Asian Chicken Mushroom Bowls with Peanut Sauce

So unlike me, but every so often I’m looking for a quick and easy dinner!  This hits all the notes with a delicious sauce, crunchy vegetables and the bright hit of those pickled vegetables – don’t skip them!

DD Chicken 5

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 (3.5-ounce) package shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 head butter lettuce

or

  • stir fried vegetables
  • cooked rice

FOR THE PEANUT SAUCE

  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

QUICK PICKLED VEGETABLES

  • thinly sliced cucumbers & radishes
  • salt
  • vinegar (use what you have on hand, either white vinegar or rice wine vinegar

Thinly slice vegetables and place in non-reactive bowl.  Sprinkle with a little salt and then just cover with vinegar.  Set aside.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the peanut sauce, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, chili garlic sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons water until desired consistency is reached; set aside.
  2. Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground chicken, mushrooms, carrot and shallot. Cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  3. Stir in garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce and fish sauce until heated through, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.
  5. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style, drizzled with peanut sauce.

I’ve adapted (translate copied, but give credit where it is due!) this to a rice bowl from a Damn Delicious recipe for lettuce wraps …. if you haven’t been over to her site, treat yourself and go review a few recipes.   Needless to say we didn’t use carrots as Grant HATES cooked carrots so we just ignored that portion altogether.  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand to supplement the chicken mixture to create a colourful, delicious bowl.

DD chicken 2

Get everything ready to go, this all comes together so quickly.

DD chicken 3

Brown the chicken, mushrooms, onions, garlic and ginger, then stir in the sauce.

DD Chicken 6

Today’s vegetables were crunchy and delicious – use whatever you have on hand

 

DD Chicken 4

This takes only a few minutes to come together, so have your vegetables ready to go, and your rice cooked so you can put it all in your bowl within 20-30 minutes.

DD chicken 1

The leftovers are amazing in these fresh, soft pita’s I made.

Eating in Mexico City

Every time we come to Mexico, which we try to do twice a year once the cold sets in at home, we spend some time in Mexico City on the way in and out. So much to see and do in this beautiful, crazy and inspiring place.

A few of our favourite places to eat while here are:

Con Sabor a Tixtla – Roma Norte – 206 Col. Roma – near Manzanillo & Medellin
This is typical food of the region of Tixtla – state of Guerrera
On our latest visit there we realized they are starting to sell some products brought from home also, tea, chocolate, and moles.

Con Sabor de Tixtla I keep trying to get photos of their amazing food, but we dive into it as soon as it arrives!!

Con Sabor de Tixtla
I keep trying to get photos of their amazing food, but we dive into it as soon as it arrives!!

Con Sabor a Tixtla The first thing that greets you once seated is a delicious array of sauces, and pumpkin seeds that are crazy good - soaked in lime then grilled on a wood oven

Con Sabor a Tixtla
The first thing that greets you once seated is a delicious array of sauces, and pumpkin seeds that are crazy good – soaked in lime then grilled on a wood oven

Maximo Bistro – Tonala 133, Colonia Roma

We first ate here a few years ago, and it has been a struggle to get back here, but we were determined, and a bit of luck helped out.

We enjoyed two types of ceviche, one of clams, and one of octopus – both absolutely delicious and had me wanting to lick the bowl. Just not done in one of the fancier establishments!

Just a sampling of our feast, scallops on a langosta foam chicken on a bed of papas cream short ribs octopus ceviche

Just a sampling of our feast, scallops on a langosta foam
chicken on a bed of papas cream
short ribs
octopus ceviche

We followed that with:
organic chicken that was perfectly done – chicken moist and tender and the absolute crispiest skin you will find anywhere served with potato puree and a medeira reduction
seared scallops on a bed of mini cauliflower florets and draped with langosta foam
slow braised short ribs on a potato puree with rich gravy

Unfortunately, that left us too full for dessert – another excuse to get back there.

De Mar a Mar – Niza No 13 Esquina – Oslo
Another brilliant restaurant by the chef at Maximo – Eduardo Garcia of Maximo Bistrot
This time his focus is seafood.

We were greeted cheerfully by the staff and treated well – service was good without being intrusive.

Eric - one of the great servers at de Mar a Mar

Eric – one of the great servers at de Mar a Mar

Shrimp Tacos  I'm afraid my photography skills are far surpassed by my eating skills (in this photo at least!)

