Sunday, November 22, 2009

Raglan Road - Dalkey Duo

This week's Sunday paper had a coupon for cocktail sausages, so of course my mind immediately went to the Dalkey Duo recipe I had been wanting to try.  I have dined at the Raglan Road restaurant at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney area twice... and I have had the Dalkey Duo... twice :)

The restaurant has a lovely Irish Pub theme and if you dine late enough, there is live Irish music and Irish dancing.  It is very entertaining.  The food is good too. 

I love trying different kinds of beer, so it is nice that they offer a "flight" of beers (actually, several different flights).  That beer tastes mighty fine with this deep fried sausage appetizer. 

Here is the Dalkey Duo in all of its glory:

I love how they present some of the sausages on the forks, and then put extras on the side in a bowl.   It is hard to see here, but there is a little container of mustard sauce in between the bowl and the forks.

I wondered what the word Dalkey meant... was it a type of cooking method or something?  Nope.  It is a town in Ireland.

So, having gotten over my deep-frying fear when I made the Honey Sesame Chicken, I was eager to try this at home.  It is really quite a simple recipe.  Please note that yesterday I finally ordered a new camera, so the next update of this blog will have gorgeous pictures (I'm sure!).  For this one we will have suffer through with shots from my cell phone camera.

First, I began heating my canola oil in a big pot. This should get to about 350 degrees before you start cooking the sausages and it takes a bit of time to get to temperature.

Then, I blended 1 3/4 cups regular flour with 1/2 cup corn flour (masa).

Here is the flour:

And the masa:

Mixed together:

The I add the wet ingredients, 1 1/4 T of whole grain mustard mixed with 1/2 cup of lager.   At least, that is what the recipe said to do. 

Unfortunately, that small amount of liquid mixed with the flour resulted in a paste-like consistancy.  Not what we are looking for in a batter.  So, I ended up pouring about 12 oz of lager into the flour ... just enough to get a pancake-like batter. 

I added a bit of salt and pepper and then started preparing the sausages.  I used Hillshire Farms Lit'l Smokies beef smoked sausages for this recipe (Because that's what my coupon was for!).  The prep couldn't be more simple.  Just coat the sausages with flour.

Then you shake off the excess flour, coat in the batter, and (carefully) place the sausages in the hot oil.

While these sizzled away, I made the delicious mustard dipping sauce.  Now, the name of the dipping sauce is kind of misleading, because the sauce has more mayo in it than mustard, but I guess mayonaisse dipping sauce doesn't sound as appealing.   So, I put 10 T of (light) mayo (ha!) and 7 1/2 T of whole grain mustard in a bowl.  Added the juice of half a lime, a bit of salt and pepper and stirred it up.  Yum.


At this point, the sausages had browned up and I drained them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Then they were ready to eat!

I stuck them on forks as an homage to the restaurant's presentation. 

So, how did they turn out?  They were pretty good.  The batter seemed a little bit soft, so maybe I should have left them in the oil a tad longer.  Also, the sausages I used were small in comparison to the thickness of the batter.  I think that it would have been more like the original if I had used bigger cocktail sausages. 

However, they did taste good and the dipping sauce was delicious.  It makes a lot of sausages, and even with just a salad on the side this was a pretty decadent meal. 

We had a lot of sausages leftover, so I put the extras in a baggie with a paper towel (to absorb any moisture).  Two nights later I decided to heat them up in the oven... on a metal cooling rack placed over a baking sheet... so the heat goes all the way around the sausages.  And guess what.  They tasted better than the first night.  They were nice and crispy and the dipping sauce benefited from having time for the flavors to meld in the refridgerator. 

So, knowing how well they reheated, I think that this is a great dish to serve at a party.  Do the bulk of the work the day before, then just reheat on the baking sheet/cooling rack combo for about 10 minutes before you want to serve.  Perfect!

