Category Archives: Recipe Review
We have had a really bananas week over here. I’m so tired that I can’t even talk about it. Instead, I’m talking food and gonna save the rest of the conversation for Monday.
Because today was a sweet, sweet Sunday.
Curd has always made me think of curds & whey, so I have never gone out of my way to try making any. After tasting a bit last weekend, I knew I would have to try to make my own.
The recipe comes from At the Farmers’ Market with Kids and was supposed to make 3 half pint jars. For some reason I only ended up with one jar. I think I know where I went wrong, but if you have the same results, let me know!
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- grated zest of a lemon
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice (not from a plastic lemon, please!)
- 6 T. unsalted butter (cut into chunks or grated)
- In a medium saucepan, mix yolks, sugar and zest over medium heat until pale yellow. Add juice and butter and continue to mix until curd thickens a bit. Don’t stop mixing, the curd can easily scorch! Once the curd sticks to the back of a spoon it’s done.
Strain over a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, a jar or whateva you got. Now, go make yourself some scones. You’ll be wanting to slather this stuff on anything you can find! The original recipe is mixed citrus curd, so as the name implies, don’t be afraid to try other citrus curds. Grapefruit would be super good, right?
I have always made Mark Bittmans’ stovetop pudding. It’s easy and yummy. However, it is apparently only yummy to me. It was a total flop last time I made it for my family (including parents and brothers). Now that I have Katie Workman’s The Mom 100 Cookbook, I thought I’d give her recipe a try. At the brunch last week, Katie was telling another visitor that this pudding is super rich, so I was prepared. This was a bit of a labor of love. With Bittmans’ recipe, there are no egg yolks and the whole thing just seems to come together quicker. Workman’s pudding took longer, but the effort was not wasted. This pudding came out like a homemade pudding should.
If you have ever tried to satisfy your craving for dessert with a dinky Jell-o pudding cup, you will be totally surprised when you attempt to eat the same amount of this pudding! Those plastic cups only leave me wanting 2 or 3 more, where this pudding makes me want to run for the treadmill. It would be a great pie filling, too!
- 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 T. cornstarch
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream or plain (full-fat) yogurt at room temp (either ingredient should be at room temp)
- 3 large egg yolks, at room temp
- 2 cups whole or 2% fat milk, at room temp
- 4 – 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped or as morsels
- 2 T. unsalted butter at room temp
- 1 T. vanilla extract
- In a large saucepan, mix cocoa powder, corn starch and sugar over medium heat and immediately add whipping cream or yogurt. Once mixed, whisk in one egg yolk at a time before slowly mixing in milk. Continuously mix to avoid burning. After 1 or 2 minutes, pudding will thicken a bit and you will want to add the chocolate. Once melted, add butter and vanilla. Keep mixing until pudding thickens a bit more. The pudding will do its complete thickening as it cools.
- Pour into one large bowl, or several smaller serving containers. If you don’t like pudding skin, gently cover with Saran wrap and give the Saran a gentle press into the pudding. Let come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) or refrigerate until ready to serve.
*The yogurt is not one of Katie Workman’s suggestions, it’s mine.
- 3 tablespoons melted butter or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, plus more for the muffin tin
- 2 cups all-purpose flour ( I use at least one cup of whole wheat)
- ¼ cup sugar, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk, plus more if needed
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans, or cashews
- 2 extra tablespoons melted butter
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and line it with paper or foil muffin cups if you like.
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Beat together the egg, milk, and melted butter or oil in another bowl.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it.
- Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, combine the ingredients swiftly, stirring and folding rather than beating and stopping as soon as all the dry ingredients are moistened.
- The batter should be lumpy, not smooth, and thick but quite moist; add a little more milk or other liquid if necessary.
- Mix half of topping mixture into batter.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full and handling the batter as little as possible.
- Top with remaining topping mix.
- Bake for about 20 minutes
Check out Dallas at Starbucks, intent on eating every crumb of his coffee cake.
Bodybuilding.com has a lot of crazy looking folks on their website, but they also have some seriously healthy recipes that (wait for it)…taste fantastic! The first time I tried making carrot cake protein bars, I utterly failed. After finding a recipe from inspirational fitness model, Jamie Eason, I thought I’d give this snack just one more try. I am so glad I did! I still have about 80 pounds of Costco carrots in my fridge and plan to make a few batches of these squares to freeze.
