I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

August 12, 2009

Dinner with the P's

It's been too long since my last post...between overeating and drinking in Charlotte, NC and playing catch up at work I have been unable to focus on food aside from my one stint of gross overindulgence at the Ventura County Fair (tater dog story to follow sooner or later).
Tonight however I am in one of my favorite place, the kitchen at mom & dad's house. This for me is a weekly if not twice weekly occurrence...lucky for me, my Mom & Pops live a scant 8 minutes away and are always up for Brock and I coming over to grace them with our presence. Depending on the time of the year, the night of the week wraps around things like Monday night football or American Idol (yes, we are huge dorks). More often it is a night like tonight where we just felt like cooking together or in my case right now, mom cooks while I type this out (sprained ankle chains me to the counter with a glass of wine and a laptop-oh poor me!).

So the hors d' oeuvres are on the counter waiting to be eaten....simple cheeses and our favorite rye crackers from Trader Joe's with some sliced up elk summer sausage from dad's Colorado elk. Martini for mama at 5:00 sharp with a chilled glass of white wine for me...this is how we roll! Typical of a casual night up at the ranch, but in no way ordinary or unsatisfying. We get to look out the kitchen window over Ventura, sometimes seeing the Channel Islands and beyond, sometimes just barely getting to see the end of the yard as everything else is enrobed in our May/June/July fog that Ventura is blessed with.

My life totally does not suck....

Tonight is a follow up to moms super short post on the Asian Spiced Sea Salt. She tried it the one time and it was uber salty and not altogether pleasant. I tried it as well and found the flavors to be very separate from each other...the salt hit, then the spice, then the savory and sweet. Totally all over the board, I couldn't fathom what I would use it for and figured it would end up with the black Hawaiian sea salt in the corner of my lazy Susan.

She has a great recipe for Asian Marinated Cornish Game Hens (papas request on the game hens), but after tasting the marinade and scrutinizing the recipe found that it was lacking salt(OMG-not in my kitchen!)....in walks our little tin of McCormicks Asian Spiced Sea Salt. Both of us a bit scared of killing the hens with a bout of over salting, yours truly comes up with the brilliant idea of grinding it up a bit to meld the flavors and mellow it out a bit. Out comes the mortar and pestle...woman's friend since the stone age and changed very little (ours are a little prettier, being made from green marble as opposed to river rock). A few minutes of grinding made all the difference in flavor, intensity and balance of the ingredients.

Game Hens with East West Marinade

4 Rock Cornish Game Hens, split in half
Oil to brush on grill

6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 T ginger, finely minced
Zest from 2 limes, minced
1/3 C fresh lime juice
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 hoisin sauce
1/3 C rice wine
1/3 C soy sauce
2 T honey
1 T Asian chile sauce
1 C mixed basil, cilantro & mint-chopped
1/4 C parsley, chopped
2 green onions, minced
2-3 T McCormicks Asian spiced sea salt

Marinate hens for at least a half hour or up to 8 hours in the marinade. Drain and bring to room temperature. Sprinkle with the Asian Sea Salt. Grill at about 350 for 12 minutes to a side or until they hit 160 on the meat thermometer.

Alternate options are smoke in a dry smoker for 1 hour at about 210 degrees or roast in a 425 oven for 30 minutes.

Tonight we are serving with a super tasty green been & almond salad and Rice a Roni Fried Rice.

Don't ask about the rice...there are some things we do for our men because we love them.

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