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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sweet Chili Fire Chicken With Red Bell Peppers And Pineapple

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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. The reason, because you know exactly what’s going into the dish.. A few simple ingredients with a heavy bottom pot can make this dish a reality.

 

 

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Equipment: heavy bottom pot and a spider

Ingredients:
1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2-1/2 cups of drained pineapple chuncks, fresh or canned
2 bottles of Thai sweet chili sauce
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of thinly sliced snow peas ( thinly sliced on bias)
3 tablespoons of finely minced chives
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For The Chicken:
2 pounds of 1 inch cubed skinless-boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teapoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups of vegetable oil
2 cups of all- purpose flour
4 cups of corn starch
6 large eggs, 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 is 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.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom pot, like a Dutch oven. Over med- 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 sauteing the veggies.

Add olive oil to saute pan. On med-high heat, add the veggies and minced garlic in. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Saute until just soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks last just to warm them through. Turn the heat off.

Next, transfer the sauteed veggies and pineapple, from the saute pan, to a large skillet, one that has deep sides. This will be necessary in accommodating all the ingredients. Set the skillet with the sauteed veggies to the back of the stove before starting the frying process.

Going back to the dredging process for the chicken. In one large bowl have the beaten eggs and in another bowl have the corn starch. In small batches, dip the diced chicken into the eggs and then into the corn starch. Place the finished coated chicken pieces onto a large sheet pan.

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

Bring back the skillet and turn on medium heat. Add in all the crispy golden pieces of chicken to the sauteed veggie with pineapple. Pour in the bottles of the Thai sweet chili sauce and toss all the ingredients through. Let simmer for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once everything is hot, then turn the heat off and sprinkle on the minced chives. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

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Farro With Grapes, Nuts, And Dried Fruit

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From what I’ve learned, Farro is one of the oldest grains in the world.  It’s composed of the grains from certain wheat species. It’s believed that this grain was the one from which all others were derived. Not until recently was Farro so easy to find in the grocery stores however; it’s now available, where the rice and dried beans are found.

Farro is softened in water and cooked until al dente. Like rice and barley, Farro is a blank canvas. You can add whatever flavors you like to Farro and it while only enhance the dish.

I’ve made Farro as a side dish, using chicken or vegetable broth as my liquid, and then  adding asparagus and mushrooms. There have been times where I’ve made Farro is the style of risotto, using  white wine, Parmesan cheese, and other ingredients to flavor the dish. Commonly served as a savory dish, I thought I’d put a twist on the usual Farro recipes. A light and healthy, good for you, sweet snack.  A dish you could have as dessert!

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Start by placing the Farro in a fine mesh sieve, rinse with cold water, then drain.

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Bring the Farro in the cooking liquid up to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes. I want the Farro to be softened but still chewy, al dente.

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I started with some raspberry glazed almonds I found. I thought they’d work perfect in this dish. You could of course use hazelnuts, walnuts, whatever you have on hand. I also have some dried cherries, dried apricots, golden raisins, pineapple chunks, and green grapes. Before adding in the other ingredients, I add all these ingredients to the bowl with the Farro and toss. That’s all there is to it!  Believe me when I tell you, this dish is so addictive.  Look, rice is also commonly served as a savory dish, but as a dessert, rice pudding is also amazing. Why not put a sweet twist on Farro.

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Best served warm or at room temperature

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of rinsed and drained Farro
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of dark amber *Agave nectar (liquid measure)
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 cup of whole seedless green grapes then halved
1/4 cup of chopped dried cherries
1/4 cup of chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup of golden raisins
1/4 cup of chopped raspberry glazed almonds ( nuts of your choice)
1/4 c up of diced pineapple chunks

Directions:
Place 1 1/2 cups of Farro in a mesh sieve, rinse and drain. In a sauce pot on medium high heat add in the 4 cups of water salt, and the Agave nectar. Give that a good stir before adding in the drained Farro. Stirring occasionally to prevent and Farro sticking together, bring the Farro up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low heat, cover, cooking for 25-30 minutes. Pour the cooked Farro through a mesh sieve again draining off any liquid that may remain. Next, transfer the Farro into a large bowl. I like to toss the Farro a couple of times to bring the temperature down a bit. Then add in all the other ingredients and toss to combine. The cold grapes and pineapple mixed in with the warm Farro is awesome!

*Agave Nectar is a natural sweetener that come in light or dark amber.

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Pico De Gallo Two Ways

 

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Pico de Gallo is referred to as salsa fresco, a type of salsa. It’s a fresh, chunky, uncooked, and distinctly visible mixture of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fresh chiles, lime juice, and salt. Traditional salsa has a thinner consistency with more liquid.

Who says pineapple can’t be a Pico de Gallo. I’m making some unique tacos tonight by implementing two different types of Pico de gallo as an option for a topping. My neighbor, Lucinda has few beautiful pineapple plants which are ready for harvesting.  You know they’re going to be so sweet and delicious, I knew that I had to make something using, pineapple. I’m also going to make a traditional Pico de Gallo.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: 2 large mixing bowls, Chef’s knife

Ingredients For Pineapple Pico de Gallo:
3 cups, 1 large pineapple, cored and diced into 1-inch pieces,
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 an orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced,
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients For Pico de Gallo:
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced (substitute jalapeno)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients for each type of Pico de Gallo you choose. Toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill before serving.

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