Thursday, May 8, 2008

Buzz Buzzing About Stir-Fry

Many of the food-related sites and blogs that I frequent are members of Foodbuzz. Food what? you may say, scratching your noggin. Foodbuzz is, in the producers' own words, "the first-ever community site devoted exclusively to food and dining content—an unparalleled resource for searching, surfing and sharing with fellow foodies everywhere." Think of it as a Facebook or MySpace devoted solely to recipes, food-based reviews, and restaurants.

To make a long-ish story a little shorter, I joined up with Foodbuzz, and soon found myself recommended by Anne to become a featured publisher there. Thank you, Anne! (Also, additional thanks for teaching me what a noseminer is. This is truly an indispensable and inspired gem of knowledge!)

I'm having a good time connecting with other chefs and foodies, especially those I've already brushed virtual elbows with on other sites and forums. Check out my Foodbuzz page, which has both content from this blog as well as a few new items that you won't find here. And while you're there, I would love and appreciate your vote of confidence if you find my content worthy!

In terms of cooking, I continue to find myself putting together a number of tasty stir-fries. They seem to be mostly chicken-based as I still am focusing on enhancing the protein in my diet. I find it rather amusing, however, that I choose chicken since I usually feel horrified at the thought of touching raw chicken with my bare hands. It's worse than raw egg! I don't mind the feeling of raw chicken against my skin. Rather, it's the disease factor that grosses me out, specifically in the form of salmonella. Once I've touched the raw chicken (or egg, as the case may be), it will be quite some time before I feel comfortable nibbling finger foods no matter how much I scrub my hands with soap and hot water. I'm sure it's quite silly, but hey -- that's me!

Raw flesh aside, I have thoroughly enjoyed the chicken stir-fries that I've made for dinner recently. My first attempt was a honey chicken stir-fry based on a recipe I found on Allrecipes. I didn't tinker too much with this one -- I just nixed the cornstarch (I didn't have any, didn't feel like buying any, and felt nervous about substituting with two teaspoons flour, which is the usual stand-in for cornstarch) and served the stir-fry over absolutely delicious peanut noodles made by my friend Ed's mother.

My next stir-fry creation was a little more ambitious, and again incorporated peanuts (or really, peanut butter, which I love) in addition to the chicken. Hurrah for protein! I enjoy making these stir-fries because they're the perfect combination of vegetables, grains, and protein, and they taste wonderful. Also, they're fast -- I don't think I spent more than thirty minutes on either one of these stir-fries.

Try one of these recipes, and I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you don't like peanut butter, go ahead and leave it out. And get creative by experimenting with various sauces and spices as well as trying out different kinds of produce -- pineapple is a wonderful option, and I'm toying with the idea of some kind of pear stir-fry. Raisins, dried apricots, and both dried and fresh cranberries also make fun additions. If you come up with a to-die-for combination, let me know because I'm sure that I will want a taste!

Peanutty Chicken Stir-Fry

1/2 cup water
2 T peanut butter
4 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
6 cups frozen stir-fry veggies
1/4 cup raisins
oil/canola oil cooking spray
1 cup cooked brown rice

Combine the first 9 ingredients, either mixing by hand or in a food processor until smooth. (I whisked the sauce by hand, which makes for a chunkier result but less dish washing in the end, in my opinion.)

In a large nonstick wok or skillet coated with a generous layer of cooking spray OR 1 teaspoon of hot oil, stir-fry the diced chicken 5-7 minutes, or until the juices turn clear. Remove chicken and keep warm.

In the same wok or skillet (recoat with spray if you're not using oil) stir-fry the vegetables and raisins until crisp yet tender. Return the chicken to the pan. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and bring it to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves two, with perhaps a little leftover for breakfast! If you're anything like me, peanutty chicken sounds like a far better way to start the day than cereal. Enjoy!

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