Caramel Chicken heaven: 2500 recipes you have to try

October 3, 2007 in chicken, cookbook, Food Porn, review

If you have come here by way of Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger Birthday Giveaway, you will find details on my prize at this post – “ProBlogger Birthday Bash event: Nikas Peppermint Marshmallow Puff Pastries“.

Caramel chicken, baby carrots, sweet onions, basil flower

(Stir-fried Caramel Chicken, carrots, and sweet onions)

I know I have been reviewing up a storm lately. I do not get anything from the [tag]publisher[/tag] besides the review copy which is the way it should be. I enjoy doing this because it can inspire one out of a [tag]cooking[/tag] rut.

What time of year is the most likely for you to get cooking-rut-itis?

I find that right now is a likely time because there are no [tag]holiday[/tag] [tag]theme[/tag]s and grilling is starting to wear a bit thin and even my [tag]garden[/tag] seems a bit [tag]monochromatic[/tag] with a vast number of cherry [tag]tomato[/tag]es and little else. This is also a tough time for me because my body can tell the waning of daylight and it feels like winter is looming quickly. Its not really, there is little about today that is winterlike. Its delightfully warm outside with [tag]brilliant[/tag] sun but the trees are changing and the days are shorter. This just contributes to my rut-itis.

With new [tag]cookbook[/tag]s to consider and try out, I have been able to step out of the rut a bit. You have seen me try the more exotic [tag]Indian[/tag] [tag]food[/tag]s in the “[tag]Modern Indian Cooking by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna[/tag]” post and the “[tag]A Surfeit of Indian Food – spice it up baby[/tag]” post.

2500

I have also been testing a few [tag]recipe[/tag]s from a [tag]cook[/tag]book entitled “[tag]2500 Recipes: Everyday to Extraordinary[/tag]” by [tag]Andrew Schloss[/tag] and [tag]Ken Bookman[/tag].

[tag]2500 recipes[/tag] sounds like a dangerous idea, one that could be overwhelming for the [tag]writer[/tag]s and the [tag]reader[/tag]s.

In reality, what they have done is write a very [tag]organized[/tag] cookbook that gives you 50 recipes per food type that will expand your [tag]repertoire[/tag] and help you [tag]cultivate[/tag] [tag]flexibility[/tag].

They offer a varied array of 50 recipes for foods such as:

  • Chicken (parsed out in recipes for Whole and parts)
  • Leftovers
  • Kid Foods
  • Chili
  • Pizza
  • Fish
  • Health Food
  • Roasts
  • Breakfast
  • And on and on

This is a book about recipes and not [tag]food photography[/tag], you will find no photos here. What you do find is a varied and useful compendium of different options for base ingredients like chicken breasts and pork roasts and beef.

If you are like me and you do not go to the store with a recipe in hand or a list generated from recipes and you simply buy meats and veggies and starches that you will later juggle together into the week’s meals then you will love this cookbook.

You can be dogmatic and follow these recipes, exploring until you find some new [tag]family[/tag] favorites. You could also use them as springboards to create your own variations, something that I do often because I do not have a perfect ingredient match.

My copy is now rather smudged as it has been working in the kitchen, a messy place. I see using it a whole lot more. I also see this as an excellent book for the “new” cook who is looking for a generalist cookbook. I intend on using it for some of our [tag]culinary[/tag] [tag]homeschool[/tag] projects with my almost 11 year old daughter.

[tag]Stir-Fried Caramel Chicken[/tag] (on page 164, print the PDF)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (500 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4 C (50 mL) granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) [tag]Worcestershire sauce[/tag]

Directions:

Dredge chicken in cornstarch.
In a wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until smoking.
Stir-fry chicken until browned on all sides and no longer pink inside; remove to a plate.
Add onion and carrot to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce; stir-fry until sugar begins to color, about 1 minute.
Return chicken to the wok and stir to coat with sauce.
Serves 4.

Caramel chicken, baby carrots, sweet onions, basil flower

When I prepared this recipe I only had leg quarters on hand so I cut off the meat (took a LONG time, yikes!) and used that instead of breasts. Using breast meat (or those tenders) would make this recipe really zippy. I also added only 1/2 the amount of sugar because I was timid about the sweet aspect. I used baby carrots from our garden.

Our tasting found this recipe VERY flavorful and a wonderful change from the usual around here. Frying the chicken in cornstarch made a fantastic coating once the pieces were stir-fried in the sauce. The sweet garlicky Worcestershire sauce coated the chicken pieces, carrots, and onions to give a delicious savory-sweet flavor.

The family LOVED this and there would have been no leftovers to shoot if I didn’t threaten bodily dismemberment for eating the small portion I set aside to shoot the next day.

After this success, I put this cookbook to a more rigorous test, something I like to call “The Joy Test”. If I am cooking something that I need to find information on technique or variation, I usually open my [tag]Joy of Cooking[/tag]. It almost never fails to have something for me. I did the same with this cookbook over several days.

We had [tag]Southern fried chicken[/tag] from the recipe on page 292 and simply adored it. There was no chance to shoot any of that as there were no leftovers, period (was too dark to shoot fresh from the pan).

I would definitely recommend this book to newer cooks and those of us who have done most of Joy and want further ideas without having to resort to 10 different cookbooks.

If you do give it a try, let me know what you think!

