Monday, July 30, 2012

SRC: General Tso's Chicken


It's Secret Recipe Club time again!  SRC brings together a lot of really talented bloggers and gives us the chance to explore a "new" blog each month, keeping it a secret until the reveal day.  This month I was assigned So Tasty, So Yummy, a blog written by Katie, that truly lives up to its name!  She actually had our blog for last month's SRC.

Katie and I definitely share a love of Sriracha and I was tempted to make these chicken thighs.  And I have already bookmarked this super decadent and delicious sounding Truffle Butter Turkey for Thanksgiving!  So, I say this in pretty much every write up for SRC, but I seriously had such a hard time choosing a recipe.  I changed my mind probably a dozen times, but as soon as I came across this recipe, I knew that I had to make it.  I love General Tso's Chicken.  A lot. This version is quite delicious, but it's not 100% what I expect from General Tso's.  So I'm still on the hunt for a recipe, but this chicken recipe from So Tasty, So Yummy is definitely a good recipe to have on hand.  It is spicy and full of flavor.  I might add a tiny bit more sugar (that might be why didn't feel quite like General's to me), but overall it is really tasty (I told you Katie's blog lived up to its name!).  Give her a visit and I'm sure you'll find something you love!

General Tso's Chicken

From So Tasty, So Yummy

1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Chinese chili-garlic sauce (I used 2 teaspoons of Sriracha since I didn't have chili-garlic sauce)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Steamed broccoli and white rice, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, egg white, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and all but 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, chile-garlic sauce, sugar, remaining soy sauce and cornstarch. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Whisk the broth mixture, then add it to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glossy. Stir in green onions. Serve immediately with broccoli and rice.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday Update: Jerk Chicken and Pineapple Pizza

Jerk Chicken and Pineapple Pizza recipe


Can you believe that it's Thursday again?!  I was totally serious the other day when I complained about how fast summer is flying by.  But... the Summer Olympics start tomorrow and I could not be more excited!  Plus, I have a great pizza recipe for you guys (see below).  Just a picture of pizza today, but you can follow along on Instagram all week long (KelseyHunter).

1) Okay, the Olympics are officially my favorite thing ever.  Since I was a very small child, I have loved the Olympics, both summer and winter.  I have actually cried at the end of the Olympics (more than once, but most memorably Lillehammer 1994 as Mariah Carey's "Hero" played during the final credits).  Don't laugh.  Anyways, as a former competitive swimmer, I'm obviously most excited about the swimming events, particularly the Phelps-Lochte duels in the pool!  Do you have a favorite sport?

2) My mom (who you know as Kim) and my dad are moving!!  They are heading to the D.C. area for my dad's new job!  So excited for him and so excited to cheer on his new team!


3) You'll notice a little orange "e" button over there on the left hand side under the blog archive.  If you're interested in learning more about Vemma, the amazing nutrition supplement that our family takes, you can click the button or email us (kandktestkitchen at gmail dot com) for more information!

3) All I have to say is I love Emily and Jef! The cutest proposal / couple ever.  Boys, I hope you're all taking notes!  I had a few girls over to watch the finale.  We ate cheese and crackers, bruschetta, and mini key lime pie cheesecake (recipes to come soon) and we drank wine.

4) I ordered these Stella & Dot earrings in coral after a little Instagram request for help with colors.

5) Last weekend, I saw a Shakespeare in the Park production of "Henry V."  It was pretty entertaining!  And we had delicious pizza before the show.

6) I promised you pizza!  This pizza uses yesterday's slow cooker jerk chicken and really ups the ante with pineapple.  I inhaled this pizza and if I remember correctly, I ate my lunch early because I was so excited for the leftovers.  The pizza has a mix of sweet, spicy, and salty.  It is awesome!

Jerk Chicken and Pineapple Pizza

1 pre-cooked flatbread crust (or make your own crust)
1 cup shredded slow cooked Jamaican Jerk Chicken
1/4 cup pineapple chunks, cut into pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/3 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the peppers and tomatoes and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Brush remaining tablespoon of olive oil on the pizza crust.  Sprinkle chicken, tomatoes, and pepper over the crust.  Top with mozzarella cheese, then dot with pineapple chunks.

Bake for 12 minutes on 425°F.  Let cool slightly, slice and serve! (Maybe with a bottle of Red Stripe beer :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken marinade recipe

When we were in California, our friends made us Jamaican jerk quesadillas.  They were seriously delicious and I couldn't get jerk off my mind. It also happened that Gabrielle Hamilton mentions a jerk chicken recipe in her book "Blood, Bones, and Butter" and I was reading that book on my Californian vacation.  So, I had to make my own jerk chicken as soon as I got home to my kitchen.  I did a little bit of research and was off to find some scotch bonnet peppers, which give jerk its unique flavor.  Be extremely careful handling scotch bonnets - they are way, way hotter than habaneros - so make sure you wear gloves!  I found the peppers at my local grocery store, so you'll probably be able to find them too.  They range from bright orange to scarlet when they are ripe.

