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Friday, January 27, 2012

Coconut Chicken

Ever have one of those days where 101 recipes come mind but none of them sound good?  That happened tonight - so I turned to my computer and Pinterest - I typed in "chicken" and perused through the pictures looking for something different. This recipe caught my eye because, I love Coconut Shrimp. I seldom get to indulge in them due to the persnickety eaters that reside in my home. So I thought  I'd give Coconut Chicken a shot.
Ok so this is not the best picture - the link has much better pictures - I think it's finally time to invest in a new camera. 

1st the text message to all family member to make sure the majority will eat coconut. 
all but 1 - she can have something else. 
Next - do I have all the ingredients. 
Ok so I didn't have the Sweet Chili sauce but as one person commented on her blog - I had Agave & Sambal Oelek this was wonderful. Something I might try the next time I make this, (and I will) will be some Orange Marmalade with some Sambal Oelek.   Anyone wondering what this Sambal Oelek is - it is found in the Asian foods section of your local grocer. it is a chili pepper based sauce, but warning - a little bit goes a long, long way.

This was a big hit with my family, I think Andrew went back for 3rds. Might have to make these for the Superbowl.... Give it a try, let me know what you think. 

Have fun Cookin'

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Orange Chicken & Egg Rolls

Many years ago I was in charge of the Blue and Gold Banquet for the Cub Scouts in our area. Our theme was the Orient - I consulted  my committee and one of them had a recipe for homemade egg rolls. She kindly volunteered to make them as part of our dinner. One taste and I was hooked, I asked for her recipe. 

The other day at the store Becka and were walking through the produce department and they had a larger that normal display of egg roll wrappers (assuming for the up coming Chinese New Year (Jan, 23, 2012)), and she commented that home made egg rolls sounded good. Sorry to say these are a bit time consuming. So I told her I would get the ingredients and she could make them seeing that she was out of school last Friday. So as I was at work I kept getting texts, "Do I drain the meat? What are Bean Sprouts?" as I explained to her where to find these - I was pleasantly surprised to come home to her rolling egg rolls and they smelled amazing. She then reminded me that we had a bunch of oranges and Orange chicken sounded good. She found a recipe and as I was frying the egg rolls she started on it - they both turned out Amazing! so I am sharing them with you today. 

Egg Rolls

3-4 pkg Egg roll skins (5x5)                                                     *Seasoning
4 celery stocks                                                                      ½ tsp Pepper
1/3 lb Bean Sprouts                                                              ½ tsp Garlic
4 Med onions                                                                         ½ tsp Celery salt
2 Med heads of Cabbage                                                    1 tsp salt
1/2 Lb Carrots                                                                       1/4 tsp Bon Appetite
4c Meat                                                                                   ¼-1/2 Chili powder
1 can water chestnuts sliced                                                 ¼ c Soy Sauce

Directions: Cook meat. Grind/chop veggies. Mix in large bowl & add seasoning. Mixture should be moist, squeeze a handful- If it drips, good; if dry add a little water. Do not saturate. Place one large spoonful of mixture in to egg roll skin. Fry in electric skillet at 350°

Some short cuts we found work well is on the cabbage - we bought the Cole slaw shreds, we also omitted the Bon Appetite (this is MSG) because of allergies. Our favorite choice of meat is ground turkey, however ground beef and pork is good too. 

Orange Chicken

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 eggs                                                                               1 1/2 teaspoons salt
White pepper                                                                    oil ( for frying)
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus                                                   1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup flour

Place chicken pieces in large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well. Stir cornstarch and flour together. Mix flour mixture and egg mixture. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375°. Add chicken, small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp. (Do not overcook chicken). Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; set aside.

Orange Sauce for Stir Fry

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce                                             1 1/2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons sugar                                                            5 tablespoons white vinegar
Zest of 2 oranges,

Combine and set aside. 

1 tablespoon ginger root, minced                                         1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili peppers                        1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon rice wine (or substitute water)                        1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Heat  skillet (or Wok) 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds. Add and stir-fry crushed chilies and green onions.  Add rice wine (or water) and stir 3 seconds. Add 1st mixture and bring to boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and add to chicken. Heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in sesame oil and additional orange zest if desired. Serve over rice.