Book Details:

Other Books of Interest:

Related Posts:

Quiet on the outside, busy behind the scenes

September 23, 2007 in chicken, farm, Food Porn

chicks

I have been slow in posting this last week for a variety of reasons, most of them creative!

I will be posting on some new recipes I have tried from a couple of new cookbooks, ones I made up myself, and also about this fantastic tour I took of several Vermont farms on an absolutely beautiful day.

Today, as I write those posts, I will share photos of our new chicklings (as our kids call them). As you may or may not know, you can order day old chicks to arrive by regular mail.

We have been building a chicken house for them.

chicken house

With a nice clear roof.

chicken house

See more details in the post “Avian Abode” over at our Humble Garden blog.

The types I ordered were:

  • White Silkie Bantams – these are important in traditional chinese medicine (they are the black meat chickens), thought I might give them a try, eggs and meat
  • Production Reds – lots of eggs, heavy breed
  • Black Minorcas – interesting looking, eggs
  • Buff Orphingtons – hearty large breed
  • Mystery chicks – hatchery’s choice!

That last mystery set should be interesting, one little guy (seems like a guy, hope they are all girls tho) is all spotty and pretty fiesty!

Cross Species Portraiture: The Chicken was a Star

September 13, 2007 in Behind the Scenes, chicken, farm, Food Porn, photography

Because the flash slideshow seems to be messing up the browser for some of you, I am moving flash show further down in this post. This way, if you want to see many more of these portraits, make the jump to the main article, knowing that your browser may not handle the flash slideshow gracefully.

I just wanted to share a few shots that I took the last couple of days at the Dole & Bailey North East Family Farms roadshow up in Quechee, Vermont. These will be the first of a larger project that documents, in my own certain way, “family” portraits of farmers (or producers), chefs, and animals.

The chicken seen here was fantastically patient with all of us and was handled with the greatest of respect. His general demeanor of dignity really set the tone for that.

The slide show may grow in size over the span of today and the future as I add more to that flickr set.

Let me know what you think!

Cant stop raving about Tiger Tiger Indian Sauces

September 4, 2007 in chicken, cooking, ingredient, product, review

tiger logo

tiger tiger stuff

I would like to introduce you to a product made by the Tiger Tiger company that I found at my big box grocery store here in [tag]Massachusetts[/tag] (USA) that has wowed me to such a degree that I am actually writing about it here. If you are a regular reader, you would know that I don’t usually do this sort of thing.

I have used several of their Indian Sauces:

  • [tag]Kashmiri[/tag] Mild [tag]Korma[/tag] Sauce
  • [tag] Peshwari[/tag] [tag]Murgh Tikka Masala[/tag]
  • A creamy [tag]butter[/tag] sauce I can not find listed on their site

Tiger Tiger makes much more than these three sauces. They make Thai, Japanese, and Chinese sauces.

Their product range is wide, including:

  • gluten-free noodles and nutty snacks
  • many more coconut, wasabi, rice snacks
  • cooking sauces
  • salad dressings
  • asian dipping dressings and sauces
  • marinades
  • soups
  • various noodles and rices
  • Indian and Thai spices and pastes
  • all sorts of chutneys
  • preserved exotic fruits and vegetables
  • coconut products
  • gift baskets (which they oddly call hampers)

One thing I know about Indian food is that the sauces, which can make or break a recipe, are long labors of love. I do not keep the whole [tag]Indian[/tag] [tag]spice[/tag] arsenal on hand at home so I never cook [tag]India[/tag]n recipes.

These [tag]Tiger Tiger[/tag] [tag]Indian[/tag] sauces taste so fantastic and are so useful to make just about any protein seem like a meal from the finest of restaurants.

If I had known that their product photography was so fantastically woeful, I would have shot the jar before I used it. For the purposes of immediacy, I have put one of their photos of the Kashmiri Mild Korma sauce here.

Tiger Tiger

I am not at all certain what they are thinking using photos like this on the web. You can see from the packaging that they have done a professional job of branding and packaging but it is not well conveyed on their site.

What matters to me is the taste but its hard to blog such substandard hazy fuzzy photos!

The other night, I pulled out the Kashmiri Mild Korma [tag]sauce[/tag] and, while crossing my fingers, poured it over some browned ground turkey. I usually never buy ground poultry but the price was right.

The korma sauce transformed the vague ground turkey into a [tag]resplendent[/tag] delightful sauce that I poured over some [tag]authentic[/tag] [tag]basmati[/tag] rice.

For the basmati [tag]rice[/tag], I bought a tiny package of real basmati rice from [tag]Tilda[/tag].

Visit the Tilda site for sure. Their site is the diametric opposite of the Tiger Tiger site. Its beautiful, functional, evocative.

tilda

Try this link within the Tilda site for some Indian Recipes.

The directions were completely different than regular rice – boil one cup of rice in 6 cups of water for 8-10 minutes and then RINSE with boiling water.

Wild huh?

I let go of my “ingrained” Colombian rice-training and followed the directions to yield knock-out basmati rice.

I apologize for not having photos of any of this but it was night and we ate it so fast, there was no chance to shoot.

Bottom Line:

If you can find the Tiger Tiger products, buy some and try it.

I can see using this with anything from ground beef, pork, poultry, and small pieces of such meats, to tofu.

I am going to get another jar (or 10!) and use it on some cod and also some shrimp.

I just can’t wait!

Let me know if you try it too!

Where to buy online: