Sangria ChickenThe promise of a “gooey glaze” -- and the short ingredient list -- was hard to resist, with the recipe for “Sangria Chicken,” from the March 2009 issue of Gourmet. My chosen wine was a 2007 Australian Shiraz. The recipe warned against using bitter British marmalade, so I did choose a sweet French version, from Bonne Maman. I simmered the wine and marmalade together for 19 minutes, then added 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. It was quite a kick to include seedless red grapes in this meal.

After the roasting and the glazing, the chicken meat seemed a bit too dry. Dave liked it. The sauce was indeed nice and sweet, and perhaps there wasn’t enough of it.

Peruvian Baked Quinoa and CheeseI also made the “Peruvian Baked Quinoa and Cheese,” from the April 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times, halving the recipe to make four servings. I got what I hoped for: great sharp Cheddar flavor. I used 1/2 cup red bell pepper, rather than using two different colors. My quinoa was cooked and opaque in 3 minutes.

I coated my baking dish with a smear of canola oil. I used super-sharp Twin Oaks Canadian white cheddar cheese, and sprinkled more on top of the casserole, before baking it for 35 minutes.

The creamy mouth-feel of the final dish was comforting. The flavor was great. Enjoy this winner, even if it seems a bit decadent.

RECIPES: don’t overcook your gooey chicken, or it’ll be too dry; creamy cheesy quinoa is incredible
PREP TIMES: the chicken and the quinoa each need nearly an hour of prep and cooking time, at different oven temperatures
TASTES: chicken is coated with a sweet and sticky sauce and grapes; creamy quinoa tastes like cheesy happiness

Next time, I plan to make “Shrimp Dumplings with Bamboo Shoots” (with “Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce”), from the April 2009 issue of Cuisine at Home (recipes below), along with “Orange Vinaigrette Brown Rice Salad,” from Sound tasty? Come back to my site on Thursday, August 13, to see my results.

Shrimp Dumplings with Bamboo Shoots
Recipe adapted from April 2009, Cuisine at Home
Makes 37 dumplings

10 oz. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
1/3 cup chopped bamboo shoots
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. mirin or dry sherry
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
37 won ton wrappers
2 Tbsp. sesame oil

Mince shrimp and bamboo shoots in a food processor; do not purée. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Stir in cornstarch, mirin, soy sauce, oil, salt, and pepper.

Portion filling into balls using a No. 100 scoop (2 tsp. filling). Place balls on a baking sheet; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then, fill each won ton wrapper with a ball and fold into fans, triangles, inverted fans, or tortellinis -- whatever works for you. Firmly press ends together to seal.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of the sesame oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Place half the dumplings in the pan and reduce heat to medium. Pan-fry the dumplings for about 3 minutes. Carefully add 1/4 cup water, cover pan, and reduce heat to low. Steam dumplings for 6 minutes. Uncover pan, raise heat to medium-high, and cook until bottoms are crisp, about 3 minutes. Repeat pan-frying with remaining dumplings, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and another 1/4 cup water.

Remove dumplings from pan and arrange them on a platter. Serve alongside dipping sauce.

Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce
Cuisine at Home, April 2009
Makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced scallions

Heat soy sauce, vinegar, water, sugar, and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Transfer dipping sauce to a small bowl. Garnish sauce with scallions.