Jamie suggest you use jarred baby food in place of the carrots, but if you are like me and have an abundance of orange roots at home and very little drive to go to the grocery store again, you can use fresh carrots. Just boil or steam and puree them up in a blender or food processor with some water, as if you were making baby food.
I called my brother Matt this morning to ask what he thought of these squares. This is the brother that doesn’t despise my cooking by the way. He said he enjoyed the cinnamon flavor and thought they were good. Translation: make these.
Quick story. These squares came fresh out of the oven yesterday, right as we were about ready to head over to my parent’s house, which is about a 15 minute drive away. The kids were tired and we were rushing out, so I just grabbed the pan and a spatula with me into the passenger seat. This was my protein snack and I didn’t want to miss it! When I saw Matt at my parent’s house, I offered him a square. Matt is a personal trainer and loves healthy food (he also loves totally crappy food too). He mentioned his thrill over the new Taco Bell taco with a Dorito shell. Anyhow, I pulled the pan out from the car and stuck a spatula of carrot cake to his hands. He wasn’t exactly expecting the snack to be served this way and ran off to get a napkin. The humor of it all was lost on me until we drove away. Maybe the humor is lost on you too, sorry if that made no sense.
So, these have no flour, use only egg whites and taste really, really good! Plus, they hold some protein powder within.
- 1 cup oat flour (grind oatmeal into a flour consistency)
- 2 scoops vanilla whey protein
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 4 egg whites
- ¾ cup stevia, agave nectar, honey or pure maple syrup
- 8 oz pureed carrots
- 4 oz water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix flour, whey protein, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
- Mix egg whites, Splenda, baby food carrots and water (optional) in a bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
- Spray glass pyrex dish with non-stick butter spray.
- Pour ingredients into 8×8 dish.
- Bake 20-30 minutes.
Here’s a video where Jamie Eason will teach you to make these sweet snacks, too!
An iPod/iPhone/iPad/iTouch a day keeps the doctor away, right? Close.
There are still lots of apple varieties at the farmer’s market with some serious taste to them. We are in Fuji’s prime time and if you can find them, do yourself a favor (my mom’s famous phrase) and try a Hokuto apple. They are high in fruit sugar and may the sweetest apple I have ever tasted. Keep them in the fridge and you’ll have a really crispy, Fuji-esque sweet treat.
I tend to have trouble getting my kids to eat straight fruit. I’ll usually need to give a dip along the side, blend it all in a smoothie or pair it with some kind of dairy product. Yesterday, I made some apple cream cheese dip and heard ooh’s from Dallas.
The dip is super simple, mix 2 ounces of cream cheese with 2 T. of apple juice or apple sauce and a squeeze of lemon. I topped with cinnamon for extra antioxidant measure. Dip away.
When I pick apples up from somewhere other than the farmer’s market, I usually won’t know the quality until I try my first bite. I’ve bought many a pricy fruit, only to come home and find meaty mush under the apple skin. The best thing to do with mediocre apples is to cook them! Either throw them in the crockpot with apple juice or water and make apple sauce, bake them in the oven with raisins or brown sugar, or my favorite, make a baked good!
I was excited to try the recipe for baked apple donuts I found at Cooking With My Kid. In case anyone actually cares about this, I have changed my spelling policy and will now allow myself to spell donuts without the ugh. Lame, yes…but I had to note for the other grammarphiles out there.
The recipe was perfect, my oven timing was not. These guys needed another five minutes in the oven to really get as brown as they needed to be. For the recipe, click on the photo above and visit one of my favorite cooking blogs. We used the fun pan I bought at Sur La Table and had these Christmas Eve morning.
I have just started keeping my apples in the fridge, what a difference! Tomorrow, I get to blog about a fun restaurant in the area, The Little Pear. There are a few “Pear” restaurants where I live and our book club is meeting for breakfast at the most affordable one, which is only two miles away. Hurray! We will be talking about Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants. I would like to get to Costco to see if they still have Mindy Kaling’s, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? After Fey’s book, I’d love another fast and funny read before diving into The Hunger Games.
Mindy plays Kelly on The Office and I think she is hilarious!
