20130125

ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD

 
Many moons ago, when I was still a poor drone in Corporate America in Far Away Silicon Valley, my co-workers and I would often hop over to the Tau Tau Restaurant in Sunnyvale for lunch.  They had two dishes there we always ordered, The Tossed Shredded Chicken Salad and the Tau Tau Beef.
 
To this day I still remember those dishes and crave them from time to time. Since I happened to have a bunch of cilantro and some cooked chicken in my fridge I decided to try to make my own version of the chicken salad. I have to say it turned out pretty good but not quite the same as Tao Tao's recipe.  Still I enjoyed the whole plate and had another serving for dinner!
 
 I didn't have any fried rice noodles so I just quick fried some Basmati rice which I also had already cooked in the fridge and I plated the salad over the rice.  I tossed the dressing together with the ingredients I suspected were in the original though I didn't have the ratios.  Here's my recipe:

ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD
inspired by the Shredded Chicken Salad from Tau Tau Restaurant

Dressing
1/4 C. Lime Juice
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Honey
1/8 - 1/4 Tsp. Powdered Ginger
1 Tsp. Trader Joe's 21 Salute Seasoning
2 Tsp. Soy Sauce
2 Tsp. Peanut or Sesame Oil (The Sesame adds nice flavor!)
1 C. Chopped Cilantro
1/2 C. Toasted Black Sesame Seeds

Chicken
2 Cooked Chicken Breasts, Cubed
1/2 Lemon
1/2" Piece of Fresh Ginger
3 Garlic Cloves
Salt

Garnish and Presentation
Your Favorite Type of Crispy Asian Noodles (Mine are Fried Rice Noodles)
Bag of Cole Slaw Mix

Crush the ginger and the garlic cloves and toss into your pot filled with enough water to cover the chicken breasts.  Zest the lemon and reserve zest for salad later, squeeze the juice of the lemon into the water, then toss the lemon rind in as well.  Poach your chicken until tender by bringing to boil, then cooking over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, let the chicken stand in the water until it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees, about 15 minutes. Take chicken out of water and put in a covered container and allow to cool until ready to make the salad.

Warm together the lime juice, sugar and honey for a few seconds to thin the honey for blending, put this in a large mixing bowl. Add the powdered ginger, the TJ's 21 Salute Seasoning, the soy sauce and the oil and whip until well blended.  Add chicken, stir until well coated, toss in the coleslaw mix and the chopped cilantro. Serve on a bed of the crispy noodles, sprinkle on a handful of the toasted sesame seeds and serve.
This would go really nicely with my Cilantro Martini.

HOW TO TURN THIS INTO A "TINY FOOD"
Deep fry some wonton wrappers then spoon a bit of the salad on top & garnish with the Rice Noodles.
Enjoy & let me know if you try this recipe!

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20130120

TORTILLA ENCRUSTED TILAPIA with FIESTA RICE


How About This for Your Sunday Supper?

This Tortilla Encrusted Fish recipe makes your Tilapia fillet crunchy on the outside, tender & flaky on the inside and puts a nice little zing on your tongue from the spices in the crust!  The Fiesta Rice is a perfect side and I served them both up with a Chipotle Tarter Sauce!

Here's how I did it:

THE TORTILLA ENCRUSTED TILAPIA

4 Tilapia Fillets, washed and dried
1/3 Bag of Tortilla Chips (I used White Corn)
2 Lg. Eggs
Juice of One Lime
2 Tsp. Cumin Powder
2 Tsp. Chili Powder
2 Tsp. Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tsp. Marjoram
1/2 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tsp. Black Pepper
4 Tbsp. Flour

Parchment Paper
Aluminum Cooking Sheet
3 Dishes, all slightly larger than the fillets
Food Processor
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Crunch up about 1/3 of a bag of tortilla chips and toss these into your food processor.  Add in 2 Teaspoons of Cumin, Chili Powder and Onion Powder, 1 Teaspoon of Cayenne, 1/2 Teaspoon of Marjoram and Smoked Paprika, 2 Teaspoons of Kosher Salt and 1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper, then give this a few pulses until you get it roughly ground. You want it small enough to stick to your fish but not so small as a powder.
  3. In one of the dishes mix together the lime juice and the eggs. In another add the flour and in the last pour in your spicy tortilla crumbs.
  4. Set up your coating station: Flour, then egg mixture, then crumb mixture last.  Dip each fillet in the flour to coat completely then tap off all the excess. Dip next in the egg mixture and then last into the crumbs and set each fillet on a parchment lined cooking sheet.  Let these rest for about 10 minutes so the coating adheres to the fillets.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes in your pre-heated oven.
 FIESTA RICE

