Friday, June 17, 2016

Thai Basil Chicken

So, our cute little basil plant was producing more and more basil leaves and I had to cook up a recipe with it so the little guy's hard labor does not go to waste.  Basil in a chicken dish is something I have not done before but I thought why not.  I love chicken, Thai food, basil-y flavor, and spice.  This dish has a lot of spicy kick to it and it even made my nose runny from all the spicy-ness.  So, a little Kleenex at hand wouldn't hurt while enjoying this dish.  This was so friggin delicious.  The basil-y after taste of the chicken was such a subtle delight.  I would not add more basil than recommended as you don't want it to overpower the chicken.

This is a quick and easy dish that can be cooked up in thirty minutes or less.  :)  Yay for quick recipes!

The Recipe:
Thai Basil Chicken by Immaculate Bites

Changes I Made:
  • I did not have crushed red pepper so I used chili powder instead which worked fine. 
  • Before cooking the chicken I marinated it with a teaspoon of minced garlic and a few pinches of salt.  I marinated it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.
  • I added a little bit of green bell pepper because I just had some left over and it was a great addition  to the recipe.  I cooked it in with the onions. 
  • I didn't have the traditional fish sauce so I used the Korean anchovy sauce, which was fishy enough.  It was awesome. 
  • I used white sugar instead of brown.
  • I used 2 extra Tbsp of soy sauce and sriracha sauce.  (1 tsp was absolutely not enough!)
Definitely eat it with rice.  It's Thai! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Potato Salad - Tips

Since my last potato salad post, I have had about three more occasions to make potato salad.  If you've been a part of a church community, you know that there really are many, many, many potlucks to attend.  I've made potato salad a go-to recipe...for now, anyways.  They are easy to make and goes with most main dishes.  It's also a great way to secretly feed your kids celery. 

Anyhoo, I wanted to add this post to share some tips I've learned along my potato-salad-making journey.  I googled some tips on potato salad and the adjustments I made to my recipe made a tremendous difference and I actually feel okay to say that I think my potato salad is pretty good!  :D 

Tips from The Kitchn:
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Potato Salad

My Tips:
  1. Right Potatoes:  Like The Kitchn says, you should use the right kind of potatoes.  I will let the actual site do the explanation for this, but the best kind of potatoes are the waxy kind.  I have mostly used the Yukon potatoes or the red-skinned ones and they work great!
  2. Cooking Potatoes:  This is an important step that you should pay attention to since it will determine the consistency and texture of your potatoes. The trick is to start the potatoes immersed in cold water, bring to boil, then reduce heat to cook in simmer.  You should check the potatoes regularly and take it out when you can push your fork into it.  Mushy potatoes for salad kinda sucks. 
  3. Salted Water:  A GREAT tip.  Salt your water when cooking your potatoes.  This makes a huge difference in the flavor of your potato salad. 
  4. Cooling Potatoes:  My potato salad recipe calls for creamy mayo dressing, which means I've got to cool the potatoes before dressing them.  If you don't wait to cool the potatoes, you will risk the mayo-based dressing separating and just becoming yucky. 
  5. Chopped Dills:  I eliminated this in my last potato salad post and since then, I've changed my mind and this has been a must addition to my potato salad recipe.  For a 4lb potato salad recipe, I'll add about 3-4 chopped dills.  This is a personal taste thing.  I love a bit of pickle-y sourness in my potato salad and if you do too, do this! 
  6. More Boiled Eggs:  Again in my last recipe I added 4 boiled eggs for 4lb potatoes.  I've increased that to 7-8 eggs and I love it!  Also, instead of chopping them up into teeny pieces, I do a very rough and loose chomping with a fork so it leaves large chunks of whites and yolk. 
  7. Green Onions:  Instead of red onions (which is still an awesome choice) I use green onions and I don't think I'll go back.  I just like the flavor better and I don't have to deal with soaking the onions to eliminate the spicy-ness. 
  8. Chilling:  This may sound like a redundant step but, like the other tips, it makes a big difference.  I try to chill the dressing at least for about 30 minutes and also chill the salad for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving.  It just melds all the flavors together and gives extra quality to the salad.  Don't you want people to go "OMG!  This is awesome!"
*Let me know if you've tried the changes and how your salad turns out.  ;)

Easter Potatoes

Spring arrived a few months ago but I didn't get to celebrate it on Fried Blue Tomatoes so here's my homage to the return of spring (few months ago).

