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

Chicken Adobo

So I mentioned recently how much I prefer chicken breasts to chicken legs or thighs. Every once in a while though, I try to convince myself that I actually do like dark meat, because there’ll be an awesome sale on it that I just can’t resist, and it’s regular price is always sooooo much cheaper! A couple of months ago there was an awesome sale on thighs and legs, and I picked up a bunch. The price was just too good to resist. I used a few, but the remaining chicken went into my freezer where it has lingered for a while now. Since I am still on “Operation Clean Out the Fridge” I knew I needed to use up those thighs and legs… but what should I make? Chicken adobo popped into my mind. I made it probably over a year ago, and it was delicious, so I decided it was the perfect recipe to make. It’s one of only a few ways I’ve actually enjoyed eating chicken thighs…. and bonus, I had all the ingredients!! It’s amazing how only a few ingredients which are already staples in my pantry, can make such a flavorful and delicious meal. Soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, water, garlic, and pepper, and of course the chicken, are all you need.  I served my chicken over rice to take advantage of the delicious sauce! Yum!

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Abobo

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce (I used reduced sodium soy sauce)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3 lbs chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and legs)

Directions:

1. Place a large skillet or crockpot over medium-high heat, and add all the ingredients except for the chicken. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken in a single layer, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, turning chicken halfway through.

2. Preheat the broiler, and place one of the racks 3-4 inches from the heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. When the chicken is done, place on the baking sheet, leaving the sauce in the skillet or Dutch oven. Broil the chicken for 5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, place the skillet or Dutch oven with the sauce back on the stove over high heat. Bring to a rapid boil, and cook until the sauce is reduced to about a cup. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Source: All Day I Dream About Food

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

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

I think a recurring theme on my blog seems to be a love for quick and easy meals. Most of the meals I cook are weeknight meals. Meals that have to be pretty simple to put together since I am usually exhausted when I get home from work. I love meals that have simple ingredients, easy prep, but are still full of delicious and exciting flavors. I love to cook the more elaborate meal from time to time (usually this can only happen on the weekend), but I’d estimate that probably more than 75% of the things I cook are of the quick and easy variety, and this is something I have no problem with. Stir-fries are one of my go-to weeknight meals. I’m always on the lookout for a good one. I love that stir-fries encompass both protein and veggies, eliminating the need for multiple side dishes, and other than the prep work of slicing and dicing your ingredients, the actual cooking part is very quick. I also love the flavors that go into a stir-fry- soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey in this one for example, chile sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce in others… This shrimp and broccoli stir-fry makes for a wonderful weeknight (or weekend) meal. It comes together quickly, is healthy, and most importantly, is very tasty! I loved the slight sweetness from the honey, spiciness from the red pepper flakes, the saltiness from the soy sauce, and the tang from the rice vinegar. A great balance of flavors!

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided

1/4 cup scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups broccoli florets

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add the cornstarch and toss together. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan, and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the shrimp from the pan (place in a bowl or plate).

2. Add 1 1/2 tsp of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic, and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the scallion mixture to the same dish that the shrimp is on.

3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, and add the broccoli. Cook for about 1 1/2-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp/scallion mixture, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute more until the shrimp are cooked through and the broccoli is tender. Serve over rice if desired.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2013

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

Mushroom and Shrimp Noodle Bowls

I subscribe to a lot of food magazines- Cook’s Illustrated, Bon Appetit and Every Day with Rachel Ray among others. While I find some of the things in Rachel Ray’s magazine a little hokey (such as the nicknames for certain foods), and there are months where I’m not really compelled to make any recipes, there are other times where I get one of her magazines and I want to make everything, and this is what keeps me a subscriber. That, and I’ve yet to make a recipe of hers and not like it. This past issue (the April issue) was one of the later. There were so many recipes I wanted to try, and up first were these mushroom and shrimp noodle bowls. Making this recipe also gave me an excuse to buy five-spice powder, an ingredient that I’ve never cooked with before. I loved the complexity it gave this dish, and while it still would have been tasty without it, it gave it a little extra something that added more interest to these noodle bowls. There are many variants of five-spice powder, so depending on the mixture you buy it could contain star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, fennel (these five are common ingredients), anise, ginger, nutmeg, tumeric, black pepper, orange peel or galangal. Therefore, your noodle bowls may have variation in flavor depending on the brand of five-spice powder. I bought a blend at Whole Foods (the only blend I could find), and theirs contained orange peel, tamari powder, lemon peel and organic spices (which spices are not specified). Regardless of what may or may not have been in the mix, I loved the flavors in this dish.

Mushroom and Shrimp Noodle Bowls

Mushroom and Shrimp Noodle Bowls

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Salt and pepper

1 lb spaghetti (regular or whole wheat)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

3/4 mixed mushrooms (i.e. shiitake, cremini, hen-of-the-woods or maitake)

1/4 head savoy or napa cabbage, thinly sliced

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1 small red chile pepper, thinly sliced

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated

1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1/4 cup tamari, soy sauce, or liquid amino

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook spaghetti until al dente.

2. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry 3-4 minutes until any liquid evaporated, and they become browned. Add the cabbage, scallions, chile pepper, garlic and ginger. Season with pepper. Stir-fry, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the shrimp and the five-spice powder. Stir-fry, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes until the shrimp turn pink. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and the tamari or soy sauce, lower the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the shrimp are cooked through.

4. Serve the mushroom and shrimp mixture over the pasta. Either mix together, or place the pasta in bowls and ladle the shrimp-mushroom mixture over the top.

Source: Every Day with Rachel Ray, April 2013

 

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