I got this recipe from Nicole. And boy is it the BEST CAKE EVER.

Chocolate Guiness Cake. Mmm. Mmm. Mmmm.

mmmm. Cake

In like a lion, out like a Lamb chop?

No, no...just kidding.

Seriously, though; any thoughts for next month's theme? Liz, 'how you doin'?

Goodies Galore

You guys should check out my regular food blog, Dispensing Happiness

Lots of new things! Comfort foods, fancy cupcakes, and yummy sandwiches.

Two for One Special

As Liz is overworked and in desperate need of some quality 'me' time, I will be preparing two Asian dishes this weekend.

The first:

General Tso's Chicken
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, thinly sliced
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 slices fresh ginger, smashed
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peanut oil, for frying
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 2 tablespoons for slurry
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 dried red Thai chilies
4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 thick strips orange zest
1 1/2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving

Put the chicken into a bowl with the remaining marinade ingredients. Stir well to combine all the flavors, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a wok or deep skillet to 375 degrees F. Mix the egg, cornstarch, water, and sesame oil in a large bowl until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Add the marinated chicken and coat it well with the batter. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken pieces in batches until they are browned and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. When you have fried all the chicken, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil. Over high heat, add the chilies, scallion, garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Stir-fry for 1 minute then pour in the soy sauce, chicken stock, vinegar, and honey and bring it to a boil. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Pour the slurry into the boiling sauce, in 2 additions, until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they are heated through, about 2 more minutes. Garnish with scallions and cilantro leaves. Serve with white rice.

and the other:

Chicken in Lemon Grass and Chili
Submitted by Ga Xao Xa Ot

Serves: 4 People

3 lb Chicken
1 lg Onion
1 ea Salt
1 ts Ground chilies
1 tb Granulated sugar
1 c Water
4 cl Garlic
3 tb Vegetable oil
2 tb Minched lemon grass
4 tb Fish sauce(nuoc mam)

Rinse chicken and dry well. Cut into small pieces. Peel garlic and slice finely. Cut onion into halves lengthwise and then cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, garlic and onion. Fry over medium heat until onion becomes translucent. Add lemon grass and chili. Fry 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add fish sauce, sugar and caramel sauce. Mix well. Add 1 cup water and cook 45 minutes or until chicen is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Makes 4 servings. $ CARAMEL SAUCE: Mix 1/2 c sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let boil until mixture changes colour. Turn heat down to low and heat until brown. Add 1/2 cup water to mixture. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and store in a jar in the refrigerator.

Yes, they're both chicken recipes, but I let Matt pick. He's more 'into' this than I; so he might as well choose a dish he'd enjoy.

Pictures and reviews no later than Monday (I hope).

Chinese Chicken Salad

Tuesday night I made a "Chinese Chicken Salad" from the Barefoot Contessa: Parties cookbook. It was really, really yummy! Sure I cheated by buying my own chinese salad sauce, but I loved the flavor so much. And I took out some items and added my own. So here's the recpie from what I remember...

Chinese Chicken Salad

2 split chicken breasts, bone in
2 red peppers
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 3 inch peices
Bundle of green onions, chopped
Angel Hair pasta
Chinese Chicken Salad dressing (found in the salad dressing aisle of your grocers)

1. Heat Oven to 425. Rub olive oil on chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes. When chicken is done and cool enough to handle, shred the chicken and discard the bones.
2. Slice vegetables, put in a large mixing bowl
3. Cook pasta and during the last three minutes, add the asparagus.
4. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the asparagus from cooking.
5. Add to mixing bowl, coat with salad dressing.
6. Add sesame seeds if desired

So that's the recipe off the top of my head, for the real recipe, I guess I can email it later if anyone is interested. It really is a yummy, nutricious meal! I loved it!

Bok Choy - Ginger Chicken Soup

Halfway through the month, and I finally found my Asian-inspired recipe! It comes from this month's Ready Made. This is a very inspiring magazine. It's all about how to make stuff out of things you would normally throw away or recycle. I love it.

Here's the recipe:

Also known as Chinese white cabbage, bok choy is rich in vitamins, especially folate, which helps stave off anemia during pregnancy (and, some say, helps recovery after a night at the bar, though we wouldn't know about that). For a shortcut, use cooked boneless chicken strips from the meat section of your supermarket, or a roasted chicken from your deli. Vegetarians can omit the bird and substitute vegetable broth.

  • 2 tsps sesame oil

  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchstick-sized pieces

  • 2 tsps finely grated fresh ginger

  • 1/2 lb cooked, boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tsps soy sauce

  • 1 lb baby bok choy, trimmed and cut diagonally into 3/4-inch-wide strips

  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion greens

  • Freshly ground pepper

  1. In a four-quart pot, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the shallot and ginger, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken and cook one minute more.

  2. Add the broth, water, and soy sauce and bring to a boil (scraping loose any ginger sticking to the bottom of the pot). Add bok choy, reduce heat to low, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Remove from heat, stir in scallions, and season with freshly ground pepper.

I will post results as soon as I go grocery shopping! As a side note, if I buy ginger, what are some other things I can do with it?

Ravioli and zucchini

Last night's dinner was wonderful. Joel picked out the recipe from this month's Real Simple Magazine. It was cheese ravioli with roasted zucchini. Excellent. The zucchini had red pepper flakes which took the flavor up a notch.

I recommend the Real Simple recipe to everyone.

Sure it tastes good, but I need to work on food presentation just a bit more...

Getting Ready

This isn't my submission for our Asian-themed post, but it's on the right track:

Tomago Toast Nigiri; a recipe of my own invention!