Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein

Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein

I was having a really bad case of writers block for this post. I love the recipe, but wasn't sure how to put words to it. The post that follows is only slightly connected (Chow mein, Chinese food, Beijing... you'll get it in a few more sentences. I hope. 😬), but once I started writing it the words flowed. Despite being almost unrelated to Chow Mein, I hope you'll like it! And the recipe is below, of course. 

The Beijing Olympics opened the fall of my Senior year of high school. I was in the thick of my gymnastics obsession, and could name every competitor that was going to compete in the event on the women's side. Honestly I probably knew their age, floor music, and home town at the time too. 

My entire high school gymnastics team crowded into a single living room to watch the all-around event. As I remember it, the competition was no easy win--the Chinese team had a load of talented athletes. My own team, piled on the couch, yelled at the TV as if the athletes in China could hear us. "Stick it!!!!!" and we'd cross our fingers as if we had as much riding on this competition as the athletes themselves.

Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein

Even though I don't keep track of the US National team anymore, I cherish those memories because they mark a time in my life where I had truly found my passion. It wasn't until I started gymnastics that I had any desire to participate in sports at all, so when I think back on the sport I see it as transformative. 

I had no interest in athletics at a younger age--I remember my dad lecturing me in fourth grade that I had to do something. But I disliked most of the sports that were available, and found that when I ran track in gym class I usually wound up coughing until my lungs bled. Soccer and running were the two big sports at my school, and I didn't want a slice of either of them, not even in gym class. 

When I took up gymnastics (late for a gymnast--at the age of 9 or 10), I don't think I even thought of it as a sport. It felt like play time. Being upside down became my favorite thing in the world. Our living room became my jungle gym, much to my mother's chagrin. I was sold. 

Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein

The 2008 Olympics felt especially important because they happened to take place during my last year as a competitive gymnast. I had no plans to go on to NCAA. While I wasn't in the Games (or even close to them,) it felt like this was it. And what a competition it was! Team USA took Silver (women's) and my favorite two athletes went 1 and 2 in the all-around (Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin). 

When I stopped competing, I found that gymnastics had given me a launching point (a trampoline, if you will πŸ˜‰) to actual enjoy other sports. I took up running--something I had despised previously, and eventually trained for a marathon. I was never going to be an Olympic athlete but that's not what I was meant to get out of gymnastics. Instead I learned that if you simply do the things you enjoy, exercise doesn't feel like a chore. Sometimes I hear people refer to it like this, and I hope that they will just find the one thing they are passionate about, because that is life changing. Do what you love

Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein

Three years after the Beijing Olympics, watching gymnastics competitions was far from my mind. I had shoved it in a corner, along with other things I "used to do." Some how the headline made it to me--perhaps on Facebook, or maybe a magazine: Nastia Liukin announces retirement. I think I broke out into tears. While I did very little gymnastics any more, this was a sort of final page on the gymnastics chapter in my life. It was silly. The emotional piece of it is almost impossible to explain. It felt like good bye, but a good bye I couldn't articulate. I started reading gymnastics articles again for a short stint, and then I remembered: just do what you love. 

Following that passion led me to Acro Yoga, climbing, and biking--while I probably wouldn't have loved them years ago, gymnastics had taught me how to make exercise feel like playtime. And that's still how I think of it. 

Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein

P.S., I just learned that crossing chop sticks and leaving chopsticks in a bowl are both big no-nos. Of course I would learn this after shooting these images πŸ™„ Will have to remember for next time! 

Zoodle Chicken Chow Mein

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Chicken and veggies are sautΓ©d with a savory sauce and tossed with zucchini noodles for a lighter, more nutritious take on the classic take out dish. And while this recipe does call for chicken, you could mix things up by swapping in shrimp or pork instead.

Serves: 2   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets (about a 1/2 pound), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups zucchini noodles (I use this Spiralizer)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup green beans, stems removed
  • 1/4 head napa cabbage, sliced thin
  • For serving: Sliced green onions, Sriracha or red pepper flakes

  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch (or corn starch)

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet or wok over medium heat until it glistens. Add diced chicken to skillet, and brown on each side.
  2. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and green beans to the skillet. SautΓ© until the onions are translucent and the green beans are bright green. Add cabbage, and stir.
  3. Make the sauce: in a small bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together. Pour sauce into pan, and toss with vegetables to coat. Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add zucchini noodles last, cooking just until tender.
  5. Serve in bowls and top with slices green onion and Sriracha or red pepper flakes as desired.

Lady Grey Tea Dark Chocolate Truffles

Earl Grey Truffles

The afternoon feels long and slow today. My desk by the window is letting a warm (slightly too warm) light in, despite a howling wind on the other side. I'm not one to let sleep go by the wayside, so despite a full nights rest, I'm feeling rather drowsy. 

I reach for a bag of tea, and heat up some water. It's too late for coffee, but tea and a truffle will wake me up a bit (that's the hope, at least). I grab a truffle, and take a bite. 

Earl Grey Truffles
Earl Grey Truffles

With the chocolate still in my mouth, I take a swig of tea, and let its warmth melt the truffle in my mouth. It is rich, but there are light notes of flowers and bergamot. This is probably the perfect time to enjoy a truffle: a moment when you have nothing to think about other than what it tastes like. 

