Am I alone in counting the weeks of summer? We are about to embark on week four, out of eleven weeks, of summer vacay. That’s right, eleven weeks. It’s like a combination of Groundhog Day and the Never Ending Story. Whilst I doubt they will return to school in September full time, I will welcome whatever structure some semblance of a school schedule will give us.
I’m also a little down because we usually get to see our family, and many friends, in the summer during our annual trip back to Europe. This year, that’s not happening and we’re hunkering down like most of the world. But we’re still lucky - I try to remind my kids that we have our health, a house, and air conditioning. I don’t do well in the heat so the latter point is a biggie. Apparently I become a very cranky and irritable mess, and don’t even get me started on the hair situation in the humidity.
My kids are more concerned about our dangerously low inventory of Dutch chocolate sprinkles, although I’m sure not seeing their grandparents is worse - right, kids? We’re down to the last 3 boxes, my parents’ canceled US trip in the Spring, and our canceled trip in August, means that this import/export of Dutch chocolate has been delayed indefinitely. If you don’t know “hagelslag” or “vlokken”, you’ll need to do yourself a favor and look them up. These sprinkles are a food group in any Dutch household. They’re usually eaten on bread for breakfast (lucky Dutch kids!) but my kids have them with yogurt. So the thought of not having enough sprinkles to last us through the end of the month is a daunting one.
Anyway, back to the heat (did I mention it’s hot?). They say that spicy foods help cool the body down - so let’s bring it! This Turmeric Pepper Chicken was (surprisingly) even a hit with the kids! You could also use pork or beef, or transform it into a vegetarian dish using tofu or cauliflower. Make a double batch because this is a great one for leftovers. Add it to a wrap with some lettuce and greek yogurt for an easy lunch, or just reheat it as is with a side of naan. This is quick enough for a weeknight meal, but also good enough for company.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 pound (450g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot (GF)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 inch freshly grated ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce, preferably low sodium
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small onion, sliced
1 punnet of mushrooms (approximately 200-250g), we love shiitake
1/2 cup (65g) unsalted cashews
zest and juice of 1 lime
handful of cilantro, chopped
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, cornstarch, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil.
In a smaller bowl, combine the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup water.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large wok or skillet, over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and brown all over, until crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, mushrooms, and cashews, cook another 2-3 minutes.
Add the honey/soy sauce mix. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the sauce coats the chicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and the cilantro
Serve with rice noodles or steamed rice, and extra sambal oelek or sriracha on the side.
Adapted from a Half Baked Harvest recipe.