Cooking

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

Baby, it’s cold outside – but starting to warm up!

We are beginning to see glimpses of spring.  I am looking forward to the warmer weather and  actually being able to run outside without risking life and limb on black ice.  I am excited for long walks with my puppy.  I can’t wait to grill outdoors and avoid setting off my poorly ventilated kitchen’s smoke alarm.  During this intermediate time in March, I am flexing my “make simple foods fast” muscles.

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce  www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

I am all for spending hours in the kitchen and preparing incredible meals for family and friends.  The reality is that time keeps slipping through my fingertips… For everyday cooking, there are simpler foods that I really need to learn how to make and enjoy.  Enter Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce.  This recipe hails from  How to Cook Everything Fast, Mark Bittman’s latest cookbook.  It is very good.  I am simplifying it even further.  You really don’t have to use Thai Sticky Rice.  You could use some leftover white Jasmine rice and this will still taste delicious.  I’ll leave the rice decision up to you!

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

My husband scrunches up his nose whenever I mention “fish sauce” or bring it out from the bottom shelf of our refrigerator door.  The truth is the stuff smells like fermented anchovies.  It imparts an incredible flavor to this dish – one that would be very difficult to recreate.

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

Barely adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman

1.5 c short-grain sushi rice
sea salt
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 T canola oil
1 lb. ground pork
freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh hot green chile (I used serrano). sliced into quarters lengthwise, seeds & membranes removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 c coconut milk
2 tsp. fish sauce
1 lime, cut into wedges
optional: Thai or regular basil for garnish

1. Put rice in a medium saucepan with 5 c water and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. When water boils, cook over high heat, stirring frequently, adding more water if needed, until rice is soft and forms a thick risotto like mixture, 10 minutes. When rice is done, spoon it out into 4 shallow bowls.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 T canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add ground pork, carrot, celery, onion, and a little sea salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pork browns and vegetables soften, 10 minutes. Stir chile, garlic and ginger into the skillet.

3. Stir coconut milk and fish sauce into pork and vegetables. Bring to a boil. Let liquid bubble until it reduces to a thick sauce. Taste, adjust seasoning, and remove from heat. Spoon over bowls of rice. Squeeze a wedge of lime juice over each bowl.

Optional: Garnish with a lime wedge and basil.

Enjoy!

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce       www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fast Thai Sticky Rice with Meaty Vegetable Sauce

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Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro

Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro

Life has been hectic!  Fall quarter started up for Graduate School and it has been a very busy time – both with travel and assignments – at work.  I haven’t actually  been home to cook much; however, when I have been home, I keep making this recipe.  My sister-in-law and I even made this chicken dish with a fragrant rice and salad for my in-laws after a long flight.  They enjoyed it as much as I do.

Making the sauce for Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro   www.morewinelesswhines.com

Making the sauce for Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro

This recipe is from the book Jean-Georges Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman.  It is one of several recipes that has made me rethink how I cook a family meal.  I wrote more about this cookbook and another excellent set of recipes in  this post.  You could serve this over rice, Israeli Couscous, Quinoa or any grain that can absorb the delicious sauce!

Sautéing the chicken for Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéing the chicken for Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro

Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro

2 T + 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. minced onion
2 tsp. minced ginger
2″ piece cinnamon
a few strands saffron & some turmeric
salt
2 c. chicken stock (homemade would be great)
2 T. canola oil
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
2 T. minced green olives (no pimientos)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 T. coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

 

Preheat oven to 500F. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add onion, ginger, cinnamon, saffron & turmeric, plus a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally, roughly 5 minutes. Add stock & increase heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat, until reduced by roughly 3/4s and becomes syrupy. Remove from heat.

Heat canola oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook undisturbed until lightly brown, 5-8 minutes. Turn over and cook on other side 3-4 minutes. Press an ovenproof,heavy skillet on top of chicken breasts so that they are being smooched between the two pans. Place chicken in “skillet sandwich” in the oven. Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven, and test to see if juices run clear.

Right before chicken is done, finish the sauce. Sitr in remaining 1 tsp olive oil, olives, a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring once or twice. Remove cinnamon stick. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and cilantro.

