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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stirring Things Up

I am not a stir fryer.  In fact, I am not much for Asian food in general.  Ted considers my lack of interest in Japanese, Chinese, and Thai food to be among my greatest failings.  I figure if this is my greatest failing, I'm in pretty good shape.  Besides, that's why I had kids.  Both Charlie and Kate are more than happy to join Ted for sushi or noodles.  Me... well, not so much.

Sure, I can get into an occasional California roll, but aside from that, I'm mostly ambivalent.  Maybe it's my upbringing.  We were just not sushi people.  My mother's idea of exotic cuisine was Italian food.  Asian food was just a little too out there for Patti.

Oh sure, once in a while my family would do Chinese.  This basically meant that we would load the family into the Country Squire station wagon, and go out to the local Chinese restaurant.  My mother, who was always in charge of the menu and making the really big decisions (along with pretty much every else), would order the most basic and benign shopping mall Chinese food on the menu.  There was a fair amount of chow mien and fried rice gracing our table.  We considered ourselves to be really adventurous if we strayed a little and ordered something with a little chili pepper next to it on the menu.  That item was going to be spicy and thus, far more exotic.  Spicy food, according to my mother, was always more exotic than non-spicy food.

But back to today.

I don't often make Asian inspired recipes, but every once in a while, I just go for it.  The thing that's appealing to me about these recipes is that they are often really quick and rely on just a few ingredients.  Such is the case with this recipe from February's Food and Wine.

Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry was delicious.  It was light, which was a definite plus since I'm still acutely feeling the effects of a far too gluttonous December.  And it was easy which, in my estimation, makes any recipe taste better.

While this recipe lacked a little chili pepper next to its title, I think my mother would have labeled it exotic, it being a stir-fry and all.

Recipe:  Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry
(Food and Wine, February, 2014)


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or trimmed thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Steamed rice, for serving


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce. Transfer the chicken to a platter, top with the sliced scallion and serve with rice.

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