Thursday, May 28, 2020

Chicken Katsu Tacos

I always go down that rabbit hole, when a video recipe pops up on my feed. Usually I’m intrigued enough to make it 3/4 of the way through, at which point they drop whatever they are cooking into a vat of oil or drown it in freshly made queso. Which has the tendency to lose me. This recipe however, snagged me right in. I mean.....Katsu is one of my favorite things to order at a teriyaki restaurant. And tacos, well, tacos. Combine the two and I’m in. 


For this recipe, I used what I had. I had chicken beast, I so I replaced breasts for the thighs. And actually forget the sugar in the Tonkatsu sauce, but it still tasted great. Enjoy!




Chicken Katsu Tacos

Ingredients


CHICKEN KATSU

  • 2 cups  vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

TONKATSU SAUCE

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

CABBAGE SLAW

  • ½ green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

FOR SERVING

  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • sesame seed
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges

Preparation

  1. Make the chicken: Fill a heavy-bottomed, high-sided skillet with about ½ inch (1 ¼ cm) of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place the chicken thighs on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until all of the thighs are between ¼ in (6 ml) and ⅓ inch (8 ml) thick.
  3. On the cutting board, season the flattened chicken on both sides with the salt.
  4. Add the panko, eggs, and flour to 3 separate shallow bowls.
  5. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg, then in the panko. Gently press the panko into the chicken to ensure a thick, even coating.
  6. Working in batches, carefully fry the chicken in the hot oil for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Set on paper towels to drain and immediately season lightly with salt.
  7. Make the tonkatsu sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
  8. Make the cabbage slaw: In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage, mayonnaise, vinegar, and salt until well coated. Season with additional salt if needed. Set aside.
  9. Wrap the tortillas in a damp kitchen towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
  10. Slice the chicken thighs into ⅓-inch (8 ml) thick pieces. Place about half of a thigh worth of meat onto a flour tortilla. Top with about ¼ cup (25 G) of cabbage slaw, a drizzle of tonkatsu sauce, sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro. Repeat with remaining chicken to make 8 tacos total. Serve with lime wedges alongside.





Sunday, April 26, 2020

Biscuits and Gravy

During quarantine, I’ve been doing a lot of baking, and experimenting with recipes I’ve wanted to make, but just haven’t. Today I decided to make biscuits. Now I don’t begin to believe I’m a biscuit maker, since all of my In-Laws live in the south, I would never compare my biscuits to theirs!


After reviewing quite a few recipes, watching a few videos, several failed attempts years ago, I think I finally get it.  I had been overworking the dough.  Here’s what I came up with....




Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surface 
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3 sticks salted butter (¾ pound), cold, cut into ½-inch pieces or grated 
  • 2 large eggs, beaten, plus 1 large egg for brushing 
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, or as needed, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing 
  • Pinch flake salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the butter and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are even and about the size of peas.
  2. Stir in the beaten eggs with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in 1½ cups buttermilk until the dough comes together into a sticky mass. If it is too dry, add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition, until it reaches the correct consistency. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  3. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Use your floured hands to press it into a round roughly 14 inches across and about ½ inch thick.
  5. Use a floured 2¾- inch round cutter to cut out about 20 biscuits. If necessary, collect and pat out the scraps to cut more biscuits.
  6. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, arranging them so that they all are touching.
  7. In a small dish, beat together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon buttermilk. Brush the mixture on the top of the biscuits. Very lightly sprinkle with flake salt.
  8. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan on a rack.
  9. Biscuits are best the day they are made (and ideally fresh out of the oven!). Serve with strawberry jam or sausage gravy, if desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.



Oh, yeah....here’s the Sausage Gravy


Sausage Gravy

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Sausage (I had frozen patties, so I chopped up 2)
  • 2 oz Butter, cut up 
  • Flour
  • 1 cup Milk (give or take a few ounces)
  • Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Fry up the sausage. Once browned, add in the butter, stir until melted. 
  2. Reduce temp to med/low. Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk until combined. Mixture should be dry. If it’s not add more flour and continue to stir. You’ll want to continue to cook the flour/butter/sausage for a few minutes to reduce the flour taste. 
  3. Slowly add in the milk, and stir to combine.  As the mixture thickens, add in more milk to “thin” the mixture out, until desired thickness.
  4. Add pepper to taste. 
  

Oh and a gratuitous picture of Zoey, my sons chef, taster, sniffer and kitchen companion. 

Zoey




Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

I do love cooking Asian foods at home. Yes it is way quicker than take out or delivery. And what’s better, you can use what you have. Don’t have chicken? Use pork, beef or even shrimp. Don’t have colored peppers? Use celery or just another color pepper. You can always add in stuff too. Like baby corn, bamboo or water chestnuts would be awesome. 


Or just stick to the recipe. Like I kinda did. 






