|Salt Baked Chicken|
We interrupt our Eat, Pray, Love Italian challenge for our monthly Cooking Light challenge! We are so glad you have decided to join us once again for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. This is a monthly event where 5 ladies in two neighbouring countries get together to create a delicious meal with a theme in mind. We are now in our second year and continue to share a love for Cooking Light magazine which has an emphasis on healthy eating and living. The idea is simple because of our common interest in cooking and healthy cuisine. We love to share these ideas with you each and every month through our Virtual Supper Club. This is a team effort where we combine what Cooking Light readers like best...good food with great company!!! This month our menu features dishes for:
A Taste of ChinatownEvery year on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is brightest for the entire year, the Chinese celebrate "zhong qiu jie." The August Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most celebrated Chinese holidays. Chinese families celebrate the end of the harvest season with a big feast so what better way for our club to celebrate getting together this month virtually than with a traditional Chinese feast and some great company..don't forget the sake!!
Children are told the story of the moon fairy living in a crystal palace, who comes out to dance on the moon's shadowed surface. During fall, the skies are commonly clear and cloudless and the nights crisp and sharp. In these night sky conditions, the moon appears to be the brightest. The fifteenth of the eighth month is the middle of autumn, thus the festival celebrates the moon's appearance as the brightest and most beautiful throughout the year.
The August Moon Festival is often called the Women's Festival. The moon symbolizes beauty and elegance. While Westerners worship the sun (yang or male) for its power, people in the Far East admire the moon. The moon is the 'yin' or female principle and a trusted friend.
The festival has a traditional offering of Moon Cakes. While in the past mooncakes took up to four weeks to make, automation has speeded up the process considerably. Today, mooncakes may be filled with everything from dates, nuts, and fruit to Chinese sausages. More exotic creations include green tea mooncakes, and ping pei or snowskin mooncakes, a Southeast Asian variation made with cooked glutinous rice flour. Haagen-Daz has even gotten into the act by introducing a line of ice cream mooncakes in Asian markets.
Mooncakes are rather high in calories so for our feast today we are presenting some lighter options. First up is my main dish of Salted Baked Chicken. Traditionally, this recipe uses a whole marinated chicken wrapped in lotus leaves, and then immersed in a bed of hot rock salt and cooked on a stovetop. The modern conveniences of an oven make it much easier to control the cooking temperature while still creating one of the most succulent and juicy birds you will ever try. Allowing the chicken to stand at room temperature for an hour before cooking creates perfection. The golden color of the roasted bird also represents wealth, and serving a whole chicken is thought to ensure good luck for the coming year.
We have all enjoyed a medley of dishes at our local Chinese restaurants. Patsy of Family, Friends and Food wowed us with her choice of Pork and Stir Fried Veggies in Spicy Sauce
Long time member Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club complimented our menu with Udon Beef Noodle Bowl
Sandi of The Whistestop Cafe had the inspiration to create a recipe from the pages of Cooking Light... Asian Turkey Cabbage Cups.
To balance the menu Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch adds a delicious classic of Ma Po Tofu...even Grumpy enjoyed it!!
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 (1 x 2–inch) strip dried tangerine peel
1 (4.5- to 5-pound) roasting chicken
5 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 -1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
Combine 2 1/2 cups boiling water and tangerine peel in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid.
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub 1 tablespoon salt under skin; let stand 5 minutes. Rinse chicken under cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken on the rack of a roasting pan; let stand 1 hour at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Transfer chicken to a work surface. Combine remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, shallots, ginger, wine, soy sauce, oil, and honey in a small bowl. Rub 3 tablespoons shallot mixture inside cavity of chicken. Place onions and tangerine peel inside cavity. Rub remaining shallot mixture under loosened skin.
Place chicken, breast side up, on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Pour reserved tangerine soaking liquid into a shallow roasting pan; place rack in pan. Bake at 425° for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 165° and skin has turned a dark golden brown color. Let stand 15 minutes. Discard skin, and slice.
At my own home I served the Salt Baked Chicken with Shrimp Fried Rice and a tasty Asian Snap Pea Salad with Sesame-Orange Dressing from the pages of Cooking Light. Once you master it, fried rice is an extremely versatile dish that can be made with all kinds of meat, seafood, and vegetables.
You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.