Ever hear anyone say that about food? People seem to really get worked up over food and it’s various textural properties. Or something.
Oh, it’s too mushy, it’s too chalky, it’s too starchy, it’s too crunchy. Too soft, too hard, too chewy. The list goes on and on. And on. Really, I think everyone’s just grappling at adjectives trying to come up with and excuse not to eat something.
For me, personally, I wouldn’t say there is one particular food texture I’m adverse to – except maybe soggy. I have problem with anything I deem soggy. In fact, I don’t do soggy. At all. Ever. I have to literally inhale a bowl of cereal to save myself from the sogginess that lurks beneath the milk’s surface. Oh, and I kind of have this irrational fear of sandwiches made from store-bought sliced bread. Same deal – sogged. Ew.
Other than that I’m good. Totally normal. Yep, no texture issues over here.
Sogginess aside, I’m really not picky about textures. I am, however, drawn to some more than others. Specifically, I like a variety of textures in my food. I think that’s why I’m lukewarm on things like mashed potatoes and pudding. It’s just one big glob of…the same stuff. There’s nothing exciting there. Same with Jello. I can take it or leave it.
So what does all this have to do with…anything? Well, over the weekend I tried a new recipe to fool impress Eric. See, we never get Chinese take out at our house. Excuse me…I’m getting a little choked up.
Eric doesn’t like it. I love it. For this reason, every so often, I’ll pull out my secret stash of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar and make something readily available at any take out place at home so I can get my fix. Of course, I call it something different. Example: the cashew chicken I made over the weekend. Cashew chicken is not cashew chicken. It’s “chicken and brown sauce over rice. With cashews in it.” He buys it. Every time!
I’m sneaky like that. And I totally just outed myself. (Hi, Eric! Maybe my dad will stop picking on you now. LOVE YOU! 🙂 )
Anyway, I spotted this cashew chicken over at The Bitten Word. Couldn’t stop thinking about it. Couldn’t WAIT to make it! Just what I needed to satisfy my take out craving. Glad I didn’t wait! We – yes, we…as in both of us – really enjoyed this meal. The thing that really made it for me, besides the awesome flavors, of course, was all the different textures. Crunchy cashews, fluffy rice, perfectly tender chicken. Yeah, that’s pretty much perfect. Not to mention, it’s really REALLY good. Plus, you can feel better about eating it because you know exactly what’s in it. That’s not always the case with takeout. And, if you’ve got a well-stocked pantry, you probably have everything you need to make this at home for dinner tomorrow. The only thing I needed to buy was the cashews. Since they are Eric’s favorite nut, I figured that if the meal flopped big time he could just gorge himself on nuts for dinner. 🙂
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (I used cooking wine. Shhh. Don’t tell!)
- 2 tsp. minced, peeled, fresh ginger (I used 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
- 3 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- coarse salt
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2/3 cup unsalted cashews, toasted (I couldn’t find unsalted. I’ll admit I didn’t look very hard. Lightly salted worked just fine.)
- 2 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
- In a medium bowl, toss chicken with sherry, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch; season with salt. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set sauce aside.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a covered plate. Add 1 teaspoon oil to skillet and cook remaining chicken (reduce heat if chicken is over-browning). Transfer to plate.
- To same skillet, add 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, cashews, and green onion whites. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Whisk sauce and add to skillet along with chicken. Cook until sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Top with green onion greens and serve with rice or noodles.
One Year Ago: I was celebrating a victory unrelated to my cooking. But it involved my writing, so we’ll call it relevant to the blog. Ha. 🙂