Chicken and Rice Noodle Salad

Asian Chicken and Rice Noodle Salad

Chicken and Rice Noodle Salad

A message for the single women out there…written with the first line of online dating profiles:

Hello, glad you stopped by. Let me begin by answering the question that is undoubtedly on your mind: No, you are not dreaming. Please ask me and I would be glad to tell you all. Dating online can be an ominous thing.   For those of you saying, “Bonnie looking for her Clyde,” they were horrible humans.

I have decided to experience life instead of hiding myself away. Nomadic at heart, having called Chicago, LA, NYC, and a few cities in the SF Bay area home at some point in my life. I’ll be back in the states soon from a winter in Costa Rica. A new beginning that’s where I’m at, a deep breath, ah, ok. I hate these boxes. I recently learned there are 45 different styles of tacos available in my city and I’m looking for an adventuresome woman who is interested to check out a few of these with me. I just heard about this from a friend. Hello, a new experience. When I delve into something I give it my all.

Bragging about oneself is not my forte. I am a fun, athletic guy who’s always interested in learning new things and meeting new people. I am driven, goal oriented and run my own business. I’m a responsible and dependable guy with a great sense of humor. One of the last good guys. Clark Kent with an edge. When I’m not sculpting scale models of Machu Picchu onto the head of a pin, I’m saving the plankton in the Great Barrier Reef and developing a serum that will rid the world of cleft palates.

Run like Hell.

Chicken and Rice Noodle Salad
Serves 2
Juice of ½ lime
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1 T. honey
1 T. soy sauce
¼- ½ jalapeno finely chopped (depending on your heat preference)
½ seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 skinless boneless chicken breast
4 oz. rice noodles
Red chili paste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine lime juice, sesame oil, honey and soy sauce. Add cucumber and jalapeno, toss and set aside.
  3. Heat a bit of oil in an oven-proof pan. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and sear both sides until browned. Move pan into oven and roast until internal temperature is 165 degrees. Let chicken rest and slice.
  4. Cook rice noodles as directed on the package, drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. Divide the noodles, chicken and cucumbers between two plates. Drizzle with remaining cucumber dressing. Garnish with red chili paste.
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Le Gibassier Part 2

Gibassier_compressed

I couldn’t resist.  I had to make them for myself.  The “active” time on the recipe is minimal, but the time needed for rising, resting and proofing made this an all-day affair. Most recipes I found on the internet are some version of the gibassier by Ciril Hitz, with each cook adding her own alternations.  For this initial attempt, I decided on Anne’s recipe at Dinner Plate.  Her goal was to duplicate the gibassier from Pearl Bakery, which was the location of my revelation, so I thought it was a good place to begin.  Rather than reprint it here, you can find her recipe by visiting her site.  This recipe is similar to the others with a few modifications including adding an egg to the pre-ferment, replacing some olive oil with more butter, decreasing the anise seed but adding more candied orange peel and increasing the yeast.

I’m no better than the rest of the chefs out there as I couldn’t leave her version alone either.  I used the candied orange recipe at Chocolate and Zucchini rather than the version at Dinner Plate.  I prefer Clotilde’s version which includes some of the pulp on the final product.  For flour, I substituted higher-gluten bread flour for APF, as was recommended in many of the other recipes.  Also, I wanted pronounced anise flavor, so I increased the anise seed back to the original amount (1.5 t.), toasted the seeds and slightly crushed them.

I must admit that this initial batch turned out pretty damn good.   On the next go, there are two definite changes I’m making.  First, at 100 grams, the finished pastries are just too damn big.  Next time, I’m trying something in the 70-80 gram range.  Second, using the superfine sugar as a coating meant they finished gibassier didn’t have the same sugary, finger-licking crust as Pearl Bakery.  I adore the sandy sugar texture on my teeth as I bite into the bread – and I miss it.   Next time, it’s standard granulated sugar.

Other things I will try on subsequent rounds:

  • Activating the yeast before adding it to the pre-ferment and dough. No one recommends doing this, but this was standard operating procedure in culinary school.
  • Using the olive oil to butter ratio found on other sites. While butter is always best (mmm…butter!), it seems olive oil is the more traditional route.
  • Trying APF flour rather than Bread flour to compare the final texture, although I was very happy with my version. 

The majority of the batch went in the freezer  and out of my immediate reach – my jeans couldn’t take a 100 gram gibassier a day for the next 12 days.  I’m parsing them out – enjoying one half every morning with my coffee.  At this rate, the batch will almost last a month…if my willpower holds steady.

Avoiding

This weekend, I find myself in the kitchen, avoiding work, avoiding weeding my garden and avoiding Italy preparations.

Muffins

Raspberry-Cheesecake Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk, (or nonfat milk mixed with 1 T lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • Sugar in the Raw or sliced almonds (see my notes below)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 large (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  2. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the lemon in long strips. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until blended.
  3. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
  4. Divide cream cheese into 12 equal pieces and place on top of each muffin along with one raspberry.  Push gently down into each muffin and sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw
  5. Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Let flavors meld overnight.

When these first came out of the oven, I was disappointed with the results.  The muffins were nothing special and the filling tasted of cream cheese rather than cheesecake.  However, after sitting for the better part of the day (and overnight), the flavors melded into something much more delicious with the cream cheese picking up the sweetness of the muffins. Next time, I think they would benefit from a crunchy sprinkling of sliced almonds on the top, replacing the sugar – or perhaps even chopped walnuts in the batter. I will be making them again. 

 

Adapted from EatingWell July/August 2007

Food Porn

peaches

I just re-read this (academic) article where top chefs, food culturists and intellectuals debate the existence of food porn – slick editorial campaign or actuality?  This entire lot needs to stop philosophizing in their noggins and feel with their loins.  It’s not a scholarly concept, it’s a lascivious one.

Food Porn:

Getting so  turned on by reading recipes or looking at food imagery that you must rush to the kitchen immediately, flip that ripe, juicy peach ass-up on the kitchen counter, blanch it, skin in, slice it, flambé it and devour it, no matter who’s watching!

Food Porn.

Slow Food

tomato

“…just remember, in Italy you have to respect the ingredients. It isn’t just a tomato; it is the culmination of a season’s worth of hard work by a farmer who lives just a few miles away, whose family has been growing tomatoes for five hundred years.”

Alexander Feldman
Chef’s page
Gastronomica, Spring 2010

I re-read this quote the other day.  It belongs, eye-level, on my kitchen backsplash.  Even though there isn’t this kind of history in the hothouse-gown pile of pinkish tomatoes in my local grocery store, how grand to treat each and every ingredient as if it has.