Mayberry had its fair share of cooks and, with the exception of her kerosene pickles, Aunt Bea reigned queen of the cooks in that town. Blue ribbons were highly prized and seldom, if ever, did anyone share the ingredients of an award winning recipe.
My good friend, Susan, is one of the best cooks I’ve ever met. Watching her in full blown cooking mode in her kitchen is a sight to behold. I’d wager that she can hold her own against a Food Network chef when it comes to handling a knife and a chopping block and she can follow or ad-lib a recipe and produce a masterful meal in a matter of minutes.
My kitchen skills weren’t too shabby prior to my having the good fortune to meet Susan, but her willingness to become my cooking sensei, to share her recipes and to teach me how to be more frugal in the kitchen and at the grocery store has made me a better, more cost efficient cook today.
A few days ago Susan phoned and invited me over to sample a few of her squash fritters. Thinking that I’d likely glean something from watching her cook fritters using fresh squash harvested from her father’s garden and being a might hungry, I hurried out the door. The squash fritters were awesome! Coated in cornmeal, deep fried to a golden brown, the fritters looked like a large hushpuppy but tasted soooooo much better. My taste buds begged for more and Susan was kind enough to put several in a bag for me to carry home.
When I asked for the ingredients, Susan handed me the recipe and turned to make a new batch of fritters. I sat, munching a fritter, reading the recipe when, suddenly, something caught my eye. The main ingredient, self-rising cornmeal, was not the cornmeal my cooking sensei had recommended that I buy at the grocery store. I had been encouraged, and rightfully so, to buy the cheaper regular cornmeal and flour and use recipes that called for baking soda and baking powder as an ingredient when cooking. Why, in my mind, I was witnessing a food scandal worthy of being written into an episode of The Andy Griffith Show! When I questioned her use of self-rising cornmeal in her squash fritter recipe, she turned, smiled and said, “You’re going to post this on The Frugal Poet, right?”
And so it is with good humor and a huge sense of trepidation that I make this post today. I dearly hope I’ve not eaten my last squash fritter or anything else cooked by my friend in her kitchen. A few weeks ago in her "Well, I never!" post, Susan called me on taking a short cut when I used canned biscuits in my crock pot chicken and dumplings recipe. It seems, in my mind, that using self-rising cornmeal or flour in a recipe could also be considered a short cut.
“Well, I never!”...?
I think maybe you did sensei, at least once. ;-)
Today’s recipe is easy to make. My daughter and I call this one “A Keeper” here at Poet’s Cottage.
Chicken and Noodles in Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce
4 to 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
4 chicken breasts (cubed)
3 chopped green onions (cut diagonally)
2 cups shredded carrots (or more to your liking)
1 (16 ounce) package of wheat noodles
Sriracha sauce (rooster sauce) for heat and taste
Sauce: Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and honey in sauce pan. Simmer, covered, on low heat for 5-10 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally.
Chicken: Cut and sauté chicken breasts in olive oil. Add vegetables when chicken is almost finished cooking. Salt and pepper to taste.
Noodles: Cook wheat noodles in water with salt, according to package instructions.
A couple of notes: I added the rooster sauce to the peanut sauce toward the end of cooking time, adding and stirring until I reached the amount of heat that a normal human can tolerate. (I’d add more if I were cooking just for me.)
The peanut sauce thickened a little during the simmering and stirring process. I added small amounts of water until I reached a desired consistency.
If you don’t have rooster sauce, toss a chopped cayenne pepper or two in along with your vegetables, but be careful and don't overdo the heat. Overdoing heat is seldom a problem with me. :)
And finally, a one line haiku to sample along with your Asian cuisine.
drinking sake until I'm ready for the blowfish
Frogpond Volume XXXI:1 - February, 2008