Pineapple Asian Chicken

I have a little vent before I get to my recipe.  Thursdays are my grocery shop day and I headed to our co-op.  They leave water out for the dogs which is great on hot days like this but the whole front is covered by concrete which gets quite hot.  When I pulled in I could hear a dog whinging.  There was a small dog tied up outside on the hot concrete.  It kept lifting its paws.  I took out one of my cloth bags and laid it down and the pup immediately sat down on it.  I sat on the bench to wait for the owner so the dog could keep it’s paws off the concrete.

I only waited a couple of minutes before the owner came out.  She was not happy with me at all!  I said the dog’s paws were too hot because of the concrete and she very dismissively said the dog was fine.  I didn’t leave right away and said if a dog keeps trying to lift all their paws, they aren’t all right.  She was a bit shirty with me but I didn’t care and then she noticed the cloth bag and asked if it was mine and tossed it to me.  Honestly, while I would never tie my dog outside somewhere, if I did and someone said the pup was distressed I wouldn’t be bitchy about it!  I really don’t understand people.

I hope I got my point across!

Last week while we were running errands I got peckish and grabbed some turkey jerky.  A very strange texture but the flavour was really good so I made note of the ingredients as I thought it would make a great marinade for some chicken wings I needed to use up.

Pineapple Asian Chicken 1 2018

Now I don’t get anything for “promoting” the ingredients in the picture, they just happen to be what we like to buy and use.  In a bowl or container add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice, a splash of lime juice and 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  Finely chop 2-4 cloves of garlic, depending on their size, and grate 1in/2.5cm cube of fresh ginger.

Pineapple Asian Chicken 2 2018

Whisk until the ingredients are well blended.  Taste and adjust the flavours as you like.  Toss the chicken wings to coat well.

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Marinate for at least an hour, I marinated for most of the day.  When it was time for dinner I fired up the grill and prepped the ingredients.  Out I go to grill the wings and find we ran out of gas.  Thank goodness for the stove top griddle so I got that heated up and began to grill the wings.

Pineapple Asian Chicken 4 2018

I also grilled some mushrooms and jalapeño as sides to the salad.  It’s much easier on the grill as the wings are surrounded by the heat.  When it is stovetop you have to keep turning and making sure nothing catches while you are trying to get it cooked through.

Pineapple Asian Chicken 5 2018

Serve on top of a salad and enjoy.  A very easy meal to throw together if you have a crazy busy day.  🙂

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“Anybody Got a Peanut….” Chicken

Who doesn’t love a good classic?  My family loves The Princess Bride.  Though I’m not sure I’m ok with a movie I grew up with being called a classic.  To me those are the black and white films from another era.  I know it’s denial!  But I’m sticking with it.

It’s a film that we love to watch with popcorn reciting the quotes as they come up in the film.  Well to be honest we throw out the quotes even if we aren’t watching the film.  Get to the food you say?  “As you wish….”

Because it’s just been my husband and I for the past month (our kids come back tonight!) we had two chicken thighs left over from the four pack that needed to be used.

Peanut chicken 1 2016

I wanted to go with Asian flavours for this dish.  Prep the marinade for the chicken thighs first.  In a bowl whisk peanut oil and soy sauce (we use gluten free amino acids) in a ratio of 3:1.  Finely chop a clove of garlic, some scallion, and grate about a teaspoon of fresh ginger.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Mix well and coat the two chicken thighs.

Peanut chicken 2 2016

Set aside for at least a half an hour.  While you make the sauce, cook the rice noodles to the package instruction and grill the chicken.  In a skillet heat up a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil.  Chop 3-4 cloves of garlic and saute them on medium heat.  You don’t want to brown the garlic.

Peanut chicken 3 2016

After a few minutes add about half a cup of chopped scallion.

Peanut chicken 4 2016

Add the leftover marinade from the chicken and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce.  Bring to a simmer and add a tablespoon or two of lime juice.  Stir in a large spoonful of peanut butter.  I chose chunky to save me a step of chopping up peanuts.

Peanut chicken 5 2016

Add more peanut butter as needed to get the right the balance between the sweetness of the peanut butter and saltiness of the soy sauce.

Peanut chicken 6 2016

When the chicken is nearly done add about a cup of chopped red bell pepper.

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Add the rice noodles with 1/2 a cup of the hot water the noodles were cooked in to thin out the sauce.  Toss to coat.

Peanut chicken 8 2016

Top with the chicken and serve as soon as possible.

I have to say even though our food bill was much lower with the kids off on their adventures I am so excited they will be home.  With huge appetites and all.  🙂

 

Grilled Pork Salad With An Asian Flair

I heard from my mum this morning and she wanted to know what I was feeding my kids as they are growing like weeds!  I wish I knew!  I know it can’t just be they have a tall dad.  I have one as well but I didn’t get very far with the height thing.  And I did eat my vegetables though for all the good it did me. 🙂

It is strange coming into the last bit of the school year.  Both kids are finishing up at each of their schools and getting ready to move up to the next school.  Which means a flurry of celebrations and year end events.  A lot of lasts.  My son’s school has a cookout for the whole school with activities outside.  They finish off with a water balloon toss with the oldest students and the teachers.  They absolutely love that bit!

