Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup

And here is the deliciously edible result of homemade chicken stock: a yummy scrummy Chinese Chicken and Corn soup. This was my favorite to have in a Chinese restaurant growing up. I have of course added my own flair on an originally simple recipe. I highly recommend this soup for any family members who are feeling poorly.

Chinese Chicken and Corn Egg Drop Soup

About 1 – 2 Cups of Left Over Chicken Bits Chopped (I used all the left over bits from my roast chicken)
1 small can of sweet corn
4-6 Cups of Chicken Stock, more will make the soup thinner
2 eggs, stirred as for western scramble
½ a sweet onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 TBS Soy Sauce, more or less to taste
1 Small red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
3 Green onions, finely chopped
1 TBS pre minced ginger from a jar
A handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt, at least ½ tsp or more to taste (since the stock is unsalted)
2 TBS Cornstarch, mixed with enough water to liquefy

Sautee the onion and garlic till soft and onions slightly colored. Add in chili. Stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the corn, chicken, and stock (add only 4 cups now, add more later if needed). Bring to a boil. Lower to a bubbling simmer. Leave with lid on for about 20 minutes or so. Stir in the soy sauce, ginger, and salt. Add the cornstarch liquid and bring up heat to about medium. Cook while stirring till it thickens a bit. Slowly add egg with a whisk or fork to create cooked swirls of egg in your soup. Test for seasoning and adjust accordingly. When done turn off heat and throw in cilantro, stir. Serve garnished with green onions.

Put the Bones on to Boil

So what happens after a lovely roast chicken dinner and your left with nought but bones, why homemade chicken stock of course! I have struggled in the past with homemade stock finding it to be severely lacking in flavor or depth. I decided this time round to experiment with a Chinese style stock since my kitchen comes permanently supplied with Asian ingredients, ginger, green onions, garlic and cilantro. I followed the exact cooking directions of Kylie Kwong’s recipe but I used my own ingredients, and it was absolutely perfect. I especially loved the rich aroma of ginger wafting about the house. This is a type of light stock that would be great for more than just soup, although I have yet to make other things with it. It would probably work well for Stir Fry or a Base for Curry Sauce.

Chinese Chicken Stock

1 Chicken carcass with any unattached bones
4 Spring Onions, cut in half
5 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and bruised
1 small handful of fresh cilantro
½ a Carrot, peeled
¼ of a Sweet Onion, sliced into thick wedges
5 Big slices of fresh Ginger
Enough Water to just cover

Pop all ingredients into a pot. Cover with water. Put on full whack till boiling. Skim off impurities then lower to a still simmer. The water should be kept warm but not bubbling. Leave for about two hours with a lid on it. Skim off any impurities and then drain liquid using whatever you have handy, muslin, larger coffee filter. Be patient. The draining may take some time. This stock makes wicked Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roast Chicken Sundays

Tis a cold and stormy evening and I sense some good old fashioned cooking coming my way. A sizzling roast, Doubley Delish tatter mash, garlicky green beans, and stuffing all drowning in a delicately flavorful camel hued gravy. I believe with some recipes simplicity is key, and my Roast Chicken Dinner is no exception. Notice I do not truss the chicken. This is not necessary. I cheated with stuffing and just served stove top. I do have a super fancy stuffing I make sometimes, but I was going for a simple non stressful dinner.

Roast Chicken

1 Four Pound Chicken
½ Stick Melted Butter, unsalted
1 ½ TBS Dijon Mustard
3 Fresh Sprigs of Rosemary, from my Garden, Each cut in 1/2
6 Cloves of Garlic, 4 bruised, and 2 Sliced
½ a Sweet Onion, Sliced into ½ inch slices
½ a Carrot, cut into 3 inch spears
Salt/ Pepper Nutmeg
1 Pint of Water

Oven: 400 Degrees Fahrenheit ( Note, I have a cheap heat inefficient oven, so use your discretion)

Take chicken out of fridge one hour before preparing it and wash the bird, remove giblets. Pat dry on all sides with paper towels or cloth towel, (throw cloth towel into the laundry directly after using). Melt butter and stir in mustard. Set Chicken on V-rack and put into roasting pan. Rub top of the chicken with butter mixture then tuck the wing tips under the bird. Toss into the bottom of the roasting pan 2 rosemary sprig halves, the 4 bruised garlic cloves, carrot, and onion. Stuff into the bird the rest of the rosemary, garlic slices, 2 tsp of the butter mixture, and salt the cavity liberally. Pop into oven and cook for 1 hour. Take bird out, season the top with salt/ pepper/ nutmeg, then flip with large sturdy tongs. Baste the other side with the rest of the Butter mixture. Pour the water into the bottom of the pan. Roast for 40 more minutes or until the breast reaches 180 degrees. Take out and leave to rest. Start Preparing your tatters roughly ½ hour before you think the chicken should be done.