Raglan Road charges about $10.50 for this appetizer meant for two.  After buying the sausages, mustard and beer I probably spent about $5 (plus pantry items).  Although I actually had to spend more money since I had to buy a 6 pack of beer.  So, yes mine was cheaper, and I had more sausages, but the restaurant price isn't bad.   And the beer didn't go to waste :)

Oh, and a comment about the beer I used.  I probably should have been authentic and used an Irish lager, but I found Karl Strauss lager in my supermarket and I definitely wanted to buy it.  It is a San Diego beer that is served at Disney's California Adventure park and I have always enjoyed it there.  It is really good.

If you would like to try the Dalkey Duo at Raglan Road at Walt Disney World, or taste a refreshing Karl Strauss beer at Disney's California Adventure, contact me at and I can make it happen :)


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eating around the Disneyland Resort...

This is a different kind of post for me.  Instead of cooking a Disney recipe, I am going to review some of the foods I have eaten at Disneyland/California Adventure over the past few weeks.

Part of my job as a Disney Travel Consultant is of to be informed about all things Disney.  Since I live fairly close to Disneyland and California Adventure, I go to the parks once a week to research all aspects of the resort, and to do Tweets for our Twitter friends.  It is really fun, and I have the ambitious goal to try everything that the Disneyland Resort has to offer...  including the food.

Everyone has their favorite Disney treats, for example, I LOVE Dole Whip Floats.  I could eat them every week, but I have decided that I need to branch out and try new foods each visit.

I will start with with my visit on October 9th.  Disneyland was very crowded this day, so I decided that I would just grab lunch from a food cart.  Unbelievably, I had never had one of those huge turkey legs... and I knew that people raved about them.  From the number of people I saw walking around with those Flintstone-era turkey legs, I figured they had to be good.  So, I ordered one from a cart near Big Thunder Mountain with a bottle of Diet Coke and I sat down to a wonderful view of the Rivers of America.

Here is the leg:

And the view:

The turkey leg was very good.  The sticky coating took me by surprise, but it was very flavorful and there was a ton of meat on the leg.  Too much for one person, really.  I couldn't finish it.

That is one of the issues I do run into at Disney... too much food for a single person.  Since I often do my weekly visits by myself, I end up wasting food or just stuffing myself.  It is nice to have a friend to split items, and then you aren't too full to eat a fun snack later :)

Later on I did find more room in my tummy for my favorite snack... Dole Whip Float!  Yes, I know I said that I was branching out, but I figure that I can fit one Dole Whip Float into my rotation.  It will be my last for awhile. The Tiki Juice Bar was so busy that the Dole Whip line looked like it should be for a ride.  Then, when I got up to the counter I had to wait another 5 minutes because the machine had overheated!  I finally got my Float and I was happy.

I love pineapple, so I love the intensely sweet juice with the more subtle pineapple flavor of the ice cream.  The texture is very light and smooth and the whole thing is just very refreshing.   Thumbs up!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

50s Prime Time Cafe S'mores

My sister and I had these S'mores when we visited Walt Disney World last May.  They are available at the 50s Prime Time Cafe, but since we didn't have a reservation we decided to order them from the adjacent bar, the Tune-In Lounge.  It is great to know that if you can get a seat at the bar you can order from the full Prime Time menu.  Our bartenter/waitress was really nice too.

We each had one of their fancy cocktails and shared this dessert.  Too bad that the S'mores looked so good that we just started eating right away and forgot to take a picture.  Here is a picture of our drinks... Dad's Electric Lemonade and Grandma's Picnic Punch. 

I love the glowing ice cubes!

So, the recipe for the S'mores is really easy.  So easy that I can't believe that I haven't made them in my kitchen before. 

First I placed graham crackers (I used lowfat.. which is so funny since these things drip with chocolate, but every little bit helps) on the covered broiler pan.  Topped the crackers with Hershey chocolate bar squares (a good use for my leftover Halloween chocolate bars).  Then big marshmellows.

I then put them under the broiler and kept a close watch on them.  They browned up in less than 2 minutes, so you want to make sure you are there to take them out as soon as they are done. 

Then I just plated them and gave it an artistic squirt of chocolate syrup, just like they do in WDW.

