Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coconut Apricot Chicken Curry

When it is just us for Shabbat I love to try out new recipes. Some of those recipes get blogged, some go right into the garbage and some make it onto the catering menu. This chicken blew us away with its deliciousness- the perfect blend of spicy from the sriracha and sweet from the apricots and coconut. With such a flavorful dish all you need is a piping hot bowl of rice to go with it and you are good to go. Now, when it comes to the coconut element there are two options on the market- coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut) and coconut milk. Coconut cream has a much higher fat content and is thus much more flavorful (think the difference between half and half and milk) but either one would work well here. I used mild curry powder here but if you like the hot stuff feel free to use that. Ordinarily I don't go for super spicy but when it comes to Indian food the heat is just lovely. Enjoy this as an interesting new addition to your Shabbat table.

6 chicken bottoms, cut in half (seperate thigh and leg)
1 cup flour
3 Tsp oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 (14 oz) can coconut cream or milk
1/2 cup water
15 dried apricots, halved
1 Tbl agave nectar, honey or brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbl sriracha sauce, optional

Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken pieces in to coat them. In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan heat the oil and brown the chicken pieces. Remove the chicken and spill out most of the fat/oil leaving just 2 teaspoons. To the hot oil add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes until the onion softens making sure the garlic does not burn. Add the curry, and cumin and cook another minute. Add the coconut milk, water, apricots and agave and sriracha season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chicken back into the pot,bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oriental Brown Rice Salad

It seems I've been on an Asian food kick on this blog recently, though it is strange because I've actually been on a Mexican food kick in real life. But last week as I was perusing my pantry I found 4 bags of brown rice sitting forlorn and forgotten and I figured it was time to make a dent in my rice supply. Thus this salad was born. The great thing about this salad is that it tastes even better the next day as the flavors absorb into the rice, in fact, I purposely made it the day before. The key is to dress the rice while it is still warm so that the dressing really permeates into rice. You can throw whatever vegetables you have around in here but this is what I had on hand. One thing that was sorely  missing though was water chestnuts-man, I miss those crunchy things and with all the imports to Israel I still have yet to locate a can. But if you are making this salad and have access to the humble but very coveted water chestnut, please throw them in. Otherwise, enjoy this salad as is- it is filling and a great way to jazz up some plain old boring rice.  Have some leftover chicken, beef or tofu? Throw it in and call it a meal! Enjoy!

2 cups brown rice, uncooked
1 red pepper chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
6 scallions, sliced
1 can baby corn, sliced
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 pint mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1/2 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup salted cashews,  roughly chopped

Cook the brown rice according to package instructions. While still warm add the dressing and let the salad cool. Add all the vegetables and top with the chopped nuts. Serve room temperature.

For the Dressing:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbl lemon juice
1 Tbl brown sugar

Whisk all together and pour over rice while still warm.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Gingered Beef Eggrolls

Growing up, there was a Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood that served as the "fancy" restaurant of choice. It was called Shang Chai and it was the stuff of legends. If you got married at least one of your sheva brachot was there, if you graduated that's where your celebration dinner was, and if you needed to meet the new in-laws you took them to Shang Chai. If you were lucky (and as we got older we were) your parents got take out from there for special occasions but the ultimate treat was getting to go to the all you can eat buffet- a stuff your face extravaganza of the most delicious Chinese dishes. Legend has it that one of my relatives (who shall remain nameless) was actually kicked out of the all you can eat buffet- apparently, in my family, all you can eat means leave none for anyone else. What made Shang Chai so great at the end of the day though, was their food. Succulent veal spare ribs, the crunchiest, freshest Chow Mein noodles, a General Tso's that was unparalleled, a simple iceberg lettuce salad served to every table that I still am trying to recreate and one of my faves, their beef egg rolls. My husband recently asked me to make him some egg rolls and the memories of Shang Chai all came back. These are my version and I have to say, though they definitely taste different they are supremely delicious. As an aside, one American product that has not made its way to Israel yet are Egg roll wrappers but after some trial and error I found that Morrocan Cigar wrappers, easily found in the freezer section are a perfect substitute. Enjoy!

