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Chicken, Dinner, Dressing, Lactose Free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Veggies

Chinese Chicken Salad

June 19, 2017

Chinese Chicken Salad

There are a number of stories told about the origins of Chinese Chicken Salad and it appears that none are definitive although most agree that it all began in the ’60s.  Wikipedia states that it became especially popular after Cary Grant asked the chef at Madame Wu’s in Santa Monica to add it to their menu after Grant had the salad at another restaurant. Whatever the case might be, it is one of my favorite salads too.  Now, there are so many variations on this salad you could make a different version every day for months.  Some poach their chicken breasts, others use rotisserie chicken. Some use mandarin oranges (no thanks!) or nuts such as peanuts and almonds.  I prefer to use leftover Granny’s teriyaki chicken and when we make it for dinner we plan for leftovers.  The salad ingredients and dressing are quick to put together, and though it does take 15 minutes or so to fry the won ton strips, it is worth the effort.

Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, won bok, however it’s labeled it’s all the same cabbage.  It has beautiful ripply leaves, a crunchy texture and mild cabbage flavor with just a hint of pepper.  Whatever other ingredients you choose to use in your Chinese chicken salad, please don’t leave this out.

Blanched Snow Peas

I love crispy snow peas.  All they need for this salad is a quick 10 second blanch in boiling water. Drain in an ice bath and pat dry before slicing.

Chinese Chicken Salad Vegetables

Won Ton Pi

There are many brands of won ton pi at the markets. I just grabbed this locally made brand at Foodland.  Since you won’t need the entire package for the salad, slice the extra pieces up into larger strips and fry them up for a snack.  They are a favorite Island treat.

Fried Wont Ton Pi Strips for Salad

Fried Wont Ton Pi Chips for Snacking

I used the extra won ton pi for chips. Some of them puff up as they fry, making them light and crispy.  Salt the chips as you take them out of the pan.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Salad:
  • 2 grilled teriyaki chicken breasts, sliced thinly (or baked teriyaki chicken)
  • 8 cups chopped napa cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 3 ounces snow peas, blanched and sliced thin (optional)
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • won ton pi cut into thin strips about ⅓" wide (I used about 4 ounces from the 10 ounce package for the salad and the rest I used for larger chips)
  • Dressing:
  • ⅓ - ½ cup rice vinegar, depending on how tangy you like your dressing (unseasoned)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet mirin
  • 2½ tablespoons soy sauce (not light or less sodium)
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • ground black pepper to taste
Preparation
  1. Toss together the shredded napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, sliced snow peas and green onions. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use (either in a bowl or Ziploc freezer bag).
  2. Deep fry the won ton strips until golden brown. I use a medium-sized pot and fry the won ton strips in batches. They cook quickly so watch them closely. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle a little salt over each batch. The won ton strips can be made a day in advance (store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator).
  3. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake well.
  4. When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the vegetables with some of the dressing. Divide salad into 4 bowls placing chicken strips to one side. Scatter won ton strips over the salad. Serve with extra dressing.

 

Beans, Dinner, Dressing, Italian, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

June 5, 2017

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

This salad is one you will never get bored with.  Crunchy lettuce, tart pepperoncini, wholesome chickpeas, and savory peppered salami, all tossed together with a refreshing oregano vinaigrette makes this a perfect lunch.  I love serving it with slices of hearty sourdough bread or avocado toasts.  There are many fine chopped salad recipes but this one created by Nancy Silverton and published in The Mozza Cookbook is by far my favorite.  This beautiful salad will bring much satisfaction to whomever you share it with.

Iceberg Lettuce, Radicchio, Pepperoncini, Onion, Chickpeas, Tomato, Salami & Cheese

Peppered Salami

There are so many different types of salami however I always reach for the peppered version. The slightly peppery crust adds an extra level of flavor to the salami.  Leftover slices are perfect in a sandwich or served with slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Oregano Vinaigrette

Don’t hesitate to use lots of dried oregano in the vinaigrette. It really makes the dressing stand out and goes well with the chopped salad.

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette
 
Adapted from Nancy Silverton's Chopped Salad Recipe
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Vinaigrette:
  • 2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, crushed + 1 small garlic clove, grated finely
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
  • Salad:
  • 1 medium head iceberg lettuce cut into ribbons ⅓" wide
  • 1 small head radicchio cut into ribbons ¼" wide
  • ½ small sweet white onion cut into thin strips
  • ¾ pounds diced tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces yogurt cheese sliced into ¼" wide strips (you may substitute with provolone)
  • 6 ounces peppered salami sliced into ¼" wide strips
  • 5 medium pepperoncini sliced into rings
Preparation
  1. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large salad bowl toss the lettuce, radicchio and onions together. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cheese, salami and pepperoncini. Spoon dressing over the salad and toss well so that all ingredients are well seasoned with the vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more vinaigrette. You will not need all of the dressing. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and use within a week. Serve the salad with some good sourdough bread on the side.

