Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Asian Slaw

Our Asian Chicken and Roasted Pepper Sandwiches last week called for an asian inspired salad. I had a fresh head of cabbage from my recent Farm Fresh to You delivery. More on that in a future post. I have never made this particular recipe using fresh cabbage before. I always used the bag o cabbage because that's what my step mom who shared this recipe with me uses. But the fresh cabbage was excellent and took the slaw up a notch! I would have also liked some fresh carrots to shred into the mix but cabbage did fine all by itself.

My step mom has been making this salad/slaw for a number of years and so have I. She got the recipe from her sister. I am not sure where her sister got the recipe so I don't know who to credit for this. But kudos to whoever came up with it! Asian Slaw is a great dish to bring to a pot luck, BBQ or summer bash. This crowd pleasing dish holds up well as far as a salad goes because of the sturdy cabbage. Even when its dressed, it fares well during a party. It's one of those dishes that people request the recipe for. And Hubby likes it so it's a win win in my book!

Asian Slaw Recipe:
1/2 head thinly sliced cabbage or 16 oz bag of cabbage mix
1 package chicken Top Ramen
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 green onions thinly sliced

Whisk together the following and chill
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil (do not substitute olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Flavor packet from Top Ramen

Place uncooked ramen in a ziploc bag and crush into small pieces using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Place crushed ramen, sesame seeds and almonds on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Toss slaw, green onions, ramen, sesame seeds, almonds in dressing. Let the salad sit for about 10 minutes before serving to allow dressing to soften the cabbage a bit.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Asian Chicken and Roasted Pepper Sandwich

I can't quite recall what originally prompted me to put this sandwich together. But it's been a house favorite for the past five years or so and is really easy to make. This sandwich is all about the mayo. Asian seasoned mayo. Pampered Chef Asian Seasoning and mayonnaise are a match made in heaven. The seasoning packs a nice punch with garlic, red & green bell pepper, sesame seeds, soy sauce, orange and lemon zest, lime, green onion and ginger. So add as much or as little to your taste. We like a lot!

We hadn't had this sandwich in quite some time because we ran out of the Pampered Chef magical blend. I finally broke down and ordered some online and just a few days later we were back in yummy sandwich makin business! As a side note, the shipping on my order cost nearly as much as the I stocked up to make the most out of my purchase. I also ordered a greek seasoning blend that I'm excited to try out.

Now that the spring is officially here....grilling has kicked into full swing at our house. 3 of the 4 components of this sandwich are done on the grill so Hubby plays a big part in the creation of this meal. Generally I prep everything for the grill and Hubby does the grilling, then I assemble it all. So I did my part and had it all ready to go to the grill...but guess what? The grill was out of gas. So we had to to turn to plan B. The grill pan. I have to say the results weren't quite the same as the hint of charred goodness you can only get from a grill...but it was still quite good.

The chicken is marinated in a store bought teriyaki sauce then grilled. I prefer a sauce that has pineapple juice in it. But any asian inspired marinade (store bought or homemade) would do just fine. The chicken is sliced and topped with tender roasted red and yellow peppers (also courtesy of Hubby's fine grill work). Sandwiched between two asian mayo slathered pieces of freshly grilled ciabatta's delicious! Don't skimp on the mayo. Really!

Asian Chicken & Roasted Pepper Sandwich Recipe:
1lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup of store bought teriyaki sauce (with pineapple juice)
2 red, orange or yellow peppers
4 sandwich size ciabatta (La Brea Bakery ciabatta at Costco is our favorite)
2/3 cup mayo
2-3 Tablespoons of Pampered Chef Asian Seasoning

Marinate chicken in teriyaki sauce for 4 hours up to 1 day. Combine mayo and asian seasoning in a small bowl and set aside in the fridge. Roast peppers on high heat on the BBQ until skins are charred black and interior flesh is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a deep bowl and immediately place plastic wrap over the top sealing in the heat. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin and cut into 2 inch strips, removing seeds, ribbing and stem. Grill chicken until done, about 10-12 minutes. Allow chicken to cool for at least 5 minutes and slice 1/2 inch strips. Cut ciabattas in half and (lightly brush with olive oil if desired) toast on grill 2-3 minutes to desired toastiness. Generously spread mayo on bread and top with chicken and peppers. And most importantly.....Enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mysterious Meringues

The mystery of meringues kicks off my very first blog post. Simple ingredients form this funny little cookie. I'm a lover of cookies and baking. But meringues are a mystery to me. Are they really a cookie? No butter. No flour. No baking soda. Just egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla. I was in a baking mood last Sunday and I asked Hubby what he thought I should make. I said what about oatmeal cookies? Cause I know he's a fan. He said what about those things that are little, you know, fluffy...things. His description was accompanied by some hand gestures inferring a small round object. Like most cookies. Small round objects. But after 11 years together I was able to decipher his request. "You mean meringues?". Ya, sure, he says. He proceeded to tell me how he made them once in a high school home ec class and he thought they were pretty cool.

I have never made meringues before. I have never made meringue before. But I dug out my Cookies cookbook by Martha Stewart and found a few meringue options. I was a little intimidated by the recipe. Sometimes fewer ingredients equals greater complexity. I had all the ingredients on hand so I gave it a go. I followed the recipe to the letter because I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn't sure how stiff the peaks should be or what the texture should look like. I have seen lots of cooking shows that instruct the stiff white peaks should slump over a bit when turned upside down. When the fluff looked nice and fluffed I dipped in my rubber spatula to test my peaks. They looked like I thought they should. The fluff had a slight gloss to the texture. I wasn't sure if that was how it was supposed to look or not. But the peaks looked right so I went with it.

I put half the batch in a large ziploc bag and snipped off the corner. I made an attempt to pipe out uniform swirls of vanilla meringue on my baking sheet. I stirred in 1/8 cup of cocoa powder into the remaining half and filled another bag. The recipe suggested a 1/2 inch star tip. But my ziploc bag would have to do. To be honest the chocolate batch looked like little dog doodies. But the doodies were for me, so it was ok. Hubby is vanilla. I am chocolate.

The recipe said 175 degree oven for 2 hours. 2 hours in, we did a taste test. Crisp and airy on the outside...chewy on the inside. Is that right? It didn't seem right. Hubby agreed. Back in the oven. 2 additional hours later, I deemed the cookies done. Mostly because I was annoyed at how long they were taking. Seems like I could have cooked them forever and they would be totally fine. The end product was a tasty, crisp, yet airy treat. It was a nice departure from the traditional cookie.

I wouldn't say the meringue mystery has been solved. But it's ceratinly a little less elusive.