Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Kitchen Post - Recipe the First

Last night we watched the movie No Reservations basically about chefs trying to have a relationship and while I didn't come away thinking it was cinematic genius, I did appreciate that it was a clean movie. That and it reminded me that while our blogspot name is The Kitchen Post and it is not a blog about food, some might expect to see a recipe or two on here. While I am in no way a pro in the kitchen, I do love to cook and I love a variety of foods (except for seafood but as I stated earlier, I'm trying to be more open-minded).

Angelique (Aedan's cousin's cousin so we just call her a cousin) and Aedan try out their chef skills in their pretend kitchen

So I figure the first recipe that I post on this site better have some significance right? It has to be something good obviously, something that represents us, a favorite of ours, something unique but not too exotic that it is impossible to find ingredients for, something that can display a new technic for all you experienced cooks, something that pleases every member of the family, and something that is not only to our liking but to that of others. Wow, I'm making this too hard on myself. Well after some thought, I would have to say that the dish that fit all of the criteria (the kid friendly part is especially important) would have to be Chinese Cashew Chicken. It is slightly sweet with a wide variety of bite-sized veggies, chicken, and toasted cashews, perfect finger food. It is also of the Chinese variety which highlights a bit of our heritage and it is relatively easy, in fact the hardest part is chopping all of the ingredients. So here you go, and be sure to add your comments or suggestions! I'll be posting some more Chinese food favorites (more popular with the adults) in the future due to some recent requests but this will have to do for now. The only sad thing is I don't have a picture of this as it is very colorful so I'll plan better next time. This is kind of a mixture of my mom's recipe, one I found online, and our own personal tastes. *disclaimer, I don't follow recipes to the exact measurement and usually trust my gut (in this case referring to taste testing) on this one.

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

4 medium dried shiitaki mushrooms

for the chicken portion
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp chicken stock
2 tsp water
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 Tb sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bitesize pieces

1/2 cup water
1 Tb chicken stock
2 Tb Hoisin sauce (or if you don't like the sweetness, use oyster sauce)
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil or regular vegetable/canola oil
1 Tb cornstarch or arrowroot

1/2 cup unsalted cashews (I think we do more than this though)
cooking spray

for stir frying
2 Tb oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cups fresh snow peas, ends and stings removed, choped into small pieces
2-3 cups chopped zucchini, peeled carrots, yellow squash, etc. (I kind of eyeball the amount here)
1/2 cup sliced baby corn
*The trick is to cut everything (chicken, veggies, mushrooms) to roughly the same size in this recipe)
  1. Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for 15-30 minutes. Drain and snip off the stems and discard them. Cut mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, stock, water, pepper, oil, and cornstarch. Add chicken and toss to coat. Allow to stand 15 minutes to blend (this is a good basic marinade for chicken used in chinese recipes I have found).
  3. In the meantime, combine the 1/2 cup water, stock, hoisin, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. Combine the cashews and cooking spray in a glass measuring cup or on a plate and microwave on high for 1 minute (yes microwave, it is fun). Stir. Microwave another 1-2 minutes or until the nuts have toasted, stirring as needed. Make sure you get a nice brown toastiness on these, pick out any burned ones. Set aside. (sure you can toast these on the stove but now you know you can toast nuts in your microwave)
  5. Heat work or stir fry pan and add 1-2 Tb oil. When oil begins to give off a haze, add garlic and stir. Quickly add chicken mixture and stir-fry until chicken is done, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken to serving platter. Add vegies and mushrooms to the wok and stir fry a couple minutes (you want slightly cooked but still firm, no soggy veggies here) and then add the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until it thickens and gets transparent. Add to chicken mixture, stir in the cashews and serve with cooked rice (we prefer Jasmine).

So I'm curious, if you were to decide on one single dish to define your family what would it be? :) I think I'm going to have to do this in a dessert another day....


  1. I love the picture! I would love a copy of it. Your blog site is amazing! Not a big surprise, but! You are such a professional.
    The recipe looks great! I am excited to give it a try. David especially loves cashews.

  2. So what would you do if we were on your door step because of your invite for dinner? Wouldn't that be funny! I am sure all your meals are wonderful and I am anxious to try this one. Yummo! Do you cook amazing meals like this every night? Oh and also next time you are in town we would love to get together!

  3. terica, we would love it if you showed up! but if the only reason why you would drive a few hours was to have dinner with us 1)we'd feel extremely honored, 2)we'd better cook up a feast to make it worth your time, 3)you best stay for some Kitchen family fun afterward! We'll let you know when we are down next!

  4. Other than Cashew and Veggie, you can try Pine Seed and Celery

  5. I think the dish that would best describe the Thorpes would be a cheese fondue. We love bread and cheese more than anything- in fact, it's what we're having for dinner tonight!


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