Monday, December 27, 2010

Grilled chicken and a Review

Do you like to own kitchen gadgets which are associated with famous chefs and food network cooks/chefs, I do. Not that it'll make me cook like them but it's kind of a pampered feeling, when you U get something like that, specially when it's gonna stay outside on the kitchen shelf (little show off won't hurt anybody right). So, thanks to CSN stores who have 200+ online stores and over 1 million products  I own my first piece of kitchen equipment which has name of one of our favourite chefs on it.....BAM!!! If you are thinking Emeril Legasse, you guessed it right.

If U remember my this post I got an offer from CSN to review any product from their site. I took few days browsing for single burner grill pan(cast-iron) and finally asked DH for some help in deciding and it took only few minutes and order was done. The moment he saw reversible feature on this YES one side is Grill and other side is Griddle, he said BAM! this is what your kitchen need. I'm going to share the recipe for grilled chicken I made using my new Emerilware Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle, review after the recipe. Those who don't have a grill pan can surely bake it in the oven for around 30-40 min. at 350 degree F, depending upon the size of chicken pieces oven time will vary.

Note : I'm giving the recipe for 2 chicken breasts, which can easily fit in a pan also. If U are going to use two burner grill U can easily double the recipe as it can hold 4 chicken breasts I used combination of white(breast) meat and dark(leg pieces) meat because I wanted to see how much time does it take & which one gives the best result, check the review at the end of the recipe for details on that part.

What U need :
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into half(in total 4 pieces)
  • 2 tablespoon thick yogurt/hung curd
  • 7-8 garlic cloves
  • around 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3-4 green chillies (use more or less acc. to how hot u like it)
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder(dhania)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric(haldi)
  • 1 tsp. red chilli(lal mirch) powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • salt
  • 2 tsp. cooking oil
What U do :
  1. Prick chicken with fork at 5-6 places.
  2. Mix rest of the ingredients using small food processor/blender and marinade is ready.
  3. Marinate chicken breasts in the above mixture for at least 4-5 hours. I marinate meat a night before as it gives very flavorful & moist result. Keep it in the fridge.
  4. Take the chicken out of the fridge around half an hour before U want to grill it.
  5. Prepare the grill, as I'm using double burner grill so it sets onto back & front burner. Before turning the gas on using a brush or kitchen towel oil the grill, make sure you get the oil on all the grill lines as this is not a non-stick grill so we gonna need that oil. In case of any x'tra oil on the grill blot dry it using some paper towel. I kept back burner on med. high and front burner on high(b'coz front one is small). Once it's hot adjust the heat level to med.. I adjusted back one to med. & front one to med. high, idea is to maintain same level heat(in my case I wanted med. heat) on both the burners so grill can maintain the same temp. (read notes in the review as I had a problem here).
  6. Once the grill is hot put the chicken pieces onto it. I used my other cast iron pan to put some weight onto the chicken so I can get nice sear & grill marks(main reason for getting the grill) on the meat.
  7. After around 7-8 minutes flip the chicken and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Use same tech. to get the marks on the other side too. I cooked chicken breasts for around 18 minutes in total.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked, take it off the grill & cover it with foil & let it sit for 5 min. or so.
  9. Serve it with chutney of your choice and some salad.
Now comes the REVIEW part of my Emerilware Double Burner Reversible Grill/Griddle

About Grill/Griddle : It's an Enameled Cast Iron by All Clad(a well reputed name in the kitchen world). Everyone can not understand how cooking can be fun when you have to move around a pan or a grill which is almost 13 & 1/2 pound in weight. Let me explain in simple words you get little extra iron in your diet when you cook in iron pots and pans, little extra flavor and a little workout at the same time and the satisfaction after looking at those grill marks priceless.

It's a reversible grill/griddle so that means one side is grill(with ribs) which can be used to make grilled meat, seafood, vegetables and grilled sandwiches like panini and you can have classic char grilled look specially on meats(with criss cross marks) and taste. Food cooks on elevated height for low-fat results.
Another side is griddle(flat surface) which can be used to make eggs, french toast, burgers, pancakes etc.
Size of the grill is 20" x 10.5" and perfectly fits on two burners which is good when U want to cook meal for the whole family. If U want to have criss cross marks on your meat don't overcrowd the grill as U need to move the meat around. Food cooked was moist from inside and we liked the char grilled look & taste. Here's my experience with 3 different foods I tried :

