Thai Chicken, Spinach and Rice Noodle Soup

This week’s recipe was inspired by an Asian guest that we were hosting for lunch at our guest house. As a novice learning to cook, I was always taught by the Sisters to really think about the person that I was cooking for: What would they like to eat? What would bless them? Subtle subtext here: it’s not about what I like to cook, or what blesses ME! So a gluten-free, colorful Thai soup came to mind — a recipe that I squirreled away awhile ago in hopes that some time I would have the opportunity to make it. I made a few adaptions which resulted in the recipe below.

As I was chopping, I noticed that all of the ingredients were vibrant shades of green, so I dubbed them the liturgical ingredients of ‘ordinary time’. We rounded this lunch off with a delicate spinach and spring mix salad topped with avocado, fresh strawberries and candied almonds, and pita crisps. The dessert was a homemade Mango and Vanilla Panna Cotta — a recipe that I hope to share in future weeks!

** This recipe was adapted from Once Upon a Chef **

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Thai Chicken, Spinach and Rice Noodle Soup
SERVINGS
4people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
15minutes
PREP TIME
10minutes
READY IN
25minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the shallots and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the green curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more.
  4. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and turmeric; bring to a gentle simmer. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. If not using immediately, let them sit in a bowl of cold water.
  6. When ready to serve, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Gently reheat the noodles in the microwave, if necessary (remove from water first!).
  8. Place baby spinach in the bottom of the serving bowl, place the rice noodles and shredded chicken on top and ladle the hot broth over top and sprinkle with cilantro and scallions.
  9. Serve with a lime wedge for garnish.

African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup

The other night, we made this tasty soup at the Convent in the form of a stew, with pieces of chicken thighs cooked into it, and chunks of sweet potato left intact. We loved the flavor so much that we thought we’d create our own recipe in a meatless rendition, something to relish during Lent. The result was wonderful! You can taste each subtle flavor: roasted peanuts, sweet potatoes, coriander, ginger, and tomato – a very odd collection! But when put together, a velvety and beautiful soup is born.

It’s very simple to throw together and with a little bread, cheese, and salad, you have a complete meal. Enjoy!

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African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup
SERVINGS
4-6people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
20-30minutes
PREP TIME
20minutes
READY IN
1hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Over medium heat, sauté the leeks or onions in butter until soft and translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.
  2. Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts and coriander and stir well to combine.

 

 

The Ultimate Fish Taco with a Twist

For some time now, our theater group, Elements Theater Company, has been doing their theater productions with a dinner added prior to the show.  Traditionally, this has been a plated meal tying in with themes from the play.  This summer, the show was unique – Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.  This award-winning series of solo pieces is considered a classic of contemporary drama, universally hailed for its combination of razor-sharp wit and deeply felt humanity.  The menu for this production conjured up images of an upscale Cape Cod pub food feel with a classy fish taco.  I started searching for recipes, and the one I hit on was just the right one.  The result was a colorful “box” dinner with the best fish taco I have ever tasted.  Filled with crunchy cabbage, spicy mayonnaise, sweet and sassy mango salsa and a light and crispy panko- crusted cod – this is party food at its best – all served up in a glossy black box.  Accompaniments included sweet potato fries, fresh corn and bacon salad and a homemade coleslaw.  I’d recommend this for any summer gathering.

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The Ultimate Fish Taco with a Twist
SERVINGS
8-10
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
20min
PREP TIME
45min
READY IN
1hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the mango-radish salsa. Remove the peel and pith from the limes and cut between the membranes to remove the segments. Put these "supremes" into a bowl and squeeze over the juice from the membranes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Season and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree for a smoother salsa.
  2. Prepare the pink chile mayonnaise. Put the chipotles in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lemon juice and continue to process until the mixture is consistent and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Prepare the fish. Cut the pieces of fish into 1-ounce strips or to your liking. Set up a breading station of flour, lightly beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg then bread crumbs. Once all the fish is breaded, deep-fry in small batches in (375 degrees F) oil. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  4. Place tortillas on a damp towel on a single layer on a cookie sheet, cover with another damp towel and place in a warm oven until ready to use.
  5. To serve, set up the tacos "family-style". Start with your warmed flour tortillas, assemble the fish in a pile on a plate; the pink chile mayonnaise in a bowl; and mango-radish salsa in another. Set a pile of shredded cabbage, cilantro leaves (opt) and lime wedges next to the fish. Have fun building your own tacos.

recipe adapted from Tyler Florence

Crispy Black Bean Fritters

One of our cooking sisters has made it her “mission” to incorporate healthy foods into the convent diet and get people to eat things they would not naturally choose-by making them into tasty, attractive dishes. She certainly succeeded yesterday, so much so that I never got to taste her crispy black bean cakes because I was late to lunch and there was not a one left to even sample.

However, all the Sisters who had them insisted they were fabulous and that they must be written up as a blog…..so here is the recipe…..Let me know what you think.

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Crispy Black Bean Fritters
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Ingredients

Instructions

P.S. Black beans have been proven to significantly aid the digestive system.

Savory Herbed Chorizo Chicken

Sometimes color can be almost as important as flavor in producing a successful recipe.  That is one of the reasons I find so much joy in using fresh garden vegetables, whether they are cooked into the dish or simply used as a garnish or an accompaniment.  Fresh herbs can also enhance an otherwise plain or ordinary entrée.

Right now our gardens are rich with a profusion of healthy herbs — so lush and fragrant that when I am in the midst of them I understand why Paddington, the cat, would often lie right down and roll around in a bed of them. I love to keep a collection of freshly picked herbs in front of me on the kitchen counter where I can bury my face in them from time to time and remember to include them in whatever I may be cooking.

Today I am making savory herbed chorizo chicken breasts using both garden vegetables and herbs to notify both the eye and the palette.

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Savory Herbed Chorizo Chicken
4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves ½ teaspoon salt, divided ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Cooking spray ¼ cup Mexican pork chorizo, casings removed ¼ cup sliced onion 2 tablespoons diced carrot ¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper ¼ cup diced red bell pepper ¼ cup white wine 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
18mins.
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
  3. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  4. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.
  5. While chicken cooks, heat a large skillet over medium – high heat.
  6. Add chorizo; cook 1 minute, stirring to crumble.
  7. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, onion, and carrot; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add bell peppers; cook 1 minute or until crisp-tender.
  9. Add wine, cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  10. Spoon chorizo mixture over chicken; top with cilantro or any choice of fresh herbs ( rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage)

Asian Chicken Salad

Now that spring is definitely here to stay we want to turn to warmer weather needs—dishes that are fresher and lighter and require less cooking. Here’s where plump tender chicken breasts can be so accommodating—offering endless possibilities. Last week one of the sisters gave a “Birthday Gift” lunch to a young community girl who loves Asian food. The result  was a delicious and attractive chicken salad. That inspired me to have something similar made for the convent lunch the next day. Both versions were a success, similar in some ways, yet each quite different in others. Here’s my Basic Asian Chicken Salad that you can alter to your liking—adding to or taking away any ingredients that do or don’t appeal to you.

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Asian Chicken Salad
SERVINGS
2servings
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servings
COOK TIME
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Chop or thinly slice grilled chicken; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the spicy ginger dressing.
  3. Add the cabbage, chicken, carrots, spinach, tomato, mint and cilantro to the large bowl and toss gently.
  4. Top with mango slices and roasted peanuts. Garnish with scallions and roasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.