Monday, January 11, 2016

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken
Well, it's been about two and a half years and I figured we should post a few more recipes.  Last night we made one of our favorite chicken dishes: orange chicken.  This recipe is adapted from the one on it's a great (and simple) Americanized recipe that yields excellent results.  Any leftover sauce can be stored in the freezer for quite a while -- a great shortcut for those days when you don't know what to do with that extra chicken breast.

Estimated Prep Time:About 15 minutes
Estimated Total Time:About 50 minutes

For the sauce you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • An orange (zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 C lemon juice
  • 1/3 C vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger root (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch

For the chicken:
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (cut into 1" cubes)
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1/3 C Panko (optional)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 C corn starch (optional)
  • Frying oil
For garnish (if desired):
  • Chopped scallions
  • Red Pepper Flakes

First, get your rice started if it's not already made.  We usually divide-and-conquer the rest: one person does the chicken and another makes the sauce.  If you're all alone, consider chopping and measuring everything out first!

Next, heat up your frying oil ... I hear 375°F works well, I just heat it in a wok until it barely starts smoking.  You could deep fry it too if you want.

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  I also like to add panko for a little more crunch.  In a smaller bowl, beat the egg.

Zest the orange.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1 1/2 cups water, lemon juice, 2 Tbps orange juice, vinegar, and soy sauce.  Once it is heated through, stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, and garlic.  Bring to a boil.

Now, thicken the sauce. Mix (very thoroughly) 3 Tbsp of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water until it looks like milk. Slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce until the sauce thickens.

To batter the cubed chicken, first pat it dry with a paper towel. Dredge it through the cornstarch and shake off any excess (this can be skipped if you have really fresh chicken and dry it carefully). Next, coat it in egg and toss (aggressively) in the flour mixture. It sometimes helps sometimes to massage the breading into the egged chicken until the pieces are fully coated and dry on the outside.

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Finally, toss the chicken into the hot oil, and increase the heat. Leave the chicken alone in the wok for a little while to let the eggs set up, then begin tossing to coat everything with oil. Fry until golden brown, then promptly remove.

Pour thickened sauce over chicken and garnish with scallions and red pepper flakes as desired.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

French Toast with Blackberry Syrup

Delicious Summer Breakfast

The blackberries this summer are unusually delicious: sweet, massive, and very juicy.  We picked up a few extra at the farmer's market this weekend to make into a breakfast topping.  The French Toast recipe is one we've adapted from Betty Crocker.

Estimated Prep Time: About 15 minutes
Estimated Total Time: About 40 minutes
Serves: Two hungry morning people

For the french toast you'll need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 7 thick slices of fresh french bread
For the syrup you'll need:
  • 1 C of the most delicious blackberries you can find
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/3 C water
First, heat up your griddle to 375°F. 

Reducing the Blackberries
While that's heating, bring the berries, sugar and water for the syrup to a boil in a small saucepan.  Once it's boiling, continue to boil and stir frequently until the mixture is reduced by about half.  (While they cook, the berries will turn bright red, then begin to melt into the syrup -- no need to crush them.)  Once reduced, let the syrup cool to just above room temperature.

As you boil the syrup, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.  Beat until smooth.

French Toast
Lightly grease griddle with butter.

Gently and briefly dip bread into egg mixture, being sure to coat both sides generously, but don't let it soak in.  Place on griddle -- keeping any excess on the bread will make the toast hearty.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

Finally, the best part: plate the toast and drizzle the slightly cooled syrup onto the warm slices.  Spoon the cooked berry chunks on top and enjoy.

Friday, June 3, 2011


My favorite dessert is this decadent Italian treat, tiramisu. I could eat a whole pan of it. I first made it in grad school when I found out that Kroger was selling Alessi savoiardi (ladyfingers) with a tasty recipe on the back. This recipe is pretty much the same except for a few minor changes.

