Saturday, May 2, 2009

Accepting Yet Another Challenge

My Dad is a sweet old ma... uh...Newsie. but sometimes he can be a tricky one too. He seems to think that one challenge for the month isn't hard enough. No, tonight he issued a twist to the month's theme which is Sweet. See his blog here.

He thought it would be funny to see if I could come up with a blog dealing with Sweet and Sour.

HA! Can you tell my Dad is not an aficionado of Chinese take - out?

Mom was. In fact, the very first place I remember going out to eat with just my Mom was a Chinese restaurant in Taunton, MA beforre I was even in school. Mom's favorite thing on the menu was Chop Suey with lots of cooked bean sprouts. That's still my favorite too but many restaurants don't have it any more.

Mom loved her Chinese food. She had some health issues when I was a girl and was in and out of hospitals several times. We were so often really worried about her but she found a fun way to let us know when she was on the mend after she got home. She'd call Daddy and have him pick up Chop Suey on his way home from work, at the all night take out, then she'd share it with whichever of us woke up when he got there. Just hearing her put in her order let us know she was going to be okay soon. Even when we were old enough to realize she wasn't feeling at her peak, a request for chop suey with extra sprouts was comfort food for us.

She would love some of the places Jim and I have been in the past few years. Chinese buffets with thirty or more items on the steam tables. Places with names like Oriental Dragon, Phat Phoo's, The Great Wall, and The Big Wah. I think about Mom every time we enjoy chinese food. While I watch Jim struggle with chop sticks and then give up and use a fork, I remember my own lessons with my favorite Chop Sticks teacher. She taught me to try everything on the menu and not just stick to the one I could pronounce. (Moo Goo Gai Pan anybody?)

Here's one to make at home that mom would have enjoyed.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
From Eating Well


2 cups instant brown rice
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated or minced fresh ginger
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 cups bite-size pieces of vegetables, such as snow peas, broccoli and bell peppers
1 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained


  1. Prepare rice according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and apricot preserves in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink on the outside and just starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.
  6. Stir in water chestnuts and the chicken.
  7. Whisk the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with the rice.

Serves 4.

Sweet, huh Dad?

See ya down the road,


hilly said...

Awesome blog YT!I felt like I was growing up with you. My mom was sick often when I was a child also. Comfort food is the best(maybe thats why I am having so much trouble taking off these "few" pounds I need to... LOL.. to much comfort food)

SWEET memories

Geezerguy said...

Great blog, YT. Don't lose the recipe...We could have it in the AZ room sometime.

spiritualastronomer said...

Okay, now you've made me hungry.

Karen said...

My mother always worked outside the home when I was growing up. On Fridays, she would bring home a HUGE bag of Krystal hamburgers, and we would eat til we popped. We loved to see her come in the house with that bag.