Doubley Delish Mash

6 yellow Potatoes, quarted
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut the same size as the yellow tatter pieces
2-3 TBS Butter
¼ Cup of Milk
Salt and Nutmeg

Put at the potatoes into a smallish pot. Salt them, just barely cover with water, pop lid on and put onto a stove top at full whack. Once boiling lower to medium, medium high. Leave partially covered and cook for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and return to pot. Set back on element and dry off the moisture a little. Add a little salt, nutmeg, the butter and milk. Stir and mash the tatters till they look the way you like them. Taste and adjust as you see fit.

Chicken Gravy

Drained Chicken Fat/ Juices ( I use a fancy all in one Chicken fat/ juice drainer Pouring device that drains and eliminates the fat all the same time)
1 can of Swanson’s Chicken Broth
¼ Cup of white flour
Salt / Pepper / Nutmeg

Add Chicken Juices with a touch of the fat to a pan. Add the broth. Bring to a boil. Stir flour into enough water to liquefy it. Once broth/juices/fats are boiling add flour mixture while stirring constantly. Keep on stirring till you reach desired thickness. Taste and season accordingly.

Garlic Green Beans

1 Handful of frozen green beans per person
1-2 cloves of garlic per handful of green beans, crushed
Garlic Salt

Heat oil on medium high in a wok. Add green beans. Stir-fry till green beans are no longer frozen. Add garlic. Stir-fry till green beans are as tender as you like them. Season with garlic salt liberally.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thai Curry Peanut Butter Sauce

So I was feeling a little poorly and craving the spicy food that helps burn out the fever. I kept thinking my Red Thai Curry Paste, Curry, sounds good. But what is more fantabulous than curry sauce, why peanut curry sauce! So Here is my version of Thai Peanut Curry Sauce. I served it over rice and autumnal roasted vegetables.

The veggies:

1/2 a Yellow Onion, wedged
1/2 a head of Garlic, peeled and sliced
1 large carrot, cut into 3 inch spears
6 new potatoes, but in half
1 sweet potato, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 of a cabbage, slice into 1 inch thick wedges
1 small leak, halved lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
2 TBS Olive Oil
2 tsp Sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit. Prep the vegetables and put into a large roasting pan and toss with the olive oil and sugar. Put into the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until done and caramelized to your liking. While this is cooking clean up, take a quick shower, etc. But do not forget to check it once every 10-15 minutes, and give a good toss. When they have been cooking for 30 minutes start the rice cooking in your rice cooker (if you don't have one, get one, 30 dollars at costco), you will thank me for it. Once you get the rice on its way start on you sauce (again I don't use recipes, so use your own discretion when using one of my recipes, add 1/2 the portion of anything if you like):

Thai Peanut Curry Sauce

2 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste
1 TBS Lite Olive Oil
1.5 cups of Water
1/2 cup extra of water ( for later)
3 TBS crunchy Peanut butter
2 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS Dark Brown Sugar
1 chicken broth cube
1/2 cup extra of water ( for later)
1 TBS cornstarch
1/2 to 1 Cup coconut milk

Saute the curry paste with oil in a moderately warm pan till fragrant. Add a little of the water and de-glaze the bottom of the pan (the paste will stick a little). Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve the curry paste. stir in the peanut butter, fish sauce, dark brown sugar and chicken cube, stirring as you add to help along the dissolving process. While stirring add the rest of the first portion of water. Bring to a boil, and continue stirring to thoroughly combine everything. Lower to a bubbling simmer, add the 1/2 cup water with the cornstarch together, cook till the sauce thickens to the consistency of thick cream or egg drop soup. When the rice and veggies are ready lower the heat to low of the sauce and stir in coconut milk. Serve over the veggies and rice.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween Pumpkin Curry

This Halloween I made a luscious and creamy Kabocha pumpkin curry using my favorite Jamaican Curry Powder by Grace Foods. My recipe is so simple (yet so good, thanks mainly to finally finding a yellow curry mix I am bonkers about.) I don't really use recipes when I cook (only when I bake), so my amounts are a little bit guesstimated.

1: 4 pound pumkin, deseeded, and slice into large bite sized pieces
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
3 cups (or so) of broth (whatever you like)
2-4 TBS of Brown Sugar
1 Large onion, thinly slice
2-4 TBS of Jamaican Hot Yellow Curry Powder (Grace Foods), I found this at a Jamaican Grocery store

Roast(recommended method) or steam your pumpkin pieces till they are cooked through (if roasted toss in a little olive oil, put in an oven at 425 F till just tender). While doing this make the sauce. Fry your onion in a butter/ oil mixture till golden, add a pinch of sugar if you wish to speed up the process. Once cooked add as much curry powder as the onion will soak up. Fry for a minute or two to develop the flavor. Deglaze with part of the coconut milk and a little broth remembering to scrape up the flavor with a flipper dipper. Allow to simmer a few minutes. Add the rest of the broth and brown sugar and bring to a low boil. Leave on a low simmer while your pumpkin finishes cooking. Add pumpkin to curry sauce when done. Leave on a simmer till ready to serve. Right before serving stir in the rest of the coconut milk. Season with salt and adjust the seasonings as you see fit.