Another Recipe for Andy: Soy-Glazed Chicken

This recipe comes from  the  Better Homes and Gardens Oriental Cookbook. Oriental Cookbook. The title seems so quaint.  It conjures up Conrad, Shangrila, and Indiana Jones. As Edward Said has pointed out the concept oriental is a creation not a geographic reference.  The preferred term now is the regional Asian. I bought the cookbook in the early years of our marriage in the 70s when I was learning to cook. There were a few recipes in it that I went back to again and again: paper-wrapped bundles,  ginger chicken with lily buds, stuffed cucumbers (which Andy insisted belongs in a soup not as a main course), and  soy-glazed chicken.  

Like the Chinese Style Barbecued Spareribs, soy sauce is the key to this recipe. I won’t go into soy sauce again so I’ll just note that like the spareribs, this chicken is best when it has been marinated at least 4 hours or overnight. Over the years, I have refined this recipe to my family’s taste and I’ve made it with whole chicken as well as chicken pieces with equal success.  A long time ago, I read somewhere that chicken skin crisps up if baked at 450˚F for 10 minutes then at a reduced temperature of 350˚F to finish off roasting. So I recommend that. America’s Test Kitchen has a video on how to achieve crisp skin chicken but it uses baking powder so I didn’t want to try it as I was afraid it might change the taste of this chicken dish. I did use some of their techniques.

Ingredients for the marinade:
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder (or 1 tablespoon garlic and 1 tablespoon onion powder)
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
1 star anise, optional
1 four or five pound roasting chicken

Prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, oil, five spice powder, and star anise, if using. I created an air pocket between the chicken skin and breast then I made two cuts alongside the backbone near the top and the center. Then place the chicken in a gallon plastic bag and pour the marinade all over it. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or preferably overnight, turning the bag occasionally.

Preheat the oven 450˚F.

Bake the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on a roasting rack set over a roasting plan. The teeny tiny kitchen didn’t have one so I covered a rimmed baking tray with double foil and set the chicken to roast on that. Roast the chicken 10 minutes at 450 then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Continue roasting for a total of 1 to 1 1/2 hours (including the 10 minutes) or until the drumstick moves easily in the socket. This chicken is juicy with a hint of anise. The skin turned out golden brown but not crisp as in crunchy–more experimenting needed.

Recipe for Andy: Chinese Style Barbecued Spareribs

Andy requested this recipe because he wants to make it himself on a barbecue.  This popular (and, by the way,  delicious) recipe for Chinese Style Barbecued Spareribs from backofthebox.com disappears every time it’s made. Sticky and salty-sweet, there are no leftovers, and if there are, they don’t last long! The spareribs taste best when they have marinated for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, in a plastic bag.

Let’s talk about soy sauce. It’s important that the right kind of soy sauce is used. The base of the marinade, and the key to flavor, is the soy sauce. Now, there are different types of soy sauces: light, dark, white, and low-sodium.  There’s mushroom too, but let’s just stick with the basics. Soy sauce at the table is a dipping sauce. In cooking, light and low-sodium soy sauces both add saltiness and color to the dish whereas dark soy sauce is sweeter and thicker and in cooking, primarily adds color. Light soy sauce does not refer to color but rather to its consistency when poured, as opposed to dark soy sauce which has a syrupy consistency. White soy sauce, a precious amber liquid, merely adds salt without the color. It is perfect for cooking tofu and white vegetables like bok choy that can look off-their-color when a dash of soy sauce browns them. It’s a matter of aesthetics!

But ’nuff said. Let’s get started, shall we?

For the marinade:
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 garlic cloves (more if you like, and I like!)
3 pounds pork spareribs, separated

Prepare the marinade. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife, and add to the bowl. Put the spareribs in a plastic bag and pour the marinade all over. Close the bag and “massage” it to distribute the marinade. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (overnight is better), turning the bag at least once.