Estimated Prep time: About an hour and a half of work (split up)
Estimated total time: about 2 hours 45 minutes
Serves: 1 glutton (9"x13" piece), or 10-12 normal people

For this recipe, you'll need:
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 0.25 C + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 C spiced rum (or Marsala and 1 Tbsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz Mascarpone Cheese (2 packages)
  • 12 oz fresh made espresso (8-10 shots)
  • 17 oz Savoiardi cookies
  • 4 Tbsp Cocoa powder

(Time: 0:00) First, you have to make the zabaglione cream. In the top part of a double boiler (or bowl that fits over a medium saucepan), beat together 0.25 C sugar and the egg yolks until pale yellow and fluffy. Meanwhile, put some water in the bottom part of a double-boiler (or medium saucepan) and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

(Time: 0:10) Place egg yolk mixture over water and gradually add 0.5 C rum, beating continuously. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan regularly. Continue to beat and cook after all rum is added for about 7 minutes until soft mounds can be formed.

(Time: 0:17) Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate for half an hour.

(Time: 0:35) Pour cream into a bowl and whip it with 2 Tbsp sugar until soft peaks form.

(Time: 0:47) Fold mascarpone cheese (softened by stirring hard with a spoon) and zabaglione into the whipped cream until smooth. Yeah, it's lumpy. It will get smooth, keep working at it.
The fluffy part of tiramisu
before folding after folding

(Time: 1:15) You should now have a nice creamy mixture that's well blended and barely has any lumps yet. Your arm should be sore from the slow folding too. Good job! Refrigerate it for an hour.

(Time: 2:00) Make your 8-10 shots of espresso. Mix in 0.5 C spiced rum or marsala and vanilla.

(Time: 2:15) Place 17 savoiardi to cover the bottom of a 9x13" pan. Using a turkey baster or spoon, coat the savoiardi each with about 1 Tbsp of the espresso mixture. Remove cheese mixture from the refrigerator and spread 1/3 of it on top of the cookies. Dust the top with cocoa powder.

(Time: 2:25) Do it again. Cookies, espresso, cheese, cocoa.

(Time: 2:35) Do it again. Cookies, espresso, cheese, cocoa.

(Time: 2:45) You're done! Refrigerate it overnight.

(Time: 26:45) Eat it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Butternut Squash Bisque

tasty soup
We got a huge butternut squash in our CSA box last week and although I usually don't like squash, a yummy butternut squash soup stuck with me since I first tasted it. So we decided to put the monster to good use and make a big pot o' soup.

We started with a recipe from and tweaked a bit for our supplies.

Estimated Prep time: 20 minutes of chopping
Estimated total time: about an hour
Serves: 9 (1.5 C servings)

For this recipe, you'll need:
  • A big butternut Squash (8-9 cups of cubed fleshy bits)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced (1C)
  • 3 large carrots, diced (1.5C)
  • 6 C vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 0.5 tsp Salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1-3 tsp ground nutmeg (more or less to taste)
  • 0.5 C heavy cream

(Time: 0:00) Peel and chop stuff: dice the onion and carrots (but keep them separate). Peel the squash, exposing the dark orange inner flesh. Halve the peeled squash and scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy matter inside. Chop into half-inch cubes.
Peeling the Squash
Cubed Squash

(Time: 0:10) Heat the oil and butter in a large stock pot. Gently saute the diced onions until golden and tender. Add carrots and stir until mixed.

Golden brown onions and carrots

(Time: 0:20) Add squash cubes to the pot. Stir in the vegetable stock (we used 4 C stock and 2 C broth from bullion, and it tasted yummy).

(Time: 0:22) Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 10-15 minutes).

Some nutmeg

(Time: 0:37) Stick an immersion blender into the pot and let 'er rip. Blend until smooth and creamy. If you don't have one of these magic sticks, a food processor or blender works well to blend the soup.

(Time: 0:50) Add half a cup of cream and stir gently until fully incorporated, and enjoy immediately!

will it blend?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baked goodies -- Challah

Here's some Challah I made a few months ago. I'll be posting photos of some of the things that make it out of my kitchen every week (when I remember to pull my camera out.) Enjoy!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken Bowl-Pies

One of my favorite comfort foods is chicken pot-pie, and I've been working out a good filling recipe, but find myself lazy when it comes to making the crust.  This "bowl-pie" is a variation on the assembly of a standard pot-pie that is good for the lazy or the hurried... it takes about an hour to prepare.

