Friday, February 16, 2018

Almond Chicken Stir Fry



A Great Meal!

I gotta tell ya, there's plenty of slicing and mincing, so may I recommend you have a proverbial sous-chef, a partner (in crime) doing the prep work. It needn't even be human… how about a great mandoline slicer or one of my favorite food processors comes to mind.

Say you don't have either of those nifty appliances, but YOU have super-speed knife skills, or you DO have "someone" in mind. Well then, go at it!

Consider prepping earlier in the day. That way, you can have everything chilled and ready ahead of time. Then before dinner time, start your rice, heat up your wok and proceed stir-frying through the DIRECTIONS below. 



There are plenty of vegetables listed in the recipe's ingredients, but what if you have zucchini on hand, or grow it in your garden? I think that would taste great. Switch it up, and have FUN! Ooh, how about some canned baby corn? Now, I just can't help but think of a very young Tom Hanks, as Josh, in his ornate white tux (LOL!) eating his teensy-weensy ~ corn on the cob ~ in the movie, "BIG!"
πŸ˜†



Now, this is a Chinese WHITE Sauce recipe. So trust me, try the recipe first as written, it's delicious, much like the classic dish you'd find in most Chinese restaurants.

However, if you are still just a die-hard Chinese BROWN Sauce fan, here's what you can do. Stir in La Choy Light soy sauce (gluten-free), adding 1-Tbsp at a time, always, I add by taste. Then tinker with the sugar, salt & pepper. Brighten it up with some rice vinegar, I add 1/2-tsp at a time, until I'm satisfied. Also, pump up the heat, with more red pepper flakes. Share in the comments, if you have a brown sauce recipe you like!

Another thing, I'm always careful not to over-cook the chicken or vegetables. In fact, I slightly undercook my veggies a bit, as we like ours crisp, with some bite to them.


There are only two of us now at home these days, but I still do stir-fry up the full recipe in my LARGE, non-stick electric wok, which I've loved, really for decades! It's non-stick, so the oil is only for enhancing the flavor of the food. At the end of the recipe, I choose NOT to combine the White Sauce and Almond Chicken Stir Fry but store them in the refrigerator separately.

So, for 1-2 the servings, I use my MED-SIZED, flat-bottom, stove-top wok to (freshen up) the Almond Chicken Stir Fry on HIGH. and have no worries of scorching the sauce right off. Once the chicken and veggies are warm, spoon in some sauce to heat through. You'll LOVE it. They won't even taste like left-over. In fact, the serving picture was set up this way, and I purposely used less sauce to feature the Almond Chicken And Veggies. LOL! Afterwards, when I offered the pictured plate of food to my husband, he asked for, "More sauce… please!" I obliged, and he loved it!

  




Almond Chicken Stir Fry
Serves: 6

Prep:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, bias sliced
2 carrots, sliced (bias cut, if desired)
2 celery ribs, sliced (bias cut, if desired)
4-oz snow peas, strings removed
4-oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 (8-oz) can water chestnuts, sliced, drained
1/2 (8-oz) can bamboo shoots, drained
1-lb Napa cabbage, sliced


Stir Fry: for White Sauce
2 Tbsp oil, divided (more, if needed)
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, more or less
1/2 cup onion, minced
Granulated sugar, add to taste
Salt and pepper, add to taste

White Sauce:
3 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade* or canned
3 Tbsp cornstarch

Served With:
6 cups cooked rice, white or brown
1 cup blanched almonds, whole





DIRECTIONS

Prep: Slice the chicken and vegetables. Refrigerate the chicken separately from the veggies. Mince fresh ginger, fresh garlic, and onion; chill now, to stir-fry for the White Sauce later. Lastly, combine a small amount of chicken broth with cornstarch for a slurry, stir in the remaining broth. Chill.

