Wednesday, February 21, 2018

CASHEW CHICKEN OVER RICE

Cashew chicken is a Chinese-American dish with a brown sugar sauce flavored with soy and oyster sauce. It's quick to prepare, just cut up everything and have ready to add to your wok or skillet.


Sauce
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
½ cup chicken broth
2 T dry sherry
1 T rice vinegar
2 t brown sugar or honey
1 T oyster sauce
½ t Sriracha hot sauce or red pepper flakes
1 T cornstarch

1 T avocado oil
3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 T finely grated fresh ginger

½ cup unsalted whole cashews
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Black and/or white toasted sesame seeds

In a bowl, mix together the Sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over high heat.
Add the chicken and stir-fry until lightly brown.
Add the diced bell peppers and stir-fry another 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute.
Stir in the sauce and cook for another 2 minutes, to thicken.
Add the cashews and stir to coat.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.

Serves 4


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

BROILED LOBSTER TAILS

It is easier to find frozen lobster tails in your supermarket than live whole lobsters. It also much easier to broil than to boil and clean a whole lobster. This makes a special but quick dinner or first course. We shared a New York strip steak with a lobster tail each. This was our Valentine's Day dinner with a bottle of Prosecco and we shared a slice of double chocolate "to die for" cake.


2 lobster tails, thawed in the refrigerator
½ cup unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 t paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges

Preheat broiler.

Using kitchen shears, cut through the top of the shells lengthwise and pull shells open to expose meat.
Transfer lobster tails to a baking sheet.
Melt butter in a small saucepan and add the pressed garlic.
Drizzle almost half of the melted butter over the meat.
Sprinkle with paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place under broiler and broil for 7 to 10 minutes, or until meat is opaque and golden brown. Watch carefully so you don’t burn the lobster.

Serve with the rest of the melted butter and lemon wedges.



Sunday, February 18, 2018

EASY EGGS BENEDICT

Eggs Benedict is the ultimate breakfast or brunch entrée. English muffins, ham, and heavenly hollandaise sauce . . . what's not to love about this dish! Read through the recipe and place everything on the counter. The Easy Hollandaise Sauce is made in the blender and kept warm in hot water while making your foolproof poached eggs.

Lee’s Kitchen Tips:
If your eggs need a little bit of tidying-up, trim the edges with "kitchen only" scissors before placing on top of ham.
If you want to poach your eggs in advance, poach them for 3 to 4 minutes and place eggs immediately in an ice bath and refrigerate. Just before you want to serve and you have the plates ready, carefully drop the eggs in gently simmering water for about 30 seconds, to reheat.


Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce
2 large egg yolks
1 T water
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ t sea salt
6 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Dash of cayenne pepper


In a blender, combine the egg yolks, water, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.
Blend until mixture is light in color and frothy.

Heat butter on top of stove in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble.

With blender running on slow speed, pour the hot butter in a thin stream through the top and blend until well combined and thickened. 
This could take a minute or two.

Set blender in a bowl of hot water while making the eggs.

3 to 4 slices of good country ham or honey glazed ham
2 T unsalted butter, divided
2 English muffins

4 eggs, room temperature
2 T white vinegar
Black pepper

Cut or shred the ham into thin strips.
In a cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the butter.
Brown the ham, flipping with a spatula a couple of times.
Set ham aside on a plate, cover and keep warm.

Add the other tablespoon of butter to the skillet and place the opened English muffins, face down, in the skillet to brown and soak up the flavor of the ham. Turn off the heat and keep muffins warm in skillet.

Foolproof Poached Eggs
Halfway fill a 2-quart saucepan with water. 
Bring to a gentle boil and add the vinegar.

Crack eggs into four small bowls.

Using a large slotted spoon, stir the water with the handle to make a little whirlpool in your pan.
Gently slip eggs into the swirling water.
Turn off heat, cover the pan with a lid and set your timer for 4 to 5 minutes, depending upon how you like your yolks.

To Assemble
Place one or two slices of English muffins on each plate.
Top with the browned ham and nestle the top slightly for eggs to sit in.
Using a slotted spoon, remove eggs, one at a time and hold over your other hand with a tea towel to catch the water.
Place the eggs on top of ham.
Pour the Hollandaise Sauce over and sprinkle with a little black pepper.

Serves 2 to 4

Friday, February 16, 2018

ENGLISH MUFFINS

You will love how delicious these muffins are. . .much better than store bought English muffins. If you have your own sourdough in your refrigerator, you can add 3 tablespoons to the dough. I included a quick sourdough recipe for you to make the day before you want to make your muffins. You can leave it out of the recipe for plain muffins. It is absolutely your decision. 
I have seen recipes for English muffins using wide mouth mason jar rings, but they are still too small and a little difficult to remove the rings from the partially cooked muffins. I bought 8 English muffin rings in a kitchen supply store and they were only ($4.99 for 4 rings).


