Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms



This is my favorite dish to get at the food court Chinese restaurant. And this version is even better. It's easy to whip up even on a weeknight and is loaded with lots of good vegetables. If you are blessed with an abundant zucchini crop, consider making this - I promise you won't be sorry.

Start by cutting up the chicken into bite sized pieces and then dredging them in cornstarch. This gives the chicken a nice, crunchy coating when it's sauteed.



I like to dip all the chicken in the cornstarch before starting the stir fry. Just line them up on a plate and you'll be ready to go.




Now heat the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.



When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes.



Carefully turn over and cook an additional 2 minutes or until the juices run clear. Then remove the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate.



Now, add the zucchini



and the mushrooms to the same skillet.



Stir fry this for several minutes until the vegetables are golden and start to soften. (Don't let it cook more than 2-3 minutes though or it will get mushy. Ew.)



Then add the sauce ingredients: soy sauce,



balsamic vinegar, garlic



and ginger. Stir to coat the vegetables, then add the chicken back to the pan.



Stir again to coat the chicken with the sauce, and cook and stir for just a minute til the chicken is heated through.



Serve over hot rice.

One year ago: Rhubarb Blueberry Muffins
Two years ago: Summer Pasta

You will find more recipes at Recipes to Run on, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Delectable Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Tasty Tuesday (#3), Made from Scratch Tuesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, What's on the Menu Wednesday, What's on your plate, Made it on Monday, Cast Party Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Recipes I can't wait to try, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Turning the Table Thursday.

Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms

1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pices
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
8 ounces fresh button mushrooms
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise then cut crosswise (about 3 cups)
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tsp. ground ginger

Lightly dust chicken pieces with cornstarch until lightly coated. Add oils to a large skillet or wok and fry chicken pieces until golden brown, turning once. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Add zucchini and mushrooms to the wok and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, scraping up any chicken bits in the pan. Add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic and ginger to the skillet and stir to coat and stir fry until mushrooms and zucchini are fully cooked (about 1 minute).

Return chicken pieces to the wok and stir until coated with sauce and heated through. Serve over hot rice. Serves 4-6.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crispy Orange Beef



This is a delicious stir fry that pairs nicely with rice and broccoli. The sweet and tangy orange sauce compliments the beef nicely and the cooking method gives the beef a nice crusty texture.

That being said, I think when I make this again, I will not go to all the trouble to get the crispiness of the beef - I think I will just make a stir fry. It will go a lot faster, and that's what I love about stir fries - the speed!

I will show you how I made this using the traditional method and then you can decide how to do it for yourself and your family.

First, slice the beef thinly and lay it out on paper towel-lined baking sheets.



Put it in the refrigerator to dry out for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Now, lightly coat the beef in cornstarch



and then place on a drying rack.



Let this sit for about 1/2 hour - this resting time will help the cornstarch adhere to the beef and will help develop the crispy texture. For the sauce, combine the sugar, orange juice, salt, rice vinegar



garlic



and ginger.



Whisk well to combine and set aside. Now you're ready to fry the beef. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it pops. Place the beef in a pan in a single layer and cook for about 2 minutes on each side.



Be very careful when you turn the beef over; hot oil will splatter up and prick your skin and also ruin your shirt. (Hmmm....) You will probably need to fry the beef in two or more batches, adding more oil if necessary.

Remove the beef to a paper-towel lined plate. If there is standing oil left in the pan, remove it, but be careful to leave the nice browned beef bits in the pan. Add the sauce to the pan,



then scrape, scrape, scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up all those crispy beef bits. The cornstarch that's stuck to the bottom of the pan will help thicken the sauce. Cook and stir this for several minutes until the sauce starts to thicken and look syrupy.

Then add the beef back to the pan,



and simmer just until the beef is heated through.



Serve over rice so you can soak up all that delicious sauce!

One year ago: Banana Sherbet
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

Find more great ideas at It's A Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Food, Mouthwatering Monday, Mangia Monday, Make a Food "e" Friend Monday.

