Archive | August, 2011

Mandarin Orange Chicken

30 Aug

I have a confession to make. I don’t really like “Chinese” food *hides under desk*

Let me elaborate, the reason I say I don’t like Chinese food and the reason I put Chinese in quotations is because the most widely available Chinese Cuisine, is just SO not authentic. I’m pretty sure the mystery pork you get in the sugary, bright Red (#40,) sauce is not an authentic Chinese dish.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m an Asian food snob. Give me a big bowl of Pho with raw beef slices and a side of hot chili sauce and I will slurp it right up. Give me pad Thai, lemon grass chicken or Thai green curry and I will love you forever. Try to feed me an order of sweet and sour chicken balls and I’ll throw a fit and request an order of Cambodian beef luc lac.

The point I am trying to make here is one of the things I DO like (if it is made well) is orange chicken. Chicken breast pieces, lightly battered and fried until crispy, in a slightly sweet but mostly tangy, orange sauce. When you have it over steamed sticky rice the orange sauce seeps down into the rice and ….well just YUM.

I wanted to try to make it at home and this turned out to be a HUGE success! The chicken is crispy the sauce is tangy and fresh, and best of all, most of the ingredients are things you probably already have at home!

Make this now. Then take some for leftovers at work and forget you did that so you eat 2 hot dogs at your work BBQ instead. Then seriously contemplate still eating the orange chicken…

FYI That story was completely fictional.

Mandarin Orange Chicken 
Serves 4

1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp Cornstarch
1 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Water 
1 Egg White
2 chicken breasts, cut into large dice
Oil for frying  ( I used Canola)
2 Garlic Cloves, minced finely
1 thumb sized piece of Ginger, minced finely
2 tbsp bottled Sweet Chili Sauce
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 8 oz tin Mandarin Oranges (do not drain)
1/2 Red Pepper, Sliced thinly
1/2 Yellow Pepper, Sliced Thinly

In a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup cornstarch, soy sauce, water and the egg white. Add the diced chicken and mix to coat all the chicken pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes. Heat about 2 inches of oil in a pot over medium high heat until glossy and when you insert a wooden spoon in the oil, bubbles start forming around the spoon.

Fry the chicken in batches, fry each piece for 4-5 minutes per side, until nice and golden brown. Remove to cool on a paper towel lined plate. Once all chicken is fried we can start making our sauce.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the Sweet Chili Sauce, vinegar, sugar, oranges in juice and the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch. Set aside. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add about a tbsp of oil and then saute the ginger and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and heat until bubbling and thickened. Add the pepper slices and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Turn off the heat.

Add the chicken to the sauce and stir until coated, serve over sticky rice.

Greek Veggie Pizza

29 Aug

Oh man. Am I ever tired. I had to work outdoors the entire weekend and it was HOT. Hot, hot, hot. Being that I am one of those pastey kids, I don’t do well with heat. I start sweating and then I stop sweating and get all delusional. Not fun.

So, after a weekend full of delusion and beer gardens (excellent combination by the way) I am just plum tired.

Luckily for you, I have a very important announcement to make. Drum roll please…It’s almost my favorite food season!!!! FALL! Fall is the best because it means, pumpkins and other delicious squashes, it means roasted and braised meats, casseroles, stews and soups, it means apple pie and comfort foods. I am so ready. All aboard the Fall Food Train, its almost ready to leave the station. CHOO CHOO!

I also realize that I haven’t posted anything in a few days. I’ve really been slacking off but I promise from now on I should have some more time to cook and blog about it! For now, I’ll finish up my pizza binge with Greek Veggie Pizza! Packed with veggies and feta cheese, you won’t have to feel bad about eating this pizza!

Greek Veggie Pizza:
Makes one pizza, cookie sheet size

1 tbsp cornmeal
1 uncooked pizza crust (my family recipe is below)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 half sweet onion sliced thinly
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 yellow zucchini or patty pan squash, sliced
1/2 regular zucchini, sliced
2 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt and Pepper to Taste
6 ounces Feta Cheese, Crumbled or Cubed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle a nonstick cookie sheet with cornmeal and then stretch the pizza crust to cover the bottom of the cookie sheet.

Bake without toppings for about 10-12 minutes until the crust is baked through and the bottom is getting golden brown.

While the crust is baking, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until softened and slightly browned, then add the rest of the veggies, the oregano, salt and pepper, and saute until just cooked through. Remove from heat.

Spread the veggies on top of the cooked crust and top with feta cheese. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until the crust is browned.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before cutting.

Thin and Crispy Pizza Dough:
makes one large pizza dough (size of a regular cookie sheet)

1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup flour

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in water and then sprinkle the yeast over the water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes is up, add the salt, oil and 1/2 cup of flour, stir until smooth. Add another 1/2 cup of flour and stir again, if the mixture is still very sticky add in a little more flour and begin to kneed. Kneed for about 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Best thing about this recipe? It doesn’t need to rise! Throw it in a pan, add toppings, bake and enjoy.

Peach Crisp

23 Aug

Hey! Two peach recipes in a row! Talk about repetition.

In other news, so far this morning, I have consumed two cups of coffee. Therefore I am much more energetic than yesterday.  I realize now that my post yesterday made absolutely no sense. You know you’re having a bad day when it takes 3 hours to write two paragraphs of poorly punctuated garble. Thankfully, today is a new day.

Lets talk about fruit crisps. Crisps are the perfect way to use fruit that is in season, they are also a great way to use fruit that has been frozen or canned. This is an quick and versatile recipe to keep on hand. All you need to do is swap out whatever fruit you would like, and the recipe should work just fine!

…ready for a horrible picture?