A big change from when I was a kid though would be the new tradition of having a graduation for every level of school including preschool!  At least our son’s celebration is called a recognition instead of graduation.  It’s a bit much.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m insanely proud of our kids.  I love watching them grow and becoming fabulous people.  They are really coming into their own.

The other day I planned on grilling pork in an Asian marinade to put over salad.  Great plan until I realised we had run out of gas for the grill.  Plan B was grilling on the stove top.

In a bowl mix together the following:

4 tablespoons of peanut oil

3 tablespoons of oyster sauce

3 tablespoons of rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of lime juice

2 tablespoons of amino acid

3-4 finely chopped garlic

A couple of teaspoons of cilantro

Grilled Pork Salad 1 2015

Marinate the pork for at least an hour.  Also, take some of the marinade and marinate a few mushrooms.  If you are lucky enough to have a working grill on hand, grill away until the pork is cooked.  Otherwise continue with plan b.

Grilled Pork Salad 2 2015

While the pork is resting grill the mushrooms.

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Slice the pork and mushrooms and top your salad with them.  For a dressing I quickly mixed up a bit of peanut oil, rice vinegar, and lime juice.

Grilled Pork Salad 4 2015

A great light meal for the hotter weather.  And we’ve since rectified the gas situation so no more plan b for the time being!

Peanut Satay and My Rain Dance isn’t Working

The dirt is dry.  Bone dry, just puffs of dust.  It does not bode well that we are struggling already and May isn’t over.  Usually we don’t have issues with rain.  But this season we desperately need some rain to fall from the sky.

This past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend in the states and that is also the start of serious planting in our zone.  It also means we have a ton of plants to get into the ground.  We are facing a semi-disaster with the peppers.  Half of the seedlings were small because I was behind the eight ball at the front end in getting them started in the first place.  I tried getting enough water into the raised bed but the small seedlings immediately went into shock and died.  We have some more to try so fingers crossed we succeed because I was really hoping for some home grown habaneros.

We’ve spent every day since trying to soak the beds.  It’s frustrating because we soak them leaving puddles and do that a few times but when we poke the soil it’s still dry!  This could be a long season.

This past Friday I wanted to make one of the dishes my family made for me on Mother’s Day.  Grilled chicken with a peanut satay sauce.  We had plenty of the satay sauce left over so it needed to be used up.

The recipe I got influence from was from the “Appetizers, Finger Foods, Buffets & Parties”.

For the satay mix the following:

2T each of smooth peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice

1T of sesame oil and brown sugar

2 finely chopped scallions and garlic cloves

Mix well and set aside.

Peanut satay chicken 4 2015Next the marinade for the chicken needs to be made.

Peanut satay chicken 1 2015Ignore the large onion.  I was originally going to use it because I didn’t have any scallions for the marinade.  But I felt the onion would be too much.  And I forgot to retake a photo!  Ah well.

In a bowl mix 4 tablespoons of peanut oil, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce or amino acids, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice.  Grate about an inch/2.5cm square of fresh ginger and finely chop 3-4 cloves of garlic.  Next add a small handful of chopped cilantro and a chili pepper, chopped.  Deseed it for this recipe because you don’t want the heat to overpower the other flavours.

Peanut satay chicken 2 2015

I chose to use chicken thigh meat instead of breast meat.  One it’s less expensive and two it has more flavour.  Cut it so it is in cubes keeping the pieces in a similar size.  Marinate for at least an hour.

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Skewer the chicken and heat up the grill.  Cook the chicken while turning to cook the chicken evenly allowing them to sear on each side.

Peanut satay chicken 5 2015

Serve with the sides of your choice. I like making baked potatoes on the grill, just keep them up off the flame.

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Spoon the satay over the chicken and enjoy!  And keep your fingers crossed for some rain!

Kung Pao Chicken and Maybe Going Overboard on the Healthy Bit

Despite my obsession with crisps and chocolate I do try to have very healthy food at the house.  It’s important to me to put good food into my family.  But my husband, ahem, has made it known to me that I might go a little overboard in my endeavor.

Conor from One Man’s Meat posted a wonderful Kung Pao Chicken the other day that I wanted to try. Of course you need rice for this dish so off I went and bought brown rice.  My husband inquired as to why I didn’t get white rice. I replied but brown rice is healthier.  He just shook his head and let me know it’s ok to go crazy and have white rice!  LOL

At any rate, I had most of the ingredients to give this dish a go.  Could not find Schezwan peppercorns anywhere though so I had to use regular black peppercorns.  Also, I stuck with amino acids for the soy sauce due to cutting out a lot of gluten in my diet.

Kung Pao Chicken 1 2015

Prep everything before you start cooking as it doesn’t take long to cook.  Also, prep the rice as well.

