Tonight my house sit host comes to pack up the rest of her furniture. I offered to cook for a little 'tea party' with a few of her friends. This is the south but I just don't feel like making southern food. I hope they will like my cooking!
I made beef and chicken satay grilled on hardwood charcoal this afternoon. I will keep them in the refrigerator until we all get together after church tomorrow. I bought Trader Joe's peanut sauce, but these satays are so flavourful that you don't even need the sauce! I took a couple of 'authentic' recipes and just eliminated the hard to find ingredients. It makes no difference to the enjoyment of these satays.
For a sweet, I am making date squares. They don't make date squares down here. Odd, I thought. But when I went looking for dates I couldn't find the right ones. I hope it tastes good with the light dates from California. I am also serving some of my handmade chocolates from my class in Orlando. And my Burnt Orange and Pecan Caramels.
3 t whole coriander seeds
2 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 t ground turmeric
1 T fresh ginger,coarsely chopped
1 T brown sugar
1 T peanut oil
1/2 t salt
Place the coriander seeds in a small food processor. Pulse until the coriander is well ground and dusty, about 2 minutes. (Don't remove the coriander from the food processor at this point — you're going to grind it again along with the other flavoring-paste ingredients.)
Add shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, brown sugar, oil, and salt to the food processor. Pulse until you have a smooth paste. Add up to 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, periodically turning the processor off and, with a spoon, scraping the unground portions down toward the blade as you go, if necessary. Transfer the blended marinade into a nonreactive bowl large enough to hold the beef.
Slice the beef into long, 1/4-inch-thick strips against (not with) the grain of the meat, as you would if carving a cooked piece of London broil. The pieces should be no wider than 1 inch.
Add the sliced beef to the bowl and combine it well with the marinade, making sure that every piece is coated. Allow the beef to marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
Thread the beef strips onto the presoaked bamboo skewers, weaving the point of each skewer through the center of the beef every 1/4 inch to make sure it holds tight and remains secure while it cooks. Use 1 to 4 pieces of beef per skewer, depending on how long the pieces are, making sure that the beef extends from the tip to the middle of the skewer. Leave plenty of room so you can grab the skewer at the bottom — the meat should not extend from one end to the other.
To cook the beef on a grill, first prepare a medium-hot wood charcoal fire. When the fire is hot (this may take up to 20 minutes), place each skewer on the grill, making sure that the beef, not the skewer, is directly over the heat. Grill the beef until it is cooked through and has begun to pick up a few crispy brown-black spots, about 2 to 5 minutes (depending on how hot the fire is). Turn the skewers over carefully and continue grilling until the other side is browned, another 2 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook the meat — it will dry out if you do. Test a piece by touching it with your finger. The beef should be firm, not squishy. Another way to test it is by cutting into the thickest point: It should be very faintly pink, neither blood-red nor gray.
To broil the beef in the oven, preheat the broiler for at least 5 minutes and position the rack so that the satay skewers will be 3 inches from the heat source. Line a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place each skewer on the pan, arranging them so that the meat is in the center of the pan and the skewers slightly hang over the outside, and slide the pan into the broiler. Broil until the meat begins to turn golden brown and develops a few char spots, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn each piece over to brown the other side, an additional 5 to 6 minutes of broiling. Test a piece by touching it with your finger. The beef should be firm, not squishy. Another way to test it is by cutting into the thickest point: It should be very faintly pink, neither blood-red nor gray. If the surface doesn't char (your broiler or the distance from the flame may not allow it to), don't worry — as long as the meat is cooked through, the satay will taste wonderful. Do not overcook the meat; it will be unpleasantly dry.
Transfer to a serving dish and let the skewers rest for about 1 minute, until they are cool enough to handle. Serve immediately.
For 2 pounds of chicken breast
1 stalks lemongrass
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 red chili
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
juice of 1 lime
Slice the chicken breast thinly in long narrow strips and set aside in the fridge while you prepare the marinade.
Slice the white part of the lemongrass finely and place in mortal and pestle or blender. I bought the dried lemongrass in a jar and it worked just fine. I used about 1 tablespoon.
Add coriander seeds, chopped chili, peeled and diced onion and ginger. Pulse in a food processor until well combined and smooth.
Add salt, brown sugar, water, vegetable oil, and lime juice and mix well.
Add the marinade to the chicken pieces and stir until well coated. Set aside for a few hours, or overnight.
To serve, thread one or two pieces of marinated chicken onto each skewer and barbecue or grill until golden brown on each side.