Monday, November 12, 2012

Cold Weather = Chili Time!

White Bean and Chicken Chili with a Homemade Whole Wheat Garlic-Parmesan Drop Biscuit

There's nothing like a hearty soup on a cold snowy day! As soon as I found out that it was going to snow in the mountains, I immediately pondered the idea of making chili. I wanted to make something a little different than typical bean and beef chili, so I went by the local fruit and veggie stand near my apartment. As soon as I saw the new bins of raw beans and fresh bundles of kale, I knew what I wanted to make!

Ingredients for the chili:
1 cup of raw white Great Northern Beans
8 cups of chicken broth (low sodium)
1 bunch of kale
1 white onion (coarsely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 serrano chili (minced)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
about 7-8 chicken tenderloins
*cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

I cooked the beans in 50/50, chicken broth /water. This was the hardest part of the entire recipe. If you have never cooked raw beans before, be sure to keep checking on them throughout the hour to hour and a half of cooking. Beans absorb water quickly, so you want to make sure they do not burn.

In the mean time, while your beans are cooking, you can chop your onion, and mince your garlic and serrano chili. Set aside your minced chili for later and saute the onion and garlic together in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once slightly tender, rake onions into a bowl to add to the chili later. use the same pan to saute the kale. set this aside in a bowl as well.

Boil the chicken in water for about 30 minutes or until the center is no longer pink and a internal temperature of 165 degrees is met. Once cooked, let the tenderloins cool and shred (I just used my hands to shred them).

Ingredients for the Garlic-Parmesan Biscuit:
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup or grated parmesan cheese
3/8 cup of milk (I used soy, and it worked just fine)
2 tablespoons of butter
1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spread olive oil on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, garlic powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Then add the butter using your fingers until you create a crumbly dough. Stir in the parmesan until evenly combined.

Create a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour in the milk. Mix until combined.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands then knead the dough 8-10 times.

Place "handful sized" mounds of dough on the oiled baking sheet, then bake for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the tops start browning. While warm, put extra parmesan on the biscuits.

* Be sure not to over-bake or the biscuits will be too dry!


(Please excuse the lack of style in this picture)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wing Lei - Wynn: Encore

This was an outstanding dinner! It is the only Michelin Star awarded Asian restaurant in North America. It is located inside of Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort.

Our dinner started with this wine. he waiter said that it was Chinese tradition to have the wine before the meal.

I had never seen this kind of wine before: Bott Geyl Gerwurztraminer. It was delicious!

This was my mom's first course:
A very fruitful salad!

My brother and I had this soup to start with. It was crab and corn egg drop soup. Very good!

I bet your all wondering what this next plate even is...
Mom's dish:

*Chili Dungeness Crab                                                                                                                                                     Garlic, Sichuan Dried Chili, Scallions, Served in Shell 

She said it was really spicy and messy (as we could all tell)!

My brother had this:

*Grilled Sea Bass 38 
Lotus Root, Inoki Mushrooms, Spinach, Asparagus 

He said it was the best piece of fish he has ever had. This means a lot coming from him!

For our Dinner, my dad and I split this $88 dish.

*Imperial Peking Duck 
Carved Tableside 
Steamed Buns, Cucumber, Scallions, Hoisin Sauce 
Second Course – Diced Duck in Lettuce Cups 

This is a very special Chinese dish. First, the duck was "wheeled" to our table and carved right beside us!

Closer look at the duck!

Once most of the meat  was carved off the duck, the table side chef rolled up in these "Chinese tortillas" and served with a sweet Chinese sauce called Hoisin Sauce.

The meat that was left on the carcass was rolled back into the kitchen to me scrapped off and made into a third course of Lettuce Wraps.

Since we had to wait for this, my dad and I were nice enough to share our wraps with my mom and brother ;)

After this wonderful dinner, we left and finished up the night with fresh, hand scooped gelato, by the canals in the Venetian