Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mannok Kadon Pika (Spicy Chicken Stew)

Here's one of the things I love about my job.  My co-worker was going to Guam on business, and a short while before he was scheduled to leave he was in my office.  We started talking about his upcoming trip, and I mentioned that I didn't really know anything about the cuisine of Guam.

"I've been looking it up," he said.  "It's called Chamorro and I'm really excited to try it."

And thus was born my interest in Chamorro cuisine.  I started looking around online and found a few cool sites.  And some interesting recipes, like this Mannok Kadon Pika.  It looked fairly easy and straightforward and I already had most of the ingredients on hand.  What I especially like about it, though, is that there are so relatively few ingredients involved.  And you just put everything in a pot, let it cook, thicken the sauce, add the coconut milk and you are good to go. 

The original recipe calls for the donne sali pepper, which is indigenous to the area.  I found very little information on that, but judging by information I found on my searches it is similar to the Thai bird chili.  At least that is what I am telling myself, as those are all I have been able to find here in Chicago.

Some recipes I found have you thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry; others don't.  The first time I made it I did not thicken the sauce, and it was a little thin.  The next time I did thicken it, and I found that it worked better for me.

And it really rocked over vegetable fried (brown) rice.

Home Cookin Chapter:  Poultry

Makes 4 servings

8 chicken thighs
1/4 cup soy sauce
2/ Tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
2 Thai chili peppers (optional)
1 Tbsp corn starch mixed with 1 Tbsp water (optional)
1 cup coconut milk
green onion, sliced, for garnish

Put the chicken in a large plastic bag and add the soy sauce, vinegar, onion, garlic and black pepper.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Place the chicken and the marinade into a large saucepan, add the chili peppers, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the chicken is just done, about 40 - 50 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid, discard as much of the fat as you can, and cook the sauce for another 10 to 20 minutes, until it has reduced and thickened.  Serve over hot rice garnished with sliced green onions.

adapted from this recipe found on Guampedia.com: http://guampedia.com/mannok-kadon-pika-recipe/

Exported from Home Cookin 7.50 (www.mountain-software.com)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lemon Apricots (aka Golden Velvet Apricots?)

Happy first day of summer!  I'm not really that big a fan of the heat and the humidity, but I love all of the fresh fruits and vegetables the season brings.  And I'm always on the lookout for something new.

Last week I was browsing the produce section at Treasure Island and I saw these lovely things nestled in among the plums and nectarines and other stone fruit.  The sign said "Lemon Apricots."  They looked quite fresh and lovely so I bought a couple to see what they were like.

They were golden, velvety and delicious.  They are sweeter than regular apricots, and had more juice than any fresh apricot I have ever had in the past.

They would probably work well in a dessert, but quite frankly I wouldn't want to waste them that way.  These are just too sweet and delicious as they are to .

When I went to find out more about them, I found very little information online.  I also kept running into something called Golden Velvet Apricots that looked a lot like these, but that site also referenced lemon apricots so I'm not sure whether or not there is a connection, or what it is (other than both being apricots, of course). Whatever they are called, they are truly delicious.  If you happen to see them in the produce section of your local grocer, I highly recommend you give them a try.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Braised Chinese Cabbage with Noodles

There's a lot of cooking going on in my kitchen these days, but most of it is still in the development stages so I haven't had much to write about. I am hoping that will change soon and I can get to posting again.

Pasta is one of those things. I have been experimenting with a new recipe that I think I might actually like better than this one that I have been previously using. The main difference is that this new recipe has oil in it, and few people will disagree that a little bit of fat adds a whole bunch of flavor. It also gives the dough an elasticity that I haven't been getting with the original recipe. I've only made it a couple of times, though, so the verdict is still officially out, even though I'm pretty sure this one will win. I'll keep you posted.

There's an unforeseen benefit that comes with making your own pasta, I have discovered, especially when making shaped pastas that require trimming an oval into a square. I got in the habit of slicing any leftover edges into noodle-sized pieces and freezing them for the occasional soup or quick side dish.

That is what I did here. I had a sandwich bag full of frozen scraps and a napa cabbage. I needed a side dish for a Chamorro chicken recipe on which I have also been working. What to do?

 Hmmmm . . .

I have been working on another dish I recently discovered, a Hungarian dish called Haluska, which is a cabbage and noodle dish that is quite tasty and about which I also hope to write soon. I had the cabbage and the noodles; I just needed to give them an Asian twist.

The result was quite delicious, and easy to make. I took the basic recipe, which is simplicity itself, and added ginger/garlic paste, a little white wine and sesame oil, then garnished it with sesame seeds and fresh cilantro (for some much-needed color). It was particularly good with the chicken.

Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Makes 4 servings

2-3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp garlic/ginger paste, or 1-1/2 tsp each minced fresh garlic
and ginger
1 small to medium size Chinese cabbage, halved, and sliced across
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Sauvignon blanc, or other white wine
1 cup dried or fresh noodles, cooked according to directions
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Heat oil in large skillet over medium. Add onion and cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, adding more oil as needed.

Stir in the wine. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Add the cooked noodles and stir to combine well. Let cook for another minute or two, then season to taste with the salt and pepper and add the sesame oil.

Stir to combine and serve garnished with the sesame seeds and cilantro.


Exported from Home Cookin 7.50 (www.mountain-software.com)
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