July – Roast Chicken in the Air Fryer

July – Roast Chicken in the Air Fryer

A whole roast chicken is one of my signature dishes, it’s on our menu at least once a week and I still haven’t run out of new and different ways to prepare it. Chicken finds its way into all international cuisines and lends itself to all manner of different flavors. Best of all, the leftovers provide inspiration for additional meals during the next week. And, the bones can be saved and used to make a delicious stock. I collect the carcasses in the freezer until I have enough to make a big pot of stock, then freeze it in quart containers. Homemade stock is so much better than anything you can buy in the store.

I have roasted chickens in the oven, on the BBQ, in a clay pot, in the instant pot and now in the air fryer. The air fryer is really only a small convection oven (although my own can do many more things that I haven’t tried yet). If it’s a hot day and you don’t want to turn on your oven, or too much trouble to start the BBQ, the air fryer can come to your rescue.

Every brand of air fryer is a little different, please check the directions that came with your own. Mine does not require pre-heating, your own may suggest it.

I used a quick dry salt brine for my chicken. I rubbed it with a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt and placed it, uncovered and on a small rack, in the fridge for about 6 hours. I then loosened the skin over the breast and thighs by gently slipping my fingers between the skin and the breast meat. I rubbed fennel spice over the meat of the breast. You could use any favorite seasoning or skip this step.

Place it on the rack of your air fryer, breast side down. and cook at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. At the end of the 45 minutes turn it breast side up and cook for an additional 15 minutes. That’s it. No basting needed. Just look at this chicken!

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

It was delicious and easy.

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

The skin was crisp and the meat tender.

Most of my time lately has been taken up by caring for our new puppy, Shanna. Last weekend we dog-sat our friend’s corgis while they attended a wedding. Air fryer roast chicken and a salad was about all I could manage.

Casey, Quinn, Shanna with friends

Casey, Quinn, Shanna with friends

It was a wild and fun weekend.

 

In My Garden – July 2021

In My Garden – July 2021

This will be a very quick tour of the garden this month but I wanted to get in an update.

It’s interesting to see how the pollinator garden has changed over the past couple of years, plants have come and gone. Our winter rain was so sporadic and rare this year that many annuals did not return. I think the seedlings dried up before they could get a start. The perennials however, have flourished. This fall I will try reseeding, fingers crossed that we get more rain.

Pollinator Garden July 2020

Pollinator Garden July 2020

In the vegetable garden the peas have just about finished, I will be pulling them out this month to plant winter vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale.

The bush beans have lots of flowers but no beans yet.

Bush beans

bush beans

There are a couple of kale plants at the end of the bean bed, rescued from the discard pile at the Botanical Gardens. They were looking very wilted and sick but have recovered and flourished.

Kale

Kale

We’ve been eating a lot of zucchini from the garden. I pick them when they are fairly small and enjoy them grilled.

Grilled Zucchini from the Fort Bragg garden

Grilled Zucchini from the Fort Bragg garden

The lavender plants are full of bees.

Lavender

Lavender

The dahlias are starting to bloom.

First dahlias

First dahlias

I am trying to limit my watering and I’m afraid the garden is going to look the worst for it this summer. Wells are going dry all over the area. So far we are okay but it’s a worry.

Most of my time in the garden this month has been taken up by trying to keep track of our new puppy, Shanna.

Shanna

Shanna

She’s into everything (although learning to stay out of the raised beds and the flower garden), and everything goes into her mouth. And, anything can become a favorite toy.

Shanna vs an old mop

Shanna vs an old mop – Casey and Quinn look on aghast…What is she doing?

And then we had our favorite corgis for the weekend. It was a wild time but everyone got along. Generous amounts of treats kept everyone (mostly) in line. That’s the lone male, Milo, walking away.

Aussies and Corgis

Aussies and Corgis

So, that’s where and how most of my time has been spent this month. It’s the reason this post is so late.

I can’t believe it is almost August.

Be well everyone, stay cool and safe. Get vaccinated.

 

In My Kitchen – July 2021

In My Kitchen – July 2021

There hasn’t been a lot of cooking going on in my kitchen this month. This will be a quick snapshot of what has been happening.

