Sticky Sesame Wings

I always know a recipe is good when Ron requests that I make it again as soon as we’re done eating… and I know it’s especially awesome when he requests I make it for his birthday dinner! This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is one of those awesome recipes. In my book Deb over at Smitten Kitchen can do no wrong… I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that she’s writing a new cookbook! This dish is so simple, pretty much foolproof, and perfect for a weeknight dinner, or birthday feast!

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Sticky Sesame Wings

Serves 4 (in theory……)

Ingredients:

3 lbs chicken wings (I used the small party wings from Whole Foods- in my opinion they are the perfect size)
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp honey (more or less to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of sriracha
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 scallion, finely chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with baking foil, and spray with nonstick cooking spray or oil.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, salt, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, and cayenne or sriracha. Add the wings, and mix until well covered with sauce. Place in a single layer on the baking sheet, and pour any sauce that remains in the bowl on top.

3. Bake for about 35 minutes, turning once.

4. When cooked through, toss with the toasted sesame seeds and scallions.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

 

A few years ago, in The New York Times dining section, there was an article all about how to cook chicken breasts in a way that would make them non-boring. Now, I know it’s not the popular opinion, but I actually favor the taste of chicken breast over chicken thighs and legs. I guess I’d have to say I prefer milder meat in general, and so the stronger flavor of dark meat can be off-putting to me sometimes. I was excited about this article, because, while I cook a lot of recipes with chicken breasts, these promised to appeal to even the non-white meat chicken lover. My plan was to try them all (which I have yet to accomplish), and this is the first one I decided to try, and have made several times since. This dish is a winner! It’s pretty simple- just make a flavorful chicken broth, gently cook your chicken in it. Blend together your garlic-chile-ginger sauce. Assemble your dinner with your chicken, veggies, herbs and sauces topping some rice, and you are good to go! The garlic-chile-ginger sauce is fantastic! I love this stuff, and find myself adding more and more to my dish… but beware, eating a lot of it can cause the garlic to radiate from your pores the next day. I may or may not know this from experience. It’s worth it though!

Gently Cooked Chicken with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Gently Cooked Chicken Breasts with Garlic-Chile-Ginger Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 5-inch long piece ginger root, peeled

8 large garlic cloves

4 jalapeno peppers

1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice, more to taste

Cooked rice, for serving

Sesame oil, for drizzling

1 bunch roughly chopped basil, for serving

1 bunch roughly chopped cilantro, for serving

1 bunch thinly sliced scallions, for serving

1 European cucumber, thinly sliced, for serving

Directions:

1. Cut each chicken breast in quarters, lengthwise and crosswise. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Take peeled ginger root, and thinly slice about an inch of it. Add to a large pot or dutch oven. Coarsely chop the rest and put into a blender. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves and add to the pot. Coarsely chop the rest of the garlic, and add to the blender. Thinly slice 2 of the jalapeno peppers, and add to the pot. Halve the remaining jalapenos, remove the seeds, coarsely chop, and add to the blender.

3. Add the chicken broth to the pot with the ginger, garlic and jalapeno and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, bring back to a simmer, cover the pot, and turn off the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Check for doneness, and if not cooked through after sitting for 10 minutes, bring back to a simmer, turn off the heat once more, and let sit for a couple minutes more. When done, transfer to a cutting board and thinly slice. Strain the broth if desired.

4. Add the soy sauce and sugar to a small bowl, and stir together to combine, and to dissolve the sugar.

5. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and 1/4 cup of the broth in which you cooked the chicken, to the blender. Blend until smooth. If necessary, add a little more broth. Taste. and season with salt and more lime juice to taste.

6. To serve: ladle cooked rice into a bowl. Top with the sliced chicken, a few tablespoons of broth, a drizzle of the soy sauce-sugar mixture, and a little bit of sesame oil. Top with desired amounts of herbs, cucumber slices, and scallions. Serve the garlic-chile-ginger sauce on the side, along with more sweet soy sauce and sesame oil if desired.

Source: The New York Times Dining Section, January 2010

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

I’m always trying to incorporate more seafood into my weekly meal plans. Number 1) because seafood is one of my favorite things ever: and number 2) because it’s super-healthy for you! The expense is what deters me most of the time, that, and the fact that finding sustainable and environmentally friendly seafood options can be a little intimidating. Luckily, I have the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch app downloaded on my phone, which helps a lot! It’s always being updated, and gives good options for alternatives, if the type of seafood a recipe calls for is not sustainable. Tilapia is a sustainable seafood choice, plus it is relatively inexpensive, so it is one that I buy occasionally. Also, it is a very mild fish, which lends itself to much variation. I know that there is some controversy surrounding tilapia (the ratio of types of fatty acids, for example), but isn’t there controversy surrounding most foods? It’s so hard to navigate all of that, but I really do as best I can to chose foods that are sustainable, environmentally friendly, organic, fair trade, grass fed, etc… as far as my budget allows. 

