Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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December 31, 2013

Lee Ward: Cranberry Roast Chicken; surprising chocolate cake; coping the day after: 12/31/13

ASHLAND — For an easy but special holiday meal, try this Cranberry Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes by Carol Junkins through justapinch.com.

CRANBERRY ROAST CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES

 Carol Junkins,

     Hanson, Mass.

1 pound sweet potatoes, thinly sliced

4 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 21⁄4 lbs.)

1 14-ounce can whole berry or jelled cranberry sauce

1⁄4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse potatoes; pat dry. Place potatoes evenly in a 13 x 9” baking pan. Place chicken on top.

Whisk remaining ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.

Pour mixture evenly over chicken and potatoes.

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout and potatoes are tender.

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Another alternative for a quick and different dinner is this one, also from justapinch.com.

SWEET AND SOUR PORK CHOPS

Audrey Musick,

Marion, Va.

4 to 6 boneless pork chops

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion

1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar

2⁄3 cup brown sugar

1⁄3 cup yellow mustard

2⁄3 cup ketchup

In a large skillet, place the vegetable oil and cook the pork chops until the meat is no longer pink.

In a separate pan, saute the onion and butter until the onion is transparent.

Add the vinegar, sugar, mustard and ketchup. Simmer to blend the flavors.

Pour the sauce over the pork chops, cover and continue cooking for about 20 minutes.

Serve with rice.

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Jan. 6 is National Bean Day, according to several Internet sources.

One theory as to why today was chosen to honor — or eat — beans is that today is the anniversary of the death of geneticist Gregor Mendel, who used bean and pea plants to test his theories on inheritance. Many of his theories formed the basis of modern genetics. He died on this day in 1884.  

I’m not a fan of beans, but there are a few I prefer, including garbanzo beans. Here’s my favorite way to eat them and it’s from allrecipes.com. It’s gluten free.

GARBANZO BEAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

11⁄2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

4 eggs

3⁄4 cup white sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

Place the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds after the first minute, until chocolate is melted and smooth. If you have a powerful microwave, reduce the power to 50 percent.

Combine the beans and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the sugar and the baking powder, and pulse to blend. Pour in the melted chocolate and blend until smooth, scraping down the corners to make sure chocolate is completely mixed. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan.

Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

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Let’s not kid around here. Tonight is one of the biggest party nights of the year, and some people will be suffering tomorrow.

There are a few approaches to curing a hangover that are easily accessible in the kitchen and are popular around the world.

The experts at biggirlssmallkitchen.com remind us the best remedy for a hangover is to detox with plenty of water and vitamins with clean, unprocessed foods. However, different cultures prefer their own cures.

‰In the United States, many like a breakfast of eggs, bacon and hashbrowns or even cold pizza.

Researchers recommend eating greasy foods before a night out because it lines the stomach and slows the alcohol absorption into the bloodstream. After a night out…greasy foods only add to the calorie count.

‰Belgium has the culprit and the cure built right into its national cuisine: beer and fries. Twice fried and served with mayo-based sauces, their fries are said to be delicious.

‰In Ireland, the traditional Irish breakfast of sausage, bacon, blood pudding, eggs, canned beans, potatoes and tomatoes wasn’t invented for sober people. A true Irishmen cures a hangover with the hair of the dog, though.

‰Across the pond in another culture known for its drinking habits, the English slurp down something called a prairie oyster: raw egg with Worcestershire sauce.

‰Greeks eat tripe soup made with honeycomb tripe (cow’s stomach lining) and lamb’s feet (a similar dish is also eaten in Mexico, called menudo.) Current young Greeks generally munch on souvlaki, a sort of fast food pita.

‰In South American countries, spicy is key. Maybe it’s the theory that you’ll sweat out the alcohol. Some dishes include caldo de pollo from Guatemala and fricasé from Bolivia.

‰Thai restaurants serve a dish called “drunken noodles.” The stir-fried noodles with soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, meat or tofu, basil and chili sauce, is served out of street carts to drunken or hungover young people. Street cart fare is popular in other Asian countries as well: haejangguk (cabbage soup in beef broth) from Korea, and Okonomiyaki (a sort of savory pancake) from Japan.

‰Canada seems to be the only other country with a hangover cure unhealthy enough for an American. It’s called poutine, french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy and occasionally other toppings.

‰Italians and Spaniards never seem to get hangovers. Perhaps it’s because they are introduced to alcohol from an early age and  don’t abuse it. After a night of wine and good food, the Italians and Spaniards wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee or espresso.

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While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send email to lward@dailyindependent.com.

 

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