We have been eating a lot of sandwiches. So what you ask? Well, I am a bit old school about dinner and it’s usually more formal-ish. By that I mean it’s a full meal rather than something put together on the fly. Dinner is the time to sit down and call it the end of the day, maybe with a glass of wine. A sandwich is definitely more relaxed. On the other hand there are endless variations and I find it the perfect vehicle for using up whatever is leftover in the fridge.

But I have been busy, too busy for that photographable dinner. Why you may ask? Well, here she is…

Meet Shanna 9 weeks old Aussie puppy

Shanna at 9 weeks

Casey, Quinn and Shanna

Casey, Quinn and Shanna
What have you done Mom?!

Casey, Quinn and Shanna

Casey, Quinn and Shanna
Do we really have to put up with this?

Shanna at 11 weeks

Shanna at 11 weeks
I’m taking all of these toys…ALL MINE!

So, there it is. 3 dogs. Our friends think we are crazy. But, isn’t she adorable? Casey and Quinn think we have brought a monster into their life to disturb their peaceful and orderly existence. She has certainly taken over our schedule, disrupted dinner and upended the normal routine. She is smart though. In only 2 weeks she has learned to come when her name is called plus sit, down and off on command. She will be running circles around us in no time.

I have managed to make few things though. The garden is flourishing with slightly less attention.

In my kitchen I have the first of this season’s zucchini and cucumbers.

Grilled Zucchini from the Fort Bragg garden

Grilled Zucchini from the Fort Bragg garden

 

Greek Salad

Greek Salad with home grown cucumbers

The tomatoes are local but not from my garden. Hopefully that will be remedied in the next few weeks.

I also (finally) strained out last year’s brandied peaches. The sliced peaches didn’t have much flavor but the brandy was yummy. I cooked down the peaches with additional sugar, it will make a wonderful glaze or be delicious used as a quick fruit sauce. The rhubarb was also from last year, this time in vodka. I plan to mix a bit of the rhubarb vodka with sparkling water for a refreshing cocktail.

The past year has certainly been strange, it’s both crept along slowly and Zoomed past. Literally in the last case. I meant to strain both the peaches and rhubarb months ago and completely forgot about them. Meanwhile they were quietly infusing in the back of the garage.

Brandied Peach Glaze, Rhubarb vodka and Peach Brandy

Brandied Peach Glaze, Rhubarb vodka and Peach Brandy

I have lots of basil in the garden.

Basil

Basil

An Aperol spritz is a welcome award at the end of the day. We had them first on a wonderful trip to Italy a few year’s ago. They bring back lovely memories of sitting on a deck after a long day’s hike in the Dolomites with good friends.

Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz – We got a taste for them when visiting Italy a few years ago

Thank you for joining me for a peak into my kitchen. This post is part of a regular gathering of bloggers from around the world. Join us to see what’s happening in other kitchens. Thank you Sherry for hosting us, you can read more here at Sherry’s Pickings.

 

 

June – Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Rice

June – Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Rice

Teriyaki sauce has four main components: soy sauce, sake (or mirin, if you’re taking it easy on the booze), sugar and ginger. It’s your your basic Asian seasoning/marinade. However, commercial teriyaki sauce often has all kinds of added nasty ingredients, including MSG, as well as the basics. Here’s the good news, it’s easy to make your own. You get to control what goes into it.

Sugar is one of the essential ingredients, but what if you are avoiding cane sugar? I suggest replacing it with dates. It produces a thick sauce which is also delicious as a condiment on any Asian inspired rice bowl. Another version of teriyaki sauce uses maple syrup plus coconut sugar instead of case sugar. It’s a thinner sauce, good for dipping or marinating as well as drizzling. Both are delicious.

I first published the date sugar teriyaki sauce in April of 2015 in Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables. I had completely forgotten about this sauce until a kind reader commented on it. It’s time to revisit it.

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates

Teriyaki Sauce with Medjool dates

Ingredients:

  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in 1/2 cup of very warm water for 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce, regular or low sodium
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • Optional – pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional – 1/4 cup sesame oil

Method:

  1. Soak the pitted dates in the hot water
  2. Dump the dates and rest of the ingredients (including the soaking water) into your blender and blend until very smooth.
  3. Pour into a container until ready to use.

