Archive for November, 2007

Stir Fried Chicken in Lettuce Leaves

From Food and Wine magazine, April 2007

1# boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 T. fresh ginger, finely minced
½ t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 T. vegetable Oil
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in bowl, let stand for 10-15 minutes

For the sauce:

¼ c. Chinese black bean sauce
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. sugar
1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 2 T. water
2 T. dry sherry (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in small bowl.

Pour two tablespoons of oil into sauté pan and heat until smoking. Add chicken (watch for splattering!! Use a screen, or cover initially) and allow to cook on one side until almost cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Toss chicken and cook about 3 minutes more. Stir sauce and add to pan, stirring continually. Cook for about 2-3 more minutes.

Serve with shredded carrot and mint in lettuce leaves. Use butter lettuce or green leaf. Crushed peanuts are optional, but highly delicious.

RECIPE NOTES: The original recipe for this dish calls for boneless chicken thighs. If you like your chicken dark, go for it. I doubled the sauce recipe because we like food like this to be saucier, by all means cut it back if you prefer less sauce. I did not have sherry on hand and the dish was delicious regardless. The carrot originally is served shredded and cold, but I used the side dish and it was fine. The addition of chopped peanuts was wonderful.

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Lentil and Couscous Salad

1 ½ c. lentils
3 c. water
Bring water and lentils to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender but not mushy; 20-25 minutes.

¾ c. couscous
1/3 c. broth or water
1 T/ olive oil
Bring water/broth and oil to a simmer and stir in couscous. Cover and remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes then fluff with fork.

1 small red, orange or yellow pepper, seeded, cored and diced
1 shallot, peeled and diced
½ c. diced dried apricots
½ c. currants
½ c. chopped almonds

Saute shallot and pepper until soft, add in currants and apricots, cook for 5 minutes. Stir in almonds and remove from heat.

Dressing: Combine together:
½ c. olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar
3 T. lemon juice
2 T. lemon zest
1 t. cumin
1 clove garlic, mashed
2 T. fresh oregano, minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine lentils, couscous and pepper/apricot mixture, stir to combine. Pour dressing over and toss gently. Chill or serve at room temp. Top with toasted almonds if desired.

Mix in one cup cooked wheatberries, if desired. Your choice.

Recipe Notes:
The original recipe called for the tiny french green lentils, but I used the larger brown ones because it was what I had on hand. Sub in any kind or color you like. You could even use a flavored couscous. Mix up the dried fruit too; cranberries might be yummy. Or omit it all together.

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Gingersnap Chicken with Apple Compote

1 pkg boneless skinless chicken breast
10-12 gingersnap cookies
1 medium shallot, sliced
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
6 dried figs, stems removed and thinly sliced
1/3 c. dried raisins
1/4 c. sliced roasted almonds
Oil and butter for saute
Apple cider for deglazing.

Process cookies to a fine crumb in food processor; place on large plate. Pat dry chicken pieces and press crumbs to both sides. Heat oil in large saute pan, add shallot and cook until translucent and slightly browned, remove to small bowl. Heat a little more oil and add chicken, cooking until browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to plate. Add 2 T. butter and allow to brown, then add apples and cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. Stir, add in figs, raisins, almonds and shallots and mix to combine. Pour in about 1/4 c. apple cider and deglaze the pan. When fully reduced, place chicken on top of compote, cover and allow to cook until chicken is cooked through; about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve chicken topped with compote.

Recipe Notes: For a tangier taste, cider vinegar can be used to deglaze. For the apples, use something that will stand up to cooking for best results. Mix up the dried fruit to taste; I think currants would be great in this, or possibly chopped dried apricots too.

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