And by Pepper Potts, I mean Gwyneth Paltrow, and by her being an excellent cook, I’m referring to the book she put together from recipes that her father taught her. The book is called My Father’s Daughter, which is an excellent cookbook for the Geek’s shelf. Especially the Geek who isn’t afraid of experimenting with new things, especially healthy foods (especially vegetables). Actually, the reason I wanted the book in the first place was because I’d seen
Ms. Potts Ms. Paltrow on a talk show where the host was speaking to her about this book. She’d prepared several recipes from the book, and one of the ones that she bragged on was the recipe for Brussels Sprouts. She claimed that she knew several people who hated this vegetable, but once she made them try this recipe, they loved them. I love the vegetable, but I’ve wanted to get more people to like them, so I wanted the book. Sure enough, the first time I made them this way, the Roommate tried one and then a second, and she claimed that if I made them this way, she’d eat at least a couple.
So bravo, Ms. Paltrow. You are right!
Now, that being said, I will one of these days post that recipe, but that day is not today. Today I’m going to post another from the book that’s called “Best Stir-fried chicken” — which I’ve adapted slightly and called Spicy Ginger Chicken. I’ve made it several times, always with the intention of putting it on Geek Girl, and finally, due to much peer pressure on the part of the Roommate and her gamer friends, I’m putting it up on Geek Girl tonight. Trust me, this dish is amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Just like Spider-Man.
This is an incredibly easy dish to make and really very quick. Prep time really comes down to cutting up the chicken in cubes. Even prepping the sauce on this one takes no time. As I’ve done in the past, I’m going to post the full recipe from the book and in red, I’ll post my adaptations.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes; for just the Roommate and me, I used 2 chicken breasts, all the fat cut off
2 tbsp cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup peeled and minced garlic; I used two big spoonfuls of already minced and chopped garlic
1/4 cup peeled and minced ginger; Same as the garlic
1/2 cup minced scallions (white and green parts): I just haven’t had scallions around when I’ve made this, so I didn’t use them, but I would love to. They’re a great fresh flavor in any stir-fry.
Pinch red chili flakes (optional); Okay, I use 1 tsp of chili flakes, and as Magneto said in X-Men First Class, it was never an option.
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (unrefined if possible); I used a 1/2 cup of regular brown sugar because that’s what I keep around for baking
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for serving; I haven’t really bothered with this.
These are Ms. Paltrow’s directions, and I’ll add in my adaptations (again) in red because it’s easier.
Toss the chicken with the cornstarch, a large pinch of salt, and quite a bit of cracked pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick wok over medium-high heat (this is a gentle stir-fry). I don’t have a wok, so I just use a large, deep skillet. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and chili flakes if using them and cook, stirring for 1 minute. I always leave the chili flakes for the last and add them in at the very end. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and 5-6 grinds of black pepper. Boil on high for 3 minutes or until the sugar has really caramelized, the vinegar as mellowed a bit, and the whole mixture is dark brown and sticky and lovely. Add the soy sauce, cook for another 30 seconds, and serve immediately, sprinkled with the cilantro. At the beginning, I actually pre-blend the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar so that it all goes in together, and then I just keep stirring around the chicken until it’s all coated and the sauce thickens to a nice consistency. That’s when I add in the pepper flakes. Then I serve it over jasmine rice.
The Roommate and I eat this until it’s gone and whine because it’s gone. I will say that the first time I made this, I looked at Ms. Paltrow’s “Pinch red chili,” and I thought, “Fuck that.” So I put in 2 tsp of the chili flakes. Oh it was tasty. Very tasty. The Roommate and I could breathe fire at that point, but it was very tasty. Now I just use 1 tsp and it’s perfect for us.