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Friday, June 25, 2010

Sesame Noodles w/Chicken, Shortbread + some pie {Cook’s Illustrated Challenge}

This is the third month of my personal challenge to myself to cook at least two new recipes from my collection of Cook’s Illustrated magazines.

*** Note: I’ll try to post some of the recipes next week.  I ran out of time.***

I went a little nuts this month. 

Or maybe you could just call me fruity. 

It’s the bounty of fresh summer fruits that are available that does it to me.  It’s really not my fault.

I was originally supposed to make Sesame Noodles with Chicken (Issue #70, September/October 2004, page 20) and Buttery Shortbread (Issue #53, November/December 2001, Page24-25) this month.  However, the summer fruits called and I made 2 new pies instead of the shortbread. 

This can’t come as a shock to you.  Because, as we all know, I LURVE me some piiiihh.   And if there is any pie that my man loves, it’s fruit pie. 

I knew we were made for each other. 

But I digress.

First things first.  Sesame Noodles with Chicken.

This really was fairly easy to make and now that I’ve made it once, would be a wonderful weeknight meal.  I also found it to be fairly inexpensive since I already had most all of the ingredients and only used two boneless skinless chicken breasts and we got two dinners out of it.  Shredding the chicken is an easy way to stretch it and your budget a bit.  The flavor was really good with a nice little kick to it. 

Actually the nice little kick may have still been too much of a kick for my kids.  Note to self: don’t add as much Tabasco next time. 

I did things just slightly out of order just because of how my time was going.  I cooked the noodles earlier than the recipe called for because I also needed to cook the edamame or else we would have a revolt in our house.  (The kids love it just that much.)  As a result, the whole dish ended up being pretty much room temperature, which being the middle of a 100+ degree summer wasn’t all bad.  But I felt that since the noodles were cold, the sauce, which is simply made in the blender and not cooked at all, could have been warmed just a little bit to help it distribute better over the noodles and chicken.  I expected the noodles to be a little more slippery than they ended up being, which I felt made the whole thing just a little bit of a challenge to mix together in the end.


Still, all that said, I really liked this dish and will likely be making it again.

With less Tabasco.

I mentioned that I also made some fruit pies.  Well, one was cherry and one was blueberry.

The pies were fun to make.  I’ve really begun to get very comfortable with my pie crust recipe and technique and can do it without a lot of thought.  One thing that was really fun about both of them was that as I read the accompanying articles, the secret ingredient in both of them that really helped them out was another fruit. 

In the Sweet Cherry Pie (Issue #105, July/August 2010, page 23), it was pureed plums that added the additional juice that the pie needed since the sweet cherries down break down in baking like sour cherries do.

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The cherry pie was made for my man for Father’s Day.  Cherry is his absolute favorite and this pie didn’t disappoint.  It was a fun one to make since the whole family got involved.  The kids pitted all the cherries for me and Mike halved them.

In the blueberry pie (Issue #93, July/August 2008, page 25 and 2010 Summer Entertaining, page 47), the secret ingredient was grated Granny Smith Apple that lent its pectin that helped to firm up all the juices from the fresh East Texas Blueberries that I used without making the filling pasty and gummy.

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I made this one then took it to share with my fellow Vacation Bible School coordinators and my son’s VBS teacher (who is a huge blueberry pie fan) last week.  Most of the family was involved in making this one as well since the kids helped pick the blueberries and some of them even came from my parents’ blueberry bushes.

One thing I’ve learned about serving fruit pie over the last two weeks… it’s nearly impossible to cut a small piece of fruit pie.  A word of advice… just take the big piece. :)

Have you made any fruit pies so far this summer?  If not… you’re missing out.  I highly recommend that you try it.


Mamacita said...

I love that you've been doing this challenge. It's motivating me to utilize my cookbooks/magazines more often. Which issue was this from?

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

The Sesame Noodles with Chicken was from Issue #70, the Blueberry Pie was from the current Summer Entertaining issue and the Cherry Pie was from the most current Issue #105, July/August 2010.

I'm so glad you're enjoying these posts. I'm enjoying doing them.