Category Archives: scallions

Cashew Kung Po Chicken

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love Chinese food and often resort to getting take out in order to fulfill my cravings. But more often than not I am disappointed. The food arrives soggy and lukewarm and lacks the real flavors I’m craving. But the reality is that so many Chinese dishes are incredibly easy and quick to make so there really isn’t any reason not to make them yourself.

Case in point is this kung po chicken dish from Noble Pig. It is fast, delicious and because you are making it yourself you can adjust the spiciness to your liking, which in my case is very hot. The key to ensuring that your dish is fresh and flavorful is to prep all of your ingredients before you begin cooking. Do this and not only will your meal be great but it will be done and on the table in a flash. Enjoy!

CASHEW KUNG PO CHICKEN
1-1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2″ pieces
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons  rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 cup cashews
4 scallions, white bulbs and green tops cut separately into 1/2″ pieces
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, more or less depending upon your preferences

  • In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sherry and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water and the remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sherry and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch.
  • In a large wok, heat  1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat.
  • Add the cashews, stirring until light brown, about 30 seconds.  Remove from the pan.
  •  Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the wok.
  • Add the white part of the scallions and the red-pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes.
  •  Add the soy sauce mixture and the scallion tops and simmer until the chicken is just done, about 1 minute longer.
  • Stir in the cashews.
  • Serve over steamed rice.

Serves 4

 

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Creamy Shrimp Creole Soup w/ Bacon Cornmeal Dumplings

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This is another fabulous recipe courtesy of The Noble Pig.   Shrimp is my favorite seafood and I love it when it is paired with tomatoes and the tummy warming flavors of Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper.  I like my food spicy but feel free to reduce the amounts of both seasonings if you want a more mild flavor.  While the list of ingredients is long, the soup comes together quickly.  You can chop your vegetables while the bacon cooks then make the dumplings while the soup cooks.  Try it and love it tonight.

CREAMY SHRIMP CREOLE SOUP w/ BACON CORNMEAL DUMPLINGS

For the soup:

3/4 pound raw large shrimp, deveined and tails removed

4 slices thick cut bacon, diced

1 1/2 cups celery, diced

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/3 cup all purpose flour

3 1/4 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup original flavor V-8 juice

1- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup scallions, minced

  • Cook the chopped bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp.  Remove half of the chopped bacon from the pan and 1 tablespoon of the drippings (keep separate), reserve this for the dumplings.
  • Add the celery and onion to the remaining bacon and drippings and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.  Whisk in the flour and cook until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the stock, V-8, tomatoes, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, thyme, sugar, cayenne pepper, and the bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil and cover.  Reduce the heat to allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes while it thickens.
  • Add the heavy cream once the soup has simmered for 15 minutes.

For the dumplings:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup finely chopped green onions

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk

  • Combine the flour, green onions, cornmeal, and baking soda in a small bowl.
  • Cut the butter into the flour mixture with two knives until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Add the reserved bacon and drippings and the buttermilk stirring until a moist dough forms.
  • Gently divide the mixture into 12 equal portions.
  • After the soup has simmered for 15 minutes, drop the dumplings, 1 at a time, into the pot.
  • Cover and cook for 8 minutes, carefully turning the dumplings after four minutes.
  • Add the shrimp and cook for three more minute or until the shrimp are opaque in color.
  • Garnish each bowl with parsley and scallions.

Serves 6

Scallion Pancakes

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I love Chinese food and while there are a few Chinese restaurants here in Tirana, I have yet to find a restaurant here in Albania that can fulfill my cravings.  My solution?  Make my own. I don’t do it often but when I do I am so glad that I did.

Scallion pancakes are a basic Chinese food staple.  They come in many versions and forms but I think there is nothing better than a hot and crispy pancake that is fresh out of the fryer.  Because the dough needs to rise twice, this recipe is from Flour Bakery takes some pre-planning and time to make but the results are worth the effort.  You can eat them as a snack on their own, as an appetizer, or as part of a larger Chinese feast.  Go ahead and make a double batch; they are that good and will disappear quickly.

SCALLION PANCAKES

For the pancakes:

1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup bread flour

2 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

  • Place the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add 3/4 of a cup of tepid water and allow to sit for 30-60 seconds until the yeast dissolves.
  • Add the flours, sugar, and salt.
  • Using a bread hook, mix the dough on low-speed for 10 seconds.
  • While the mixer is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil pouring it down the side of the bowl to avoid splattering.
  • Raise the speed one notch and mix for an additional 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled boil.  Cover and place in a warm but draft-free area for 2-3 hours until the dough rises.

For the filling:

8 scallions, green and white parts minced

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 cups peanut oil

  • Combine the scallions, oil and salt in a small bowl.
  • Divide the dough into three balls.
  • Working with one ball at a time on a well floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 5 x 10 rectangle.
  • Evenly divide the scallion mixture over the three rectangles.
  • Roll each rectangle jelly roll style to form a tight tube.  Twist each tube into a coil.
  • Place the dough on a floured board, cover with a lint free towel, and allow to sit for 2 hours.
  • Heat the peanut oil until shimmering in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • With floured hands, flatten each coil into a 10 inch round, taking care to distribute the scallions throughout the dough.
  • When the oil is shimmering, fry the pancakes, one at a time, for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.  Make sure the oil returns to the correct temperature before frying the next pancake.
  • Serve immediately.

For the dipping sauce:

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 scallion, minced

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Serve with the pancakes.

Yields:  3 pancakes and 1/3 cup of sauce

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