chicken


I know I haven’t been here since we started a new chef but life has been crazy. So many directions we have had to take. I knew, to keep my sanity, I would have to slow down, breathe, and cook!! So I managed to fit in this Weeks Mystery Box Madness!! for IHCC. What is that, you ask. Well, once a month (and this a new treat with he group) we are given a list of ingredients. We pick one of our past/present chefs, pick at least three of the ingredients and and then cook or bake using them. This month we had:

    chocolate
    cherries
    cinnamon
    rolled oats
    couscous
    pomegranate
    curry
    coconut milk
    lentils
    hot peppers/chiles

Interesting mix, but in there I saw the makings of a curry. And I am always open to a curry. And Donna Hay had a perfect one to try.

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    Chicken Poached in Coconut Curry

As usual, Donna’s recipe was quick and easy.

    3 Tbl red CURRY paste
    6 chicken thighs, halved
    2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
    2 cups chicken stock
    1 1/2 cups COCONUT MILK
    1/4 cup cilantro leaves
    1/4 tsp dried CHILI flakes {I added this for a little heat}

Place the curry paste in a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant.
Add the chicken and sweet potato to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the stock and coconut milk and reduce heat to low.
Allow to simmer gently for about 12 minutes {Mine took about 20 minutes} until chicken and sweet potato are cooked.
Serve over steamed rice sprinkled with the cilantro leaves. Instead of steamed rice, I used COUSCOUS So I managed to just get in four ingredients. Maybe the chilis were a cheat!!??

Overall it wasn’t bad. I like the mix of the chicken and the sweet potato. It is not a combo I would have thought of.

The recipe is from Donna’s new food fast and is on page 67.

Since every member of this group is creative I am anxious to see what their MYSTERY dish contained. Click on over the IHCC for their finds.

I like a good omelette. They are comforting, fun to make, and make a great simple meal when you don’t want to cook much. I have made lots of omelettes over the years. Usually a nice simple one with just cheese. Or maybe a few mushrooms and peppers. I have never made one with fish sauce and snow peas. But, again, Donna Hay has broadened my horizons with her asian chicken omelette with snow peas, bean sprouts and chilli

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This is a before I ‘slid’ it out of the pan. It kind of fell apart when it hit the plate.

I liked the fish sauce and brown sugar mixed with the eggs. Definitely a different taste there. But it was a little dry.

Sarah made the pick this week for Wednesdays with Donna Hay. The recipe came from Donna’s magazine (August/September 2013). If you would like the recipe just let me know and I will send it along.

Check with Sarah, Gaye, and Chaya for their asian omelettes.

I see recipes for pad thai everywhere. I have been wanting to try it but kept putting it off. So when it was my turn to pick a recipe for Wednesdays with Donna Hay it seemed like an omen when I found her recipe for it. No more putting it off.

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All you need is some chicken, rice noodles, shrimp sauce, fish sauce, and bean sprouts, basically. Tossed with some brown sugar and lime juice. Garnished with chives and chopped peanuts. Less than 30 minutes from chopping to plate.

As you know, because I have said it ad nauseam, it is hard to find some ingredients here in Podunk. Like Shrimp Paste. even in our small Asian grocery. So I had to leave it out. But since I just made 1/2 of a serving and all it needed was 1/2 tsp maybe it didn’t make THAT much difference. Anyway. It was okay. I subbed crushed red pepper for the chillies {no likee} but that was the only change I made. I think I really needed to brown my chicken a little more. And I will find some Shrimp Paste.

The recipe is on page 133 of Donna’s modern classics: book 1

Check with Gaye, Sarah, and Chaya for their pad thai.
NB: BTW those chopsticks. My Dad brought them back from Korea in 1953.

Over the last few years I have discovered and developed a taste for Balsamic vinegar. I love the sweet/tart taste of it. It adds a ton of flavor to just about any thing. Like the sauce that goes with this chicken breast.

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All you have to do is slice a large eggplant. Place it in a baking dish. Place a boneless chicken breast on top and then pour over a sauce of OO, tomatoes, capers, and balsamic. Oh, a little brown sugar and salt and pepper. It sounded delicious. But I didn’t really care for it. Sorry, Gaye.

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Maybe with a thinner breast – pounded maybe. The sauce was great! But check with Gaye, Sarah, and Chaya for their take on this chicken dish.

The recipe is from off the shelf on page 99. Or you can find it HERE.

I’m sorry! What month did you say this was? What? Already? Well, that year went fast. Now, don’t misunderstand 2014 is not over yet. In fact we still have (at this writing) 7 1/2 weeks left. But it is the last month for The Secret Recipe Club for 2014. Group C won’t post again until January 2015. 2015? Wait! What? Already?

The bright part of the month is finding and then posting (third Monday) new recipes from a new found foodie blog. And this month was just as much fun and just as hard as every other month since I joined SRC back in June 2011. Since that time I have never ever been able to find just one recipe for SRC so I end up making 4 or 5 and then posting about 2 or 3. With so many good dishes and so many great recipes how can I cook just one?

This month I cooked and baked with Lisa of Authentic Suburban Gourmet. Lisa has been blogging since January 2009. What I found on her site was a couple of ‘themes’ for her recipes:

    Friday Nite Bites – a collection of tasty and easy Appetizers;
    Weekly Inspirations“will consist of quotes that resonate with me to a section on my favorite food bloggers to career advise to Bay Area favorites to wineries and restaurants to simply interesting inspirations. I hope you enjoy seeing what inspires me and hopefully will inspire you.” with recipes.

