Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Five Spiced Chicken Breasts with Hosin Sauce

Nothing says summer like a backyard cookout. We enjoyed several meals on our patio, lakeside this weekend. Despite the 30 mph winds, we had a great time. Chicken is one of my favorite meats to grill. It's so versatile and easily takes on the flavors of sauces or marinades.

Hoisin sauce is a Chinese dipping sauce that reminds me of a thick barbeque sauce.  I wouldn't recommend using it alone but mixed with other ingredients, it makes a perfect sauce or marinade. I didn't have five spice powder.   I improvised and made my own by grinding fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns in the coffee grinder.  When I am finished grinding, I run a piece of dry bread through the grinder to remove the spice residue.

 What did you grill this Memorial Day weekend?

 Five Spiced Chicken Breasts with Hoisin Glaze
Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons five-spice powder
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless chicken breast halves 
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder


  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Stir in 2 tablespoons five-spice powder. Pour salt mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag. Rinse chicken with cold water. Add chicken and ice to bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove chicken from bag; discard brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.
  2. Combine hoisin sauce and next 5 ingredients (hoisin sauce through 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder).
  3. Prepare the grill for indirect grilling, heating one side to medium and leaving one side with no heat.
  4. Place chicken, skin side down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray over medium heat side. Close lid; grill chicken 8 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with hoisin sauce mixture. Place chicken, skin side up, on unheated side; brush with hoisin sauce mixture. Grill an additional 5 minutes or until done. Discard skin; serve immediately.
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds (I didn't have these)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons szechuan peppercorns or 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Combine all ingredients in blender or coffee grinder.
  2. Blend until finely ground.
  3. Store in airtight container.
  4. Keeps up to 2 months
I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lemon Balsamic Grilled Asparagus

What's your favorite springtime food?  Mine is asparagus.  Did you know asparagus is a member of the lily family?  When I was growing up we used to go to local asparagus farm and "pick" asparagus.  If you've never done it, picking asparagus requires a knife and lots of bending and stooping.  You cut it at the base of the stem with a knife.  Be sure to wash it well, sand or dirt can be hiding in the tips.

Normally we grill our asparagus with just olive oil salt and pepper.  For a change, we tried this recipe.  It's a keeper, the tang of the lemon and balsamic vinegar add to the flavor of the asparagus.

Lemon Balsamic Grilled Asparagus
Recipe Courtesy of Amee's Savory Dish 

2 bunches medium size asparagus (large enough stalks to place on grill without falling through, plus the thicker asparagus hold up better when grilling)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Lowcountry gourmet's lemon white balsamic vinegar (or your favorite white balsamic)
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp lime frost sea salt (or regular sea salt)
1 tsp fresh lemon or lime zest
fresh ground pepper to taste
Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.  Set aside.  

Wash asparagus and trim about 1" off the thick end.  Place into a 9x13 dish and pour marinade on top.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to mingle flavors.

Preheat grill and turn heat to medium.  Place asparagus directly onto the grill rack.  Reserve marinade.

Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, checking frequently so you don't overcook them.  They should be tender but still have a slight crunch.  Pour leftover marinade through a fine strainer to remove bits of raw garlic and drizzle over asparagus before serving. 

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate ThursdayFoodie Friday and Seasonal Potluck.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Portabella Mushroom Stroganoff - SRC

Hard to believe it's time for the Secret Recipe Club reveal for May already!  Seems like I was just looking through the recipes over at, Join Us, Pull Up A Chair,  my assigned blog for the month.  Keeping with my pattern for SRC, I made a savory recipe again this month.   Heather's blog features lots of great savory recipes, making it hard to narrow it down to just one!  We love portabella mushrooms and their meatiness helps me convince my husband a meal without meat is still a meal.  We both enjoyed the hearty, creamy texture of this dish.  It's a keeper we will make again!

Portabella Mushroom Stoganoff
Recipe Courtesy of Join Us, Pull Up a Chair
2 Tbsp butter
12 oz baby bella mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces
2 shallots, chopped
½ cup white wine
¾ tub (8 oz) lowfat cream cheese (I used a block of cream cheese)
1 cup lowfat sour cream
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp salt
Whole wheat egg noodles

Cook noodles according to package and have ready for the sauce. In a non-stick skillet, warm the butter over medium-high heat until it is melted and foamy. Add the shallots and cook until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook. The mushrooms will soak up all the butter – at this point, add the wine.

Add the thyme and black pepper. Cook down the wine until the pan is almost dry. Push the mushrooms to the sides of the pan, making a well. Add the cream cheese and sour cream. Stir the cream cheese and sour cream together until it’s soft and melted. Stir in the mushrooms.
Cook the sauce until it’s hot and bubbly – do not boil. Salt to taste and then toss it with the cooked pasta. Enjoy!

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rhubarb Apple Bread

 Do you have rhubarb in your garden?   Nothing says Springtime in the Midwest like rhubarb.  Normally when the rhubarb is ready, there's a cobbler, crumble, pie or betty of some form baking in my oven.  Having never tried a rhubarb quick bread, when I saw this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, I decided to give it a try.   This bread is moist and delicious.  We really enjoyed the cinnamon and sugar topping, it gives a nice sweetness to the tart apples and rhubarb.  This bread is perfect for Mother's Day breakfast or lunch!


Rhubarb Apple Bread

Recipe Courtesy of Two Peas & Their Pod

Yield: 1 loaf



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all spice
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup chopped apples, skin removed (I used Granny Smith)
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 4 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and all spice. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add in canola oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add sugars and beat until smooth.
4. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Gently fold in rhubarb and apple chunks. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
5. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen sides and remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baked Cheese Grits - Club Baked

It's been a couple of months since I've baked with Club Baked.  They've baked some delicious treats, Grasshopper Bars, Whoopie Pies and Mississippi Mud Pie.  Baked Explorations, the book we are baking from, is normally all about sweet treats.  This weeks recipe is the exception!  We baked a savory dish!

The recipe says to use stone ground grits, not instant grits.  At the first grocery store, I found only instant grits.  In the pouring rain, I stopped at another grocery store and found quick grits.  I am still not sure these are the grits described in the book but I bought them anyway.

My husband isn't fond of grits!  He's from Minnesota and I don't think grits are a part of any hot dish up there!!  However, I think the cheese and butter in these changed his mind.  He had two servings. 

These are so creamy and delicious.  I'd love to try these with different kinds of cheese.  Normally you think of grits for breakfast.  These are the perfect side dish for lunch or dinner.  If you're in a hurry you could easily skip the step of melting the cheese in the oven and serve these right from the stove top! 


 Thanks to  Jen of Gourmified for choosing this recipe, these are a winner!  You can find the recipe on her site and links to the other Club Baked bakers here!

Next up for Club Baked, Orange Creamsicle Tart. 

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.