Thursday, March 25, 2010

Curry Chicken Tenders

So, my posts have been kind of sparse lately. There’s a few reasons for that.
  1. Work has picked up and I’ve been getting home later, 8pm is no time to start cooking dinner.
  2. Gary’s home now, so I’ve been leaving the cooking up to him. I rather enjoy coming home with dinner ready for me.
  3. I’ve been in a cooking and baking rut, and have no new ideas of what to cook; although I keep flagging recipes to make.
  4. My baking itch is pretty much dormant right now.
So, with Gary cooking almost every night, we’ve been eating meals we’ve made before with a few new ones mixed in. Gary saw this recipe for satay chicken tenders and decided to try it. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the few spicy things I can tolerate is curry. I love curry chicken, so this was a good choice any day of the week.

curry chicken tenders

The original recipe called for chicken tenders, but any part of the chicken will do. We used a chicken breast for this and pounded it with a meat mallet to tenderize. He also used half the amount of curry powder stated, but I recommend using the full amount (as written below) because it could have used that extra kick. Martin Yan heats the remaining marinade to pour over the chicken, but I didn’t have any excess left.

Grilled Curry Chicken Tenders
adapted from: Martin Yan Quick and Easy
printable recipe

2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP curry powder
1 TBSP packed brown sugar
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 lb chicken breast

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except chicken. Set aside.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place chicken on top and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet with the flat side. Remove plastic wrap. Cut into 1 inch wide strips against the grain at an angle. Add chicken into the marinade, mixing well to coat evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up the grill (foreman, grill pan, etc). Place chicken on the George Foreman grill, cook for 2-3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.

If you do have reserved marinade left over, you can heat it up in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Pour the sauce over the chicken before serving.

Serves 4

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Recently, Gary has had some free time on his hands (read: he’s no longer employed), so he decided to use some of his time productively. He decided he wanted to experiment in the kitchen. He started out with Martin Yan’s quick and easy cookbook (recipe post to come soon), and he started looking through The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook written by Jaden Hair from Steamy Kitchen. He’s made a few recipes from the cookbook already, and they’ve been great so far. I think it’s very well written, and the instructions are clear for someone who is beginning in the kitchen. Her recipes also remind me of things I ate growing up at home. I think I need to start asking my mom how she made all those thing I used to love eating as well…

One of the first recipes Gary tried out was this sweet and sour chicken recipe. Sweet and sour chicken is one of our favorite things to order at the local fast food places, but the deep fried greasiness isn’t so great all the time. As Jaden said, this recipe is a great lightened up version of the fast food favorite.

I was pretty bummed when Gary told me he was making this because I ended up working late that night. So instead of eating it right after it was made, I ended up eating it for lunch the next day. I asked him to take a picture for me, so this is what he got.


Other than the fact that Gary used half a 20 oz can of crushed pineapple instead of cutting up the can of rings that were in the pantry, he pretty much stayed true to the original recipe.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
adapted from: Steamy Kitchen via Simply Recipes

printable recipe

1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1" chunks
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 10-ounce can pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
1/4 cup juice from the canned pineapple
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cooking oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

    In a bowl, combine the chicken with the egg white, salt and cornstarch. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

    In the meantime, whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, salt, and brown sugar.

    Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Pour in the 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and swirl to coat. It's important that the pan is very hot. Add the chicken and spread the chicken out in one layer. Let the chicken fry, untouched for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Flip and fry the other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken should still be pinkish in the middle. Dish out the chicken onto a clean plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

    Turn the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of cooking oil. Let the oil heat up and then add the bell pepper chunks and ginger. Fry for 1 minute. Add the pineapple chunks and the sweet and sour sauce. Turn the heat to high and when the sauce is simmering, add the chicken pieces back in. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Timing depends on how thick you've cut your chicken. The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to take a piece out and cut into it. If it's pink, add another minute to the cooking.

    Taste the sauce and add more brown sugar if you’d like.

    Serves 4.

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    S’mores Brownies

    I’ve bookmarked this recipe for a long time, but never had a chance to make it. One of the reasons was the melting of the chocolate. I’ve had bad luck with melting chocolate before because I was doing it all wrong. It would seize up on me, and I would have lots of wasted chocolate. Since then, whenever anything calls for melting chocolate, I tend to skip over the recipe.

    I’m glad I had a chance to try out this recipe because this brownie is so dense and fudgy, and just too good to pass up. I baked these up for a work fundraising bake sale for Go Red for Women. However, a nasty snow storm resulted in our office being closed this past Friday, so the bake sale didn’t happen.

    Since a few of my coworkers and I ended up working on Sunday, I brought these in with the option to donate to the charity. Even though the bake sale didn’t happen, I was glad I was still able to get a nice donation.

    smores brownies

    Since I also wanted to make this dairy free so most people can enjoy it, I used Earth Balance butter instead of butter. Some other alterations was using light brown sugar instead of dark, using honey graham crackers, and using 15 marshmallows vs. 12 since I cut the brownies into 15 pieces. Although it didn’t taste too much like a s’more, this is definitely a decadent treat to try.

    S’mores Brownies
    adapted from: Joy the Baker, originally from Bon Appétit, October 1991

    printable recipe

    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
    6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
    5 large eggs
    1 1/4 cups brown sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup graham cracker, roughly crushed with your hands
    15 big marshmallows

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or spray with baking spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with 2-inch-high sides. In a small bowl; combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

    In a heavy saucepan bring about 1-2 inches of water to a boil, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl you’ll be using. Reduce heat to low, and allow water to simmer. Stir butter and chocolate in a medium sized glass bowl over the simmering water.  Stir chocolate and butter in this double boiler until melted and smooth.

    Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Stir in warm chocolate mixture, then dry ingredients. Fold in graham crackers.  Pour batter into prepared pan. Dot with large marshmallows, maintaining even spacing between each one.  Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30- 40 minutes minutes.

    Marshmallows will be browned and puffy but will deflate as the brownies cool.  Cool for at least 20 minutes than slice with a sharp knife, cleaning the knife with hot water if it gets too messy and sticky.

    smores brownies3

    I wrapped these up individually in plastic wrap and handed it off to coworkers.