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Apple Crisp with a Twist

Apple Crisp w/ a TwistIt’s apple season! That, and the cooler autumn air lure me into the kitchen, nudging my creativity. So what’s the twist with my apple delight? A crispy oatmeal topping laced with Angostura bitters adds richness and depth to this traditional autumn dessert. Rosie asks “Bitters in apple crisp?” Well… my experience with the popularity of bitters in foods throughout the Caribbean+ has broadened my kitchen usage. So yes, I use Angostura bitters fairly often. It adds such an enticing flavor dimension, taking many recipes from “everyday” to extra special. It’s my kitchen umami, sort of like soy sauce.
Stay tuned. Rosie will make this crisp and report back…..

And the results are….WONDERFUL!  I describe the bitters as deepening the caramel-like brown sugar notes, and most remarkably, tempering any over-sweetness. As Rita says, bitters adds a subtle complexity. I agree!  I tested with Cripps Pink apples which are the same as Pink Lady, a slightly tart apple that’s a cross of Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples. Next time I’d use Granny Smith or a juicier apple. As you can see there is no syrupy liquid, and the apples were a bit crispier than I prefer which some of my tasters like. So choose apples for your taste and add Angostura bitters to the crumble!

Rosie's Apple Crisp


Print This Recipe
Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Bitters Topping

Makes one 9-inch round or square apple crisp (8 servings)
Active Prep time: 25 minutes     Oven Time: 35-40 minutes

Oatmeal Topping
6      Tbsp. butter, melted
1       Tbsp. Angostura® aromatic bitters
3/4   cup flour
3/4   cup rolled oats
1/2   cup packed dark brown sugar

5     baking apples, unpeeled *
—   Ground cinnamon, to taste
1     Tbsp. brown sugar

For topping, stir together butter and Angostura. In a medium bowl stir flour, oats and brown sugar. Drizzle butter over flour mixture as evenly as possible and stir well. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes. When ready to assemble crisp, remove topping from refrigerator and crumble with your fingers. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Core apples; quarter and slice about 1/4” thick. You should have 5 cups apples, about 1-1/3 lb. total. In a 9-inch deep dish pie plate or square baking dish, toss together apples and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and toss again. Scatter topping over apples. Bake 35 minutes. Let cool 1 hour, then spoon onto plates or bowls. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

* I used granny smith apples for this recipe. Other baking apples I like are pink lady and honey crisp.

Nutrition per serving (8) without ice cream: 281.7 calories, 10.1 g fat (5.9 g sat fat), 22.9 mg cholesterol, 4.1 g protein, 45.1 g carbohydrate, 81.7 mg sodium, 3.7 g fiber                                        Recipe & Photo by Rita Held

Posted in Desserts, Rita's Kitchen | 4 Responses

The ‘Perfect’ Snack Bar

Perfect Snack BarsThey had us at ‘perfect’! A perfect or best-ever anything is intriguing especially when it’s a recipe, and it’s sampled at the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC), where food writers are eager to compare and analyze food.  Since I recently shared my favorite Travel Snack Bars, I was doubly interested in this Perfect Snack Bar by California Almonds. Packed with almonds and almond butter, pumpkin seeds, coconut, currants, honey, and drizzled with chocolate– it was pretty perfect and looked pretty too. Crunchy, nutty, not-too-sweet. Betcha can’t eat just one!

Samples a IFBC

Perfect Snack Bars at IFBC

But give me a recipe and I almost can’t stop myself from tweaking or substituting.  How many times is there one ingredient missing from my pantry, no matter how carefully I check? This time it was almond flour. So in keeping with the gluten-free theme of the recipe, I substituted coconut flour which was in my freezer and seemed right with the coconut chips in the recipe.

I’ll always remember an interview I heard with a Bon Appetit Magazine editor who said something like, “Our recipes are a guide for your creativity and flavor preference. We just want you to enjoy cooking and eating”. That’s how Rita and I feel too!