This recipe could be used with any mild white fish.  The flavors are excellent- I pretty much love anything with the combination of ginger and garlic, and the jalapeno and cilantro make this fish even better! This is a great meal to make on a weeknight, as the prep is really simple, and the fish cooks so quickly. I served this with jasmine rice, and roasted asparagus. 

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 lb tilapia filets (Farmed tilapia is a sustainable seafood choice!)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1-inch fresh ginger (about 1 Tbsp)

1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (optional)

1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup white wine

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

Scallions, chopped, for garnish

Extra cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Pat fish dry, and season with salt and pepper. Place in a 8×8 or 9×9 glass baking dish.

2. Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeno (if using), cilantro, white wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil to a small food processor. Process until blended.

3. Pour the sauce on the fish, rubbing it in a bit. Place in the oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through.

4. Serve immediately.

Source: www.thekitchn.com

Shrimp Potstickers with Scallion Dipping Sauce

What a week, huh? I for one am glad it’s over, and I’m hoping the week will be a calmer, happier, and more peaceful one! I don’t want to dwell on the negative, and so I’ve decided to focus on the positive of this week- green grass, buds and flowers on the trees, buying some pansies to plant, celebrating my mom’s birthday, and working on some spring cleaning and organization! We celebrated my mom’s birthday yesterday with a delicious meal made by my brother and his girlfriend- asparagus with burrata, bacon and almonds…escarole with candied walnuts, pears and a blue cheese dressing… homemade pasta with a tomato, eggplant and olive sauce! They are both such good cooks, and very adventurous in the kitchen. They are not afraid to make anything, including homemade croissants and corned beef, among other things. I have to admit that I’m a bit more timid when it comes to cooking complicated and elaborate recipes, although I’m working on that. I made the dessert- a chocolate stout bundt cake with a ganache frosting (the recipe was the same as the Guinness Chocolate cupcakes), and Carrot Cake cupcakes with molasses-cream cheese icing (recipe coming soon). I was so stuffed by the end of the night I could barely move. It was worth it though!

Potstickers are something that I was very intimidated to make the first time I decided to make homemade ones, but they are actually very simple to make. The assembly is the only thing that takes a little time, but one you get the hang of it, it moves very quickly. An awesome part of making dumplings is that you can make a bunch, and then freeze whatever you aren’t using that day, and then have a delicious appetizer waiting whenever you need it! I love to make extra for that purpose. These shrimp potstickers were wonderful, as was the dipping sauce. The flavors of garlic, ginger, scallions and soy sauce go together so well, and create such a flavorful dumpling!

Shrimp Potstickers with Dipping Sauce

Shrimp Potstickers

Makes about 40 dumplings

Ingredients:

1/2 head napa cabbage, chopped fine

3/4 tsp salt

12 oz shrimp (any size), peeled and deveined

4 scallions, minced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

4 tsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 garlic clove, minced

About 40 wonton wrappers (My package had 48 wrappers)

8 tsp vegetable oil

About 2 cups water, plus extra for moistening wrappers

1 recipe scallion dipping sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:

1. Set a colander over a bowl, and in it toss together the cabbage and the salt. Let stand about 20 minutes until the cabbage has slightly wilted. Press the cabbage against the colander with a rubber spatula to press out the excess moisture.

2. Add the shrimp to a food processor, and pulse about 10 times, until the shrimp is chopped up pretty finely.

3. Add the shrimp to a medium bowl, along with the cabbage, scallions, egg, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and pepper. Mix together thoroughly to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the refridgerator to chill. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours.

4. When chilled, make the dumplings! Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to place finished potstickers on. To make the potstickers, take a wonton wrapper (covering the rest with a damp paper towel, or plastic wrap), and place on a clean surface. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of filling into the center of a wrapper. Moisten 2 sides of the wrapper, and fold in half to make a triangle. Press together with your fingers to seal. Place the finished potsticker on the prepared baking sheet and continue making the rest. When all are assembled, you can either cook them immediately, or freeze them for the future. (To freeze, place baking sheet in your freezer with the assembled dumplings, covered with plastic wrap. Let freeze for several hours, and then transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Do not thaw before cooking.)

