Foodie

CHEESECAKE FACTORY THAI LETTUCE WRAPS

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Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Slices

1 medium cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Coconut Curry Chicken Marinade (and Noodle Sauce)

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 lb. chicken tenderloins (about 10 strips)

Peanut Sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice

Sweet Red Chili Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (sambal)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic, quartered
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white sesame seeds

Tamarind-Cashew Sauce

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cashews
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 cup honey
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Garnish

1 teaspoon sesame seeds (see Tidbits)
1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 ounces Japanese style noodles (somen—see Tidbits)
1/2 head red cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup julienned carrots
1 head butterhead (bibb) lettuce
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

DO THIS

1. Use a peeler and remove just a few strips of the peel from a medium-size cucumber. You want about half of the peel to stay on there. Now slice the cuke in half-lengthwise, then use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the two halves of the cucumber into very thin slices using a mandoline or other thin-slicing device. Make thin slices of the red onion as well, and measure 1/4 cup of onion slices. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with 2 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then add sliced cucumber and sliced red onion to bowl and stir. Cover and chill for 4 to 6 hours. Stir every couple hours.

2. Make the coconut curry chicken marinade by combining coconut milk, yellow curry powder, fish sauce and coriander. Reserve 1/4 cup of this sauce for the noodles, and pour the rest over the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag or covered container. Seal up the bag or container and park the chicken in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

3. Make the peanut sauce by combining all ingredients, except the lime juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir often as the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool for a bit, then add lime juice and pour the mixture into blender. Blend on medium speed for 20 seconds. Make sure to hold the lid on the blender with a dish towel so that the top doesn’t pop off as the hot liquid is blended. Pour this sauce into a covered container and let it chill out in the fridge.

4. Make the sweet red chili sauce by dissolving brown sugar in warm water and soy sauce. Pour this solution, plus remaining ingredients, excluding sesame seeds, into a food processor (or blender), and blend on high speed until the ginger is pureed. Stir in the sesame seeds, cover and chill.

5. Make tamarind-cashew sauce by combining cilantro, green onions, cashews, garlic, cumin, black pepper and curry powder in a food processor and blend until fine. Combine honey, water, rice vinegar, sugar, tamarind paste, and balsamic vinegar in a small mixing bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave oven for 30 to 60 seconds, or until hot, then stir to dissolve the sugar and honey. Pour this into the food processor and mix for 5 seconds, then pour the mixture back into the bowl and stir in the oil. Cover and chill.

6. Cook the noodles following the directions on the package (cook for 3 to 5 minutes in boiling water, strain, and rinse with cold water). Coarsely chop the noodles so that they’ll be easier to handle when building the wraps, then mix the noodles with 1/4 cup of the leftover coconut curry sauce and let them chill out in the fridge until go-time.

7. When you’re ready to assemble the dish, preheat your grill to high heat, and grill the chicken tenders for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until done. Just before the chicken is done, brush each piece with some reserved peanut sauce.

8. All of the components for the wraps will be presented on one plate, so you’ll need a large platter. Spoon some of the remaining peanut sauce, sweet red chili sauce, and tamarind-cashew sauce into small dishes and arrange them in the center of the platter.

9. Make four “bowls” by slicing half a head of red cabbage in half. Peel off four outside leaves from the cabbage (the part without the stem) to use as bowls for the lettuce wrap components.

10. Use your hands to load the noodles into one cabbage “bowl,” the bean sprouts into another, the carrots into the third one, and sliced cucumber into the last one. Arrange these ingredients around the sauces, on the left and right sides of the platter.

11. Peel the leaves off of the butterhead lettuce and fan them out at the top of the plate, above the sauces. Place one butterhead leaf at the bottom of the plate, below the sauces, and stack the chicken satay strips on top of this leaf.

12. Pile chopped cilantro between the chicken and the sauces.

13. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the cucumber and noodles, sprinkle chopped peanuts over the chicken, and serve.

Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Tidbits: You can find these thin white noodles where Asian foods are stocked in your market. If you can’t find somen noodles, you can also use the slightly thicker chow mein noodles. Just be sure to chop the noodles up a bit after they are cooked so that you aren’t wrangling long strands when building the wraps.

The restaurant chain uses a blend of black and white sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds, or a blend of the two, can be hard to find. So, if you can’t track down the stronger-tasting black sesame seeds, white seeds on their own work just fine here.