And in addition to those themes – more lusciousness. Such as her

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Cheese cake is right up there with bread pudding in my dessert list. There is nothing better IMO than a good rich flavorful cheese cake. And this one is right up there. A decadent toffee flavored cake topped with a rich caramel sauce and pieces of almond/pecan toffee. **SWOON** I made it without the crust (she suggested gingersnaps but…), but next time I think a chocolate cookie crust would be great. And since I completely forgot to add toffee to my shopping list I was forced to make my own.

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Oh, the sacrifices we make!

After making THAT cheese cake I had to make something healthy and since it was chilly outside her

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    Winter Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice. Yep! That’s what this was. Full of celery, onions, toma…. well, here is her recipe.

    Olive Oil
    4 ounces Pancetta, ½ inch dice {I used regular bacon}
    1 ½ C. Yellow Onion, diced
    2 C. Diced Carrots
    2 C. Dice Celery
    2 ½ C. Diced and peeled butternut squash {I have never thought to put this in soup and we have tons from the garden.}
    4 Cloves Garlic, minced
    2 teaspoon Fresh Thyme leaves, chopped
    26 ounce Canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
    6 to 8 C. Chicken stock
    1 Bay leaf
    Salt and pepper
    1 (15 ounce) can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed {Nope – used crowder peas canned by an Aunt.}
    2 C. Cooked small pasta, such as Tubetti or mini shells
    8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
    ½ C. Dry white wine
    4 Tablespoons pesto
    1 parmesan rind
    Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
    Browned chicken meat – altho Lisa didn’t call for this.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, parmesan rind and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more chicken stock. Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss. Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
I cannot describe how good this was. Hearty, filling, with some toasted whole grain bread. Perfect!!

And then I just had to try one of her Friday Nite Bites and the Pumpkin Empanadas caught my eye because I had just picked, peeled, baked, cubed a few small pumpkins.

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I make empanadas, or hand pies, quite often. With fruit. With meat. With left over stew, etc. But I had never made them with pumpkin. With an Indian twist by adding garam masala. One of my favorite spice blends. Instead of serving the empanadas with the Cilantro Mint Chutney I made a Spicy Pumpkin Butter by adding some cayenne to some Pumpkin Butter I had made earlier. I liked the sweet/hot flavor. I think these would be great made with butternut squash or sweet potatoes. And maybe just a smidgeon more garam masala.P1050251

So many recipes with lots of time to try so many more. You HAVE to visit Lisa at Authentic Suburban Gourmet. Thanks for some great recipes, Lisa.

I really wasn’t sure about this one. Pumpkin in stir-fry? Really? But I am always open to new ideas and new tastes. Sure glad I tried this one because it was very tasty!

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Sliced chicken with sliced pumpkin, chili peppers, fish sauce, basil, onions. Simple ingredients.

I made a few changes. My fish sauce smelled a little, eh…, off, (maybe it always does!) so I used Oyster sauce. And I completely forgot the basil. But even without the basil it was very good. And, as usual with Donna, very easy. Well, almost. I had a horrible time peeling and slicing the pumpkin. So I have small pieces instead of thin slices. But, it’s the taste, right?

This week’s recipe was Chaya’s pick. So check out her post.And then go visit with Gaye and, maybe, Sarah. Good pick Chaya. Really liked this one.

If you wan to try the recipe you can find it HERE!

It’s potluck week again with I Heart Cooking Clubs. I went with Bittman again. His recipes have so much flavor and they are healthy to boot. It’s a win/win!

There is just something about the flavors used in Asian food that always draws me in. Ginger. Sesame. When I saw this recipe in Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook I knew it would be perfect.

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    8 ounces any rice, buckwheat(soba){which is what I used}, or wheat noodles, preferably whole grain.
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    2 tablespoons vegetable canola oil
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon minced ginger
    1 cup chopped green onions
    2 large carrots chopped, sliced, or julienned
    3 celery stalks, chopped, sliced, or julienned
    2 cups snow peas
    1/4 cup chicken stock or water (more if you need it, I didn’t.)
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 egg, beaten {I left this out cause of the cholesterol. Next time I would add it in.}
    black pepper
    1/4 cups chopped peanuts for garnish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package, but make sure they don’t get mushy. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. Toss them with sesame oil to prevent sticking.
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook for about 15 seconds.
Add the carrots, celery, snow peas, and stock or water and turn the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 5-10 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry, add more liquid a tablespoon at a time.
Stir in soy sauce and beaten egg(s) and let the egg lightly scramble in the pan. Add the noodles, sprinkle with pepper, and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. I have found that I needed more soy sauce. Garnish and serve.

I added chicken to mine – a 6 oz breast. Slice up the chicken and brown in the oil before you cook the veggies. When the chicken is done set it aside and then start with the veggies, etc. Add the chicken back when you add the noodles.

This fits pretty well with the DASH way of eating. I used less oil than called for and the buckwheat noodles are better for you. Like I said – win/win.

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I liked it better without the chopped peanuts.

<The recipe is on page 208 of his cookbook.

Visit with the other IHCC members for their Potluck picks. So many chefs to choose from!!

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