1) Grilled Fish : I used my this recipe & cooked 3 fillets of fish......2 tilapia & 1 rainbow trout.Now these are delicate fishes so didn't wanted to press them for grill marks. they cooked in around 8-9 minutes but did got stuck little bit(I had oiled the grill) and very little grill marks, wasn't very happy decided to grill fish steak next time as that is little more solid meat. But after few days saw 2 famous chefs(diff. shows) on food network grilling same tilapia and there result was also very much same like mine(now feeling much better).
2) Grilled Chicken : Chicken breasts were very moist(were done in 18 minutes) & was so happy to get the criss cross marks (to get that, turn the food by 1/4 circle once it's half way on the first side). I did used meat thermometer to make sure it's cooked. The problem here was dark meat, chicken legs do take longer time to cook so I did gave them a go ahead but by the time all other pieces were cooked legs were still raw from inside & because the grill was half empty it was making a smoke plus I wasn't sure if keeping them longer will still keep the meat tender so I finished cooking them in my toaster oven for another 20 minutes or so.
  For next time I have decided to use only one kind of meat at a time.
3) Burger on griddle : I really loved these. I used my recipe from here for meat balls & instead made burger patties 8 patties in 10-12 minutes, that's quick and in the mean time toasted the buns in toaster oven.

Cleaning Grill side : I loved the food but I really did not liked to clean the grill, though it's pre-seasoned & I also applied oil before grilling but still food got stuck & reaching all the spots in the grill can be time consuming(I'm talking 15 min. or so). U can not use any harsh metal brushes & also it's not advisable to soak cast-iron in water for long time. So for next time I'm gonna use a toothbrush I'm hoping that will make my job easier and also I might try cooking spray instead of oil if that works better.

Cleaning Griddle Side : This one sure was easy, took may be couple of minutes.

Weight & Storage: As I mentioned above it's around 13-14 pounds, not for a kitchen where U don't have a space to leave it on the kitchen top somewhere as it can be really heavy if U gonna store it inside after every use, chances are U might not use it at all. I don't have a very big kitchen so where I'm keeping it---- I have around one feet of counter space between pantry closet & stove, so I'm keeping it there on top of a non-skid mat,  in standing position leaned to the pantry closet.
Other Things to note : Though it is suppose to maintain heat level, I felt electric gas is not the best option for this as the food kept on the small burner side took longer time because the burner does not cover all the width of grill on its side so it wasn't very hot on the sides. Yesterday checked some reviews on the web & most of them said the same thing about using it on electric burner,but it's great for gas stoves. So, changing the apartment is one option I think I should consider now......ummm.....or may be just try to put only that much food on the smaller side burner which can fit on top of the burner area(I guess second option is more practical so I'll stick with that).

Some other features(as mentioned on the material provided with it) :
Enameled cast iron construction for superior heat retention and distribution.
Unique fat drainage channels incorporate pouring spouts for easy cleanup
Tough enamel surface reduces odor absorption.
Suitable for all stove tops, excluding glass and ceramic cook tops.
Lifetime warranty

Cost, Shipping & handling : Cost of  the Reversible Grill was $49.95, it seems like a pretty good deal. It did took around 3 weeks to get my grill some confusion as FedEx left my package at the apartment office without any notice on my door & I kept waiting. Finally got it at the end of November.

My Final words for this Reversible Grill : I like it, food cooked on it was moist & flavorful. I still have to try many things on it(most important one is to get my husband addiction of this, so that I can have vacation from the kitchen sometime...BAM!). I'm comfortable using griddle on any day but for grill I'll def. prefer weekend as cleaning is little time consuming, but once I get hang of it then it might be different.

Disclosure : Review given above about the Emerilware Reversible Grill is totally my opinion, it's no way influenced by any company or person. I was given an opportunity by CSN stores to do the review of any product from their site so I got this grill for free from their site. I have not received any money for the review, from CSN Stores or any other company or person.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my readers a Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.This year due to some reason we are not putting Christmas tree so my 8 yr. old decided to make one from green felt. And this year we are having white Christmas(it's snowing since friday mor.) so I decided to give little snow effect on the tree also using some white thread. She also wanted stockings, so I made these cute ones, it was a nice DIY project. As I said we are not putting any tree this year so to help Santa she made this sign couple of days back...
you can't stop smiling/laughing right but it's very important.....Santa is a busy guy he should not be confused.....Once again Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And fear is all gone........ Eggless Pumpkin Pie

Finally I made The egg less Pumpkin Pie this Thanksgiving(after 4 years of will try next time) and the fear of eggless custard based pie is over and I’ve got the confidence that custard based pies can  be made eggless too. Also sharing a secret.....I was always doubtful until now that how pumpkin can taste good in dessert. So, was it good..... Of course it tasted good that's the reason I'm writing this post (though the picture didn't came out very good). Little help from the Internet and decided on using corn starch(corn flour) as egg substitute. Only problem the pie crimp(edges of the crust) came out little extra dark but the pie custard as well as crust tasted very good and did bring million dollar smile on my 8 yr. old face. Custard filling tasted very smooth & creamy and no taste of corn starch(that was my biggest fear it gonna taste chalky), crust was really flaky though I had reduced the butter as compared to original recipe. Now about the crimp, after thanksgiving was over I was looking at my local grocery shop ad page and I saw that they sell pie crust shield which covers the edges so that they don't over brown....oh !! so it looks like a common problem.
I used the recipe from Libby's can of pumpkin puree as a base and tweaked it a bit as I wanted eggless pie and also there were few things in the fridge which needed to be taken care of ASAP. So here's my version for 9 inch pie....

