A mission statement

Hello, and welcome to My Kitchen and I. Every year I choose a cuisine to explore. This year, it's the year of the Snake! And I'll be continuing to cook mostly Asian foods, particularly Chinese dishes. Have I finally found the best cuisine in the world? Come explore and cook with me and let's find out. Please feel free to share your stories and comment on anything you see here, and thanks so much for visiting. Hope you enjoy the Year of the Snake in food!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hot Chicken Salad — Roman chicken on China Romaine

Our romaine lettuce, as it happens, is a vegetable of ancient Rome. It was eaten cooked as well as raw, and believed to have medicinal properties. There's no doubt in my mind that Romaine does have medicinal properties! It's packed with vitamin A, for one thing, which is needed for good eyesight, and it has many antioxidants.

As it would happen, Romaine is also very close to a Chinese vegetable, Ei-A vegetable. More about that is explained at this delightful blog http://asiabyfrida.com/2011/10/26/easiest-chinese-stir-fry-recipe-–-romaine-lettuce/ which served as the inspiration for this little cooking experiment. That and the package of Romaine lettuce past its prime in my recently cleaned out fridge.

So having that neglected package of Romaine lettuce and a craving for some chicken diavolo ... a fusion of tastes came together in my mind ...

Ancient Roman chicken diavolo, Japanese sushi dish I love, Asia by Frida lettuce stir fry ...

Actually, this sort of fusion cooking is what I expect Romans did back in the day. They, after all brought in spices from all over the world and had the best flavors at their disposal, as well as those inventive Greek slaves to cook for them! The silk road brought many spices from China and the Middle East to Rome, so they had the best of what the known trading world offered.

Romaine lettuce will actually stand up to more cooking than most lettuces, but a light hand is still best. The lettuce was a little bitter in this dish, but I do expect to make it again. Not only was it pretty good and reasonably healthy, but lettuce is so perishable! Mine often needs to get used up in something that has more fun factor than salad! So I think this is the dish for me when lettuce needs rescuing.

Next time I'll dress the cooked lettuce with some soy sauce, lemon juice and cayenne pepper to mitigate the bitter quality of the leaves. This preparation for the chicken, by the way, is very good all by itself. Try it on sandwiches, on salads, in tacos, on nachoes — any time you want chicken with kick. You will love it!

Hot chicken salad
by Renée


1 4oz package chicken breast

Sprinkle it with

lemon pepper seasoning

Marinate for 15 minutes in

Louisiana hot sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar

Meanwhile, using a meat mallot or other heavy kitchen implement, pound

2 or 3 cloves of garlic

Remove the paper skins and continue pounding until the garlic is coarsely chopped. Let that sit 10 minutes to develop heart healthy organosulfides. Meanwhile, cut up into nice squares:

romaine lettuce 

Alternately, you can split the white stalks so that the centers will cook faster and the outer leaves will be crisper.

After the meat marinates, remove it from the bag and slice it into quarter-inch thick pieces. Sprinkle these with:

*Togarashi spice
white sesame seeds
black sesame seeds

Rapidly stir fry the romaine lettuce for about 30 seconds in an iron skillet spritzed with a very small amount of cooking oil pan spray. I like to use sunflower oil for the extra vitamin E. Add the garlic and stir fry for another 30 seconds to one minute. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Stir fry the chicken quickly in the same pan until it is cooked through. You can spritz on a little more pan spray if you need it. Top the lettuce with the chicken and serve.

* Togarashi is found in most Asian supermarkets. It's a Japanese spice common in spicy tuna. If you don't have it, it can be omitted, or you could substitute cayenne pepper.

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