Easy, Crunchy, Spicy, Asian Slaw

DSC_0250

(Becky, the Mama)
It was only four years ago that I discovered  that I am, in fact, a wee bit Irish! My great-grandmother,  who died when my paternal grandfather was just sixteen years old , was named Mary Kathryn McNally.  My grandfather loved her fiercely and my Aunt Ann told me that  his mother’s passing would remain, for most of his years, the saddest day of his life.  Saint Patrick’s Day took on new meaning once I realized I was part of the Irish clan.
Of course, like most Americans I am my own walking Melting Pot:  a Dash of Irish, a Sprinkle of  Spanish, a dollop of English  and who knows what other ingredients are mixing around in my gene pool?
To celebrate diversity, I decided to share my recipe for an Irish-Asian-Cajun fusion slaw today.   How’s that for eclectic?  It’s base is shredded cabbage and carrots — a nod to the Irish.  But it’s quickly marinated in an Asian-sesame dressing with hints of Cajun red pepper spice for added kick.
My son popped in the other day, found a large bowl of this slaw in my fridge and ate nearly the whole thing!  He loved it and asked for the recipe, a high compliment since he is a talented cook and foodie. This crunchy, refreshing slaw is a perfect Spring and Summer side-dish, a nice alternative to a lettuce salad and even easier to throw together.
Some of you may be stumped on how to decorate your table for tonight’s meal or event.  So I wanted to suggest this green themed table decoration for your Saint Patrick Day’s Party:
DSC_0285
(If you’ve not already heard us shout it from the mountain tops:  our newest book, Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness and a Full Night’s Sleep is out and available everywhere books are sold, in stores and online!)
And now, an Irish blessin’ for all our beloved readers!
May your hearth be warm, your holidays grand, and the Good Lord hold you in the palm of his hand. 
Crunchy, Spicy, St. Patty’s Day Slaw 
1 lb ready-shredded cabbage slaw (green and purple cabbage and carrots)
1/3 cup rice vinegar (or any mild white vinegar)
3 T. sugar
1 T. water
1 t. salt 
1/2 t. Cajun seasoned salt (I like Tony’s Cajun Seasoning)
1 /2 t. pepper 
1/2 t. celery seed (optional)
2 T. sesame oil
1 T. black sesame seeds
2 T. sliced almonds or sunflower seeds 
Optional for added heat: few shakes of Tabasco or other pepper sauce
Directions:
Whisk all the ingredients above, except for the coleslaw and almonds (or sunflower seeds).  Pour over coleslaw in a big roomy bowl, and toss with tongs, turning until the dressing has coated the slaw.  (The slaw will absorb the dressing and get a bit softer and juicier as it sits a few minutes).  Just before serving,  toss in the almonds or sunflower seeds. Check seasonings and add a few shakes of Tabasco if you want more heat.
Store leftovers in an air tight container.
DSC_0249

Sesame Chicken with Honey Garlic Sauce

(Becky, the Mama.)

One of my most-repeated cooking mottos is, “It’s all about the sauce.”  Growing up in Texas, pot luck suppers often provided informal competitions for whose mama made the best Bar-B-Que Sauce or home-made Salsa. My palette was set for big flavors at a young age.  And I am still like a kid when it comes to tasty dipping sauces.

One of my favorite flavor combinations are foods that use the following layers of flavor and texture:  crunchy, spicy, savory, garlicky, tangy and sweet.  A tall order, but I think I may have created the perfect irresistible dish that, as we say in the south, “has it ALL going on, ya’ll.”

These spicy oriental style chicken strips get an extra crisp texture by dipping them in a mixture of egg whites and siracha,  then rolling in seasoned flour and cornstarch before pan-frying in healthy coconut oil. 

And wait until you try this sweet garlicky sauce made with honey, soy and a touch of molasses.  So easy and only has to be heated to a boil then simmered for a minute before serving, but the depth and layers of flavor is amazing.

Move over Colonel,  I think I may have given a whole new defination to finger lickin’ good!

Sesame Chicken with Honey Garlic Sauce

 

Serves 3 to 4 people

Ingredients:

½ to 1/3 c coconut oil (may substitute other oil, but this is my favorite)

12 chicken tenders (or breasts cut in 12 tender-sized slices)

2 egg whites

1 T. siracha (or Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot Sauce)

½ c. flour

½ c. cornstarch

1 ½  t. Tony’s Cajun Seasoning

1 t. steak or grill seasoning

1 T. sesame seeds (black or white, I used black

For sauce:

½ cup honey

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

3 cloves fresh garlic grated

1 T. vinegar

1 T. molasses

1 T. sweet thai chili sauce

1 T. bourbon (may omit and sauce will still be delicious) 

Directions:

Heat Oven to 250 degrees.

Melt about 1/3 to ½ cup coconut oil in a large skillet, so that there is about ¼ inch of oil in the pan.  Heat to medium high.

Rinse and pat dry a dozen chicken tenders.   Lightly salt and pepper them.  In a side shallow bowl, mix egg whites and siracha sauce.   In another bowl, mix flour, cornstarch, Cajun seasoning, grill seasoning and sesame seeds.

Using long tongs, dip tenders first in egg white mixture and then in dry flour mixture, then carefully in hot oil in skillet, about 6 at a time.   Turn when golden brown and crispy on one side.  Repeat on the other side.  Put the first batch in a warm oven on a cookie sheet while waiting for next set of tenders to cook

In the meantime, in a saucepan, mix all the ingredients listed for the sauce.   Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally, and then simmer for one more minute.  Let cool a bit before pouring into small individual dipping bowls. Serve each person 3-4 chicken tenders about 3 T. of dipping sauce.   We enjoy this meal with brown jasmine rice and colorful stir-fried veggies as a side dish.  Fresh sliced pineapple makes the perfect  dessert.

