Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination. For me, the palate seems to enjoy the unique flavors of the seasons. When it comes to winter, my taste buds seem to take a holiday. Spicy summer sriracha tacos and cool guacamole turns to a boreal, hearty beef stew to warm the body’s core. But once in a while, I like to kick it up a notch in the winter with this sweet-spicy glazed chicken creation.

4 skin-on, bone in chicken breast halves
½ c. ground Dijon mustard
½ c. pure maple syrup
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 tbsp. curry powder
¼ tsp. cayenne
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Using a 9x13 inch Pyrex or ceramic baking dish, combine the maple syrup, mustard, curry powder, cayenne and butter.  Bake on the middle rack for about 5 minutes or until the butter is melted. Remove from oven and whisk ingredients together in the baking dish to make the sauce.

Next, season the chicken with salt and pepper and then roll breasts in the sauce. Be sure to spoon some sauce until the chicken skin. With the breast side up, bake for approximately 45 minutes, basting every 10 minutes, until chicken has a nice glaze and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 165°.

Remove from oven. Transfer chicken breasts to a clean cutting surface and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut breasts from the bone. Place the breasts on a bed of greens and grapes. Whisk pan sauce again and drizzle over chicken breasts. Enjoy, JW

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Lemongrass, Thai Basil and Lime Mojito

The many health benefits of lemongrass has been known by Asians for more than a millennia. Citral, the primary chemical component in lemongrass, has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. For instance, lemongrass tea can act as a diuretic and is highly effective in flushing toxins and waste out of the body; improving the function of many different organs including the liver, spleen and kidneys.
Lemongrass is a favorite ingredient in Asian soups, stir-fry and salads. Think Thai tom yum gai or nam sod. But as mentioned above, lemongrass can also be a delightful ingredient in tea as well as cocktails. It is in this vein that I offer up a mojito with Asian influences.
2 stalks lemongrass
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar
2 limes, sliced into 8 lime wedges
Large handful fresh Thai basil (also called pepper basil)
8 ounces white rum
Club soda, as required to top up
Ice, to serve
Lemongrass stalks, trimmed (optional, to use as stir sticks)

First, make a batch of simple syrup and lemongrass. Chop the lemongrass stalks into 1-inch pieces, and bruise using the back side of a chef knife or a mortar and pestle. Place them in a pot with 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the syrup infuse for about 2 hours, or allow to cool and refrigerate for 24 hours. Before use, strain the syrup, pressing down on the lemongrass stalks to extract maximum flavor. Chill until ready to use. (once the syrup is strained, it will also keep in your fridge for a couple of weeks).

To build each cocktail, arrange 4 cocktail glasses on a work surface and place 1/2 teaspoon sugar in each glass. Add 1 lime slice into each glass along with a handful of Thai basil, and muddle together. Pour in 2 ounces rum and 2 ounces lemongrass syrup. Top with ice and club soda. If you desire a non-alcoholic drink, omit the rum and add a little extra lemongrass syrup. Stir and serve. Yield 4 cocktails.