I finally came to realize and accept that my life is busy, filled with fabulous work travel, cooking gigs, writing assignments, TV and the occasional leisure trip, all things which I’m endlessly thankful for. I also came to accept that I love this blog and want to see it grow and get better. In addition to a few particular things I’m personally working on to accomplish that, I know that time is a key element. And, having established that I’m a thankful, but busy bee, I solicited the help of some friends!
I put it out there in Twitterverse; that I was looking for some some light assistance in sharing incredible recipes and stories. I received great response and got to emailing these willing gals. In the next two weeks, I’ll be introducing the 2 gals that I vetted and have so excitedly accepted the call! I’m not sure how long it’ll last or how long the gals will be so kind in sharing their time with us, but for now, this gal here is sure looking forward to what they’re going to bring to the table!
I’m so excited to introduce my friend Christina! Well, it may be a re-introductin to my more regular readers. Christina and I 1st met when I (along with two other bloggers) hostedSTIR IT28. As quick as she offered to help me with alleviating my writing assignments, Christina was one of the 1st food bloggers/chefs to selflessly sign up for STIR IT. I should have known then that she was a keeper friend. Not only does she bake like a true pro, she always bears a willing spirit and a kind word. Plus, I get to eat a lot of her goodies!
For her first post, I found it fantastic that she took up reviewing a Chinese cookbook I’ve been staring at for a year now! Though I will tackle a few in the next month myself, I’m glad Chris took a stab at it first. I don’t think she knows my late maternal grandfather was Chinese and my paternal grandmother is 1/2 Chinese, as well! A surprise to most, I have quite of bit of the Chinese influence in mi sangre… but I’ve failed to share with you some of the great Cuban recipes that are inspired by the Chinese culture very alive in my native island. I’m changing that.
Please welcome Christina Arpante, a high school administrator by day. Christina feeds her passion for baking and pastry in the evenings and on weekends. The face behind the food blog Mele Cotte and local, order-only Atlanta Sweetery, Adelina’s Bakery, Chris finds solace in the kitchen and making other’s smile with her desserts.
Since Stir It 28 , Bren and I have developed (what I think) is a great friendship, as well as a great working relationship. While our personalities are very different, we are like-minded in our ambitions, our love for food, and how it should be represented. Our similarities transfer into our enjoyable brainstorms and chats about whatever…websites,restaurants, what we’re doing, recipes, etc. And, taste testing one another’s creations doesn’t suck, either. Ha! Ha! That’s right…eating. When I am over there….food. When she comes over here…food. What can I say? It tends to consume our thoughts.
So, you can imagine my excitement when the additional opportunities to work with Bren on some projects came up recently. One of the tasks at hand included a cookbook review…or two, or three. Love that! As if I needed to have my arm twisted to hop in the kitchen…
The first cookbook I picked up was all about Chinese Food. Honestly, I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Chinese. I like it okay, but haven’t had fantastic, craving [insert dish here] moments but once or twice. And, those brief moments were only because I ended up at a China Town restaurant in Boston or New York on time or another.
Nonetheless, I always remain open to be wowed. As I began to thumb through Quick & Easy Chinese: 70 Everyday Recipes by Nancie McDermott, an experienced cook, teacher, and author of Real Thai, I became hopeful. Upon first look, the recipes appeared to be full with flavor, with few ingredients and minimal steps to follow through with toward completion. Hense, “quick and easy”, But, looks aren’t everything. Time to put the book to the test.
I chose several recipes and Bren will bring them to you in sequence of her choosing, as she is will be cooking from the book as well. I found it hard to select what to make, as there were many delicious sounding eats. Not a bad start, I would say! With too many marked as the dishes to test, three made the cut.
The Soy Sauce Chicken Wings caught my eye first, as I don’t make chicken often, let alone wings. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy chicken. Chicken doesn’t enjoy me. Ha! Ha! Even so, I decided to go for it; Soy Sauce Chicken Wings was on deck. In a word? Fantastic. The recipe was fast, not persnickety or complex, and utterly yummy. With the exception of prepping, the Soy Sauce Chicken Wings recipe was a one pot stop! Love that!
Now, I must say, I do not make it standard practice to keep soy sauce in the house. Because of health reasons, I can’t have the insane amounts of sodium found in so many brands. But, I do have the whompa bottle (my technical description for a 32 oz. ounce bottle) of Bragg’s Amino Acids. I have used Bragg’s many times as it tastes and looks just like soy sauce, and with it being 320 mg of sodium/teaspoon, I am all about the substitution.
The recipe called for wings and/or drumettes, so I went with the latter. Not paying too much attention after cleaning the chicken, I cooked the drumettes with the skin. Next time, I will be sure to remove it prior to placing the chicken in the sauce. Because the chicken was poached, and not fried, the skin’s texture was a bit unappealing. No worries, though. That’s the fun apart about trying new recipes, right?
Overall, I was excited about the end result. Because the chicken was cooked in the sauce mixture, it was retained the seasoning well and remained moist in texture. Not being a Chinese food connoisseur, I brought some over to my neighbor when I learned she was making fried rice the same evening I prepared the chicken. She and her family loved the chicken and, in fact, requested the recipe.
Good sign, right?
(all pics by Christina)
- 1 ½ cups soy sauce
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. molasses or honey
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped ginger
- 8 slices of ginger
- 3 green onions, cut lengthwise into 2-inch pieces
- 1 ½ lbs. chicken wings and/or drumettes
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the chicken. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Carefully, transfer the chicken into the pot. It is okay of they get a bit crowded in the pot, and they should be almost completely covered by the sauce.
Bring sauce back to a boil, then adjust heat to maintain a visible simmer. Simmer for 12 minutes, stirring once to make sure that the wings cook and color evenly. Remove from heat, cover, and leave along to allow wings to finish cooking in the sauce for 30 minutes. The color should deepen during that time.
Transfer the wings onto a plate/platter. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.