August 27, 2008

Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken

Oh, I'm so lazy. I have been cooking, at least for the weekends I've been in town. This meal was from the 17th of August, sent to me by my mother in a Cook's Illustrated newsletter. I really enjoy sesame-based Asian meals and this was no exception. Cooked in two parts, the sauce itself is the most complicated. The recipe calls for mixing these ingredients in a blender or food processor, but I've yet to acquire either. So in a bowl I mixed peanut butter, minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, the rice vinegar, Tabasco, sugar, and some sesame seeds. From the boiling pot (see below), I added tablespoons of water until this sesame oil mixture was soft enough to stir well.
Boil the Asian noodles (yeah right, or spaghetti). In the meantime, spray a cooking sheet with vegetable oil. Place the chicken breasts on the sheet and broil until the chicken is lightly brown (or at least cooked throughout). Once removed from the oven, let the chicken cool and cut it up into smallish pieces. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water. I know, weird right? But this meal is basically served cold. Toss the noodles with the chicken and cover with the sesame oil sauce you made earlier. Then add scallions and shredded carrot and cover with more sesame seeds. Eat!
The ingredients list for Cook's Illustrated's Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken is:
  • a 1/4 cup or so of sesame seeds
  • a 1/4 cup of chunky (or smooth) peanut butter
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced or through a garlic press, if you're fancy)
  • a tablespoon of ginger (fresh or not)
  • 5 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • a teaspoon of hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar (or regular sugar, really)
  • a pound and a half of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • a pound of fresh Asian noodles (or spaghetti)
  • 2 tablespoons of actual sesame oil
  • 4 scallions, sliced somehow
  • a medium carrot, grated

August 3, 2008

Roasted Peppercorn Turkey Panini

A few weeks back, my mother and grandmother came to spend the weekend with me. Not one to miss an opportunity, I enlisted them in choosing and helping me fashion a lunch for the three of us. After a long weekend of cleaning and shopping, nothing hits the spot like a delicious, not-exactly-healthy panini. This particular recipe came from a book on cast-iron grilling, but applied equally well to my less antiquarian cooking methods. That is to say, I used a panini grill and not two pieces of ribbed metal. I wonder if George Foreman has a panini grill, as it really is the trendy version of his famous "grilling machines".
I had to highlight the sliced avocado, as it something to behold. These paninis are made in fun sections. For each one, butter a side of its two pieces of multigrain bread (for serious, multigrain actually tastes good here). Prepare a mixture of the mayonnaise, sour cream, chipotle pepper, lime juice and zest, and cilantro. Spread this on the non-buttered side of each slice. Spread the turkey breast between the paninis, laying it along one side each, and then top with the cooked bacon. Put the paninis together and grill them until the cheese has melted, about 7 minutes or so. Once removed from the grill, add the sliced avocado in the middle, slice, and serve. To slice an avocado, by the way, peel it, pull out the core, and then cut length-wise until it's in thin slices, being careful that they don't fall apart. This my mother taught me and she did it fantastically.
The ingredients to make four are as such (please don't sue me):
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1 tablespoon of sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of "chopped chipotle chile in adobo"
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro (if you want)
  • 2 tablespoons of softened butter (for each side of the paninis)
  • 8 slices (or 2 * n) of whole wheat or multigrain bread
  • 8 slices of provolone cheese
  • a pound of deli-sliced peppercorn turkey breast
  • 8 slices (or more!) of smoked, cooked bacon
  • a ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut in 1/4" slices
The chilis in adobo sauce you can find in the Hispanic section of your grocery store (did I say that unracistly?). The sliced provolone can be found in your fresh dairy section.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

This meal came from July 27th. The band and I had just finished our five hour marathon set and we were looking for something simple and guy-friendly to eat. This buffalo chicken recipe was both good man-food and "healthy" because of the salad. No, maybe my logic doesn't hold, but it sure was yummy. Here, now, is something any dude can make on a Sunday.
Preheat your oven to broil. What makes this chicken so delicious is that it wasn't contact-grilled. Put the chicken between two sheets of wax paper and flatten it with a hammer or some other chicken-flattening-device. Then mix together two teaspoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of hot sauce (your preference, but probably not something small like Tabasco sauce). Toss and coat the chicken in this and then place the strips on a baking sheet. Broil until the chicken is done throughout (four to six minutes), turning once half-way. This makes the chicken unbelievably tender and the smell of the hot sauce is fantastic. The salad is straight forward: Romaine, celery, carrots, and scallions. Put the chicken on top and cover with your dressing of choice (the recipe recommended a home-made blue cheese, but we just bought some from the store).
The ingredients for Food Network's buffalo chicken salad are:
  • 16 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper hot sauce (or your preference)
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • about 8 cups of Romaine hearts (just buy a bag from the grocery)
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated (or buy a bag of grated carrots: easy)
  • 2 scallions, sliced (if you want)
  • blue cheese dressing of your choice

Pasta Stir-Fry

I am so unbelievably behind. This simple meal was from the 20th of July. I'm going to power through it and then through the next so I can catch up. Pasta stir-fry is an easy Italian/Asian blend (and you know my penchant for fused genres). It requires preparing three separate ingredients at once and then mixing them together.
If you can get a friend to help, this will go much easier. We are preparing - at the same time - the pasta, the chicken, and the stir-fried vegetables. Boil the pasta to al dente in salted water and drain when finished. Slice and then cook (or cook and then slice) the chicken. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or wok adding the onion, red pepper, ginger, and eggplant. Let this cook for a minute and then add the garlic, broccoli, tomatoes, and soy sauce. I love the smell of cooking soy sauce. After a couple more minutes, add the drained pasta and chicken. If you can, aim for the pasta to be finishing the same time as the chicken. That is, right as the vegetables have simmered for a few minutes. Toss this around and cook it for another minute, then serve.The ingredients for this pasta stir-fry ("courtesy" of Food Network's website) are:
  • a package of linguine (whole-wheat, if you choose)
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • a medium onion, sliced
  • a red bell pepper, also sliced
  • a 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced (I just used a liberal amount of ginger spice)
  • half a small eggplant, sliced into small chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • a cup of broccoli florets (if frozen, thawed)
  • a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • a chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 2 scallions, sliced (for garnish, if you choose)