Earl Grey Truffles
Earl Grey Truffles

I've made these truffles twice this month and am going to keep making them. They appeal perfectly to my inner chocoholic but are simple, and easy to put together... just watch below! They're the perfect last minute Valentine's Day gift (that's today!!) or indulgence for your every day (that's tomorrow!)

Happy day to everyone! 

P.S., I'm still super new to this video thing! What do you guys think? Do you like seeing Foraged Dish recipes in video form? Any tips or suggestions? 

Lady Grey Tea Dark Chocolate Truffles

Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Lady grey tea lends a faint but floral note to these truffles.

Yields: 16   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons loose leaf lady grey tea (you could also use 2 tea bags )
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chopped up bar or chips; I have used Guittard and Ghirardelli and they are both great!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Heat cream over medium heat while stirring continuously until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat, add tea and stir. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine chocolate, salt, butter, and vanilla. Strain cream through a fine-mesh sieve into the mixing bowl. Allow the warm cream to warm the chocolate by letting it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Use a spatula to stir the mixture until it is smooth. If needed, heat the mixture in the microwave at 10 second intervals to melt the chocolate further. After stirring for about 10 minutes, you should get a thick, glossy ganache. Scrape mixture into a tupperware and place, covered, in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  4. After chilling, the ganache should become firm, but remain somewhat malleable. Use a spoon and your hands to roll the ganache into spheres.
  5. Pour cocoa powder in a bowl or deep plate and toss each truffle in cocoa. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Chicken Marsala (Gluten-free)

Chicken Marsala

A few weeks ago I explained Knowledge Knights to you all. Well the same thing always happens to me at Knowledge Knight: while everyone is presenting, and asking questions, I think of 15 other things I want to learn about. This past Knowledge Knight, after sipping on a glass of wine, I thought to myself I wonder what the science is behind all of the different flavors that wine can be? Not just oak barrel aged versus stainless-steel aged, but like, the actual science. 

As I was making this Chicken Marsala the question popped back into my head. More specifically, what makes a Marsala a Marsala? Wikipedia, come at me. 

Chicken Marsala

Well, first thing's first: Marsala has Denominazione di Origine Controllata which means that in order for wine to be called a Marsala it must be produced in the city of Marsala, Italy. This is the same as how Champagne must be produced in the Champagne region in order to be sold as Champagne.

Traditional Marsala wine is aged in wooden casks. I don't always taste the woody flavor this lends wine, but when you compare two wines--a wood aged versus a steel cask aged wine- you can usually tell the difference. Further more, the casks that are used to age Marsala are refilled with newer wine on an on-going basis, which means that every bottle ends up with a blend of different aged wines inside of it. This process is appropriately called perpetuum in Italy, and Solera in other parts of the world. 

Chicken Marsala

The wine I used for this Chicken Marsala was classified as fine which means it aged for at least one year. You can get Marsala that has been aged much longer, Marsala that is bright red ("Rubino" is made from red grapes), golden ("Oro"), or amber "Ambra." They also vary from secco (dry) to sweet. 

In the states we typically associate Marsala wine with this chicken dish, which is actually Italian-American, not traditional Italian fare. Some people add cream to the sauce to give a rich consistency, while others play with different herbs, like thyme or sage. Marsala wine, however, was originally used more widely as an aperitif. It is often fortified with spirits and sweetened with sugar. 

Chicken Marsala

Ok, ok, but what about the science?! This required a lot more digging, and honestly with out buying research papers I had a hard time finding much at all. Quests like this usually end in me looking for more answers. I think I am going to buy a book on the science of wine just out of curiosity-- any recommendations?

What I did find: Marsala, like Sherry, has a high portion of ash, but this ash is not as high in sulfates as it is in Sherry. (Hold up: there's ash in wine? This was news to me too! It is what is leftover after a fair amount of evaporation and incineration is complete. It's also found in the soils of regions like Tuscany). Also, Marsala is consider a really low-acid wine, which may be why people enjoy drinking it as an aperitif (added sugar aside). 

Chicken Marsala

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Marsala cooking wine makes a savory, flavorful sauce for this Italian-American chicken dish. The cherry tomatoes are optionalβ€” I like that they add some color.

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • Optional: 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch or arrowroot starch
  • 1 tablespoons cold water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • For serving: Parsley and parmesan

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet or wok over medium heat until it glistens. Add chicken to skillet, and brown on each side.
  2. Once cooked through, move chicken to a plate and set aside. Place diced shallot, minced garlic, and sliced mushrooms in pan and sautΓ© until the shallots are translucent. If you plan on adding tomatoes, do so at this time.
  3. Pour the wine and broth into the pan, and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spatula. Bring to a simmer. Whisk the corn starch or arrowroot starch into the cold water and pour into pan, stirring until combined. Season generously with salt & pepper. Add chicken back to the pan. Continue to simmer the sauce until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle with a few parsley leaves and some shredded parmesan, and serve hot. We served with a side salad and garlic-herb mash potatoes.