Friday, February 15, 2013

KM Chang or Kate's lettuce wraps

I love a lot of the food at PF Chang's, and their lettuce wraps are to die for. After ordering them for the nth time, I wondered if I couldn't make my own, especially cutting down on the sweetener. As in, use none at all. After an afternoon of mental dissection, I came up with:

1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 T sesame oil (I plan to cut this by 1 next time)
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar (I plan to increase this by 1 next time. Make sure you are using a rice vinegar that has no sugar or salt added)
1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 T chopped fresh ginger (the younger the better)
1 T chopped garlic
1 can water chestnuts
3/4 cup green onions in 1" pieces (about a bunch)
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

Leaves of your favorite lettuce. I used butter, or Boston lettuce because my stomach doesn't like iceberg very much

add 1 T of sesame oil to a saute pan on medium heat. Sear the chicken on both sides, add the chicken broth, half the soy sauce and half the vinegar and simmer until about half of the liquid is gone and chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken from pan.Add other T of sesame oil, the mushrooms, water chestnuts and ginger. stir well to combine then add the rest of the soy & vinegar and red pepper. Stir constantly for about five minutes, until fragrant.shred or dice chicken, return to pan, stirring to coat. Add green onions, stir until they are bright green.

Serve in lettuce leaves.

..............................................................................................This is a recipe that came out better than it had any right to. It was a bit heavy with the larger amount of sesame oil, so I think adjusting that down and adjusting the vinegar up will lighten it up nicely. Next time, I think I may also serve some bean sprouts on the side to add if we want some additional crunch, though the water chestnuts do a good job of that.

 My sweetie took some great pictures, which I will add as a separate post. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

variety in the vegetation

I try not to be boring when it comes to cooking. Admittedly, I generally have the same thing for breakfast (espresso and a protein drink with almond milk), but when it comes to dinner, it's important to me to mix it up a little. Boring eating leads to not feeling sated, which can leave a person reaching for the Haagen Daaz.

I like a lot of fish, but it can get pricey, so I try to shop the sales. It is, apparently a good time to buy Spanish mackerel. I recently had it as sushi and rather enjoyed it. When I saw it on sale, I pounced.

This week's recipe is very simple. Roasted mackerel over radicchio with avocado, with a lemony vinaigrette (which actually involves no vinegar, but I digress).

  • 6 (4-to 5-ounces) mackerel fillets with skin, halved
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium head radicchio (about 10 ounces), leaves torn
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 medium avocado, thinly sliced

  •  .  . . .

     I heartily recommend drafting some help to peel the radicchio for assistance with plating. I threw in some butter lettuce more for color and to fill us up, since there were no carbs in the recipe.

    Your how-to:

    Preheat broiler.
    Make several diagonal slashes (1/8 inch deep) in mackerel skin about 1 inch apart. Coat both sides of mackerel with 2 tablespoons oil, then season with 3/4 teaspoon salt (total).
    Broil mackerel, skin side up, in a 4-sided sheet pan about 4 inches from heat until just cooked through and skin is crisp in spots, about 7 minutes.
    Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1/3 cup oil, lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons vinaigrette, then toss radicchio and parsley with remaining vinaigrette.
    Serve salad topped with avocado and mackerel and drizzled with reserved vinaigrette.
     . . . . . 

    I enjoyed this quite a bit. The fish is rich and the slightly pepper flavor from the radicchio was a nice match. I'm glad I added the butter lettuce, because the contrast in taste and texture was delightful.

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Making Ingredients Again

    This is a quick entry, but I suspect I'll be referring to it often. I've wanted to make some herbed olive oil for a while, and shortly after Thanksgiving, we bought something we've been threatening to do for a long time--a box of quart Mason jars. I'm planning on preserving some lemons, possibly making chicken stock. My darling Nexx made a strawberry-basil cocktail that was a fascinating experiment in flavors.

    One of those jars has been sitting for the last couple of months with six sprigs of rosemary and the peel of a lemon in it. You may notice no proportions here. I guessed.

    I guessed well, I'm happy to say. The mixture has been used on both lamb and pork, and there are chicken and potatoes in its future.