The Spicy Chronicles Continue–and A Twin Too!

What a nice Saturday morning! For once there is not a cloud in the sky. I hear a little bird chirping, it almost feels like spring truly is on her way. The frozen left over snow isn’t even bothering me!

Bonaparte still has his cold and the prep work for our dinner has already been started. Tonight, I’m making my version of Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken. My friend and ex-coworker, Nam, gave me a basic recipe a while back, and I’ve added and improvised to fit our tastes! I’ve written the recipe down for you in the best way that I could. It’s funny-when I’m cooking a meal, I’ll follow exact instructions the first time I make it—then I’ll play with it from then on. Luckily Bonaparte and I both like our spicy food “spicy”! Just like us–woo woo!

Wonder-50-Chili-Pepper-Static-ImageThis recipe is hot stuff!–Well, not TOO hot!

I also want to say that sometimes lemongrass can be difficult to find. I’ve been lucky in finding it at Wegman’s. I’ve been even luckier to have another ex-coworker give me some from his garden.

Lemon-grass-sliced1

Lemongrass stalks–they can be difficult at times to track down!

What I did find was a “condensed” version of lemongrass in a squeezable tube. I use it when I cannot find the real deal.

us-organic-lemon-grass-tube

This is a GREAT alternative to the actual stalks of lemongrass.

Now, listen to me on this. Please. Real lemongrass is very fibrous, and is difficult to cut thinly. It is used for flavor because it is extremely aromatic—and it gives a lovely, lovely taste to the dish you are making—so my advice is this: If you see a recipe that calls for lemongrass, hunt that stuff out because it is needed. However, if you can find the squeeze tube of lemongrass, purchase it! You still get that great aromatic flavor without the fibrous feel and texture of the stalks.

Here’s my recipe:

Ingreeds: 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 2 ounces fish sauce. 2 ounces Chicken Stock. 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. 2 ounces Grapeseed oil. 1 red onion, peeled and cut into larger pieces. 1 glove of elephant garlic, peeled. Lemongrass (either the tube or 2 stalks of lemongrass 1 stalk minced and the other stalk cut thinly on the diagonal for garnish). 4 or 5 serrano peppers, sliced-3 for the marinade and the rest for garnish. 2 ounces of Sake or other rice wine. 2 tablespoons of fermented red pepper paste (can be found in the Asian aisle of supermarkets). 1/2 cup of Coconut milk (you can use the lite kind if you want)2 green onions, sliced and cut on the diagonal. 2 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, chopped for the garnish.

Ingreeds all

It may look like a lot of ingredients, but after the initial purchase, you’ll have these on hand for future use. It’s all good!

Breasts and thighs cut up

For the most part, I cut the fat off the chicken, but I leave some on–a little is good for flavor!

NOTE: I realize this looks like a ton of ingredients, but you will have them for a long time—so it’s good for future cooking purposes. Also, if you chopping skills are garbage like mine are kitchen shears are the way to go. I swear to you, I use shears for cutting meat, and the green onion and so many things. Just wanted to share that with youJ

  1. First make the marinade. Get a large bowl. Into the bowl, measure out the fish sauce, stock, oil, fermented pepper paste, a good squeeze of the tube of lemongrass—or one stalk of the minced lemon grass, the sake, the sliced serranos, the green onion (set aside a few slices for garnish) and sugar. Whisk together and put it aside.

Squeezing the lemongrass into the marinadeAdding the lemongrass to the marinade–I used the squeeze tube!

whisking the marinadeWhisk and set aside.

OK—next make a paste out of the peeled clove of elephant garlic (As I’ve stated yesterday, I like elephant garlic because it’s milder). Cut the clove lengthwise in half and discard that middle stem. Continue cutting the garlic and place it in a mortar of a mortar and pestle set. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can make a paste by chopping and pounding down with the blade of a knife). Sprinkle a bit of salt to speed of the making of the paste. Add the paste to the marinade mix and incorporate by additional  whisking.

Garlic ready to be pounded into a paasteSprinkle a bit of salt, and grind till a soft paste is made. Then add to the marinade.

Cut the chicken on about 2 to 3 inch chunks and add to the marinade.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Ready to pop into the fridgeChicken added and ready for the fridge!

ANOTHER NOTE: See this “Stretch-tite” plastic wrap? I purchased it at Wegman’s on a whim. It was $2.89 for 250 feet. I’m so disappointed in “Glad Wrap” it doesn’t cling! Anyway, this “Stretch-tite” brand is amazing!!! The “cling” is greatness and it sticks solid. I’m sold on this stuff! Just wanted to share!

Stretch titeThis is the best-ever cling wrap! I love it.

While the prep work is being done, take the red onion, peel it, cut it into big pieces and put it in a Ziploc bag and place in the fridge—this way you’ll have less work to do later!

Red onion cut and baggedPreparation makes cooking so much easier–and less messier later on!

Cooking time!   Pour a tablespoon of grapeseed oil into a Dutch oven and sweat the red onion.

Sizzling onionsSweat that onion!  BTW, I love my Le Creuset Dutch Oven, it cooks very evenly and looks nice at the table as well.

When the onion is transparent, take the chicken from the marinade and brown the chicken.

Chicken browningBrowning the chicken but saving the marinade.

DON’T THROW THE MARINADE OUT! After the chicken browns, add the marinade. Add the Coconut milk and cook for about a half hour on a low heat. If you want, you can add more pepper past to taste or play around with the recipe.

Adding the coconut milkPour the coconut milk in, stir and let cook!

Serve on a platter, spoon some of the sauce over the chicken, and put the rest of the sauce in a gravy boat. Top with chopped peanuts, the remainder of the green onion, lemongrass and sliced peppers.  Serve with Jasmine rice on the side.

Jasmine rice

Jasmine rice–yum. So aromatic!

I will post a picture of the completed dish tomorrow. The food is cooking now and we will be eating later on this evening.  The good thing is that you can make this ahead of time and reheat before serving!

Remember the bookcase we purchased for the family room? Well, we purchased its twin! I put a deposit on it during the week. We went to  Vintage Home  and paid the remaining balance earlier this afternoon.  The moving company we use will be delivering it next week! I’m so excited!

Twin gets delivered next week!I’m so happy we will have a twin to this!

We watched the first two episode of House of Cards last night. It’s somewhat slow but hopefully the pace will get faster!

House-of-CardsThat Kevin Spacey is a spicy fella, he is!

….and speaking of Spacey spicy,  I’ve used so many hot peppers this weekend that…..I can only give you a song by…..the………………Red Hot Chili Peppers! (One of the greatest American bands of all time!) XOXOXOXO!

I gave my recipe away—Give it Away!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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