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Chalk one up for the Bear!!!  As you may well know, I spend a bit of time in the kitchen and very few things scare me in there.  I am always game to give new things a try and I usually succeed.  There is one ingredient in the kitchen which has caused me much grief….I have attempted its use numerous times and my success rate is minimal.  In fact my failure rate is so high that I have dubbed myself…..SleepingBear-Killer of Yeast.   Not tonight kiddies!!!

Ray and I were off today and we used it to do a few things around the house, as the day progressed thoughts of dinner came to mind.  Truthfully, I had no plan so it was one of those look in the fridge and see what needs to be used soon kind of days.  The freezer revealed a couple of chicken breasts and the deli drawer contained 3 thick cut slices of applewood smoked bacon and a smallish chunk of cheddar….”yea, what am I going to do with that?”.  Finish up the last of the household chores and think.

The wheels began to turn and bechamel came to mind.  Pasta came to mind.  We are getting there!!  After just a little more thought, I came up with a “white lasagne”.  Dice the bacon, fry it up, slice the breast into thin crosscuts, fry them in the bacon drippings.  Use a couple Tbs. of the bacon drippings as a starter for the roux for the bechamel.  A quick batch of fresh pasta sheets, layer it all with a bit of cheddar and dinner will be served.

As of late Ray has been on a bread baking kick, which he is actually getting pretty good at (unlike moi!) and we have a little less than half a loaf of his bread leftover from the other day.  Homemade bread, unfortunately can get dry rather quickly and this half loaf is currently in the “only good for toast” stage.  I wasn’t getting cleaned up and dressed to run to the store for something to sop up the excess bechamel but I also wanted that exact thing.  What the hell, give the yeast thing another try!   hahahaha

A quick search for a simple and quick breadstick recipe and I was on my way.  The milk and onions were sweating on the stove awaiting to become the sauce.  The chicken was browning wonderfully in the bacon drippings.   The pasta sheets were drying just slightly awaiting to be layered.  And the kitchenaid was kneading the dough for the breadsticks.  Everything was happening at once, not a moment to breathe….one task to the next and then again on to the next.  The breadstick dough is a single rise for approximately 50 mins, so I got the lasagne together, set it aside and then formed the sticks.  Into the oven the lasagne went and onto the counter went the sticks… but will they raise or have I once again killed millons of yeast spores in one fell swoop???

50 minutes later this is what I saw…

Living Yeast at it's best!!!

The lasagne came out of the oven and in went the sticks.  15 minutes of rest for the lasagne and bake time for the sticks and dinner was served!!!

Fresh out of the oven "John didn't kill the yeast" breadsticks.

Dinner is served.

Today being my day off and the flower beds dug and ready for planting, it was my intent to run and buy flats of flowers and get the outside in order…however it seems April Showers are running behind schedule and May flowers need to wait. Now, it really isn’t a gloom and doom kinda day but it is mighty grey , I really was hopin’ for SUN!!!!!

The house being in order, the trash out already for tomorrow’s pick-up and not much else to do, I set my sights to dinner. Still wanting sun, and currently not winning the battle, the grill came to mind. Rummaging through the kitchen, I find some chicken breasts, rice, pineapple…there it is my sun at last!!!

Now I am really not one for recipes when cooking so I will try my best with what I did for…

Pineapple Chicken Kabobs with Coconut Rice

Pineapple Chicken Kabobs with Coconut Rice

Marinade:

  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs gr. ginger
  • 2-3 threads saffron
  • gr. pepper to taste (around here it is ALOT!)

Reserve a 1/4 cup marinade for brushing the kabobs as they grill. Marinade 1 chicken breast (cut in 1 inch cubes) per person in remaining juice for an hour (ish). Assemble the Kabobs using whatever suits your taste… today I used simply

  • chicken cubes
  • pineapple chunks
  • yellow onion quarters (trim but don’t remove root end, keeps them together)
  • sweet baby bell peppers

In the past I have used

  • shrimp in place of chicken
  • blanched sweet potatoe cubes
  • mangoe
  • orange segments (not really the easiest but tasty as all get out)
  • and other things that struck my fancy

Place kabobs on heated (med/high) grill turning and brushing frequently with reserved marinade, till nicely caremelized and cooked though (20-25mins approx).

Coconut Rice:

  • 1 cup rice (long grain, brown, wild, just nothing too terribly starchy)
  • 1 med yellow onion fine dice
  • 1 cup chicken stock (vegetable stock or H2O work as well)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup toasted coconut
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • S&P to taste

Heat oil to smoking, add onion, saute till fragrant, add rice and continue sauteing till translucent (I actually let the rice brown a bit). Add chicken stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil, cover and then reduce heat to minimum. Let cook 15 mins, turn off heat and let rest another 15 mins. Toss in toasted coconut (reserve some for garnish) and “fluff” rice with a fork.

Assemble plate, I mold my rice in ramekins and then place kabobs around (but then my skewers are circular), so basically make it a “pretty” plate, sprinkle with reserved coconut and chow down!!!!

We are eating late, as Ray worked till 9 pm but I finally got my SUN!!!!

Just a couple asides on this post…

For dessert we had a white chocolate mousse with tropical fruit folded in, save some toasted coconut to top it off!

I accompanied the kabobs with a Sauvignon Blanc from a local vintner. Christian W. Klay winery is located in Chalk Hill Pa, “who’da thunk” wine from Pennsylvania!! Sharon does a great job with her wines and if you are ever in this neck off the woods check out the winery, she does great events!

The dinnerware is also from a local company, Riverside Design Group, in Pittsburgh Pa. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Luckily someone out there likes me and got me a service for 8.