Thursday, July 21, 2016

grilled chicken, red onion, and mint kebabs

A late-inning addition to the blog, but a perennial favorite for summer grilling. Ideal accompaniments include Carrots with Garlic and Yogurt and grilled corn salad. 

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Grilled Chicken, Red Onion, and Mint Kebabs

Adapted from Bon Appétit

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 bunch fresh mint

1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 12-inch metal skewers

Mix chicken, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, mint, oregano, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Let marinate 30 minutes. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice in small bowl to blend.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Pull off large mint leaves from stems. Alternate chicken, onion, and mint leaves on skewers; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until chicken is just cooked through, turning and basting occasionally with oil-lemon mixture, about 9 minutes. 


Monday, July 4, 2016

mint marble mousse tart

Our attempt to replicate a favorite from our Sacramento youth, and to defile M's liquor cabinet with electric green crème de menthe.

Rick's Dessert Diner describes the Mint Marble Mousse Tart as follows: "Swirled dark and white chocolate mousse subtly flavored with Crème de Menthe and Andes Mint wafers in a buttery chocolate Oreo cookie crust."

With that description—and deep nostalgia—as our guide, we reverse engineered this recipe using a Baked Oreo cookie crust, a 1996 Bon Appétit recipe for Triple Chocolate Mousse Torte (of the same era), and numerous recipes for Grasshopper Pie. 


Mint Marble Mousse Tart
Inspired by Rick's Dessert Diner in Sacramento

For future attempts I might up the Oreo cookie crust ratio slightly. (Why not round up and use an entire package?) 

16 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies such as Oreos (35 to 40 cookies), crushed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons green crème de menthe
1/2 cup Andes mints, chopped, plus more for garnish
1¾ cups whipping cream, chilled, plus more for serving


Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper and lightly spray parchment and sides of pan.

Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor; process to very fine crumbs. You should have about 3 1/2 cups. Transfer to a small bowl. Add melted butter and, using a spatula, stir until well combined.

Pour crumb mixture into prepared pan and press evenly with the back of a spoon into bottom and up sides, leaving about 1/2 inch between the top of the crust and top of the pan. Transfer to freezer until crust is set, about 10 minutes.


Transfer crust to oven and bake until dry to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool.


Prepare the filling:
Place semisweet and white chocolate in separate medium bowls. Combine ¼ cup water and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat yolks and sugar in large bowl until mixture is pale yellow and very thick, about 5 minutes.

In a large saucepan, bring half and half just to simmer. Gradually whisk hot half and half into beaten egg mixture. Return mixture to same saucepan and stir over medium heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 3 minutes. Remove custard from heat. Add softened gelatin; stir until gelatin dissolves. Strain mixture into large glass measuring cup.

Immediately pour half of hot custard over each chocolate. Stir 
until melted and smooth. If mixture cools before chocolate is completely melted, set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir just until chocolate melts. Cool chocolate mixtures to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Add crème de menthe to white chocolate mixture, and mix until well incorporated. 

Beat cream in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Divide whipped 
cream equally between bowls of chocolate, about 2 cups cream each. Fold whipped cream into chocolate. Stir chopped Andes mints into white chocolate mixture.


Pour both mixtures into the prepared pan, in layers (We sandwiched the mint layer between two layers of chocolate mousse.) Smooth top with spatula, then use a knife or cake tester to swirl the dark and white chocolate. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. (The tart can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic and store in refrigerator.)

Run a sharp knife around sides of the pan. Remove pan sides. Serve with sweetened whipped cream, garnished with whole Andes mints (still in the wrapper).