Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thai Peanut Chicken Wrap

So I make a mean peanut sauce. I use it for anything and everything. It started out as my go-to pad thai sauce that I created a couple years ago when I had to make pad thai for the first time in my life at work. Another instance where they made a menu where I didn't know how to make the main courses before the day of. And since then I've evolved it to be a multi-purpose peanut sauce that I use for stir fry, pad thai, or the occasional chicken wrap. This is literally one of the easiest sauce recipes out there and takes about 5 minutes to make. Another nice thing about it is that you can control the spiciness of it very easily just by slowly adding the Sriracha to it until it meets your spice level. And I tend to make a lot of the sauce and use it for a few meals as the week goes on, there is nothing in it that won't last a few weeks or more in the fridge so it's something you can make a bunch of and save for later.

I find when making the chicken wrap you need something nice and crunchy but flavorful to go with it as well, which is why I have an Asian slaw with it, another thing that's super easy to make if you already have made my Deviled Eggs with Pickled Onions since I take shredded cabbage and carrots and add the pickled onions and its juice to make the slaw.

Peanut Sauce
1 c Brown Sugar
1/2 c Sugar
1/3 c Fish Sauce
1/2 c Ketchup
1/2 c Peanut Butter
1/4 c lemon or lime juice
1/4 c vinegar (I use white distilled or cider)
TT Sriracha

Now you literally put everything in a sauce pan and turn the heat on medium to low and stir it up until its blended. It takes a whole 5 minutes. Once its blended I taste it and add more Sriracha as needed to spice it up a little. But make sure to just start with maybe 4 or 5 drops because that stuff gets hot quick! Then I take the finished sauce and spoon it onto cooked and sliced chicken, which I pre-make.

Then I take a half of a cabbage's worth of shredded cabbage and one shredded carrot and mix it with a small handful of the pickled onions I made earlier in the week and about a half cup or less of the pickling juice from the onions. I mix it up and let sit for 10 minutes or so, usually during the time I'm cooking chicken in the oven.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it can easily be made gluten free by instead of using whole wheat wraps like I did, you can use lettuce wraps, like Boston bibb, which not just makes it gluten free but also saves you a 100+ calories depending on the wrap you use. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Deviled Eggs with Pickled Onion

With Easter just around the corner we have all the obligatory food served (that I love). I pretty much love any holiday that is more centered around food than anything else. No wonder I'm overweight! At Easter my family does Deviled Eggs, Ham, and all the fixings that goes with all our holidays - potatoes, carrots, and breads. This year I'm not sure what exactly I'm doing but one thing I love no matter the time of the year are Deviled Eggs. There is just something about them that are awesome.

Now I decided that I wanted to make a different sort of Deviled eggs, and not what everyone and their mother does by making truffled Deviled Eggs, I've seen those at multiple places in Boston. So after thinking about it there aren't that many ingredients you have in this recipe that can be changed too greatly without taking away the essence that is Deviled Eggs. So I started with the mustard. There are so many varieties of mustard out there, Dijon  plain yellow, horseradish, Asian spicy mustard... hmmm Asian Spicy Mustard... What about a more Asian Deviled Eggs? Might just work... This is literally my thought process as I try coming up with a new recipe. Then I thought of what I might put on it without taking away from either the Asian aspect or Deviled Eggs aspect. Because other than having the Asian spicy mustard I wasn't going to veer far from the traditional recipe. That's when I thought of doing my Pickled Onions on top as the garnish.

Now Pickled Onions aren't necessarily Asian however I have incorporated it into Asian style dishes very easily by adding flavorings that blend well.  My Pickled Onion recipe you'll look at it and say "I don't see anything particularly Asian about this..." but my leftover Onions I will easily add to my Asian Slaw that will go in my Peanut Chicken Wrap later this week (most likely featured on my other blog Chef on a Diet). I guess you'll have to trust me and let me use my Artistic License!

Pickled Onions

1 Red Onion, sliced thinly
1/2 Jalapeno, sliced thinly
1 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Salt
1 tsp Peppercorns

You'll want to do this the day before you need to use your pickled onions because they can be ready within a couple hours but they are at their best sitting in the liquid overnight if not longer. Combine everything but the Onion and Jalapeno and mix to combine, then add the Onion and Jalapeno to the liquid mixture, cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Then they should look hot pink. Now I let them sit two days because life got in the way of me making the Deviled Eggs on the day I planned to, so mine got a bit spicier than I anticipated. The longer they sit the more the jalapenos blend with the onions.