One of the best parts of Bossypants was Tina Fey’s prayer for her daughter at the end of the book.
“First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
-Tina Fey (Click her to buy the book)
Cake pops have had their 15 minutes of fame. Move over sugar balls, it’s time to present cheese pops! Not being from the Midwest, I may be slow to this wagon, but I am here now. I learned the recipe from Cooking Channel newcomer and former model, Lorraine Pascale.
Add this quick appetizer to your recipe file. Not only are these Parmesan Pops really yummy, they are ready to eat in under ten minutes! Don’t skip out on the extras, they give texture, color and a different bit of flavor. The standard recipe uses poppy and sesame seeds. Don’t be afraid to try out new combos, including spice mixes.
- Butter or Spray for pain
- 1¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 1tsp sesame seeds
- Special equipment: 10 white round lollipop sticks; round 3½in (9cm) cookie cutter; 2 baking sheets
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and grease
- Toss the cheese and seeds together in a small bowl.
- Sit a 3½ inch ring or cookie cutter on one of the baking sheets and sprinkle a small handful of the cheese mixture into it, in a thin layer.
- Carefully lift the ring off to reveal a neat-edged disk of Parmesan and lay a lollipop stick on top, with the tip of the stick touching the middle of the disk. Repeat with the remaining cheese and sticks to make 10 in total (leaving about 1¼in spaces between them to allow for any spreading during cooking).
- You should have a little Parmesan left over, so use it to cover up the part of the lollipop stick resting on the disk.
- Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, swapping to a different shelf halfway through. The cheese should be lightly golden and bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and slide the paper off the baking sheets and onto a rack to help speed up cooling.
- Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes until the lollipops have become crisp.
- Very carefully remove each one with a spatula.
Here is what I did with the major takeover of chickpeas in my kitchen! I mixed some brown basmati rice (found also at the Indian store) with some quickly wilted spinach, roasted butternut squash that had been sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped it off with parmesan and shredded mozzarella. I expected my family to veto, but they all loved it.
Dallas loves boy toys and movies. However, he also really loves girl toys and girl movies. We’ve gone through a Tinkerbell phase, a My Little Pony Phase and are currently storming a Barbie phase. He is just into characters and drama. Maybe he’ll get into acting someday, he has the dimples for it.
So now you’ll understand when I say the two boys and I were watching Strawberry Shortcake yesterday. Strawberry’s motto is, “If something doesn’t go the right way, improvise.” Or something close to that.
Today, when the Cinnamon Date Bar recipe didn’t quite go my way, I improvised. What you’ll now see is Cinnamon Date Dessert.
This recipe was printed in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 30th, in the food section. It comes from the book, “Maman’s Homesick Pie,” by Donia Bijan. Her story and recipes recall Donia’s childhood in Iran and the recipes that remind her of her mother.
Maman sounds like a gal that has plenty of time on her hands to roll dough, grind spices and finely chop dates. I ain’t that kind of maman. I had about an hour to do it all. Which, if you read the recipe will see is about the time needed for the dough to rest. I was able to let the dough sit in the fridge for about 12 minutes while I cut the dates and brought the brown sugar mixture to a boil. I grabbed a casserole dish, layered the dough, date mix and more dough, then baked for 10 minutes. Date bars in a flash. Or uh, kinda.
Let me show you what the date bars should look like:
Cinnamon Date Bars / Photos by Craig Lee / Special to The Chronicle; styling by Amanda Gold Credit: Photos by Craig Lee / Special to The Chronicle; styling by Amanda Gold
Let me show you what my end result looked like. (With a bit of vanilla yogurt, banana and walnuts for styling.)
Cinnamon Date Bars
Makes about 3 dozen
Adapted from “Maman’s Homesick Pie,” by Donia Bijan
- 7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Date filling
- 2 cups finely chopped dates
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten, for brushing the dough
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions: To make the dough, cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour and salt, and mix just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour, or overnight.
To make the filling, combine the dates, brown sugar, and water in a saucepan and cook over low heat about 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the cinnamon. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
To assemble the bars, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut in half. Keep one half cool.
Come back tomorrow to see the next installment of Movies & Meals. It is going to be a fun one! Here’s a hint, it started and ended in 1998. Curious? Good!
