Thai Chicken Satay


If you like Thai food and it amazing combination of  flavors, then you are going to love this recipe for Thai Chicken Satay. And the best part about this recipe is that the chicken can be BAKED OR GRILLED and we have  included instructions for baking or indoor/outdoor grilling so you can make this recipe year round – because you will want to make this recipe year round. I am specifically posting it RIGHT NOW. Not only will it be a showstopping main dish for a backyard barbecue, but you will want to have it for a special occasion or a holiday meal, later on in the year, like for Christmas or New Year’s. And to get even more mileage out this recipe, simple use chicken wings to make a fantastic appetizer!

Serve 4 to 6

2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
1 cup prepared Thai peanut sauce, extra  for serving
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped unsalted peanuts, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
Cooked Jasmine Rice, for serving

In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, ground coriander, curry powder, fish sauce,  chili oil and peanut sauce. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for best results.

Line a baking sheet with foil and add marinated chicken, discarding excess yogurt. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until an internal thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Set broiler to high. Place chicken under broiler for 4 minutes until golden brown.

Transfer the chicken  to a serving plate, and garnish with  cilantro and peanuts. Serve with limes,  peanut sauce for dipping and jasmine rice for a main course.

Cook’s Notes:
One 14-ounce can of coconut milk can be used as substitute for the yogurt.

TO GRILL: Grease an indoor or outdoor grill and heat to medium heat. Once hot, grill chicken approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165 º F).

Add reserved Sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat then stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter until completely combined. If you prefer a thinner sauce, stir in water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and add additional chili sauce if desired for a spicier sauce.

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Spiral Carrot Noodle Salad with Ginger Lime Peanut Dressing


Spring time brings and abundance of fresh produce in the local supermarkets and farmer’s markets .
I am always looking for meals that take less cooking in the kitchen, and mostly raw if possible.Such is the case with spring vegetables, which are perfect for leaving raw, keeping the nutritional value intact.

Using a spiral vegetable slicer. It gives good noodle.This handy little gadget is  much easier to use than a mandoline or vegetable peeler. You can purchase a GEFU SpirelliSpiral Slicer or a Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer, which is another incredible kitchen gadget perfect for  spiralizing all sorts of hearty  vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets and butternut squash into noodles.

But if  you don’t have a spiral slicer, you can simply grate the carrots with a box grater to make this recipe.

You can even spiral carrots. Carrots remotely taste like pasta, but as a vegetable, it can offer a vegetarian,  paleo option for those looking for something off the beaten path.The carrot noodles are crisp and fresh and the ginger-lime peanut sauce makes your taste buds  spin. And the bonus is  that recipe is ever so simple and requires zero cooking, because let’s face it, who wants to spend time over a hot stove during this time of year. Also, this is  the perfect dish for “Meatless Mondays”.

Serves 4 to 6

For the Carrot Pasta:
5 large carrots, peeled and spiraled into noodles
1/3 cup roasted cashews or peanuts
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped

For the Ginger-Lime Peanut Sauce:
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 Tablespoons coconut milk
A pinch cayenne pepper
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tablespoon lime juice
Kosher salt,  to taste
Sliced scallions, for garnish

To Prepare the Ginger-Lime Peanut Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together until smooth and

To Prepare the Carrot Pasta:
Wash carrots well, peel them, and pat them dry.Using your spiral slicer, make noodles out of all of the carrots. It will be more difficult to make the noodles once there is only a few inches of carrot left, so you can grate what’s left of the carrot.

To serve, place the carrot noodles into a large serving bowl. Pour the Ginger-Lime Sauce over the noodles and gently toss together. Garnish with roasted cashews or peanuts, scallions and freshly chopped cilantro.


Appetizers For the Holiday Season

Whenever my dad goes to a restaurant he always says the same thing. “God, I can make a meal just from the appetizers.” So, that’s what I’m making him: a meal of appetizers.’- NBC’s Will & Grace, Season 3/Episode 15 “Cheaters”, Scene IV that aired on February 22, 2001.


That quote has been stuck in my head ever since I watched the NBC sitcom, Will & Grace…..loved that show….

And given that the Holiday Season is fast approaching, I am focused on appetizers lately. Easy finger foods that can be prepared   with items already in your pantry.

Here are just a few of my favorite savory and sweet appetizers, so far. Enjoy!


Conch Fritters


 In making conch fritters, I found that using this batter mix is an easy quick way to make a crowd pleasing appetizer.Louisiana laff-8.5oz-beer-bag largeBeer Batter Mix is the #1 selling fish fry brand in the United States. The light and flaky pub style batter is perfect for just about any type of seafood and is just as great for making onion rings as well. All you have to do is just add your favorite brew or any type of carbonated drink. I use either club soda or seltzer water, which  are neutral in terms of taste.  If conch is not available in your area, any type of firm white fish can used instead, in this recipe. Enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

3-4 pounds conch,  cleaned and diced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small yellow onion seeded and diced
1 egg
One bag of Louisiana Beer Batter Mix
1 cup beer or club soda
Canola oil for deep frying

Soak the prepared conch in lemon juice for 25 minutes.