Crispy Orange Beef

1 1/2 pounds beef top sirloin, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp. dried ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
oil for frying (about 1/2 cup)

Lay beef strips out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Allow to dry in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours. Dip each beef piece in cornstarch and shake off excess to lightly coat each piece. Transfer the pieces to a drying rack and let sit for about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the sugar, rice vinegar, orange juice, salt, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Fry beef in the hot oil in small batches until crispy and golden brown, turning once; set aside. Drain all of the oil from the skillet.

Add the sauce mixture to the skillet, bring to a boil, and cook until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet to release the crispy beef bits. Add beef, and heat through, stirring to coat. Serve immediately over steamed rice, and garnish with broccoli. Makes 4-5 servings.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Strawberry Scones



When I found the recipe for these scones some time ago, I thought they would probably be the first scones I would make. And they won't be the last! These are SOOO delicious - just like eating strawberry shortcake in your hand! They would make a lovely addition to any breakfast, brunch, or mid-morning (or afternoon!) coffee break.

Scones are a little tricky to work with in that they don't seem to have enough liquid. If you don't think it's wet enough, it probably is. You don't want the batter to be too sticky.

First, cut the cold butter into small chunks. I usually cut the stick in quarters, then slice across the quarters.



Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl or the bowl of your food processor.



(My favorite way to make anything that involves cutting in butter is with my food processor. You can use a pastry blender or your fingers if you don't have a food processor.)

Pulse this dry mixture a few times just to blend, then add the cut up butter.



Pulse this just until the largest pieces of butter left are about the size of frozen peas. You want the same kind of texture as when you're making a shortbread crust.

Transfer the flour mixture to a mixing bowl, and gently toss the strawberries in it to coat them.



In a large measuring cup, lightly beat the egg, then add the milk and yogurt.



Stir this up well, then add to the dry ingredients.



Gently stir together to moisten the dry ingredients - it will be dry. You will probably need to gather it all up in your hands and knead it together a bit in order to fully mix it in. And that's why I don't have pictures of this step!

Now pat out the scones into a disc on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Traditionally, you would pat it into one 8-inch disc, but I wanted to make smaller scones, so I made two.



Now score the scones into 6 or 8 pieces (mostly cutting, but they'll come back together a bit when they bake - that's ok!)



and then sprinkle with turbinado (or regular!) sugar.



Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden.



Cool a bit before serving, then cut into pieces and enjoy! I also had great luck cooling these completely, then individually wrapping them and tossing in the freezer. They thaw pretty quickly or can be warmed in the microwave. I'm thinking ahead and planning to freeze some of these in order to have a hint of spring during a long, cold winter!

One year ago: strawberry rhubarb ice cream
Two years ago: chicken and vegetable kebabs

Find more recipes at Mangia Mondays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday #2, Delectable Tuesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Let's Do Brunch, Made it on Monday, Cast Party Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, What's on your plate?, Sweets for a Saturday, A Themed Baker's Sunday, Baking with Bizzy, Seasonal Sunday.

Strawberry Scones

1 egg
1/4 cup strawberry yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, diced
1 cup diced fresh strawberries

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt and milk until blended; set aside. In the bowl of a food processor combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the butter pieces and pulse several times to cut the butter into the flour, until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas. (If you don’t have a food processor, do this the "old fashioned" way with a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers.) Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and gently fold together until a sticky dough has formed. With lightly greased hands, knead just a few times to ensure that all the dry ingredients are moistened.

Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and pat the dough into a disc about 8 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Slice the disc into 8 wedges.

Bake at 425 until lightly browned on top, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Makes 8 large scones.

Note: these can easily be individually wrapped and then frozen after baking.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shaved Asparagus and Boursin Pizza



I adapted this recipe from Annie's Eats, one of my favorite cooking blogs. I had never made one of her recipes (she adapted this one from The Tasty Kitchen) but this was a great place to start.

I think I've talked before about my unending love for Boursin. Even though I adore it on crackers, I'm glad to have found another recipe to use it in.

Before now, I'd never seen shaved asparagus, or shaved it myself. Now I am a convert. What a great way to eat this vegetable! All you need is a vegetable peeler and you'll be all set. So let's get cooking.

Start by breaking off the tough ends of the asparagus. Then cut off the tips.



Now peel the stalks with your vegetable peeler, and you should end up with a nice pile, like this.