With the summer heat, I decided to make the chicken in the slow cooker.  I'm so glad that I did, because I didn't have time to marinate the chicken, but it ended up not mattering because the slow cooking process truly infused the chicken with the jerk flavor.  The chicken was great, really intense flavors and just enough spice.  The first time, I ate it plain, as a sandwich with fried plaintain chips (blech, won't be sharing the recipe since I really didn't like them at all).  And tomorrow, if you stop by the "Thursday Update," I will share an amazing pizza recipe that uses the jerk chicken!

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Marinade from Caribbean Pot

For the marinade: 
8 scallions (green onions)
5 sprigs of fresh thyme (about 1 tablespoon chopped)
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 scotch bonnet peppers
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger

3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces

Rough chop the scallions, peppers, garlic, onion and thyme and place in the food processor to make it easier to puree. Remember when working with these hot peppers to wear gloves (the natural oil is deadly). Also note that most of the heat is within the seeds and the membrane that surround the seeds. So to control the heat, discard those. However, for that authentic Jamaican feel keep the entire peppers.

Now, add all the other ingredients to the food processor and pulse to start.  Run the puree speed for about 2-3 minutes until everything breaks down to a smooth consistency.

Turn the slow cooker on low and add the chicken.  Pour the jerk marinade all over the chicken.  Cook on low for 6 hours, turning the chicken several times throughout the cooking process.  Once the chicken has cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and then strain the jerk sauce that remains in the slow cooker.  Shred the chicken, then return it to the slow cooker and then pour the strained sauce over top, mixing well.

Serve as sandwiches on whole wheat rolls with tomatoes and your choice of condiments.  Or stay tuned for a fabulous pizza recipe tomorrow!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Caprese Panzanella Salad

Caprese Panzanella Salad recipe
How was your weekend? Mine was pretty low-key and I'm definitely starting to feel like summer is slipping away from me.  How is it already almost the end of July?!  I think that I (and maybe we) need to embrace what's left of summer full force.  I'm talking bike rides, beaches, picnics, water parks, patios...the works!  And of course, we should stuff our faces with peaches (try this pie or this smoothie), tomatoes (this salad!!), corn (this pasta or this salad), and anything else we can find at our local market.
On our trip to California, we stayed with some family friends.  To express my gratitude to them for graciously opening their home to us, I decided to make dinner for everyone one night.  We had this caprese panzanella salad, and it was a huge hit.  It combines my two loves into one salad - bread and caprese.  And the fact that the tomatoes are roasted means that you could probably enjoy this salad in the winter as well.  But I highly recommend making it right now (maybe even leaving the tomatoes un-roasted) and picking some basil from your garden to make it (or scooping some up at the farmers market).  Something about basil in the summertime makes my heart fill with joy.

See the recipe for Caprese Panzanella Salad over at How Sweet It Is.  She is a genius.



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday Update: Peach and Ginger Smoothie

peach and ginger smoothie recipe


1) I'm going to see Dark Knight Rises tonight at midnight in IMAX!

2) I've been using Rembrandt Intense Stain toothpaste lately and the $6 was so worth it.  It's only been a week and I've already noticed a difference in terms of whiteness and even strength of the enamel (okay, maybe I'm imagining that one). PS there are coupons on their website!

3) I'm so excited for the Bachelorette finale.  I can't help myself.  I got rid of "real" cable this summer, so the Bach is the only TV that I've been watching.  It's a total guilty pleasure.  Have you been watching? I'm #TeamJef all the way (but was so sad when she sent Sean home!).

4)  Smoothies have been my go-to breakfast lately!  You saw this Green Goodness a couple weeks ago.  Well, I've also added a Peach and Ginger smoothie into the mix.  I was inspired by a smoothie that I've had a few times at the barre studio that I go to.  This one is seriously delicious and apparently quite good for digestion.

Peach and Ginger Smoothie

1 banana
1 ripe peach, diced
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons 0 or 2% plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup ice

Blend everything together and serve!

Throw in a bit of vanilla protein powder if you want or some flax seeds!

And just because, here are the latest via my Instagram feed (user name KelseyHunter): fishtail braids for the beach, sunset over the Rideau Canal, Toasted Coconut and Kaffir Lime Donut from Suzy Q's, and a fun manicure (Essie's Mint Candy Apple and Play Date).


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Peach Custard Pie

Chelsea is back with another drool-worthy recipe!  I highly recommend you go pick up a few peaches and make this ASAP.  I know I will be doing exactly that. Yum! Thanks Chelsea!