2 Cups Low Salt, Fat Free Chicken Broth
1 Cup Basmati Rice
1/4 Each Red Bell Pepper, Orange Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Diced Medium
1 Can of Diced Green Chilis
1/2 Red Onion, Diced
1 Tsp. Crushed Garlic
1/2 Tsp. Cumin and Chili Powder
Zest of One Orange
1 Cup Frozen Corn, Thawed*
1 Cup Diced Tomatoes*
1 - 15 Oz. Can Black Beans, Drained*
3 Lg. Sprigs of Fresh Chopped Cilantro,
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Lidded, Medium Sauce Pan
  1.  Add your olive oil to your sauce pan over a medium-high heat until it shimmers, then add in your bell peppers and onion and saute until slightly caramelized.
  2. Add in your diced green chilis, the crushed garlic and your rice and saute for a minute.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth, orange zest, diced tomatoes and rice, bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Cook for ten minutes or until the rice is tender.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the corn and the black beans.
  6. Cover and let this stand for 10 minutes.
  7. Just before serving sprinkle in the chopped cilantro.
*I choose not to add the tomatoes, black beans and corn this particular evening as I wanted a lighter rice side dish - plus I'd used up my last can of diced tomatoes the night before, lol. 

CHIPOTLE TARTAR SAUCE

1 Cup of Mayonnaise
1/2 Cup of Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce
2 Tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish

Blend all the ingredients together until mixed. Keep chilled until serving.

GARNISH

Several sprigs of Chives

ORDER OF STEPS
  1. I made Blood Orange Margaritas for everyone. What? I'm also The Martini Diva, you think I wouldn't serve a cocktail???
  2. I pre-heated my oven.
  3. I set up my coating station and baking sheet and got my fish ready.
  4. I chopped all the veggies for the rice and got them sautéing
  5. I coated all my fish fillets and set them on the parchment lined cooking sheet to rest.
  6. I added the rice and chicken broth to the rice pot and brought that to a boil then reduced to simmer. (You would also add the tomatoes here but remember I didn't have any.....)
  7. I made more Blood Orange Margaritas.
  8. Five minutes into the rice cooking I put the fish in the oven to bake.
  9. I made the Chipotle Tarter Sauce and chilled it in the fridge.
  10. I took the rice off the heat - this is where you would add the corn and the black beans (but I didn't because I just wanted a savory rice.....)
  11. I plated and garnished.
  12. I served. We ate.
  13. I made Spiced Chocolate Martinis for dessert.
  14. We drank them.
¡Buen apetito!
(& Salud!)


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20130111

CHOCOLATE CAKE TRUFFLES - CAKE POPS RECIPE

 
CHOCOLATE CAKE TRUFFLES
 
These little gems are REALLY easy and are very popular as a pot luck selection.  You can freeze a few for yourself too!  
 
You can also poke a lollipop stick into these (dip the stick in frosting first) and make cake pops. Then get some little cellophane bags & some pretty ribbon and tie up the bag!

Here's the instructions:
 
INGREDIENTS
1 Box of Chocolate (or whatever flavor you want) Cake Mix
1 Can of Chocolate (or whatever flavor) Butter Cream Frosting
1 Package of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Package of White Chocolate Chips
Crushed Nuts, Crushed Candies, Sprinkles, Cocoa Powder Etc.
1/4 C +/- Chocolate Liqueur, Raspberry Liqueur, Etc
 
DIRECTIONS
  1. Bake your cake as instructed on the box and allow this to cool completely.
  2. If you're adding a liqueur drizzle this over the cooled cake and allow to soak in for half an hour. (Drop the amount of frosting down to one tablespoon if adding liquor or leave out entirely!)
  3. Once the cake is cooled, crumble it up loosely, stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter cream frosting and mix together until the mixture forms a nice ball in your hand.  Don't squish the ball too hard, just roll it until it holds the form.
  4. If you're making cake POPS instead of truffles it's at this point that you will dip your lollipop stick in some frosting then poke into the ball halfway.
  5. Place the balls individually on a sheet pan and place them all in the freezer for an hour.
  6. Melt your semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave or double boiler until completely melted, smooth & creamy.
  7. Dip each cake ball completely into the melted chocolate. For the cake truffles I used 2 forks and let them drip through until the dripping stopped. For cake pops just tap the stick on the side of the bowl until the dripping stops.
  8. If you plan to dip your truffle/pop into nuts or candies, do so now. 
  9. Set these on a parchment lined sheet pan and place in the fridge so the chocolate will set up quickly.
  10. Once the chocolate coating has set you can then melt the white chocolate, put this into a small baggie, clip off a small point on one corner & drizzle over the pops/truffles.
  11. When this final drizzle has set up you can bag your cake pops or place your cake truffles into small candy papers.
You can make the cake and the frosting from scratch if you like, though that makes this a less easy/quick recipe.  I used a German Chocolate Cake Mix, Kahlua, Chambord and Milk Chocolate Frosting but imagine the possibilities of using different cake + frosting + liqueur recipes, adding some food coloring to the white chocolate or white frosting and having some fun!
 
 These also make great hostess gifts to take to parties!

Enjoy!
 

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