Schezwan Chicken

 

schezwan-chicken 

Can I tell you the hardest part of this recipe is spelling the word “schezwan”?  So true.  I still don’t even know if I have it spelled correctly.  If you know the true spelling, please feel free to enlighten me!  I won’t mind at all!

Now on to the important stuff!  The food. 

My husband claims not to like any Chinese food besides sweet and sour chicken and I am determined that he does like it, he is just afraid to try anything that wasn’t simple English.  Moo Goo Gai Pan?  Nah.  General Tso?  Nah.  Really, he probably likes them all but doesn’t know what they mean so he won’t try them.  I have now broadened his horizons to my favorite Chinese eat.  I love anything spicy and this dish fits the bill perfectly.  My one word of caution is to add the red pepper with caution.  If you like spice, start easy.  If you don’t, start even easier.  The first time we made this dish with the original recommended amount of red pepper, we called it fire sauce.  It was so ridiculously hot that we had to get napkins to wipe our noses and eyes.  There may have been a cup of milk for each of us as well. 

I love strifry type meals.  They are easily adaptable to everyone’s tastes and preferences.  You can also make them as healthy as possible.  Growing up stirfry meant rice but I have fallen in love with rice noodles that you can buy at almost any grocery store in the Asian foods section.  Try them!

I like chicken and shrimp with my stirfry but my husband is anti shrimp so ours typically are just chicken. You could always use some sort of steak as well.  For three to four servings I use two medium sized chicken breasts and as many vegetables as I can stuff in there.  I like to use vegetable mixes that include water chestnuts.  I do think I am the only one the world that likes water chestnuts!  But don’t think you have to stick to just a plain old bag of frozen vegetables.  Throw in some edamame, julienned carrots, snow peas, fresh peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, or any other vegetable you like.  I like to have about 1-2 cups of vegetables per person, 1/2 cup of cooked meat per person and 2 oz of rice noodle or rice per person.  If you like more of one, just increase the quantities accordingly. 

The recipe below is only for the schezwan sauce.  Again, I caution you to add the red pepper according to your taste. You can always add but never take away.  The portion below is suppose to be for four people but we must use a lot more sauce than that because I have had to double it for our servings.  Don’t worry about the amount of garlic.  I will admit it is scary but you can do it.  It really makes the flavor so authentic.  If you buy garlic in those glass bottles instead of in the head, it is really easy to have the amount you need.

Schezwan Sauce

8 tbsp water
4 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)
8 cloves garlic, minced
 
1. Mix all ingredients in small bowl with a whisk
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat warm until thickened to desired consistency.
3. Pour over stirfry vegetables and chicken.
Note:  I prefer to keep the sauce and the stirfry items seperate as I like a lot less sauce than my husband.  This way the sauce portion is controlled to my liking and his.  If you prefer everything to be coated, after mixing the ingredient with a whisk, pour the sauce over the stirfry mixture and allow to thicken approximately five minutes. 

Crab Cakes – none of that filler stuff!

Oh again, I profess my love for crab. If you are allergic, I am quite sad for you. This will be my last post for crab for a while, so just stick it out!

Yesterday it was crab dip. Today it is the glorious crab cake.  Most people are particular about their crab cakes and for good reason.  There should not be a bunch of filler of bread crumbs and such.  There should never be anything that even resembles faux crab.  While I would love to be able to buy fresh crabmeat, I don’t live close enough to the ocean for such glorious things.  But PLEASE do not purchase canned crabmeat for this recipe.  If you have to, make sure that it is at least lump or claw meat. 

While living elsewhere, I discovered a brand called Blue Star.   They are headquartered in Miami but sell their products all over the US.  Their website is clunky and a bit non consumer friendly, but I will look past that since they sell crab meat in my local grocery store.  Do you want to know what it looks like? 

lump-meat6oz-emboss

I know, not pretty.  But it is the best option for a reasonable price. 

Because that little pouch turns into this.  These gloriously tasty crab cakes.  Crab cakes that taste like restaurant quality.  Crab cakes that don’t have a ton of filler.  Crab cakes that are making my mouth water as I type and look at that picture. 

crab-cakes

 

Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes – adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Serves 3-4

1 egg slightly beaten
1 cup bread crumbs (I like fresh, but any will work)
3 tbsp mayonnaise or salad dressing ( I like Miracle Whip)
2 tbsp onion, finely minced
1/2 tbsp parsley
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb crab meat
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. In a medium bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, onion, parsley, Old Bay and pepper. 
3. Gently add crab meat and fold into mixture.
4. Shape into 8 – 2 inch rounds.
5. Bake on a greased baking pan for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.  You can also pan fry these in 2 tsp of oil, but I find that they cook more evenly and maintain their shape much better in the oven. 

I like to serve these with some crispy baked fries.  Slice one potato per person into 6-8 wedges.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.  Bake at 450 for 45-60 minutes, turning once, depending on desired crispness.