Over the past few years, I’ve cooked a fair amount of Chinese food, focusing mainly on my favorite dim sum dishes (yum bean curd rolls!). But beyond the basic stirfries and fried rice, I haven’t attempted much from the more Americanized style, like General Tso’s chicken for instance. But last week, feeling frisky, I decided to expand my repertoire and I had the perfect recipe to try out: this one created by Grace Parisi.
While General Tso’s Chicken may have a slightly murky history, the reason it’s remained so popular is easy to understand. It’s spicy, sweet, salty and fried — basically the epitome of great take-out Chinese food. And it appeals to the masses, from hungover college students to stay-at-home moms. With all of those different elements, it seemed like the perfect thing to try making at home.
And to be honest this review of the recipe really encouraged me to go for it — such an awesome experiment!
Anyways, Parisi’s recipe manages to combine all of the expected goodness of General Tso’s in a slightly less fatty (and certainly less processed!) way. I was a bit hesitant about the frying part since normally I try to eat a little healthier, but I felt it was only fair to try the recipe as written. Well…for the most part anyways — I did sub out the chicken thighs for boneless breasts only because I had them on hand.
On the subject of frying, the first thing that stood out about this recipe was the batter for the chicken. I loved that it wasn’t a basic tempura-style of batter; instead it has components added in — soy, sesame oil — giving the final dish another layer of flavor. The breading is also incredibly light. It ends up barely clinging to the meat (in a good way!), making the chicken seem merely very crispy instead of greasy and deep fried.
Chicken slices in the batter
Fried chicken pieces
Brown Butter and Berry Tart
The past two weeks were absolutely beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest. While I was on vacation, temperatures soared to 80 degrees and the sun managed to stick around until yesterday. It was a wonderful mini-summer to tide us over until July, when things really heat up in Portland.
Sunshine immediately makes me crave berries which is how this Brown Butter Berry Tart became the finale for my family’s Mother’s Day dinner. The original recipe, courtesy of Bon Appetit, called for raspberries, but when I went shopping there was only one lonely container of fresh blackberries left on the shelf. Clearly everyone else in Tacoma had the same idea! (Happily my combination of blackberries and frozen blueberries worked just fine.)
Since I hadn’t seen my family in a month, I wanted to spend my spare time playing rummy with my mom and grandma, not slaving away in the kitchen. Luckily, besides being tasty, this tart is also amazingly simple to put together — though considering how ruthlessly my grandma beat us, perhaps I should have chosen a high-maintenance dessert instead. Then I could still have my dignity. *sigh*
Anyways, on to the sweet stuff –
It’s pretty fun being able to pick flowers right from my garden…
It’s also very convenient that my mom loves irises!
And as a side note: I have finally recovered from my vacation withdrawal and will be back to posting regularly starting tomorrow.
I’m suffering from serious vacation withdrawal. The good news is that it’s absolutely gorgeous in Portland right now and I can sit in my backyard with a beer and a book and pretend I’m still in the Caribbean (kind of). And, in my travels, I discovered two delicious things that I can’t wait to indulge in again, this time on domestic soil.
1. A Mojito Royale. All the minty goodness of a rum-filled mojito…copiously topped with Champagne. Yes please!
Mojito Royale from the Rainbow Club in Grand Case, St Martin
2. Johnny Cakes. How have I never eaten these before?? They are the stuff dreams are made of!
Shrimp Skewer and Johnny Cakes, Talk of the Town, Grand Case, St. Martin