We woke to snow again this morning. Snow is Seattle is rare...like the mister being in a good mood. He winched about the weather all morning, how sick he is of the cold and gray and how he needs a vacation. Thinking this was somehow an invitation to suggest going someplace sunny and warm, I did, "How about we fly to San Diego for the weekend?" Silly me, how could I have known those would be fighting words?!? The mister responded with, "Are you crazy? I've got our taxes to finish, do you think they will finish themselves??? Do you have any idea how much YOUR medical bills were last year? It took me three hours just to go through all the receipts!" Oy vey. One day I will learn...the mister is the master at bait and switch. You see, the mister baits me with something, today it was his weather complaints. Then I respond, as in I offered up a solution but the minute I did, he flipped his switch! That's what bait and switch means around here! The only thing we have agreed on lately has been this Sweet and Sour Chicken. The recipe is from our friend Erik, who got the recipe when he was in Taiwan. It has everything you want in a sweet and sour dish...pineapple-sugar sweetness pared with onions and peppers in a rich vinegar-sugary sauce - you'll be lickin' your lips with every bite.
We had a Chinese Cooking night a while back and this was one of the dishes we made, along with spring rolls and steamed pork buns. At our class, not only were we lucky to have great things to eat, but we had a wonderful show-and-tell with Aileen Slawson. Aileen is from Beijing and she brought so many interesting things for us to see, smell and taste...weird-to-us fruits and veggies available in Asian markets. If I had been smart I would have written everything down. But we've already established I'm not and I didn't. We tasted everything from dragonfruit to mushrooms to radishes, lychees, rambutans and longans! All very good, in an interesting-but-I'll-never-buy-them kind of way. Except for dragonfruit, I'll buy that again - so good!
Sweet and Sour Chicken - Adapted slightly from Erik Lustig
(Erik’s original recipe did not include garlic or onion. Also, Eric’s recipe called for water in the sauce, pineapple juice was substituted and while Erik’s recipe didn’t specify what type of vinegar, rice wine vinegar was used.)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 large carrots, cut into thin rounds
2 red bell peppers, cut into bite-size pieces
2 green bell peppers, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits (reserve the juice)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
For the Sauce:
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
½ cup of the reserved pineapple juice
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon corn starch (this is optional but will make sauce thicker)
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the sauce: In a medium bowl combine rice wine vinegar, sugar, reserved pineapple juice, ketchup, cornstarch if using. Mix well, season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a zip-lock style bag, combine soy sauce and egg yolks. Add chicken pieces and mix well to coat. Open bag, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cornstarch over chicken pieces, seal bag and mix until combined.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat ¼ cup vegetable oil. When oil is hot add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate. Add carrots, bell peppers and onion to the hot oil (add more oil if necessary) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and pineapple pieces, mix to combine and cook for additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When vegetables are done, pour sauce over all and add chicken back into skillet. Toss to coat. Bring mixture to a full boil, so sauce will thicken, and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and serve over rice. Serves 6 to 8.