Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fusing recipes with your own taste

The best thing about having the skill of cooking under your belt and CREATIVITY in your taking a recipe from another source and adding your own creativity to it. Sometimes I see a recipe and I don't like a certain ingredient or I have everything in the recipe except for ONE item and I need to substitute....all sorts of reasons to change a recipe sometimes.

It's funny.... some inexperienced adults I run into won't cook something for they don't have one thing in the recipe and they won't even attempt to make it....

Novice Cook: "Oh I saw this cool chicken recipe and I didn't make it because I didn't have those red pepper flakes."
JennyMac: "Do you have black pepper?

NC: "Yes"
JM: "Did you have cayenne pepper?"

NC: "Yes"
JM: "You could have used any one of those to substitute in the recipe. It's not like you didn't have CHICKEN, you know."

NC: "Really? I didn't know. I thought you have to follow a recipe exactly."
JM: "Nope, there are no rules to cooking (not baking, but that is another conversation). Of course, if a recipe tastes badly and you didn't follow it don't really know if it was the recipe or your change...but in your small spice that adds can keep tasting it until it's to your liking"

NC: "Wow, I should have called you."
JM: *Smiles, with thought bubble.....hmmm, sounds like they were just looking for an excuse to NOT cook*

Oh well. I am not looking to be everyone's 'phone a friend' when they have cooking questions. LOL

[Amazingly enough, I do get more requests for people wanting me to fix their clothes!!! And I am not talking about my close friends.... out of a staff around 80-90 people...occasionally staff I rarely ever see brings me their mending issues. Can you believe that? I always tell them "um you know, pretty much all dry cleaners do this type of stuff." Then they stammer a bit and say "OH, but I would PAY you. I didn't want you to do it for free" Thinking to self....'they want to pay LESS, is what they want' So depending on the mending I do it free of me stupid but that is just me.(sorry, I draw the line at zippers, I have SOME limits)]

So back to my point of creating recipes that reflect your own tastes. I love the taste of peanuts, sesame oil and hot pepper (plus and minus other ingredients). So many names for this combination: Thai, Satay, Chinese, etc. I am using this recipe starter that I saw on the Food Network on the Cooking for Real Segment and I raised an eyebrow when I heard Sunny keep referring to this recipe as reminesent of her visit to Hawaii....I was like "WTH, that is a first!"
So here was what I pasted and used as a base for the sauce and grilling the Chicken.

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • bamboo skewers


Combine peanut butter, stock, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, (NOTE: HMM, I don't see this on the ingredient list up there, but I added 1 tsp.) hot chili flakes, cayenne and honey in a small saucepan (I also added a few shakes of sesame oil). Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When peanut butter has melted, season, to taste, with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Preheat grill.

Skewer chicken tenders, brush both sides with oil and season with salt, pepper and allspice. Grill chicken until it is browned on both sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with peanut sauce. (Because of the chicken on skewers, some parts of the chicken weren't directly on the grill and took longer to cook. I eventually had to take some foil and cover the skewers for those parts of the chicken strips to finally cook. ( I had my grill on high and it took about 7 minutes per side, they were very moist.)

JennyMac's "TWEAK":

Boil your choice of noodles for your base. Today I am using fusilli (the long type, reminds me of Oodles of Noodles). Bring water to boil and add some chopped garlic. Cook until 'al dente' add your veggie into the pasta if you want. Drain. Toss hot pasta and veggies with butter. Serve with the above recipe and plate.

Tonight's Menu:

Grilled Peanut Chicken with Garlic Butter Fusilli

The sauce made more than we needed. I would prepare only have of the above recipe. I would have preferred the sauce to be a little thinner...but I guess this was better because it didn't drip. LOL. What DEFINITELY needs to improve is my picture taking...But the food tasted great!!!


Uh mommy, can you do something about that garlic smell on your breath?


Karen Babcock said...

OMG - this looks awesome. I am still on WW (10 lbs. to go), so I will have to wait awhile for this. Otherwise, I would scarf the whole thing up myself! I agree - peanuts, chili, the whole Thai thing is my favorite!!! My dream is to go to Thailand one day and eat my way through the country.

JennyMac said...

Well the chicken is pretty harmless...but I am not sure how many points are in PB.