Coarsely chop 3-4 cloves of garlic and about an inch and a half(3-4cm) of fresh ginger.   Slice the about 2 scallions into inch (2-3cm) slices and the chilies about half that size.  Depending on how hot you want your dish, you can deseed the chilies or leave them in.  Because we didn’t have the Schezwan peppercorns I left the seeds in the dish.

Kung Pao Chicken 2 2015

Because I was making this dish for two I used two small chicken breasts.  In a separate bowl mix 1 tablespoon of the amino acid, 1 tablespoon of Mirin (rice cooking wine), a tablespoon of corn flour, and about 1/2 a tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper.  Coat the chicken and set aside.

Kung Pao Chicken 3 2015

In a separate bowl mix 3 tablespoons of amino acid, a teaspoon of corn flour, the garlic, ginger, and chilies.  Set aside.  Heat up the wok with 2 tablespoons of peanut oil.  When the oil is good and hot fry a heaping 1/2 cup of peanuts.  If you have peanuts that haven’t been dry roasted use those.  The ones we have on hand were already dry roasted but they worked fine.  These will not take long to fry so keep an eye on them.  Once golden brown set aside.

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Add a bit more oil if needed then cook the chicken.  If you are doing more chicken than I did then doing it in batches would be a good idea.

Kung Pao Chicken 5 2015

Add the sauce with the ginger and garlic and most of the scallions.  I have to admit this is when it started looking different from Conor’s as his pictures show a lot more sauce than mine.  I read it and reread it and I followed the amounts.  So if this happens to you add equal amounts of the amino acid and Mirin to increase the sauce being careful to keep the balance of the flavours.

Kung Pao Chicken 6 2014

Once it is the chicken is cooked through serve immediately over the rice.

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We really enjoyed it.  The heat was really balanced with the flavours.  And it’s a dish that is easily adjusted to make it milder or hotter depending on your taste.  My drink of choice for this dish was a lovely Mexican Mule, the ginger was a great pairing.

Asian Meatballs and the Education System

Mind boggling.  That is how I felt last night when we were talking about school.  Both kids had tests yesterday.  Both mentioned how they had to finish them today.  I asked what they meant finishing it a day later.  Apparently that is the norm in our school system.  If you don’t finish it in time that is ok.  This just blew my mind.  Growing up if I didn’t finish a test in the set amount of time that was on me.

This really concerns me because as a parent I want the best education for our kids.  I don’t want education to be a limiting factor to whatever progress our kids make.  Last year the US was ranked 14th in the world when it came to education.  The past couple of years think tanks have mucked about with different ways the kids should be taught without really vetting the programs.  Common core has been a nightmare.  I’m sorry 2+2 does not equal 5!  I get that kids should learn to think through the process and understand how they got to the answer but it is not ok if the answer is wrong.

It is hard for me to understand the overall disconnect between what I see our teachers doing locally and how our students stand vs other countries.  The teachers our kids have, bar one, have been amazing.  They are dedicated to our kids, they work long hours, they work to try to tailor lessons for each student, and communicate with us.  So I have to think our system is held back at the higher level.  For example there is an OK senator who wants to cut funding to the AP History classes because it “teaches students what is bad about America”  It doesn’t promote “exceptionalism”.   Constantly chanting “We’re #1” isn’t leadership, it’s insecurity.

To rise back up the ranks, kids need to have positive learning experiences while being prepared for the real world.  They need to stop being let down by those who forget separation of church and state actually exists, to be allowed to actually learn science and the truth about history, and to know that 2 + 2 doesn’t equal 5.

We are fortunate that our kids love to learn and seek out ways to learn new things.  But not all kids have that support.

We did have a nice meal to go along with the enlightening conversation.  I was in the mood for meatballs and wanted an Asian flair.  And guess what my husband found at the co-op?

Asian meatballs 1 2015

Galangal!  How cool is that?  In a bowl I mixed up a half pound of beef with a few tablespoons of freshly grated galangal.  I found it to be very dry and flaky.  I also added chopped chives and couple of teaspoons of amino acids.  Otherwise known as gluten free soy sauce.  Then roll the meat into meatballs about an inch to an inch in a half in diameter.  In a skillet heat up a few tablespoons of peanut oil.

Asian meatballs 3 2015

Brown the sides of the meatballs then finish off in an oven heated to 350F/175C.  Meanwhile, saute chopped veg of your choice.  I did up peppers, scallions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms.

Asian meatballs 4 2015

I messed up on the portion of sauce vs the portion of rice noodle.  I made enough sauce for two people but enough noodles for 4.  So I would double what I’m putting here.  Otherwise the dish ends up bland and trust me, the sauce wasn’t bland!  I added 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, a couple of teaspoons of amino acids, a few splashes of fresh lime juice, and a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer and add a cup of homemade chicken stock.  Reduce down a bit then add the meatballs.

Asian meatballs 5 2015

Cook the rice noodles per the directions then serve with the meatball sauce.

Asian meatballs 6 2015

Next time I make this I will definitely increase the sauce because the flavour was amazing.  Just wish the rice noodles hadn’t dulled it down.