Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Do you remember eating Chicken Pot Pies from companies such as Morton's? Well, mom raising four of us growing up on her own managed to always provide food for us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She was a quick meal preparer. I loved the crust as I would save it for last. I would eat the pie and then slowly pick off the crust that was stuck to the foil.
I told my wife that I would like to have chicken pot pie again but this time from scratch. I found this recipe from either Food network or another source. (I apologize for losing the exact source.) My wife and I love this pie as it is easy, not as quick as tv dinners, and it lasts for a few days as one piece can be quite filling. This recipe will be one of the top most selected for dinners in the days ahead.
· 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots, thawed under cold water
· 5 tablespoons butter
· 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 1/4 cup chopped onion
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/4 teaspoon pepper
· 1 3/4 cups turkey or chicken broth
· 2/3 cup milk
· 2 1/2 to 3 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken
· Pastry for 9-inch two crust pie, prepared or purchased
Drain peas and carrots; set aside. Heat butter in 2-quart saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly; remove from heat then stir in broth and milk. Place back on heat; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in turkey and vegetables.
Prepare pastry. Roll 2/3 of the pastry into a 13-inch square; ease into ungreased 9-inch square pan. Pour turkey mixture into the pastry-lined pan. Roll remaining pastry into 11-inch square; cut out designs with small cookie cutter. Place square over filling; turn edges under and crimp. Bake in 425° oven until golden brown, about 35 min. Serves 6.
For the pastry, I just buy the Pillsbury Pie Crust as it is simple and buttery. I tried a store brand but it is not as sturdy as Pillsbury as the store brand easily crumbled. And to prepare, I just put the "pot pie dough" into a glass pie dish. There is something magical about using glass. the food just seems to be better cooked than using aluminum or "metal".
I love to eat the pie as I am back in my mom's kitchen sitting on a stool at the far left of the counter and eating the crust, floating in happiness.
Bon Appetit! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Version of Thai Kitchen's Green Curry Chicken with Basil

Thai Kitchen's Recipe for Green Curry Chicken can be found at this website: http://www.thaikitchen.com/Recipes/Chicken-Beef-and-Pork/Green-Curry-Chicken-with-Basil.aspx.

By experimenting, I created my version of the recipe by marinading the chicken with creamy ceasar salad dressing. I was going to use the marinaded chicken to make lunch for my wife.

I learned to first marinade chicken from a college mate who drenched chicken with creamy Italian dressing. I then decided to use Ceasar as I like the taste better.

I thought now, how am I going to do this? To use the drenched Ceasar chicken for Thai Kitchen Green Curry Chicken with Basil reipe sounded so wrong as I can't have Ceasar and Curry fighting over who would be the best sauce! I wanted to have Curry win of course. So, I took the cooked but awesomely moist chicken under cold water and washed off the dripping Ceasar dressing. The chicken still had Ceasar flavor but only lightly. When my wife found out I was using the lunch to be chicken for this recipe, she did not have much faith in the outcome. Well, to be honest, I did not either but that is what makes cooking so fun is to experiment new creations in your own kitchen! So I gambled to see what was it going to be, at least edible, I hoped.

I also wanted the dish to be more creamy and spicy so I added heavy whipping cream with 2 seeded yellow hot caribe peppers. I had no idea what the peppers do to your skin if you use your fingers to dig out the seeds!!! What a burning sensation! I thought I was going to be a healer! Ouch!

Well, to my wife's surprise, she stated this has been the best dish I ever made for dinner. To my surprise, I agreed. My wife said she liked to have that bit of taste of Ceasar when eating it. We both loved the Thai green curry chicken at a small Thai restaurant in the city of Limerick so much that we went back twice to order the same dish! Now, we can have the dish in our very home! If you do plan to go to Ireland and would like to try the restaurant, here is the website: http://www.bambu.ie/

Have a wonderful Thai moment! :)

Mom's delicious Egg Salad Sandwich

Mom used Hellman's Mayonnaise, pepper, and egg yolks. Mom knew just how much mayonnaise to use which was always awesome. She separated the egg whites and gave them to both my brother and me as we liked to eat them with a bit of salt.

Interesting, today, when I make egg salad, I follow every step Mom took except I just leave the egg whites in with the yolks for I guess I do not have much of a taste for egg whites and it is much easier for me to just keep them together.

Because I grew up with Hellman's, I do not have any tolerance for any other mayonnaise. To me, Hellman's is mayonnaise.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mom's Coffee Cake

"Don't you just love Mom's coffee cake?!" asked by all of my siblings, including myself. We would get so excited when Mom prepared the coffee cake for the holidays especially Christmas morning along with her scrambled eggs which she would beat the eggs with milk, dashed salt and pepper.

Mom died on March 4, 2007. Now, her coffee cake among her other recipes have continued to live on. Please go ahead and give this a try at your kitchen.

2 cups- Bisquick Baking Mix
1/4 cup- Sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup- Vegetable Oil
2/3 cup- Milk or Water
1 package of Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling

Streusel topping
1/3 cup- Bisquick Baking Mix
1/3 cup- packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp- Ground Cinnamon
2 tbsp- Butter or Margarine

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking pan 9 x 9 x 2 inches. Mix all ingredients in bowl except topping.

