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Chicken Cashew

Cashew ChickenOn my last post I wrote about regional foods I enjoyed.  One region I forgot to mention was Asian.  For the most part I like Asian infusion. I find newer recipes come with a little less sodium.  Not that I have a problem with water retention, I just don’t like waking up the next morning with swollen hands and puffy eyes.

I use to watch Martin Yan of Yan can Cook along side with Julia Child.  I’m revealing my age.  Yan goes back to 1978 with his first TV appearance. Yan was as entertaining as Julia Child.  I have one of his cookbooks, Chinese Cooking, I have used often over the years.

My recipe is a derivation from Yan’s cookbook.

Marinade

One tbls. oyster sauce *
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Ingredients for Chicken Cashew

Two skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbls cooking oil
2 tsps finely chopped garlic
Eight to 10 green (snap) beans or asparagus cut into one-inch pieces. You can use snow peas if preferred.
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock
One tbls Chinese Rice Wine or Dry Sherry *
One tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tsp water (remember this combination)*
2/3 cup roasted cashews

Combine the marinade above. Using a medium size bowl, zip lock bag or baking dish, add the chicken cubes making sure all are coated with marinade. Cover and set aside for about 15 minutes. Make sure your dog can’t get to them because the chicken needs to be at room temperature before cooking.

Prepare the other ingredients. Take a wok (if you have one or know how to use one, I don’t) or a large wide frying pan (I use) and place over high heat. Add the cooking oil, swirling to coat the whole pan. Add the chicken and garlic. Stir-fry for approximately two minutes. Add the green beans, carrots and stock. Cook for about three minutes. Add the rice wine and cook for another minute. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue cooking until the sauce boils. Add the cashews, mix in well and you’re done.

This recipe serves four.

My notes:

*Use the combination of cornstarch and water shown above to make sauces for any meal.

*I use oyster sauce in many combinations.  I mix with beef stock, soy sauce and corn starch and a little garlic, maybe add some mushrooms and ladle over steak. Yum!

* It is a must to have in your larder, Sherry, Marsala, Port or Brandy.  One can spend a lot of money or just go to the end of the wine aisle and find less expensive bottles.  Yes, they do contain alcohol but the alcohol cooks out, any chemist can prove this.  So don’t be afraid to have these wonderful flavoring agents available.

The Holidays Are All About…

Fennel/Sage Ham

…the Ham.  This is a derivation from Mario Batali’s Italian Ham.  This was served on Christmas Night along with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and green beans. My daughter took over and presented this meal to the family. So happy to have yet another home chef in the family.

Anna Rebecca Photographer, home chef

My daughter, a home chef/photographer

…Apple Red Chili Chutney

Southwest Flavor Apple Chutney

The Apple Red Chili Chutney was ladled over Pork Tenderloin on Friday Night before Christmas Eve.  This savoring relish comes from a recipe book I bought from the Georgia Grille, a neighborhood restaurant in Atlanta.

The Holidays Are All About….cousins re-uniting

Cousins re-uniting

…playing Dirty Santa Games.  My brother gets stuck with a lady’s purse.

Playing Dirty Santa

…tall tales by a fire pit.

Sitting by the fire pit

…brining.

Turkey Breast Brining in Salt Solution

The Holidays Are All About…

…brining protein in a salt solution.  This is a cooler containing a brine for a turkey breast. Another cooler held venison. In cold weather we can set outside. In warm weather it would be necessary to have ice in the cooler.  For Christmas Eve Dinner we had Turkey Breast and Venison Roast along with a cranberry pecan wild rice mixture and Dijon Brussel Sprouts from smittenkitchen.

…Creamed Corn Salsa

Recipe from Georgia GrilleAnother great recipe from the Georgia Grille.  This is a concoction of corn, green onions, shallots, diced tomatoes, chipotle and cream.  This was served on Friday night as a side dish with another side dish of black beans to the Pork Tenderloin.

The Holidays Are All About…

…Playing Eurorails till two o’clock in the morning.

Family playing Eurorails

…children searching for presents.

Seaching for presents

…a train set.

Child playing with train set

Most of all….it’s about Gratitude.  Life is short, despite that you may live to be 100 or more, wake each day with gratitude.  My husband and I are plenty grateful for the Holiday Season spent with all our children and grandchildren and family.

Baking with Kids

One can only hope that memories of childhood are embedded for life as in the case of Virginia Willis, Cookbook Author of her latest Basic to Brilliant, Y’all.  Virginia reflects on her fond memories of being in her grandmother’s kitchen at the age of three standing on a stool “helping”.  

 Kids Baking Cookies

As with the case of my three year old grandson. He also stands along side his grandma and grandpa. 

For whatever reason as parents we were not as attentive with our kids or perhaps they did not express an interest in baking or cooking.  My husband and I often speak of this and we blame it on spending more time raising kids as opposed to enjoying them.   

Our grandsons love to be in the kitchen and despite the mess we offer encouragement.

Sprinkle decorations on cookies

After all, messes can always be cleaned up but witnessing children having fun playing and being creative in the kitchen is extremely rewarding.

Because my grandkids want to bake “right now”…I know not to go into a long and drawn out recipe.  So I cheated and bought a pre-mixed cookie mix.  Betty Crocker.  Despite what you see in this photo, the cookies were absolutely horrible tasting.  The grown ups on demand from the boys took bites from the cookies and immediately turned around spitting it out.  Incredibly terrible cookies.

Terrible Tasting Betty Crocker CookiesObviously, they enjoyed them.

Preparing for the Big Day

I read recently in one of the many food magazines published that Thanksgiving was the single day most devoted to food. Judging by the thousands upon thousands of blogs published on foodblogs.com or foodgawker, tastespotting, etc., I believe Thanksgiving is the day of food.

Here it is the day before and I am preparing food ahead just to make my day a little easier so that I can enjoy visiting family.

I’ve seen many blogs on various dressings to be served with Turkey.  This is stale leftover bread I’m slicing. My mother would start saving leftover bread, biscuits and cornbread and put in the freezer weeks ahead of time.  Then, the day before, the bread is brought out to thaw, cut up and toast in the oven in preparation of mixing celery, scallions, herbs and chicken stock.

After this, the pumpkin pies and mince meat pies would be prepared.  I decided to deviate and make just a pumpkin custard.  It seems that my family considers this over pie. I’ll also have baked my oatmeal raisin cookies along with chocolate chip cookies and brownies that can be snacked on over the weekend. Oh, yes…the fam stays the weekend.

I’ll prepare the onion soup as I make tomato basil soup for tonight’s dinner.

As for the turkey… it is always fresh, never frozen.  I learned a long time ago a distinct difference with flavor in fresh vs frozen and have never gone back.  The turkey is staying cold in the cooler on the back porch.  I’ll use the same cooler for the brining solution I’ll prepare tonight before going to bed.  The turkey will soak in the brine for about 10 to 12 hours.

Brunch in the morning will be light…scramble some eggs and have ham and biscuits.

The 14lb. turkey will take 2 1/2 hours and will be moist and flavorful all because of the brining done beforehand.  I don’t stuff the turkey anymore because it adds time to roasting which causes the breast meat to dry out.

While the turkey is roasting, I’ll prepare the collard greens, dressing, and an apple/pear salad. Alan will make the giblet gravy.

Mise en place…it is essential to be organized for a stress free Thanksgiving.  If the cook is stressed, the family can’t enjoy the day.

I wish for anyone who reads this blog entry a safe holiday.