I spotted this recipe in the current issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray and thought I’d give it a go. It looks so cheesy and fall like! Tonight, Jy asked if he could help with dinner. Why yes dear, in fact…you can do it! I handed over the recipe and off he went. The recipe below isn’t Rachael’s exact, but what we did. I read it wrong and had my husband use 8 instead of 6 tablespoons of butter. Uh, calling Paula?
We didn’t have any stock on hand, so we went with water, which in retrospect was not the greatest idea.
- arge (4 lb.) spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 8 tbsp. butter
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- In 1 squash half, combine brown sugar, 3 tbsp. butter, cinnamon, salt and pepper. In other half, combine 2 tbsp. cheese, 3 tbsp. butter, salt and pepper.
- Place both in 9-by-13- inch baking dish and add broth.
- Cover with foil and bake at 450° until tender, 50 minutes.
- Scrape into strands (still in the shell).
- Drizzle sweet with honey, and savory with italian seasoning and remaining cheese.
I didn’t want to push our oven past its limit, so I instructed Jy to roast the squash at 400 rather than 450. I left for a walk (hard night for me, huh?) and forgot to tell him that we’d need to cook the dish longer to compensate. Between the missing stock and the slightly crispy noodles that needed more roasting, this wasn’t the best dish ever.
On the bright side, my kids were all about this dinner. In fairness, Dallas ate a little and was too frustrated at the noodles falling into his lap, so he opted for the peas that I served on the side. He stuck both hands in the large serving dish of peas and announced that he would be eating the whole bowl. One second before I almost freaked out on him for eating like a caveman (well, not really, cave folk didn’t have Tupperware), I stopped. My kid wants to eat a bowl of peas. Green light!
Have you tried Spaghetti Squash? It is so fun, versatile and kids love it. As you can probably figure, I loved the savory and Dallas loved the sweet. Jy and Max just loved that there was something made for dinner.
I mentioned a week or so back, that I would be trying out some of the pumpkin recipes I listed. Don’t remember? Click here. First test, pumpkin scones. First fail? Pumpkin scones. This is not to say that the recipe listed is bad, it just means my variations on the recipe are. Per usual, I tried to swap out half of the white flour for another type. Up to bat again was coconut flour. I baked some really yummy strawberry muffins with coconut flour a month or so ago, they turned out super. The trick to coconut flour in baking, is to double the liquid or wet ingredients. There is another step that I think I missed. I forgot to do a special dance and wear a certain apron and coordinate my baking with the full moon.
Seriously, WHY does coconut flour work sometimes and bomb others? At least my giant pumpkin shaped scone made for a pretty picture.
Let’s just move past the scones for now. They turned out more like cookie-muffins and just ain’t doin’ it for me.
You know what worked really well? Pumpkin Syrup!
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Over low heat, bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to keep the sugar from burning.
- Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved and the pumpkin is fully mixed into the syrup. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to an airtight container. Refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.
I bet you even have the ingredients right in your pantry. Save some money on your pumpkin coffee drinks, pumpkin smoothies as well as all your pumpkin drizzlin’ needs. By the way, I was able to pour my syrup in the glass bottle that once held the delicious Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cider you can currently find at Fresh & Easy.
I’m sorry I have no scone review for you. I have a bad habit of veering from the recipe at hand. Happy Weekend friends, October is quickly coming to a close, let’s make the most of it!
Whoah. That can prettty much describe how I felt about three minutes into cooking my first JO meal. He was serious when he suggested I read through the recipe first! This meal is listed in the 20 minute or less chapter and is described as something you’d order at a posh noodle-bar. 20 minutes? Technically, yes. A better description may be, 20 hectic, iron-chef style, sweat-inducing minutes.
To be fair to Jamie, if I would have done what he said and fully stocked my pantry first and read the recipe over (more than once), it would have most likely induced less sweat. I found my produce at the local stand (Windmill Farms) and my chicken & dry goods at Fresh & Easy.
I shopped for the items with both kids in tow. Both kids fell asleep on the way to the produce stand. Maxwell wakes up well from naps, but Dallas…oh, Dallas. If there is not a saying that goes, “Let sleeping 4 year olds lie,” there really should be. I prepared to wake him by picking up a burger at In & Out and crossed my fingers. As planned, Max woke up and was ready to go, while Dallas acted like I had slapped him awake with an iron glove. Why am I telling you this? I am hoping you’ll understand why I didn’t want to make the trek to a third store (Trader Joe’s) to pick up the required Chinese Five Spice or thin asparagus and baby corn.
