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Monday, January 28, 2013

chocolate covered pomegranate seeds

Last year, sometime around February or March -ya know, right after pomegranate season- I decided it was absolutely necessary that I make chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. Of course by that point I couldn't find one in a store to save my life. I cried on the inside and filed the idea away for the next season.

I decided I was going to be very obsessive methodical about the process, and that each seed needed to be individually coated with chocolate. This would ensure a proper fruit to chocolate ratio, which is essential. To achieve this, I melted down my favorite chocolate - Hershey's obviously - tossed in a handful of seeds, and went for it.


I found that the best way to go about it was to pull over a seed with a fork, coating it in chocolate, and then drag it up the side of the bowl. The excess chocolate drips through the fork so you can just drop it onto a wax paper lined baking sheet.

Now. As you can imagine, this was an immensely tedious process. Worth it? Absolutely. The cold chocolate shell with a pop of pom juice inside.. I die. However I got about halfway through the seeds when my attention span crapped out. But not before I got tons of sweet loot..

After that, I pulled out the chocolate bar molds I bought over the summer with every intention of making my own chocolate bar concoctions. I figured pomegranate chocolate bars would be a good way to start.

I still have one and a half of those sitting in the freezer right now. The individual ones were gone in a day. I kid you not. And there was an entire baking sheet full. You have been warned.

Not that this really needs a recipe, but here it is all in one place.

Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds
1 pomegranate, deseeded
12 ounces (give or take) of your favorite chocolate

Deseed the pomegranate. See this post for a pretty easy method. Pour the chocolate chips or chunks into a bowl and microwave, checking and stirring every 10 seconds or so. Pour in a handful of pomegranate seeds. Using a fork, drag them up the side of the bowl, one at a time. Place each covered seed on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

For the bars, coat the bottom of a mold in melted chocolate. Sprinkle a layer of pomegranate seeds and then finish filling the mold with more chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. Wrap it up all cutesy in torn parchment and baker's twine and give it to someone! Maybe for Valentine's Day. I'd be pretty stoked to get that. Just sayin.

Now seriously, go brave the cold and get yourself some pomegranates before they're all gone!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

chicken lettuce wraps

Over the holidays, Charlie and I had lunch with his parents at P.F. Chang's. This was the first time I had ever been there and I absolutely fell in love with the chicken lettuce wraps. This must be a shared sentiment for a lot of folks on the internet, because finding a good copycat recipe was not hard.

It makes for a nice light lunch, which is how we had it yesterday. Besides a bit of brown sugar, it's got all good stuff in it too. I might even try to cut the sugar a little next time (and there will be a next time) because I'm more of a savory/salty kinda gal anyway. I chose to steam the chicken to make it even lighter, instead of cooking it in oil like the recipe suggested.

I know it's a tired old resolution, but we're trying to eat better and be more active in 2013 and beyond. My clothes have definitely gotten a bit snug over this past year and my energy is in the crapper. I'm anemic and awful at taking my iron supplements but I think it's more than just that. I think the food I've been putting in my body plus my lack of exercise have rendered me sluggish. But I've been getting better at taking my iron and my lady vitamins with calcium and whatnot, and I'm dusting off the ol' juicer. It's time to make some better choices. I'm also going to get back into my yoga dvds in between the Zumba class I hope to start taking!

Long story short, you should make these because they are freakin amazing. And with just Charlie and I eating these for lunch, there was a ton leftover for later lunches. Can't get much better in my book. ;)

Hope you're 2013 is starting off well!

P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Lali on 

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
8oz diced water chestnuts 
2/3 cup diced mushrooms
3 tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce
pack of rice noodles (or halve it if you don't want a lot leftover) 

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Special Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
*1 tbsp hot mustard
*2 tsp water
*1-2 tsp garlic and red chile paste

*Mix these items together and add to the sauce for some heat, if you're into that sort of thing. I left them out. :)    

Mix up the special sauce first. Dissolve the brown sugar in the water (it helps if you heat the water) and then add soy sauce, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, and sesame oil. If you want some heat, mix the hot mustard, the water, garlic, and red chile paste together. Set both aside in the fridge and add desired amount of heat to the sauce when ready to serve.

Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice wine vinegar to make the stir fry sauce. Cook your chicken however you like. I steamed it to keep it a little lighter. Set the chicken aside to cool. Dice up the water chestnuts, mushrooms, and onions. Shred the chicken into small pieces when it's cool enough to handle. Add vegetables, chicken, and garlic to a pan with a little oil or non stick spray. Pour in the stir fry sauce and saute until everything is heated and the mushrooms and onions are soft. Add rice noodles to a pot of boiling water and cook for three minutes. Strain and rinse in cold water to reduce clumping. I also tossed them with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together. 

Serve it up! Top a lettuce leaf with rice noodles, stir fry, special sauce, and fold it up. Nom.


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