Friday, November 11, 2011

Foodie Friday (Guest Blogger)

Today we have a special treat for you! Brandi's husband is sharing some amazing recipes with us! We love it when he cooks and are so glad he's sharing with you all for Foodie Friday! Don't forget to enter our giveaway AND link up your recipes today!


Hello! My name is Tony Scardina, and today, the ladies over at CraftyGirlSquared have asked me to be a guest blogger for Foodie Friday.

Right then, off we go.

This recipe covers Egg Drop Soup, one of our family's favorites, as well as some sweet and sour chicken.
If happen to have seen any of my other blogs, (NozeDive Cooks, NozeDive's Random Crap, CyberPunk Dawn)    then you may know that I have a sort of reputation for being a bit crass. Well I'm going to try to tone it down a bit for this guest post, but, I'm not making any promises.

Egg drop soup is a pretty simple recipe. At its core, it only consists of chicken broth, corn starch, and eggs. Of course, there are many variations on this recipe. I'm going for more of a filling soup here, so there's going to be a bit more in it.

*NOTE: A word on noodles: I think ramen noodles get a lot of flack here in The States because they're usually associated with those inexpensive and fattening little packages of noodle you see clustered in every dorm room across the continent. Well let me set the recored strait. They're freaking delicious. So what if they're cheap. In some restaurants (or other food vendors) in Japan, chefs have to train for years - literally years - just for their boss to allow them to serve a simple ramen noodles in soy sauce to any customers.

4 cups chicken broth
1 package ramen noodles (noodles and seasoning, noodle block cut into quarters, and then pryed apart for eight pieces)
1 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons of  freshly grated garlic
2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger root.
Pepper (to taste, white pepper preferred)
Seasoning salt (to taste)
2 eggs

Egg Drop Soup
Begin by placing all of the broth, the noodles, garlic, and ginger into a pot and put on high heat until boiling. Turn to a medium heat and stir until the noodles are cooked.

Yokes are broken. Eggs are not scrambled.
Next, place the eggs into a separate bowl and break the yolks, mixing them into the white. DO NOT SCRAMBLE THESE EGGS! Just don't, alright? I mean, really. Turn the heat back up to high.  Don't. Now, take a fork or spoon, and hold it net to the bowl as you're pouring the eggs out. The idea is for a thin, narrow stream of egg to pour out, not a big ol' blob of it. You'll want to make sure that you're not pouring all of ht egg into one place, either. Move the bowl around as you're pouring. YOU DIDN'T SCRAMBLE THEM, RIGHT? Okay, so now that the eggs are in, you'll want to stir the soup and keep pulling spoon fulls of it out to look at to make sure that the eggs are cooked. If you've poured the eggs properly, they'll resemble shredded tissue.

Chopped Green Onions
Grated Garlic
Grated Ginger Root
Once the eggs are cooked, and that shouldn't take long, bring the heat back down to low. As it's cooling, take about a cup of the broth out and place it into a clean bowl. Now add a table spoon or two of corn starch and mix. Once the mixture of cornstarch and broth is homogeneous, pour it back into the soup. Then, repeat the process. Once the soup cools (Remember, you've turned the heat down to low), the broth's viscosity will thicken - just like the egg drop soup at the restaurants!

If you're going to serve something else with your soup, now is the time to start. Just keep the soup on that low simmer setting and when the rest of the food is done, you'll have that wonderful soup ready to go.

And now, on to the sweet and sour chicken. One of the neat things about stir-fry is that you can usually pick whatever vegetables you want. I'm going to list the veggies that I happened to use when I made this recently.

24 ti 32 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast
Stir fry veggies
     (1 can of water chestnuts, 1 can of bamboo shoots, one can of baby corn, one can of pineapple chunks)
     (1 bag of Asian stir-fry vegetables consisting of  green beens, shredded carrots, peas, broccoli and chillies)
vegetable or olive oil
2 eggs
All purpose flour (I once used pancake mix and it actually tasted more like the restaurant kind)
Soy sauce
Sweet and sour sauce
Chopped garlic

Chopped Garlic
Start out by using either  a deep frying pan, or wok. Get some oil in there - enough to coat the veggies - and pour all the veggies in. Splash in some soy sauce, maybe like a quarter cup or more. It's hard for me to say exactly how much it takes because I've been just eye-balling it for so long. You'll need to put either some soy or liquid-ey Teriyaki if you can find it, to bring all the flavors together. I don't know how this works, I just know that if you don't use soy, or something comparable, you won't really taste whatever flavored sauce you use later. Now turn the heat for this wok to medium or medium high.
Some stuffs

Normally, cooking with a wok involves very high heat, but in the case of these veggies, we're using a lower setting because you're going to be preoccupied with the chicken you're deep frying. But for now, just stir it, and the soup, every once and a while.

