Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chinese 5-Spice Pork with Nectarines

Happy Autumnal Equinox, Pals!  Today I wore a scarf and tall boots, even though the sun was shining, and there is a definite nip in the air.  Bring on cozy meals, and night time cuddles under quilts.  I'm ready!
This Chinese 5-Spice Pork with Nectarines recipe is from a recently published cookbook I came across at the library, titled: Sheet Pan Suppers.  This cookbook has a great collection of  120 quick and easy week night meals, and also includes brunches, lunches and snacks!  Most of the recipes are fast enough to throw together on the fly, say... if it's gymnastics night?  Aaaand I think a sheet pan meal, counts almost as a one dish meal? Right?!  Gotta love a one dish meal!

I was immediately drawn this this recipe in particular, as I still have an abundance of late summer stone fruit, and pork in the freezer.  Plus, Chinese 5-Spice is Cory's fave!
I have also made this dish with apples, which was delish, so when nectarines disappear from the markets you have an alternate fruit.

Chinese 5-Spice Pork with Nectarines
Recipe adapted from: Sheet Pan Suppers Cookbook; By Molly Gilbert, pg 123

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger,finely grated
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 large Pork tenderloin, chopped into chunks or approx 6 Pork Chops (preferably boneless)

3-5 nectarines pitted and sliced (wait until ready to cook) apples, peaches, or pears would also work in a pinch
1/4 cup chopped green onion (just the white & light green part of the bulb)

Whisk together the oil, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, five spice powder, and sesame oil in a medium-size bowl until combined. Place the pork in a large zip-top bag or good sealing container, add the marinade. Turn the pork chops over in the marinade to coat fully. Place the bag or container in the refrigerator and let the chops marinate. In a pinch I've put this straight in the oven and it's still yummy, ideally you should marinate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Transfer the marinated pork to the prepared sheet pan, spacing them evenly apart. Using the leftover marinade, place the nectarine slices into the marinade and toss to coat. Arrange the nectarines around and in between the pork.
Bake until the pork is cooked through and the nectarines have softened and browned, 20 to 30 minutes, flipping pieces at the half mark.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dairy-Free Thai Corn Chowder & Fried Coconut Chicken

For as long as we've been living together (like, 14 years or something crazy?!), Cory has been asking to get a deep fryer.  I'm not even joking.  As much as I post recipes for cookies and bars and sweet treats, I am truly a naturalist at heart.  I am on the ever-quest for a lean body and good health.  I may not have a lean body, but I would consider my health pretty good.  So that being said, the idea of purchasing a deep fryer was not going to happen, ever. ever. ever...not by me any ways.
Cory decided to skip over my vote, and go out and buy one! GAH!!!
The hard part for me is that I LOVE to experiment with new foods, and recipies, and equipemnt.  Soooo the menu over the last couple weeks has been  mid-way esque!  Deep fried oreos, pop tarts, mushrooms, vegetables, pickles, etc etc.  we even have chcolate bars in the freezer waiting for their turn.  Le sigh - I admit itIt's been kinda fun!  And of Course Cory and the kids have been over the moon!

Stay tuned, maybe I'll share some more of our sweet experiments.  Here's one of the savoury ones:
Thai Corn Chowder with Deep Fried Coconut Chicken!  Because corn is in season in Alberta, and why the heck not take a Corn Chowder to the Thai side?!  It's deeeelsih, super satisfying while being light with just a little bit of heat to it.  And for the man in my life, DEEEEP-Fried!

Inspired by these two amazing recipes for corn chowder: one from Half Baked Harvest, and the other from Shutterbean.  If you need a tutorial on how to shi=uck your corn like a pro, The Kitchn has you covered!

Dairy-Free Thai Corn Chowder

2 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
1 Tablespoon red Thai curry paste
1 jalepeno or red thai chile, seeds removed + chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 potato, peeled + cubed into small pieces
4 cups fresh or frozen corn, I used 3 Cobbs from Taber, Alberta
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper... or S&P to taste

fresh chopped cilantro, basil, lime, fish sauce, sweet Thai chili sauce, for serving

Fried Coconut Chicken
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
2 eggs
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened or sweetened
3 or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
coconut or canola oil, for frying

Shuck your corn, and run a sharp knife down the cobb, to release the kernels, set aside the kernels, and reserve a cobb or two.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chile or jalepeno, and thai chili paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant and soft. Slowly pour in the chicken broth and add the potato. Simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the potato is fork tender (this is when I start making the chicken), and my special trick is to leave one or two of the stripped corn cobbs in the broth to add flavour.
Add the corn kernels, coconut milk, and salt & pepper, cooking until the corn kernels are tender and bright yellow, about 5 minutes.  If you don't dig a "chunky" soup, use a hand held blender and puree away!
Remove the soup from the heat and top with your fave garnishes: basil, cilantro, fish sauce, lime, and/or sweet thai chili sauce, and of course your Fried Coconut Chicken!  Divide the soup among bowls and serve immediately. Recipe below!

Coconut chicken:  Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips.  Get ready your dredging stations - Add the flour, salt + pepper to a shallow bowl. Add the eggs to another bowl and gently beat together. Add the Panko and coconut to a third bowl, mixing them to combine.  Working in an assembly line, first dip the chicken through the flour, then take it for a dip in the egg and then dredge it through the coconut crumbs. Place on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.  Heat a heavy bottomed, high-sided skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom and 1-2 inches up the sides. Once the oil is hot (BUT NOT SMOKING), add the chicken in batches, frying each about 2-3 minutes per side or until the chicken are light golden. Place the fried coconut chicken pieces on a plate lined witha papertowel and until all chcien is fried up. Serve the fried coconut chicken warm atop the soup along with your fave garnishes.