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…and time to change it up in fivenineteen land in here a little!  How do you like what I’ve done with the place? 🙂

So it’s that still, grippy grey outside again.  So silent this morning it woke me up.  No wind, no rain, no cars on the road.  Damn, did everyone leave town except me?

And I’ve just about finished up the last of that wonderful Bolognese sauce I made last week.  It keeps beautifully in a Tupperware in the fridge.  This batch went quickly so I won’t likely need to freeze any.  

Now, in last week’s post I made some comment about how I don’t mind the chopping and prep work that you could do in a food processor in a fraction of the time. Maybe I stirred the sleeping beast way deep in the back, top shelf of my pantry.

I must have been craving something completely different for this weekend’s cooking adventure.  I have a pretty decent kitchen, but it’s nowhere near the size or with the open feel that more modern kitchens have today.  Nope, it’s 1980 here in our townhouse complex, and while one of my neighbors did a glorious remodel to open up her kitchen area into a nice great-room flow, the rest of us have not yet pulled the trigger.  I’m glad I at least have a good-sized, open bar counter area on one side which looks into the dining room and a nice bay window and slider which plops out onto my back deck.  So no claustrophobia.  It’s just a small-ish kitchen with not a whole lot of spare countertop space.

And part of that countertop space is a mini-showcase of my beloved cookbooks. The rest are in the pantry…and that pantry is a hodgepodge of well, stuff you normally put in a pantry, my spices, and some cooking gadgets I don’t use super often.  And my hand mixer, a wonderful toaster oven with a mini pizza stone, waffle iron, plastic wrap, tin foil…hmmm, I think this baby is due for a major cleanout.

I took a good, hard look at those cookbooks.  How much have I REALLY used them recently?  The slow cooker recipes, raw “cooking,” vegan, Primal, Italian food, American Southwest…time to pull one off the display and try something different, I told myself.

So I reached for Caprial’s Bistro-Style Cuisine, by Caprial Pence.  (That’s “kuh PREEL” on the first name, by the way.)  I have one of her other cookbooks, and way back in the day (late 1990s) she had a cooking show on our local public TV station, which is how I first found out about her, channel surfing on some lazy weekend afternoon.  Caprial’s signature are recipes that are simple but super chock-full of flavor and come together very quickly, with a big nod to the flavors of Pacific Northwest cooking.

Here’s what I whipped up – it’s chicken with a wonderful, spicy peanut sauce which you can also use on grilled prawns or fish.  The sauce has a good kick but not in a blow-your-head-off way.  Head to the Asian foods section of your grocery store!  And when she says to mix ingredients in a food processor, she means it.  I dug out my 11-cup Cuisinart, blew the dust off and took her for a spin. 

Hot-as-Hell Chicken on Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Serves 4

Peanut Sauce
2 tsp peeled, chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
2 fresh jalapeno peppers (whole, stems removed)
1/2 C red wine vinegar
1/2 C soy sauce
1 heaping C creamy peanut butter
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 C honey
2 tsp dark sesame oil

Chicken
1 tsp olive oil
4 (6 oz) chicken breast halves
1/2 C dry sherry
1 C sweet hot chile sauce
1/2 lb dried Chinese egg noodles, cooked al dente and tossed with a dash of vegetable oil
1/2 C dry roasted peanuts or cashews (I used cashews)
3-4 green onions, minced

To prepare the peanut sauce, combine the ginger, cilantro, garlic, jalapenos, vinegar, soy sauce and peanut butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the curry powder, honey and sesame oil and process until smooth.  Set aside.

In a very large saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking hot.  Put the chicken breasts in the pan and brown them well, about 2 minutes on each side.  Decrease the heat to medium and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the sherry, increase the heat to high and cook until about half the sherry remains, 2-3 minutes.  Add the chile sauce and turn the breasts to coat them well. Decrease the heat to low and slowly simmer while you prepare the noodles.

Put the noodles in the pasta insert and set in a pot of boiling water or in the stock pot and cook for about 2 minutes to heat them through.  Strain the cooked noodles and place in a large bowl.  Toss them with 1/2 cup of the peanut sauce and place on a serving platter.  Remove the chicken breasts from the sauce and slice.  Place the chicken slices on the noodles and pour some of the remaining sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with the peanuts or cashews and scallions.  Serve hot.

NOTE:  I had some bowtie pasta lying around and used that instead of egg noodles.  I bet this would be great over rice too. 

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