Ok, they might not look just as pretty as they do in WDW, but they were very yummy.  The 50s Prime Time Cafe charges $4.79 for this dessert, and I made two servings which would go for $9.58.  The full packages of the ingredients that I needed for this recipe cost less that this, and of course I have plenty of crackers, marshmellows, etc leftover for future recipes.  So, considering how little effort this took, it is a no-brainer to make these at home!

If you do want to go to Walt Disney World to try the original, contact me at and we will help you plan a magical vacation!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Raglan Road Bread Pudding

I have to say that I never thought I would be a fan of bread pudding. I mean, it seems too simple to be a good dessert... stale bread? Really? However, I had read many wonderful reviews of this dish on Disney message boards, and I decided I would have to judge for myself.

So, back in 2007 I went to WDW with my boyfriend and I made an ADR for our first night at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney. I figured it would be convenient since we were staying at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort and we could take a romantic boat ride directly to Downtown Disney. Plus, I was on a mission to eat this dessert.

So, we got to the restaurant and ordered the Dalkey Duo (a heavenly deep fried sausage appetizer... a recipe I will tackle in the future), then I got a salad as an entree, since I didn't want to be too full for dessert. Well, I was full, but that didn't stop me.

The dessert was served in a mug and had little pitchers of cream and caramel sauce to pour on top. It was so delicious and something that just warms the soul.

Here is a picture of this fine dessert:

It was so good that I made a point to go back to the restaurant specifically for dessert (ok, we had the Dalkey Duo too...and some ribs... but no entree) this past May with my sister.

So, here is my attempt to recreate that wonderful dish.
First, preheat the oven to 350 and butter a casserole dish. I have to note that the original pudding has raisins in it, but I prefer the dessert without them, so I have omitted them.

Then tear some pieces of bread (I had been saving odds and ends of bread loaves and sticking them in the freezer, knowing I would make this eventually), then spread the pieces of bread with softened butter and layer in the dish.

Next, I started the custard by boiling 1 1/3 c cream and 1 1/3 c milk and then immediately taking it off the heat. While it was coming up to temperature, I whisked together 4 egg yolks and 1/3 c superfine sugar... and then stirred this over a pot of simmering water. I don't have a proper double boiler, so I improvised with a big pyrex cup and it did the job.

Then I beat the egg mixture slowly into the cream mixture and poured 2/3 of it on top of the bread.

This needs to sit and soak for about 30 minutes. After the waiting period, pour the remaining custard on top of the bread, pressing the bread down so at least half of it gets soaked in the custard. Then put it in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes.

While it is baking, it is time to make the custard sauce and caramel sauce. For the custard, heat 2 3/4 c milk to a boil. Meanwhile, combine 6 egg yolks, 3 3/4 T superfine sugar and some vanilla in a separate bowl.

Then slowly whisk the hot milk slowly into the egg mixture (you do not want scrambled eggs!). Then wipe the milk pan clean and pour the milk/egg mixture back in. Cook this mixture, stirring constantly (or, at least, often) until thickened. About 10 minutes. Do not let this mixture boil.

While this is heating, make the caramel sauce. Heat 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, 4 T light muscovado sugar (My grocery store did not have this. Muscovado sugar is a very dark sugar, so I just substituted dark brown sugar. It was fine) and 2 1/2 T clear honey (I could not find clear honey, so I just used clover honey and again, it was fine) to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Then add 2 1/2 T heavy cream and cook another 2 - 3 minutes over low heat.

The caramel sauce does not take much effort, so you can still keep an eye on your custard and keep stirring. Here is the thickened sauce (you can make a line on the back of a spoon).

And that's it. Here is the bread pudding next to both sauces.

As you can see, the recipe makes a whole lot more custard sauce than caramel sauce. I think you could halve the custard and double the caramel for the perfect ratio. But, I love caramel, so maybe that is just my personal taste.

Here is an individual portion.

The verdict? Really, really good. It doesn't look as pretty as the restaurant version, and the bread didn't seem to hold together as much as it did at Raglan Road (maybe because I used a casserole dish instead of packing the bread into individual baking containers), but it was delicious. The flavor is exactly what I remembered from Disney.

The restaurant charges $6.99 per person for this dessert...and this recipe is good for four very generous servings...probably 6 reasonable servings, but I am not reasonable :) So, it is definitely much more frugal to make it at home.

