Sunday, August 14, 2016

Arroz Chino - Chicken Fried Rice

I'm always looking for quick dinner ideas and this one is a simple one that is filling, simple, and delicious. And even better yet, my family loves it. It includes simple ingredients that are easy to keep on hand and throw together at the last minute. 


3 cups cooked long-grain brown rice (preferably left over rice. White is fine too)
3/4 lb bonelss skinless chicken breasts, diced into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced into 3/4 inch pieces
1 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 Tbsp canola oil, divided
1 10 oz package frozen peas and carrots blend
3 green onions chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 large eggs
3 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sriracha, for serving (optional)

  • In a large non-stick wok or skillet, heat 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken pieces, season lightly with salt and pepper and saute until cooked through, about 5 - 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Return skillet to medium-high heat, add remaining 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1 1/2 tsp canola oil. Add peas and carrots blend and green onions and saute 1 minute, then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Push veggies to edges of pan, add eggs in center and cook and scramble. 
  • Return chicken to skillet along with rice. Add in soy sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with Sriracha to taste if desired.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

Food has the power to take you back to a time and place of the past. And for me, this Brazilian cheese bread does just that. It takes me back to my days in Paraguay when we woke to chiperos walking the streets calling out "Chipa, chipa, chips, tres por mil, chipa!" It takes me back to the very first studio apartment I lived in and we could step off our balcony and buy this yummy freshly baked bread from street vendors for breakfast every morning. It takes me to the days Hna. Rodriguez and I would stop by the neighborhood bakery on our way home from a long day of walking the streets of our querido Paraguay. 

The first place I found this in the states was at a Brazilian barbecue place and as much as I like the meat, I must say, this is what I look most forward to indulging on when we go for Brazilian food. Although Brazilians and Paraguayans might argue that these breads are not the same (there are minor differences--the paraguayan version sold in the streets tends to be generally shaped like a bagel and has little bits of anise for flavoring), but for me, this is the closest thing I have found to Chipa in the U.S. And lately I've seen it popping up in places like Costco (frozen and ready to bake) and online ads...I got it in my head one day and couldn't get it out so I had to make some! And I've been craving it ever since. 

It's simple and delicious:
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups yuca flour (harina de mandioca) also known as tapioca flour
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tsp salt

Blend egg, milk, and oil together. Add salt. flour, and then cheese to liquid and blend until smooth. 

Pour into greased mini muffin tins (do not fill completely--about 3/4 full) and bake on 400F for 15-20 minutes. Bread will be puffy and slightly golden.

Serve warm or save and reheat till later.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pad Thai

Over the last few years, I've noticed a pattern in my cooking. In January and February, I crave Thai-inspired cuisine. I don't consider myself a huge Thai-food fan. I wouldn't say I know a whole lot about it, but for some reason I always have the craving to experiment with this type of food post-Christmas winter months. I always use shrimp. Perhaps it's a warm dish with a fresh twist that reminds me of the ocean and takes me there in the months that are so long for me.

In the past, I've made Thai inspired soups, like this one. But, this year, I was craving Pad Thai and it was a hit with everyone! (Yeah!) So I'm keeping this for the record...hoping to make it again soon!

If you want to try it out too, you will need:

  • 8 ounces Thai Kitchen rice noodles
  • 1 bottle, Annie Chun's Pad Thai sauce
  • 2 (12 oz) bags of extra large or jumbo sized shrimp
  • Vegetable oil (for sautéing)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots or fine carrot shavings (use potato peeler)
  • 3-4 eggs (beaten)
For garnish:
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves 
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts 
  • sliced lime wedges (1-2 limes)

You will also need a willing daughter to beat the eggs. ;) I love when my girls offer to help in the kitchen. And they love being helpful. 

Begin by preparing all of the fresh ingredients (chop onions, mince garlic, slice green onions, carrots, cilantro, peanuts, limes, wash bean sprouts) Set aside.

Bring a pot to boil and follow package instruction for rice noodles. This will involve boiling water and then removing the water and placing the noodles in to soak for a short time and then rinsing them as soon as they are done so that they don't get soggy. 

Clean and detail shrimp. Heat oil in frying pan and being sautéing onions until almost clear. Add shrimp and garlic and saute until shrimp is pink. (This goes quickly. Do not over cook as shrimp will lose tenderness the longer they are cooked.) Set shrimp aside in a dish and fry egg. Remove egg. when noodles are ready, place in frying pan, add egg and shrimp back in. Add pad thai sauce and red pepper flakes and heat through. 

Serve noodles with shrimp and eggs on a large plate. Garnish with plenty of bean sprouts, carrot shavings, cilantro leaves, chopped peanuts, and lime wedges.