In that spirit, here are a couple more revisions: I substituted maple syrup for some of the honey, because I like maple; I baked the bars – the original is unbaked – to make them crunchy vs soft-chewy. I think the bar is quite perfect baked or unbaked.

And how does this one compare to my snack bars?  Both are darned excellent. Make the one you have the ingredients for!

Note: I was not compensated by IFBC or California Almonds, but was provided a discount to attend the conference reviewed here. For more information about IFBC check these Facebook posts and info about IFBC 2017. Come join us! 

Print This Recipe

Perfect Snack Bar

Adapted from Almond Board of California
Makes about 30  3 x 1.5-inch bars

1-1/2 cups (7 oz)    whole California Almonds
1 cup (4.25 oz.)       raw pumpkin seeds*
3/4 cup (3 oz.)       sliced California Almonds
2/3 cup (2.25 oz)   old-fashioned oats
1-1/4 cups (2 oz.)   unsweetened coconut chips*
1/2 cup (2.25 oz.)   currants (can sub raisins or diced apricots)
1/4 cup (1 oz.)         almond flour or coconut flour
scant 2/3 cup (7 oz.)   honey, or combination honey and maple syrup
1/3 cup (3 oz.)         almond butter, smooth or chunky, salted or unsalted
1/2 cup (3 oz.)        dark chocolate chips, melted (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F.
Spread whole almonds on a baking sheet. Spread pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and oats on another baking sheet. Bake each for 10-15 minutes, or until toasted, stirring once or twice.  Cool. Transfer to a large bowl; add currants and flour.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring honey (and maple syrup if using) to a simmer. Heat to 240°F. This should take about 5 minutes, maybe less, and should be at a full simmer. OR, microwave in a 2-cup pyrex  3-4 minutes  (it will bubble up), stirring every minute. If you don’t have a thermometer, check by drizzling a tiny bit in a small bowl of ice water. It should form a soft ball between your fingers. **see note.

Stir almond butter into the honey then immediately pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Stir quickly and thoroughly until mixture is evenly coated. Press onto a parchment or foil lined baking sheet to a thin layer. It should nearly cover a 13×18-inch pan. I place a second sheet of parchment over and press/roll with a rolling pin to flatten.

For soft-chewy bars, cool completely then cut. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired.
For crisper bars, bake at 325°F for 15 minutes or until edges start to brown. Remove from oven. Cut into bars with a sharp knife. The center bars will be less crisp. Cool completely on pan.
For very crispy bars let stand 15 minutes after cutting, then with a spatula divide bars between two baking sheets so there is space between them. Bake at 325°F additional 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Flatten to thickness of the almonds.

Flatten to thickness of the almonds.



Perfect without chocolate too!


Look for unsweetened coconut chips in the bulk foods section at stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts.

I buy raw pumpkin seeds at Trader Joe’s.

**Be very careful heating the honey or maple syrup, it burns quickly. Use a candy thermometer but be sure it’s a working thermometer. I used an antique thermometer gifted to me by a dear friend, but sadly the mercury stopped rising (nothing to do with the planet Mercury in retrograde which is now!). Within seconds as I watched the simmer, the honey and maple scorched BLACK– quite a stench and sad waste. I’ll need to say goodbye to that relic and properly dispose it.

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Rosie's Kitchen | 8 Responses

Toasted Walnut Hummus

Toasted Walnut HummusHummus is having a heyday as a healthy spread and dip, and there are endless variations on the traditional version with chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), lemon and garlic. This recipe from California Walnut Board substitutes walnuts and walnut oil for tahini, and orange for lemon juice, but I couldn’t quite imagine the flavors until I made it.

I noticed the recipe in my bundle of ‘swag’ from the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in Sacramento last week. Now I’m hooked on the taste– a little nutty-bitterness of walnuts and orange zest, with a hint of fruity-orange and garlic. I eat it with the sweetest carrots and green beans ever, from my weekly Riverdog Farm CSA box. Riverdog is a gem of the Capay Valley, one of the most beautiful farming regions in California. I highly recommend a drive through this quaint farmsy area 16 miles west Woodland, off the 505 freeway on the way to Sacramento from San Francisco.