Picture #1:  
In honor of spring, my manager at work brought me these flowers from the garden outside our building.  It was just a very sweet gesture and made me appreciate spring a tad bit more.  :D

Picture #2:  
My hubby & me at the church Easter Luncheon. We have had a very rough couple of years and couldn't really enjoy Easter the way we would have liked.  So, this year was extra special cuz we were able to smile and do what we do best - be weird.

The rest of the pictures:  Cheesy Potatoes 


We have an Easter Luncheon every year at our church and I always look forward to it because they order the ham from one of our proudest and well-known St. Louis BBQ joints (Sugarfire!).  We all bring a dish and I signed up for a side.  I obsessively went back and forth from signing up to make scalloped potatoes to other potato variations - made about 10 edits on the church google doc.  Oops!  Anyhoo, I thought scalloped potatoes would be perfect, but after pondering on this choice a little bit decided to go with a slightly different baked potatoes.  I actually did not make a single change in this recipe.  They were pretty amazing, imho, and perfect alternative to scalloped potatoes.

The Recipe:
Homemade Cheesy Potatoes by Simply Scratch

What I'd Do Differently:
The only thing that I would do differently next time is to cut the potatoes into smaller pieces.  As you can see in the photos, the potatoes were quite chunky.  Just think they'll look yummier if they were smaller. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fire Chicken with Cheese

Korean chili peppers,  Oh yeah~
The sauce!

Skinned chicken leg. (Gross!)
Hi, I'm marinating!
On my way to becoming yummy

Green onions for garnish
The final step: gobble!
Now that I have the stress of long-winded theological essays and exams behind me, let me re-start blogging at one of my favorite places of all time - spicy.  This recipe was born out of the love of chicken and sinus-clearing spicy-ness.  It's also the place where the ramen from the famous Korean Spicy Ramen Challenge came about.  (FYI:  Korean name for this recipe = Buldak; Korean name for the ramen = Buldak Ramen)  It is probably one of my favorite chicken recipes and it is way too easy to make considering how amazingly yummy it is. I made edits to the recipe based on other Korean food blogs. 

The Recipe:
Fire Chicken with Cheese by Maangchi

Changes I Made:
  1. Instead of vegetable oil, I used sesame oil.  I will do this every time because sesame oil adds an extra flavor to the recipe which I absolutely want in this dish.
  2. I also added about 2Tbsp of mirim (Japanese cooking wine).  From what I understand, this step helps to eliminate the unpleasant odor that can come from chicken.  In other words, it enhances the flavor of the chicken.  I believe you can add just regular cooking wine from the store if you don't have access to a Korean store.  Mirim is used a lot in Korean cooking, when cooking wine is required.
  3. I also added about 2Tbsp of sriracha sauce.  One of the Korean food boggers said to add spicy sauce but did not specify which one so I thought...of course, sriracha!  Do this if you can handle the spice though.
  4. Another awesome addition was green chilies (also suggested by other Korean cooking blogs).  I chopped them up (you can see it in the pix) and added them into the chicken mix before marinating it in the fridge.  I used the Korean chilies cuz I had access to them, but I think jalapenos would work fine.  Again, do this at your own risk.  This adds another layer of ear-popping spicyness.
  5. I used regular white sugar instead of corn syrup. 
  6. I used green onions for garnish.
  7. I did not pan fry the rice cakes but I think this would be a great step!
  8. I also marinated the chicken mix in the fridge after mixing in all the ingredients (except for the green onions and the mozzarella cheese) for at least 4-5 hours.  Seriously.  No one ever regretted marinating their meat before cooking.  You can even marinate overnight. 
  9. I used pre-grated mozzarella cheese instead of mozzarella cubes.
  10. Adding about a table spoon of sesame seeds to the mix will add more pizzazz to the recipe. 
Other Suggestions:
  • You are so welcome to add onions and bell peppers to the mix.  I've also seen many Korean food bloggers add sesame leaves - which I think is just friggin awesome! 
  • When I first made this, I bought bone-in chicken legs and labored for a good long time to cut out the meat.  I did like the flavor of the meat very much but just your good ol' boneless chicken breast will also work fine. 
  • I ate it with rice (of course!) and coleslaw.  'Twas perfect!'re welcome for the recipe.  :P