Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Sweet Chili Fire Chicken

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How about making “take out” at home? I’m saying “why not”! Sometimes grabbing fast food once and a while is sometimes a necessity. Making delicious Chinese “take-out” dishes at home is even better. A few simple ingredients with a heavy bottom pot can make this dish a reality. This is my version of Sweet Chili Fire Chicken.

Chives (2)

Chives (2)

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Snow Peas

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven, candy thermometer, spider, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2 1/2 cups of canned pineapple chunks, drained
2 bottles of Thai sweet chili sauce
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of snow peas, very thinly sliced on the bias
3 tablespoons of chives, finely minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

For The Chicken:
2 pounds of skinless boneless chicken breasts, diced into 1 1/2-inch size cubes
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of vegetable oil
2 cups of all-purpose flour
4 cups of cornstarch
6 large eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:
Prep all the veggies first, having them on stand-by.  Using a meat cutting board, dice up all the chicken, tossing them into a bowl along with the salt and pepper.  Using tongs, make sure the salt and pepper are distributed evenly on the chicken. Grab the largest bowl you have or a large Tupperware container, making it easier to coat the diced chicken pieces. Next, add the flour and toss so that all the pieces are coated.

Preheat Vegetable oil to 360-degrees F.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom pot, like a Dutch oven. Over medium-high heat, and using a candy thermometer, have the oil temperature reach 360-degrees F. The oil will take a little while to reach the perfect temperature for frying. Move on to sautéing the vegetables.

Add olive oil to the sauté pan. Over medium-high heat, add the veggies and minced garlic. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, cook until just soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks just to warm through. Turn the heat off.

Transfer the sautéed veggies and pineapple, from the sauté pan, to a large deep-sided skillet. This will be necessary for accommodating all the ingredients. Set the skillet to the back of the stove before starting the frying process.

In one large mixing bowl have the beaten eggs, in another large mixing bowl have the cornstarch. In small batches, dip the diced chicken into the eggs and then into the cornstarch shaking off any excess cornstarch. Place the finished coated chicken pieces onto a rimmed baking sheet pan.

Check the temperature of the oil. Once the oil is ready, add the battered chicken in small batches, about 5 to 6  at a time, into the pot. Continue dipping the chicken into the egg mixture and then into the cornstarch. Cook around 2 minutes per side or until golden and crispy. Remove from the oil, then transfer them onto a sheet pan lined with a paper towel. Repeat this process until all the chicken pieces are cooked.

Place the skillet over medium heat. Add in all the crispy golden pieces of chicken to the veggie and pineapple mixture. Pour in the bottles of the Thai sweet chili sauce and toss to combine. Simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once everything is hot, turn the heat off. Garnish with minced chives.

Serve immediately.

I like to serve my Sweet Chili Fire Chicken over a bed of Basmati rice.

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Pasta Carbonara

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A match made in heaven, are peas and pancetta. My Pasta Carbonara highlights these two ingredients perfectly. One main ingredient, in this dish, is freshly cracked/ground black pepper. From what I understand, many years ago, this dish got its name from woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. Those men would come home dirty and black from a hard day’s work. Therefore the black pepper in this dish represents that look.

eggs

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: deep-sided frying pan, 6-quart saucepot, chef’s knife, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 small mixing bowl, a 10-cup food processor, colander spoon

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Gemelli (substitute 1 pound of spaghetti)
1 package of thawed frozen peas
1/4 pound of pancetta, diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of dry white wine (substitute unsalted chicken broth)
4 whole eggs plus, 1 yolk
2 cups of grated Parmesan cheese (reserve 1/4 cup back to top serving dishes)
1 pinch of Kosher salt to taste (a good handful of Kosher salt for pasta water)
1 tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of Italian parsley flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions:
Place a large saucepot on the stove filled with water over medium-high heat. This will allow you time to prepare the ingredients for the dish while waiting for the water to boil.

Have ready, a whole package of thawed frozen peas in a bowl.

In a large cold sauté pan add olive oil and diced pancetta. Do not turn the heat on just yet.

Next, grind up 2 cups of Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Transfer the grated cheese to a bowl and set aside.

Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the grated cheese to top individual servings.

In another bowl, crack 4 eggs and one egg yolk and beat them together with 1 tablespoon of fresh cracked black pepper. Measure a 1/4 cup of dry white wine (or chicken broth), and have the minced garlic set to one side. Once all the ingredients are ready it’s time to make the dish.

Turn the deep-sided frying pan with the diced pancetta and olive oil to medium heat. Start to render down the pancetta, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add a handful of Kosher salt into the pot of boiling water. Add the pasta, of your choice, giving it a big stir, and follow the cooking time according to the directions on the box.