Serve chicken over a bed of rice with sauce spooned both around and over it.

Enjoy!

Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro

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Chicken Hash (another ‘so you can eat cookies later’ recipe)

Chicken Hash with homemade Rosemary Bread

Chicken Hash with homemade Rosemary Bread

First, where has this month gone?  I pushed myself and planned and worked and now it is December 19th!   It is two days before my long-awaited baking marathon begins and a matter of hours before my little brother’s birthday.  I have even started thinking about the New Year and my goals and aspirations for what I will bring to the next 365 days.  More on that later.  For now, I have a good, simple dish to share.

I have had this dish on my dinner ‘repeat’ playlist for weeks now.  I made it once and Mark keeps asking for this recipe again, and again, and again!  I found the original recipe for this dish on the Weight Watchers website.  I modified it by adding olive oil, smoked paprika and good parmesan.  The base of this recipe includes the culinary world’s classic ‘Trinity’ of onion, celery and bell pepper.  Then you add chicken and potatoes plus seasonings and some lemon juice and chicken broth.  It would be complete with a sunny side egg on top, although I haven’t gone that far yet.  This is a good breakfast, lunch or dinner recipe.  I usually make it for dinner then have the leftovers for breakfast.

Chicken Hash before adding smoked paprika

Chicken Hash before adding smoked paprika

Chicken Hash

1.5 pounds (~7-8) small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 c. celery, finely diced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1/2″ pieces
1.5 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 c. fat free, low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. minced thyme
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. tsp sea salt

Optional:
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add water to cover potatoes by ~ 1″.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.  Drain.  Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized chunks, about 1″ thick.  Set aside.

While potatoes are boiling, heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 2 T. olive oil and swirl in the pan.  Add “the Holy Trinity,” (onion, celery, red bell pepper), and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent.  Remove from pan.

Sprinkle chicken with sea salt and pepper.

Add 1-2 T olive oil to pan, depending on how much oil remains after removing vegetables.  Then add chicken to pan and sauté over medium-high heat until chicken starts to turn a golden brown.

Add diced, cooked potatoes, smoked paprika and thyme to the chicken in the pan, stirring frequently.  Transfer cooked vegetables, lemon juice and chicken broth* to the pan and stir together.  Heat over medium heat until flavors meld, seasoning to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls with parmesan cheese on top.

*If you like a crispy hash, omit most of chicken broth, only adding a few Tablespoons full to prevent sticking.  

The cooking 'Trinity' of celery, onion and red bell pepper

The cooking ‘Trinity’ of celery, onion and red bell pepper

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Picky Eater : Applewood Smoked Bacon Green Beans with Pecans

Applewood Smoked Bacon and Pecan Green Beans

Applewood Smoked Bacon and Pecan Green Beans

I grew up as the oldest of five children and the only girl.  3 of my 4 brothers despised anything green.  Even the parsley in the meatballs gave them a slight twitch.  They also didn’t care for too many vegetables (except for corn and potatoes).  It seemed like the only green thing they would eat were green beans.  They’re a few years older now and have sort of grown out of the anti-green, anti-vegetable phase.  What you cannot tell them is I started sneaking vegetables into their food when I came home from college.  Shhhh.

The boys all grown up

The boys all grown up

Still, the time for ‘sneaking’ is gone.  Vegetables are versatile, add color to a meal and can be prepared a myriad of ways.  This is a recipe I made with my picky little brothers in mind.  Even they would love these green beans. It’s comfort food, plain and simple, and would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving feast!

Applewood Smoked Bacon Green Beans with Pecans

1 lb. green beans, ends snapped, cut into 2″ pieces
5 slices applewood smoken bacon, sliced into 1/2″ strips
1/2 onion, diced
pecan halves
garlic powder (optional)
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add green beans.  Cook 5-8 minutes, until almost cooked through.  Drain.   Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add bacon.  Cook, 5 minutes, until browned.  Add onion.  Saute 4 minutes, or until softened.  Add green beans, stirring occassionally to mix with the bacon and onions, about 3 minutes.    Add pecans, garlic powder (optional), sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Taste green beans and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Green Beans with Pork Chop and Stuffing

Green Beans with Pork Chop and Stuffing

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