Cooking: Cashew Chicken


A few months ago my sister, Ashley, gave me a wok. It was bright yellow and she named it Sunshine. We name everything. It’s a quirky way of making something our own. It took me a few months to try it out, due to the fact that I only have a partial kitchen right now. We’re in the middle of remodeling it, and have been for the last half year, so it takes twice as long to make anything. But when I used my wok for the first time I was ecstatic! It was so fast, easy, and efficient, not to mention, healthy. Chop up some meat and veggies, add a kick-butt sauce, and serve over rice. Did I mention it was fast? Those Chinese and they’re ancient culture, they’re smart little cookies.

Anyway, I was telling Ashley all of this on the phone when she requested the recipe. So, without further ado, I give you…

Cashew Chicken

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 3 cups cubed uncooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 c. carrots
  • 1 1/2 c. zucchini
  • 1 1/3 c. cashews

Blend together water, soy sauce, cornstarch, garlic and pepper and set aside. Heat oil in wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, stir fry until cooked. Add veggies (feel free to use whatever floats your boat), and cook until tender. Add cashews and cook for one minute. Mix in soy sauce mixture until thickened. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Cooking: Duck Stew


Don went duck hunting this weekend. He did so well that he shot the allotted number of ducks he was allowed to–seven. This led me to a bit of a predicament. I didn’t know what to do with one duck, let alone seven. Plus, the only time I’ve ever had duck was at a Chinese food restaurant, and I wasn’t too impressed with it. However, this turned out pretty good. So, in case you’re like me, and have an excess of duck, or are merely curious about the friendly fowl, here’s the recipe:

Duck Stew:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-5 duck breasts cut up, marinated over night in 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pound white potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch thick cubes
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme/rosemary/etc.

Directions

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the oil. Season the duck pieces with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the duck pieces in the seasoned flour. When the oil is hot, add the duck pieces, fat side down and sear for 6 minutes. Turn the pieces over and continue to sear for 4 minutes. Remove the duck from the pan and set aside. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables until wilted, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Remove vegetables. Deglaze the pan with the red wine. With a wooden spoon, scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to loosen any brown particles. Stir in the garlic, duck stock and water. Add the potatoes, reserved duck pieces, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours, covered, stirring occasionally or until the meat falls off the bones. Add the rest of the vegetables 1/2 an hour before end time. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Ladle into shallow bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Cooking: Spicey Avocado, Fish & Black Bean Taco Salad

I found this recipe in one of my favorite books- Katie Brown’s Weekends. It’s a compilation of recipes, crafts, and home decor ideas. The thing I love about her recipes is that they’re usually simple, and elegant. She’s a caterer, among other things. This recipe is in a section where she has recipes from around the world: Morocco, France, China, and, of course, Mexico.

I made it for the first time tonight, and knew that it would be a hit. As I was snapping shots of the finished product Don couldn’t resist eating. Between shots I asked him how it was.

“S’good.”
“You like it?” I coax.
“Yeah.”
“Well great,” I exclaim as I take my last picture. “Let’s eat!”
“I’m already done.”

I only took three pictures, and I it probably took only a minute or two. So, these little babies are pretty good. And if you’re not a fish taco fan, you might want to change your mind. Fish tacos should be grouped in a whole different food group from your everyday fish, because you don’t really even realize that you’re eating fish. Let me put it this way: I have a sister to abhors anything remotely fishy, and she loves fish tacos. In fact, she’s the one who introduced me to the whole concept. Funny, huh? Of course this is taco salad, but it’s pretty much a variation on a theme.

Here’s the recipe. It’s a nice, fast dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. cod
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • olive oil for sauteing
  • 1 cup salsa
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and dried
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • sour cream (optional)

Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the chili powder, brown sugar, and salt and pepper. Rub the mixture into the fish on both sides.

Heat a little oil in a large skillet. Saute the fish until it flakes easily. Remove from heat. Break the fish into large chunks.

In a bowl, combine the salsa, lime juice, black beans, green onions, cilantro, and avocado. Warm the tortillas in the oven or on the stove top over a low flame. Divide the fish and bean mixture equally among the tortillas. Top with lettuce and, if desired, sour cream.

Your taco salad will never be the same.

Yum.
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