Sour Dough Starter
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup water
½ t active dry yeast 
½ t honey

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, water, yeast, and honey until well combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 24 hours. 
The mixture will bubble and expand.
You can skip this process if you already have sour dough starter in your refrigerator or just eliminate it altogether.

Dough
1 cup whole milk
1 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 T honey
2 t active dry yeast
3 T sour dough starter (optional)
1 t sea salt
½ cups all-purpose flour
Cooking oil spray
Cornmeal

Warm milk with butter and honey in a small saucepan on the stove or in the microwave.
Do not let milk get too hot. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and using a spoon, stir until honey has dissolved. 
Let mixture cool to warm.

Add the yeast. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
Add the starter (if using) and mix in.
Place bowl back onto the mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Add the salt and then the flour and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover the bowl with a clean damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to about ½-in thickness with a rolling pin. Sprinkle with flour, as needed. 
Spray the inside of your muffin rings with cooking oil and then cut out 8 muffins (leaving rings on) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.
Cover with a damp tea towel and let rest for 30 minutes. 
Spray tops of muffins with cooking oil and sprinkle tops with cornmeal.

Spray a griddle pan with oil and heat over medium-high heat. 
Lightly brown the muffins, in their rings, on each side for about 2 minutes. 
Do this in 2 batches.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Transfer muffins to the same baking sheet and let cool while oven is preheating.
Carefully take a knife and loosen muffins from rings.
Place muffins back on prepared baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes.

Let cool completely.

To toast, split oven muffins with a fork and toast in your toaster or under a broiler for a minute or so.

Store unused muffins in a plastic storage bag in the refrigerator.

Makes 8 English muffins




Sunday, February 11, 2018

ASPARAGUS MIMOSA WITH HICKORY SMOKED VIRGINIA SAUSAGES

This can be a side dish for a Sunday brunch or just for simple breakfast. It was so delicious and we didn't need toast. My sister, Dotti, sent me a Virginia ham, hickory smoked sausages, and peppered bacon for Christmas from a company called Edwards of Virginia. The sausages are to die for!


1 to 2 hickory smoked country sausages
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 t sea salt
2 t extra-virgin olive oil
2 t champagne or white wine vinegar
1 t fresh lemon juice and zest
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkling of red pepper flakes
2 hard cooked eggs

Start your sausages in a cast-iron skillet first. Cut them into small pieces so they brown all over and fry them in a little avocado oil. Read the instructions on your package for how long to cook them. 

Fill a small saucepan with water and add 2 eggs. Bring to a boil, immediately turn off heat and let eggs sit in hot water, covered with a lit, for 15 to 17 minutes. . .no longer or you'll have green eggs and ham.

When sausages are cooked. Spoon them out onto a paper town lined plate and keep warm in the oven.

In another saucepan, fill halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add some salt and the trim the tough ends off of the asparagus. Let them boil in the water for about 2 to 3 minutes until al dente (not completely soft). Place in a pretty dish and drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and zest.

Drain the water from the pan and shake the eggs in the pan to crackle the shells (makes it easier to peel). Peel them under cold water and the membrane will come off easily. 
Chop the eggs and place on top of the asparagus. Add the chopped sausage or set them in a small bowl next to the asparagus for vegetarians to enjoy this dish and people who love sausages can sprinkle them on top of theirs.

Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

Serves 4 as a side dish



Wednesday, February 7, 2018

KUNG PAO CHICKEN OVER NOODLES

Kung Pao Chicken is a Chinese dish from the province of Sichuan. It can be very spicy but you can control the spice by adding only red pepper flakes instead of dried chili peppers or none at all. You can substitute ½ pounds shrimp for the chicken, just stir-fry for 1 minute before adding the celery and bell pepper.



¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup dry sherry
1 T brown sugar
1 T honey
2 T minced ginger
1 T hoison sauce (optional)
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 t sriracha
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T cornstarch
¼ cup water.

2 T peanut oil or avocado oil
6 dried chile peppers, left whole or ½ t red pepper flakes
3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
3 stalks celery, finely sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite size chunks
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 lb fresh chow mein noodles
4 scallions, sliced

In a bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together, the soy, sherry, brown sugar, honey, ginger, hoison, vinegar, Sriracha, and garlic.
In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water and then stir into the soy sauce mixture and set aside.

In a wok or large cast-iron skillet heat the oil over high heat.
Add the chile peppers and stir a minute.
Add the chicken and fry until cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the celery and red bell pepper and cook another 2 minutes.
Pour in the soy sauce mixture and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Add the peanuts and toss to combine.

Serve over fresh noodles and garnish with sliced scallions.


Serves 4