Sunday, August 24, 2008

Honey-Mustard Salad Dressing

When planning the menu for our Valentine’s Day dinner featuring dishes made with honey, “A” suggested that I make honey mustard salad dressing. Personally, I don’t care for honey mustard salad dressing. I loathe anything that contains the words “honey mustard”. As far as I’m concerned, mustard should be spicy, not sweet.

I hit the internet, searching for honey mustard salad dressing recipes. Anything calling for mayonnaise was eliminated. Honey, mustard and mayo should never, ever be in the same dish according to my taste buds. I’m gagging just thinking about it. I finally settled on a recipe with the fewest possible ingredients that surprisingly included garlic. I love garlic. You can’t go wrong with garlic.

I was a little hesitant about the coarse grained mustard. I had visions of a crunchy sweet mustardy dressing. Luckily, the “grains” are not crunchy, they just add bits of color. Even more surprising, I liked the end result. This is one of the best salad dressings I have ever tasted! It’s so good that when “A” and I were invited to a potluck garden party, we settled on making a veggie and dip platter. “A” supplied the veggies, all but the broccoli grown in her plot at Rutgers gardens, and the platter and I supplied the dip in the form of my new favorite honey-mustard salad dressing.

Verdict: Yum!! This one’s a keeper!

Honey-Mustard Salad Dressing

¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or white vinegar
2 tablespoons coarse-grain brown mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup salad oil

In a small mixing bowl or blender container combine honey, white wine vinegar or white vinegar, coarse-grain brown mustard, and garlic. Beating with an electric mixer on medium speed or with blender running slowly, add ½ cup salad oil in a thin, steady stream. Continue beating or blending about 3 minutes or till thick.

Makes 1 cup.

Recycle: honey jar, vinegar bottle, mustard jar, salad oil bottle

Compost: garlic skins

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Barbecue Pulled Chicken

My kitchen is normally closed during the summer months due to the lack of air conditioning in my home. I still peruse recipes, putting them aside until September when I can finally turn on my stove without having to worry about cooking my cats and myself as well as the food.

Yahoo is not a site where I would usually look for recipes. Like any smart portal though, they spotlight various “services” they offer to entice you to stay longer on their pages before heading off onto the internet. A featured recipe for Barbecue Pulled chicken caught my eye the other day. I love spicy foods. My mouth watered as I read the ingredients. Definitely something to squirrel away for cooler weather.

Then I read the cooking directions. It’s made in a crock pot. The chicken doesn’t need to be browned ahead of time. I can make this now! I made a quick trip to the grocery store, mixed the ingredients in my crock pot and then headed out again to a Master Gardener meeting. My kitchen smelled heavenly when I returned several hours later. Best of all, the room was still cool.

My first taste of this dish left me non-plussed. I didn’t dislike it. But I didn’t love it either. I decided that I needed to try it again on a cold winter’s day when I’m dying for something hot and spicy to warm me up. That plan was thrown out when I ate this dish the second day.

Most recipes taste better the second day. The ingredients have had a chance to marinate, enhancing the flavor. When I tasted this dish the following day, I realized why I had been so ambivalent the prior day. Too much paprika. It was overpowering. I couldn’t taste anything else. All of the wonderful seasonings, even the green chilies, were masked by the paprika.

Verdict: What were they thinking???

Barbecue Pulled Chicken
(Source: Yahoo! Food)

Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Food

1 (8 ounce) can reduced-sodium tomato sauce
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sweet or smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thights, trimmed of fat
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic

Stir tomato sauce, chiles, cinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ground chiptle and salt in a 6-quart slow cooker until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine.

Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve.

Yield: 8 servings.

Recycle: Tomato sauce can, green chilies can, tomato paste can
Compost: Onion and garlic skins