Conference attendees were wowed with tours throughout Sacramento, Yolo, and Capay Valleys tasting olive oil, olives, cheeses, pears, peaches, and that is just a sampling of the agriculture-rich central valley’s northern region. I want to LIVE in Sacramento to be near the excellent restaurants, food entrepreneurs, and such astounding agriculture — well, maybe not live in Sacramento, the weather is much hotter than Walnut Creek — but hey, I’m the person to test a California Walnut Board recipe in Walnut Creek, right?

Walnuts starred at the conference as a California industry along with Californiaalmondspistachios, cling Figsfigs 2peaches, fresh and dried figs, andCalifornia Endive. It’s amazing how endive is grown  (recommend you look) in controlled atmosphere from the roots of chicory. I’ve received several Valentine ‘bouquets’ right on the chicory roots from California Endive.endive Nearly 100% of domestic endive (pronounced ON-deev, please) is grown in Rio Vista by California Endive.

The Sacramento Visitors Bureau generously participated in the conference with their Farm to Fork initiative, showcasing unmatched agriculture and culinary expertise, that as Californians we often take for granted. Check FarmToForkfor a list of events the entire month of September, including tours, a very famous Tower Bridge dinner, and a free festival with live music, chef demonstrations, beer and wine tastings – the Festival website tells it best, just get yourself there!

Now to the recipe for Toasted Walnut Hummus. Or get the recipe in this nifty on-line booklet Simple Ways to Use Walnuts.  Some of my recipes are on their website too like Green Monster Dip (another hummus-like dip) and Double Walnut Goat Cheese Pizza.

Toasted Walnut Hummus

Prep time: 5 minutes. Makes about 1-1/s cups

1/2 cup California Walnuts
3 tablespoons walnut oil
1 garlic clove, quartered
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice*
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Toast walnuts in 350F oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown. (You can use a toaster oven, but watch carefully so as not to burn). Cool nuts.
Combine toasted walnuts with oil and garlic in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Add chickpeas, orange zest, orange juice, salt and pepper; continue to blend to an even, smooth consistency. *May need a little more orange juice for smoother consistency.
Serve with any freshest veggies, pita bread or crackers.

Note: Most supermarkets and Trader Joe’s carry walnut oil. I usually buy La Tourangelle brand. Be sure to refrigerate to prevent rancidity. It keeps well, and can be used for salad dressings, pastas, in baking, and as a finishing oil. Very delicious!

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Rosie's Kitchen | Leave a comment

Travel Snack Bars (Gluten-free)

Energy Bars

With summer holidays in high gear, it’s always good to have healthful travel snacks to bring along. These crispy cereal bars are packed with almonds, dried apricots and dates or figs, plus cacao nibs for a surprise chocolate hit (as in My Favorite Chocolate Shortbread cookie).

You might say why bake when you could buy energy bars, but it’s nice to customize to your taste, plus have a pan-full to share. I usually make a batch before a trip and am so glad to have these for munchies. I individually wrap the bars in plastic or wax paper, then pack in zip-top bags. If you’re not traveling with a cooler, skip the almond butter frosting which won’t like any heat.

These bars recently traveled with me to Ghana when I visited (Ariel) and she didn’t mind having a taste of home when I arrived! Where will you be traveling this summer? Print This Recipe

Travel Snack Bars

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour cooling
Makes 12 bars or 24 squares

3/4        cup raw whole almonds
3/4        cup puffed rice cereal*
1/2        cup quinoa flakes* or quick oats
1/2        cup chopped dried dates or dried figs
1/2        cup chopped dried apricots, golden raisins, or cherries
1/4        cup cacao nibs (optional)
1/4        cup honey
1            tablespoon sugar

Almond Butter ‘Frosting’ (optional)
1/4        cup salted or unsalted almond butter
2            teaspoons coconut oil, melted
Mini chocolate chips
Sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325F°. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil with overhang on two ends; coat generously with cooking spray.

