Monday, December 11, 2017

ChezCindy: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Asian chicken lettuce wraps are quite popular as an appetizer at favorite restaurants.  But they are very easy to make at home.  The lettuce wraps are a fun interactive party dish to serve for a few guests or a large crowd, or to your family on any weekday for dinner.  Most people are likely to be familiar with how to put them together. You just set out the lettuce, shredded carrots and cilantro next to the bowl of cooked seasoned chicken, much like you would for a tacos.  

Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.  Once you start cooking, things move fast and it is done within minutes.  So dice, chop, mince and measure before you turn on the heat.  And speaking of heat, I do not include any spicy pepper sauce in this recipe.  If you like it spicy, add in chili garlic sauce to  your taste.  

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
2 tablespoons oil
1-pound ground chicken
1/2 cup finely diced onion
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bibb lettuce for serving.  Grated carrot, thin sliced cucumber and cilantro for garnish.  

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the oil to the pan, swirl to coat.  Add the diced onion to the pan, stirring occasionally, cooking for about 3 minutes.  Add in the minced garlic and the grated carrot, stir to combine, cooking for 2 minutes.  Add in the ground chicken, breaking into small pieces, stirring until lightly browned and cooked through.  Add in the brown sugar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and black pepper.  Stirring to combine until heated through.

Spoon the chicken into the lettuce "cups", garnish with grated carrot, sliced cucumber and cilantro.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

ChezCindy: Classic Potato Latkes

Classic Potato Latkes

I recently demonstrated how to make latkes at my library cooking class.  What a hit these were!  But then, who doesn't like fried potatoes?  I was not familiar with latkes before I decided to make them and began researching for my theme of  Recipes for Potato Side Dishes.  Once I realized how easy latkes are to make and how delicious they are, I wondered how these savory treats had evaded my palette for so long.

Latkes are potato pancakes traditionally eaten for Hanukkah.  They are fried in oil to commemorate the Hanukkah miracle of one day's oil lasting for eight days.

 Classic Potato Latke
1 pound of russet potatoes, 3 medium sized
     peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into 3 equal pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Prepare a sheet tray lining it with paper towels and a wire rack set on top of the paper towels.  This is where the cooked latkes will be placed to cool.

To make the latkes:  Using a food processor* fitted with the grating blade, shred 2/3 of the potatoes, followed by 2/3 of the onion.  Transfer to a large kitchen towel.  Fit the food processor with the chopping blade.  Finely chop the remaining potatoes and onion.  Transfer to the towel with the shredded potatoes and onions.  Gather the towel tightly around the potato mixture and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.   

Transfer the potato mixture to a large bowl.  Add the egg, 2 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper.  Stir until well blended.  If the mixture seems too wet, add the remaining tablespoon of flour.

In a large cast iron or electric skillet, add enough oil to cover the bottom to 1/4 inch depth.  Heat the oil to 365 degrees.  Drop 1 tablespoon of potato batter into the pan, gently pressing the mound to flatten slightly.  Continue to fill the pan, allowing space between each potato mound.  Cook until the edges turn crisp and brown.  Flip to continue cooking on the second side.  Transfer the latkes to the prepared tray onto the wire rack.  Sprinkle with additional salt.  

Traditionally, latkes are served with applesauce or sour cream but are quite delicious without either.
Serve as an appetizer, or a side dish with your meal.   

*Use a standard box grater if you do not have a food process.