Tickled Pink

The other night I was hungry for something simple and satisfying.  Ahhh… red potatoes with parsley and steamed cabbage with cream sauce … that ought to do the trick.  (Pardon me, my Irish is showing.)

One of the basic pleasures in life is cream sauce — white sauce — bechamel.  I generally whip up my own (with success), but I wanted something spectacular to top off my meal.  Mario Batali delivered.

(Not to my house, mind you… although, wouldn’t that be nice!)

After investing the time and “TLC” in Mario’s recipe (which was worth every second it took to produce this luscious, creamy, THICK sauce), I proceeded out to the deck to take pictures.

Wait a minute… the sauce looks pink.  (It wasn’t.)  PINK, I’m telling ya!

Was it picking up the hue from the potatoes?  Hmmm…  I adjusted angles and fiddled with the focus.

And then…

I looked up… and around.

Sunsets are the basic pleasure in life — pink bechamel and all.

Enjoying the Light,

~ Kim

A Chicken By Any Other Name

I like surprises, don’t you?  They keep life fresh and interesting, especially when it comes to relationships. ;)

But first, allow me to share an unexpected award from my lovely friend at Shirley’s Luxury Haven!

Shirley bestowed this award upon me recently (as well as the Versatile Blogger Award, which I’d previously received and passed along), so I’ll limit my acceptance to the “Cherry On Top Award” with grateful thanks for BOTH!  If you haven’t visited Shirley’s blog, please click on the link above and prepare to be pampered, amazed and delighted! 

Before passing along this award, I did some “research” and again found a variety of protocols to follow.  I’m not sure why they change along the way, but here’s what I found…

Answer this question: “If you could go back and change anything about your life, what would it be and why?”; Share your favorite photo (not necessarily food); Pass it on to 15…10…6… other bloggers; Tell 6…7…10…things about yourself, etc…

Instead, I hope you don’t mind if I make make up my own rules.  Here are five exceptional bloggers who truly put that “little bit extra” into all they do — hence the “Cherry On Top!” Please pass this onto bloggers who you feel do the same and include any or all of the above — or not.  Surprise!

1)  Isabelle At Home

2)  Basilmomma

3)  Cooking Healthy For Me

4)  The Culinary Lens

5)  ChopinandMySaucepan

Congratulations Isabelle, Heather, Ann, Mike, and Chopin & Mysaucepan — and thanks again, Shirley!  Your blogs keep me inspired, happy, cooking, and SURPRISED!

Okay, back to the topic at hand…

Back when the hubby and I were newlyweds (many moons ago), he surprised me by informing me that “chicken once a week” was often enough for him. (A surprise to this poultry lover!)  Seems he’d eaten a fair share of fowl in his bachelor days and he was ready for some meat and potatoes cookin’, ala yours truly.  No problem, though.  I’ve had free reign in the kitchen, as well as his respect and confidence in my ability to manage the grocery budget — and menus — at my discretion.  LOVE IT!  LOVE HIM!

Then one dark and stormy night…  I roasted a whole chicken.

Generally on such occasions, I’d “break it down” after dinner, freeze the leftovers and reintroduce them somewhere past Day 7 the following week.  (Or make separate meals to accommodate both of our tastes.)  The things we do for love!

But, it was late and I was tired, so I wrapped what was left of that delectable chicken and put it in the fridge.  I was also pressed for time for dinner prep the following night.  What to do…

The opposite of surprise in a relationship is familiarity.  It’s that lovely/loving quality that emerges over time, like the patina on a cherished piece of furniture or the hugged-thin spots on a favorite teddy bear’s coat.  Somehow, I just knew my man wouldn’t mind “Chicken Round Two” given the circumstances.

(It’s like those times when I’ve added an extra handful of breadcrumbs to a meatloaf or a couple of extra egg whites to an omelette) — he trusts my judgement and expects good food!  Plus, I had a hankerin’ for something chicken-y and — well — the only trick was getting around the title.  (I wasn’t being deceptive… just “creative”…  make that familiar.)

How do you not mention chicken, as in: “Sweet-Sour Chicken?”

Sweet-Sour Chicken

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (I used leftovers…)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 sweet yellow onion, diced

1 (20 oz.) can of pinepple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)

2 T. oil (I used part sesame oil/part olive oil)

Sweet-Sour Sauce (recipe follows)

Hot cooked rice

For the sauce:

1 T. reserved pineapple juice

1 T. cornstarch

1/2 c. Turbinado sugar

1/2 c. soy sauce

1/4 c. white vinegar (apple cider vinegar is good, too)

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1/2 t. ground ginger (or freshly grated ginger if you have it)

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Prepare the main ingredients first.  (You’ll want them ready to wok and roll when your oil gets hot. :)  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and seasonings; heat until boiling.  Combine the reserved pineapple juice (1 T.) with cornstarch; whisk into sauce.  (Keep whisking — it thickens fast!)  Remove from heat when mixture becomes thickened and bubbly; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil (whatever combo you choose) in a wok or large skillet.  Add peppers and onions; sauté until the veggies are nearly cooked; push to the side.

Add pineapple tidbits; allow them to caramelize a bit before giving everything a good stir.  Place cooked, cubed chicken over the top.  At this point, remove the pan from the heat and cover — since the chicken was already cooked, it only needs to reheat.

When warmed to your liking, uncover and stir in sauce until everything is coated — or serve on the side if you like.  Ladle over hot cooked rice.  Chopsticks optional.

When my hubby dearest walked through the door that night and asked “What’s for supper,” I answered with a cheerful (and truthful), “Try this!” and gave him a taste.  His reaction…?

The Man Of Few Words aka Man Of Fewer Chicken Dinners said:  “This is really good!”

After the first helping, he dished up seconds.  After the second helping, he admitted to contemplating thirds!  (Which is very unlike him.)  When he got up from the table he asked, “So what did you say this stuff was called again?”

I grinned and replied:  “Stir Fry.” … ;)

Enjoying life’s little surprises,

~ Kim

Who Ate The Evidence?

Most days, my “meal plan” consists of two steps:

1)  What can I make that’s flavorful?

and

2)  How soon can I sit on the deck?

(To say that I’m driven by leisure is an accurate assessment…)

After blog hopping all week, my inspiration from food-related chronicles was at an all-time high.  Many blogs I visited (including those of my Blog Roll buddies) featured step-by-step-photographs guiding readers through prep work to the final, mouth-watering photo.  (That takes dedication, which I know you appreciate, because I certainly do.)

Unfortunately (and more often than not), my appetite overrules my artistic inclinations.  To keep my food-blogging credibility intact, I fought the urge to lounge…  I give you:

BBQ Chicken “Before”…

Soakin' Up The Smoke

and BBQ Chicken “After”…

Done To Perfection

That’s two pictures, folks — hope you’re proud of me. :)
In concluding today’s “tutorial,” I’d like to give credit where it’s due.  A few weeks ago, I entered a barbecue sauce give-away on Miss in the Kitchen (still can’t believe I won — thank you, Milisa!) and my “prize” arrived this week.  Then I read about a super-quick-chicken-cooking-method on Jenna’s Everything Blog (which I now use to avoid undercooked chicken on the grill — thank you, Jenna!) and I was able to make this/plate this in under 30 minutes.  You can, too!
But wait, there’s more…
This was the first time I tried Slatherin’ Sauce and I can honestly say that both of their versions were wonderful.
(All opinions expressed are my own.  Batteries not included.)
Enjoying life one glorious barbecue at a time,
~Kim