Saturday, March 8, 2014

Kung Pao Shrimp (or Chicken)

I went to dinner at PF Chang's with a group of girlfriends last weekend. Two friends ordered Kung Pao dishes. I tried a bite of both dishes and now I am in love with the chili, garlic flavor of Kung Pao! Not only do I have a new favorite dish to eat THERE, I have a new favorite recipe to fix at home. Give it a try:

1/2 c soy sauce
4 T water
1/2 t hot chili sesame oil (or regular sesame oil)
1 t balsamic vinegar
2 t brown sugar
1 t cornstarch

1 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and drained
            (or chicken breast cut into small chunks, seasoned with salt & pepper)
1/2 c cornstarch

6 T coconut oil
2-3 t ground fresh chili paste (found at asian market) or Sriracha
1/3 c onion, large diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
handful of dry roasted peanuts
2-3 green onions, chopped

Steamed rice for serving

Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl, whisk and set aside. This is the slurry that will make the sauce.

Combine coconut oil (warm it up to liquify if needed) and chili paste in a small bowl and set aside.

Place shrimp (or chicken) in a large ziplock bag with 1/2 c cornstarch, toss to coat and shake off excess in a mesh strainer. You want a light coating of cornstarch on the shrimp (or chicken) to give it a little bit of crunch after frying.

Warm 2 T of coconut chili oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Toss in half of the shrimp and fry lightly until pink.. just a couple of minutes. Spoon out onto a plate and keep warm while you fry the other half in another 2 T of chili oil. If you're using chicken just make sure it's cooked through but not overcooked (that makes sense, right?), also in two batches. You don't want to crowd the skillet :)

After all meat is fried and set aside, add the last 2 T of chili oil to the skillet (you don't need to rinse the skillet). Sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes, until soft. Pour in the slurry. Cooking about 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until it's thickened and glossy. 

When you're ready to serve, toss in shrimp (or chicken), peanuts and green onions and stir to coat. Serve immediately atop steamed rice. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is a combination of several that I've used over the years. This version has no meat or dairy so it qualifies as Vegan and is compliant with the Daniel Fast. You could add ground beef or grilled chicken and top them with shredded cheese to satisfy the meat eaters in your family!

4 large bell peppers (any color) 
2 T olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (10oz), drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 c cooked brown rice (I used boil-in-bag)
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t sea salt
black pepper to taste
1 cup vegetable broth
chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 350. Prepare bell peppers by cutting in half, top to bottom and scooping out white membrane and seeds. In a large pot of boiling water, cook halved peppers 3-4 minutes until a little tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

To make the filling, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and fresh spinach and sauté another minute or two. Remove from heat and stir in drained tomatoes, rinsed black beans, cooked brown rice and all of the seasonings. Stir to combine. 

Stuff the pepper halves with the filling and place in 9x13 baking dish. It's ok if they overflow a little bit! Gently pour the vegetable broth in the bottom of the pan and cover tightly with foil. Bake 20-30 minutes until heated through. Garnish with chopped, fresh cilantro. Serves 4. Enjoy!