Saturday, October 29, 2022

Devilishly Good Chicken!

Foods that are highly seasoned (e.g., mustard, chilies, etc.) or sinfully rich (e.g., chocolate cake) have been referred to as "deviled" since the 18th century. In 1868, The William Underwood Company began selling a mixture of ground ham with seasonings which they named "deviled ham." In fact, their devil logo is one of the oldest trademarked logo still in use today. While I love highly seasoned food, canned ham is not my kind of thing. Trust me. I used to audit food processing plants (like Ballpark Franks), haven't eaten one since!
Image result for deviled ham
The original Underwood Deviled Ham logo.
With Halloween almost here, I want to share this wickedly addictive recipe from Williams-Sonoma for "Chicken Thighs Diavolo." Diavolo means devil in Italian, but only dishes invented by Italian-Americans use the term. In Italy, they would refer to a spicy dish as all-arrabiata meaning "angry-style." I digress. Anyway, these chicken thighs are marinated in a wonderful blend of cider vinegar and five different chili spices, then grilled to juicy perfection. Delicious! I love this marinade so much! In addition, you could use it on practically any cut of chicken or even pork. I don't know who created this spice blend, but they must have sold their soul to the devil to create it!

Chicken Thighs Diavolo

Serves 6

For the marinade
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Thai chili paste or red pepper flakes (I use Chili Garlic Sauce by Huy Fung Foods, Inc.)
1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce (I use Cholula.)
1/2 cup water

For the Chicken Thighs
3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess skin and fat
1 or 2 handfuls wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes. (I use mesquite.)
1 large disposable aluminum roasting pan

In a bowl, combine marinade ingredients and whisk until the salt and granulated garlic dissolve. Taste and adjust the seasonings; the sauce should be bright red and very spicy. Pour half the sauce into a small serving bowl and set aside.

Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, score the chicken to the bone in several places to expose the flesh. Place the chicken in a large disposable aluminum roasting pan, pour the remaining sauce over the top and turn to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes before grilling.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect grilling over medium heat.

For a charcoal grill: Sprinkle the wood chips over the coals. Place the pan with the thighs on the cooler side of the grill, cover and cook until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer the thighs to the grate directly over the coals, brush with the marinade from the pan and grill, turning often, until nicely charred on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes more.

For a gas grill: Increase a burner to high. Heat a smoker box half full of chips until smoking, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the pan with the thighs over unlit burners, cover and cook until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer the thighs to the grate directly over the heat, brush with the marinade from the pan and grill, turning often, until nicely charred on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a platter. Serve immediately and pass the reserved sauce alongside.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Albondigas Salvador! The best meatballs you will ever taste!

I tried this mind-blowingly good recipe for "Albondigas Salvador" from Deliciouso! by the sadly now departed Penelope Casas. If you are a lover of Spanish food or a novice, one of her cookbooks is a must. She wrote that this recipe is from Salvador Lucero of Bar Bahia in Cadiz. After further research, I found that Salvador sold the business and these beauties aren't even on the new menu. What a shame.

When I make Ragu alla Bolognese, I always have a half pound ground beef and a half pound ground pork leftover and this is what I make. The ingredients are simple; however, there is a lot of mincing of ingredients which are divided, so pay attention to your mise en place and read the recipe a few times before starting. I will share the breakdown of ingredients to help with any confusion. I serve it with this lovely saffron rice, salad, baguette, and a bottle of Rioja. Desfrute! 

Albondigas Salvador

Serves 4


1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (I use Progresso Italian style.)
3/4 cup chicken broth (1/2 and 1/4)
1 pound mixture of ground pork and beef in equal parts
4 garlic cloves, minced (2 and 2)
2 Tablespoons minced parsley (1 and 1)
7 Tablespoons minced onion (3 Tbl and 4 Tbl)
Generous grinding of black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I always freshly grind it on a grater or in my beloved nutmeg grinder.)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (I use 1 teaspoon.)
1 small egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons olive oil (1 and 1) (I use La Espanola as recommended by a dear friend.)
Flour for dusting
1 fresh bay leaf
1 small tomato, skinned, seeded, and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine (I use Osborne Sherry Fino and it is perfect!)


In a large bowl, soak the bread crumbs in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Lightly mix in the meat, 2 of the minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of the minced parsley, 3 tablespoons of the onion, the pepper, nutmeg, salt, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls and dust with flour. (Makes about 20 and can be made ahead and refrigerated.)

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a shallow casserole (I use an All Clad skillet with lid.) and brown the meatballs on all sides. (I remove the meatballs and set aside.) Add the remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic, 4 tablespoons onion, and 1 tablespoon parsley, and the bay leaf. Saute until the onion has softened. (I return the meatballs to the pan here.) Add the tomato, the remaining 1/4 cup broth, the wine, and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, adding more chicken broth or water, if necessary. (I've never had to add extra.)

*Swedish Meatballs aren't too shabby either!*

Saturday, October 15, 2022


Wisconsin, the land of cheese, milk, and butter! People from this state are lovingly known as "Cheeseheads," and are serious about their dairy products! In fact, I attended a wedding there a few years ago, and it was the only wedding I've ever seen where waiters and waitresses proudly carried huge trays bursting with glasses of milk; after all, it is the state beverage! My husband just got back from a trip to Wisconsin, and milk is not the only product in great abundance there, they also have tomatoes, lots and lots of tomatoes! So, lucky for me, he brought back a box piled high with beautiful home-grown tomatoes! With my bounty at hand, I knew exactly what I wanted to make, "Soft Mozzarella Poached with Tomatoes and Basil!" This recipe is fantastic! Soft creamy mozzarella surrounded by a pool of sweet tomato sauce and basil! All that is required is a glass of wine and plenty of crusty bread! Although, if you're a cheesehead, you'll probably want milk!

Soft Mozzarella Poached with Tomatoes and Basil

Serves 4


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped, and drained (for help peeling tomatoes, check Techniques), or canned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2, 8 oz balls of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, drained, at room temperature, and cut in half
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Basil sprigs, for garnish
Crusty bread


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. (Don't burn the garlic!) Remove the garlic and discard. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the tomatoes, and simmer until the tomatoes soften and begin to liquify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool for 10 minutes. Puree in a blender until smooth.

Twenty minutes before serving, bring the sauce to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Place the mozzarella, cut-side down, in the sauce so that it is half submerged. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit 6-8 minutes.

In the meantime, cut the basil into thin strips. To serve, place a piece of mozzarella on each plate. Stir the basil into the sauce. Spoon the sauce around the mozzarella. Garnish with basil sprigs and serve immediately, with bread.

Recipe adapted from Weir Cooking: Recipes From The Wine Country, by Joanne Weir.