Shrimp Tacos
I’m afraid my photography skills are far surpassed by my eating skills (in this photo at least!)

The simplest of the dishes did not photograph very well – but fish of the day was had in 3 ways at our table:
– the simplest of those was nothing more than grilled with a bit of butter – sublime
– pan grilled with a topping of garlic and shredded guajillo chiles was slightly more complicated but flavour out of this world
– lastly we had the Mexicana style, grilled with a typical in ingredient style Salsa, but so much more complex in flavour

Each eater thought theirs was the best – hard to argue.

We have also loved:

Luminaire – President Masaryk 493 – Polanco – 11560 Ciudad de Mexico
Yuban – Colona 268 Roma Norte – 06700

Sorry – no photos available until I get back there!

Some of the best food is on the street or in the mercado though … don’t be afraid to try it.

How can you ever pass up one of these stalls, brimming with fresh ceviche, or equally appealing with tacos and tort as??

How can you ever pass up one of these stalls, brimming with fresh ceviche, or equally appealing with tacos and tort as??

Centro Historico 14 Nov 2014

With a day to play in Mexico City, we decided to head down to the Centro Historico area – the main zocalo. Initially we weren’t sure about that with the unrest in the area – but we kept checking the webcam and all looked peaceful so we decided to give it a go.

Love these pedestrian streets in Mexico City - leading from Zocalo all the way to Palace of Fine Arts

Love these pedestrian streets in Mexico City – leading from Zocalo all the way to Palace of Fine Arts

Luckily for us – it was peaceful! I’m afraid we don’t follow my brother Bruce’s mantra ….”Wouldn’t you rather be ON the news than watch the news?” No, Bruce.

Our tour guide Grant took us to a bead shop, and a fine gem shop.

Everywhere you look is something to see!  Grant and Wilson are enjoying a coffee break sitting on a massive wood beam.

Everywhere you look is something to see! Grant and Wilson are enjoying a coffee break sitting on a massive wood beam.

and … right above Wilson and Grant is this gorgeous light fixture!

and … right above Wilson and Grant is this gorgeous light fixture!

We wandered about the zocalo, toured the magnificent cathedral and enjoyed the beautiful buildings along the way.

Just one of the many sights to view inside the Grand Cathedral in the Zocalo - hand carved wood overlaid with gold leaf.  So impressive.

Just one of the many sights to view inside the Grand Cathedral in the Zocalo – hand carved wood overlaid with gold leaf. So impressive.

Along the way we stopped for tacos and headed to the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes. The building itself is a phenomenal site, but once you get in the murals on the walls and the art in the galleries is incredible.

Palacio de Bellas Artes - as breathtaking inside as out.

Palacio de Bellas Artes – as breathtaking inside as out.


In one gallery alone we saw artwork from Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Diego Rivera, and too many more to mention them all by name.

Just one of the many Diego Rivera murals inside the Palace of Fine Arts

Just one of the many Diego Rivera murals inside the Palace of Fine Arts

Having written a couple post cards for Chloe, Owen and Sloan we stopped in to the post office to buy stamps and get them posted, although we will probably get home before the post cards get there! Even the post office is the most palatial building – we can’t even imagine such a thing at home.

Even the post office is worth a tour - built in the 1500's and so elaborately finished.

Even the post office is worth a tour – built in the 1500’s and so elaborately finished.

A little siesta time at home before deciding where to go for dinner – during siesta the skies literally opened up – the rain was torrential! We tried to wait it out but when it didn’t look like that was possible we ventured out with bags over us and umbrellas held aloft. We got SOAKED. The thunder was crashing overhead – no taxis to be found, and even if we had found one the roads were totally gridlocked with every taxi in use.

Poor quality photo - but these hardy individuals are braving the torrential rain with thunder crashing overhead to find a restaurant in Mexico City!

Poor quality photo – but these hardy individuals are braving the torrential rain with thunder crashing overhead to find a restaurant in Mexico City!

My (well, our) dream has always been to return to Maximo Bistro – an amazing place we ate at a couple of years ago. The chef, Eduardo Garcia has become one of the most famous chefs in the city with his success and reservations are made months in advance, which honestly is just not our style. We weren’t too far from his place, so looking like drowned rats (literally) we took a chance that others would have been held up by the rain and we stopped in …… I was so excited that we got a table!!! Then when I took a photo of the chef he even stopped to give me the thumbs up and chat with me for a minute. Never mind that I was kind of standing in the bathroom to get the shot!

