June 18, 2015

Fresh Strawberry Crisp

 Even with culinary school under my belt, growing up in a suburb of New York didn't really give me the chance to pick strawberries, much less any fruit or vegetable. 

Although I moved to New Jersey in 2008, I only now have gotten the chance to truly get into the experience. I am happy to say that my daughter got to be a part of that...and she had a blast.

These strawberries melted in your mouth like a sweet butter. They were amazing. In fact, they were so good, that I didn't need to add any sugar to the filling - only the topping.

Fresh Strawberry Crisp
(adapted by Williams Sonoma)

2 1/2 cups fresh or organic strawberries
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
handful coconut chips, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place strawberries in 9' pie dish and separately mix the rest of the ingredients and spread over fruit.

2. Bake until golden brown and fruit is bubbling.

June 11, 2015

Easy Bourbon Chicken

When I wasn't semi kosher like I am now, I remember getting samples of this delicious, tender chicken in the food court of the local mall. They were addicting and the workers knew that all it took was one toothpick and you were going to order a meal.

Contrary to belief, bourbon chicken does not have any bourbon in it. Supposedly, the cook who came up with the recipe, worked at a restaurant on bourbon street in NYC! Who knew!

A lot of the recipes I looked at had many different steps and truthfully, this version of mine came out of necessity. One weeknight, I wanted something different and had all the ingredients, but I just wanted to throw everything into the pan - and  it worked! However, because I am taking a bit of a shortcut, I made sure to marinate a bit so the chicken really absorbs all the flavors. 

Also, I highly suggest using boneless, skinless thighs for this recipe. (I am pretty sure that is what they used at the food court)

Bourbon Chicken

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Mix all ingredients together and marinate for 15 - 25 minutes. 

2. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from marinade and cook in a hot, non-stick saute pan with olive oil over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. (You want the marinade to evaporate slowly) Add splashes of water if marinade is too thick. Chicken is done when marinade is evaporated, and the chicken has been seared on all sides, approximately 12-15 minutes.

3. Garnish with sliced green onion and enjoy!

June 4, 2015

Lychee Cherry Cocktail

I was first introduced to lychees while working at Spice Market in NYC. We served Southeast Asian cuisine, and lychees were among our popular produce. I feel it is similar to cilantro in the sense that you either love it or you hate it. I definitely enjoy this fruit.

Native to China, it has a pinkish brown and thin skin, which is easy to peel. It reveals a white and delicate flesh that covers a medium sized pit. It has a sweet and almost floral taste to it, which is best enjoyed fresh. You can find it canned, but it really does not do the fruit justice and does not compare to the real thing.

With that said, it is not easy to find fresh lychees, so for this cocktail, I opted for a lychee juice by a company called "Ceres". I was disappointed to find that they mix pear juice in with it, but the drink still tastes pretty darn good!

Lychee Cherry Cocktail

1/4 cup cherries, pitted and sliced thin
1/8 cup triple sec
3/4 cup lychee juice
1/4 cup vodka
Spearmint or mint for garnish

Muddle the cherries in a cocktail mixer and add the liquids and ice. Shake well for 2 minutes and serve with cherries at the bottom of the glass and garnish