Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chinese Bar BQ Grilled Pork Loin and Tangy Asian Slaw w/ Sweet Chili Bacon Ranch Sauce

Ever wondered how they get the skewered meats this color that you find in Chinese restaurants and buffets?  How many of us have said or have heard someone say " There is no meat that color and I'm not eating it"! Lol, I assured many friends and family that the color was from a marinade and not some mystery animal meat, familiar only to those eateries, but I knew that I needed some solid proof!   I had always enjoyed the meat on a stick variety from these restaurants and was determined to find that taste out here in the real world.
As you would imagine, the supermarket is one of my favorite places, especially the ones in areas with diverse cultures and traffic to accommodate the products they carry and I hit pay dirt.  About 1 1/2 years ago, I was in a Kroger in the Smith Mountain Lake area and while cruising the Ethnic Foods Aisle, found the brilliantly colored packet, harnessing the flavor I longed to create at home.  The marinade itself is chock full of amazing flavors like garlic and onion powder, sugar cane, spices and of course food coloring. It is actually a product of Hawaii!  The Marinating time varies depending on the time you have to dedicate to the dish and the intensity of the flavors you want to penetrate the meat.  Generally the time runs from 4 to 24 hours for maximum taste, overnight sometimes being the most practical. 
I have prepared boneless and bone in proteins, including ribs, chicken and pork cuts.  The exploration yielded many memorable and different dishes with fantastic results.  I reinforced the flavor profile by adding some fish sauce and seasoned rice vinegar, two items I LOVE cooking with which also cut out physically adding salt, the vinegar helping to develop the color. 
I paired an original recipe and sauce combining some of my favorite Asian ingredients .  They complement the marinade well and also other dishes you may enjoy at home.
Recipe for Tangy Asian Slaw:
8 cups julienned green cabbage
2 small carrots, grated
1/3 c. seasoned rice vinegar
1/3 c. fish sauce or to taste
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. sugar or to taste
2 tsp. sambal oelek or to taste
combine all the wet ingredients in the bottom of a large container with lid.  Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  Add veggies, but DO NOT MIX, until ready to serve. This keeps the cabbage extra crisp and the flavors incredibly bright.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, then toss and shake until well coated.  Serves plenty!  Recipe may be halved for smaller families, however this slaw is fantastic up to several days later.
 Sweet Chili Bacon Ranch Sauce:
1/3 c. Sweet Chili Sauce
1/3 c. Bacon Ranch Dressing
1 tbsp. Sriracha or to taste
Whisk ingredients together and serve alongside your favorite protein or as a dipping sauce. Makes about 2/3 cup. 
Happy Birthday to my nephew Justin today, and my daughter Genesis yesterday!XOXO:)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chipotle Chicken and Caramelized Onion Wontons

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite appetizers, buffalo wings.  I love the zing of the hot sauce , muted only by the cooling creaminess of the Bleu Cheese or Ranch dressing, followed by the snapping crisp crunch of celery.  This recipe is easy to assemble and may easily be adjusted depending on crowd size.  Sweet Asian Chili Sauce really adds to the overall effect and packs a mean punch of heat to pair with the smoky hot of the chipotle and the sweet heat of the sriracha, but feel free to adjust the heat to your desired level.   This dish rivals any pub style wing fare, no bones about it!
1 lb. fresh cooked and shredded or canned chicken breast
1 large onion, thinly sliced, about 2 cups
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 green onions, trimmed and  thinly sliced
1/2  tbsp. Sriracha
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 chipotle chile, seeds removed, finely diced or minced, plus 1/2 tsp. sauce in can
Olive oil for drizzling
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
oil for frying
Heat Oil to 375*F
While oil heats, In a large saute pan over medium high heat, drizzle in a little olive oil and add butter.
Add Onions , brown sugar and SPST.  Cook onions until caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes.  The onions will be reduced to about 1/2 cup.
 Combine all  filling ingredients in a folding fashion.  Prepare for assembly.
Assemble wontons according to package instructions using about 1 1/2 tsp. filling per wonton.
Cover prepared wontons with damp cloth while prepping the others.
Fry in batches, until golden, drain on paper towels.
Makes about 40.
Serve with Bleu Cheese and authentic Sweet Chili Sauce.