Month: June 2009

Kokomo Bakes

Kokomo Bakes

A few days back I was reflecting on some of the food that I grew up eating, not so much in my house, but around town. I thought my dad always had a good taste for a few things around town, in particular the tacos […]

Spanakopita – Spinach and Feta Cheese Pie

Spanakopita – Spinach and Feta Cheese Pie

Who does not love phlyllo dough (filo dough)? Seriously. Paper thin sheets of unleavened flour dough, typically brushed with butter or olive oil, and baked until golden brown. You could figure out so many ways to make some dishes just out of that. I am […]

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao ChickenIf you know me, I love hot and spicy food. I just love it. I love the flavors of chilies, and the results of those flavors on my pallet. I have been thinking of the usual go to Thai dishes lately, however I wanted something different, however Asian inspired. I immediately scanned some of my favorite Chinese takeout restaurant menus, and quickly found Kung Pao Chicken, a common and traditional dish. Who can go wrong with that? I know the flavors of that dish, and I realize that I can get a nice heat off of the peppers, so I decided to come up with my version of Kung Pao Chicken.

Let’s just say that you get a nice subtle heat (my wife doesn’t like spicy food and she loved it).

This recipe also deals with a wok, and with that, you have the stir fry, so as you can tell, this one is really quick to make. You can have it ready to go within a hour.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp of sherry cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp of corn starch
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Asian sesame oil (dark)
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 6 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of cashews
  • 8 oz sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, green parts thinly slicked, white parts halved
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 6 chili de arbol, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cooked white rice

Begin by marinading your chicken. You do this by by mixing 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the black pepper, 1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine, and 1 tablespoon of the corn starch. Let this set and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make your sauce. You simply do this by adding the sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, water, 5 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the corn starch to a bowl. Whisk this really well.

Preheat your wok until it gets smokey hot. Add in your olive oil, and swirl around the wok. Toss in your peppers, and cashews, and quickly cook for about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to be used later.

Next toss in your garlic and white parts of the green onions, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in your chicken mixture, and cook for about 4 minutes, continuing to wok and roll until they are fully cooked. Next, toss in the water chestnuts, give a stir, then the sauce you just made and watch how this sauce begins to thicken up due to the corn starch. It is truly a beautiful sight to see. Toss in your chili flakes, chilies and cashews. Give a nice stir.

Top over your rice and get ready for some serious Kung Pao flavor! Enjoy.

Quick and Easy Doughnuts

Quick and Easy Doughnuts

First off, I apologize for the lack of posts this past week. My family was on vacation, and as we rented out a great condominium, equipped with kitchen, and outdoor grill, I was still on vacation, cooking for five kids under the age of nine. […]

Sinangag – Filipino Garlic Fried Rice

Sinangag – Filipino Garlic Fried Rice

I have know for so many years that rice is the staple among many Filipino households. The rice cooker is typically on a counter top on most kitchens, and the smell of rice, great rice, is apparent when you walk into most houses. Don’t get […]

Sausage Gravy

Sausage Gravy

Biscuits and GravyThis recipe is sinful. I admit it. There is something about gravy in general that is sinful, basically because you are dealing with a bit of fat, and in my case today, I am dealing with pork fat. The bigger question is, who doesn’t love pork fat? I miss biscuits and gravy. While living in Dallas, Texas in the late 1990’s, biscuits and gravy was probably consumed once a week, primarily in the early morning hours after spending some quality time at some rockabilly or punk concert, it was a common go to dish that would help soak up the beer consumed that evening. The best plates of biscuits and gravy were always readily available at the local greasy spoon, or diner, and were pretty much spot on for the most part.

Since moving back to Wisconsin, I have to admit that I have missed not only the early morning rantings with friends,  but I have really missed biscuits and gravy. It is just a dish that you don’t typically find in the north, and it was my goal to bring a killer sausage gravy to the table this week to share with my family. As easy as the ingredients look, your real challenge is to make a smooth, creamy consistency. The result is something so delicious and sinful that it really carried me back to my days in Dallas. To all my friends still in Texas, I do miss you.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz package of pork sausage, casings removed (I used a maple blend that had enough pork fat to boot)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2-3 cups of water (adjust to create your smooth gravy)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp or more of your favorite hot sauce (to your taste)

Begin by getting a deep skillet warming on the stove on medium to high heat. Add the vegetable oil, and the pork sausage. When you are cooking the pork, break it up into smaller pieces. The goal with pork sausage gravy is the fat, so don’t drain it. Once the sausage browns, add the butter and combine until it is fully melted. Add in the flour and make sure that all of your sausage is covered. Let this cook for a few minutes, somewhat browning the flour, but not burning. Add the milk, salt, pepper, and hot sauce, and with a whisk, mix until you begin to bring everything together. This mixture will be a bit lumpy, and a bit heavy. Begin adding the water, one cup at a time until you begin to really smooth things out. You will continue to whisk for about 5 minutes, adding more water until you really have a smooth and creamy consistency. Reduce the heat to simmer, and continue to whisk.

Taste, and season appropriately with a bit more salt, pepper, or hot sauce. Your call on how peppery you want it. I like mine with a lot of pepper.

Now, you have choices here. Add this gravy to biscuits, which I did, add them to mashed potatoes, like my wife and kids did, or sit around the skillet and with a spoon, start eating it as is!

A truly wonderful Southern dish that will never go unforgotten.