Mix all topping ingredients until crumbly. I used to watch mom take the butter that was immediately out of the refrigerator and cut the butter into little pieces with the other ingredients until crumbly. I do not do that. It is a bit too much for me. I just put the butter in the microwave along with the ingredients for about 25 seconds and mix them all together until it seems to be crumbly. Mom was anti-microwave! When we were all at a beach cottage one summer, my sister discovered a microwave had been wrapped and hidden in a closet way in the back of one of the bedrooms. :)
Sprinkle the topping onto the batter when in the greased pan.

Bake for under 30 minutes. Depending on your oven, just keep an eye on the coffee cake as you don't want to overcook. The way I do it is I shake the pan once in awhile to see if it is ready. If it is still running, then leave it in. Once it stops running, then take it out.

I love and miss you Mom! Thank you for EVERYTHING including the coffee cake! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ground Pork Wonton Soup and Reflections

Ground Pork Wonton Soup is a great dish for your entire family or just yourself to have for a few days for leftovers to ease your need for cooking. My wife is Chinese and her mother taught her this recipe.

1 lb of ground pork

light soy sauce

1 pack of wonton wraps (Nasoya is what we use)

(my addition of ingredients as i derived this from my grandmother's style of making broth for veal)

2 tablespoons of butter

dash of marjoram leaves

dash of thyme

4 to 6 chicken bouillion cubes (Wylers preferred)


Lightly soak soy sauce in thawed ground pork, feel free to use hands to mush the meat with the soy sauce to ensure it is thoroughly but lightly soaked.

Use a large boiling pot to boil bouillion cubes, thyme, marjoram leaves, and butter. Once boiled, turn off heat temporarily.

Lay one wrap at a time on a plate. Put small amount of meat in the middle and fold wrap as instructed on wrap package. Use water to ensure the wrap is sealed. If too much meat, you will know when you see wrap ripped as you fold. I just splash water on plate first and then more water on top of it with meat to ensure it is sealed. Place wrapped meat on a large cutting board or large plate to set aside. Continue until all wraps are used. Left over meat can be turned into meatballs is what I did.

Place all wrapped meat and meatballs into the large boiling pot with boiled broth. Reheat until boil. When you see the wrapped meats pop up to the surface of the water, turn off immediately as it is ready. If you continue to boil after the wrapped meats pop up, the dish will be overcooked and your family, especially my wife will be pissed! :)

My wife's mother, my mom in law, likes to learn sign language when she is with us. She likes especially this sign, "Shared Food Tastes Better". Amen to that! Bon Appetit! :)

After cooking the Ground Pork Wonton Soup, I put Phil on top of my shoulders. I had no idea he was going to turn me into a pig! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Curry Chicken and How did I get interested in cooking

I started cooking when I was about 12 or 13. I was with my grandparents at the beach cottage they rented in Bethany Beach. I said to my grandfather, Poppa, I'm hungry. He said, "Okay, get yourself a pot and there is hot dogs in the fridge. I said, "What do I do next?" He responded with his Italian face and deep voice, "Mike, put water in the pot, throw in the dogs, turn on the stove, and wait to see the water boils, then stop, and eat!" I said, "Oh okay". It turned out I really enjoyed the process of preparing my own lunch and felt proud of myself after I had succeeded the dogs to boil.

My mother would always prepare all of the meals for me and my three siblings for a long time as she liked to be in charge of everything when it comes to meals, laundry, and house cleaning. God bless her soul for raising four of us on her own after dad died in 1974, the oldest was 7 and me being the youngest was 4. How did she find the energy to do all of this and work part-time? When we would be hungry for lunch, mom would say, "Okay, so what would you like?" Even if we answered "peanut butter and jelly" she would still announce the entire lunch menu to be sure. "Okay, we also have tuna, egg salad, ham, cheese. Would you like your crust on or off? Toasted or plain? Wheat or white bread?" She was definitely a saint, St. Anne who is so dearly missed as she passed away on March 4, 2007. So I was shocked when Poppa said I was to make my own lunch! :) But I am glad he did. I loved Poppa. He was my step-grandfather as my real grandfather died when mom was 4. Her mother, Nana, remarried to Poppa, a full-blooded Italian who was there for all of us before we were all born. I considered Poppa my true full blooded grandfather. He said in his deep voice, "Why do you love me? I am not your blood?" I said, "I love you because you are so good to me and I consider you as my true grandfather." He would make homemade spaghetti and I am sad to not have his recipe for he made the sauce from scratch. He would make his with meat and for Nana, he would make it without meat for she had digestion issues.
My next success after I made hot dogs was grilled cheese sandwiches. I would make them for friends and my cousin Sean for he requested seconds. I use real butter and real cheese. Heart attack plates but man they are so good to the palate.
So now I have my own kitchen, I am able to cook more. I will try more recipes and maybe make some of my own one day.
For now, I will like to share with you this dish, Coconut Curry Chicken. Here is the recipe:

4 to 6 servingsHave ready: 2 pounds chicken thighs or breastsSeason with: Salt and black pepper to tasteHeat in a large skillet or wok, over high heat: 2 tablespoons vegetable oilAdd chicken. Brown on both sides. Remove from pan.Add: 1 cup chopped onions 1 large carrot, sliced 1⁄2 cup peas, thawed if frozen 2 scallions, chopped 1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and chopped 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger 2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely choppedCook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add and bring to a boil: 1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened coconut milk 1⁄2 cup golden raisins 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 teaspoon saltAdd the chicken, reduce the heat, and simmer 20 minutes for breasts, 25 minutes for thighs, or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked. Serve with: Cooked rice