Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Legit chai

Lorilei inspired me!! She brought a warm thermos of chai over for some persian practice and it was all over. I went straight to the store to get some ingredients and have had a constant craving for this stuff since. 

I rummaged around online for recipes, and this is my version of the recipe from Chai! - they really know their stuff.

This recipe makes two cups, because you're going to want another one.

Bring to a boil:
*1 1/2 c water

*1 inch cinnamon stick
-once I used a few shakes of ground cinnamon. It was fine, except that it left a grainy end to the chai
*9 pieces cardamum
*9 whole cloves
*a couple slivers ginger root
Turn down the stove to medium low, put a lid on it, and let simmer for 15 minutes

*2 bags of chai tea (I am yet to try looseleaf black tea, but its the original tea. Darjeeling would be good)
*1 c milk (fattiness of your choice, I use 1% because its half way between guilt free and yummy)
*2 Tbsp sugar
~ I know, its kind of a lot, but who am I to argue with tradition? Chai is drunk sweet!

Steep for 2-3 minutes (or 5-10 if you're brave), strain, enjoy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chicken Salad in Bread Cones

Unfortunately not everyone can have my mom's pickles, which make all sorts of mayonnaisy southern salads better, but thankfully I think she just uses the recipe on the lime jar, so pickle away. Ill get the pickle recipe up here one of these days. Other pickles should be fine in the meantime - though it certainly will wont be as good.

For the bread cones I used this amazing recipe I found online.

Their directions are really good, so I wont bother repeating them, but next time I will dissolve the yeast in some liquid before adding it to the mixture, and even maybe use a little more of it. I was so excited when I saw these bread cones...

Chicken Salad:

3 chicken breasts
1/2 c diced pickles (maybe try bread and butter? I've only used hers)
~ and a splash of pickle juice
1/4 - 1/2 c diced sweet onion
about 1/3 c mayonnaise
~ I used olive oil mayo; its healthier
paprika (I was generous; it was kind of a red-tinted chicken salad. and pretty, too!)
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
Cavander's all purpose Greek seasoning - optional, but it was good

Boil a pot of salted water and drop in the chicken,  leaving until just barely not pink in the middle (it will dry out quickly after this, but it will also keep cooking itself for a few minutes after you take out out of the water) and cut it into cubes.

Stir all ingredients together, adjusting spices to taste.

Stuff the cones. Eat.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Biscuits, a revised version

I grew up loving my mom's biscuits, but who said its not possible to improve on something you already love? These should be a little bit sweeter, and a lot fluffier than mom's, though still the nice, dense biscuit that is perfect for saturday morning.

2 1/2 - 3 c self rising flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
not quite 1 tsp salt
about 1/2 stick butter (not margarine!)
about 1 1/2 c milk (go for the 1 or 2%, its worth it)

Stir together the first four ingredients (the dry ingredients) with a fork and then shred the butter like you would cheese on a cheese grater. Stir the butter into the flour every few grates so that all the butter doesn't clump back together.
~This is an alternative to 'cutting in' the butter, which I grew up doing. A great suggestion from Rebecca; Thanks Rebecca! (im going to try your chicken pie soon!)

Using a fork, stir in the milk about a half a cup at a time. Mom never could tell me a measurement because she can just add enough so that it 'looks right,' but since I haven't picked up that skill yet this was my best shot. 

It should be a fairly sticky dough; nothing like bread dough that you might have seen kneaded. You don't really want to stick your hand in it. I mean, maybe you do, I don't know.

Use the fork to plop handfuls of dough (size depending on how big you want your biscuits) into a plate or bowl of flour and turn it over once. This should coat the dough just enough so that you can handle it without the batter sticking to you. Lightly pat the biscuits into shape and place on a baking sheet, touching. In the picture you can see I just use the lid to my grandmother's cake pan as a baking sheet... its aluminum!

Bake at 425 for about 15-20 minutes.
Mom has hers down to a science at exactly 13 minutes, but whether its the baking soda, the size of my biscuits, or something else, this wasn't enough. I wanted a golden crust, which took about 21 minutes. Just watch them; they're done when they start to brown.

They should pull apart easily after baking