Avocado-Ranch Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup smashed avocado (about half of an avocado)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch dried dill weed
Pinch garlic powder
Pinch pepper

MARGARITAVILLE JAMAICA MISTAICA WINGS

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Habanero Honey Sauce

1 cup water
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon minced habanero pepper (1 pepper)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon hickory smoke flavoring
1/3 cup white vinegar

Mango Ranch Dipping Sauce

1 8-ounce bottle Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
1/4 cup mango juice (Kern’s is good)
1/2 jalapeno, minced

On the Side

Cucumber sticks
6 to 10 cups vegetable oil (as required by fryer)
10 chicken wings
Salt
Ground black pepper

DO THIS

1. Prepare habanero honey sauce by combining all ingredients except the vinegar in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer sauce for 1 hour uncovered, or until the sauce reduces to about half of its original volume and thickens. Remove sauce from heat, mix in 1/3 cup vinegar and cover.

2. Make the mango ranch dipping sauce by combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill the sauce until needed.

3. In your deep fryer, bring 6 to 10 cups of vegetable oil (or whatever is required by your fryer) to 375 degrees F.

4. Drop in the wings and fry for 8 to 12 minutes or until the wings become golden brown. Drain the wings for a few minutes on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Put the wings in a large metal or glass bowl, add 1/2 cup of the habanero honey sauce and toss the wings until they are all coated. Serve with dipping sauce on the side and long cucumber slices, if desired.

Makes 10 wings (plus sauce for 20 more).

PIZZA HUT WINGSTREET TRADITIONAL CHICKEN WINGS

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Mild
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1/4 cup margarine
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Medium
1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1/4 cup margarine
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Burnin’ Hot
1/4 cup margarine
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons water

14 chicken wings

Blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping

DO THIS

1. Make the sauce of your choice by combining the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sauce begins to bubble, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, then cover and remove from the heat.

Buffalo Wild Wings’ Wings and Sauce

*Note: To turn this sauce into spicy garlic sauce, add ½ additional teaspoon garlic powder.

**Note: To turn this sauce into hot wing sauce, add 1 additional teaspoon cayenne.

Ingredients

For the medium wing sauce
1 cup Frank’s cayenne sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder*
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne**
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions

For the medium wing sauce
Combine all of the ingredients except the egg yolk, water, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until boiling, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

While the sauce cools, vigorously whisk the egg yolk with the water in a medium-sized bowl until the color is pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch until dissolved.

Drizzle the hot sauce mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream while rapidly whisking. This will create a thick, creamy emulsion that will prevent the oil from separating. Cover the sauce and chill until needed.

TACO BELL MILD BORDER SAUCE

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3 cups water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons white vinegar
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

DO THIS

1. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water in a medium saucepan.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the sauce until it has cooled. Store the sauce in a covered container in your refrigerator.

Makes 3 cups (24 ounces).

BROWN AND HALEY ALMOND ROCA

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1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
1 cup milk chocolate chips

DO THIS

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.

2. Add the sugar, water, and corn syrup.

3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring.

4. When the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil, raise the heat and bring the mixture to 290 degrees F on a cooking thermometer (the soft-crack stage). It will be light brown in color, and syrup will separate into threads that are not brittle when dribbled into cold water.

5. Quickly stir in 1/2 cup chopped almonds.

6. Immediately pour the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet.

7. Wait 2 or 3 minutes for the candy surface to firm, then sprinkle on the chocolate chips.

8. In a few minutes, when the chips have softened, spread the chocolate evenly over the surface.

9. Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the melted chocolate.

10. When the chocolate hardens, crack the candy into pieces. Store covered.

Makes 1 1/2 pounds.

Heath bar or Hershey’s Skor: These two candy bars are very similar, and both are composed of ingredients similar to those in Almond Roca. One obvious difference is that there are no almonds on top of these bars. To make these candy bars, simply follow the same directions for Almond Roca, omitting step 9.

Tidbits: These recipes taste very much like the candies they clone, but you may notice right away that the finished products don’t look like their corporate counterparts. This is largely due to the fact that the chocolate is only a top coating, surrounding the almond candy centers. This was done in the interest of simplicity—to make the recipes easier on the cook (that’s you, right?). You could also choose to make your almond candy center first, then crack it into smaller pieces and dip those into the chocolate that’s been melted.

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