 

Bread, Breakfast, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg

April 23, 2017

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg

Before the last of our avocados disappeared for the season, I decided to make a quick lunch using the creamy and rich Green Gold fruit.  Nothing could be easier and more satisfying than avocado toast.  All you need is good bread, an avocado and salt and pepper.  And maybe a dash of hot sauce too.  But if you want to take it up just a notch, scatter some crispy bacon over the avocado and top it off with a jammy egg.

Green Gold Avocado

We have two varieties of avocados in our garden, both of which are winter bearing.  The Sharwil is very popular here in Hawaii. It produces beautiful fruit, rich and creamy with small seeds.  The Green Gold’s flesh is dense, rich and creamy, perfect for guacamole and avocado toast. I love both of our trees however, the Green Gold is a bit more dependable in producing a large crop each year.

John's 9-Grain Bread

John makes 9-grain bread that is perfect for avocado toast.  It’s hearty and full of flavor from all of the grains that go into the bread.  Whatever bread you use for avocado toast, make sure that it has structure and is not the airy, flavorless type you might find on some supermarket shelves.

Daily's Bacon

One of the best supermarket brands of bacon is Daily’s. Use the best bacon that you can find.

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg

Avocado Toast with Bacon & Egg
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 - 4 pieces of good bread, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite mayonnaise
  • 1 medium avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 - 4 pieces of crispy bacon, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • chives and Italian parsley, chopped
Preparation
  1. Cook the eggs: Bring ½-inch of water to a boil over medium high heat in a small pot (one with a tight fitting lid). Using tongs, gently lower eggs into the water and cover the pot. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle boil. Set a timer and cook the eggs for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. Remove the eggs from the pot and run under cool water to stop the cooking (or place in an ice bath for a minute or two). Peel the eggs and set aside.
  2. Spread mayonnaise on the toasted bread. Place avocado slices on the bread and mash lightly with a fork. Season with a little coarse salt and black pepper. Scatter bacon pieces over the mashed avocado. Slice each egg into even pieces, enough for each avocado toast. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Scatter chives and parsley over the top.

 

Beef, Dinner, Italian, Pasta, Recipes

Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells

April 12, 2017

Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells

These stuffed shells are my new favorite pasta dish.  It has many flavors in common with lasagne bolognese.  Yet unlike bolognese sauce that simmers for a several hours, this meat sauce is ready in less than 30 minutes and is equally delicious.  Another time saver is to use a good store-bought pasta sauce such as Rao’s Basil Tomato Sauce. Because it is particularly tasty, I stock up when it is on sale.

Barilla Jumbo Pasta Shells

Barilla makes beautiful pasta shells that are just the right size for this recipe.  Check the box for broken pieces before purchasing it.  If the box shows signs of being damaged, the shells may be fractured and once cooked can fall apart and be unusable.

Meat Sauce for Shells

Ground sirloin is the perfect choice for the meat sauce.  It is flavorful yet lean.  However if you are unable to find ground sirloin, lean ground beef is a fine substitute.

Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells

Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells

I use cottage cheese in the recipe however you may substitute ricotta.  The cottage cheese is light and mild in flavor but adds a creaminess without adding too many calories. I love how it melds together with the meat sauce and becomes a luxurious filling.

Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells

Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Meat Sauce:
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground sirloin (or other lean ground beef)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 24 ounce jar Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce, divided
  • Pasta Shells:
  • 20 - 24 jumbo pasta shells (Barilla Jumbo Shells 12 oz. box)
  • Cheese Mixture:
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese (I use Lactose Free)
  • 6 ounces (2 cups) coarsely shredded yogurt cheese (or mozzarella), divided
  • 3 ounces (1 cup) coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9x13" casserole dish.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the ground sirloin and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until meat is no longer pink. Season with ¾ teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add fresh parsley, dried oregano and marjoram. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat and mix in 1¼ cups of Rao's sauce. Spread the remaining sauce in the casserole dish.
  3. Cook shells in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, drain on paper towels.
  4. Combine cottage cheese, ¾ cup yogurt cheese, and all of the cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Mix in beaten egg. Add beef mixture to the bowl, stir to combine well. Spoon the filling into the pasta shells and arrange over the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1¼ cups yogurt cheese over the shells. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is thoroughly heated and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

 

 

Dinner, Dressing, Fish, Japanese, Lactose Free, Recipes, Rice Dishes

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

March 20, 2017

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

Here in the Islands, we love our ahi tuna.  I would be happy to eat this every day. This is the rice bowl of my dreams! Light, fluffy, Japanese rice topped with furikake seared ahi, vegetables and a homemade dressing that is drizzled over everything in the bowl.  I use the dressing in this recipe too.  It’s a zingy sauce made with fresh lime zest, lime juice, soy sauce, and lots of freshly grated ginger.  It’s tasty and versatile.