(Vegan variation: use a vegan chicken-substitute product, extra firm tofu or seitan instead of chicken.  Substitute egg white with a 3 Tablespoons water mixed with 1 T. flax meal.)

 
 

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook

The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com

The Title: Sesame Chicken with Honey Garlic Sauce

The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-L9

© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Avocado Cucumber Sesame Salad

My sister and my nieces, Whitney and Tori, age 9 and 11, are here this weekend and we are enjoying them so much!  The youngest one, Whitney,  is quite the  food connoisseur, and has made me feel like the best cook on the planet with her over-the-top compliments.  She describes the food on the end of her fork as one would describe a fine wine, “I can taste the layers of flavor! The hint of coconut, the tang of pineapple…”

As soon as she arrived from Texas she asked if we could make my sweet n’ spicy meatloaf again, together.  She remembered it from three years ago, when they last came to Colorado!  We did, and she said she loved squashing the meat and the seasonings together with her bare hands.   When she took a bite of the cooked finished meatloaf she raised her hands, rolled her eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “This is even better than I dreamed it would be!”

Yesterday, I let the girls paint pictures outside under our tree and beach umbrella,  and then made them each virgin cocktails. (Cranberry Sprite, OJ and slices of lemon, lime and orange on ice.)  Whitney took one sip and said, “This is delicious!  In fact, it is as good as meatloaf!”   I wonder how many bartenders have had compliments like that.  “This Long Island Tea is as tasty as meatloaf!”  Gotta love kids.

With such an appreciative food critic in the house, it really spurred me on to bring out my inner chef.  This is a very simple Asian salad that packs a powerful burst of flavor with very few ingredients, one the whole family loved!   The key is the salt.  Be sure to use sea salt, the best you can find. McCormicks now has a sea salt grinder, where you can grind fresh flakes of sea salt on to your food.  It is quite good!  You will be amazed how good fresh sea salt can be and the “layers of flavor” that come from using the finer, gourmet versions of it.   This dish combines the smooth, richness of avocado with the crisp crunch of cucumber, the warmth of sesame oil and sesame seeds, and that final touch of freshly flaked sea salt.   So easy, but so gourmet at the same time.   I guarantee you, it is even as good as meatloaf!

Avocado Cucumber Sesame Salad

Serves two to three

Ingredients

1 ripe but still firm  avocado, cut in bite sized pieces (we like a lot of avocado, so I sometimes double the avocado in this recipe)

1/2 English cucumber (or regular cucumber with seeds removed , but peel left on) cut in bite sized pieces

1 t. fresh lime juice

pinch sugar

1 T. sesame oil

1 t. sesame seeds (toasted,  white or black seeds –black seeds are actually quite pretty, but I did not have them on hand)

fresh sea salt to taste

Directions:

Gently coat the sliced avocado and cucumber in a bowl with lime juice, pinch sugar, sesame oil and seeds. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Serve in a low-rimmed edge blow or plate.


Sesame Broccoli Slaw

Today, a new mom friend asked when she would ever feel like herself again after quitting her job and becoming a mother full time. At first I chuckled and thought about saying, “I think it will be about 30 years from now!” Then I recalled there was a moment after Jackson was born, when I first felt like my old self again.

He was about three months old and Jared and I were desperate for a night to ourselves. Money was tight, though, now that I wasn’t working and bills for the two day hospital visit were piling up. The amount we owed to doctors was growing faster than Jackson was! Despite our empty bank account, we called the grandparents and asked if they could watch Jackson for the evening. They happily obliged.

We couldn’t afford to go out to eat, but with the few groceries we had on hand and a little creativity I planned to turn our patio into the finest bistro in town. (The competition isn’t too steep in Small Town, Texas!) Before we dropped Jackson off, Jared and I prepped all the food, cleaned the house, hid all the baby gear away, and set up a table on the back patio. I got dolled up, putting on a dress and heels for the first time in months, thrilled to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes.

When we returned to our home “bistro,”  all was ready for wining and dining. It was a perfect fall evening with just the slightest chill in the air. A bowl of delicious homemade vegetable soup and a bottle of Pinot Noir kept us plenty warm while we chatted the night away.

I remember stopping mid-sentence and saying to Jared, “We are talking, like really talking, and I’m actually able to focus on what we are saying!” The newborn haze had lifted for at least an evening and I felt like my old self again. I’d forgotten how much I loved spending the day in the kitchen, and evenings together, with the first love in my life. It was in that moment I realized though motherhood will forever change me, and in ways I’m really grateful for, I still need to make room in my life for the things that inspire and energize me. I’ll be a better mother for it.

One of my favorite creations from our romantic evening was an Asian-inspired Sesame Broccoli Slaw I served as our appetizer salad. It was crunchy, tangy, sweet, and easy to make ahead so it was waiting for us when we arrived at The Back Porch Bistro.

Rachel’s
Sesame Broccoli Slaw

Serves 2 as a side salad or appetizer, probably up to 4 as a side dish.

Ingredients

2 cups Broccoli, thinly sliced into ribbons
2 cups Carrots, thinly sliced into ribbons
4 tbs Rice Vinegar
2 tbs Olive Oil
2 tbs Organic Sugar
2 tbs Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Salt

Directions

Slice the broccoli and carrots into ribbons as thin as you can. (A vegetable peeler works great to “cut” the carrots really thin. Just start about half way up the carrot and peel, peel, peel lovely little ribbons. Then start over with the upper half of the carrot.) In a bowl, add all of the ingredients and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle and the carrots and broccoli soften up. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Sesame Broccoli Slaw
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/03/20/sesame-broccoli-slaw/
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved