Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stir-Fried Chicken (Gwyneth's recipe)

I bought Gwyneth Paltrow's first cookbook, "My Father's Daughter" some time back.  After initial skepticism as to the relateability of her kitchen endeavors, I have found most of the recipes refreshingly down-to-earth, which is not a description often associated with its author. 
This is her recipe for "best stir-fried chicken."  I followed it closely, but added broccoli in with the chicken, and felt it didn't noticeably dilute the flavor.
Gwyneth's "Best Stir-Fried Chicken"
At a glance, you'll need:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small (~ 3/4") cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • Coarse Salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup peeled and minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup peeled and minced ginger
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions (I used green onions)
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 head fresh broccoli, cut into small "trees"
Toss the Chicken with the cornstarch, a large pinch of salt, and pepper.  
Heat the oil in a large, nonstick pan/wok over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic, ginger, green onion, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes.
Add the vinegar, sugar and 5-6 grinds of black pepper.
Add the broccoli
Boil on high for 3 minutes, or until the sugar has really caramelized, and the sauce is rich and sticky.
Add the soy sauce, cook for another minute or so.

I served it with the kale stir-fried rice she suggests, and it was incredible, not to mention highly-nutritious!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

♥ Linzer Cookies ♥

About once every five years, I decide to make Linzer Cookies for Valentine's Day.  In theory (and in recipe) they are relatively simple, but after I make them, I always feel like I was somehow duped by the short ingredient list.  Maybe it's just that I'm not a big cookie cutter kind of gal.  For the few times I put the effort into these delicate darlings, though, it is SO worth it!
I feel like I should be sitting down to High Tea with the Queen...  

Linzer Cookies   
adapted from HERE


2 ½ cups All Purpose flour

2/3 cup of finely ground almonds

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Raspberry Preserves or Jam (I use Seeded, but you can use Seedless if you prefer)


  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almonds, and cinnamon. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.

  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing well.

  • Divide the dough into two parts and roll into a ball and the press into two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to overnight. The dough should be firm enough to roll out.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • On a floured surface, roll out one disc until it’s about 1/8” thick. Keep the other disc in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  • Cut the dough with a cookie cutter dipped in flour.  Cut enough dough to have tops and bottoms.

  • Transfer the cut outs to a baking tray lined with either parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

  • Repeat with the remaining dough and the second disc.

  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until a light golden brown. Cool on the baking tray for five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

  • When ready to fill, invert the bottom cookie (so you have a nice bottom) and spread with about ½-1 tsp of jam.  Dust a top cookie with Confectioner’s sugar then gently place on top of the jam making a sandwich cookie.
   Arrange and take photos, because they're almost too pretty to eat!

    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Big Bite, Little Bite: Cocunut Chicken Nuggets

    For any of you with a preschooler in the house, you may share my experience with what I call the Chicken Nugget Mantra.  It seems anytime a dinner bell is rung, I get a request for nuggets.  I'm not above making a child's meal of the questionable food product when in a pinch.  However, when some scary what-are-those-things-really-made-from information hit the news cycle recently, I decided to try to ditch the pressed-meat versions in lieu of something homemade that my girls would still eat. 

    The initial reaction was not too positive (even with circus-like presentation!), but, the frowns then turned upside down, and I think I might have some converts!

    To try this little experiment at home, you'll need:
    • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
    • 1 1/2 cups Plain Yogurt
    • 1 c Crushed Baked Potato Chips
    • 1 c Shredded Coconut 
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • Cut the chicken breasts into 1" cubes
    • Marinate the chicken in the yogurt - this also acts as the 1st step in your breading process.  I let mine marinate for 2-3 hours, so the enzymes in the yogurt could tenderize the chicken a bit.


    • Place the crushed chips and coconut in a dish.
    • Add salt and pepper to taste (remember, the chips are already salty)

    • Coat each piece of chicken thoroughly in the crumb/coconut mixture, and place in a single layer on a baking sheet
    • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown

    • The two breasts made several (kid-size) servings, so I froze the rest.  The idea here to re-create the ease of store-bought nuggets.  So, to reheat the pre-cooked nuggets without drying them, I placed them in a med-high skillet with a touch of olive oil for 2-3 minutes each side.  Take that, McNuggets! ;)