Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lunches for the week: Sweet and sour chicken with spicy green beans and cauliflower

Thanks to all my family and friends for suggestions last weekend of what to make for dinner to have leftovers for lunches this week.  I have lots of ideas for next week, but decided to go with my craving for sweet and sour chicken.  

We really like this low calorie, and relatively low sugar recipe that I think I found in Cooking Light, but am not finding it online offhand.  I use whatever veggies I have on hand (lots during farmers market season), and usually add a can of diced pineapple and add the juice to the sauce, as I think it needs more sauce liquid than it calls for frequently.  

We also tried the Sriracha Cauliflower by the White of Rice Couple, which Panhia and Dave would love.  Charlie didn't care for it at all, but he isn't a big cauliflower fan.  I would make it again, but it is pretty spicy. Oh, when I make it again I will cut back the oil to only 1/4 a cup, if that.

We also made the Szechuan Green Beans by the Heavy Table that I highlighted before.  They are my fav, since you don't have to fry them in oil, you just broil them.

Sriracha Roasted Cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use Tamari Soy sauce for Gluten Free)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (use distilled white vinegar for Gluten Free)
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, homemade or regular
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds / 910g), cut into 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) florets
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a sheet pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and sriracha sauce. Whisk well.
  3. Gently add the cauliflower to the bowl and coat with the marinade.
  4. Arrange the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the cauliflower over and roast for another 10 minutes, or until tender.
  5. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.
Yield: Serves 4
Total Time: 30 min
This recipe is from our cookbook, Bountiful. Since everyone's spice preference varies, make sure to adjust the amount of sriracha sauce to your desired level. It it over the top excellent with a homemade sriracha sauce, however it is still great with the regular store bought variety.

Szechuan Green Beans
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 15 minutes
  •  1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you prefer a gentler heat)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and grated
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the highest position and preheat the oven to broil. On a rimmed baking sheet, add the green beans. Broil until the beans are almost tender and are speckled with black spots, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking, about 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn the beans out into a large bowl. Set aside.
  1. In a small skillet set over medium-low heat, add the oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer add the red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally, and cooking until they turn a slightly darker shade of red, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and immediately add the sherry vinegar. Swirl the skillet, and then stir in the soy sauce.
  1. Pour the garlic-vinegar sauce over the green beans. Toss well. Place the ginger pulp in your palm and squeeze the ginger over the beans to extract the juice; discard the pulp. Toss the ginger juice with the beans and serve.
Sweet and Sour Chicken 
(Sorry I don't recall where this recipe is from)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 6 
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger (fresh)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, slivered 
  • 1 cup green peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup red peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 1 small can pineapple chunks
Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and preserves and set aside.  
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok.  Stir fry chicken and remove from heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the carrots, peppers and broccoli.  Add the peas and garlic and ginger and stir try a minute. Add the sauce and chicken stock (and I add the pineapple juice) and stir in the chicken, water chestnuts and pineapple.  Sometimes it needs more stocks to thin out the sauce. 
Remove from wok and serve over brown rice.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eagan Food Truck Festival

Last weekend Eagan held its' first ever food truck festival, Food on 4 Wheels! I can only hope that more food trucks will visit the south metro, as we had one in Apple Valley at our farmers' market once, and then Canterbury Park has a festival as well, but that is about it.
I was there right when it opened and it certainly looked to be a success.  There were 21 food trucks and I sampled three:

  1. Taqueria La Hacienda- I ordered a pork taco and al pastor (bbq pork) tacos arabes.  The pork taco was perfect.  Just the right amount to meat to toppings and a nice bit of pineapple salsa on top and lime to balance it.  The tacos arabes were yummy, but the chipolte bbq and dipping sauce was a bit too much for me.  I am excited that they have a Burnsville restaurant location, as we need a really good Mexican restaurant in the south metro.   

  2. Hot Indian Food- I read that this was one of the top 10 food trucks in the Twin Cities.  It was nice that they had a mini Indurrito (Indian Burrito) to try for the event, however  I had them create a mini lamb rice bowl instead.  It was delicious and also packed a punch. 

  3. Butcher Salt- We never have burgers at home, so this was my chance to get one hot off the grill, and it did not disappoint.  The sliders are a perfect balance of meat that has been seared, so the edges are nice and crispy, with melted cheese, bacon, onions, and a nice pickle on top with a buttered and browned bun.  I added a side of the Butcher Salted Browns- why not have hashbrowns with your slider? They were nice and salty and crispy as well, with some cheese mixed in.  However, I am a fan of ketchup with my hashers, so I was disappointed that they had no condiments available.  

  4. I hope the south metro keeps it up and offers more events like this.  It was nice that the food shelf also had a bus there, so I brought some canned goods to donate, but was sad to see I was the first person to give.  Help support our local food shelves in the summer too folks!  Eagan’s Open Door will take extra produce from your gardens too!