Preheat the canola oil in large Dutch oven.

Drain conch. In a large bowl add the conch, bell peppers, onions, egg, Beer Batter mix, and beer or club soda. Mix until smooth.

Using a table spoon, scoop a rounded measure of  the conch mixture, shaking off excess and carefully add to the oil.

Deep fry at 375°F until golden brown.

Drain in paper towels and serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.


Caramelized Spread

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For a sweet treat, boil a can of sweetened condense milk to make a rich and creamy caramelized spread that can be served with sliced fruits, whole strawberries or slathered on crackers and mini bread slices.

Makes about 1 cup
One small can of sweetened condensed evaporated milk.

Remove the label and place the unopened can of condensed milk in a deep saucepan and cover the can completely with water.

Bring the water to the boil then reduce the heat to simmer and let the can simmer covered in water for 2 1/2 to 3 hours CAUTION- CONSTANTLY MONITOR THE WATER IN THE SAUCE PAN. Do not let the he saucepan boil dry or an explosion will occur. Keep checking  and adding water as necessary.

After 3 hours, carefully remove the can and wait at least 20 minutes before opening the can very carefully in the sink. The contents will still be very hot.

The condensed milk will look like creamy brown caramel. Stir the caramel in the can with a fork to remove any lumps, then pour the caramel into a bowl for serving.boiled toffee

 The spread can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Soften the spread in the microwave at 5 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until the caramel is spreadable.


Kung Pao Oven Baked Chicken Wings


This is another version of the East meets the Deep South. Chicken wings baked in the oven and coated with a spicy glaze makes for a fantastic tasting appetizer.
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 quart plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons mirin
3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons black bean paste
1 Tablespoon sambal oelek
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds chicken,  tips removed and cut into sections
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
3-4 scallions, minced

In a small saucepan, bring the honey and 1 tablespoon of the ginger to a simmer. Let cool, then strain the honey into a bowl.
In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining 3 tablespoons of ginger and cook over low heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mirin and vinegar and simmer until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Add both soy sauces and the black bean paste and simmer just until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the sambal oelek.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Season the flour with salt,garlic powder, onion powder, salt and cayenne pepper.Prepare an egg wash by whisking the 2 eggs and cold water togetherin a large bowl.Dredge wings pieces in the seasoned flour; then dip into the egg wash. Quickly drop the wings one by one, back for a final time into the seasoned flour. Spread the coated wings onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Do not crowd them together closely, they need a little space between them to make them crispy. Bake the wings for about 30- 35 minutes or until fully cooked to the bone. The wings should also be turned over once about 20 minutes into the cooking time. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the wings you use. Drain on a wire rack or on paper towels for a few minutes before tossing with the Sauce.

Transfer the wings to a large bowl and toss to coat with the sauce. Add the peanuts and scallions and toss the wings drizzle with the ginger honey and serve.


Zucchini and Potato Chips with Gorgonzola Cheese
Adapted from Fresco by Scotto Restaurant, 2014DSC05793

Serves 4

6 large baking potatoes
3 large zucchini
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Scrub potatoes and cut into very thin slices using a mandoline and immediately place in a bowl of cold water. Cut zucchini into thin slices, place in a large bowl and toss with flour and cayenne pepper. Drain potatoes and dry on paper towels.

Place potato and zucchini chips on two large baking pans Toss chips with olive oil and spread the chips out, making a single layer. Bake the chips in the oven for 18-25 minutes until crisp and lightly brown; drain, season with salt and let cool.

Add potato and zucchini chips to a large baking pan. Spread out evenly to make just one layer. Top with Gorgonzola cheese and bake in a 350°F oven until cheese melts. Serve immediately.



Korean French Fries

Instead of frying the French fries, I opted to bake mine in the oven, which gave a crisp finish.

Serves 4

For the Bulgogi
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 pound boneless rib eye steak, cut into very thin, 3-inch slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound frozen French Fries

For the Toppings
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tablespoons Korean chile paste (gochujang)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup kimchi
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Sriracha, plus more for serving
Shredded cheddar, chopped white onion, toasted sesame seeds and cilantro, for serving

To make the bulgogi: In a resealable plastic bag, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and sesame oil. Add the rib eye and toss to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.

Drain the meat, pick off the solids and pat dry. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil until smoking. Add the meat and cook over high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, 4 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and keep warm. Rinse out the skillet and wipe dry.

Prepare the french fries in the oven, according to directions given on the particular brand that you like.

To prepare the toppings: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, chile paste and soy sauce. Add the kimchi and toss to coat. Heat the skillet until very hot. Add the kimchi and cook over high heat until the liquid is thickened and glossy and the kimchi is browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the 3 tablespoons of Sriracha.

Scatter the french fries on a platter and top with the bulgogi and kimchi. Drizzle with some of the Sriracha mayonnaise and sprinkle with cheddar, onion, sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve with additional Sriracha.