Back to the kitchen…
First, the seed combo needs to be toasted. Why did I not know how EASY it is to toast nuts & seeds? It really brings out the flavor! I always thought it needed to be done in the oven, but apparently that is roasting, not toasting.
While the toasting happens, heat a large saucepan on high and pour in 4 cups (I learned that 4 cups = 1 quart) of chicken broth. Don’t comment on my lack of metric conversion knowledge, it’s a weakness, I know. The broth boils quickly and is truly where the magic of this recipe happens!
Before adding anything to the broth, I removed the seeds and cashews from my extra hot pan and tossed in some olive oil and chicken strips. The strips should have been doused in Five Spice, but…you know why they weren’t. Instead, I gave them a sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and cinnamon. I then proceeded to overcook the suckers, just like Jamie warned me not to.
Back to the broth. Now that the chicken is on its way, I dropped some fresh ginger in the broth. JO never says just how to cut the ginger, he only calls for it to be the size of your thumb. A good note in his book might have mentioned smaller is better! The big chunks of ginger are a do not repeat for this recipe! Next, drop in a few small handful of veggies. In this house, we had frozen peas, green beans and corn, so that’s what went in. Soy sauce, lime juice and then the my favorite new food, RICE NOODLES!
The recipe offers the choice of vermicelli if you do not have rice noodles, but I am so glad Fresh & Easy had them! The package was a little over a dollar and I only needed a third of it. Rice noodles have the same texture as traditional pasta, but without the heft. They cook quickly, too!
Just as the chicken finishes cooking, or in my house overcooking, the meal is complete! I ladeled the noodles, veg and broth over a handful of spinach in my big, fat bowl. Laid the rubbery chicken on top, sprinkled with toasted poppy seeds, sesame seeds and cashews and chose to eat, rather than pass out!
What did I learn from this recipe? I learned that flavor enhanced broth is easy to make! I also conquered my fear of rice noodles! Most of all, I am more confident in the kitchen! I didn’t expect the last one. I am actually a little sad that my next JO recipe (Baked Camembert Pasta) is so easy!
- 1 tablespoon mixed seeds (pumpkin, poppy, sun flower)
- a small handful of raw cashew nuts
- 1 quart chicken broth, preferably organic
- 2 skinless chicken breast fillets, preferably free-range or organic
- 2 teaspoons five-spice powder
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
- olive oil
- ½ to 1 fresh red chili, to your taste
- 4 ounces rice sticks or vermicelli
- a handful of snow peas
- 6 thin asparagus spears or 4 regular-sized spears
- 6 fresh baby corn or ½ cup fresh corn kernels
- soy sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- a small handful of spinach leaves
- Put a medium frying pan or wok on a high heat and add the seeds and cashew nuts to it straight away, while it’s heating up. Put a large saucepan on a high heat. Fill the saucepan with the chicken broth, heat until very hot, and put a lid on it. Toss the seeds and nuts around until heated through nicely — this will take a couple of minutes. While this is happening, slice your chicken breasts lengthways into 3 pieces and put them into a bowl. Sprinkle the chicken with the five-spice powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir. When the seeds and nuts are done, transfer them to a plate. Put the empty pan back on a high heat. Add a little olive oil to your hot pan with your slices of chicken and cook for 5 minutes, until golden, tossing and turning every now and again.
- While the chicken’s cooking, peel and finely slice your ginger and slice your chili. Take the lid off the pan with the chicken broth and add half the chili, all the ginger, your rice sticks (or vermicelli), snow peas, asparagus, and corn, with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Halve the lime and squeeze in the juice. By the time the rice sticks (or vermicelli) and veggies are done, the chicken will be cooked. Take a piece of chicken out and slice it lengthways to check if it’s cooked all the way through — when done, remove all the chicken from the pan and slice each piece in half to expose the juicy chicken inside (please don’t be tempted to overcook it). To serve, divide the spinach leaves between your bowls and pour over the broth, rice sticks (or vermicelli), and vegetables. Divide the chicken pieces over and scatter with the toasted seeds, cashews, and remaining chili.