Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs on the Grill

August 2nd, 2013

This has been the strangest summer.  The rain has been non-stop.  The oak trees surrounding our house have dripped and weeped constantly.  The flower pots have overflowed resulting in rotting plants with no hope of recovery.  The herb garden is not doing well. But the two hydrangea plants that I put in place are thriving.  I keep asking myself why this summer is so different.  By this time in the year we are usually hot and dry.  Not so this year.

I took this picture last week.  The low hanging clouds are obvious, as are the drips of water clinging to our screen.  The porch was gloomy and not at all inviting.  But this week the weather has improved and we felt that summer had returned to the lake.

It was a pleasure to fire up the grill and enjoy dinner on the porch.

 One of my favorite ways to cook chicken breasts is by cubing them and putting them on skewers with peppers and pineapple chunks.  The peppers and pineapple chunks are marinated in one bag and the chicken in another bag.  The marinade is a combination of soy sauce, mirin and sugar.  Mirin is rice wine and an ingredient in teriyaki sauce.  The marinade from the pineapple and peppers is used to baste the skewers as they cook.

It was good to have this summertime favorite from the grill as the sun was setting in the west.  I served it over a bed of rice pilaf.  I have blogged about this recipe before, but it was at least two years ago.  So here it is again in case you missed it the first time.  That time I served it with an orange and rice salad.  You can find the orange and rice recipe here.


Makes 3 servings (can easily be doubled)
3 boneless chicken breast halves cut into 2″ squares
1 green pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1 red pepper, cut into 1″ squares
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 1″ squares
2 Tbls sugar
4 Tbls Soy Sauce
4 Tbls Mirin (sweetened sake) If you can’t find this, eliminate the soy and use 8 Tbls teriyaki sauce
6 wooden skewers, soaked in water

Place chicken pieces (you should have 18 pieces) in one large baggie. Place pepper and pineapple pieces in another baggie. Mix sugar, soy and mirin (or teriyaki sauce) in small sauce pan and heat just until sugar dissolves. Cool. Pour half of marinade over chicken and the other half over the peppers and pineapple. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

Thread ingredients on six wooden skewers alternating. You should have three each of red pepper, pineapple, chicken and green pepper.

Prepare grill. It should be hot. Spray grill with oil and grill the skewers turning as needed and basting with the marinade from the veggies and pineapple, until chicken is cooked, approximately 10 minutes.

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Cracker Crumb Chicken Strips

May 21st, 2013

I have made so many variations of chicken strips.  The first one was the one that my Mother loved.  I blogged about it here.  That was a few years ago.   Oven baked chicken strips are great, but sometimes I just want to fry them in a little oil.  Deep fat you are calling me!  Can’t help it.  I know, I know, . . . .  It is better to get along with less fat, but sometimes a nice crispy chicken piece cooked in oil is worth it.  This idea works for me.  The original recipe that gave me the idea appeared on Road Trip with G. Garvin on the Food Network.  While visiting Austin, Texas he ate at a diner that served flattened pork tenderloin pieces breaded in crackers, corn meal and flour.  They were deep fried and served as a sandwich on a bun.  I happened to have a pork tenderloin in the freezer, so the next night I duplicated the recipe without the bun.  It was not deep-fried, but cooked in a puddle of hot oil.  The pork was awesome.  It had implications for other dishes.

We loved the pork tenderloin cutlets so much that I decided to try the same method with chicken strips.  The secret to the breading on this dish is to put the dredged chicken strips in the freezer for 15 minutes before you fry them.  The breading adheres perfectly and after frying in 2-inches of hot oil,  the chicken strips come out perfectly cooked and crisp

What is not to love about this chicken?  My Mother would have approved.  She loved fried chicken.  But I have to say that, in spite of the brief saute in oil, these chicken strips are probably less caloric than most fried chicken.  Dipped into a sweet and sour sauce there is nothing better.


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (About 3)

24 Ritz crackers (Crushed in a baggie with a rolling pin)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/8 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk

Cut each chicken breast into 6 strips.  Combine crackers, cornmeal, flour and seasonings in a large bowl.  Beat egg and milk is separate bowl.  Dip each breast strip into egg mixture and then into crumbs.  Coat well on all sides.  Place each breaded strip on small baking sheet.  Place baking sheet in the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Pour canola oil to a depth of about 1 to 2 inches in a large frying pan.  Heat oil.  Cook the chicken strips in batches until golden brown on all sides.  Drain and paper towels.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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Chicken Tarragon and a Goodbye to the Lake

October 31st, 2012

Written two days ago:

It is time for us to travel to Florida for the Winter.  The weather in North Carolina held its warmth and beauty until a few days ago.  Now the winds are howling and the leaves are being ripped from the trees in riotous swirls, Tree Removal Service in some areas were badly needed. There are whitecaps on the water and a drifting canoe banged into our dock this afternoon.  We were able to find the owner by the registration number, so it will find its way home.  There is a chance that we will lose power and there is a possibility of snow.  So there is nothing better to do in this chaotic weather than cook and keep the fire going in the fireplace until we have the opportunity to leave.

One of David’s favorite meals is chicken tarragon with rice pilaf.  Chicken and tarragon have a natural affinity and when flavored with the addition of wine and cream the dish is subtle and lovely.  I have made it so often over the years that I haven’t had the enthusiasm for it lately.  But somehow it now felt like an appropriate meal to make to say goodbye to the lake.  With it I served my French peas and sauteed red cabbage with apples; all things that needed to be cleared from the refrigerator.

