A Bit Of Heat

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I have never been accused of having a green thumb or any other green limbs; however I certainly appreciate those who do. I prefer to spend my efforts cooking the outputs :). A coworker of mine shared her wonderful Chinese peppers which inspired me to make my take on chicken and broccoli. Please see the ingredients and directions below for a serving of two. You can always add-on for a larger group or for more meals during the week. Be sure to share your thoughts and like and share the post.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of brown or white rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 head of broccoli (or 1-1/2 cup of frozen broccoli florets)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breast if preferred)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup of sliced peppers (use the heat range of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Rinse and bring rice to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt to rice once it begins to boil, lower heat to low and top up. Set timer for 20 minutes.
  2.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. While the oil is heating, rinse and season chicken on the top side with salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and optional paprika in a light coat. (You do not want the seasoning to be clumpy and heavy on the chicken.)
  3. Add chicken to hot pan, seasoned side down. Lightly season the other side with the same ingredients. While that cooks for about 2-3 minutes, put on gloves and slice a small onion (Do not dice).
  4. Slice hot peppers in half and remove some seeds to control the heat level. Slice the peppers into thin strips.
  5.  Flip chicken to brown on the other side for about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add sliced onion and peppers to pan, add a half of the water and cover. After about 3 minutes, move chicken and veggies to one side and add  broccoli. If using fresh broccoli, add the other half of the 1/4 cup of water. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Place chicken on top of broccoli so the broccoli is closest to the heat. Top and let cook for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Stir pot and test broccoli for tenderness. Remove the pot from the heat as the broccoli and chicken will continue to cook with the residual heat.  Plate rice and chicken with vegetables on top.
  8. Enjoy.

Tips:

  • Paprika can be a great seasoning to add color to your dish. It will also take on the other flavors in your dish. You can also add cayenne instead for some added heat.
  • If you use the cayenne, on the chicken, I would recommend swapping hot peppers for some mild, sweet red and yellow bell peppers.
  • Chicken thighs tend to be more flavorful and moist than chicken breast which is why I chose that cut of meat for this dish.

A Bit Of Help

Yesterday while walking a friend through the process of making the corn maque choux recipe, she thought I should share a few tips I have found helpful while cooking.

  1. When peeling an onion to dice, cut off both ends, then stand the onion up on one of the flat ends. Cut the onion in half before peeling each half.
  2. Cut off a thin slice of the bottom of a tomato to stablize it for slicing.
  3. Buy a box of latex-free gloves for use when peeling shrimp, chopping hot peppers or handling protein.
  4. Stock up on sandwich, quart and gallon-sized storage bags. Those are very useful for freezing extra diced onion for later use, or chicken breasts or thighs in appropriate servings. i.e. A single person may freeze two pieces together (dinner and lunch), whereas a family of 2 may have four pieces per bag.
  5. Lightly sprinkle seasoning on a dish to allow even distribution.
  6. When searing fish or other proteins, allow the pan to get hot with the oil to get the best sear or color on your meat.

As before, feel free to share your thoughts, or any other tips you have found useful that others may as well.

A Bit Of Fresh

This blog has been a long time coming. I’ve been asked multiple times to share recipes for all of the images I take and post on Facebook, so here is my first stab. Thank you to my friends and family for the wonderful support with sampling my creations over the years and for encouraging me to share my love of food with others.

I love to be inspired by things around me, especially food; going to my local Farmers Market can be especially exciting because I experience the fun of coming up with something on the spot based on what’s available. I created my take on Corn Maque Choux, a particular favorite, after being inspired by the great produce available. The ingredients and the directions are listed below. Feel free to share your thoughts and to make this dish your own.

Ingredients:
4 ears of corn
2 tomatoes
1 small bell pepper
1 small onion
2 tbsp. of chopped green onion
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup of water if needed
Directions:

  1. Shuck corn by pulling back husks and rinse thoroughly. Place in a bowl of water (for approximately 5 minutes) to remove additional strings from husk.
  2. Slice and dice onion and bell pepper while corn is sitting.
  3. Pour out water and place the corn on a paper towel. One at a time, place an ear of corn in the bowl vertically. Cut corn from the cob using a downward motion. It should be four sides per ear of corn. (Watch your fingers.) Once the corn has been removed, run the back of the knife over the corners of the cob ( the non-sharp side) to pull any extra liquid from the cob.
  4. Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper to pan and let soften.
  5.  While the onion and pepper are cooking, cut the tomato by starting from one vertical tip to the other end, curving your knife around the seeded center. You should have 3 to 5 strips depending on the size of the tomato and the entire seeded center. Save centers for salads during the week.  Slice and dice tomato into similar sizes as the onion and bell pepper.
  6. Add corn and tomato to pan. Add seasonings and stir the mixture. Add half the water and reserve the rest if the mixture begins to stick. Let mixture cook for 12 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

This dish can be served over rice or beside the protein of your choice. Personally, I like a nice fillet of fish that’s been seared in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and parsley.