Food and the City | a food + life & style guide for the 20' something

August 22, 2014

General Tso's Chicken

We have been wanting to tackle a homemade General Tso's Chicken recipe for the longest time. I'm not sure what has kept us from completing the task, maybe the fear of it not tasting the same, and ruining our hopes and dreams forever?

We finally took the plunge the other day, and myohmyohmy, am I glad we did! It's almost hard to believe how delicious this is, and how much it does indeed taste like the real thing. Now, we're no Asian cuisine experts, and I doubt this can even be considered "authentic", but it definitely hit the spot!

It's the weekend, folks! Put away the take-out menus and start cooking it up for yourself! You'll be surprised how easy it actually is!

General Tso's Chicken 

1lb boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, cubed
1 Egg
2 tablespoons Cornstarch 
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch 

To start, combined all the ingredients for the sauce and whisk until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and everything is incorporated.

Heat your vegetable oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. We want the oil to be very hot, so do this before anything else. While the oil is heating, combined your eggs and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a bowl, and whisk until fully combined. Dump in the cubed chicken breasts and toss until fully coated in the batter. 

When oil is hot, add chicken pieces one-by-one, being sure to not overcrowd the pan. The chicken pieces will immediately start to brown, and you'll need to keep an eye on them to prevent them from burning. After 2-3 minutes, flip them over and allow them to finish cooking. 

Lower your flame just a bit, and pour in your sauce. Because of the cornstarch, the sauce will start to thicken as soon as it hits the hot pan. Allow to bubble for a minute or two, then toss everything together. You want each chicken piece to have a nice coating of sauce. Top with some chopped green onions and enjoy!

August 20, 2014

Balsamic Chicken And Pesto Pizza

I don't have any words to describe this pizza. It was amazing, magnificent, and us at Food and the City completely devoured it.

It gave us all sorts of the feels, and we pretty much declared it the best thing we've eaten all month. Maybe even all summer?

Not that you need another excuse (or any excuse for that matter) to eat pizza, but here's one more for you!

Balsamic Chicken And Pesto Pizza

1lb Pizza Dough
1/2 cup basil pesto
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (+ an additional 1/2 cup if topping with a balsamic reduction like we did!)

Pour 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar over your chicken breasts and allow them to marinate for 1/2 an hour. Preheat your oven to 425, and heat your grill pan on a medium-high flame. Grill chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Transfer for a plate and allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes.

Roll out your pizza dough onto a greased baking sheet then spread on basil pesto. Sprinkle on your mozzarella cheese, then chop up your chicken breasts to add to the pizza. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until crust is baked through. 

Top it off with a drizzle of a balsamic reduction (simmer vinegar in a saucepan on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until it becomes syrupy), and enjoy!

August 19, 2014

Kitchen Basics: How To Make Pesto

My favorite thing to make, when I have an abundance of basil that's about to go bad, is fresh pesto. Rarely does basil stick around long enough for this to occur, but when it does, oh - it is wonderful.

Pesto is one of those things that you might not eat too often, but when you do you wonder why you don't have it for every meal. What's better than basil, garlic, cheese, and a hint of nutty goodness?


Basil Pesto

2 cups Fresh Basil
3 cloves of Garlic 
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
2/3 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes *optional 

Combined basil, garlic, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender. Pulse until chopped, then pour in your olive oil and continue to blend until smooth and incorporated. Stir in your cheese and you're done! 

More kitchen basics: Roasted Broccoli 

August 18, 2014

Grilled Caprese Chicken With A Balsamic Reduction

Perhaps one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time is tomato and basil. Why do these two just work so, so well together? Tomato & basil sauce, tomato & basil pizza, tomato & pizza on a plate with my face diving straight into it.

I love it in all forms.

Perhaps another favorite thing of mine, is this grilled caprese chicken. It's on my weekly dinner rotation and I'm not mad about that. Top it with a touch of balsamic reduction and ohhhhh buddy, it's over. 

Grilled Caprese Chicken

Serves 1

1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast (I only had cutlets on hand, hence why I used two)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I like to load up on the tomatoes, but you can certainly use less)
1/4 cup mozzarella, cubed
basil for garnish

balsamic reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Start by making your balsamic reduction. I make a batch of this and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. Add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer on a medium-high flame. When vinegar reaches a simmer, lower the heat to contain a smooth, low simmer for 10-15 minutes. You'll know it's finished when vinegar has the consistency to coat the spoon. Set aside.

Mix 1 teaspoon balsamic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl, then pour on top of chicken breast. Allow chicken to marinate for 1/2 an hour. Coat your grill pan with cooking spray and heat it on a medium-high flame. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center.

Transfer your chicken breast to a plate and top with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and spoon on some of the balsamic vinegar. The combinations of flavors is amazing, and the vinegar provides just the right amount of sweetness.


August 15, 2014

The Laughing Cow Takes NYC!

Living in New York, we get invited to some pretty awesome events. Rarely, do these events include big, puffy red chairs in the middle of Time Square while snacking on some delicious The Laughing Cow® snacks. Yup.. that was our Tuesday.

Even though the weather wasn't the greatest, that didn't stop us from sampling different The Laughing Cow® cheeses, hanging by the giant tents that were set up, and taking selfies (of course) at their very own selfie stations. Plus, Gillian Jacobs, from the show Community, was hanging out with The Laughing Cow® himself, and engaging with fans by handing out fun sample packs. Now how's that for a Tuesday afternoon?

We're excited to incorporate The Laughing Cow® cheeses into our upcoming holiday entertaining roster, and can't wait to share our ideas with you! Stay tuned!

 The Laughing Cow® invites consumers to take a mindful moment; to enjoy a tasty and satisfying snack experience at its best. Rich, creamy and delicious, The Laughing Cow® Spreadable Cheese Wedges are the perfect option to help consumers achieve that moment of ultimate snack satisfaction.
Compensation was provided by The Laughing Cow via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of The Laughing Cow.
*Thank you Just Us Four for supplying us with some of your photos after our camera was stolen :-(