  1. Spread almonds and cereals on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  2. Mix dates, apricots and cacao nibs in a large bowl. Put honey and sugar in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. About a minute before the cereal is done toasting, heat honey and sugar in microwave for 30 seconds until bubbly, stir and heat again just until sugar melts, about 15 seconds. Watch carefully that honey doesn’t boil over.
  3. Pour hot toasted almonds and cereal over the dried fruit. Immediately drizzle the hot honey mixture over and mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until ingredients are evenly coated. Mixture will look dry. Turn into prepared pan and pat down very firmly and evenly.
  4. Bake 20 minutes until top is light golden brown. Remove from oven and press top with a silicon spatula or spoon to flatten and firm before cooling.  Flattening and cooling is important so the bars hold together when cut. Lift cooled bars out of pan with foil.
    To frost, stir together  almond butter and coconut oil. Spread over top before cutting. Top with mini chocolate chips and sliced almonds  if desired. Refrigerate until frosting is firm, 1-2 hours. Cut into bars with a sharp knife.

Note: Frosted bars must be stored in the refrigerator for frosting to stay firm. Unfrosted bars can be stored airtight at room temperature.

Kitchen Notes:

Puffed Rice Cereal can be Rice Krispies, or Rice Puffs such as Nature’s Path brand. Just be sure they are unsweetened.
Quinoa Flakes are a little lighter in texture than quick oats which also work fine. I get Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes at Whole Foods.
Cacao Nibs can be found at Whole Foods. I usually buy the Divine Organics brand.

Energy Bars

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Rosie's Kitchen | 6 Responses

Fava Beans with Sage & Cheese Ravioli

Favas with cheese ravioliFava beans are among my springtime favorites. As delicious and versatile as favas are, I wish they were faster to prep. At my farmers market, growers sell sweet peas, shelled, in large bowls for scooping. Not so for favas. But let’s not get discouraged. This is a super easy recipe. Once the favas are shelled and lightly cooked, this is totally worth the fava time. If you want, shell the favas a day ahead and refrigerate.

favas in basket

Fava beans from the Mountain View CA farmers market.

favas raw and cooked

Raw favas in and out of pod. Cooked favas with skins removed.

Print This Recipe

Fava Beans with Sage & Cheese Ravioli
Makes 2 hearty dinner servings

8  fava pods or more (40 beans +)
16 oz. cheese ravioli (frozen Lucca 3-Cheese is a good choice)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried rubbed sage leaves (try McCormick’s Dalmatian sage leaves)
Shredded Parmesan, Romano or other robust cheese

Split fava pods with your fingers and remove beans. In a 4-quart pot, bring water to a boil; salt lightly. Add favas and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a wire strainer, rinse with cold water and drain. Slip skins off favas and discard. Meanwhile, keep water in pot simmering.

Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet. Add sage and simmer very gently. Meanwhile, add ravioli to pot of boiling water. Cook as directed, 2–6 minutes depending on the brand and size of ravioli.  Note: The cooked ravioli will be a bit green from the favas. If you prefer, use a fresh pot of water.

When ravioli is cooked, drain well and add to skillet along with fava beans. Toss to coat and warm up favas. Serve immediately topped with cheese.                                                 Recipe and photos by Rita Held

fava & ravioli w cheese

Posted in Entrees, Rita's Kitchen | 6 Responses

Bedevil those Easter Eggs

Get cracking with Rita and Rosie’s Deviled Easter Eggs!  Of course, Rita’s have a splash of bitters — but wait! How about Rosie’s mashed potato deviled eggs? A combo of mashed potato flakes, cheddar and bacon bits. Think of warm twice-baked potatoes tucked into a deviled egg. Either way, both recipes are unique. Bitters adds an umami flavor of sorts, the way soy sauce or anchovy do — a sophisticated twist along with Romano cheese, Dijon mustard and cayenne.