This will keep in the fridge for at least a week, we found it got “hotter” and spicier the longer it sat.

It can also be used as a marinade and sauce for teriyaki chicken.

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

It’s what I call a non-recipe for teriyaki chicken:

  1. Marinate chicken with the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Bake the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, until done to your liking.
  4. Serve extra sauce as a garnish

For the coconut rice, I just replace half the water in your regular recipe for cooking rice with coconut milk. Place a couple of slices of ginger on top and cook as usual.

The second option using maple syrup as a sweetener was first published in February of 2015. I must have been on a teriyaki kick that year. It was just titled Teriyaki Sauce, you will find the post here.

Teriyaki sauce with Maple Syrup

Teriyaki sauce with Maple Syrup

Here it is served on the Best Ever Crisp Chicken Wings, another post from 2015 (and also one I had forgotten about). For crispness without frying these use baking powder and a two temperature bake.

Chicken wings with Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce with Maple Syrup and Coconut Sugar

  • 3 cups of sake
  • 1 cup of mirin (try to get one that has only water, rice, koji, and salt as ingredients)
  • 1 cup of organic soy sauce or shoju
  • 2 cups of coconut sugar or succcanat
  • ½ cup of pure grade B maple sugar or honey
  • 10 slices of ginger
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly (our family likes garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon of arrowroot, dissolved in a bit of water
  1. In a large saucepan, bring all the ingredients (except the arrowroot) to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour until slightly thickened.
  3. Stir in the dissolved arrowroot and cook until it thickens.
  4. Strain and let cool until ready to serve.

 

This will keep several weeks in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

In My Kitchen – June 2021

In My Kitchen – June 2021

In My Kitchen is a monthly gathering of bloggers from around the world writing about what is new and eventful in their kitchens. It is hosted by Sherry of Sherrys Pickings. Click on the link to discover new ideas, gadgets, recipes, and kitchen stories from talented and entertaining cooks. And please consider making your own contribution.

It’s been a quiet few weeks in my kitchen. A visit to the dentist and the emergency extraction of an infected tooth has kept me on soft and simple foods. However, there are a few things of note.

A kind reader reminded me of a recipe I posted for teriyaki sauce made with dates, no sugar, from way back in February of 2015. I decided it was worth revisiting. You will find the original post here. I made another batch and plan to use it to make teriyaki chicken. It is a thick sauce which would also be suitable for garnishing a rice bowl. I need to go back and reread some of my older posts, there were some pretty good ideas if I do say so myself.

My talented brother made me this wonderful pepper mill.

Pepper Mill

Pepper Mill – from Bocote Wood

Bocote wood is a Mexican and Central/South American Hardwood. Aren’t the contrasting zebra-like dark brown and black stripes beautiful? The pepper mill is unusual because it rests upside down, you remove the top and turn it over to grind the pepper. That way the grinds don’t end up all over the table. Such a lovely gift! Thank you John.

Now that so many of my friends have been vaccinated, we are slowly starting to visit each other. After the isolation of the last 15 months It is pure joy to see them. On a recent leisurely shopping afternoon in Mendocino I found these wonderful carved tongs and chop sticks.

I love the uniqueness of the chopsticks.

In my kitchen I almost always have at least one dog waiting for a belly rub. This is Casey tempting me. Who could resist that furry belly?

Casey

Casey

As far as things of note I’ve cooked this month (or rather in the last 30 days). There is…

 

 

 

 

I haven’t posted this one yet and hope to get around to it. The meatballs were cooked in the air fryer (both gluten and dairy free) and they turned out beautifully. We grilled the eggplant on the BBQ and garnished everything with crisp fried garbanzo beans and pomegranate seeds plus mint and parsley. It made for a scrumptious platter of food for dinner guests.

Crispy Lamb Meatballs with Grilled Eggplant

Crispy Lamb Meatballs with Grilled Eggplant

And lastly this salad, a wonderful side for a BBQ.

And here is my June curveball…

New Aussie Pupp

New Aussie Puppy

She is 3 weeks old in the picture, we are looking forward to her joining our family sometime near the end of this month. We haven’t decided on a name yet and are open to ideas. Please do leave a comment if you have a suggestion.