Finished pot pie

For this recipe, you'll need:
  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 0.25 tsp cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 0.5 tsp garlic salt
  • 0.25 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1 10.75 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
(Time: 0:00) Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil on medium-high in a 4-quart pot.  Dice the chicken into about 0.75-inch pieces, and toss into the hot oil along with the garlic salt and adobo seasoning, stirring frequently.  While this is sizzling, take the pie crust out of the fridge and let it warm up on the counter as you continue working on the filling base.

(Time: 0:15) When the chicken is mostly cooked through, add 1 cup of water, the bay leaf and the cumin.  Cover and slowly bring to a boil.  (You want to keep all the yummy evaporating juices in the pot to make a broth.) If your oven takes more than 10 minutes to pre-heat to 450°F,  you might want to start it now.

As you're waiting for the water to boil, chop the carrots and celery, then add them to the pot. 


(Time: 0:20) Once the pot comes to a boil (with all the veggies added), reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, or about 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the crust.

Prefab pie crust

Crust cookies


(Time: 0:30) Unroll the pie crust onto a cutting board,

and use the pastry tins to cut pieces of dough roughly the size of the bottom of the pastry tins. 

This can be estimated, since the shapes will adjust in the oven.  Shove the cut-outs into the bottom of the tins

... and stick them into the fridge so they can rest and cool down.  While they're resting (about 10 minutes works best, but they're flexible), pre-heat the oven to 450°F. 

(Time: 0:40)
When the oven is ready, take the tart tins out of the fridge and slide them onto the middle rack in the oven.  Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.


(Time: 0:41) While the crusts are baking, it's time to put the finishing touches on the filling.  Take the lid off and let the condensation drip back into the pot of boiling soup.  Dig out the bay leaf and throw it away.  Add the condensed cream of chicken soup, and stir vigorously until the soup is fully incorporated.  Put the cover back on the pot, and bring back to a very light boil. 
(Time: 0:45) When the filling returns to a boil, stir, reduce heat to low, and let simmer until you're ready to serve it.

(Time: 0:50) Take the crusts out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes.

(Time: 0:55) Spoon some filling into a bowl that's conveniently slightly larger than the tart pans. 

Spooning into bowl

Put one of the crusts on top and enjoy your Chicken Bowl Pie!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fish & Chips

We just made the fish part and cheated on the chips (bought some frozen pre-made ones).  Maybe we'll do the chips too next time.

This is more-or-less the fish part of the Alton Brown recipe from  We scaled it down and modified it a bit to work with the 1.0lbs of cod we had.

Fish & chips

You'll need:
  • 1lb Fresh Cod Fillets
  • 1.5 C Flour
  • 0.75 t Sea Salt
  • 0.25 t Cayenne Pepper
  • 0.25 t Black Pepper
  • 2 t Baking Powder
  • 0.2 C Corn Starch
  • 10 oz Brown Beer
  • 1 Quart of frying oil
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne and black pepper. When combined, whisk in about 10 oz of brown beer.  Mix until smooth.  Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Heat a quart of cooking oil to 350°F in a deep medium saucepan.

While the oil is heating, cut 1lb of cod into about 1 1/2 oz strips.


When the oil is hot, dredge the cod in corn starch, shaking off any excess. 

Submerge the starchy fish sticks into the batter one at a time, allowing excess batter to drip off before dropping into the hot oil.


Once the fish is in the oil, allow the batter to set, then flip intermittently to evenly fry each side (the fish will probably float if you have enough oil).  Fry the fish in small batches, making sure to re-heat the oil to 350 between each batch. 

This is what our assembly line looked like.

Assembly line

When it is a golden brown color (about 5-6 minutes), remove it from the oil and put it on a drying rack to drip.  Eat as soon as possible, or keep in a warm dry oven so the batter stays crispy.