22 February 2008

I take lunch pretty seriously. Since I have to work most of the day tomorrow, I decided to make myself something extra special. I love chicken and tuna salads, so I opted for chicken salad today. I don't make the same kind of sandwich salad most recipes call for--instead of celery I use green apples for a tart sweetness that pairs well with chicken and mayo. I also like to add red onion to counterbalance the softness of the mixture and tartness of the apple. Here's my recipe:

1 can chicken packed in water

2 tbl reduced fat mayo

1 tbl honey mustard

4 tbl chopped red onion

3 tbl diced, cubed green apple

Black pepper to taste

I always add this to a salad bed--for tomorrow I chose herb salad mix, alfalfa sprouts, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and dried cranberries. I got some fantastic looking strawberries and I'm bringing some of those raisins I used in the mole sauce during the week.

Why you should be careful with your Costco membership....

...you just might be fooled into buying a 25 lb. bag of jasmine rice that could feed a small country....if you had the chance to cook it.

21 February 2008

Mole link

Since I've been asked by a few people, here's the website link to the mole recipe I used yesterday:


The food with a title that I'm not so sure about...

When I was growing up, my parents never bought seafood. Nevermind that my father wrinkles his nose every time he smells raw fish, and nevermind that Long John Silver's was much more tasty to us than any seafood concoction we could have dreamed of; it was simply too expensive. Chicago isn't known for its fresh seafood, but it sure is known for its tasty [fatty] sausage. Nowadays I tend to skip the sausage (more expensive in the middle of the wheatfields) and opt for shrimp or scallops or salmon, or cod....the list goes on.

Yet tonight I remembered that my mother did cook one fabulous shrimp dish from a recipe she received at work one week. It seems there was a sale on shrimp at a local market and my mom was desperate to get us to eat it without the remarkably capable method of deep frying. My mom wrote the recipe on an index card with a chicken sitting on its eggs in the corner, one of those old recipe cards that people took the time to write out and alphabetize in an old wooden recipe card holder, before the advent of technology. She called the recipe "Shrimp duh John" and ever since she made it I have craved and adored it, but I don't make it often (too much butter and other fattening ingredients...).

I decided to look up shrimp recipes today on allrecipes.com (ps--join that community--I've found the best recipes from internet home cooks), and I ran into a listing for "Shrimp de Jonghe." After scrutinizing the ingredients, I was pretty confident that it wasn't the same dish, but then I noticed "Shrimp de Jonghe II" in the "Related Recipes" bar, and I couldn't believe my eyes. IT'S A REAL RECIPE! The second version was much more like the version my mother made, so I copied it down and made some alterations. The most significant revision is the serving size; hubby was at work so the recipe is for one. What follows is the recipe and a few pictures of the turnout.

Shrimp de Judy (I have renamed it for my mother...)

8 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, although I left the tails on

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced (use a garlic press for best results)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup organic or reduced sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put shrimp into a small salad or other mixing bowl, and add all ingredients except panko. Mix with a spatula and pour into a small casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle panko over the mixture (you might need a bit more if your shrimp aren't covered enough) and bake for 15 minutes, or until the broth has mostly evaporated and the panko is a golden brown color.

Once my shrimp was baked, I heated up some leftover jasmine rice and corn from lastnight to serve it over. Always use your leftovers, or my mother would be angry!!

20 February 2008

Mole accomplished.

I have made mole sauce in the past, but never have I used an easy recipe. Usually mole requires at least three trips to the store, at least three different kinds of dried chili peppers, and Mexican chocolate that I know I can't find easily where I live now (I miss Abuelita....I know they have it at Safeway, but it is muy expensive). Cooking Light's December 2007 recipe solved my dilemma; only one kind of dried chili pepper, and most of the ingredients I already had on hand. Mole is always time consuming, so I would suggest making the sauce on a lazy Sunday and refrigerating until you have time to use it on a busy Wednesday. Add Mexican rice (I used jasmine rice because I'm trying to get through the colossal bag I bought from Costco that almost looks like a decoration in my house--see pic) and chicken breasts, and you have a fantastic meal. I have also left mole and a bit of broth in a crock pot with cut up chicken breasts before; that might be ideal for those who don't have much time and like to come home to the fantastic aromas of a ready cooked meal.

What ensues is a step-by-step tutorial in pictures of making mole (and then adding the chicken of course....)