Now for the deep frying. Another wok, if you have one, works great for this.

Veggies in the Wok

DEEP FRYING IS WAY MORE DANGEROUS THAN YOU THINK IT IS! This is because of oil's density and boiling points, relative to water's density and boiling points. Once the oil is heated, if any water gets into it, it can sink to the bottom where it's temperature will sky-rocket above boiling to somewhere between  212°F 705°F  and it will remain a liquid until it is disturbed by something like a piece of food or a fork. Once that happens, the superheated water will change to vapor so quickly that it will 'explode' boiling oil and searing steam all over your body. Then guess what? You've just earned yourself some second degree burns and a ride in an ambulance to the emergency room.

PHYSIC LESSON OF THE DAY Wikipedia: Superheated Water and Wikipedia: Critical Point (thermodynamics)

In addition to this, it can be tricky to get the temperature right. Too cold, and your chicken won't cook or get hot enough to kill the deadly bacteria within. Too hot, and the breading will turn to charcoal, and the chicken will still be raw and full of little nasty beasties. Way too hot, and the chicken will explode just like the water I mentioned earlier.

So... If you've never deep fired before... YOU BETTER ASK SOMEBODY! Deep Frying Safety Tips

Bite-Sized Breast
Start by cutting the breast into bite seized pieces. Remove any skin, fat, or other grossness that you may encounter. Crack open and scramble two eggs into another bowl. (Use the raw egg bowl from the soup, if you want to) Pour some of your all purpose flour (or pancake mix) into yet another bowl. And finally, get a clean plate and place a couple of paper towels on it.

So now that you know how to deep fry safely, I put about enough oil into the wok to cover each of the bite sized pieces of chicken. The heat, as I said, is a bit of a tricky thing. You want to find that sweet spot, I think 250ยบ would be a nice temp. The chicken won't explode, but it will cook hot enough. Water can still explode a this temperature, thought, and chicken has a lot of water in it, so be careful.

Assembly Line:
Raw Chicken, Raw Egg, Flour.
Notice where the cooked
chicken is.
The process goes like this: Pick up some raw chicken, swirl it around in the raw egg, dip them in the flour until they're coated in it, CAREFULLY place those pieces in the hot oil, once they have a golden brown exterior, CAREFULLY remove them with a slotted spoon, and place them on the paper towels. Until you get the hang of it, it's a good idea to cut some (or all) pieces of chicken open to make sure they're not pink on the inside anymore. It's okay to drip grease into the raw chicken, egg, or flour, but DO NOT get any raw egg, chicken, or flour (no full of raw egg and chicken) into or onto cooked food, or any surface they may share. This is called cross-contamination, and will infect your guts and get you really sick.

So now you've got the process of frying down pat. Keep stirring the soup you made in the first half, and keep checking the veggies. You may have to continuously tweak the temperature so they cook, but don't burn.

Once all of the chicken is cooked, return to the wok with the veggies in it. Turn the heat back up, and with a utensile, make a hole in the center of the veggies. Think about mashed potatoes and gravy. You used to make a little swimming pool by smooshing away the spuds and pouring gravy in, right? Well do that in the wok, but pour in about a cup of the sweet and sour. Once that sauce is heated, mix all the veggies around to get them coated, and let them cook for a little while longer. A minute or two. Now place them on the lowest heat setting and they're ready to go!

  I like to serve this on a bed of rice, but it's fine without. Make sure that you add the remaining cup of sweet and sour sauce to the fired chicken. Combine, serve, and enjoy!

Chinese Chicken
Stir Fry
Egg Drop Soup

Thanks, Tony! This is one of our very favorite recipes that you make!

And now it's your turn to share some of your favorite foodie things, favorite recipes, food tricks, etc. with us! Please don't link up etsy shops, giveaways, or other such things. Please just link up blog posts of your own. Also, please put our button in your post or on your page somewhere.

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