2 tsp oil
1/2 pound ground beef
2 Tbl teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic
4 cups shredded green cabbage
2 carrots, shredded
6 mushrooms (shitake, baby bella, or button), chopped
5 scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 clove garlic
1 Tbl teriyaki sauce
1 package Egg roll wrappers OR Morrocan cigar wrappers
Oil, for frying

Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the beef  and break it up into pieces, mixing it so it does not burn. Add the teriyaki sauce, ginger and garlic, stir until fully cooked and remove from pan. To the pan add the cabbage, carrots and mushrooms and season with teh ginger, soy, garlic and teriyaki. Saute for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted but still crisp. Add to the beef, mix in the scallions and let the mixture cool. Once cool lay out a wrapper and add a heaping tablespoon of filling to the bottom corner. Roll up tightly until the middle of the wrapper and then fold each side in and continue rolling till all the dough is used up. Use a little water to seal the dough. In a heavy bottomed pan heat up about an inch of oil to about 350 degrees. Fry the egg roll until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Want something deeeeeeelicious for breakfast? Or brunch? Or any time of day? Then these biscuits are your man. Biscuits to me are just not a Jewish food- I mean who wants a biscuit when you can have a bagel? But let me tell you, take one bite of these flaky, buttery, cheesey orbs and you will be hooked. You know those Red Lobster commercials where they show the piles and piles of cheese biscuits dripping with butter that they give out for free? Well, after drooling over those commercials one time too many I felt it was necessary to make them for myself, albeit without the lobster tail as my main. I served these with eggs for breakfast to some very important guests and only wished I had some good soy sausages to go with it. So ditch the bagel for your next brunch and get in the kitchen and whip these up!

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melt and cooled

For the topping:
2 Tbl butter, melted
1/2 tsp granulated garlic

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and garlic together in a bowl. Stir in the cheese. In a separate bowl mix the buttermilk and butter together. It is ok if it looks lumpy. Add the milk mixture to the flour and mix just until everything is combined. Place about 1/4 cups full of mixture on a greased baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes until light golden brown. While the biscuits are baking mix the melted butter and garlic. Brush over the tops of the biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chicken Fried Rice

Re-purposing leftovers is insanely satisfying. I would probably have to chalk that feeling up to part Jewish guilt, part growing up around Holocaust survivors and part hating to throw out perfectly good food but either way, turning "oldies" into "goodies" gives me immense pleasure. I grew up in a home where there were no leftovers, not because there was no actual food leftover but because it was just known that none of us picky, spoiled eaters would touch day old grub and so instead of wasting effort and good tinfoil it just went straight into the garbage. A shanda, I know! My husband grew up eating leftovers all week long and sometimes longer than that until they were all gone and so between our two extremes we have tried to worked out a happy medium which involves him eating all the leftovers and me eating none of them. While that has worked out well,  what I have found is that if I turn the leftovers into something utterly new, even I can enjoy them. Fried rice is one of those perfect leftover concoctions. Leftover rice, leftover protein and a couple of additional items and you have a perfectly good and "new" meal to enjoy. Delicious, easy and feel good food. Enjoy!

3 Tbl oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 medium onion diced
4-5 cups day or two old cooked rice
3/4 cup frozen green peas
1 large carrot, grated
1- 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken, beef, turkey or tofu
3 -5 Tbl light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
4 green onions, sliced

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok. Add the beaten eggs and let it cook in omelet form for about a minute. Remove from pan and dice. Over very high heat, to the oil add the onion and saute about 5 minutes until it starts to brown, add the peas and carrot shreds and saute another half a minute. Add the rice, mix well and season with the soy and sesame oil tasting for flavor. Every brand of soy sauce is different. You may need a little more soy sauce depending on its intensity. Mix in the chicken, diced egg and fry another minute. Shut the fire off and mix in the scallions. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Rainbow" Green Bean Salad

I had to throw the "rainbow" into the title in honor of Parshat Noach, but this truly is a colorful salad. See those purple things? Those are Asian green beans! Not only are they purple, they are four times the length of a regular green bean! I've mentioned before that we are lucky enough to have someone in our neighborhood grow organic vegetables for sale and we buy kale from her every week in the winter. Recently she publicized that she had delicious eggplant that was ready to be picked and I sent my husband on over to get some already having 3 dishes planned to make with them. Turns out the eggplants weren't ready but he came home with these long, beautifully purple strings that at first I thought were jump ropes for my daughter but apparently were Asian green beans. Turns out they taste pretty similar to green beans with a slightly more asparagus- y taste. I had planned on making a green bean salad anyway so these were the perfect addition, the vibrant purple color just added some great wow factor. Of course, if you aren't lucky enough to find these you can just use all green beans. Either way, this is an interesting and delicious way to eat your veggies. Enjoy!

1 pound green beans
1/2 pound Asian green beans (cut into fourths) (substitute yellow wax beans or just add more green beans if you cannot find the purple ones)
1 large mango, cubed
1 red pepper, diced
1/3 cup chopped Chinese pecans (or glazed pecans)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the green beans. Cook for 2 minutes and immediately drain and place in ice water to retain the color of the beans and to stop them from cooking. Transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Dress and serve.

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Whisk all the ingredients together.