Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Barbecue Chicken revisited

My brother was not impressed with my lack of an actual recipe for our mom's Barbecue Chicken marinade. After all, he is a voracious Alton Brown fan, which means he's also a fan of measurements and the science behind cooking. Good point, Stephen. And since this blog is called Ruining Mom's Recipes, and Mom didn't share with me the proportions she uses, I guess I'll just share mine and let you go nuts with it.

Mai Ling's Marinade for Barbecue Chicken and Pork Ribs
3-4 pounds chicken drumsticks/thighs
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 t. Mrs. Dash Garlic Seasoning, divided
1 t. garlic powder, divided
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Mix soy sauce and 1/2 t. each of Mrs. Dash Garlic Seasoning and garlic powder in zip-top plastic bag.

Wash and pat dry chicken, then place on cutting board or other large surface. Evenly sprinkle salt, pepper and remaining Garlic Seasoning and garlic powder over all sides of chicken. Place chicken in marinade and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meet Mom - at her home outside the home

For years, I’ve been talking about putting together a book for friends and family full of my mom's beloved cooking. It’s been so long since I started gathering her tried and true recipes, that she’s changed her whole menu around and is now making different foods. But I still have my favorites. And I’ll still share them with you. However, instead of a book – or maybe in addition to one way down the road – I’ve decided that nothing but the public is better at keeping one on task. So, instead I’ll be blogging, sharing my trials and tribulations as I struggle with measurements as instructed from a woman who doesn’t believe in measuring. Yeah, it’s real fun. Needless to say, everything that follows is “to taste.” But please hold back on the sugar or my mom will blame me for sure!

So over the weekend, the Chinese side of the family gathered at Mom’s for a very late Mother’s Day. Long story, but we were supposed to take a road trip to celebrate together with my mother-in-law, then things didn’t work out, so it’s REALLY not my fault and I’m REALLY not a horrible daughter (even though I did let my mom cook her own post-Mother's Day meal ... )!

As usual, rain or shine, snow or sleet, Mom barbecued. But that's not all she did. When I talked to her the day before, she said she was tired because she'd spent the whole day painting the screen door, so she was going take it easy and make Lasagna of Roasted Butternut Squash (minus the salt and half the cheese, but just as tasty!). Oh, and some extra Pork Ribs she had from some other recent dinner party. Oh, and also a Rhubarb Pie because she had way too much rhubarb in the garden. Let me just say here, if I were going to make an easy meal, I would not make ANY of those things!

Anyway, I have yet to try my hand at her Barbecue Pork Ribs. I'm moving slowly toward it. Last week, I took a baby step and made her famous Barbecue Chicken, which uses the same marinade. Sure, it was good, but it was far from Mom good. I think her trick is marinating it overnight, instead of the measly four hours I planned for. Plus, she’s not as wary as I am of food poisoning, so she lets it marinate at room temperature for some of that time, which is also supposed to add more flavoring. Next time …

Sorry, she didn't give me measurements for the marinade, but I'll give you a hint: Soy sauce is the main ingredient!

Barbecue Chicken
Bone-in chicken
Soy sauce
No-salt seasoning of your choice (Mom uses Spike, I use Mrs. Dash Garlic Seasoning, but there’s no way that’s the secret ingredient!)
Garlic powder

Mix ingredients to taste, then add chicken and let marinate for at least 2 hours, if not overnight. Grill and enjoy!

Mom doesn’t use barbecue sauce for her chicken, but she makes a great sauce for the Pork Ribs:

Barbecue Sauce for Pork Ribs
½ c. Char Siu Sauce
1 T. garlic chili sauce
1 T. oyster sauce
1 T. fresh lime or lemon juice
2 t. Worcestershire sauce

Play with these ingredients as you will. Don’t put it on until the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, otherwise you’ll just burn off the good stuff. Use the same marinade as for the Barbecue Chicken, but the ribs only need to marinate for a few hours.

By the way, the pie she made was delicious. It wasn't just a Rhubarb Pie, but a Rhubarb-Apple Pie, and she used a whole cinnamon stick in it. Genius.