Once the pancetta is crispy transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons the pancetta fat in the pan. If you don’t think you have that much, you can add a little olive oil.

This process goes fairly quickly. Pan still on medium heat, next, add in the minced garlic, diced shallot, and the wine. Using a wooden spoon, and while shallots and garlic are cooking, around 3 to 4 minutes, scrape up all those delicious pancetta bits that are trapped in the bottom of the pan. Let that liquid bubble up for about a minute until the alcohol has cooked out.

To the pan, using one of those large colander spoons, transfer the pasta into the pan. Next, return the cooked pancetta to the pan. Make sure to coat the all pasta with the pancetta fat, wine, and garlic that has remained in the pan. Note: if the pasta seems a little to dry and sticking together, add in a little olive oil to loosen it up.

At this point, add the crispy pancetta, the peas (the heat will warm the peas through), and the egg mixture. Using a pair of tongs, toss to combine while still over the heat, until eggs just start to set. Turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the burner. Immediately add the grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Toss those ingredients through then remove from the heat.

Pasta Carbonara is best served hot. Don’t forget about adding more cheese to the top of your dish!

Pasta Carbonara Souffle

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Ziti Rigati al Forno With Radicchio, Shitake Mushrooms, And Sweet Italian Sausage

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Maybe my grandmother wouldn’t have approved of adding sausage to this traditional Italian dish. I could just hear her now saying, ” Linda, you’re supposed to use the pasta shells with the ridges, not Rigatoni, that’s why it’s called Conchiglie al Forno With Shitake Mushrooms And Radicchio”. I just like to put my own spin on a traditional dish, so you’ll see, that’s what I’m doing here. You can most certainly leave out the sausage and it will be just as delicious. I call this dish Ziti Rigati al Forno With Radicchio, Shitake Mushrooms, And Sweet Italian Sausage. 

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Onions

Stuffing (2)

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Holiday Breakfast Casserole (25)

sage

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Rigatoni Al Forno

 

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 30 to 35 minutes (this includes prep and cooking all the components for the dish)
Cook Time: 8 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 11 x 13 x 2 large baking dish, 12-inch sauté pan, 6-quart stockpot, Microplane, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, large rubber spatula, Chef’s knife

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pint of Shitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, and sliced
1 pint of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
12 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), 2 tablespoons for mushrooms 4 tablespoons to *dot the top of the dish
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
2 heads radicchio (2 cups) finely sliced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
3/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
4 teaspoons of Ricotta cheese, whole milk
3/4 cup of Fontina cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup of good quality crumbled Gorgonzola
1 1/2 boxes of Ronzoni’s Ziti Rigati (1 1/2 pounds)
8 sage leaves, julienned
Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Directions:
To start, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, diced onions, and crushed red pepper flakes, and a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions start to soften, 2 minutes. Add the sausage, breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook stirring occasionally until sausage is no longer pink and cooked through, 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the browned sausage into a medium-size mixing bowl, set aside.

Remove any fat left in the pan, replacing with 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sliced mushrooms, stir and cook allowing the mushrooms to release their water and brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Next, add the minced garlic, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and cook for an additional 1 minute, stir to combine. Transfer the cooked mushrooms to the same bowl with the browned sausage. Add freshly chopped sage to the bowl, stir to combine.

Note: If you are not a fan of sage substitute freshly chopped thyme leaves.

Preheat oven to 500-degrees F.
Butter the baking dish.

In another large mixing bowl containing the sliced radicchio, add the ricotta, grated Fontina cheese, 1/2 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, crumbled Gorgonzola, heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Mix to combine.

Combine the cooked sausage and mushroom mixture into the large bowl containing the radicchio and cheeses. Mix until everything is combined really well.

In a large pot of salted boiling water add the pasta. Cook for only 5 to 6 minutes (approx. half the time recommended on the back of the box). Drain the pasta really well before adding to the rest of the ingredients. Using a large rubber spatula, gently toss the pasta through not to break any of the rigatoni, combining all the ingredients together.

In a large buttered baking dish, pour in the pasta mixture. Using the large rubber spatula, spread out the pasta mixture evenly throughout the dish. *Dot the top (taking 4 tablespoons and cut into small pieces) with butter. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (keep a close eye on the dish) until bubbly and the top becomes golden brown.

Once out of the oven, garnish with fresh chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

This is my Ziti Rigati al Forno With Radicchio, Shitake Mushrooms, And Sweet Italian Sausage.

*Dot is to scatter small bits of butter over food.

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