Soy/Honey Chicken Legs

  • drumstick2 lbs chicken legs
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place chicken legs in a baking dish.
  3. Whisk together soy sauce, honey, ketchup and garlic powder.
  4. Pour over drumsticks.
  5. Bake for one hour.

Variations

  • Wrap chicken legs in thin sliced bacon before coating with sauce.
  • Replace honey with maple syrup.
  • Grill chicken legs and brush with glaze

Ginger Maple Applesauce

Homemade ApplesauceYesterday was the perfect fall morning at the Olympia farmers’ market. There was a crisp chill in the air, which significantly reduced crowd size. Still, given the offerings available this time of year at the market, the chill was worth it. Along with a dizzying array of organic apples from Washington’s bumper apple crops, there were large ears of corn, juicy plums, chanterelles, squash, pole beans, red and white raspberries, concord grapes, and many others. One of my favorite types of produce from fall in Washington State is pluots. A cross between a plum and an apricot, the pluot is like a juicy, sweet plum. If you come across these tasty stone fruit, give them a try. I think you’ll love them.

As far as I am concerned, however, the star of the show for fall is apples. I love apple season with a passion approaching my love for writing. In fact, as soon as the days grow shorter and the leaves start to change color, I begin cooking with apples. The dogs love it. They gather at my feet as I peel and chop, accepting tiny slices of apple they chew with great gusto. (Tip – never give your pets apple seeds, which contain traces of cyanide.) At the market yesterday, the variety was amazing. Braeburn, Fuji, Jazz, Lady Alice, Gravenstein, Pink Lady, Rose, Honeycrisp…it’s an apple lovers paradise.

I enjoy baking apple pies, crisps, cakes, and turnovers. I also like making a simple applesauce, which I will be making today from the organic Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Jazz apples I bought yesterday.

When cooking with apples, I take a minimalist approach. I like to let the flavors of the fruit shine through. This doesn’t mean lots of sugar or heavy spices. Instead I use just enough to enhance the natural flavors of the apples instead of overpowering them.  Some of my favorite spices to use include fresh grated nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and fresh grated ginger. I also usually use just a touch of lemon zest and lemon juice to prevent the apples from turning brown and bring out the tart notes.

Another trick for baking with apples is using a few different varieties in one dish. For instance, in my pies I often mix Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples. In fact, Pink Lady apples are my favorite eating and baking apples, followed closely by Honeycrisp.

Today, I will be making a simple applesauce. Recipe below.

Ginger Maple Applesauce

  • 4 Pink Lady apples – Peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 Honeycrisp apples,  peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 Jazz apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 T. fresh ginger root, grated
  1. Place apples and water in a large pot and simmer on the stove top, covered until apples begin to break down, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir, mashing apples together.
  3. Stir in ginger root and maple syrup.
  4. If you prefer a smooth applesauce instead of a rustic one, cool and process in a food processor or food mill.

Cooking Salmon

salmonI have a shameful secret. Although I live in the Pacific Northwest, I do not enjoy salmon. It’s nothing personal. It’s more that I just do not like any fish that tastes fishy. That pretty much precludes anything except for halibut, and sometimes even that is over the top as far as I am concerned.

On the other hand, I live in a household of fish lovers, and we frequently entertain other fish lovers. Therefore, in spite of my personal taste, I’ve had to learn to cook salmon. I have two recipes that glean particular praise and are relatively easy. Even I don’t mind eating salmon prepared this way. Love might be going a bit far because I simply do not like fish, but others do love these and I can eat them without gagging. Thanks to Cooks Illustrated, where I learned the perfect method for grilling salmon using a two-level heat system.

Some tips for selecting salmon.

  • Select the freshest fish you can get, and cook it within 24 hours. The flesh should be bright pink, and it should not smell “fishy,” but rather clean and slightly briny.
  • Rinse and dry the fish before you cook it.
  • For best flavor, choose wild caught Pacific salmon. If you’d like a real treat, use these recipes with Copper River salmon when it becomes available in the spring.
  • I prefer cooking filets to steaks. Use pliers to remove any small bones, and cut the salmon into individual-sized pieces to cook.
  • These are grilling recipes. You can alter them for sauteing on the stovetop, however. Heat your pan over medium high heat, add a little olive oil, and saute starting skin side down. It should take about 3 minutes per side. Glaze before flipping the salmon. You can also use an indoor grill like the Foreman grill. Glaze the salmon before placing on the grill. It will take about 2-4 minutes to cook the salmon through.
  • Other glazes that work well with salmon include honey and reduced balsamic vinegar with a little sugar added.

Salmon with Cherry Orange Glaze
Ingredients

  • Juice of one orange and 2 strips of orange zest about 1″ x 1/2″
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/4 cup marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne (or to taste)
  • Salmon filets, cut into individual sized pieces
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Method

  1. Over a high heat, bring orange juice and zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves, cherry preserves, and chicken broth to a boil. Lower heat to medium and allow to simmer and reduce by about 1/4 – about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest.
  3. Add port and marmalade and simmer about five minutes.
  4. Dissolve the cornstarch in water and whisk into glaze. Simmer to thicken, about 15 seconds.
  5. Add cayenne and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Cool sauce.
  7. Season salmon fillets, and preheat your grill over high heat. Turn off one half of the grill and leave the other on high.
  8. Carefully clean the grill and oil it.
  9. Place salmon on grill over the hot side, flesh side down for one minute.
  10. Flip salmon to skin-side and glaze the top. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, until salmon is opaque about 1/2 to 3/4 through the fish. Glaze the salmon with sauce.
  11. Oil the side of the grill with the burners turned off. Flip the salmon flesh side down again onto the oiled part of the grill. Allow salmon to cook through and begin to caramelize, about two minutes. Serve immediately with glaze on the side.
  12. Reglaze the salmon, and serve.

Maple Glazed Salmon
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Dash cayenne
  • Salmon filets cut into individual portions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat grill on high.
  2. Combine maple syrup and soy sauce in a shallow pan.
  3. Place salmon fillets, flesh-side down, in soy/maple mixture and allow to marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove salmon from marinade and pour marinade into a pan. Bring marinade to a boil and simmer to reduce until thick and syrupy. Add cayenne.
  5. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
  6. Clean the grill and turn heat off on one side.
  7. Oil the grill on the hot side.
  8. Place salmon, flesh side down on hot oiled grill, about one minute.
  9. Flip the salmon to skin side down on the hot side and grill for about 3-4 minutes. Glaze salmon.
  10. Oil the cooler side of the grill. Flip the salmon onto the oiled grill, flesh side down, and allow to cook until glaze begins to caramelize, about two minutes.

A classic northwest pairing? Salmon and Pinot Noir. Try a powerful Oregon Pinot from Beaux Frerers.