Chicken Noodle Soup

DSC_6136 [1600x1200]It’s cloudy and rainy today and that put Mrs J into a soup mood.  I started chicken simmering with onions and then ransacked the cupboards for egg noodles and came up short.  I suggested the mung bean noodles I have stashed away but she refused them in favor of a run to town for “proper” noodles.  While she was gone I went ahead and fixed a bowl using them.  These are often called cellophane noodles and are huge in Asian cuisines.  I have garnished this bowl with fresh chilies and red onions.  There are a few shiitake mushroom slices in there, a splash of soy sauce, and a few drops of hot sesame oil along with the carrots and celery.

Mmm… not so sticky chicken

I did something similar not too long ago.  The wings were cooked in a crockpot that time but that was overkill so I roasted these in a similar marinade in my trusty toaster oven.   I finished the thighs I used this time on the stove top in a non stick pan after separating the fat from the marinade and cooking juices. These spent some time in the pan over medium low heat but they never got to the sticky as glue stage.  I decided I wanted sauce more than a crusted glaze so I added some stock with a bit more soy and oyster sauces along with more grated ginger root and minced garlic.  Yummy stuff.  Made fried rice to accompany the chicken.

Mmm…popcorn shrimp

I grabbed a bag of frozen shrimp and tossed them into the sink to thaw without giving them much attention.  When I finally looked I was a bit surprised to see that it was a big bag of peeled small shrimp.  Until I saw that I had been undecided about what I was going to do with them.  So happens that we watched a recorded showing of one of the cooking shows just last night where the chef prepared some popcorn shrimp.  I found the recipe first try with Google.

I had some frozen pot stickers that didn’t turn out so hot.  Kirk 1, jeffreyw 0

Let’s just say that when they say “stickers” that they aren’t referring to decals.

Those lumps to the left there are not really individual dumplings.  They are as one.  They are firmly, uh, married.  That’s it-they are one big happy family.  Look over there!—>

The dipping sauce for the potstickers was pretty good, anyway.  It is soy sauce, rice vinegar, a crushed clove of garlic, some red pepper flakes, a couple packets of Splenda, and a shot of sesame oil.

Since we are both diabetic I made only a small amount of  the spiced honey drizzle.  It was very tasty.  The red goop is Sriracha sauce.

Gadget Post

Just about every one of the cooking shows has had an ad for one of these skillets: The Calphalon “Slide”.  I’ve been enjoying the 10″ non stick omelet pan I have and have been itching to get one a tad larger.  Finally clicked the button at Amazon for the 12″ version of the pan that the food just “slides out of”.  It came today, and to break it in I decided to go with a stir fry recipe to make use of the baby bok choy I bought today.  I followed the recipe pretty closely (for me, anyway) and tho I can’t imagine that all the measurements are correct in my iteration I believe it came out pretty well.  I used some rehydrated shiitake mushrooms along with some fresh buttons I had left from the frittata instead of the mushrooms called for in the recipe.  I used more garlic than called for, and I didn’t have any fresh ginger root but I did have a large jar of  ginger paste.  I used a heaping spoonful of it in the sauce.  Also, I marinated the chicken chunks in soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine.

First impression of the pan?  Very positive-the stuff does slide right out.  I used some cooking oil in it but the oil didn’t seem to form a film on the pan, it kinda “beaded up”.  I didn’t cook the chicken by itself for very long, but it appeared that it was going to brown alright.  Clean up was about as I expected:  A couple of swipes under a hot faucet with a dish rag and it was clean.  This pan came with a glass lid-very handy at times to have a lid, and with glass you can see what’s going on in there without taking it off.

The pictures will tell the story:

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Sesame Shrimp Linguine

This dish is like a bolt out of the blue!  Where have you been all my life?!?  I was puttering about in an online chat when a fellow mentioned he had had shrimp pasta for dinner yesterday.  That sounded pretty easy so I thought “me too” and went to the cupboard to sort through the pasta we had on hand.  I reached down a bag I had bought a few weeks ago.  I’ve had some pasta from the same outfit before-I think it was mushroom flavored but the style escapes me.  I was reading the back and looked at a recipe they had on there and it struck me that it sounded pretty good, and I had all the stuff I needed, mostly.

