Friday, September 5, 2008

So I'm Rockin' Up the Costa Brava With a Girl Named Florintine

So here we are, no more Olympics, no more RNC/DNC, no more summer or OLS. Sigh. I guess I'll just have to cook a regular old menu for my little dinner party. This recipe was inspired by a friend who made a similar dish when I stayed with them this spring. I can't remember exactly what he made is was drumsticks with a hoisin sauce and it was really yummy. So I trolled the internets, found nothing, and came up with this recipe by piecing together a few different things. I am also making a standard salad with window box tomatoes, baby arugula, and red cabbage, some brocholini, and Ab is making bread pudding with caramel Bourbon sauce.

Hoisin and Honey Chicken Drumsticks
4 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1 tablespoon honey (local honey from my mom!)
1 teaspoon white wine
1 teaspoon sarachi or other chili sauce
2 teaspoons chinese five spice
1 teaspoon dried garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste

2 pounds drumsticks
Mix all of the ingredients except the chicken. Add the chicken and sauce to a ziplock bag, seal and put in the refrigerator to marinate. We'll end up with about an hour but you should probably do it for a little longer, say three hours.

Preheat the over at 350F.

Line a heat proof baking dish with foil. Remove the bag of chicken and spices and pour into a heat proof baking dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until done.

N.B. The spice combination above makes a pretty spicy wing. Remove the cayenne pepper and sarachi and you'll still have a very flavorful dish. You may want to up the win or add some rice wine vinegar to then counteract the sweetness.

We also did an arugula, tomato, and red cabbage salad with a nice vinaigrette that was a good crunchy addition to the spicy drumsticks.

Finally, Abby's delicious bread pudding. She never disappoints! When we were planning the menu I mentioned that I had a craving for bread pudding and caramel sauce and she (of course) had a very delicious almond bread pudding with a Bourbon caramel sauce. It was well worth the little bit of blood spilt. Abby's recipe is adapted from a course she took at The Institute for Culinary Education in a course called "The Great New York Steak House".

Almond Bread Pudding
Serves 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Wait Time 1-2 hours
Cook Time 45- minutes to an hour

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon nutmeg
8 oz stale french bread, cubed

Combine all the ingredients except for the bread in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to blend well. Add the cubed bread, let sit for 30 minutes, turning the bread over to ensure even saturation. Pour the mixture into a buttered 8" square or 10" oval baking dish. Arrange the bread evenly and place in the refrigerator for 1 -2 hours.

Preheat the oven. Bake until the top is golden brown and the pudding doesn't shake, about an hour. During baking, occasionally push the bread down into the sauce. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

The Caramel Bourbon Sauce is not for the faint hearted. You're boiling sugar, pouring alcohol into a hot pan, and adding cream in a way that will foam up to the top of the pan. Your stove top will be a mess and you need to immediately clean up the sticky sticky mess or it will be hard and crusted on in the morning. This is not a recipe to try when you've been drinking, have children hanging around, are afraid of massive 3rd degree burns, or plan to not pay complete attention.

Caramel Bourbon Sauce (from same source as bread pudding)
Serves 10
Cook time 30 minutes

2 - 2 1/2 cups sugar
Enough water to cover the sugar by 1/4 inch
3/4 - 1 cup heavy cream
1/8 to 1/4 cup bourbon (the good kind that you can serve with this)

In a heavy bottomed, tall sided saucier, dissolve the sugar and water. Boil the sugar and water until it turns into a dark caramel. This takes about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn the heat down. Add 1/2 of the cream and stir constantly. It will boil and foam violently. Add the rest of the heavy cream. Remove from the heat and add the bourbon. Turn the heat back on and boil for another minute. Cool. Serve.

Immediately place the extra sauce in a heat proof container and soak the pan and utensils.

Serve the bread pudding in a wide bowl with a generous portion of sauce. Pour a nice glass of bourbon. Eat and enjoy while you listen to your husband tell stories (mostly in spanish) about "rocking up the Costa Brave with a girl named Florintine".

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