Eating this meal by flickering candles while nature made herself known was like finding shelter, warmth and peace in a violent world.  My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

I will be gone for a while.  We are spending Halloween with the kids in Cary, NC and then traveling to Florida.  See you there.


1 4 pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (breasts cut in half). skinned
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, plus additional if needed
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half (optional)

Wash and dry chicken pieces.  Heat butter and olive oil in large skillet.  When butter begins to foam, add chicken pieces and cook until browned on both sides.  Add tarragon, salt and pepper and wine and chicken broth.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover skillet and cook over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken to a plate and bring liquid to a boil in the skillet.  Cook until reduced slightly.  Adjust seasonings adding more tarragon to taste and add cream if you would like.  Cook until sauce is heated through.  Return chicken to pan and turn to coat with sauce until reheated.  Serve chicken with sauce.

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A French Dinner with Friends

May 22nd, 2012

We were invited to dinner last Saturday night.  We are so lucky to have such good and supportive friends.  And to think that we met them because of our respective blogs.  The “Other Penny”, as we sometimes refer to each other, has a lifestyle blog that has detailed her many talents in whispering houses back to life.  She and her husband both know what a house needs to make it a comfortable home.  Her blog, The Comforts of Home, chronicles the projects and ideas that can improve any house.  But she is also a fantastic cook.  Penny is well aware of our upcoming trip to France (Probably because that is all I talk about).  Both she and her husband  have been to France and have shared many tips with us.  For our Bon Voyage dinner Penny made a French meal.

One of France’s national treasures is the Gourgere.  These small cheese puffs are made from pate a choux dough.  In its sweet version the dough is used in cream puffs stuffed with sweetened whipped cream.  But when you want a savory appetizer you add Gruyere cheese to the dough and allow them to bake, puff and form a hollow center.  They melt in your mouth.  They are made all over France, but the Burgundy region claims them as their own.  They are served in many restaurants there as an appetizer with the local aperitif.  We had them with a lovely white wine.  Here is the recipe from Barefoot in Paris.

Coq au Vin, the classic French chicken in red wine is one of the dishes that I have served many times.  But Penny’s version, made with white wine, is a perfect alternative.  The one thing that has always bothered my about the original recipe is the burgundy color that infuses the chicken.  It just doesn’t look natural.  White wine is a good thing for this dish.  Penny also uses boneless chicken thighs which cook faster and retain their juiciness.  Her rendition keeps the smoky bacon flavor, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the silkiness of the onions.  It is winey and earthy at the same time.  The mashed potatoes (David’s favorite) and the braised carrots are the perfect  finishing touches.   You can find her recipe here.

Dessert was a spectacular lemon meringue tart.  The recipe came from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris.  The mood has been set and we are ready for our trip.  Thanks for a great meal Penny.

Chicken Frickadellen with Caper and Lemon Topping

August 31st, 2009

If you want to try a different burger for the Labor Day weekend, this just may be one you will like. My husband has sworn off a lot of beef dishes and especially hamburgers for health reasons. Unfortunately one of my favorite foods in the world is a perfect hamburger on a toasted bun with just mustard and onions. I miss my hamburgers and when he is away I light up the grill and cook three burgers from a pound of ground beef and eat them for three consecutive nights to get my fix. Because of this, I am always looking for recipes that we both can enjoy when he is home.

Translated from German, frickadellen means “large meatballs, lightly flattened”. The recipe comes from Anna Pump of the Loaves and Fishes Market in the Hamptons and is featured in her latest cookbook Summer on a Plate. The burger is made from boneless chicken thighs and is seasoned with lemon juice Spanish paprika , cumin and cayenne pepper. After it is grilled it is topped with sauteed onions, capers, more lemon juice and minced parsley. You can serve it on a toasted bun the way I like it or as a dinner entree with a side of rice or couscous.

The actual grinding of the boneless chicken thighs takes a little time, but it can be done ahead of time. The cubed meat is placed in a food processor with a metal blade and pulsed until it is chopped. When mixed with the additions and formed into patties, it can rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill.

The topping is quick to assemble while the burgers are resting or on the grill. Just saute onions until soft, add drained capers and lemon juice and then garnish with parsley after adding to the finished patties.

Our family will be here for the Labor Day weekend. We have been working all summer to finish the cottage in anticipation of this special occasion, so I may not be posting for a while. Have a wonderful end of summer celebration and I will be back soon with new recipes and pictures of the “almost complete” cottage.


2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, skinned, trimmed of fat, and cut into large chunks
1 cup minced onion
1 cup soft fresh bread crumbs
2 large eggs
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


3 Tbls olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh curly parsley

Place the chicken in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. ( I did this in batches ) Transfer into a large bowl. Add the onion, bread crumbs, eggs, lemon juice, salt, paprika, cumin, and cayenne and, using your hands, knead until well combined. Shape into 8 patties.

To grill, brush the grill lightly with oil. Cook the patties over medium high heat for 12 minutes, turning them once.

To make the topping, in the olive oil saute the onion in a skillet over low heat for about 8 minutes until onions are light brown and glossy. Add the capers and cook 3 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the lemon juice, turn the heat to high and cook 30 seconds. Spoon the topping over the patties and sprinkle with parsley.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.