Stretch or roll out your pizza dough onto your pizza pan or stone, drizzle with olive oil, then use a pastry brush to sweep it across the dough (just like in the spinach and goat cheese pizza).



Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese,



then cover with the shaved asparagus and asparagus tips.



Add the boursin



and then sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden.



One year ago: Cherry Chicken Salad
Two years ago: Frosty Coffee Pie

Find more ideas at Foodie Friday, Friday Food, Food on Fridays, Bake with Bizzy, Foodie Friday #2, Friday Potluck, Fun with Food Friday, Recipes to Run On, Savory Sunday, Seasonal Sunday, Ingredient Spotlight: Asparagus.

Shaved Asparagus and Boursin Pizza

1 pound fresh pizza dough (here's a great bread machine recipe)
1-2 tsp. olive oil, for brushing
3/4 pound asparagus spears
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 oz. Boursin garlic and herb spreadable cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Roll out the pizza dough onto a pizza pan or stone. Drizzle the olive oil over the dough and then lightly brush it to cover the whole surface.

Break off the woody stems of the asparagus spears. Cut off the tips, then use a vegetable peeler to shave the spears into ribbons. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the dough in an even layer then pile the asparagus shavings and the tips over the top of the mozzarella. Dot the surface of the pizza with the Boursin. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Bake at 450 near the bottom of the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Berrymisu



Here is another no-bake dessert to make your summer entertaining (or just eating!) cool and delicious. The minute I saw this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe I knew I would have to make it. I love all things tiramisu (frozen or regular) and this is a delicious twist. This is the stuff dreams are made of: lemony soaked lady fingers covered in delicious cream-cheesy raspberry layers.

Mel makes this as a trifle. I don't have a trifle dish, and I prefer the look of it in a 9x13 pan, so that's what I did. (Do check out Mel's picture of her trifle though!)

Start by making the lemon syrup. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar, water and lemon juice.



Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.



Remove from the heat and let cool until lukewarm; you can speed up this process by pouring the syrup into a pie plate (which you'll need later anyway!).

While it cools, in a small bowl, whip the cream.



Set that aside for a moment, and now, in a large mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese and remaining sugar



until fluffy. (If you do it in this order, you don't need to wash the beaters - just take the same whipped cream beaters and beat the cream cheese! I know how to avoid creating more dishes to wash...)

Now gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.



Puree the raspberries in a blender or food processor, then gently fold them into the cream cheese mixture. (If you want to strain out the seeds, go ahead. I skip it!)



Now get ready to layer the berrymisu. I like to get everything lined up: lady fingers, syrup and pan.



Dip the ladyfingers in the syrup for one second.



Then flip them over to dip the other side for a second.



Don't let them sit in that syrup for more than one second - they'll get way too soggy (and you'll run out of syrup). Place the ladyfingers in the pan. I find they fit best when lined up 2 across, as shown here.



Cover the ladyfingers with half of the raspberry mixture.



Then dip more ladyfingers to add another layer on top of the raspberry.



Cover with the remaining raspberry mixture.



Refrigerate overnight. You can garnish with fresh raspberries, or just leave unadorned. In any case, it's absolutely fabulous!

One year ago: Blueberry Ice Cream TartTwo years ago: Oriental Coleslaw

Find more great ideas at What's Cooking Wednesday, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Recipes I can't wait to try, Let's do Brunch, What's on the Menu, What's on your plate?, Made it on Monday, These Chicks Cooked, Foodie Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Sweet Treats Thursday, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Sweets this Week, So Sweet Sunday.

Berrymisu

1-12 oz. package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
12 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
50 crisp ladyfingers
fresh raspberries, for garnish

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let it cool until lukewarm to the touch. Pour the syrup into a shallow pie plate.

Meanwhile, In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese and 3/4 cup granulated sugar until smooth. Using a rubber scraper, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

In a blender or food processor, puree the thawed raspberries until smooth. Gently fold the raspberry puree into the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture until just combined.

Briefly dip the ladyfingers in the syrup – about 1 second on each side. Layer the soaked ladyfingers in a single layer in a 9x13 baking dish. Gently spread 1/2 of the raspberry cream cheese mixture over the ladyfingers then repeat the layers once more. Refrigerate overnight. To serve, garnish with fresh berries, if desires. Serves 12.
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