Here are the recipes:  Rita’s Be-Deviled Eggs    Rosie’s Devil-ish Eggs

What do you do with all your Easter eggs?  Please share your tricks and tips with us; there are many ways to ‘peel an egg’!

Hard-cooked egg whys and hows

  1. Why hard-cooked not hard-boiled?  Because as this video explains, cook the eggs, don’t boil them. So simple it’s almost hilarious.
  2. Why is there a gray ring around the yolk? It’s a reaction between the sulfur in the white and iron in the yolk that at temperatures above 158F turn to ferrous sulfide. It’s only unsightly, not a bad egg. Too much chemistry?  Just don’t overcook! And, immediately dunk the hot cooked eggs in very cold water (ice water even). 
  3. Why are some eggs hard to peel? Usually because they are too fresh. There is a membrane that sticks to the shell of a fresh egg which pretty much calls off all bets on peeling. The longer past laying the egg is, the more chance for the egg to breath through the porous shell, so the membrane loosens and an airspace develops. You can speed up this process by leaving eggs at room temperature overnight (no they will not go bad). The more the eggs might go from refrigeration to non-refrigeration which could happen (but shouldn’t) during transportation and handling, the faster the breathing process happens.  So boil or scramble older eggs, fry or poach the freshest eggs before that air space develops and loosens the white.                           Disclaimer:  The pros* at Serious Eats Food Lab say, “Here’s the truth: There is no 100% Fool Proof method”.  The Food Lab also says that egg freshness is not the issue. (Rosie disagrees — as some of you know, she worked in the egg industry and with the California Egg Board many years ago and has plenty of egg-sperience!)  So, let us know your experience with this!
  4. How can I keep deviled eggs from slipping off the plate?
    1. First, after peeling, slice a very thin piece off the bottom of each half, just enough to make about a 1/2 inch flat area.
    2. Spread clover sprouts on the plate to make a non-slippery bed for the eggs.
    3. Place stuffed eggs on an ‘egg plate’ with divots but those usually don’t hold very many eggs.

Prior to founding SeriousEats.com, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt worked at America’s Test Kitchen — well-known for its detailed kitchen testing. He has also worked in restaurants, giving him a wide-range of experience and credibility.

Posted in Appetizers & Snacks, Rita & Rosie's Kitchens | 4 Responses

Banana Raisin French Toast

Banana Raisin French Toast

Banana stuffed French toast is super easy to make in this oven-baked recipe. There’s no tricky bread pocket to slice and stuff. Just layer sliced bananas between raisin bread in a casserole dish then drench in a cream cheese custard and bake to a creamy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside French toast. Prepare it the night before or a few hours ahead then bake just before serving. With bananas and raisins it’s a double-fruit French Toast ready when you are. Serve with fresh strawberries and a side of bacon or sausage if you like. Pretty and simple for Easter brunch or any day!

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4

Print This Recipe

Banana Raisin French Toast

Makes 4-8 servings     Prep Time: 10 minutes     Bake time: 40-50 minutes

8   slices Sun-Maid Raisin Bread
2   medium bananas cut in 1/4-inch slices
1    cup milk
4    ounces cream cheese, at room temp or microwave 20 seconds
3    eggs
1/3 cup sugar or 3 tablespoons honey
3    tablespoons all-purpose flour
2    teaspoons vanilla extract
dash of nutmeg and/or cinnamon (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

HEAT oven to 350° F. (If baking immediately).
PLACE four slices of raisin bread in a single layer in a buttered 9-inch square baking dish. Top with bananas and four slices of raisin bread.
BLEND milk, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and nutmeg and cinnamon if using in a blender or food processor until smooth.
POUR over raisin bread. Let stand 5 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
BAKE 40 to 45 minutes (50 to 55 minutes if refrigerated) until set and top is toasted. Let stand 10 minutes.
CUT French toast into diagonal halves and remove with spatula. Dust servings with powdered sugar if desired.

