Monday, March 04, 2013

Inspired by...

Inspiration:  The coolest wooden planter on the patio outside of our room at the Casa Blanca Inn in Farmington, NM.  I immediately fell for the simple yet bold carvings and knew I wanted to recreate the flower motif in some fashion.  It was really hard to not be inspired by the beauty of the New Mexico landscape and culture. 

Outcome:  Voila...a new Mother's Day card!  (Or it could be birthday, thank you, etc.)  Instead of using just one flower image, I decided to create a cluster of blooms.  I drew from the landscape to determine the color palette as well.  The colors of New Mexico are absolutely breathtaking!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Cookbook Project: Recipe 7 - Chicken with Cashews

After a three-ish year hiatus, I'm bringing back The Cookbook Project!  Some of you may remember that I was all gung-ho on making a recipe from every single, solitary cookbook in my arsenal.  I got about six into it and then, well, I guess my enthusiasm dwindled (read: died).  So, here I am again, in a new year, hoping to finish things that I have started.  Or at least make some stellar progress.

I've made a few tweaks to the program.  The books have a new home so I won't be going in any particular order and I will be providing the recipes.  (Not sure why I didn't before...hmm, lazy?  Uh, yes.)  Here's the original post about the project to get you back up to speed.  Enjoy!

Book: Fresh Thai
Author: Oi Cheepchaiissara
Recipe: Chicken with cashews
Page: 94

Came from: Williams-Sonoma, was on super-sale, thought it would be a challenge to try some Thai cooking.

Why this recipe:  Wanted to use our wok and it has cashews.  Love cashews!

Technique: Wok-cooking.  (Still trying to get the hang of this one.)

Process: Very simple.  The key is to get everything prepared beforehand.  Cooks fairly quickly. 

Outcome:  Definitely tasty, but needed a bit more zing or tang or something.  A good, basic wok recipe which you can modify to your own tastes.  I served it over jasmine rice.  Oh, and the onions were a bit too chunky.  I would cut them into strips next time.

Make again? For sure.

Chicken with cashews

1-2 dried, long red chilies, about 5 inches long
1-1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided (you can def substitute canola, rice bran, etc.)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chicken or veggie stock (or water)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small carrot, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, quartered
1-1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 green onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup dry-fried cashews (I lightly toasted them in a non-stick pan)
ground white pepper

One:  Remove the stems from the chilies; use scissors to cut each one into 1/2 inch pieces and discard the seeds.

Two:  Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a nonstick wok or skillet and stir-fry chilies over medium heat for one minute.  Remove from wok.

Three:  Add 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry garlic for another 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned.

Four:  Add the chicken and stock and stir-fry over high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Five:  Add the red bell pepper, carrots, onions, oyster sauce and soy sauce and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.  Add the green onions, chilies and cashews.  Spoon onto a serving plate, season with ground white pepper, and serve immediately.

Join my Cookbook Project Flickr group.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Good stuff.

Early last year, I was invited to contribute to a new DIY book called Stamp It!  It contains a slew of cool stamping projects in addition to instructions on how to carve stamps.  I hadn't heard much about the book in a few months, so I did a search on Amazon and voila!  Pretty cool.  You can pre-order the book as it will be published in May.