Wednesday, June 18, 2008

so good

Culinary Camp is coming up next month. I am very excited about doing this again this year since last year was so much fun. I plan to teach the girls who are returning from last year how to make "take out at home." Like common foods that come from take out places - burgers, pizza and Chinese-American favorites. So, that means we have been eating a lot of burgers, pizza, and Chinese-American favorites at my house. I made sweet and sour pork one night and then last night we had cashew chicken, which is one of my favorites. The husband loves it too. So, it's win-win-win!

cashew chicken, makes 4 servings

4 chicken thighs, deboned and skin discarded, cut into 1 inch cubes or you can buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs but those weren't on sale. Since I know how to debone most anything, I choose to save the cash. I use the bones to make stock. It's win-win-win again!
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
2 stalks of celery, washed and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of lightly salted cashew halves - toasted - I do this in a small saute' pan over medium heat. Be careful, the oil in the cashews will burn quickly. Keep stirring the cashews. This should take about 3 minutes.

Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin and garlic together. Add the chicken and let marinade for about 30 minutes. Heat the oil over high heat and add the chicken, reserving the marinade. Saute' the chicken about 5 minutes or until nicely colored on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add all the vegetables to the pan and saute' about 5 minutes or until the carrots are crisp tender. Add the sauce back in to the pan and reduce until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken back in, discarding any accumulated juices and toss to combine in sauce. Add about half of the cashews and green onions and toss to combine again. I like to serve this with white rice topped with the reserved cashews and green onion slices. It' very pretty, too!

We had egg rolls and wonton soup with this last night from a local Chinese restaurant, so it was partially take out made at home. I called ahead for the soup and egg rolls but when I arrived at the restaurant, they seemed very confused. While I was waiting, I noticed the phone number for the place on the menu and realized, I had called a different Chinese restaurant! I guess I didn't know that Chestertown was big enough for two Chinese places.

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