Saturday, May 21, 2011

chicken chow mein

I got Jeremy the book "Jamie's Food Revolution" for his birthday. We both read through the whole book within a couple days of getting it, and we both wanted to make this dish first! We got some lovely baby bok choy at a local Farmer's market and we gave it a go! It is fairly simple to make and pretty quick. A couple days later I improvised the same recipe but was missing about 3-4 of the ingredients, but still tasted good. So what I learned from this, is that Jamie teaches you how to use a wok and basic components and you can start making up your own stuff with what you have in your fridge and pantry.
I highly recommend the book.

chicken chow mein (my slightly modified version):
[2 servings]

• a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
• 2 cloves of garlic
• a squirt of Sriracha sauce
• 1 large skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 green onions, sliced
• a small bunch of cilantro
• 1 bok choy (he says spinach is a fine substitute if you don't have bok choy)
• a bundle of medium egg noodles
• vegetable oil (if I had peanut oil, I would have used that)
• 1 heaped teaspoon corn starch
• a small can of water chestnuts
• 2–3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 small lime

To prepare your stir-fry
• Boil a pot of water (for the noodles and bok choy)
• Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic
• Slice the chicken into finger-sized strips and lightly season with salt and pepper
• Cut the ends off your green onions and finely slice
• Pick the cilantro leaves and put to one side, and finely chop the cilantro stalks
• Halve the bok choi lengthways

To cook your stir-fry
• Preheat a wok or large frying pan on a high heat and once it’s very, very hot add a good lug of peanut (or vegetable) oil and swirl it around
• Stir in the chicken strips and cook for a couple of minutes, until the chicken browns slightly
• Add the ginger, garlic, chilli, cilantro stalks, and half the green onions
• Stir-fry for 30 seconds, keeping everything moving round the wok quickly
• Add your noodles and bok choy to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, no longer
• Meanwhile, add the corn starch, water chestnuts and their water to the wok and give it another good shake to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom
• Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
• Halve the lime, squeeze the juice of one half into the pan and mix well
• Drain the noodles and bok choi in a colander over a bowl, reserving a little of the cooking water
• Stir in the noodles and bok choi, with a little of the cooking water to loosen if necessary, and mix well
• Have a taste and season with more soy sauce if needed

To serve your stir-fry
• Use tongs to divide everything between two bowls or plates, or to lift on to one large serving platter
• Spoon any juices over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the green onions and the cilantro leaves
• Serve with lime wedges

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thai Peanut Noodles

Like I said yesterday, I love the Our Best Bites cookbook. This recipe is from their cookbook, as well. This was Jeremy's birthday dinner request. I've had it flagged ever since I bought the book. This was delicious, and I quote Jeremy "heaven in my mouth". Pretty simple and quick to make. Chicken is listed only as side note as optional. However, I think it's a must! Especially when you are feeding a hungry man. :-)

This recipe has been added to our regular dinner rotation.

Thai Peanut Noodles:

1 chicken breast, very thinly sliced
1/2 c. chicken broth
3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1-2 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce (1 is mild with a bite, 1.5 is medium, 2 is hot)
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
8 oz. Udon or linguine noodles
Chopped green onions
Chopped cilantro
2 limes, cut into quarters
Chopped peanuts

1. Cook noodles in salted water.
2. Stir-fry very thinly-sliced chicken in some olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic, some fresh ginger, some green onions, soy sauce, and a small squirt or two of Sriracha chili sauce.
3. In the meantime, combine chicken broth, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat.
4. Toss cooked noodles with sauce and divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, chopped peanuts, and garnish each serving with 2 lime quarters.
5. Before eating, squeeze lime juice over noodles and stir to combine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cheese Steak Sandwich

I found this recipe in my Our Best Bites cookbook (which I absolutely love). Sometimes I forget that you can serve a sandwich for dinner...but since this is warm, and involves steak, I think it's totally appropriate for dinner. Both Jeremy and I loved this sandwich, we had it again the next night.

On a side note, my SIL Brittany just told me there is a Our Best Bites cookbook signing in Seattle/Bellevue next weekend! It's now on my calendar!

Cheese Steak Sandwiches:

1 lb. steak (you really can use any cut; since you’re going to slice it up and season it heavily, there’s really no need to splurge on a fillet mignon.)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 green bell pepper
1 medium yellow onion
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Hot sauce (our favorite is Crystal)
4 Hoagie French rolls

1. Cut steak VERY thin, and set aside. (Get your husband to do it, if he's good with a knife. :-)
2. Slice bell peppers and onions. Set aside.
3. Heat 2 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add steak and stir-fry. Season heavily with salt and lots of freshly-ground pepper.
4. When meat is about half-cooked, add peppers and onions. Stir occasionally, cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated and meat is cooked through.
5. Season with hot sauce to taste. Just a little bit for me.
6. Turn broiler on high. Position sliced buns on baking sheet and spoon steak mixture inside. Top with cheese and place under broiler for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is slightly toasty.

This sandwich is JUICY GOOD!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stuffed Spinach Shells

(I'm really embarrassed about the lame photos for this post. I'll try not to use iphone anymore!! But still wanted to post this recipe b/c it's really yummy!!!)

I've always loved food. I grew up in New Orleans, and in my opinion ate at the best restaurants in the world. Ok, I guess I can't say "world", because I'm definitely not a "world traveler"- The only place I've been out of the country is Mexico. Anyways, my heart (and taste buds) are in New Orleans. When I was in High School, I applied to a favorite local Italian restaurant, Figaro's, close to my (childhood) home on a whim, and was hired that same day. One of my favorite things there was their Stuffed Pasta Shells. And it also reminds me of my mom, too, she would always order it. So I tried to find a close enough recipe to resemble this said stuffed shell recipe. After searching around, this is what I found.

On a side note, my 14 month old LOVES LOVES LOVES this. She wanted to eat the whole pan. And she had leftovers again and again until they were all gone.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells
(Makes 6 servings)

6 oz jumbo shell pasta (1/2 a standard box or about 20 shells)
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 can (or jar) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups grated Fontina or mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg
freshly ground black pepper
24 oz jar marinara sauce

1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions, drain well and let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Combine ricotta, garlic, spinach, artichokes, 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan and the egg. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper (you won’t need much salt since the cheese is salty).
4. Spread a cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish.
5. Fill the cooked shells with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture. Arrange the shells in rows in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the remaining Fontina and Parmesan.

6. Bake covered with foil for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Breakfast Burritos

First of all, sorry for the lazy iphone photo. :-( Sometimes it's just too convenient. Every now and then I like to shake up the usual boring breakfasts (bagels with cream cheese and strawberries, cereal, Greek vanilla yogurt with granola and fruit, and our latest easy kick--cinnamon rolls from the refrigerated can) and make a yummy warm breakfast burrito. It takes more effort but boy is it worth it! I tried to copy my absolute favorite Breakfast Burrito of all time from Rooster Cafe in Costa Mesa, near my previous job at Rauxa.

So here is the rundown of what I like to put in my burrito:
  • Thick slices of bacon, chopped in big pieces.
  • Crunchy shredded hashbrowns cooked in above mentioned bacon grease
  • Light and fluffy scrambled eggs (with a wee bit of milk mixed in egg mixture). do not overcook eggs!!
  • Shredded (sharp or medium) cheddar cheese
  • Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Freshly made salsa - but that isn't always handy, so the salsa in the jar will have to do the majority of the time.