Kung Pao Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced (about 3 chicken breasts)
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 Red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 Green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 Bunch green onions, white and green parts, cut into 3" pieces
  • 1/2 cup Cashews (or peanuts)
  • 10 Dried red chili peppers, cut in half to release their heat
  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Fresh ginger, minced or grated

Kung Pao Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1/3 cup Rice vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar

Method

  1. Make the Kung Pao sauce: combine 1/4 cup of soy sauce, rice or sherry vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce or (tamari) with cornstarch in a large bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Toss chicken breast pieces in the soy sauce-cornstarch mixture to coat and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil over high heat. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, stir-fry the chicken pieces until lightly browned and cooked through—about 3-4 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
  4. Once all of the chicken is cooked, use the same skillet to finish the dish. 
  5. Heat one tablespoon of sesame oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, stir-fry the bell peppers for about four minutes, until they begin to soften. 
  6. Add the green onions, cashews, ginger, garlic, and dried chili peppers. 
  7. Stir-fry the vegetables for 2 minutes before adding the Kung Pao sauce and the cooked chicken breast. 
  8. Bring the pan to a simmer, and cook until the sauce has thickened— about 2 minutes. Serve over white or brown rice.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Wiener Wraps

Wiener Wraps


Pigs-in-a-Blanket, Pretzel Dogs, Wiener  Winks, Crescent  Dogs, no matter how you make them or what you call them, they’ll always take you back to your childhood. 


Recently I couldn’t find the (no judgement) Pillsbury Pizza Dough I usually use, so I decided I had time to make a half batch of my homemade pizza dough. 




Heres what I made:


Wiener Wraps

Half Batch Pizza Dough:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons honey {or sugar}
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour {give or take some...depending on the heat & humidity}
  • 1 package of high quality hot dogs


Directions:

For the pizza dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. This tells you that the yeast is alive and kicking. 
  2. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix. 
  3. Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn't stick to your hands. 
  4. Once you reach this stage, knead for 6 minutes. Turn a timer on and walk away! Resist the temptation to stop earlier than 6 minutes! That seems to be the magical number. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with. And the bowl should be clean! {*This is the point when you could freeze your dough!! Divide into portions, place into freezer bags, seal removing all air and freeze. To use, (remove from freezer and let sit out to get to room temperature and double in size; 6-8 hours. Then use as you'd like.} 
  5. Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn't dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours. 
  6. Once the dough is ready, place it onto floured counter, with a rolling pin roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 strips.  With the first strip, Place a hot dog on the edge of the strip farthest from you. Roll the hot dog and dough at an angle towards you, covering the complete hot dog. 
  7. Place the wiener wrap on a prepared baking sheet. (I use silpat or lightly sprayed parchment paper for easy clean up.)
  8. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 
  9. Serve with your favorite Weiner Wrap sauce or try my Fry Sauce below.  



Fry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 1/8 cup mayonnaise , (this is 1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup  ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk well until full combined.
  2. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour before serving.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Tortilla Coated Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about chicken enchiladas, but didn’t want the traditional style chicken filling in the tortilla....


Then it hit me.  Pound the chicken thin, and fill with cheese.....a low/no carb lovers dream....then I was like....coat the chicken with ground tortillas!!! (Cause I refuse to jump on the carb haters train!)


After deciding the ingredients that I wanted in the enchiladas.  I wrote them down, and emailed one of my “recipe reviewers” to which I was immediately met with, “there’s no amounts”. Ugh.  I was in phase one of the recipe, once that was understood, she asked when she could come over to help test.  So I placed it on the menu, and invited her over.  While I was making the recipe, she took notes for me, and of course offered suggestions. Here is what we came up with:




Tortilla Coated Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded very thin
  • 2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
  • Dry enchilada seasoning (see below)
  • 10 oz cotija cheese, grated
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped (loosely packed)
  • 1 (7oz can) diced green chilies, drained
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 28 oz enchilada sauce

ENCHILADA SEASONING:

  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

Directions

  1. Mix together dry enchilada seasoning, set aside.
  2. In a food processor, finely grind tortilla chips. Toss ground chips with 2 tbsp dry enchilada seasoning in a shallow bowl.
  3. Mix cream cheese with cilantro, green chilies, a few pinches of enchilada seasoning, cheddar cheese and 1/2 of the crumbled cotija. 
  4. Place chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and lightly pound chicken until very thin(1/4 inch). Place 1/4 of the cheese mixture on one end of the chicken breast. Roll up breast and coat with tortilla mixture. Continue with the remaining chicken breasts.
  5. Place a light coating of enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 9x13 pan. Place the prepped chicken breast on the sauced pan and spoon a small amount of sauce on top of each breast. Top with cotija cheese. 
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. 
  7. Serve with rice and beans, if you choose.