***

It's peach season here in the south and we go through them by the dozen! This pie is great with fresh peaches, but can be done with frozen peaches as well, just add 5-10 minutes on the cooking time. Its best in the first few days but don't worry, it is so good I don't think that will be a problem.

Peach Custard Pie


Ingredients

1 unbaked pie shell
4-5 peaches peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp butter (or so)
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon (or so)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the peaches. One way to do this is to place peaches one by one in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove them and immediately place them into cold water. After about 10 seconds, they will be super easy to peel. Go ahead and peel them and slice them up.


Put sliced peaches into unbaked pie shell. 



Dot with butter and cinnamon. I eyeball this for the most part, but it is about 3 Tbsp butter and 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon.


Beat 4 eggs and 1 cup sugar together. Pour over the peaches. 

peach custard pie recipe

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the temp to 350 and cook for 60-65 minutes more. You will know when its done when you stick a knife in it and it comes out mostly clean. The custard will set even more as it cools.

peach custard pie recipe


Monday, July 16, 2012

Chicken Tinga Tacos



On my trip to California, I was reminded about how delicious Mexican food can be.  I have definitely not been able to find anything even close here in Ottawa.  And I love Mexican food.  A lot.  When I came home, I made it my mission to make some delicious tacos at home, to tide me over until I can find a good place here in Ottawa.  I had saved this particular recipe in my paper recipe file from back in December, so I dug it out of the file to try for my first serious taco attempt.  The result?  These chicken tinga tacos are the best tacos that I have ever had.  The chicken alone is smoky, spicy, and slightly sweet.  It would be great served in any dish -- over rice, in a soup, etc. -- and it will be put into heavy rotation in my kitchen.  In fact, the chicken is so good that you don't really need to dress it up very much, just a tiny bit of crumbled feta (use Cotija, if you can find it though) and some avocado is all you really need. The original recipe calls for baking the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes, but with the hot weather we've been having, I couldn't imagine turning the oven on for that long.  I made mine on the stove, but you could also make the chicken in a slow cooker (the directions below reflect the method that I used).

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Slightly adapted from Food & Wine, December 2011

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (use thighs if you prefer)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup beer
One 28-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
2 canned chipotles in adobo, coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
24 corn tortillas (I used pre-made tostadas, since I can never find corn tortillas here)
2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (I used feta)
Diced avocado

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper, add it to the Dutch oven and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.  Pour off the fat in the Dutch oven.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large Dutch oven along with the onion. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned and softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the beer and stir, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  After about a minute, add the tomatoes and their juices, the chipotles and the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and slightly reduced, 20 minutes.

Let the sauce cool slightly. Puree until smooth using an immersion blender and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the sauce. Cover the Dutch oven and cook the chicken over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, until the meat is tender and the sauce is very thick and darkened around the edges.

Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred the meat; discard the bones. Return the chicken meat to the sauce. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of chicken onto each tortilla and sprinkle with the crumbled cheese. Garnish the chicken tacos with the scallions and chopped cilantro and serve hot.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Update and Greyhounds!

I promised a bit of a life update for y'all today and guess what!? I'm also giving you a kickass cocktail recipe, because I love you all and because it is related to the life update.  If you follow me on Instagram, some of this might be old news:

1) The K's were reunited in California for a week last week, we had an awesome time hanging out, enjoying the sunshine, and visiting friends.  It was Kim's birthday, so I got her a banana cake from Icing on the Cake Bakery in Los Gatos.  The best cake ever.  Remember when I tried to make N this cake?!  The bundt is delicious, but no match.  We celebrated America.  We also went to Carmel, and to the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market and Coit Tower in San Francisco. And we drank champagne - Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs - heaven.









2) I'm reading Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton.  It is an excellent book and the way she writes about food is so inspiring.

3) A few weeks ago we went to a lovely wedding! Everything about the day was perfect!






3) I recently learned how to use a curling iron.  And my life has changed.  Seriously, I'm obsessed! Thank goodness for YouTube, Lauren Conrad, and other reality TV ladies. The videos I used to learn how to do this are:  LC's waves, Emily Maynard inspired hair (because I've been watching this season of the Bachelorette religiously), and the (semi-annoying) but useful Michelle Money video.






4) While in San Francisco hanging out with some girlfriends from high school, I had a Greyhound for the first time.  New favorite drink!! It is so refreshing and not as tart as I expected it to be.  If you find it to be too tart for you, add a tiny bit of raw honey.  See the recipe below!  I will be making these any chance I get. (PS one grapefruit was enough for one drink).  And this gorgeous color would be great at a baby or bridal shower, or even as a signature cocktail for a wedding!

greyhound cocktail recipe

Greyhound

1 part Vodka
3 parts freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
Grapefruit wedge

Squeeze your grapefruit juice and strain at least some of it through a fine mesh strainer (depending on how much pulp you want, I strained half of the juice).

