B.L.A. (Bacon, Lettuce, Acocado) with Sun-Dried Tomato Mayo on Ciabatta Bread

I’m continuing with the sandwich making at home. Despite the horrible name that I have given this sandwich, it is nothing but horrible or blah. It’s really pretty good!

Ingredients

Sun-dried tomato mayo
Cooked reduced sodium bacon
Sliced of romaine lettuce
Ciabatta bread
Slices of avocado

Slice ciabatta bread into two halves. Slather mayo on the bottom (and top if you want) half of the bread. Top with lettuce, avocado, and bacon. Put slices together and enjoy.

Caprese Sandwich

First post back from Thanksgiving! If I learned anything from this post and the next post that’s coming up this week, photographing sandwiches are not my strongest point. I wish I could have photographed this sandwich to look as good as it tasted. I previously posted a recipe for Caprese Pasta Salad so this weekend I decided that I would try making a Caprese sandwich. Here’s how I went about it.

Ingredients

Basil pesto sauce
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Whole fresh basil leaves
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Sliced sun-dried tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes, whatever you prefer)
Whole wheat ciabatta bread

To assemble sandwich, slice ciabatta bread horizontally in half. On one half, spread pesto sauce. On the other half, spread balsamic vinaigrette. On either half of the sandwich, stack the sliced mozzarella cheese, basil leaves, and tomatoes. Combine both bread halves together and consume.

Life Outside the Kitchen: Thanksgiving Week

All the posts I have done in this blog so far have been just recipes and what I’m cooking. I thought I would start blogging a bit about myself and what my life is like. Maybe it’ll give a better idea as to why I cook the things that I cook every week or maybe it’s for people that are interested in getting to know the person behind the blog.

Last weekend started on a bad point. I got sick with the cold. I think I might have gotten it while serving jury duty. Waiting in a huge room of people, a room with very poor ventilation, it’s possible. I haven’t been sick for a while and since I moved to a new place in the beginning of October, I wasn’t prepared for this at all. Luckily I have two drugstores within walking distance of me now so I was able to pick up Zicam and start popping one of those every 3 hours. Saturday was a day of just staying in the apartment.

Sunday I ventured out to celebrate one of my friend’s birthday. He just turned 19! I went to Chano’s and picked up mini chimichangas because he loves those. One of my girlfriends baked a cake and decorated it. We gave him a pair of goggles for Burning Man next year, which will be his first burn. He really liked it. Birthday party was a success.

The rest of my week consisted of resting and recovering from the cold, blogging, cooking, running errands, working, taking pictures of what was just cooked, dissertating, posting stuff to sell on eBay, and catching up on “How I Met Your Mother”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, and “True Blood”. Yeah, I’m a little behind on TV.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. I drove to my parents house. They live about 15 miles from me but in LA that equals to an hour of travel time. Dinner was good and traditional. My mom made turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, cooked green beans, and apple pie.

On Friday and Saturday morning I hit the gym. After all the eating from Thanksgiving, a good hour run on the treadmill made me feel better the past couple of days made me feel better.

In closing, I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! As much as Thanksgiving is a nice holiday so we can all get the day off, it’s important that we recognize all that we have to be grateful for. I think that it’s important to do this everyday and not just one day a year. Everyday I’m grateful for my amazing friends. This year I’m grateful for my new job, my new apartment, and my new playa family. I hope that every day brings something new to be grateful for.

Asian Chicken Noodle Salad With Ginger-Peanut Dressing

I love salads like these. I found the recipe on Serious Eats. For the chicken, I cooked it using the Kitchn’s method. I think it’s faster and easier than the method Serious Eats used. I also added edamame to this and changed a couple ingredients to reduce sodium. The ginger-peanut dressing is the best! I also love peanuts, cilantro, and edamame.

Ingredients

For the chicken:

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or 2 cups of cooked shredded meat)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
Olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter

For the salad:
10 ounces soba noodles (or spaghetti)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup shelled edamame 

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1-1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sugar

To cook the chicken, use the Kitchn’s method. Click here.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick. Drain and rinse well under cold water.

Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Blitz until mixture is smooth.

Remove skin from chicken breasts and shred meat into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss shredded chicken with noodles, dressing, bell peppers, peanuts, edamame, scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately.

Testing: the Kitchn’s How to Cook Moist & Tender Chicken Breasts

The Kitchn posted a great article on cooking chicken breasts. It’s easy and it totally works. I will be cooking chicken breasts like this for now on.

Ingredients

1 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon freshly chopped herbs (optional)
Olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)

Equipment

10-inch sauté pan with lid

Instructions

Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness with the handle or flat of a knife.

Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts.

Mix about a half teaspoon of salt in with the flour along with a little pepper. Chop the herbs finely, if using, and mix in as well.

Quickly dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, so that they are just lightly dusted with flour.

Heat the sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the olive oil and butter. Let them melt, and swirl the pan.

Turn the heat to medium. Add the chicken breasts. Cook for just about 1 minute to help them get a little golden on one side (you are not actually searing or browning them). Then flip each chicken breast over.

Turn the heat to low. Put the lid on the pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and walk away. Do not lift the lid; do not peek.

After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn off the heat. Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave the chicken breasts in the pan. Again, do not lift the lid; do not peek.

After the 10 minutes are up, take the lid off, and tada! Soft, tender, juicy chicken breasts that aren’t dried out in the least. Double check them to make sure there is no pink in the middle. Slice and eat.

Spicy Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup with Snow Peas, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Cilantro

Now that winter has finally, sorta hit here in Los Angeles, I’m craving to have warm soups and comfort foods more often. Here’s a great recipe from Serious Eats slightly modified using reduced sodium ingredients. I also used snow peas instead of sugar snap peas because I love snow peas. I like this recipe because it’s spicy and uses a lot of fresh veggies. The result reminded me of pho.

Ingredients

24 fluid ounces reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha or other chili sauce
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 3 inch strips
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 cup snow peas
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8 inch strips
1 teaspoon lime zest
6 ounces soba noodles
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a large pot, combine broth, chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and lime juice. Bring to a boil then cook, boiling, for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add chicken and mushrooms. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, fill a medium pot with cold water. Bring water to a boil, and add soba noodles. Cook for four minutes, then drain noodles and set aside.

Add scallions, snap peas, red pepper, and zest to broth. Let cook one minute. Take off heat.

Divide noodles among serving bowls, then ladle in soup. Garnish with cilantro. Add more Sriracha or other hot sauce if you want it to be more spicy.


Balsamic Vinaigrette

Over the past few years, I have come to love homemade salad dressings. They are extremely easy to make, and I personally think they taste better than the most expensive bottle of salad dressing that you can buy off the shelf at the market. I also noticed that when eating salads with homemade dressings, it encouraged me to eat salads more often. I typically pour this dressing over romaine lettuce with black olives, garbanzo beans, and sun-dried tomatoes. It tastes great!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bottle for later use. Shake well before pouring.

Reference
Balsamic Vinaigrette