Summer is here and I am loving it! I recently took a road trip and picked up a Food Network magazine to peruse while sitting by the pool. They had the most amazing recipe for Open Face Vietnamese Chicken Sandwiches. I love the idea that this sandwich is open face (less carbs) and the addition of fresh veggies like radishes and carrots gives this recipe a delicious twist. A little bit sweet (from the honey), a little bit tart (from the lime and gherkins) and a little spicy (from the Sriracha), this sandwich has it all. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Open Face Vietnamese Chicken Sandwiches
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 crusty hoagie-style rolls (I actually used the 100 calorie thin buns from Oroweat to cut down on the fat and calories)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used low-fat mayo to cut down the calories by half)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 4 limes)
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped cornichons or gherkins, plus 1 tablespoon brine from the jar
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (from 1 small chicken)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus cilantro leaves for topping
1 tablespoon Asian chile sauce (such as Sriracha)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Soak the red onion, carrots and radishes in ice water for 5 minutes, then drain. Split each roll in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces. Transfer to the oven to toast. Whisk 1/4 cup mayonnaise, the lime juice, honey, cornichons and brine, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken, onion, carrots, radishes and chopped cilantro and toss. Mix the chile sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup mayonnaise in a small bowl. Spread each piece of bread with some chile mayonnaise, then top with the chicken salad and cilantro leaves.
I am not sure if it is the kids, everyday life or what, but I have come to really enjoy a cocktail or two every now and again. Combine that with my never ending desire to try something new in the kitchen and I just had to try making my own Kahlua.
I love bread and I especially love baguettes. There is something so warm and comforting about a fresh, crusty baguette that is warm out of the oven with a healthy slathering of butter. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
Although I love to bake, I have avoided making bread because I always thought it was too daunting, but on a recent trip to Costco I saw that I could buy a HUGE amount of yeast (about 3 cups worth) for about $4, so I thought I would give my bread making a try. Boy was I glad I did! First off, homemade bread is SO delicious and it is SOOOOO cheap! I am amazed at how cheap it is. For just pennies, you can make bread that is more delicious than what you would pay several dollars for in the store. I also have to add that it is easy. With the help of my Kitchen Aid, which does all the kneading for me, the only hard part is waiting for the bread to rise. Seriously, that is it. Here is my recipe for baguettes. I hope you give them a try.
Super Easy Baguettes
1-3/4 Cups Warm Water (Approximately 105ºF)
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
4-1/2 Cups Flour Plus Extra for Dusting
2 tsp Salt
Vegetable Oil for Greasing
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and blend well with a fork until the yeast is completely dissolved. Wait about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour, salt and mix the dough hook on low speed just to incorporate. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 10-12 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Fold the dough gently, then let rise for another 45 minutes. It will look like this:
Fold the dough over on itself, pressing gently to release the gas. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, cut into 4 equal pieces, and round each piece into a smooth ball, pinching the seams together at the bottom of the ball. Cover the dough and let rise, seam sides down, until relaxed, about 30 minutes.
To shape the baguettes, on a lightly floured surface, press each ball of dough into a rectangle. Holding the short edges of the rectangle, lift and stretch the dough until the rectangle is as long as you would like. Roll the dough into a cylinder, pressing the seam closed with the edge of your palm. Transfer the dough, seam side down, to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the loaves and let rise until increased in volume by three-quarters, about 1 hour.
Transfer bread to the parchment lined baking sheet. Just before baking the bread, brush or mist each baguette lightly with water. Brush or mist the bread 1 or 2 more times during the first 5 minutes of baking time. Bake until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool on wire racks before serving.
This September a major hurdle has come in my life – both of my boys are in school full time. Like most moms I have had days when this day couldn’t come soon enough and I have also dreaded this day like you can’t imagine. Someone once told me, “the days go by slow, but the years go by fast” and boy is that true. I remember tripping over countless squeaky toys while stressing out about whether or not my newborn infant was getting enough tummy time to have a strong neck and how will I ever get them to sleep through the night. Now, it is so much different. Will they be OK at recess? Will they have someone to play with? If they fall, who will kiss their scrape and hold them?
My babies are growing up and I have some sad days. Today was one of them, so I decided to make myself a special treat to warm my insides up. It is a Cinnamon Café au Lait with Spiced Whipped Cream. It was nothing close to having the arms of one of my boys wrapped around me, but for now, this will have to do – and it is pretty, darn good.
Cinnamon Café Au Lait with Spiced Whipped Cream
1 ½ cups low-fat milk
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
4 cups strong coffee
2 T sugar + ½ T. Sugar
1 ½ t. pure vanilla extract + 1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/3 c. very cold heavy whipping cream
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
Bring the milk, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the milk mixture to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture, discarding the spices and bring it back to a simmer. Add the brewed coffee, 2 T. of the sugar and 1 ½ t. of the vanilla, and stir over medium-low heat until the sugar melts and the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. It will look like this:
Pour the hot coffee into the heated mugs and add a dollop of the spiced whipped cream. Garnish with more nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.
Also, I had to add a picture of the angels I miss so much. They are the best…