Eduardo Garcia Chef and Mastermind behind 3 successful restaurants in Mexico city Maximo Bistro de Mar a Mar Lalo

Eduardo Garcia
Chef and Mastermind behind 3 successful restaurants in Mexico city
Maximo Bistro
de Mar a Mar
Lalo

People wait months for a reservation at Maximo - we wandered in out of the rain, looking like the drowned rats we were and the empathetic Maitre D gave us a table.  We were thrilled and proceeded to enjoy a fabulous meal!

People wait months for a reservation at Maximo – we wandered in out of the rain, looking like the drowned rats we were and the empathetic Maitre D gave us a table. We were thrilled and proceeded to enjoy a fabulous meal!

Just a sampling of our feast, scallops on a langosta foam chicken on a bed of papas cream short ribs octopus ceviche

Just a sampling of our feast, scallops on a langosta foam
chicken on a bed of papas cream
short ribs
octopus ceviche


I was twitter pated with excitement. By the time dinner was over the rain had also stopped and we had a leisurely stroll home.

Today we wake up to brilliant sunny skies and perhaps a last walk around here before getting on the plane for Oaxaca.

It is only possible to attach 2 photos to each email, but JUST IN CASE anybody is interested in seeing more, I have tried to use more photos when I blog these updates:

http://www.chattykathychatsandcooks.com

After all, I have only been using my blog for the cooking part. This morning I opened up my inbox to see a flood of people now following my blog!!

Baking Powder Biscuits

Okay, here they are – by popular demand … my fantastic baking powder biscuits.  

Once you get this down pat you will rely on these biscuits for anything from a summer morning with fresh peach jam or a winter evening served with a family favourite – chili, soup, stew … every household has their own comfort dinner!

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder

Stir to blend and then with pastry blender, or 2 forks, blend in 1/2 cup cold butter (my tip: freeze the butter for 15 min ahead of time, and use the large holes on a box grater to grate the butter – instant flakes of butter)

Lightly beat 1 egg in a 1 cup measure, then stir in enough milk to reach the 1 cup mark.

With a fork, stir the egg/milk mixture into the dry ingredients – only enough to have it start to hold together.  Turn onto floured surface and … oh so gently … without overmixing … pat it together, and then into a solid shape, about 1 inch or so in height.  Using floured biscuit cutter (or your favorite glass) cut out shapes and place on floured baking sheet.

These are so flexible – if you want to add any herbs, or cheese – do so at the dry ingredient stage.  Go ahead and experiment – makes these your own family favorite!

To guarantee extra tall, fluffy biscuits, pop them into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.  The combination of hot oven and cold butter creates magic!

Bake at 400 for 15 – 20 minutes (depending on your oven – check it at 15) until lightly golden and very fluffy!  Image

Citrus Marinated Chicken

Chicken thighs that have been marinated for at least 24 hours are perfect for grilling

6-8 chicken thighs

1 generous tbsp dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 lemon, sliced

1/2 lime, sliced

1 tbsp freshly chopped herbs, i.e, basil, rosemary, parsley – experiment…

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Put all marinade ingredients in ziplock bag and give it a good squish.  Once all ingredients are smooth, add the chicken and marinate – the longer the better.

Grill and enjoy!  Serve with freshly sliced lemon/lime and chives.

Perfect with Orzo Greek Pasta

Orzo Greek Pasta

I think all pasta recipes are really just a starting point …. I felt like a greek inspired pasta dish tonight so it was off to my favorite deli.

good quality olive oil (I prefer unfiltered)

2 cups raw dried orzo pasta

1/2 cup diced fire roasted tomatoes (canned is fine if they are really good quality)

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

1/2 cup diced canned artichokes

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the tomatoes, feta, olives, and artichokes.  Drain the pasta, (reserving a bit of the cooking liquid in case the pasta needs it later).

Once pasta is cooked, toss with remaining ingredients and finish with:

freshly chopped chives, freshly minced basil leaves, a generous splash of olive oil, and salt and pepper  (if you like lemon give it a generous squeeze now also)

Serve with citrus marinated chicken, grilled eggplant and maybe even some roasted fennel for a mouth watering, but quick and easy dinner.

Toss well, taste and adjust seasonings.Image