Deviled Eggs

6 Hard Boiled Eggs (my method below)
2 Tbsp Mayonaise
1 packet Spicy Asian Mustard (from Chinese take-out)
4 dots of Sriracha
1/2 tsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Pickled Onion liquid

To make Hard Boiled Eggs: put raw eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat and once at a roaring boil turn a timer on for 3 minutes. Let boil until the timer goes off and remove from heat and immediately cover. Let sit covered for 6-7 minutes and once the time is up drain the hot water out and shock the eggs with ice water. Or what I do is run cold water on them in the pot for about 5 minutes and then throw them in the fridge. For this its easier to make the Deviled Egg mixture if the yolks are as well done as possible short of making them go green. Mine were done but not well done and it made it slightly difficult to mix it by hand, not impossible mind you, just difficult.

After they are cool, de-shell the eggs being careful not to break them apart. Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolk into a bowl and set the egg whites aside. Combine the remaining ingredients into the bowl with the yolks (you can also use a food processor if you have one otherwise use a fork). Stir until they are nice and smooth. If you have a piping bag use that to squirt the yolk mixture back into the egg white cups, if not put it in a ziploc bag and then cut the tip of a corner off and squeeze the yolk mixture that way.

Garnish with a couple pickled onions and jalapeno and voila! you have Deviled Eggs! Enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

So if you're like me you love pizza and get a craving for pizza at least every other week, and also like me you probably are dirt poor and can't afford to actually order pizza. So what to do? Make pizza with ingredients you already have! When you think about it in order to make pizza dough you really only need flour, water, and yeast (I added sugar to mine as well as whole wheat flour both of which I already had).  I make my own pizza sauce however most people already have jars of marinara laying around (I really could have stolen some from my sister if I felt like it, don't worry, Mary, I'd let you have some pizza!), so really you only have to buy some cheese which I bought the good stuff enough for two really big pizzas for $6 today (can't beat fresh mozzarella!). You may ask, "But Kat, what about other toppings!?" Well again you can raid your fridge and cupboards for those as well. I made Hawaiian pizza because I had a can of pineapple chunks and leftover ham from my Split Pea Soup on Chef on a Diet Blog Post. However I could have also made spinach and feta pizza with frozen spinach and leftover feta that keeps staring at me to use, I have plenty of venison and moose sausage in my freezer that I could cook up, hell I could even steal more things from my sister's cupboard like olives and god only knows what else! (I didn't steal anything so I don't what she actually has) And just remember folks, if you steal from someone else's cupboard to make this pizza let them have some too, because if they live with you they probably have no money either! (And crave pizza)
Before the Oven

So this Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe I modified from a recipe my lovely boyfriend uses, I'm not sure where exactly he got it from, but it comes out great when he makes it so I "borrowed" it and modified it slightly. I was also debating whether to put this recipe on this blog or my more healthy blog Chef on a Diet but with how much cheese I put on it I decided it probably wasn't as healthy as my mind wants to pretend it is. "It's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough so obviously its healthy!" If you don't have any whole wheat flour just use all AP Flour instead and it'll be fine.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 packet Yeast
1 3/4 cups Lukewarm Water
1 TBSP Sugar
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt

Starting to Rise!
Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in your mixer with a dough hook. (If you don't have a mixer just put it in a large bowl) Wait five plus minutes while the yeast begins to foam. Once its nice and foamy add the flour and salt and mix away until it forms a ball. Pull it out and on a floured surface roll it into a ball and cut it in half, then roll each half up into a ball again. Cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and let rise until it doubles in size. (30 minutes to an hour depending on how cold your house is) Now you can either make TWO pizzas, or just wrap one up in a ziploc bag and freeze it to use later. Either way you want to roll out the dough with a rolling pin to the size of your pizza pan. I have a commercial pizza pan that has holes all through it which makes it cook really nicely, I also have a pizza stone which also comes out great, if you don't have either just throw it on a sheet pan that you have sprayed with pan spray. Then put your sauce, cheese, and toppings on it.

My Commercial Pizza Pan on my Cutting board
Though if you use a pizza stone you are supposed to heat the stone up first in the oven before putting the dough on it, that's part of the reason I like my commercial pizza pan because you can put the pizza directly on it and then put it on the heated stone with a whole lot less aggravation. I usually start off cooking it at 425 degrees (preheated) for 20 minutes, and depending on how many toppings you put on you may need to go a little more, I usually just lift up a corner to see if the crust looks all the way cooked. And viola! you have the miracle of pizza on the cheap!

Please note that I made the Pizza Dough the night before I actually made the pizza. Since the dough can take a good hour or more to make I decided that in order for me to have instant gratification, aka pizza, I should make it early so all I have to do is roll out the dough, top, and bake when I get done work for the day.

Kat's Pizza Sauce (for two pizzas)

1 can Crushed Tomatoes (the big can)
1 TBSP Sugar
1 TBSP Italian Herbs
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Mix all ingredients and you are good to go. This is enough for two pizzas using the pizza dough recipe above.
I ate too much of this...