“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.

Peanut chicken 7 2016

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.  🙂

 

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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.

Spicy Aubergine with Roasted Chicken

I could use this hot spicy dish today given how bitter cold it is.  We’re in a deep cold snap and hopefully it won’t last long.  Guinness is not impressed at all.

Rosemary from Cooking in Sens did a post with spicy aubergine and veal a few weeks ago and I loved the flavours that were in the dish.  I had most of the ingredients and two chicken thighs to use up.  Plus our kids were coming back from Florida and I wanted to make them a nice meal to welcome them home.

Spicy aubergine 1 2015

Use a glass bowl big enough to hold the meat you choose to use.  Finely chop a shallot to give you about 1/4 cup.  Add 4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.  Then add 7 tablespoons of peanut oil, 1/8 cup of Sriracha sauce, 1/8 chilli garlic sauce, 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Mix well.  Add the chicken and make sure it is well coated.  Cover and set aside for at least and hour in the fridge.

Spicy aubergine 2 2015

When it is time to make dinner heat the oven to 350F/175C.  Bake the chicken thighs turning every 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Spicy aubergine 3 2015

While the chicken is cooking add the rest of the marinade to a skillet.  Add a cup of chicken stock and bring the sauce to a simmer.  Allow it to reduce by about a third or so.  If the sauce is too spicy add more chicken stock.  I had to do this otherwise I think I would have blown the kids out of their seats.

Spicy aubergine 4 2015

While the sauce is simmering, cube a cup and a half of aubergine and slice up the cooked chicken.  Add to the sauce and cook until the aubergine is cooked.  Just at the end add a handful of sliced scallion.

Spicy aubergine 6 2015

Serve with rice noodles or rice.

Spicy aubergine 7 2015

This was very spicy!  This would have a great chance of curing the common cold.  🙂  Which given the season, isn’t a bad thing!

Oh Pad Thai, Where Have You Been?

I have yet another example of oh duh, why didn’t I try this before?  I suppose it is similar to writer’s block.  You know the dish exists and you hear good things about it but for some reason you don’t try it.  There isn’t any rhyme or reason to it.  But after making this dish I am really wishing I tried making it before.  I’ve never had it before but I knew my husband liked it so I wanted to make it for him.

It’s not overly complicated but there are a few steps.  I followed this pad thai recipe somewhat closely with just a minor change or two.

About an hour before making the dinner I got the sauce and chicken prepped.  I cubed a half pound of chicken and tossed it in 2T of low sodium soy sauce and 1 tsp of cornstarch.  Place in the fridge until it’s time to cook.

Pad Thai 1 2014

In a separate bowl mix the juice of two limes, 2T rice vinegar, 5T oyster sauce, 5T brown sugar, and at least 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes.  If you want more heat add more flakes.  The original recipe asked for fish sauce but I had oyster sauce.  I’ve been waiting for a recipe to come along so I can try it.  It’s fabulous so I need to find more recipes!

Pad Thai 2 2014 Pad Thai 3 2014

Before starting to cook get the rice noodles ready for the dish.  Follow the directions on the packet.  The noodles will be finished off in the wok so don’t cook them all the way separately.  Finely chop 4 cloves or so of garlic and a 1/4 cup of chopped scallion.  Heat 2T of sesame oil then saute the garlic and scallion for a few minutes.

Pad Thai 5 2014

Add the chicken and cook through.

Pad Thai 6 2014

Remove the chicken, garlic and scallions and set aside.  Add a bit more oil to the wok and beat 3 eggs.  Add the eggs to the wok and start to scramble.

Pad Thai 7 2014

When the eggs are about halfway cooked add the oyster sauce mixture and stir well.  Add the chicken, noodles, about a cup of bean sprouts, and chopped cilantro.

Pad Thai 4 2014 Pad Thai 8 2014

The original recipe says to cook until the sprouts are soft but we like them crunchy so I cooked it until it was heated through.  Serve immediately garnishing with chopped peanuts, lime, and cilantro.