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

Jalapeno,Edamame, Carrot, Pickled Ginger, Avocado

I always keep a package of edamame in the freezer. It is easy to prepare and so good in this dish (as well as in salads). Whatever other ingredients you choose to add to your ahi rice bowl, let the fish be the star of the dish. The mild flavors of blanched carrots and creamy avocado cubes are perfect. Try to include the sweet and tangy pickled ginger. It is such a nice accompaniment to the rice and fish.  Scatter thinly sliced jalapeños or pretty, red Fresno peppers over your rice bowl if you want to add some heat.  For a vegetarian rice bowl, substitute your favorite tofu in place of the fish. If you are a fan of nori, scatter thin strips over the rice bowl just before serving it.  And if you can find bubu arare by all means add this too.  They are the little crispy golden rice balls you see in the photos of the ahi bowls that add a crunchy and toasty flavor to each bite.

Lime Zest

Strain Zest Through a Fine Mesh Sieve

Lime zest, lime juice, sugar and water are quickly heated in a pan then poured through a fine mesh strainer.  Just the liquid is used for the dressing.  Once it has cooled the other ingredients are added to complete the dressing.

Seared Ahi

Buy the freshest ahi block you can find. I visit or call my favorite local markets to ensure the fish has been cut that very same day.  If it has been sitting on the shelf for more than a day, I take a pass and try again another time.  Coating the ahi block with furikake creates a light seasoning and crunchy texture (from the sesame seeds) that is perfect for this dish.

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • For the rice bowl:
  • Cooked Japanese short grain white rice (I use my rice cooker and measure out 1 cup uncooked rice)
  • 10 ounces fresh ahi block
  • furikake for coating ahi block
  • ½ cup frozen shelled edamame (boil for 4 minutes, drain and cool)
  • ½ small carrot, sliced thin (microwave in water for 45 - 60 seconds to soften slightly)
  • ½ small avocado cut into small cubes
  • pickled ginger
  • slivered nori (optional)
  • bubu arare (optional)
  • thinly sliced red hot pepper such as jalapeño or Fresno (optional)
Preparation
  1. For the dressing:
  2. Combine lime zest, lime juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved. This will take just a minute or so. Transfer liquid to a small glass bowl, cover and let cool completely. Strain cooled liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger.
  3. For the fish:
  4. Lightly coat all sides of the ahi block with a canola oil. Place the fish on a cutting board or piece of foil and sprinkle furikake on all sides, patting it gently so it adheres to the fish.
  5. Heat a small pan over medium-high heat with a teaspoon of canola oil. When the pan is hot, sear the ahi for 30 - 60 seconds or so on each side. The thickness of your ahi block and how you prefer your ahi cooked will determine how long to fry it. Remove the fish to a plate or cutting board to cool. Slice fish into ⅓" thick slices.
  6. Divide the cooked rice into two bowls. Top with seared ahi, edamame, carrots, avocado, and ginger. Drizzle dressing over the ahi and other ingredients. Sprinkle the nori and bubu arare over the toppings if using and garnish with red pepper slices. Serve the rice bowl with extra dressing on the side.

 

Chicken, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

February 23, 2017

 

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

Our lemongrass is tucked away in the corner of the garden which means I forget that it’s there most of the time. It thrives with little attention year after year producing the most fragrant stalks.   We love grilled chicken so when  I came across a recipe for grilled chicken breasts with lemongrass in Fine Cooking magazine, I couldn’t resist it.

Lemongrass

Once you peel away the tough outer stalks and cut into the stems, you will find the most fragrant and tender section of the lemongrass that will be used in the marinade.

Coconut Milk Marinade

This is a very easy recipe to put together.  I used my immersion blender to combine the ingredients but a food processor or blender work just as well.  Puree the ingredients until smooth, pour it over the chicken, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before you light up your grill.

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

Jasmine rice and a salad pair perfectly with the grilled chicken.  If you have leftovers slice thin pieces of chicken and serve it over a bowl of cold noodles or use it as a filling in a banh mi.

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass

Grilled Thai Chicken with Basil & Lemongrass
 
Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro + more for serving
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup finely chopped lemongrass (from about 3 stalks)
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 6 jalapeño nacho rings (hot) or 1 fresh jalapeño, or to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 medium or 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed (I pound the chicken breasts to even them out and if using large breasts, cut the pounded pieces in half)
  • 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
Preparation
  1. Combine cilantro, coconut milk, lemongrass, basil, jalapeños, garlic, salt, brown sugar, pepper, and coriander in your immersion blender cup and puree ingredients until smooth. Alternatively you may use a blender or food processor. Arrange chicken breasts in a nonreactive baking dish in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the breasts and turn to coat them well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
  2. Heat a gas grill to medium high or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Grill the chicken until it has good grill marks on the first side, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken and continue to cook until firm to the touch and completely cooked through, 4 minutes more (cooking time depends upon the thickness of your chicken). Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

 

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