My husband and I travel the world for pleasure, and of course scuba diving, in our personal life as much as both time and money will allow, but in reality, we can only do that so much. There is only so much time and so much money, and it does not take to long before both run out. So to fill my travel lust in between actual trips, I scour my cookbooks to find recipes to take me away. I love that I am able to do so much “traveling” in the comfort of my own home and kitchen just through my cooking. All it costs is the price of my ingredients and my time to make my exotic foods, and I am allowed a momentary getaway. Granted it is not the same as actually going to these far off places around the world, but I am able to “travel” a lot more frequently this way, and it is still a fun little adventure, even if only for the duration of our meal. Last week, I ventured down to Argentina with my culinary travels. Yesterday, it appears I was on an Asian expedition. I started with dessert first, as I often do, by making my pistachio chocolate cake Pistachio & Chocolate Butter Cake. As the cake was cooling, I was able to make dinner. Yes, we did eat the cake after dinner, although I made the cake first.
As most of you know, not only do I cook our foods all the time, but I also cook my dogs’ food too. They eat a lot of the same foods we do (no spices or anything fancy for them though). I made their weekly food yesterday too. They had chicken with peas and sweet potatoes. The sweet potato I used for them was HUGE, so I only used half. That was part of my inspiration for what we were going to have for dinner too. I wanted to use the other half of the sweet potato. Other than wanting to use up the rest of my sweet potato, I really had no idea of what the rest of the meal was going to be until I just started rummaging through the fridge to see what I had. I knew I was also going to do something with the chicken, so at least I now had two items in mind. The rest just kind of came to me as I went along. I cook this way quite often. This is my play time. When I cook this way, I’m really just having fun playing. The final result was an Asian themed stir-fry with a honey sesame-orange sauce.
Sweet Potato and Chicken Stir-Fry
1 1/2 lbs chicken, cut into strips
12 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 sweet potato, cut into medium chunks,
1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
1 large tomato, diced medium – I used a large heirloom tomato
1 TBSP garlic
1 TBSP ginger
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp chocolate chili
1/2 cup honey sesame dressing/marinade
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Cook the sweet potatoes in olive oil for about 5 minutes, then add the rest of the vegetables, except the tomato and cilantro, and continue to cook for 5-7 more minutes.
Once the vegetables are cooked, remove them and cook the chicken, adding more olive oil as needed and salt & pepper to taste.
While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce by mixing all the liquid and wet ingredients together. Once the chicken is cooked, add the vegetables and the sauce and mix everything together well. Then add the tomatoes, and about 1/2 of the cilantro. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes. When the dish is done, top with the rest of the cilantro.
You can serve it over rice or noodles. This dish also easily lends itself to being vegetarian as well. You can also use shrimp either by itself or along with the chicken and it would still come out very tasty and delicious. I served it over lime-cilantro rice, along with some warmed pita bread (I would have preferred Naan bread, but I did not have any). I served it with a chilled fume blanc, but a good riesling would do nicely too.