It’s been a good 3 months since I’ve last posted, I had to leave the goodness in Andrea’s capable hands for a time. But I’m back, I’m alive, I’m here! Three months… hmmm…. why would I avoid food-blogging for that specific amount of time? Oui, Oui, the obvious, I’m “with child” yet again! A majority of the women that exist in the world who’ve done it I’m sure can agree on one thing: food is the enemy for a minimum of 3 months. The kitchen is the enemy. Anything with flavor or smell within a 10 mile radius is the enemy.
The food you see above I refused to touch with a ten foot pole. Had I posted something before now it might be titled “Look How Much I Love Grazing on these Cardboard Crackers.” Unfortunately my family insists on eating every single day, THREE times a day no less, so I was forced into the kitchen to make food stuffs. I doubt it tasted any good because I wasn’t testing it along the way myself…
This was my survival method. Not a joke. Ninja style. It’s very uncomfortable and difficult to breath as a grossed-out ninja. It goes without saying there were many buttered toast and sliced fruit dinners for the fam-damly.
Then about a week ago I got interesting in doing the whole chef thing again. Finally! I’d been resurrected. Pregnancy is so weird and irritating. Any-hoo, I started off cautiously by following a few saved recipes from some of my favorite fellow food-bloggers just to make sure I still knew how to chop, fry, and mix ingredients together. First was a veggie filled white bean casserole from my number one blog crush, An Edible Mosaic. If humans could marry blogs, I might go for this one. (This was easy to make GF, simple replacement)
The second attempt at dinner was also a success, and the idea came from a new found blog I’ve been very much enjoying called Urban Baker. These Mini Gluten Free Corn Dogs were FUN to make and a huge hit with the family–particularly with Phil. They were surprisingly easy & satisfying. As she recommended, I froze the left-overs and used them in Teya’s school lunch later that week. I really like smart people….. Thank you smart people, you make us all very happy. (I was also able to make this sans gluten and without eggs, using EnerG Egg replacement)
Now back to that intro pic. Comfortably back in the saddle, Phil and I worked in tandem tonight to come up with a chicken wrap that mimics one of our favorite places, PF Changs. We’ve made these several times before, but they’ve always tasted a tad too Ammrrrcn. With the use of some new ingredients true to traditional Japanese cuisine and flavors, and cutting out items they’d never use like peanut butter, this time we hit it on the money. They’re very light and healthy when made true to form. Using just one chicken breast instead of two and then throwing in a heaping pile of sugar snap peas in place also improved upon the weight of this meal.
You know those white crispy rice noodles called Maifun rice sticks? Don’t skip on those! Not only do they add the necessary dry crisp, they’re a total blast to fry. It’s like a magic trick in your kitchen; a surprising confusing magical trick to make the burliest of manly men giggle. I witness it. Really, they’re in the Asian section of any store (bottom shelf usually) and only a couple bucks. Invest in the fun. When you fry them, make sure the oil is blazing hot (400 degrees) or no magic happens. Test one little noodle at a time: if it sinks its not ready, if it explodes in the blink of an eye it’s ready.
This meal is extremely simple to prepare. It looks like a long list of ingredients, but that’s mostly sauces and spices which mix up in a jiffy. Yes, jiffy is still a cool word to use. The 90′s are making a comeback, don’t ya know. When it comes down to it this meal took no more than 30 mins from beginning to end. Bon appétit… or in true Japanese fashion, douzo meshiagare!
- For the Stir-Fry:
- 3 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce*
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons mirin**
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- about 3 tablespoons coconut oil- used in separate intervals
- 1 chicken breast
- one 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and minced
- sugar snap peas
- 1 cup mushrooms, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste (or freshly grated, ½tsp if using powder)
- 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
- ½ bag of maifun rice sticks, fried**
- large leaf lettuce for the cups, either iceberg, butter, etc.
- For the Dipping Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons agave (regular sugar can be used)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Amino or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
- a smidgen of spicy mustard
- a small splash of mirin sauce
- 1 – 3 teaspoons siracha chili sauce, depending on your level of heat pref.
- Begin with the chicken breast. In your saute pan/wok, fry it up on med-high in a couple tablespoons of coconut oil, 4 to 5 minutes each side until it’s nearly finished. When it’s done, set on a plate to rest and cool as you work on frying the veggies.
- While the chicken is cooling, prep the stir-fry sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl (this doesn’t include the coconut oil).
- Dice the water chestnuts, snap peas, and mushrooms. When the chicken is cool enough to touch, dice it as well (very small bits). Now add another tablespoon of coconut oil to the saute pan/wok over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, water chestnuts, peas, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the stir-fry sauce to the pan and saute for a couple more minutes, then stir in the green onions at the very end before removing from the heat.
- Fry the maifun sticks according to instructions on bag — usually in just a couple inches of oil (we use coconut here) on super high, 400 degrees, for a few seconds. Flip once so the other side of the noodles can explode. Let cool on a paper-towel or rag. TIP- the sticks are crazy stiff before fried, use kitchen scissors to cut them in half before frying. You’ll only need to use half the bag, save the other half for next time.
- Whisk together the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a serving bowl.
- Serve the chicken with a side of lettuce cups and the sauce drizzled on top with loads of crunchy maifun sticks.
- *If you’re unfamiliar with Braggs Liquid Aminos, it’s a gluten free soy sauce replacement, tastes practically the same.
- **Mirin is also easy to find in the Asian isle and only a couple $ per bottle. It’s sweet, and slightly alcoholic, so use lightly in dishes, but it’s quite necessary when going for a balanced authentic Japanese flavor. It’s also always used in teriyaki sauce, so there’s another good use for it once you’ve bought it.