A Blown Out Flip-Flop?

Was a blown out flip-flop to blame for Jimmy Buffet's unfortunate fall from the stage in Australia earlier this week? I'm sure some people will claim there's a woman to blame but according to news reports, it was the lighting man's fault.

Like a zillion other Parrotheads, I'm sending well wishes and good karma to the iconic legend for a speedy recovery because it was just this past Saturday that I was logged on to my computer at 10:02am to purchase tickets for Jimmy's April 21 "Welcome to Fin Land" tour stop in Charlotte. My friends, family and I were all logged on and texting each other as to what our wait time was for tickets ~ it was the first time I've ever had to stand in line online for something! After all the "I got them!!" celebratory texts came through, we set about making tailgate plans because the show is exactly one week before this pirate looks at 40 and I have a feeling this may be the tailgate of all tailgates.

Wasting away in all the escapism of Margaritaville made me terribly hungry and since there were no cheeseburgers on hand, I decided this Key Lime Chicken would be just the thing to pay homage to Jimmy Buffet. The recipe originally called for marinating in key lime juice (Joe and Nellie's is an excellent choice), but I find it to be a bit too tart for my tastes. Suit yourself, but either way don't forget to add the brown sugar because it is the perfect balance to the tartness. I've never allowed the chicken to marinate longer than 30-45 minutes because the acid breaks down the chicken fairly quickly and if you let it go too long, it will be mushy.

It's one of the quickest and easiest chicken dishes you'll ever make and leaves you with plenty of time to maybe roll in the sand with a rock 'n' roll man somewhere down Montserrat way!

Key Lime Chicken

Recipe By :Peggy Waller
Serving Size : 4
Categories : Poultry

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 each chicken breast half
1/3 cup lime juice (key lime or regular)
2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger -- 1" piece, grated or minced
2/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
2/3 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 teaspoon garlic powder
vegetable oil -- for frying
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Trim fat from chicken and pound to slightly flatten. Place in a bowl; add lime juice, fresh garlic, fresh ginger. Marinate 30 mins to 2 hours (Alison's note: I don't recommend going much longer than 30 minutes). Drain marinade & reserve.

Mix flour, salt & pepper, ground ginger and garlic powder in a bowl. Lightly dredge chicken breasts. Heat oil in skillet and fry chicken breasts until browned on both sides (do not overcook).

Place fried chicken breasts in 9x13 baking pan. Pour chicken broth and reserved marinade around chicken; add some water or more broth if bottom of pan isn't fully covered. Sprinkle brown sugar on chicken breasts.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 mins. Brown sugar will melt to becaome a crunchy topping. Do not let broth mixture totally evaporate; add some water if necessary. If brown sugar looks dry, spoon a little of the pan juices on top of chicken. This will keep in a warm oven about 1 hour without drying out.

"Culinary Memories of Merridun"

Great Day In The Morning ~ Breakfast Part I

Being relegated to just a microwave and/or toaster in the office kitchenette makes it really hard for us Monday-through-Friday-desk-jockeys to keep breakfast healthy. Sure, it's easy to pick up fast food on the way to the office or keep a stash of Poptarts and bagels in the desk drawer, but do you really want to eat something loaded with enough preservatives to make you glow in the dark?

If you crave breakfast worthy of weekend-breakfast-in-bed status, you can be the envy of the office during morning break with a little pre-planning and preparation at home. I've scoured the internet for quick and easy make-ahead breakfast recipes that store well in the freezer ~ would you believe me if I told you that I currently have 12 weeks of breakfast meals already made and stored in the office freezer?! Here's how you can do the same....

On your next shopping trip, pick up a box of your favorite waffle mix and dust off your long forgotten waffle maker. Prepare the entire box of mix per the directions on the box and bake just until the waffles are lightly golden brown ~ not as dark as you would bake them if you were eating them right away. Cool the waffles completely and store in zippie bags in the office freezer. Take one out and pop it into the toaster and Voila! you have breakfast. I have waffles on Mondays because they don't need time to thaw whereas the other recipes that I'll share in this three-part series do. I pull out a selection of items from the freezer for the rest of the week and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge. Don't forget this easy recipe for yet another weekday option.

These savory muffins are dense and hearty and excellent slathered with butter and served with fresh fruit. Enjoy your breakfast and stay tuned for links to the next round of recipes!

Savory Breakfast Muffins

2 cup(s) whole-wheat flour
1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup(s) buttermilk
3 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon(s) butter, melted
1 cup(s) thinly sliced scallions (about 1 bunch)
3/4 cup(s) diced ham or cooked bacon (3 ounces)
1/2 cup(s) grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup(s) finely diced red bell pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, oil and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in scallions, bacon, cheese and bell pepper. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until just moistened. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (the cups will be very full).

Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in zippie bags or air-tight containers in the freezer.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat in microwave prior to serving.

Let them eat cake!

It's been Party Central around here the last few months with so many of my close friends celebrating monumental birthday milestones, and I am all about finding the perfect cake to commemorate the occasion.   A truly unforgettable themed cake that reflects the personality of the birthday guy or gal always makes the party a hit, and those who secretly wish to forget the fact that another year has lefts its indelible mark on their face are especially thankful for a cake that captures the complete attention of guests.
The party started with this awesome creation for the beloved Greek Goddess.  Those of us who know her well also know about her infinite love of shoes.  "The higher the heel, the closer to God!" she always says.  The Jimmy Choo replica was made by a friend of a friend of a friend named Kathy who lives here in Charlotte.  Kathy is unbelievably talented when it comes to making these realistic looking cakes that taste equally as awesome.

There couldn't have been a cake more perfect for my friend The Girl Watcher unless this vintage bottle had actually been full of Bacardi 8 and these cigars the real McCoy.  And talk about drawing attention to itself!  The guests went totally ga-ga over this creation by Kathy for the longest time before tearing into it and leaving not one evidence of a crumb behind.  On the way to the party, I had the thought that the cake was too beautiful to eat, but in the end it was worth the destruction just to see the delight on the birthday boy's face as he sliced into and served it.

My friend Mary's love of all things chocolate and wine was mirrored in this wine bottle replica nestled in the most unbelievably dense, rich and moist chocolate cake you have ever put into your mouth.  It was a recipe handed down through Kathy's family and even though I know Kathy would never divulge her top secret recipe to me, I so hope she passes it down to someone else in the family because this recipe does not need to be one that goes to the grave with her.  Mary is really lucky there wasn't a piece missing out of her cake because it took every fiber of my being to not sample while the cake was in my care.

I've known Karen (and Mary too, for that matter) since the beginning of time and I needed a cake to induct her into the Forties Hall of Fame.  This cougar-on-the-prowl cake was designed by Teresa's Custom Cakes in my hometown of Erwin, TN and goes a long way, I think, toward helping Karen embrace her cougarness. I tried to be totally tasteful with the cake and celebration choices for my friends knowing that my birthday odometer will soon roll over and possibly leave me vulnerable to the butt of many "Old Maid" jokes. I'm thinking seriously of leaving the country for an extended period of time....


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