Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chicken and Eggplant - not Changs, but good.

I get a lot of hits on this site from people looking for the great PF Changs Eggplant and Ground Chicken recipe. Sorry folks, but I don't have it & I don't know who does. If you do, please let me know.
What I DO have is this recipe, though, for Chicken and Eggplant. I've made it many times over the years and while it's not Changs' it not bad at all. It's got some of the heat (you can add as much as you like), and the texture is ok, too. Thought the recipe calls for chicken breasts, I use usually use a mixture of breast and thigh meat.

I think using dark soy, adding some hoisin, and not sweeating the eggplant as long would put it closer to Changs'.


From Good Housekeeing Magazine, September 1993, “Chicken Festival Cookbook”
Makes 6 servings
6 medium-size skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves (about I pound)
6 medium-size baby eggplants (about2 pounds) or 2 small eggplants(about 1 pound each)
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon grated, peeled ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup regular long-grain rice
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Oriental sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Prepare rice as label directs; keep warm.
2. Cut chicken-breast halves length wise into ½ -inch-wide strips. Cut each baby eggplant lengthwise in half. (If using regular eggplants, cut each crosswise in half, then length wise into 1-inch-wide strips.)
3. In 12-inch skillet over high heat in hot salad oil, cook chicken until lightly browned and it loses its pink color throughout. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to bowl.
4. In drippings in skillet over high heat, heat eggplant, garlic, ginger and ½ cup water to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and eggplant is very tender, about 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in cup, with fork, mix soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, Oriental sesame oil, and cornstarch until blended.
6. To eggplant in skillet, add cooked chicken, soy-sauce mixture, and crushed red pepper; over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook stirring until sauce boils and thickens slightly.
7. Serve chicken mixture with rice.

The nutritional information and the original recipe as it appear in print in 1993 can be found on the Good Housekeeping site.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale, Garlic and Sausage

This is another of our cool weather favorites. The textures, aromas and tastes in this dish all combine to create a refreshing melange that's warming and incredibly flavorful. And it was a great way to use kale, which around here, is usually inexpensive and plentiful. I saw this recipe in Redbook Magazine's February 2000 issue. I didn't really notice the recipe at first & it wasn't really the kind of recipe I would normally have paid much attention to, but the photo...Oh the photo looked delicious. I saw that picture and I wanted a bowl of whatever it was! A few weeks later, I made the recipe and we've been hooked since. I wish I still had the original magazine so I could post that photo, but all I have left is a photocopy. I'll try to take a shot next time I make it (probably in a couple of weeks).

The remarkable thing with this recipe is that I don't change a thing (Well, ok, sometimes I use a bit more smoked sausage...). The recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic. Finally! Why, oh, why would a recipe call for only 1 clove of garlic?!? What good is that? I love garlic,so I use a lot of it, and this recipe calls it right - 3 cloves. 3 LARGE cloves. Yum.

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale, Garlic and Sausage
8 ounces of Kielbasa, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 19 ounce cans of Cannelini beans, rinsed & drained
(great northern work, too, if that's all you can find)
2 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth
4 cups of chopped kale

1. Brown the sausage in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. I brown it until the bottom of the pan starts to turn brown with the cooked fat.

2. Remove the sausage from the pan to a bowl.
3. Add the oil to the pan and add the garlic. Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds. Don't let it brown! (it will turn bitter if it browns!)

4. Add some broth to the pan to deglaze it, scraping up as much of the browned bottom of the pan as possible, adding more broth as needed. Then add the rest of the broth.

5. Bring the broth to a boil.
6. Add the beans & reduce the heat to bring the beans and broth to a simmer.

7. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
8. Remove 1 cup of soup, including some beans, to a blemder and puree the mixture until smooth.

9. Stir the puree back into the soup.

10. Add the sausage back into the soup.
11. Add the kale to the soup and simmer util the kale is just tender, then serve.

This makes 6 1/2 cups, and goes great with a nice crusty bread.


A non-food related post - THE double play!

This has nothing to do with food, well other than remind me how good the hot dogs were at Shea stadium when I was a kid. Last night (Wednesday 10/4/06) the NY Mets catcher Paul Lo duca pulled off the greatest double play I've ever seen. I haven't been a big baseball fan, other than the October classic, for a long time. Seeing this play reminded me of how good the game can be. Just click to watch...