barefoot bloggers meets i heart cooking clubs...

So this week I had two cooking challenges. One from Barefoot Bloggers and one from I Heart Cooking Clubs. I decided to create a meal around them. Barefoot Blogger Todd @ A Cooking Dad chose Ina's Indonesian Ginger Chicken which was a perfect match to this weeks theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs: Exotic Destinations. So this week we are taking a little trip at the dinner table. It's Asian/Indian fusion at Chez Lenaburg.

First up we have the main course Ina's Indonesian Chicken. The ginger, garlic, soy and honey combo is just inspired. The aroma coming from my oven made it really difficult to wait the hour and a half to eat. Marinating was the key to the intense flavor of this chicken. It was so moist and bursting with Asian flavor. The ginger and garlic were like Asian fairy dust sprinkled throughout. So delish!

For the side dish we hop over the Indian Ocean and land in Mumbai with the sweet smell of cinnamon, cumin and cloves. This rice will be made again and again in my house. It was SUBLIME. The homemade spice combination took simple basmati rice to a whole new level. I can see this accompaning any Indian dish I make in the future. My guys gobbled it up. It was fragrant and made my house smell like the finest Indian restaurant. Exceptional!

Don't be afraid to try something new with your dinner experience. Take a chance! You might discover a new family favorite from a far away land.

Bon Appetite!

Indonesian Ginger Chicken
from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

1 cup honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup minced garlic (8 to 12 cloves)
1/2 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger root
2 (3 1/2 pound) chickens, quartered, with backs removed

Cook the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger root in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is melted. Arrange the chicken in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan, skin side down, and pour on the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan, turn the chicken skin side up, and raise the temperature to 375 degrees F. Continue baking for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh and the sauce is a rich, dark brown.

Pilaf for a Curry Banquet
from Feast by Nigella Lawson

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds, optional
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Special equipment: deep saucepan, 9 1/2-inch diameter, with lid
Cook the onion in the oil, in a deep saucepan with the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, and nigella seeds, if using, until the onion is slightly browned and soft. Keep the heat medium to low and stir frequently; this should take about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and move it about in the oily spiced onion until it is slicked and glossy, then pour in the stock and bring the pan to the boil. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over the lowest heat possible for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, take the lid off, cover with a tea towel and clamp the lid back on the saucepan. You can leave the rice to rest like this for at least 10 minutes, and up to about 1 hour. Fork the rice through when you are ready to serve it, scattering the toasted sliced almonds and cilantro on top.