Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thai Chicken and Green Beans with Asian Greens

Let me say first off that young people make me crazy. Taylor always has friends over at the house. Naturally I try to make enough for all, so I started out dinner preparations by making 4 cups of rice in the rice cooker. Before I had finished cooking the Thai chicken, Taylor got picked up by his girlfriend to go to the movies and his two buddies went home. I had four cups of rice....

The other thing I should mention is about the Asian greens. I think they are big pieces of salad fixings that grew too big for salad. Look at these things! But after I wilted them in the wok, they cooked down to just a small bit of greens.Tastey, too!

I used two recipes from SLO Veg tonight: Thai Chicken with Onions and Green Beans, and Stir-fried Asian Greens. I think I modified the Chicken one by adding some diced tomatoes, sort of combining something I had seen in another Thai recipes while I was browsing this morning. It was a pretty simple dish: brown the cubed chicken breast, simmer in the tomatoes, cook the onions and mushrooms, dump that plus some canned green beans in with the chicken and add some coconut milk, lime juice and a dash of soy sauce. It came out more savory and it was pretty darn good. The greens were sauteed in avocado oil and soy sauce and served on the side.

Here are the recipes from SLO Veg:

Thai Chicken (Green Beans/Garlic/Onion) 

Servings: 4  Level: Easy  Cook Time: 18 Minutes
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 
1-inch pieces 
2 teaspoons Thai seasoning 
Olive oil cooking spray 
1 cup yellow onion, diced 
1 teaspoon crushed garlic 
1/2 (8-ounce) package fresh sliced white mushrooms 
1 (16-ounce) package frozen cut green beans, thawed 
(recommended: Birds Eye) 
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth chicken stock 
1 (14-ounce) can lite coconut milk 
(recommended: A Taste of Thai) 
1 lemon, zested 
Freshly chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish 
Directions: Season chicken breast pieces with Thai seasoning; set aside. Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add seasoned chicken, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until chicken is just cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the green beans, chicken stock, coconut milk and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are cooked al dente, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot garnished with cilantro.

*I added a can of diced tomatoes instead of the chicken stock. Also, the mushroom I used was a leftover Portabello from an earlier meal. There were five in the package but Lee just made four. Didn't make sense to me either, but since he cooked that night, I just shut up


Stir-Fried Asian Greens 

Servings: 4


1 medium-size bunch (about 13 ounces) tender
  Asian greens, such as bok choi, baby bok choi,
  baby Shanghai choi, choi sum, baby kai lan,
  or water spinach
3 tablespoons peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled, bruised until juicy with
  a flat side of knife, and coarsely chopped into
  3 or 4 chunks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 fresh red Holland chiles or other hot 
 fresh red long chiles, such as Fresno or cayenne,
 stemmed and sliced on the diagonal into thin pieces (optional, but the chiles add appealing color and 
 gentle heat; see Cook's Note, below) 
Preparation: 1. Carefully inspect the greens, discarding or trimming off any spoiled stems or leaves. Trim the bottom ends off and discard. Wash the greens in several changes of the coldest possible water; tepid water might cause them to wilt, and you want them to stay as alert and perky as possible before being cooked. (Note: Because bok choi and baby bok choi tend to have pockets full of sand in the nooks where the leaves meet the center stem, be certain to pull the leaves back slightly away from the stem when you're cleaning them. There are few things worse than a mouthful of sand when you want a mouthful of greens.) 2. Cut the cleaned greens into pieces 2-1/2 to 3 inches long. If any of the stems are particularly wide — say, more than 1 inch — or are tough or sinewy-looking, cut them in half lengthwise. If you're using baby bok choi or baby Shanghai choi, you can either leave the heads whole or cut them in half lengthwise — it's up to you. Spin the greens dry in a salad dryer or set them aside to air-dry on a kitchen towel or paper towels; they needn't be bone dry — a little dampness won't matter. 3. In a wok, 12-inch skillet, Dutch oven, or soup pot (any pot large and wide enough to comfortably hold the greens will do), heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it's hot but not smoking — it should appear shimmery — add the garlic, the salt, and, if using, the chiles. Sauté, stirring until the garlic just begins to lose its rawness, about 1 minute. (Try not to let the garlic turn golden or golden brown, which would give this dish an inappropriate roasted taste.) 4. Add the greens. Raise the heat slightly and immediately begin to vigorously stir-fry the greens around the pot. Continue to vigorously stir-fry the greens until they just begin to go limp but the leaves remain a spring-green color and the stems are still crunchy-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the type of greens. Taste for salt, adding only a pinch more if necessary (a little salt goes a long way with greens). 5. Transfer the cooked greens to a large serving platter and serve promptly. Be careful not to pile the greens in a small bowl; since the greens will continue to cook for a minute or two after they're removed from the heat, a serving bowl that crowds them may cause them to overcook and become mushy. Cook's Note:Holland chiles (also called Dutch or finger chiles) are the primary hot pepper used in Indonesian cooking. They are ruby red in color and glossy skinned, with narrow, fingerlike bodies that end in sharp points. They're about four inches long (sometimes longer, but rarely shorter) and a half inch in diameter at their thickest point. They have juicy, sweet-tasting flesh and tight, waxy skin that keeps them from spoiling quickly. Holland chiles vary from mildly hot to scorching, but they lose much of their pungency when cooked. They're available year-round in North America, generally imported from the Netherlands. If you can't find them, you may substitute any fresh red chiles such as Fresno, cherry bells, cayennes, Anaheims, huachinangos, jalapeños, or serranos.  
*I didn't have any chili peppers, so I just used some dried red pepper like you put on top of pizza. I also added soy sauce.




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