Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chinese New Year

Chicken Lettuce Cups

I know this is a little late, but I unfortunately couldn't find what I had done with my recipe until now. Until very recently I NEVER wrote down my recipes (or measured anything for that matter) so it was damn near impossible to replicate anything I ever made. So now, the biggest problem is that I have recipes floating around my house on little scraps of paper and on the backs of old bills. Luckily I did find these recipes last night, so this is why I am just now posting my Chinese New Year menu. That's my "my dog ate my homework" story and I'm sticking to it.


Small Glass Mixing Bowl
Measuring Spoons
Liquid Measuring Cup
Sharp Knife
Cutting Board

2T Low-sodium Soy Sauce
1T Hoisin Sauce
2T Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2t Salt
1/2t Sugar
3T Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2t Fresh Ginger, Minced
1/3C Red Onion, Minced
1C Button Mushrooms, Minced
1/2C Water Chestnuts, Minced
1Lb Boneless, Skinless chicken breasts, Minces (ground chicken can be used in a pinch)
8 Iceberg Lettuce Leaves (they provide the best crunch and balance for this dish)
Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Coarsely Chopped (to taste)
1/4C Unsalted Roasted Cashews, Coarsely Chopped (this is completely optional, but it does give a nice texture contrast)

In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix until the the sugar is dissolved.

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in the wok over high heat. Stir-fry the garlic and ginger together for a quick 10 seconds. Add the onion, mushrooms and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok. Swirl the wok so the oil swishes around the entire wok. Add the chicken, and brown for 1 minute,or until it's no longer pink. Add back the cooked vegetables, turn down the heat and stir in your sauce mixture. Stir for 1 minute, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is warm.

Now you're ready to serve. Scoop the mixture into the lettuce cups and top with chopped cashew and cilantro.

On to Dessert!

Banana Spring Rolls with Chocolate-Coconut Ganache

Medium Saucepan
Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper
Cast Iron Skillet with high sides
Slotted Spoon or Spider

14-ounce Can of Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/3C Light Brown Sugar (packed)
1 1/2t Ground ginger
8oz Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
8 Spring Roll Wrappers
2 Ripe Bananas, peeled, halved, cut lengthwise then crosswise.
1 Egg, beaten
Vegetable or Grapeseed Oil (for frying)
Fresh Mint (optional)

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sugar and ginger. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. *This portion of the dish can be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate, then reheat over low heat just until pourable consistency.

Put parchment paper down on your baking sheet. Place a spring roll wrapper down in a diamond shape. Put banana piece across center of the wrapper, fold the bottom pointed corner of wrapper up over the fruit, then fold in the sides. Brush the unfolded top section with the egg, then fold over sealing the fruit in. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining bananas and wrappers. *Spring rolls up to this point can be made 4 hours a head, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

Pour enough oil into skillet to reach a depth of 1.5inches. Heat the oil between 360 and 375F. In two batches (don't crowd the rolls) add spring rolls to the hot oil and cook until they are golden and crisp, turning them often for even cooking. Roughly 3 minutes per batch. Using your spoon (or spider) transfer the rolls to a surface with paper towels so the excess oil can drain off.

Arrange your spring rolls on individual plates, drizzle with the coconut-chocolate ganache and top with fresh mint sprigs.

Congratulations, you have just created a simple yet wildly tasty (and impressive looking) Chinese New Year meal. Invite some friends over and share the good fortune.


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