Shamleless Plug

I'm embarking on a new part of my life that is happier and going in a direction! It's really refreshing.

I was married May 19th, 2012 to a great guy I met at the C.I.A and we're go excited to embark on a life together. He has as culinary degree to match my baking and pastry degree. It's going to be a Good life.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts on food and cooking. I am but a humble baker, who happens to love cooking and embraces the joy of food.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sesame Chicken Jeopardy

Brown rice is on the stove, the sauce is prepared and needs to cook. The chicken is "marinating" and the dry batter is ready to meet the liquids. Will this happen? Will I successfully prepare that crispy, sweet saucy, crunchy, so bad for you but so delicious sesame chicken?
I have a recipe and a hope. I hope that will be enough to throw together an American dish created by Chinese Americans.

Matt is slicing up Brussels Sprouts to stir fry. My only worry is the sauce wont come out sweet, spicy and tasty. But in case of something tragic we have some Hoisin and Rooster Sauce in the fridge. 
The kitchen is ripe with the mingling scent of a bleached sink, sesame oil and cooking brown rice.

The recipe for the batter and sauce was pulled from different recipes from the web. The Chinese cookbooks I leafed through at the library had similar ingredients....But being me, I have a difficult time justifying measuring a quarter teaspoon of salt or a tablespoon of soy sauce when I can just as easily do a dash and a few shakes of the bottle.I have no problem measuring something to the gram when I am baking or at a job. But when it comes to home sauce cookery you can usually get away with measuring a few spices.  

I forgot today started Chinese New Year!  I'm glad I remembered, or we'd be getting ready to eat sauteed chicken with Brussels sprouts and some kind of potato. Don't get me wrong, that's a great meal. Except when I have an excuse to eat deep fried Chinese food I rarely like to turn it down.

I really hope the sauce comes out well. We've all had our fair share of bad Chinese Takeout that tastes like they tossed your fried chunks of chicken in sweetened ketchup. Sigh....what a waste of calories. We have this place called Ching's Kitchen in town. They have the most amazing fried pork dumplings. Their vegetables always taste fresh and always end up cooked just exactly how I like them. Every protein I've eaten from pork to tofu are wonderfully sauteed, steamed or deep fried. . Their sauces never too sweet or too salty or too thick.  I know I can never copy their greatness, but I hope to manage something edible.

....This sauce is a complete pain. The liquid to cornstarch ratio is way off, I only used about an 1/8th cup rather than a quarter cup. But it was still way too thick! So now I have about 3 cups of sauce that is just 'okay'. I had to add in three times the vinegar, twice the water to make up for the thickness, and twice the soy sauce. A touch of ginger helped. But still, it's only okay.
I wonder if I called a restaurant and asked for a pint of their General Tso's, or their Sesame sauce. It would be weird and kinda embarrassing, but I wonder if they'd sell it to me. Probably not.

After squeezing in half an orange and a splash of fruit juice, the sauce is passable with the chicken, and I'm through playing with it. The brown rice is okay, but the Brussels sprouts were a little undercooked. The sauce was really thick, even after cutting it with more water and more vinegar. On one hand the meal was edible, but could have been better. But on the other hand, all that vinegar made my pot get cleaner and shinier than it has in a long time.

So there's that.

Also, this is my 175th post! Awesome!