Spicy Szechuan Chicken & Eggplant

Main, Poultry | July 11, 2016 | By

Last week, as I was strolling through my all time favorite Asian market in Atlanta (the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market), these incredibly gorgeous Chinese eggplant caught my eye and inspired me to make a spicy Szechuan dish that I can’t wait to share with you! I added veggies and chicken, and the sauce is sweet and savory with a little heat (just the way I like it!). I used dried sambal oelek, which is one of the spice packets from RawSpiceBar.com that I received as a gift from my two kids. The jarred sambal oelek works great as well! Be careful not to use too much or your mouth will need a fire extinguisher!

Eggplant

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Spicy Szechuan Chicken & Eggplant
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds Chinese purple eggplant
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried sambal oelek (or 1 tablespoon jarred)
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper (or green), chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Instructions
  1. Cut the ends of the eggplant and slice on a diagonal into one inch pieces. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and cover pieces with water. Microwave for 1½ minutes until just soft but not mushy, checking on it after 1 minute. Remove from oven, drain and pat dry on paper towels. Set aside.
  2. To make the sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, tomato paste, sesame oil, sambal oelek, and brown sugar. Stir in cornstarch until dissolved. Set sauce aside.
  3. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Cook chicken pieces in a large wok over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon canola oil until browned on both sides but not cooked through. Remove chicken from wok and set aside.
  4. Add eggplant slices to wok in a single layer and cook until crisp and light golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove eggplant from pan and set aside.
  5. Heat remaining tablespoon canola oil in the pan over high heat and add garlic and shallots. Cook until fragrant and translucent. Add in bell peppers and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add in green onions, ginger, and shiitake mushrooms and cook another 3 minutes. Stir in the sauce and eggplant, and chicken and cook until sauce has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with extra green onions, and serve with a side of steamed rice.
Notes
Notes: Dried sambal oelek can be purchased from RawSpiceBar.com. Jarred sambal oelek can be found at select grocery stores and specialty Asian markets.

 

Chilean Sea Bass in Parchment

Chilean Sea Bass in Parchment

Main, Seafood | June 20, 2016 | By

Have you ever eaten a dish at a restaurant that you’ve “oohed and aahed” over? Well, fellow foodies, you can be assured that this is the one! I’ve been cooking fish in parchment for decades since I first ordered it at this little Danish restaurant in Miami. It’s very simple to prepare, just stuff everything in and bake! And, here’s the best part: zero oil or butter = very few calories! When I made this the other night for my husband he said it was the best Chilean sea bass he’s ever had. Just sayin’!

Note:  Parchment pouches make for a beautiful presentation served table side, but can be substituted with aluminum foil.  

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Chilean Sea Bass in Parchment
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Parchment paper
  • 4 (6 to 7 oz.) portions Chilean sea bass
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 Thai chili peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 heads baby bok choy, ends trimmed
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • Small yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ¾ cup shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Tear off 4 large sheets of parchment paper, about 12-14 inches long. Season the sea bass lightly with salt and pepper and set aside. Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and chili peppers and set aside.
  2. Using two large baking sheets, place one piece of parchment at a time on a baking sheet and start layering the vegetables at a ¼ end of the paper, in this order: bok choy, garlic, shallots, red and yellow peppers, shiitake mushrooms, and green onions. Place a piece of fish on top of vegetables and top with 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce to cover. Fold the large end of the parchment over the fish stack and roll the sides to seal the ends, making a pouch. Repeat this process with the other three sheets and place two pouches on a baking sheet. Lightly spray tops of pouches with cooking spray.
  3. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes. Carefully cut open pouches and serve immediately.
Notes
You can substitute the parchment paper with aluminum foil.

 

Grilled Miso Shrimp

This is a great summer grilling recipe using lemongrass sticks as skewers for extra tangy flavor! The shrimp cooks quickly and is so delish with a side of rice. Pair it with a great bottle of white wine and it’s simply perfection!

Grilled Miso Shrimp
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 lemongrass sticks
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, tail intact
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • 2 cups cooked rice
Instructions
  1. Peel several outer layers of the lemongrass sticks and cut off the tops in a sharp angle. Set aside.
  2. Heat a grill or preheat a stove-top grill pan. In a bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the lime juice with the miso paste, oil, ginger, garlic, honey, and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Let marinate for 5 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto the lemongrass sticks and reserve leftover marinade.
  3. Grill the shrimp over moderately high heat until pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Heat leftover marinade in a small saucepan.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the sambal oelek and the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice. When ready to serve, drizzle remaining marinade on top of shrimp and garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges. Serve with the sambal oelek mayonnaise and a side of cooked rice.
Notes
Adapted from Food & Wine. Sambal oelek can be found in specialty Asian markets and select grocery stores.