I set to work assembling the sauce: Some olive oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, a bit of Splenda in lieu of cane sugar, some sesame oil, and some ginger went into a bowl.  Not content with those I crushed some Szechuan peppercorns, and minced several cloves of garlic, and drizzled in several tablespoons of chili oil.  I decided to make the sauce double as a marinade so in went the peeled shrimp.

I opted not to put in the broccoli the recipe called for.  It would have worked well.  After eating the dish I had several other ingredient ideas that will be in the next batch of this I make.

Prep was fast and easy.  I fired a large skillet and cooked the shrimp in the sauce, took just a few minutes while the pasta was boiling next burner over.  Drained, the pasta went right atop the shrimp along with a good handful of red bell pepper slices.  This stuff was great!  Can’t wait for the next batch with the improvements I have in mind!


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Sesame Beef

I had another bunch of asparagus that I was wanting to stir fry today so I Googled asparagus recipes.  There were plenty, and I was drawn to a few beef and asparagus recipes.  I noticed a link to a sesame beef recipe, and following it, came upon a really yummy looking photo of the dish.  Made up my mind to try it, thankful that I had bought a fair amount of sesame seeds just a few days ago.  My local grocer had red bell peppers on sale last week, and we had ten of those frozen in a big plastic freezer bag.  Seems I had everything I needed.  Still left me needing a recipe for the asparagus.  LOL  That is what I started out looking for.  No problem finding a recipe.

I was able to deep fry the beef pieces to set aside but the final dinner prep required two pans going at once.  Pretty busy at the stove those last few minutes before plating.  Served the beef and asparagus with jasmine rice.  Mrs J declared the dinner “yummy”-high praise indeed.  I beamed.

Here we go:

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Sesame Oil Chicken

This is not the famous sesame chicken seen here and elsewhere.  It should be famous, though.  Pretty good stuff.

This recipe came from the same place as the sesame chicken recipe above.  The whole site is worth looking over anytime you are at a loss for what to fix, or how to fix it.  Not saying that I took no liberties with the recipe but the general outline is there.

I chopped some chicken thighs into 2 or 3 pieces with my trusty cleaver and set them aside, no marinade, no seasoning, nothing.  Heat a pan and add several tablespoons of sesame oil, toss in some sliced garlic.  Give the garlic a chance to cook for just a minute and then toss in those chicken pieces, along with some dried red peppers and some Szechuan peppercorns.  Brown the chicken on all sides, then add the mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Chinese cooking wine.  Stir in some ginger paste.  Add a bit of water, maybe half cup or so.  Cover and reduce the heat.  When the chicken was done I added some cornstarch in a slurry with the sauce the chicken cooked in to thicken the sauce.  Serve with rice.


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Green Bean Stir Fry

I wondered if there was a good recipe out there for stir fried green beans.  Yes, there are many good recipes.  This is a synthesis of several I found.

Trim a bunch of beans into lengths you are comfortable with.  Too long and they can be hard to eat.  Two inches seems a good length, longer and you may find you are having to fold them into your mouth.  The basic procedure:  Steam the beans for a few minutes, meanwhile heat some oil in a pan and toss in ginger and garlic.  Time this so you can add the steamed beans right atop the garlic before it burns.  Stir fry the beans for another few minutes then add some liquid and cover for a little while.  Stir up the sauce and add it to the beans, stir to coat as the sauce thickens, serve hot.

The timing on this will vary according to your beans, some may be tougher than others and you may need to nibble a bit as you go along to make sure the beans are done enough.  I like  them still with some crispness.  Just a rough guess on the cooking times for this dish today: 4 minutes steaming, 3 minutes stir frying with the garlic and ginger, 2 minutes covered after I added a splash of stock, and another 2 minutes after adding the sauce.

The sauce is where the dish gets interesting.  I mixed about half a cup of chicken stock from a powder, added a tablespoon of sesame oil, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of red pepper flakes, some sweetener (you can use sugar), a tablespoon of garlic/chili paste, and a tablespoon or so of corn starch.  I imagine this is going to be one of those sauces that will vary a bit every time I make a new batch.  May go with some Szechuan peppercorns next time.

You will note that there are also some red onions in the dish, as well as some shiitake mushrooms.  You can add those or other things as it suits you.  The chicken in the pictures is a deli bought Gen. Tso’s Chicken.


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