If you want to go to Disney World and try the original version, contact me at and we can help you plan your vacation!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nine Dragons Restaurant - Honey Sesame Chicken

Well, a ton of stuff has been going on this summer which delayed my blogging. But, now I am really ready to commit to this blog. I hope to learn a lot, and hope that it is an enjoyable place for people to visit.

Last night I looked in my refrigerator and decided I needed to cook the chicken breasts that I had defrosted earlier.

While looking in my "Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs" cookbook, I immediately decided on the Honey Sesame Chicken recipe. This dish is served at the Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China pavilion in EPCOT. Although I have never tasted this dish at Walt Disney World, I have had similar entrees at other Chinese restaurants and I was pretty sure it would be delicious (if done correctly).

The restaurant currently charges $18.98 for this entree... and I was certain I could create a replica for much less. In fact, I had many of the ingredients in my pantry or refrigerator already. I only needed to buy some white wine.

I was a little wary of the deep frying aspect of the recipe (I have never deep-fried in my life!), but the individual steps seemed pretty simple.

Here is a picture of the ingredients:

I also added in my Mike Wazowski mug because I think it is cute :)

My first step was to cut the chicken breasts into 2 inch chunks and then marinate them. The proper technique would have been to mix the marinade first and then add to the chicken, but for whatever reason I just dumped the marinade ingredients into the chicken bowl directly. I doubt it made any difference at all.

First, the pepper:

Then salt:

Then some water:

And some white wine:

Some wine for the chef as well....

Then some sesame oil and sugar to taste (As I was adding directly to the raw chicken, of course I couldn't taste. I probably added a tablespoon or so and that was fine):

I gave this a stir and then put it in the refrigerator. Easy so far.

Now, on to the batter. Combine flour, cornstarch and baking powder. (My camera is slowly dying and some of the pictures are taking on a purple hue. Please try to ignore. A new camera is on the way):

Then add an egg white, water and oil.

Then add a pinch of salt and whisk it up. Notice how bubbly it gets from the baking powder?


Set this aside and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. There are a lot of steps in this recipe, but it is pretty easy. Just mixing some stuff and then putting it aside.

Next, the Honey Sauce. In another bowl, I combined honey:

...and sugar (I can't wait for that new camera!):

...and ketchup. Yes. Ketchup! A weird ingredient for this, but I just followed directions....

Next, some white wine vinegar and a pinch of salt:

Ok. Now we get down to business. Frying. Yikes. I started to heat up my oil to 320 degrees. In my other pan I started to toast some sesame seeds over medium heat and I dumped my drained chicken into the bowl of batter.

When the oil was up to temperature, I carefully placed the chicken pieces into the pan. I was really happy with the way the batter puffed up and took on a golden color.

I didn't want to crowd the pot (and therefore lower the temperature of the oil), so I cooked the chicken in two batches. When I took the cooked pieces of chicken out of the pot, I drained them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Meanwhile, I heated up the honey sauce in another pan. The ketchup seemed like an odd ingredient, but it did give the sauce a nice color without having to add a food dye.

When the chicken was all done, I put it in the pot with the heated Honey Sauce, and mixed it all around with a spatula. Then, I sprinkled on the toasted sesame seeds.

Here is the finished dish. I served it with steamed broccoli and brown rice.

Verdict: It was REALLY delicious. My boyfriend said it was one of the best Chinese dishes he had ever had, including what he had ordered in restaurants. I have to say that the batter was light and puffy... the chicken was cooked just right... and it didn't taste greasy at all. A bit sweet, but you have to expect that from Honey Chicken. Unfortunately my side dishes were kind of an afterthought, because I was worried about the chicken... but they were ok.

The recipe wasn't that difficult... and if I could have this result from my first attempt at deep frying, I'm sure anyone could. Next time I'm at EPCOT, I will want to try out the real deal and see if I was close.... but I am very happy with this result.

If anyone wants the actual recipe for this dish, just let me know and I will email it to you.
If you want to try the original at Epcot, contact me at and we will help you plan a magical vacation!