Friday, April 6, 2012

On Combining Two Recipes & Not Following Either

I try not to be a big fat snob when it comes to the slow cooker.  I didn't use mine for years, just because everything comes out tasting like everything else in there, and you have no control over it.  But I figure, if I'm a cook worth half my weight in salt, I can cook over a candle, in a pie tin, with a single chopstick, right?  So I've recently pulled out the slow cooker and forced myself to find recipes that work well in it.  Results?  I've discovered a few good ones.  So I have to be honest and say that the slow cooker is not the problem.  The recipe and cut of meat you try and put in the slow cooker are the problem.  *hangs head, admits slow cookers are not the devil*

Yesterday I glanced at a slow cooker recipe for Pineapple Chicken.  I mean, I glanced at it really quickly.  It was a nice starting place but the recipe was a bit, shall we say, bland.  I can't go down like that.  This morning I came across a recipe for Honey Sesame Chicken which already sounded better.  But I still wanted to use the darn pineapple.  Also, I had no sesame seeds.  Let the recipe defiling begin.

I began by salting, peppering, and paprika-ing both sides of the b/s chicken breasts.  You could of course use b/s chicken thighs, but since I had chicken breasts from Costco, burning a whole in my fridge, that's what I used.  Also, try not to give into the temptation of, "Just throw the ingredients in and turn it on - it's only a crock pot."  Treat it like any other recipe.  The extra couple of minutes to season your meat, not just dump it on top, will show in the end.  So.  Meat seasoned, I layered them into the cooker, and began on my sauce.

1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. pineapple juice (from canned fruit below)
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbl. Dijon, or whole grain mustard
1/2 c. sliced scallions, or red onion, or shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
20 oz. can pineapple chunks, in juice

Cook for 3 hours on low, or 1 1/2 hours on high.  With the Pineapple Chicken, I served scallions and zucchini that were sauteed in sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, and cilantro.  

As a treat, I made a Lemon Upside-Down Cake.  I can't wait until my Meyer Lemon tree give me some fruit, because this cake would be GREAT with Meyers!

In a 9 in cake pan, melt butter over a medium flame, and stir in light brown sugar until dissolved, about 1 minute.  Then turn the heat off, and layer in paper thin slices of lemon, seeds removed.  Or blood orange slices, or figs, or or or....

Cream butter and sugar together, add in egg yolks, then alternate beating in milk and the dry ingredients.

Beat two egg whites with cream of tartar until peaks form...

...then fold in the whites to your batter.  Pour over the brown sugar and lemon mixture in your cake pan & bake 20 minutes.  LET COOL FOR 15 MINUTES before the next step.

This step.  The nerve-wracking one.  The "please come out almost all in one piece" part.

But it did!!  Serve with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.

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