Fill a rocks glass with ice, then add one ounce of high-quality Vodka and three ounces of grapefruit juice (for each drink). Serve with a large wedge of grapefruit and a pretty straw!

grapefruit and vodka cocktail recipe

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Potato, Corn and Green Bean Salad with Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

potato green bean and corn salad with chipotle honey vinaigrette recipe


Okay, I have a bunch of recipes to share with you, but I picked this one to share first, even though I just had it for the first time last night.  It was too good not to share right away.  This salad is bursting with the flavors of summer, full of crispy vegetables, and has a sweet heat to it.  Not to mention that it has bacon in it.  I mean come on! Bacon!!  And the chipotle honey vinaigrette is the perfect mix of spicy and sweet.

Tomorrow, I am going to start a weekly tradition of doing a life update.  I've been thinking of editing the 'About K&K' page, but instead, I thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of what's going on here, things that I like, and recipes that I can't wait to try. So stop on by tomorrow!

And in the meantime, go make this delicious salad for dinner or maybe bookmark it for your next BBQ!  So far I'm the only test case, but I sure loved this salad and I think you and your guests will too!

Potato, Corn, and Green Bean Salad with Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

Takes 45 minutes
Serves 4

3 small red potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup corn
1 cup green beans
3 strips bacon
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

For the Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 chipotle pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons honey (depends on your preference)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients to allow the flavors to meld while you prepare the salad ingredients.

Toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast potatoes for 25 minutes, flipping  at least once.  


Put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil and prepare an ice bath (this will be for the beans).


While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon.  I like to lay the bacon flat on a cold frying pan.  Then I turn the pan on medium-high and cook for about 12-15 minutes until crisp and all the fat is rendered.  Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Drain some of the fat from the pan and set it aside.


For the beans, place the cut up beans in the boiling water and cook for about 30 seconds.  Remove, drain, and then plunge the beans into the ice bath.

For the corn, put the pan with the bacon fat back onto the stove over medium heat.  Place the corn in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if you'd like.

Mix the roasted potatoes, corn, and green beans in a large bowl.  Add the cherry tomatoes and crumble the bacon on top.  Stir well, then pour the vinaigrette over the salad, stirring again to coat everything.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Easy Almond Granola


The great thing about homemade granola is that it is cheaper than store bought - and you can make it pretty much however you like it!

Here's a recipe for granola how I like it, but feel free to switch up the type of nuts or dried fruit with what you like. The original recipe called for more maple syrup and brown sugar than I put in, because I don't like granola as sweet.

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats (don't use the instant kind)
2 cups slivered almonds
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup (plus 2 tbsp if desired) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (plus 2 tbsp if desired) maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F

In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut and the brown sugar.

In a different bowl, mix the maple syrup, oil, and salt until combined. Combine with the oat mixture and pour onto a sheet pan. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press the granola into the pan. This will make it so the oats will stick together so there are clusters of granola when you are done baking. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes without stirring.

Remove from oven and put into a large bowl for storing. Add the raisins and mix together.

Enjoy!


***

Thanks again to Chelsea for another amazing recipe! I'm due to make another batch of granola and I think I will have to try Chelsea's version.  Sorry for the lack of posts last week, vacation was busier than I anticipated!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Green Smoothies

peanut butter spinach banana smoothie recipe


Hello from sunny, beautiful California!  We are relaxing, visiting with friends, and enjoying our old hometown.  Tomorrow, we will head to Monterey for the day and Wednesday is the big 4th of July / Birthday party and BBQ! 

This green smoothie reminds me a little bit of California, maybe it's that it kind of looks like Green Goddess dressing or maybe it's that I used to drink smoothies all the time after swim practice, before school when we lived here.  Yes, I used to wake up everyday of the week and swim before school... so early that I had time to go home in between and drink smoothies.  This smoothie is a grown up version of the ones I drank back in the day, which were usually all fruit.  This one makes a delicious breakfast and it is a great way to start your day off with a megadose of vitamins and protein.  Don't be afraid of this bright green concoction.  It doesn't taste even remotely like spinach, more like peanut butter and banana, and it is really filling.



Green Goodness Smoothie

2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
dash of cinnamon
Palmful of blueberries
1 banana
A few ice cubes

Blend all ingredients together in a blender or using an immersion blender.  Serve with a straw.  Feel free to adjust to your preference, switching in different types of fruit, adding some honey to sweeten it, or changing up the milk to soy or almond milk.  I had it one day with peaches and one day with blueberries.
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