Grilled Ginger Chicken and Shitake Mushroom Baos

A collection of leftovers can make a most interesting and tasty meal.

Yesterday, I posted the recipe for “Grilled Chicken with Ginger”, and I still had a perfectly one half of a yardbird that I just could not let go to waste.  As I was taught by my Grand and my Mother, nothing ever goes to waste in a cook’s kitchen.

And with that being said, I foraged around in the fridge and the pantry to see what I could find.

Lo and behold……..a  half of a Vidalia onion, some Shitake mushrooms, some baby spinach, some leftover Thai pickles, a few steamed buns, and  just enough Korean barbecue sauce I made  from scratch a few days earlier.

The left over adventure began with a few slices of Vidalia onion, a handful of Shitake mushrooms were sauteed in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. The left over grilled ginger chicken was add to the onion and mushroom mix along with Chinese 5 Spice powder and  Korean barbecue sauce. Baby spinach and Thai pickles were added to left over pillowy steamed buns along with the meat and mushroom filling. The perfect side dish to accompany the chicken and Shitake baos was the  left over steamed Jasmine rice. This quick and easy meal was done in less than 20 minutes!


The Caipirinha: Brazil’s National Cocktail

Do you have FIFA Fever?

The 2014 World Cup is taking place in BrazilFifa-World-Cup-Brazil-2014-e1396712263296 …….. and there is no better way to celebrate this world event by drinking a Caipirinha. 220px-Caipirinha2 Caipirinha (pronounced kie-purr-REEN-yah) roughly translates to “country bumpkin” and it is the national drink of Brazil, where it originated, and is a common beverage of choice during Carnavale.  It is made with cachaça, an intensely sweet Brazillian style of rum that is made from sugarcane juice. The market is changing and now it is possible to easily find a premium cachaça to use in this drink, which is highly recommended because it is the main component of the drink.   The Caipirinha is the strongest national cocktail of them all in Brazil, where it orginated in the state of São Paulo  around 1918. The Caipirinha as we know it today would have been created from a popular recipe made with lemon, garlic and honey, indicated for patients of Spanish flu pandemic—and which, today, is still used to cure small colds. As it was quite common to put a little alcohol in any home remedy in order to expedite the therapeutic effect, rum was commonly used. “Until one day someone decided to remove the garlic and honey. Then added a few tablespoons sugar to reduce the acidity of lime. The ice came next, to ward off the heat,” explains Carlos Lima, executive director of IBRAC (Brazilian Institute of Cachaça).   I(Thomas Dohrendorf) im März 2005t is imbibed in restaurants, bars, and many households throughout the country. Once almost unknown outside Brazil, the drink has become more popular and more widely available in recent years, in large part due to the rising availability of first-rate brands of cachaça outside Brazil. The International Bartenders Association has designated it as one of their Official Cocktails. The Caipirinha is a perfect cocktail to adapt for seasonal fruits and is fun to use with different fruit combinations.

Prep Time: 3 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 3 minutes

Yield 1 Serving

1 lime, cut into small wedges
2 teaspoons Superfine sugar,  or to taste
2 ounces of  cachaça or white rum, to taste
Ice cubes

Place the lime wedges, pulp side up in the bottom of an old fashioned glass or heavy tumbles. Add sugar, to taste and muddle the lime and sugar together with a long handled wooden spoon.  Add the cachaça, stir and add the ice cubes. Stir again and serve immediately.

Bartender Notes:
Be sure to crush the pieces of lime pulp side up or too much bitter lime oil will released from the zest. Keep the sugar mixed in the drink by stirring often. Cachaça, a spirit distilled from sugarcane, is one of the most popular drinks in Brazil. Some of the better varieties are available in larger liquor stores in the U. S.

Poulet Grillé au Gingembre (Grilled Chicken with Ginger)

Thyme, bay leaf, and garlic add aromatic flourish to this simple yet elegant grilled chicken recipe, which was adapted from Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, from “The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook” (Sterling Epicure, 2014).

What makes this chicken special is an abundance of lemon juice as it mingles with the bristling taste of ginger to tenderize the chicken, while a final drizzle of butter adds golden richness.

DSC03209 PREP TIME: 10 minutes, plus 2-4 hours marinating (or Overnight)
COOKING TIME: 1 Hour and 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME:   1 Hour and 45 Minutes, plus marinating

1 (2½–3-lbs.) chicken, halved, backbone removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1″) piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Stir lemon juice, oil, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and ginger in a bowl; add chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 to 4 hours, or overnight for the best flavor.

2. Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high.)Grill chicken, turning as needed, until slightly charred and cooked through, about 35 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh reads 165°F.

3. If grilling is not an option, the chicken can be roasted in the oven.  Pre-heat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken in a cast iron skillet bone side down. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes, baste with melted butter, periodically. Reduce the heat to 325°F, remove the foil and baste with melted butter. Continue to roast the chicken for another 25 minutes, until skin is golden brown and crisp.

4. To serve,transfer the chicken to a serving platter and drizzle with melted butter.