What U need :
For Crust :I used the Pate Brisee(short crust pastry) recipe from Joy of Baking but changed the amount of fat used in it.
  • 1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled & cut into samll cubes
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable shortening ( I used it cold cut into 5-6 pieces)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice cold water
For Custard :
  • 1 can(15 oz.) pumpkin puree(next time I'm sure I'm gonna make fresh puree)
  • roughly 2/3 of a can condensed milk (it must have been 8-9 oz. as full can was of 14 0z.)
  • 1 small can(5 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoon ricotta cheese
  • 4 tablespoon corn flour(corn starch)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger powder(i used sund from my spice rack)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice powder(can be easily substituted with clove powder)
Note : 1. I'm not using any sugar as I'm using sweet condensed milk.
2. If only evaporated milk is used U need to add sugar.
3. If only condensed milk is used I guess quantity of corn starch can be reduced by a tablespoon or so.

What U do:
For Crust :
  1. Using a food processor mix flour salt and sugar for few seconds.
  2. Add butter and shortening, process it using pulse setting for around 15 seconds. Mixture will look like coarse meal.
  3. Add water to this mixture while the processor is running. U might not have to use all the water, start with small quantity & add only a tablespoon at a time till the dough comes together, it will be still crumbly kind & not smooth but that is the perfect dough for pie. This process should not take more than 30-40 seconds.
  4. Take out the dough mixture on the work surface & gather it into round ball & flatten it a bit into disk and cover it tightly with plastic wrap & let it chill in the fridge for around an hour. I kept it overnight. Important : while working with pie dough try to handle it as less as possible because body heat from hands can melt the butter which can lead to hard crust instead of flaky crust.
For Custard :
  1. Mix corn flour with evaporated milk, making sure there are no lumps. Keep it aside.
  2. Mix Pumpkin puree & ricotta cheese. Use food processor if cheese is not mixing smoothly. I did not used any, there were few white specs of  chesse bits in pie but taste wise it was smooth and final output was creamy.
  3. Mix corn flour mixture from step 1 with pumpkin puree mixture from step 2, mix in all the spices using a whisk and the custard is ready to be poured into the pie shell. At this point if U want it can be refrigerated also.
For Assembling & Baking Pie :
  1. Once U are ready to assemble the pie, take chilled dough out & sprinkle some flour on the work surface.
  2. Roll the dough into 13 inch circle( please check the original recipe for details about rolling the pie dough) and transfer it to pie pan.
  3. Make some pattern on the edges or trim them....your choice. I did made some leaves with x'tra dough & attached them using little water but as I mentioned over browning of edges` was the only problem with my pie so I actually trimmed the edges before serving.
  4. Cover it with plastic wrap & chill it for around half an hour. And while U put the pie crust in the fridge to chill take out the custard from the fridge if U prepared it ahead of time,using whisk mix it thoroughly to make sure that ingredients are not settled down.
  5. When ready to bake preheat oven to 425 degree take the pie crust out & pour the custard into it.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes in 425 degree oven & then turn down the temperature to 350 degree bake for another 40-45 minutes.
  7. To check the doneness, knife inserted about 1 inch from the side of the pan should come out clean, center will still look wet, but in my case I baked it for total of 60 minutes(15 at 425 degree + 45 at 350 degree) and centre was also set properly. I'm not sure how it works for pie with eggs or for that matter eggless also as this was my first trial of any custard based pie. cool it on wire rack. Serve it as is or with some freshly whipped cream.
Useful Tip : I prepared the custard & pie dough a night before thanksgiving, assemble and baked the pie next day, saved me time on busy thanksgiving day. To store the custard keep it in the airtight container inside the fridge. For storing the dough, wrap the dough in plastic wrap & refrigerate it.

Sending this creamy custard & flaky crust pie to Champa's weekly bake-off and also to Suma of Cakes and More who's hosting a giveaway of  "The Cake Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum for her first blog anniversary celebration, Happy Blog Anniversary Suma. And if U like to bake I'm sure these are the blogs worth visiting.