Monday, July 11, 2016

The BEST blueberry breakfast cake. Ever.

It's not mine, but I'm sharing and adding my notes for y'all's benefit.

Seriously delicious and crazy easy, Alexandra knocks it out of the park!  Head on over to her blog to see the recipe in all its glory. | Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

When I don't have a fresh lemon to zest, I add 3 drops of lemon essential oil.  I think there's true magic in creaming the lemon oils (from zest or EO) with the fat of the butter - it infuses that light freshness through the entire recipe and compliments the blueberries perfectly.

I use frozen berries when I don't have fresh, I just let them thaw a bit on the counter while I'm preparing the rest - then toss with flour as directed.  (That little step keeps them from all sinking to the bottom!)

Sometimes, I make these into muffins, using If You Care large baking cups (LOVE @If_You_Care). I preheat the oven to 350F then take it down to 325F once I pop the pans in.  They take about 25-30 minutes, but start checking at 20.  You can use a toothpick to test done-ness as they won't necessarily brown a bunch.

And don't skip the sugar sprinkle on top.  They're not the same without!

Happy Blueberry Month!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sweet and Zesty Sesame Chicken

If you aren't familiar with the website yet, you should take this moment to go explore.  They are part of publishing groups like Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and more. So, they draw from lots of great, vetted recipe sources. The inspiration for this recipe came from their "inspiration" email "Not Your Mother's Chicken Skewers."  Of course, I couldn't actually follow their recipe... of course.  Kebabs sounded really interesting, but it was so blazing hot outsize, I couldn't touch the grill with bare hands.  Nix that.  Wok in the comfort of my air-conditioned kitchen! Win!

I started 2 cups of rice in the steamer...

Sweet and Zesty Sesame Chicken

2 lbs chicken, cut into bite size pieces
2 T oil for wok, I used coconut - olive is my other go-to

In small bowl, combine and set aside:
  1 T corn starch
  3 T cool water

Stir together in bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
  1/2 c dark brown sugar
  1/2 c cooking wine (sweet but dry)
  1/2 c light soy sauce
  1/4 c rice vinegar

Mix together and set aside (refrigerate any unused since it's not completely dry).
  4 T roasted sesame seeds (you can find these in large quantity, pre-roasted at your local asian foods
  market - much better value than the supermarket)
  2 T parsley, chopped fine
  Zest of 1 medium lemon, about 2 tsp.
  1/2 t red pepper flakes, I used the ones Stan keeps on hand for pizza and picked out the seeds
Mix together and set aside (refrigerate any unused since it's not completely dry).

Heat oil in wok over high heat. When hot, add chicken all at once and toss to coat in oil.  A bamboo spatula with a long handle is really nice about now.  Stir again every minute or two for 10 minutes, you might see a little color on a few pieces. Add sauce and let simmer to finish cooking chicken, about 5 minutes.  Stir in corn starch mixture, return to boil, then reduce heat to low.

Serve over rice, sprinkle with sesame mix. We had a simple green salad to round out the meal.

For the kids plates, I used wooden skewers to pick up 6-8 pieces of chicken to serve.  It was a big hit.  They both cleaned their plates and wanted more!

 Inspired by: