This month’s decision to choose a recipe from Lavender and Lovage for Secret Recipe Club was an easy one. When I saw Karen’s Chinese Garlic, Ginger & Honey Chicken, my mind was made. It’s incredibly fast and healthy. We served this atop of some noodles and napa cabbage we picked up at a local market and it was quite satisfying. We also doubled the recipe because it keeps well for lunch leftover. If I were to make it again I would up the spice and maybe add some nuts.
Karen was born in South Africa brought up in rural England. She was greatly influenced by her grandmother and mother and is currently writing a cookbook based on her British cuisine research. Head on over to Lavender and Lovage to browse her extensive recipe collection or check out the other SRC posts from this month below.
For October’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired up with Nora from Natural Noshing. Nora is about the same age as me and has “a passion for nutrition and eating natural, real food — nothing too fussy, over-processed or complicated.” The fact that she avoids gluten and limits her sugar intake seemed a bit daunting at first (I am, after all, a carb-avore that loves sweets), but my worries went away when I started perusing her recipes.
Between Almond Joy / Mounds Pancakes, Chicken Vindaloo, Fire Roasted Chicken Enchiladas with Squash and Red Peppers, Kickin Cashew Chicken, Red Thai Tofu Curry, Pineapple Upside Down Cake for One, and Spicy Kabocha Soup, I’ve bookmarked quite a few recipes to try out later.
One of our comfort foods during while were were dating was Kung Pao Tofu from a local Chinese restaurant. Because of this, it wasn’t hard for my husband to decide on this dish as his SRC pick. Not only did he pick this dish, but he also made it for us one day while we were working from home together.
This recipe won’t solve your craving for Chinese take-out style because it is much lighter and less greasy. It tastes fresher, especially with the crunch of the red bell peppers. Since the dish is relatively easy and quick to make, next time I’d like to try boosting up the spice as well as swapping the chicken for tofu.
I’ll be honest — soft pretzels are a guilty pleasure of mine. I have very fond memories of going shopping with my family and being rewarded at the end with a hot pretzel and lemonade. I also like getting the pretzel rolls to make mini-sandwiches with, but they’re a bit hard to find nearby me.
Making pretzels seemed daunting to me. They’re like bread and bagels mixed together, some mystery that makes them magically chewy yet snappy and soft.
It turns out that they’re not that hard to make! I was inspired by my Secret Recipe Club partner for this month, Nicole from Collie’s Kitchen. Nicole is a half-country/half-city girl that is a full-time college student and mother. I can’t even imagine how she does everything, including making these great soft pretzels!
I didn’t have milk powder or a bread machine, so I had to use a little improvisation with these pretzels. These turned out way better than I expected and I imagine that there will be more pretzels in my future (gotta use up that bread flour!). We might even make these pretzels a Memorial Day tradition; they taste great when smooshed around a local sausage, coleslaw, and grilled onions.
When my sister was graduating with her undergraduate degree in English last May, I had to show up to the ceremony with a little treat for her to eat afterwards.
This tart is incredibly easy to put together and is flavorful yet light. I first saw it on Zen Can Cook, thinking it was odd that a recipe so simple would be on his site. Then I knew it was destiny when fellow DC food-blogger Olga of Mango & Tomato re-created it with some crystallized ginger. How could you go wrong with mango and ginger?
My sister & I in Philadelphia
All bundled up, ready to be enjoyed
I was a bit lazy, which yielded a more “rustic” result. I used pre-chopped mango from the store instead of slicing my own, which made the tart a bit more clunky and testy when slicing. But the end result was still scrumptious and looked perfect for the occasion in my Panibois Baking Molds wrapped with ribbon and cute graduating owls.
I finally got to knock something off of my bucket list! My fiancé and I have been wanting to make caramels for a while, especially after we used our candy thermometor to make some crunchy toffee this past winter.
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I had the delight of perusing Lynsey’s site, Lynsey Lou’s. I had several recipes I wanted to try out from this southern gal’s recipe index before I spotted the caramels: Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes with Pomegranate Frosting, Cheez-it Crusted Chicken, Homemade Marshmallow Creme, Brown Butter Caramel Cookies, and Garam Masala Muffins.
These caramels, by way of Barefoot Contessa, really hit the spot. I am quite picky about the texture of my caramels and like them on the soft side, but not too runny so that they get all over your face. I would bring these to room temperature before eating, lest you crack a tooth! Next time I might try cooking them a little less so that sugar doesn’t harden up quite so much, as well as experimenting with some flavors.
If you’re feeling up for it, you can dip some of the caramels in chocolate. It was messy, but well worth it (hence the lack of photos).
Check out the other Secret Recipe Clubbers below, or head on over to Lynsey Lou’s.