Category Archives: Recipes

Apres Vacay

I am so, utterly obsessed with Thai food right now. It’s getting bad. I mean I think if I try to serve Josh one more dish of peanut sauce linguine, or another bite of lemongrass and ginger chicken, he’s going to throw it at me.

This admission, however, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop anytime soon.

After returning from a 10-day trip to Canada (post coming soon on that one), I had a very sparsely populated cupboard, but it had been literally 10 days since I had had any Thai food, so obviously I was pretty desperate. I had half the ingredients for sweet and sour pork — except for the pork. Sub in chicken, add a few other pantry items, and the recipe made itself. It was so damn good, we were pretty much licking our plates clean.

Apres Vacay Sweet and Sour Chicken
with Sticky Coconut Rice

2 tbsp olive, peanut or sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, sliced into rings
Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (Can also use pork), cut into chunks
Julienned carrots (I happened to have a bag of already cut carrots in the fridge)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
Shiracha to taste
2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp warm water
Chopped fresh basil

In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Turn up heat slightly and add chicken, stir frying until cooked through. Add carrots and stir fry until they soften slightly. Mix fish sauce, vinegar, ketchup, shiracha and honey or sugar in a small bowl until blended. Pour into stir fry.

Cook, stirring often until sauce coats mixture. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid. If sauce doesn’t thicken, add corn starch with water and allow to simmer, stirring every so often for five mintues more. Remove from heat, and allow sauce to thicken slightly. Serve with sticky coconut rice, and garnish with fresh basil.

I definitely recommend going the extra mile and making the sticky coconut rice. I used most of the can, and then used the rest in the recipe. It’s so sweet and creamy. Way better than just using water. Josh makes an awesome, perfect sticky rice every time, so I always let him take care of the rice. 

Pink Mango-ade Boozy Popsicles

You can always just skip the popsicle thing and have it over wine, too.

You can always just skip the popsicle thing and have it over wine, too.

I’m freelancing again, which means I spend a lot of the day at home while Josh is at work, and generally work in the evenings and on weekends. Since we’re recovering financially from our move, that also means there isn’t a lot of leeway to go out and explore Alexandria. To add to my list of first world problems, it is freaking hot in our apartment, and we’re trying to avoid using the air conditioning. It’s a battle my frizzy, curly hair and I are losing.

I need to do something productive. After playing musical tomato plants this morning to soak up every last second of sunlight my tomatoes need, I was projectless. I wanted to make cookies, but I don’t have half the ingredients. What about bread? Nope, not enough flour. Pasta? I’m making Thai peanut stirfry for dinner, and I already have two boxes of linguini, plus, I believe my first pasta making experience needs to be done with Josh and a bottle of wine as a helper. After going through all these options, I was still hot. Very hot. Why the heck isn’t the pool open yet?!

How about, popsicles? I am obsessed with DavidsTea and order from them whenever I can justify spending $50 on tea. Which, believe it or not, is at least twice in the past year. In my last order I picked up a Pink Lemonade tea, best served over ice. What if I freeze it? Can I put wine in that? What about the frozen mango chunks in my freezer? YES! Yes, and also, YES!

Using this Frozen Tea Treats tutorial as a guide, I got started. I made a simple sugar instead of using honey, which is usually my go-to with tea. I accidentally bought cheap clover honey last time I picked up a bottle, and it has a funny taste. I want nothing but goodness in my popsicles. Also, Josh made me an iced coffee on the weekend, and I realized we have a need for simple syrup in the house. Now I have extra!

Simple syrup has to be stored in a Mason jar, I thought that was a rule?

Simple syrup has to be stored in a Mason jar, I thought that was a rule?

While I love DavidsTea, they do have a flaw I find in a lot of their teas, which is they have really, really fine particles that I have a really hard time filtering out. I usually have to leave a half an inch or so at the bottom of my tea, much like Josh’s homebrew. I really didn’t want that in my popsicles. I ended up filtering three times. After the tea steeped, I used a fine strainer to filter the tea into a Pyrex measuring cup. Then I let that settle for a bit while I cleaned up. Then I used my one cup loose leaf tea maker, and filtered it twice, letting it settle in between.  This all worked well, because you want your tea and simple syrup to go to room temperature before forming the popsicles.

Using my brand new food processor, I puréed the frozen mango chunks with a half cup of the tea, and a tablespoon of the syrup. Then I tasted it, and it was SO FREAKING GOOD that I quit trying to do anything fancy, and I dumped the rest of the tea and a bit more syrup in. This caused my food processor to overflow, and I learned a valuable lesson. So, instead of doing what I did, purée in batches, until it reaches your desired consistency. I left mine chunky, because popsicles with a bit of chunk are amazing. Ben and Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream have the right idea. Then, I poured it back into a bowl, and stirred in a half bottle of wine. When I say that, I mean I made a cocktail out of the puree first, then dumped the rest of the bottle in the popsicle mix. Duh. And into the freezer they went. I didn’t use sticks, only because I didn’t have any, and I thought Josh would object to my using every single one of our very limited supply of forks and spoons for popsicles.

My tea popsicles in the freezer.

My tea popsicles in the freezer.

And now, I wait!

Pink Mango-ade Boozy Popsicles

2 cups water
DavidsTea Pink Lemonade tea, 4 tbsp
Simple syrup, about 4 tbsp, but add to taste
One bag frozen mango chunks
Half bottle of wine. I used Chateau Ste Michelle Sauv Blanc
Plus:
Popsicle makers, or plastic cups and popsicle sticks

Boil the water while making the simple syrup. Steep tea for 5-10 minutes, until the water turns bright red. Strain several times to remove as many of the tiny fibres as you can. I strained three-four times. Allow to cool for a while. Add mango chunks, half a bag at a time, with a half cup of tea and a tablespoon of syrup into a food processor or blender, and purée. Repeat until all is done to your desired consistency. Pour finished purée into a bowl. Stir in the wine gently. Don’t forget to use a little — or  a lot — to make some yummy wine bellini cocktails! Pour mixture into popsicle maker or plastic cups, add a stick, and place in freezer. Stir gently after one hour to prevent sweet stuff from settling at the ends.

Pink Mango-ade Cocktail

Make the recipe as above, but do not put it in the freezer. Instead, fill a wine glass about 1/3 full of wine, then add a bit of purée, and top with soda. Or, use sparkling wine and skip the soda!

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