You know how you have an addiction to certain Thai restaurants? (If you know why, let me know.) Now I like almost all things Thai foodie, except I can’t handle the tres, tres spicy dishes. “I like them; they don’t like me.” My father-in-law, Gene, says that, and he is so right. Ever since I came back from summer study at University of St. Thomas, I’ve been just dying to get into cooking Thai. For two summers, we lived above a Thai restaurant and I think it began to get into my pores.
I’ve dibbled and I’ve dabbled and I’m now at the point where I’m making it up as I go along. Perhaps it’s because I eat at Bhan Thai sometimes once a week…usually to get in an all-veggie meal that’s not a salad. Each dish provokes, “What’s in this?“
|Here’s my Thai basil with regular basil. Planted in a pot under a shade tree. It’ll burn up in the Colorado sun otherwise.|
Finally, though, I kept looking at my Thai basil out by the whiskey barrel under the tree….and I knew its days were numbered. Not that fall is ever REALLY coming (and winter, true winter, only makes it a couple of times a year in the Springs, despite what others think), but we do get freezes. And herbs that haven’t been cosseted and lovingly brought in to my dining room south window bite the dust. Or whatever herbs do. (Sometimes they resurrect in the spring.) All told, it was time to get my Chicken Basil on.
So google that and put it in your pan. There’s a million Chicken Basils. But most of them are almost all chicken. I sooo wanted a big bunch of veg in this one. And the one Thai cookbook I wanted to buy is out of print. Figure it out yourself, I said. You’re a cook; you’ve got the stuff. And here’s what I got. Do use fresh herbs; if you can’t do all three, don’t make it without at least the basil. I think that if you have the minty Thai basil, you could consider skipping the other two herbs, but I like it with all three.
And, like everyone else, I’ll tell you to drink a little riesling with this. I do so like the Oregon ones… Chehalem in particular. They do a fairly dry one that’s just does my taster good.
Alyce’s Chicken Veg Basil serves 4
Set the table, pour the water or wine, etc. Then start to cook.
First make enough rice for four people: Bring 2 cups of salted and peppered water and a cup of rice to boil. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook until done. (About 20 minutes at sea level… a few minutes more at altitude.) Add 1/4 c chopped cilantro and toss with a fork. Replace lid to keep warm (up to half an hour) until the chicken and vegetables are done. (I like medium-grain, cheap rice for this. It should be sticky.)
Ingredients for stir fry:
2 boneless chicken breasts cut into 1″x1″ pieces
2T fish sauce
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 t sugar*
2 T cooking oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, ditto
1 small zucchini, sliced thinly
1 small yellow squash, sliced thinly
1/2 red sweet pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 yellow sweet pepper, sliced thinly
1 tomato, fresh, cut into quarters and squeezed to get juice and seeds out. Next, cut into medium dice.
1 jalapeno, minus seeds and membrances, finely minced (for mild, use 1/2 the jalapeno; add more for hot)**
1 c fresh basil or Thai basil left whole, divided
1/4 c cilantro, chopped roughly
1/4 c fresh mint, chopped roughly
Freshly ground black pepper
|Have all this stuff ready to go.|
1. In a medium bowl stir together cut-up chicken and the next four ingredients, fish sauce-sugar. Let sit while you
2. In a wok or large deep skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and cook sliced onions for about two minutes. Add sliced garlic, squashes, sweet peppers, tomato and jalapeno. Let cook another two minutes, stirring often.
3. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from sauce and add to the pan of vegetables. Add half of the basil, the cilantro and the mint. Season well with black pepper. Cook about 3 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Pour sauce into wok/pan and cook another 30 seconds or so, stirring all the while. Spoon in to serving bowl and top with remaining whole basil leaves. Serve with the hot rice.
*sauce recipe from FOOD AND WINE
**Whole jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed, minced finely for hot. (Hotter? Pass crushed red pepper at the table. You could also use Thai bird chiles, but jalapenos are more accessible here.)
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Still feeling like summer around here….Decks got painted over the last two weeks.
This is what we call “The Doggie Door.” Still in the 60’s. Changing tomorrow.
|Hasn’t frozen yet.|
|Are you gonna eat that?|
This week, I’m testing pizza and have already made some. I teach the Italian section of “Cooking with Music” this Saturday and I WILL be up-to-date on my crust by then! Blog coming, I’ll hope.
|This is the first try at a 15″x13″ margherita. It had its ups and downs Cool thing about it is it’s baked in a half-sheet pan like anyone has. You could do it tomorrow!|
Fitness update: Gabby and I hiked the local hills instead of me going to the gym. Spiritual practice of “putting one foot in front of the other,” as Barbara Brown Taylor says. Dave and I worked out together on Saturday morning…before going out to breakfast. Gee.