Monday, May 30, 2011

Smoke. Lemon. Chicken. Tasty.

We had a big family gathering this Shabbos. My In-Laws have been her for the last week and a half so my Sister-In-Law and family joined us for the weekend. We had, baby included, 21 people and one dog in attendance. I'm happy that I had most of the week off and was able to do some serious cooking. I normally do some chicken roasting for Shabbos but I wanted to try something a bit different to wow the crowd. The Lemon burgers were such a hit that I thought I'd do another simple lemon recipe. This one needs a grill though. You can probably do it with a gas grill as well, but I have a charcoal grill so that's what I used.

You'll need:
A grill
Charcoal (not a lot, I used about half of what I'd normally use when grilling, since you want a lower heat)
Wood chips (I took from our apple tree, but hickory or oak would be fine)
Fresh rosemary

2 whole chickens (or one or more depending on how many people you want to feed and size of grill)
3 large lemons ( 1 and 1/2 per chicken)
Handful of Kosher salt

Salt the outside and inside of the chickens and slice two of the lemons thinly and one lemon cut in half. The lemon that you've cut in half squeeze into the cavity of the chicken and then stuff it inside.

Now, out to the grill. Lay out your coals and light them, when the flames have gone down and the coals are glowing take a piece of foil and lay it over the top.

Place your wood chips and rosemary on the foil.

Replace the grill and cover it with lemon slices.
Place the chickens on the lemons. I did one breast down and one back down. I think the breast down came out a bit better. So, that's what I'll suggest. Cover the chickens with the remaining lemon slices.
Put the cover on the grill and come back an hour later to make sure that it's not too hot and things aren't burning. Otherwise cover it back up for another 2 hours. Check again, then give it another hour until the coals are cool.

Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving. Take the lemon out of the cavity, it should be soft enough to spread like butter. After you've carved the birds, squeeze the lemon out over it for some extra zing. Hand out chunks of rind on the plates as well. Revel in the adoration of your Mother-in-Law. Smoking the chicken at a low heat keeps it very moist and you get a nice smokey flavor to counter the acidic zing of the lemon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

You got your cheesecake in my cupcake! You got your cupcake on my cheesecake!

Is it a cupcake? Is it a cheesecake? No! It's a cupcake stuffed with cheesecake! These are amazingly easy to make and even easier to swallow down. Thanks to AmHam for suggesting them.

You'll need:
Cheesecake filling
8 oz. (225g) cream cheese (room temperature)
1/3 cup (65g) white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Chocolate coating
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular, not dutched)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Cupcake tins and liners
Set the oven to 350F(175F)
The inside:
Mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg
Mush everything together really well. It should be light yellow and smooth. I used a fork, but an electric hand mixer should be just fine. Cover and put in the refrigerator then get to work on the outside.

Mix together the dry ingredients:
Mix together the wet ingredients:
Make a well in dry stuff:
Add the wet stuff!
Put 'em all together and stir it all up until smooth and creamy. Go get your muffin tin and liners and let's get these puppies together. Fill the cups 2/3 full with chocolate.
Once you've gotten through your chocolate get out the cheesecake filling and put a big dollop in the middle of each cup on top of the chocolate. Try to get it as even and round as possible, but unlike what your kids might tell you, it doesn't change the way it tastes if it's kind of messy. It'll go into the oven for 25 minutes at which point the cheesecake should be set, if not give it another couple minutes.
As you can see, we need a bit of practice keeping the cheesecake even. Very subtle taste, but nice creamy middle with the rich outside.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Now Famous Lemon Burgers

So, yesterday was Israeli Independence Day. We, as is the national tradition, grilled. I actually had a great day in the kitchen. It started out with waffles and strawberry syrup from scratch, followed by an interview on the Stage Right show. I then made pie crust dough for the eventual apple pie as well as mixed up a batch of pizza crust dough for foccacia.
We were having a bunch of guests over in the afternoon so I needed to start getting the meat situation worked out. That brings us to the main reason for this blog entry. A while back I had seen a cooking show where someone stuffed lemons with cheese and veggies, so I figured I'd make a bit of a change and make Lemon Burgers. I don't have pictures of the process since I was kind of busy all day. It's pretty simple though.


1 lb. ground beef (1/2 kg)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
3 cloves of garlic thinly diced
1 tbsp coarse ground pepper
3-4 large lemons

Mix the ground beef, barbecue sauce, garlic and pepper together. Slice the lemons into inch thick rounds and cut out the centers. Make sure you leave a small amount of pulp attached to the inside of the rind. Take the pulp from one of the lemons, cut out chunks so you don't get the white connective fibers and mix that in with the beef. Then stuff the lemon rinds with the ground beef.
I like to put it in the refrigerator for an hour or two so the meat sets. Then it's off to the gril.
Meanwhile, it was foccacia time! Rolled out, a bit of olive oil, coarse salt and fresh rosemary, then into the oven. When they were finished, I made a compound oil with some more olive oil and fire roasted garlic, which I spread on the bottom of the foccacia before putting it on the coals.

Anyway, back to the burgers...
Lay them out on the grill, spread evenly.
Depending how you like yours done, 6 minutes, then flipped, then again and once more.
That should get them to a nice medium. More importantly, the whole neighborhood should smell like lemons and the rinds should be nice and sweet. Eat the whole thing as is. Totally gluten free and exploding with flavor. Though you can put it on a bun if you want, go light on the condiments.