Note: I do not own a Wok I just used my skillet  on my stove and this worked beautifully.  

Have fun Cookin'

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ham/Clam Chowder

Today we awoke to a long awaited, 6" of new snow, and it screamed to me - SOUP DAY! I was tossing a couple of different kinds and this is the one that won out. I am sure I'll be making the other soon and I'll share it as soon as I make it. 

Ham / Clam Chowder

Today was Ham / Clam Chowder

1 C Butter, divided
2 C Chopped Onions
6 C Diced Potatoes
1 C Chopped Celery
16 oz Heavy Cream
1 16 oz Sour Cream
½ C Flour
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
2 C Milk
1 8 oz Package Diced Ham
2 6.5 oz Cans Chopped Clams (do not drain)
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

Sauté onions and celery in ½ C butter, add diced potatoes and cover with water, cook till tender.  In a separate pan melt ½ C butter stir in flour to make a roux, thin with the heavy cream, sour cream then with milk. Mix the roux into the vegetables, season with salt and pepper. At this point, because I have family members who dislike seafood, I split this into 2 pans and in one I add the package of ham and to the other the clams. Add red wine vinegar, and heat through.

Topping ideas for the Ham Chowder, shredded cheese, bacon, or green onions. 

Some of the variations I have made with this is to add a can of Cream Corn, and if I do not have any ham I've been known to add chopped up chicken. I have also mixed in a couple of cups of cheese to make this more like a baked potato soup. This is a very hearty soup, by all means this is not a "low fat" recipe. It is truly a comfort food. It was perfect on this snowy January afternoon. 

Hope you enjoy. 
Have fun Cookin'

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mock Sourdough

Many of you may have now heard about the website Pinterest - when I was writing my blog the other day I searched Pinterest to see what they had to say about sourdough. I came across this recipe and wanted to see how it compares.  Mock Sourdough. Today I decided that bread sticks sounded good to go along with Spaghetti for dinner. I followed this recipe and added some variations, chopped Parmesan cheese, and some chopped garlic. I kneaded these in after the 1st raise, then shaped them into bread sticks.

I topped them with some more Parmesan cheese (grated). Baked them according to the recipe. They turned out marvelously, and tasted wonderful. I will make these again!
Thank you,  Nicole!

Have fun Cookin'

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sourdough Bread

In my quest to find my recipes for the World Championship Dutch Oven Cook Off, I have been reading and trying many different Bread recipes. Recipes that use water some that use milk, some that use powdered milk, some with Sourdough, bread flour vs regular flour vs whole wheat flour. There are so many variables when it comes to making bread. I shared the Lion House Rolls last month - they are pretty much a staple now for holiday dinners. I have been playing with Sourdough again, what can I say I'm addicted to sourdough bread, and well, so is my son. 

This past week I have been off work for the holidays, paired with getting the most awesome Christmas present ever - A Bosch Mixer, lets just say let the creating begin. I am sharing one of the recipes I was playing with that turned out beautiful and tasty. 

Sour Dough

4 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp white sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 ¼ tsp SAF dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 tbsps margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

Egg wash
1 large egg
1 tsp water

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast. Add milk and softened butter or margarine. Stir in starter. Mix in up to 3 3/4 cups flour gradually; you may need more depending on your climate.
 Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to oil surface, and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.
Punch down, and let rest 15 minutes. Form loaves. Brush top with egg wash. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, or till golden brown.

To this basic recipe I experimented by adding various cheeses, onions, garlic, etc. mixing them in after you punch down the dough. 

I encourage you to try this recipe and be creative with your mix in's. 

I have to add this note: When I created My sourdough start last year at this time - I managed to keep it pretty healthy until about June when it sort of got neglected and I had to toss it out - This time I got a start from a friend at work who told me he keeps his in the fridge and only feeds it about once about every two weeks or when he is going to use it. I have followed his example and so far so good. 
This is where I learned how to start a Sourdough starter and how to care for it. Sourdough Starter - this is found near the end of his page - Scroll down... Here is another great place to read up about Sourdough. Northwest Sourdough

Have fun cookin'
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