“I'm so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
(This post may contain affiliate links)
Of all of the seasons, I'm most excited about living in; fall is at the top of my list.
Filled to the brim with dates at the park, trips to the apple orchard, and cozy weekends when your husband starts looking for the fireplace supplies. My favorite coffeeshop's signature drink has returned, and the outside world is settling back into a routine after lots of summer fun
It's as if we all have permission to nest now. To curl up within our four walls with a good book and a broken-in sofa to ease back into warmth + real + home. It's on that sofa I sit, feeling like time is on my side (yes it is, though probably just for tonight)
True confessions? The past few months, I haven't felt very interested in writing about food. I'm not entirely certain why that is, but I've stopped fighting against it. But (of course) I'm still cooking because I truly love to cook. In fact, wafting from the oven is another batch of Maple Walnut Apple Crisp ..
my second in the past week
I can also tell you I also just ordered a copy of Melissa Clark's new cookbook Dinner in an Instant.
Mostly because our neighbor has an Instant Pot. Hers is in on the kitchen counter. Mine is in the basement and still in its box. She keeps reminding me that I'm the food blogger, and I've yet to post any recipes for her to try. That aside, if this new cookbook is anything like Dinner, it's going to be a showstopper
It's been my favorite cookbook this year, and I've Post-It-flagged at least fifty percent of the recipes. I've made the Harissa Chicken with Leeks, Potatoes, and Yogurt twice now, and I think I'll make it a third before tearing myself away to focus on something else. It's absolutely perfect
I'm planning on featuring it here, but what I really think what you should do in the meantime is order the entire cookbook. I bought a copy for my son yesterday, and he said it makes the fifth cookbook on top of his fridge. If ever there were a cookbook to give someone when they are just starting their collection .. Dinner is worthy. It's also worthy, I should note, of being one's one-thousandth cookbook
Melissa Clark is a living legend
Also notable on the kitchen front: I've been experimenting with different recipes for General Tso's Chicken at the request of my daughter “Mom, it's one of my favorites. Do you have a recipe I could make at home?”
Instead of writing about food, what I'd rather do is share with you some things that I've been reading. I've been reading a lot over the summer months, maybe because I've been in a season of learning a lot, or maybe I'm learning a lot because I'm reading.
I'm not entirely sure
I've been accumulating a long list of stories and articles that I don't want to lost track of. Some I share on social media, most I do not. As we head into the weekend, I thought it might be fun to include a few of them here
Nigella Lawson reminds us that Instagram can make a cook dispair. Food is brown and mushy sometimes, let's just go with it [via The Guardian]
Can you train yourself to like spicy food? [via The New York Times]
44 New books to read this fall [via Vulture]
The creamy cashew sauce we've had on repeat at our house. I'm not kidding; you're going to want to lick it off of your plate [via Healthy-ish]
For your weekend breakfasting: How to make the Jammiest Ramen Eggs Ever. Gorgeous, warm, almost-buttery yolks and tender whites. No weird filmy stuff happening. Incredible. The technique, my friends, it is real [via Bon Appetit]
7 steps to a clutter-free kitchen [via The New York Times]
The baffling rise of Goop [via The Atlantic]
Here we are. But at least we're in this together. Google's most searched “how-to” questions capture all the magic and the struggle to be human [via Quartz]
If Halloween candy has been calling your name; some healthier alternatives [via Food Coach NYC]
18 ways to make dinner a little easier (ps: so many great ideas) [via Bon Appetit]
For your holiday baking – 8 genius pie crust hacks [via You Tube]
For everyone out there who struggles with writing? Kamila Shamsie on writing, not writing, and thinking about writing, in the morning and in the night [via The Guardian]
For all of us this week, Molly's Tanini Caramel Apples [via My Name is Yeh]
Listen of the week. “So I went home to see my parents not long ago, and everyone was talking about something online called An Open Letter to My Beloved Church. It’s a long letter touching on family and devotion and faith in scripture. A Mennonite pastor wrote it. Actually, I should say an ex-Mennonite pastor, a man named Chester Wenger. I read the letter, and I was so taken by it that I went to see him, drove 4.5 hours on one cold January day” ~ Malcolm Gladwell via Revisionist History's Generous Orthodoxy [transcript via Medium]
A restaurant classic that's sweet, spicy, and irresistible when done right
Similar to Sesame Chicken, General Tso's Chicken is more of an American-Chinese dish. You won't find it in China, but you will find it on almost every Chinese menu in the U.S.
“General Tso’s chicken is named for Tso Tsung-t’ang, a 19th-century general who is said to have enjoyed eating it. The Hunanese have a strong military tradition, and Tso is one of their best-known historical figures. But although many Chinese dishes are named after famous personages, there is no record of any dish named after Tso. The real roots of the recipe lie in the aftermath of the Chinese civil war when the leadership of the defeated Nationalist Party fled to the island of Taiwan. They took with them many talented people, including several notable chefs, and foremost among them was Peng Chang-Kuei. He created this dish in 1950s Taiwan and brought it with him when he moved to the states in 1973, making it sweeter for American palates. This version is adapted from the original, hot and sour and lacking the sweetness of its Americanized counterpart” ~ The New York Times
A few notes about the recipe:
At our house, we make with Corn Flakes (for her) and without (for him). Both ways are great
You'll be amazed that it was baked in the oven
Don't be afraid of putting the Cork Flakes into a blender to turn them into finer crumbs
~ Adapted from America's Test Kitchen: Comfort Food Makeovers by America's Test Kitchen
General Tso’s Chicken
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups crushed Corn Flakes
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce, reduced sodium, if you have it
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch, or arrowroot powder
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
- Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in crushed Corn Flakes, pressing to coat.
- Place onto prepared baking sheet and coat with nonstick spray.
- Place into oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 13-15 minutes.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine chicken broth, hoisin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in chicken and gently toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.