Pad Thai 9 2014

This was delicious!  I am kicking myself for waiting so long to make this.  And even try Pad Thai.  This has moved up the list of meals I like to make on a regular basis.  🙂

Make Your Taste Buds Stand Up – A Spicy Stir Fry

This morning is much quieter compared to the last 24 hours or so.  A long line of thunderstorms rolled through.  It was like Mother Nature was using a cricket bat to squash an ant and she kept missing and kept trying.  The house shook quite a bit.  Guinness, who normally could care less about storms, looked like he wanted to hide.  He was out of sorts!

A few of my friends faced flooded back gardens and they were keeping an eye out on the reservoir dam above the town.  Fortunately that didn’t overflow as it’s up on a hill and there are a lot of homes below it.  They wouldn’t be destroyed so much as badly damaged and with winter coming it’s something that definitely wants to be avoided.  But despite the crazy storm the town was fine and we’ll dry off at some point.  More rain today.

At the beginning of all on Wednesday I decided to do a spicy stir fry.  That day was extremely hot and humid so all the A/Cs were going and I didn’t want to do a heavy dinner.  As it was just my husband and I a stir fry seemed like a good choice.

A very easy and quick meal to make.  I chose to do a vegetarian dish with hot peppers.

As everything gets cooked at the same time I prepped the rice noodles first.  One way to make them is soak them in hot water for about 8-10 minutes.

Stir fry 1 2013

I then chopped up all the veg I wanted to use.  I love stir fries with all the colours.  The fresh ginger really makes the flavours pop as well.

Stir fry 2 2013

In our wok I heated up some peanut oil and once hot I tossed in all the veg and stirred it.

Stir fry 3 2013

I added two heaping spoonfuls of chili garlic paste, this will wake you up!  A bit of lime juice, soy sauce, and cilantro completes the dish.

Stir fry 4 2013

Once it is nearly finished I toss in the noodles to coat and then serve.

Stir fry 5 2013 Stir fry 6 2013

Garnish with peanuts and hot peppers over and above the hot peppers used in the dish.  Had a great kick to it!

 

Coconut Curry Soup

Once in awhile as a treat for my husband I tell him I would like to make a special meal of his choice for him.  Whatever he wants.  This time he picked out a Thai soup.  I found this on pinterest here Coconut Curry Noodles. The base of it looked good but as I saw in the comments it was a bit bland for some so I decided to make it my own to make sure it had some zip to it.  It isn’t hard to make and you have control with the level of heat.

For the rice noodles, I just follow the directions on the box.  Boil for 4-6 minutes then drain.

To start I chopped up some carrot and scallion from our garden and chopped up a few cloves of garlic.

Coconut Curry Soup 1 2012

I saute these for a few minutes in olive oil then I add a few tablespoons of Thai red curry paste.

Coconut Curry Soup 2 2012

Next I add a bunch of peppers.  I got to use our frozen peppers from the garden for the first time and I have to say I was pleased with the result.  I don’t like mushy veg and I didn’t get that with this soup.

Coconut Curry Soup 3 2012

Next I add about 1 1/2 cup of veg broth and bring to a simmer.

Coconut Curry Soup 4 2012

Then I add a can of coconut milk.  I have to say, as this was the first time I used this, it was weird!  It separates in the can so the solids are at the top.  So much so I could turn the open can upside down.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I mix in the coconut milk and a handful of chopped cilantro.

Coconut Curry Soup 5 2012

It was at this point I had to get creative as it was bland.  I added a bit of salt, more curry paste as we like the heat, and a bit of soy sauce.  It still needed more.  So I added a few splashes of lime juice then grated a good amount of fresh ginger.

Coconut Curry Soup 6 2012

I have to say the ginger was the right way to go.  It really added a great dimension to the flavours.  I chopped up a bunch of peanuts and threw half into the soup while cooking.  To serve put the rice noodles into the bowl.

Coconut Curry Soup 7 2012

Then pour the soup over the noodles.  Top with peanuts.

Coconut Curry Soup 8 2012

I will definitely be making this again.  I loved how it turned out.  A few days later we had a little for leftovers so I sauteed up some chicken and then reheated the soup to have together.  That worked really well and this would be perfect with prawns.