Monday, March 29, 2010

Lettuce Wraps.... and a beer

I'm not sure you can really tell by the photo, but wow these are HUGE. I made two but could only eat one, which is great considering how healthy they are.

Being a relatively frugal college student, I love having leftovers that I can use as lunch or dinner for the rest of the week.Pretty quick to make, and adapted from one of my most trusty cookbooks- just watch out for the onions, don't let them brown too quickly, but turn your heat up enough so that they don't take twenty minutes like mine did. There were some substitutions I had to make with this recipe (the recipe called for Boston lettuce, I had hearts of romaine). I ran out of rice vinegar too, but they turned out lovely and spicy without being heavy and greasy.

Chicken Stir-Fry Wraps
adapted from Martha's "Great Food Fast"

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, halved horizontally and thinly sliced
*All I had was frozen cutlets. Lame. But they worked and tasted just fine. If you are going to buy frozen by the bag like I do, it's cheap and you can buy in bulk so you always have frozen chix to thaw out when you need them. Just make sure you don't buy any sort of flavored breast like mesquite etc. I used about 2 1/2 cutlets and then sliced as described above.

Course Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large onion halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, ribs & seeds removed, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4-1/2 red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
12-16 Boston lettuce leaves, or what-have-you (2 heads)

1. Season the chicken with salt & pepper. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add half the chicken; cook, stirring constantly until opaque throughout and lightly golden brown. 2-4 minutes. Transfer to a place and repeat with the remaining chicken.

2. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan, along with the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the onion is tender and golden, about 4 minutes (or so they say). Reduce heat if they are browning too quickly. Being a native Texan, I like a little char, at least on the red peppers.

3. Reduce the heat to medium; add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to the pan; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30-60 seconds.

4. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch mixture; remove from heat. Add chicken and any accumulated juices; toss to coat. Serve in lettuce cups/wraps.

Food Styling, Attempt #1

Ok, so I'm beginning to feel like I have settled back into the ways of America. As boring and sensory depriving (nothing older than 300 years I mean COME ON!) as it can be, it is home. My stove is here, and as old and decrepit as that is, I still get a kick out of it. I would like to think of today's brunch as an Italian style egg mcmuffin. Maybe I should send it over since McDonald's in Rome had no breakfast... just like every other place in Italy. Seriously, the one thing Italians do not know how to enjoy to the full extent is breakfast. Everything else (and I do mean everything) made up for it though.

Italian Egg McMuffin

1 large egg
1 English muffin
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 slice ripe tomato ( I think they would be great roasted, I will try that next time)
Parmesan to taste ( I only used about a teaspoon, maybe a little more)
Black pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish
Small splash of Balsamic Vinaigrette
Salt optional (did not use)

Heat the olive oil over medium in a flat bottomed frying pan. Place two halves of the English muffin in the toaster (or use whatever toasting method you prefer) so they will be ready by the time the egg is cooked. You may butter them if you like. If you feel confident enough to ignore the egg for a second go ahead and slice the tomato. Fry the egg until over easy or medium and transfer to plate with paper towel to drain oil. Assemble the sandwich with the egg on the bottom, followed by the tomato, parm & parsley, balsamic, and black pepper.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Italy Tomorrow

I've been cooking and being really good about trying lately. Alas, I couldn't find the usb cable that works with my camera. I'll be more on track now (so I say). Viva Roma!

Grandfather's glasses. That is all.