Photo by www.kellyburgoyne.com

Posted in Breads, Entrees, Rosie's Kitchen | 10 Responses

Kale Supper Saute

Kale Potato SauteFor simple week-night suppers, I often “toss together” foods I have on-hand: yellow onion, garlic, Yukon gold potatoes, and kale (usually Tuscan kale, aka lacinato kale). In my freezer there’s typically cooked sausage of some type or another. For this healthful, one-pan meal, I prefer Aidells Portabello & Swiss Cheese smoked chicken sausage. I use just one sausage, so yes, this is a good-for-you supper.
To add a yummy background flavor, I especially like “McCormick’s Gourmet” Italian Seasoning. It’s my recently-discovered, and now favorite, dried seasoning mix. It’s not just for Italian-style dishes at all! Rather, it’s a delicious, just-the-right blend of marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, savory, and sage. Quite versatile.

This recipe is an ad lib, do-your-own-thing, week-night supper. Change it up a bit! Let me know your variations or tell me about one of your own simple supper routines.
Kale Potatoes & Sausage

Print This Recipe

Kale Supper Sauté
Makes two dinner-size servings

1 large bunch Tuscan kale
3 Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes
Olive oil
1/3 medium yellow onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt & fresh ground pepper
1 link Aidells sausage of your choice, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
McCormick’s Gourmet Italian Seasoning, or a combination of dried rosemary and thyme

Rinse kale. Cut out thick stems at bottom of leaves and discard. Coarsely chop kale and set aside to microwave (blanch)* after the potatoes.

Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces. Salt generously. Cover and microwave until easily pierced with a fork (no water needed in microwave dish). Drizzle some olive oil into a large sauté pan. Brown potatoes, turning as needed and salting more. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add more olive oil to the same pan. Sauté onion and garlic for a minute or so. Add sliced sausage and a generous shake of dried herbs; stir.

Meanwhile, microwave* kale on high—covered—for 1 minute. Again, no water needed. Transfer kale to pan (tongs work well for doing this). Turn up heat. Sauté and stir, sprinkling with salt, pepper, more dried herbs and olive oil as desired. Stir in cooked potatoes and serve.

* Kitchen Note
If you like chewy kale, no need to microwave/blanch it. Just sauté it longer, then lower heat a bit and cover pan for 5 minutes or so to soften. I sometimes add a splash of red wine vinegar for some tang at this point, or a splash of water.

Posted in Entrees, Rita's Kitchen | Leave a comment

Stir Fry for Year of the Monkey

Simple Stir Fry

February 8 marked the beginning of Chinese New Year which is celebrated through February 22. So Rita’s Basic Stir Fry is just right for this month. You’d think cooking a stir fry would be a snap for me, because I’ve help my mother-in-law chop, stir, sauce and serve many a banquet dish.  But neither she nor I measured while we cooked.

Rita’s formula is perfect: 1 cup water plus 1 tablespoon of each sauce ingredient – so it IS a snap! (What wasn’t a snap was our guests driving and parking in San Francisco Chinatown to attend our wedding banquet 32 years ago ON Chinese New Year parade day — I hope they’ve forgiven us by now!).  And don’t forget the little red Lai See money envelops this month. Traditional etiquette says adults give Lai See to family and friends (usually $1-100, but here are some guidelines) symbolizing auspiciousness, wealth and good fortune. It’s sometimes a funny exchange of pass-the-envelope.
Gung Hay Fat Choy! And Happy Anniversary Bernie 🙂

Basic Stir Fry Recipe
(see printable recipe below)
Vary your stir fry by the vegetables you have on-hand and your choice of chicken, tofu, beef or pork. Or make it completely vegetarian. This time I had a lot of broccoli and leeks from my Riverdog Farm CSA , and some bell pepper leftover from a crudite tray.
Your choice veggies

Chop vegetables into bite-size pieces to make about 4 cups. Chopped stir fry veggies







Stir together 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon each cornstarch, cream sherry, oyster sauce and soy sauce plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil.Stir Fry sauce ingredients

Add chopped garlic and fresh ginger to a hot skillet or wok with 1 Tbsp oil. Check Rita’s tips for freezer ready ginger and garlic. I use my Circulon 14-inch Stir Fry pan over medium-high heat, or use your widest skillet.

Garlic and ginger

Brown chicken, or your choice of beef, tofu, pork. Remove meat to a plate.

Brown chicken

Add vegetables; stir fry about 2 minutes. I added the leeks with the vegetables. If using yellow onion, see Rita’s instructions below.Vegetables

Return chicken to pan and add sauce. Cook over high heat stirring constantly until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice. Top with toasted cashews if desired.Chicken Stirfry
Print This Recipe
Rita’s Basic Stir Fry
enough for 2 servings with rice

7-8   oz. boneless chicken, pork or beef, sliced
1+    Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1       cup water (3/4 cup for thicker sauce or use a bit more cornstarch)
1       Tbsp. cornstarch
1       Tbsp. soy sauce (low sodium or regular)
1       Tbsp. cream sherry  (Christian Brothers or any inexpensive brand)
1       Tbsp. oyster sauce  (Lee Kum Kee brand or your choice)
1       tsp. toasted sesame oil  (Dynasty 5 oz bottle, or your favorite brand)

1       Tbsp. peanut oil or vegetable oil
1       Tbsp. minced fresh garlic (or freezer ready)
1       Tbsp. minced fresh ginger (or freezer ready)

1/2   cup large-dice yellow or white onion (or 1/2 small onion)
1       large stalk celery, sliced (optional)
3-4   cups cut-up veggies (broccoli, asparagus, green beans, snow peas, carrots)
Cashews (optional garnish)

Place sliced chicken in a small bowl and drizzle with soy sauce. Stir to coat chicken; set aside.

Measure water. Stir in cornstarch and remaining sauce ingredients; set aside.

In a large sauté pan, gently cook garlic and ginger in oil for about 1 minute. Increase heat and add chicken; stir-fry until almost cooked. Transfer to a warm plate.

Add onion to pan; stir-fry 1 minute. Add veggies and continue to stir-fry 1-2 minutes.*

Stir sauce well and pour into pan. Cook 1-2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in cooked chicken; heat through. Serve immediately with hot steamed rice. Sprinkle with cashews, if desired.

* Rita’s Kitchen Notes:
Do not overcook chicken and veggies. Veggies should be crisp; they will continue to cook in the sauce.

Additional peanut oil may be needed for the vegetables. If the pan gets too dry, simply splash in a bit of water or some of the un-stirred sauce. If the pan browns a bit, that adds flavor to the stir-fry!

*Rosie’s Kitchen Notes:
Adjust the amount of garlic and ginger to your taste. I like lots of ginger and little less garlic.

Add chopped fresh cilantro; top with peanuts or almonds instead of cashews.

Photos taken with IPhone by Rosie 

Posted in Entrees, Rita & Rosie's Kitchens | 4 Responses

Chili — Southwest & Midwest Style

Chipotle Black Bean Chili
Yes, it’s that time of year. Time to try one of these warming winter “stews” —  Chipotle Black Bean Chili (with bitters), or my authentic Cincinnati Chili.  The Cinci chili was inspired by my cousin Anne who lives there. And yes, spaghetti makes the foundation for the south Ohio specialty.  If you have a favorite chili, let us know! Tell us about it in Comments (aka Responses) below this post. If you’d like to add a link to your chili, please do so.   PS: My favorite Sloppy Joes recipe is suitable for this time of year as well. Humm… Now, which to make?!

Chili - Black Bean and Cincinnati

Posted in Entrees, Rita's Kitchen | 8 Responses
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