5. To cook, place a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium high heat, and brush with 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Add the potstickers, in the pan, flat side down (10-12 per batch). It’s okay if the dumpling touch each other, or overlap very slightly). Cook for 5 minutes, until the undersides are golden brown (do not move the dumplings, just lift a little to check for browning).

6. Reduce the heat to low, add 1/2 cup water, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes. Then, uncover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 3-4 minutes longer (without moving), until the bottoms of the potstickers are brown and crisp, and the water is evaporated. Remove the potstickers to a plate lined with a couple of paper towels to adsorb the oil.

7. Repeat process with remaining potstickers. Serve with scallion dipping sauce!

Source: barely adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Scallion Dipping Sauce

Makes 3/4 cup

Ingredients:

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp mirin

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp chili oil (optional)

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 scallion, minced

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix together. Serve with potstickers!

Source: The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Green beans are one of the few vegetables I can actually get my boyfriend Ron to eat happily, and roasting them is his favorite way to eat them. The first time I roasted green beans they were roasted and then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese (I will be sure to post that recipe in the near future), so when I saw that the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook had several variations of roasted green beans I got quite excited! I chose these roasted sesame green beans to go alongside the ginger-hoisin glazed shrimp because I figured the flavors would go together perfectly, and they absolutely did! I love how roasting the green beans makes them slightly crispy, and adds just another layer of flavor to them. This is a wonderfully easy, but not boring at all, side dish- perfect for a busy weekday night!

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp honey

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 lb Green Beans, trimmed

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tsp sesame seeds, toasted*

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the sesame oil, honey, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger. Set aside.

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and on the baking sheet toss together the green beans and olive oil. Add the 1/2 tsp of salt, and mix together. Spread out in an even layer.

3. Place in oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, pour the garlic-ginger sauce over the beans, and toss with tongs. Place back in the oven and back for another 10-12 minutes, until the beans are starting to shrivel and are dark in spots.

4. Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. (You may use less than the entire 4 tsp of sesame seeds.)

Source: The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

*To toast the sesame seeds, either toast in heavy skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, or you can toast them in a preheated 350 degree oven for a few minutes- I’d start checking them around 3 minutes, as they can go from perfect to burnt very quickly.

 

Kale and Coconut Salad

I’ve had this recipe on my radar to try ever since I saw it on a couple of my favorite blogs- first Shutterbean and then Joy the Baker.  After seeing many bloggers posting recipes from Heidi Swanson‘s cookbook Super Natural Every Day, which this recipe is from, I had to buy it myself.   I guess you could call it peer pressure- but the good kind, not the jumping off a cliff kind.  After going to the farmer’s market today, and buying a ginormous bunch of kale, I knew that tonight was the perfect night to finally try out this recipe.  I already had the coconut from some granola I made a few weeks ago, and the other ingredients are all pantry staples for me…. it was just meant to be!  Perfect for a night when my meat-loving boyfriend is at work, and it’s just me at home, left to my own devices…. which also includes watching episodes of “Friends” back to back to back, menu planning for next week, and general laziness!  Hey, I already did my workout this morning, so that justifies being lazy for the rest of the day!  I guess this is what constitutes a wild and crazy Friday night when you’re 29 1/2 🙂

This turned out to be everything I wanted it to be.  Crunchy, chewy, salty, and just downright tasty.  I loved it and could easily have eaten the whole batch in one sitting.  Darn you portion control!!  I had some brown rice in my freezer that I heated up to go with this (seriously one of the best things to do ever- precooking long cooking grains in big batches and freezing for later), and squirted on a touch of sriracha (thanks Joy the Baker for the idea!), and it was sooooooo good.  I didn’t even use half of my kale for this salad, so I envision lots of this salad in the next few days- I could easily eat it for every meal.

Kale and Coconut Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp shoyu, tamari or soy sauce
3 1/2 cups lightly packed cups kale (3.5 oz/100 grams)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened large-flake coconut (3 oz/85 grams)
1 cup uncooked farro, brown rice, quinoa or other whole grain

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook your grain according to package directions.
3. Trim the stems of your kale, remove the large ribs, and chop.  Mix the kale and coconut together in a large bowl.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  Pour about 2/3 of it into the bowl with the kale and coconut, and toss well.
5. Spread kale and coconut mixture on a large baking sheet, and bake for 11-18 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Bake until the coconut is golden brown. and the kale is crispy. 
6. Remove from oven, taste, and if desired add more of the leftover dressing.
7. Serve on top of your grain.

Enjoy!!

Source: Super Natural Every Day