Eat!

Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Low Country Foil



Low Country Foil

Around here, late summer and early fall is the time for outdoor, communal seafood feasts; fish fries, scallop bakes, oyster shucking, crab pots and low country boils.  The latter usually consists of shrimp, smoked sausage, corn and potatoes. Potatoes are thrown into a huge pot of boiling water seasoned with Old Bay. Then the rest of the ingredients are added according to their cooking time. Next the corn, then the sausage and finally the shrimp. When the shrimp are finished everything is poured out onto a picnic table covered in butcher’s paper and then everyone just digs in.

I wanted a low country boil, but it seemed impractical for just the two of us. And we don’t have a big picnic table. And it wouldn’t be the same without a crowd. However, I still wanted to be reminded of that summer fun. So. I compromised. Instead of a huge pot of boiling water, I steamed the seafood in foil packs. It worked out great! Now we can have summer all year long.

Serving: 4-6
Time: Active time 15 minutes; Cook: 40 Minutes, boil in about an hour
Hardware: Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a large stock pot, a colander, a microwave safe bowl, a sheet pan, a lot of foil, scissors, tongs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of new potatoes
  • 3 ears of corn
  • 1 ½ pound large shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
  • 1 pound of smoked sausage (I used kielbasa, you could use andouille)
  • 1 large onion (6-8 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning
  • A lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚.
  2. Wash the potatoes. Cut the corn into three pieces. Boil the potatoes and corn until the potatoes are just soft. Drain.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, melt the butter in the bowl. Then stir the Old Bay into the melted butter.
  4. Peel and quarter the onion. Separate the onion layers. Slice the sausage into one-inch pieces.
  5. Roll out two pieces of foil that are twice the length of the sheet pan. Lay the first piece of foil, facing in the opposite direction, so that the middle of the foil is in the middle of the pan.  Place the second sheet on top of that, but in the same direction as the pan. (Figure 5)
  6. Pile all the food into the middle of the foil. Pour half the butter mixture over it and toss so that it is all covered. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze half over the food. Throw the squeezed lemon onto into the pile. Sprinkle one of the tablespoons of parsley over the food.
  7. Pick up the long edges of the top foil, bring them up to meet one another and fold them over like you would a lunch bag. Roll the foil down until it is flat against the food. Fold up the short edges. Do the same thing with the other piece of foil, but start with the short ends. Crimp it to make sure that the foil pack is completely sealed. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8.  To serve put something down to protect your table. Place the sheet pan down on top of that. Cut the foil open. Be careful, it will steam. Pour the rest of the butter over the boil. Squeeze the rest of the lemon over everything and top with fresh parsley. Allow everyone to use tongs to serve themselves. 
Figure 5

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sesame Chicken Takeout



Sesame Chicken Takeout

I teach high school in my other life. This time of year, we are BROKE. I don’t get paid again until the end of the month. Even though I have my paychecks spread out so that I can get paid over the summer, this month I miss a check. So, while we are not destitute, we are not eating steak and lobster.

Cheap is where many of my recipes begin. Fortunately, delicious is where they end up. I had chicken and broccoli in the freezer and rice in the pantry. I also had sesame oil and sesame seeds. We can’t afford Chinese takeout, but we don’t need it. This Sesame Chicken Takeout is as good as anything I purchased at the Golden Dragon.

When making this make sure to use low sodium soy sauce or this will be too salty to eat. Also make sure that the battered chicken is cold before you fry it. It is important if you want the batter to be light and rise slightly that it be cold. I served this over broccoli because that is what I had. However, you could also add baby corn, steamed carrots and or shiitake mushrooms.

Servings: 6-8
Time:  Active time 35 minutes; Cook: 20  Minutes, takeout in about 40 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a whisk, a large mixing bowl, plastic wrap, a deep skillet, tongs, a paper towel lined plate, a sauce pot, a small bowl, a large serving dish

Ingredients:
Chicken
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • Dash sesame oil
  • Oil for frying
Sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup mirin (you can substitute dry sherry or white wine)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (you can substitute cider vinegar)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 2 heaping teaspoons sesame seeds
  • A large bag of steamed broccoli and 3 cups steamed white rice

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and crush the garlic. Set aside
  2. Put the corn starch, flour and baking powder in the large mixing bowl. Whisk the water, soy sauce and sesame oil into the flour mixture. Whisk until there are no lumps. Toss in the chicken. Make sure all the chicken pieces are coated, Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
  3. Mix the water, soy sauce, wine, vinegar, garlic, sugar and sesame oil together in the sauce pot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar melts. Keep warm.
  4. Fill the skillet up half way with oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the chicken. Don’t let the pieces touch or crowd. You will need to cook it in batches. Put the unused chicken back into the fridge until you need it.
  5. Cook the chicken pieces until they are golden brown, about five minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until both sides are browned. Remove the chicken to the paper towel covered plate. Keep it warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
  6. When all the chicken is cooked, mix the tablespoon of corn starch with 2 tablespoons of cold water in the small bowl. Turn the heat up under the sauce until it comes to a boil. Whisk in the corn starch-y water. The sauce will immediately thicken.
  7. To serve, place the rice on the serving dish. Top the rice with the broccoli. Top the broccoli with the chicken. Then pour the sauce over the entire dish. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.