*If you don't have any homemade broth, at least canned broth, rather than using bouillon cubes, a better, tastier option is.. to always have a chicken base on hand instead! To name a few terrific brands: Tone's Chicken Base (Sam's), McCormick (Costco) or Better than Bouillon (grocer's). Just follow the instructions on the labels for amounts. Again, I add carefully, judging correctly by my taste buds.

Rice: Before dinner get your rice cooking according to the package directions, or as your manual directs (i.e.: rice cooker or Instant Pot).

Almonds & Chicken: In a non-stick electric wok, over HIGH heat (375°F) a drop of water should sizzle into a puff of steam. Heat 1-tsp oil, and stir-fry the almonds for about 2 min, or until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1-Tbsp oil to stir-fry the chicken. Transfer the cooked chicken to a large, 2-qt covered container. Set aside.

Veggies: Heat 1-tsp oil to stir-fry the veggies. Add the carrots first, stir-frying 1-2 minutes. Add the celery, cook 1 minute just before adding the snow peas. Don't over-cook, stir-fry until just barely tender, but still crisp. Add to the chicken. Stir-fry the mushrooms for 30 seconds, add water chestnuts, and then bamboo shoots; briefly stir-fry, before transferring to the chicken. Finally, quickly stir-fry the sliced cabbage until only wilted; toss in with veggies, almonds, and chicken.

White Sauce: Over HIGH heat, pour in 1-tsp oil in the empty wok, add the minced ginger; stir-fry briefly for 15 seconds. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, to quickly stir-fry those for 15-30 seconds. If necessary, lower the heat slightly, so as to begin to burn anything. Add the minced onion, and stir-fry until translucent. Stir the chicken broth, cornstarch mixture; pour into the wok. Stir and heat through, until thickened. Sweeten, starting with 1 tsp sugar (going by taste). Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

(EITHER) You can add the cooked chicken, the almonds (reserving some), and the veggies back into the wok with the white sauce, and heat through. Serve over 6 servings of hot cooked rice. Sprinkle with reserved almonds over top.

(OR) At this point, the white sauce can be (instead refrigerated) and stored separately from Almond Chicken & Stir-Fried Vegetables. Later, any # servings of Almond Chicken & Vegetables can be easily refreshed (stir-fried) again, with the sauce at the end to heat through, w/o tasting like plain old leftovers!

Enjoy,

Sharon Anne


Affiliate links are for your convenience. You DON'T pay more, yet I get a small referral fee. The ones that help you... help keep my blog running. So thank you for supporting the links!


    
  

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing πŸ’• Fresh Raspberry Spring Salad



I love homemade dressings!

The brightness of sweet raspberries and the balance of oil & vinegar in this recipe just may steal YOUR heart! 



πŸ’•  

With any vinaigrette, you can adjust the balance of sweet and the tart by adjusting, adding teaspoons of sugar or vinegar at the end to suit your taste!
 
The recipe is fairly basic, the oil is 3 to 1 with the vinegar. Add a touch of dry mustard, onion powder, and season with salt & pepper. Use whatever oil you prefer. You can slowly whisk it in, but instead, I choose to shake it!


After I vigorously shake the oil in, I WILL whisk in myπŸ”secret ingredient, "a pinch" of xanthan gum. This suspends raspberry seeds beautifully throughout the dressing, and yet the dressing still pours out easily. Plus, the oil and vinegar won't separate later on. Just always be sure to add only “a pinch”, and no more!

You can DIVIDE or DOUBLE the dressing recipe, but go slowly if adding more xanthan gum! It doesn't take much, to become too much.

Xanthan Gum is a common ingredient used in Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, and Keto recipes. It is also powerful stabilizer regularly used in the commercial salad dressing industry.


   

Take these to parties & potluck dinners, people truly LOVE a good Raspberry Vinaigrette! Believe me, I tell ya this recipe’s a keeper! Oh, and I so love the color. 

My personal, proven winner is Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing with Poppy Seeds; people often claim it's one of my best dressings!


Just drizzle the chilled Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing over top the Fresh Rasberry Spring Salad (see recipe below).


Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
πŸ’•
Fresh Spring Salad

Yield: 11 to 16-oz

Raspberry Vinaigrette:
1 cup frozen raspberries
(add up to 1/2 cup more, as desired)
1/3 cup sugar (+ 2 Tbsp, to taste)
4-5 Tbsp raspberry vinegar (to taste)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 cup oil
(i.e.: Canola or extra virgin light olive oil)

1/16 tsp xanthan gum*

Fresh Spring Salad:
Spring salad mix
Sliced cucumber
Fresh raspberries
Feta cheese
Sliced pickled beets
Chopped nuts, your choice



DIRECTIONS

Vinaigrette: In a bowl, combine the frozen berries with 1/3 cup of the sugar, set aside to thaw. With a fork, crush and macerate the sugared berries until nearly smooth; pour into a clean Mason jar. Add the raspberry vinegar, dry mustard, salt. pepper, onion powder. Pour in the oil. Cover and shake the jar vigorously. Taste for sweetness and vinegar balance; add more seasonings as necessary. Whisk in the pinch of xanthan gum, and the oil and vinegar will remain stabilized. Chill.

Salad: Layer the spring salad mix onto individual plates. Arrange the sliced cucumbers, fresh raspberries over top. Sprinkle with Feta cheese and chopped nuts. Garnish with sliced heart-shaped pickled beets, cut out with a cookie 
cutter. Drizzle the chilled vinaigrette dressing over top.

WARMLY,

Sharon Anne



The affiliate links are for your convenience. You DON'T pay more, yet I get a small referral fee. The ones that help you... keep my blog up and running... so thank you!


P.S. The red gingham lids I own aren't available. Instead, I found these gingham caps for you below!

   

Inspirational Source: https://gatherforbread.com/raspberry-vinaigrette-salad-dressing/

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fresh Asparagus w/ Lemon Tarragon Dressing


My son-in-law, David, is such a great home chef and he decided to bring some 
Fresh Asparagus w/ Lemon Tarragon Dressing 
to our family potluck potato bar dinner, which everyone quite enjoyed.


The leftovers were just every bit as delicious the next day too (even warmed up!).



Lemon Tarragon Dressing
by David Paul

1 med shallot, minced
1 lg clove garlic (or 2 medium), minced
2 tsp capers, rough chopped
1 1/2 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 sundried tomatoes, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt, taste - add more if needed
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbsp of dry Vermouth or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together all dressing ingredients except olive oil, while whisking, drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Taste, if more acid is needed; add more lemon juice.  Serve immediately over 2 lbs chilled or warm freshly blanched asparagus.

Blanching Asparagus
2 pounds fresh, med-thick asparagus (see Rinse and Snap)
8 cups water
2 Tbsp coarse salt

Have a large bowl of ice water standing by. In a large saucepan, boil 2 quarts of water. Add 2 Tbsp Kosher salt, and asparagus; boil 3 to 4 minutes until tender (depending on thickness).

Remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to ice water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain; refrigerate until completely chilled.

Storing Fresh Asparagus
Keep in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer away from ethylene-producing fruit like apples and pears, which toughen the stalks. Note that storing bunches upright in water may cause the tips to open.

Rinse and Snap

The tender tips can be particularly sandy. Holding the bunch upside down, gently swish it in cold water. Then to snap off the tough woody ends, bending the stalks at the natural breaking point (where the color changes from white to green), just 1 - 2 inches from the base.



Making Dressings
A hand-held stick blender is one of my absolutely favorite tools. You can whisk dressings in the provided carafe. Or, puree directly inside a wide-mouth canning jar, and then cover tightly with a 2-part canning jar lid.

Enjoy,

Sharon Anne


All affiliate links are your convenience; you won't pay any more, and I just get small referral amounts - everything helps. Thank you! -- Sharon Anne

Cuisinart Stick Blender, w/ Mini Food Processor & Whisk
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