sweet thai chili & coconut chicken strips

gluten-free

There are somethings in our kitchen that “they” have convinced us we have to buy ready made. Many of those, like mustard or ketchup, are sometimes better left to the pros. Not that you can’t make ketchup your self, but the effort and expertise that only comes through trial and error sometimes need a lot of time & patience to perfect.

However, there are others that are so easy to make and so very satisfying to consume that it’s a pity that we let a big factory take over the process rather than venture to do it ourselves. Making a simple jam or a sauce only requires a few ingredients. Economically speaking, it might be cheaper to buy it pre-made…. but can you really pronounce all of the ingredients listed on the back? How good for you can those be? Personally, I’d rather not consume them…..

With this in mind, we made a classic, eastern sauce that goes amazingly well with most things. Seafood, chicken, noodles, salads… you name it. I am talking about sweet thai chili sauce.

I have forgotten to mention the most important thing about making this yourself… you can adjust how sweet, vinegary, or hot it becomes according to your personal preferences. Play around with the quantities to get exactly what you like. Keep in mind one thing though as you proceed, the spiciness comes from the seeds of the pepper, not the flesh, and the heat will mellow out the longer you keep it jarred.

– Mel

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chicken tamales – another challenge from the daring kitchen

Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

This months challenge proved hard for us because many ingredients were impossible to find here (in Greece). However, trying to think about ways around the problem ended up being very entertaining. Before I describe how I completely changed the recipe, I want to say that the pictures from Jolts & Jollies were amazing and I could tell the attention to detail in the preparation of the dish was amazing. I on the other hand, was ill prepared, and basically had to improvise everything. The only ingredient I actually bought was the chicken… so here is how I cheated my way through the recipe. Tomatillos were nowhere to be found, so what I used were these nice yellow cherry tomatoes that look great. I roasted them along with the onion and some green peppers in the oven with some olive oil, and they came out delicious and sweet. Here is where I am a bit proud of my cheating abilities… no one here even knew about this pastry dough mix, so I had to make it look as good as the pictures. I used butter instead of vegetable shortening and just mixed in some regular flour. Since the masa mix is described as corn tortilla mix in the recipe, (and I was all out of corn meal), I had to find a way to make it look a bit yellow. I remembered that turmeric is used widely in the food industry as a natural food coloring. So I added some along with some mustard powder and the colour came out perfect, not to mention that the flavor they added complemented the filling wonderfully. The biggest surprise came when we actually tried them and they tasted amazing, with the pastry having baked up crispy and full of flavor. I particularly liked the addition of chicken stock in the dough recipe which is something I have never seen before and makes you wonder what tastes better… the filling or the wrap.

– mel

yellow cherry tomatoes & green peppers

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chicken burritos with guacamole and sour cream

Why is it that some of our favorite foods from any cuisine always have one thing in common? Some sort of bread-like product wrapped around a filling… burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos, souvlaki, pizza -in a way, if you make it a calzone- and my favorite, Peking duck with pancakes. This week we are making burritos, a mexican dish we all know but rarely consume outside the USA or Mexico.

By the way, I would like to say that although I prepare my posts Lauren always screens them before she, and only she can press the publish button… today I did it myself, let’s see what happens….

– mel

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chicken fajitas with guacamole and sour cream

Why is it that some of our favorite foods from any cuisine always have one thing in common? Some sort of bread-like product wrapped around a filling… burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos, souvlaki, pizza -in a way, if you make it a calzone- and my favorite, Peking duck with pancakes. This week we are making burritos, a mexican dish we all know but rarely consume outside the USA or Mexico.

By the way, I would like to say that although I prepare my posts Lauren always screens them before she, and only she can press the publish button… today I did it myself, let’s see what happens….

– mel

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the incredible chicken pie

So I’m finally over the incident with the cookies. It took a while & a little bit of therapy, but I got there in the end. All I have to say is, the next time I make something sweet… I’m not sharing.

What, too mean?

In the mean time, I’m completely craving leftovers from our incredible chicken pie… that beauty of a dish didn’t last more than two days, probably because I kept eating huge slices.

Does anyone else get that, I have serious cravings for lunch or dinner items first thing in the morning. I don’t want cereal, yogurt, bread with honey or fruit… I just want steak, chicken pie, pasta bake, sushi. I think sushi for breakfast has to be my all time favorite. This morning though, I’m all about that chicken pie, yum.

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