Monday, November 30, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I'm not entirely sure where my mom found this recipe, but she makes a pretty great sweet and sour chicken. It's a bit time consuming to make since you have to batter and fry the chicken, but I think it's worth it for the final product.
1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breast
1 large green pepper cubed
1 large red pepper cubed
1 large yellow onion cut in large pieces
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 pineapple, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 tsp seasoning salt

4 tsp cornstarch dissolved into 1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup of sugar
8 tsp
1/2 cup ketchup
8 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp vegetable oil

Mix together sauce ingredients and reserve. Heat oil in a deep wok. Cut chicken into 1 inc pieces. Mix batter and dip chicken into batter. Once oil has heated to 350, fry chicken and flip after 2-4 minutes on each side until evenly browned and remove from oil. Add peppers, onion, chestnuts, and pineapple to oil and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add sauce to veggies and cook for another 2 minutes. Return chicken to wok and toss with vegetables until chicken is evenly coated with sauce. Serve over steamed rice.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pumpkin Bisque

Annually, my mom kicks off our Thanksgiving meal with fragrant, rich pumpkin bisque soup. It's relatively easy to make, and my relatives are always rather impressed by this starter. In case you keep kosher (my parents do), this soup uses coconut milk rather than cream and is dairy free, so it can be paired with our meat-based Thanksgiving din.

3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
14 oz. can light unsweetened coconut milk
29 oz. can solid packed pumpkin
1 large Spanish onion, diced
1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of nutmeg to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large pot, except the coconut milk. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender, food processor, blender or whatever method you prefer. Add coconut soup and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle each serving with a dusting of nutmeg.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy Noodles at Mint Cafe in Cleveland

Every Thanksgiving I head to my hometown, Cleveland, to visit my family. People talk a lot of shit about the "mistake on the lake," but I must say, I'm quite fond of it. There's all kinds of delicious foods to be had (way more than my current digs, Columbia, MO).

Today I caught up with a friend at Mint Cafe in Coventry, a really cute area of Cleveland Heights. I got really amazing, greasy, delicious crazy noodles, which is pretty much a different name for standard drunken noodles. I was particularly thrilled because noteworthy Thai food is hard to come by in Columbia, thus my standards have been lowered significantly since leaving NYC in August.
Crazy noodles met my NYC Thai food standards and were fucking delicious, if i do say so myself. The soft wide rice noodles were stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, egg, onion, carrots, broccoli a chili laden soy sauce and basil leaves. They went a little heavy on the onions, but that was cool with me. All in all, my lunch was a delight.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Roasted Carrots Tossed in Dill

When I was in Columbia last week, I was invited to an early Thanksgiving dinner (which was unfortunately canceled...bummer). Anywho, I'd already peeled 4 pounds of carrots when I found out dinner was off, so you'd better believe I proceeded to roast the hell out of my carrots and toss them with dill once they were nice and caramelized.
Roasted Carrots Tossed in Dill
4 lbs carrots, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut carrots diagonally in 3/4-1 inch-thick slices. Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan in 1 layer and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until brown and tender. Toss carrots with dill , season to taste, serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Italian Style Cabbage Soup

Costing less than $1.50 per very filling serving, this rustic cabbage soup is perfect for weeks when you're hurting for money (thanks recession).

I've had a head of cabbage in my veggie drawer for the last 2 weeks and today, I decided to show it some love by making cabbage soup for lunch. Cooking cabbage with tomatoes is fabulous because it brings out a subtle sweet and sour flavor. Punch that tang up with ground pepper to taste (I used approx 1/4 tsp) and you've got a nice flavor profile that suggests you simmered this soup for at least an hour, despite the fact that from start to finish it took a mere half hour.
Ingredients (serves one very hungry girl):
2 cups veggie broth
1/2 of a 14 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes (you can used diced if you want, but I like the rough shapes you get from just smashing the tomatoes in your hand)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 head of white cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
1 clove of crushed garlic
1/4 small white onion roughly diced
5 leaves of basil cut in a chiffonade
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions in olive oil until translucent, add garlic, pepper and cabbage. Stir fry contents of pan for 2-3 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes (smashed into smaller pieces if you're going that route) and liquid from can. Add thyme and oregano and stir. Simmer for 15-20 minutes and add basil. Salt and pepper to taste.