For the glaze
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1-2 tablespoons honey (I recommend the full 2 tablespoons, honey!)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Get ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Remove the spareribs from the bag and discard the marinade. Place the spareribs meaty side up on a rimmed baking tray lined with foil. I like to line a rimmed baking sheet with double foil for easy clean up afterwards because it will be a sticky baked-on mess. Cover ribs loosely with foil and bake 50 minutes.

Glaze the spareribs. Remove the foil covering and baste spareribs with half the glaze. The original recipe said to discard the pan juices but I didn’t because the juices prevented the ribs from drying out during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Then, turn ribs over and baste again with the remaining glaze. By this time, the ribs will have turned a rich deep brown color. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately and clean up, which will be so easy because you just throw away the foil.

Notes. Now, can you do these ribs on a barbecue? How much time you got? Ribs need to be slowcooked for hours to get to the tender-meat-falling-off-the-bone stage. I recommend baking them in the oven 50 minutes then finish glazing them on the grill.

Maple-Almond Flan

I made a New Year’s resolution to diet and eat healthy, so I have taken up the South Beach Diet. I downloaded two books onto my Kindle for Mac, South Beach Diet for Beginners and South Beach Diet Supercharged. Phase One, which lasts two weeks, is very strict about carbs, sugar, and fat. But it’s not all serious. I find the recipes fun to make and delicious too. Desserts are allowed in Phase One so that no one should feel deprived. Instead of going through the menu, I’ll just skip ahead to the dessert!

This flan recipe comes from the Supercharged book. It needs a water bath (bain marie) to set the custard. However, there were some problems with this recipe.  It did not state the oven temperature needed to set the custard. I guessed a moderate oven, 350˚F, would do. I also found that the custard set in 50 minutes rather than in 25 minutes at ? temperature. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have a roasting pan big enough to give the custard room to set. Instead, I used a 9 inch square glass baking dish. Though it took a while, the result is delicious and well worth it!

Ingredients for the flan:
1 tin (12 oz) fat free evaporated milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons nonfat milk
1/2 cup egg substitute (2 large eggs)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar substitute

Ingredients for flan topping:
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted (I used sliced almonds–it’s a preference!)
4 tablespoons sugar free maple syrup

Prepare the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a saucepan, combine evaporated milk and nonfat milk. In a small bowl, combine egg, vanilla, almond extract, and sugar substitute. Add to milk mixture. Heat until the milk is scalded; that is, little bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Do not boil. Ladle the milk-egg mixture into 4 ramekins. My teeny tiny kitchen didn’t have ramekins so I used ceramic coffee cups.

Bake the flan. Place ramekins (or coffee cups)  in a roasting pan and fill with hot water until the level of water comes half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in the preheated oven 50 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown. Remove from the water bath and cool slightly. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve. Toast the slivered/slice almonds in an ungreased skillet. You can also do it in a slow (275˚F) oven. To serve, drizzle a tablespoon of the maple syrup over the top of the flan then sprinkle the almonds on top. It’s so-oo good! You don’t feel you are on a diet.

Cake Baker’s Note: I used whole eggs to make this dessert, otherwise the calories per serving would have been 108.

Hello world! It’s Foodie Joanie!

I’ve started a new blog, but it’s really a continuation. It’s just that I needed more space for photographs and the previous host was maxed out. That tells you I’ve got a lot to write about!

After six weeks’ holiday in Thailand, I returned to New York City and another big sno–no, blizzard hit us midweek (I’m so used to calling it a snowstorm like we do in the Midwest). What terrible beauty! The trees looked like they’ve been dipped in frozen milk and the cars frosted with vanilla buttercream!

Though my blog has got a  new site name,  I haven’t changed; I’m still thinking of food. It’s still me! Unfortunately, I’m fighting off jet lag but I hope to get this new site up and running very soon with new recipes!

I encourage you, Dear Reader, to leave a comment. I share your concerns about privacy. The site will ask you to leave your name and e-mail address  which are required, and a website, which is not. Your e-mail address will not be published.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Foodie Joanie