbia? Get angry! LOL! The answer to the neighbour who has a far too Kitsch yard design. Angry Pink Flamingos!!!! Lucie and I may start a new rock group with that name. :-)


LOL! All in fun!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Linden Street

We have two Linden trees and I have always wanted to preserve the fragrant flowers.

This is the recipe used to make a syrup:

Simple syrup:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Collect and wash plenty of flowers, probably 6 cups worth. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat and add the flowers while the syrup is still hot. Let it steep for an entire day. Next strain it through a coffee filter. Cool completely. Refrigerate. Add this to drinks and desserts.

Here is another recipe I have since found that would be good to try:

Some of what the site said:

Linden Flower Cordial

Linden Flower Cordial is a classic British flower cordial. The recipe is based on the traditional Elderflower cordial, but substitutes linden (common lime) flowers for elderflowers. The full recipe is presented here and I hope you enjoy this classic British version of Linden Flower Cordial.


25 bunches of linden flowers (about 6 flowers per bunch)
1.8kg granulated or caster sugar
1.2l water
2 unwaxed lemons
75g citric acid

Check the linden flowers to make sure that there aren't any clinging insects then place them in a large bowl. Meanwhile add the sugar and water to a large pan and bring to the boil. While the sugar syrup is heating prepare the lemons by paring the zest in wide strips (add this to the linden flowers). Cut the ends from the lemons and and slice them thinly, adding these slices to the linden flowers.

When all the sugar has dissolved pour the hot syrup over the flowers and stir-in the citric acid. Keep stirring for a few minutes to make sure that all the linden flowers are covered in syrup then cover with a clean cloth and leave for 24 hours to infuse.

The following day sieve the cordial through a strainer lined with muslin and pour into thoroughly-cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw the lids on tightly and store in a cool cupboard. To serve dilute with sparkling water (or sparkling wine) to taste and pour over ice cubes in a glass. The cordial also works well in sorbets and ice cream and can be used in a vinaigrette or even as a marinade for chicken breasts.


Research on the blooms also revealed that they are quite useful for medicinal purposes. Feeling stressed; have a cordial or tea to relieve it, as Linden flowers are a sedative and treat nervous palpitations and lowers blood pressure. Tension can be relieved with a soak in Linden flower water. Linden is also a cold and flu treatment for bringing down a fever and helps to clear sinuses.

Here are some links for more uses and information about Linden flowers:

The title references Linden Street in downtown Fort Collins. I am sure other places have a Linden Street, as well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gourdon Bennett!

*For an explanation of the title see the very bottom of the blog.

It starts with a rather round, flat on the bottom and not too big, not too small gourd. This one I bought on Ebay; I am growing some in the garden, but they won't be ready until next year about this time.

Cut the top off. Scoop out the inards, sand and sand. When it is smooth, sand some more, then apply your design. In this case I used wood colouring pens, after I burned the design in with a wood-burning pen.

Then, a clear shellac was applied to both the inside and outside. It will be food safe this way. Voila, a yerba mate cup.

Now I will wait for a bombilla from my daughter who is going to Argentina soon.


Peas fresh from the garden! I blanched them, then stir fried them. Then, added pre-fried bacon lardons and garlic that I did a bit earlier. Then, de-glaze the pan with Mirin.

Simple, Elegant and Delicious!


The garden continues to do well....Even the weeds are thriving! I manged to keep them pretty much out of the garden beds, but I must really work on the paths. Here are some images of the good stuff not the weeds, who wants to see weeds? Certainly not me!

The Rocket has bolted; not to space, but has gone to seed. Will use some of the flowers to garnish a salad soon.

We had a salsa bar feast with all the cilantro (coriander leaves for my British friends) from the garden. No ladybirds were harmed in the making of this salsa.

From the top going around clockwise:
-Mango salsa
-A cilantro salsa creation involving cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro oil made with EVOO.
-Heirloom Tomato Pico de Gallo

Pass the tortilla chips and MOCO ColoRouge/sharp cheddar quesadillas.

The cilantro has already grown back for another go!


*Gordon Bennett explained:

Gordon Bennett! is an expression or exclamation common in some parts of the United Kingdom that connotes (often exasperated) surprise, annoyance or shock.

Bennett — the son of James Gordon Bennett, Sr. — was a New York newspaper proprietor and playboy during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who became widely known in North America and Europe for his extravagant lifestyle and shocking behaviour. He has been described by the Dictionary of American Biography as having been "one of the most picturesque figures of two continents". For example, he arrived late and drunk at a party in the mansion of the family of his fiancée, socialite Caroline May, and then urinated into a fireplace in full view of his hosts. The engagement was broken off immediately, and the subsequent notoriety caused Bennett to move to France. This incident appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records under "Greatest Engagement Faux Pas".

A variant of the newspaper mogul story is given by Anglophile American writer Bill Bryson as follows:

James Gordon Bennett, a newspaper baron, liked to announce his arrival in a restaurant by yanking the tablecloths from all the tables he passed. He would then hand the manager a wad of cash with which to compensate his victims for their lost meals and spattered attire. Though long forgotten in his native land, Bennett and his exploits were once world famous, and indeed his name lives on in England in the cry, "Gordon Bennett!"

This was taken from Wikipedia and pretty much sums it up.

Stay tuned for another project that features Gordon Bennett!

See I'm not the only Anglophile on the planet. :-)