Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Camera Went AWOL

I had just finished slaving over a hot stove and grill. I had plated my delicious meal of Asian Chicken, Rice Noodles with Sesame Peanut Sauce and Honey Cashew Green Beans. I had found and open corner of counter top where I could take the photo. The only thing missing... was the camera. We couldn't find it. Grr.

Grilled Asian Chicken
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound chicken (I use boneless skinless chicken breast for just about everything, but you could really use any part of the chicken, with or without bones)

Whisk together all ingredients (except chicken - which is not whiskable, so I am not sure why I even felt the need to clarify that point). Add chicken, and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Cook chicken on a grill (medium heat if using a gas grill) until center is no longer pink, and juices run clear.

Noodles with Peanut Sauce
8 ounces spaghetti shaped noodles (I used rice noodles, but spaghetti or linguine would also work well)
2 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon rice wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

In most grocery stores, in the fresh spice area, you can buy a tube of fresh ginger paste. This is generally what I get, because working with fresh ginger can sometimes be frustrating. For this recipe, though, I just threw the onion, garlic and fresh ginger in the food processor, and it chopped them all very nicely.

Heat sesame oil (which can be found in the "Asian" section of most grocery stores (even here in T-Roy) over medium heat (6 on my electric stove) until smoky. Add ginger, garlic, onions and red pepper flakes and cook until the onions become translucent and then brown. Be patient. A higher temperature will burn the ginger and garlic. Stir frequently. This process takes about 8 minutes.

Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar and brown sugar. Reduce heat to medium low (4 on my electric stove) and gently stir until the peanut butter melts. Continue to cook sauce, stirring frequently, on low (2 on my electric stove) while preparing the noodles.

Prepare the noodles. If you are using a semolina based pasta (spaghetti, for instance) you will need to boil the noodles. For rice noodles, you generally pour boiling water over them and allow them to soak. Either way, do it. Drain the noodles and stir the peanut sauce into them. The noodles are great warm or cold.

Cashew Green Beans
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews

Steam the green beans. I am personally a huge advocate (I think they should hire me to be a spokesperson) of the Ziploc Steamer Bags. You just prepare your veggies (trim and rinse) and place them in the bag. Zip it up and microwave for the amount of time listed on the bag for that particular veggie. I like my veggies crisp, so I ALWAYS reduce the cook time for 1/2 bag by about 30% regardless of how full the bag is. You can always add more time. You can not bring life back into limp broccoli, or in this case, green beans. You want them to remain crisp, because they are going to get a second cook.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add honey and stir together. Toss cooked green beans in mixture, and saute for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle cashews on top, and serve.

This dish is sweet. The honey tastes like honey, but it is perfect with the spice of the chicken and the richness of the noodles.


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