Here are some examples of the fruit you could use:

Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
Strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced
Pears, peeled, cored and sliced
Raspberries, just washed and tossed in
Blueberries, just washed and tossed in
Cranberries, just washed and tossed in  (sugar is a must with this one!)
Rhubarb, Washed and Diced (sugar is a must with this one too!)
Plums, peeled, pitted and sliced
Apricots, peeled, pitted and sliced

You could even do a combination of two or more fruits! Strawberry rhubarb? YUM. 

There are really so many options. Just make sure to add sugar to the fruit itself if whatever fruit you are using isn’t sufficiently sweet on its own. The peaches I used were fresh, juicy and sweet and didn’t need any extra sugar.

Peach Crisp:

makes one 9 inch pie pan size (about 6 servings)

3 cups fresh peaches, skin off and sliced
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9 inch pie plate.

Pour the peaches into the pie pan, add the vanilla and cinnamon, stir and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour and 1/4 cup butter pieces. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture kind of clumps together in small pieces.

Pour the dry mix over the peaches to cover them completely. Dot the top of the crisp with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top of the crisp is browned and the fruit juices are bubbling. Allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack and then serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

Balsamic Peach and Brie Pizza

22 Aug

Good Morning Everyone!

I am so tired, I don’t even know what to write here. I had a really busy weekend.

Below is a list of a few of the things I did this weekend, in the exact order of how they happened:

birthday surprised Mr. Delish, saw a startled Mr. Delish karate chop to protect himself from said surprise, ate the best food ever, laughed, felt really sick from eating so much, drank some apple ciders, laughed, slept, had a headache, curled my ponytail, wore a dress, wore heels that hurt my heels, celebrated the upcoming wedding of a beautiful couple, laughed, drank wine, drank wine, drank wine, laughed, teared up, ate some really good food, ate some really good desserts, went to the beach, petted some dogs, ate some more till my stomach hurt, drank wine, ate cheese and crackers, drank beer, laughed, slept, drank coffee, sat in the sun, ate custardy french toast, ate bacon, cleaned, laughed, cooked, baked and slept.

Phew, no wonder I’m tired! Okay, thanks for visiting….

Okay, I am not letting myself off that easy, this pizza deserves a good introduction. The first time I ever had peaches on pizza was when my sister in law’s fiance (who just happens to be a professional chef) made one for Mr. Delish and I, during a visit a few years ago. He used peaches, goat cheese, prosciutto and then topped the pizza with a salad of arugula tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. YUM.

I am on a peach kick right now and since we needed dinner and not just another serving of peaches and ice cream, I decided to recreate the peach pizza of my dreams. I subbed Brie for Goat Cheese and nixed the meat all together. I must admit, it was pretty good! Of course it will never stand up against the original peach pizza and I am okay with knowing that nothing ever will.

Okay, I am now off to fall into a deep sleep under my desk…

Balsamic Peach and Brie Pizza:
makes one pizza (size of a regular cookie sheet)

1 tbsp cornmeal
1 uncooked pizza crust (my family recipe is below)
6 ounces Brie Cheese, Sliced thinly in strips
1 cup diced fresh peaches (skin off)
3 tbsp chopped basil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp reduced balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle a nonstick cookie sheet with cornmeal and then stretch the pizza crust to cover the bottom of the cookie sheet.

Bake without toppings for about 10-12 minutes until the crust is baked through and the bottom is getting golden brown. Remove from the oven and top first with the brie and then with the peaches and sprinkle the top with the chopped basil. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before cutting.

Thin and Crispy Pizza Dough:
makes one large pizza dough (size of a regular cookie sheet)

1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup flour

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in water and then sprinkle the yeast over the water. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes is up, add the salt, oil and 1/2 cup of flour, stir until smooth. Add another 1/2 cup of flour and stir again, if the mixture is still very sticky add in a little more flour and begin to kneed. Kneed for about 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Best thing about this recipe? It doesn’t need to rise! Throw it in a pan, add toppings, bake and enjoy.

Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

18 Aug

Are you guys sick of cupcakes yet? I kind of am. In the past 3 weeks, I have pumped out more than 8 dozen cupcakes. That’s 8 batches of butter cream frosting. Please, no one do the math on how many pounds of butter that is.

Did you know that I have at least 3 pounds of butter in my fridge at any given time?  I think I actually have some kind of disorder or syndrome that causes me to become extremely anxious when I have less than 3 pounds of butter on hand. I freak out and think ‘what if I need to make 4 dozen cupcakes and 3 batches of cookies and a chicken coated in herb butter? WHAT WILL HAPPEN THEN?’  What happens then is I hop in the car and speed to the nearest grocery store to buy out their butter stock.

Anyways back to cupcakes! Vanilla cupcakes may seem like the boring same old, but keep in mind that you can start off with a plain old vanilla cupcake with vanilla butter cream frosting, and you can add flavors until your little heart is content!

Look at these cute liners I found! There is a cake decorating store that is dangerously close to my house and I discovered that they stock about 100 different cupcake liners. They aren’t even ridiculously priced either!

My thighs are still looking for that cupcake biter…kthx

Vanilla Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting:
makes 12 cupcakes

for the cupcakes:
1/2 cup room temperature Butter
2/3 cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Zest of one Lemon
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Milk

for the frosting:
1 cup (two sticks) butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream

for the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cups.

Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light, gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and then the vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until combined.

In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

With the mixture on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk. Mix until just combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared liners and bake the cupcakes for 16-20 minutes. I find this varies greatly between different ovens so be careful to watch them after about 16 minutes. Remove to cool on a wire rack before frosting.

for the frosting:

Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. On medium speed using the whisk attachment, alternate adding the sugar and cream until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and turn the mixer to high. Mix for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Use a piping bag to frost the cooled cupcakes. 

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