Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stir-fried chicken and veggies

 So easy. Makes two servings.
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast 
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced (slice up the rest and save for next time)
about 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2 to 3 scallions, sliced, whites and greens'
rice, couscous or whatever, as desired
cornstarch, about 1/2 cup
soy sauce, about 1/4 cup
dash of Worcestershire sauce
Sweet chili sauce, the good kine, about 1 Tablespoon, more if you like it
garlic, either fresh or "buds" that can be rehydrated in the liquid.
 Canola oil, about 1/4 cup or less
Any other veggies that you want.

Cut the chicken into pieces about 1 inch by 1 inch. Put in a bowl with about 2 T of the soy sauce, the chili sauce and the garlic for about 20 minutes -- not longer, it isn't tenderizing, it's flavoring.

Take out the chicken and dredge it in the corn starch.  
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet until really hot. Fry the chicken, about 2 minutes per side. Remove.

Meanwhile, mix up the leftover "marinade" with the rest of the soy sauce, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, and the cornstarch that's left from dredging the chicken. Don't worry, you're gonna boil it. Add about cup of water. Be prepared to add more later.

Stir-fry the veggies for about a minute. If you are using "hard" veggies like carrots, put them in first and cook them longer, unless of course you have wisely shredded them very fine.

Add the chicken back in. Add the sauce. Watch the sauce boil up and thicken. Add more water if necessary (depends on how much cornstarch was left over and how it thickens).

Serve over rice or whatever.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spicy Crispy Beef
beta version-- I expect to refine this, which will eliminate some of the question marks. Also, I would be tempted to make an even bigger batch of the sauce because it is delicious.

Beef, cut into thin strips -- about 8 oz for 2 moderate servings
Veggies: I used mushrooms, red bell pepper, green onions, sliced. You can use as many veggies as you want!
Sauce: Soy sauce, about 1/2 cup? ; water or stock, about a cup?; dash of Worcestershire sauce, about 2 T sweet red chili paste, dash of hot chili oil; minced garlic, about 4 cloves worth; crystallized ginger (minced or diced, about a tablespoon or more) -- or use grated fresh ginger, not ginger powder, but then plan on adding honey or sugar, maybe brown sugar. You need to keep tasting this as you mix it up so you have it as spicy and sweet as you want but not more than you want!
Cornstarch -- lots.  Maybe as much as 1 cup, although it doesn't all get used.??
Peanut oil or canola oil -- something with high smoke point -- for frying. About 1/2 Cup?

Put water on to boil for rice. In saucepan, it takes 2 cups water for 1 cup long-grain white rice.When it boils, reduce to simmer, cover, stir occasionally. Or use rice cooker.  Long-grain rice takes 20 minutes in saucepan, so meanwhile you can do the rest.

Cut up the beef and veggies.
Mix up the sauce and marinate the beef strips in it for about an hour. Optional waiting period, but worth it.
Pull out the beef strips, keeping the sauce, preferably in a microwave-safe vessel, and dredge or toss the beef in cornstarch to thoroughly coat. Let sit and dredge again to ensure complete coverage.
Put about 1/2 inch - 3/4 inch of oil in cast iron skillet (or use a wok) and heat until a piece of beef sizzles immediately on hitting the pan. Fry the beef in batches -- about 1/2 at a time in a 12-inch skillet. Set aside.
Add veggies to skillet. I had some cornstarch left in my dredging bowl, so I gave the veggies a quick toss there, too. Cook until tender but not soggy, just a minute or two. Remove from pan.
Thoroughly heat the sauce; I start in microwave and then in the pan; when it is bubbling in the pan, add the beef and veggies back in.

Serve over rice, or if you prefer, as I often do, noodles or couscous.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Easy yummy chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)

This is the easiest way to make delicious chicken. Use the bone-in, skin-on thighs. If you really have to, use bone-in, skin-on breasts, but I'm telling you they won't be as good.
At the store today, these 10 cost $5.72 -- way cheaper than boneless, skinless, and more flavor.

I put them on the baking sheet pan. You could put parchment paper or foil underneath, but mine is pretty easy to clean. Do NOT use a flat cookie sheet -- you need the sides to catch the fat that will run off.

Sprinkle the skin side liberally with kosher salt. Let rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes. No, it won't make them poisonous. Just gives the salt a chance to start working.

Now slide them under the broiler, about 6 inches from the heat, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the skin should have started to get bubbly and take some color, although it may not be brown yet.

Turn off the broiler and set the oven temp to 325 and bake for 20 minutes. Check the internal temp, which should be about 170.

Now put them back under the broiler for another 5 minutes or so until they brown up. I don't mind if they haven't all totally browned, because I will be reheating the leftovers in the toaster oven for the rest of the week and they'll get another chance!

A lot of the fat will have rendered off. The skin should be crispy and decadent. Yes, some of the fat will have dripped into the meat, making it moist and luscious. And you will find that because of that, you will likely be satisfied eating just one piece and you won't be hungry half an hour later. And you won't need a sauce.  I've lost 20 pounds in a few months, and this is one of the reasons.


About Me

My photo
This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.