Who Says I Can’t Drink Wine Out of a Glass Mug?!?

Rosé season has arrived. With rising temperatures I think of grass between my toes, frogs croaking in the pond, my raised beds sprouting with future eats and sipping Rosé  while enjoying a late sunset. Miss Pepsi kept me company as I enjoyed my first glass of Rosé.

I actually don’t have a specific wine I like. I am a typical consumer, I picked based on looks. Pretty packaging goes a long way for me. Notorious Pink caught my eye at the store. Loved the sleek look and the pretty glass cork. It was on sale from 23.99 to 15.99. Not bad. It was more on the peachy-orangey hue than a pink-rosy shade. Not the smoothest Rosé I’ve ever had, not too sweet either, but I’d probably buy it again. I sipped happily from my pretty glass mug. I don’t do stem wine glasses in my home especially with my kids and my glass pushing happy kitties.

I saw an article online on Food and Wine for 40 oz. bottles of Rosé. EEEEKKKKK!!!  I would happily drink that 40 out of brown paper bag. Sadly, it seems it hasn’t made it’s way to Maine yet.

 

Fried Chicken Steamed Bun Sammie

Steamed buns have yet to slow down moving from hipster status to mainstream finding its way to Central Maine. I love these pillowy soft steamed buns great stuffed with basically anything or just munched on its own.

In Thailand, we enjoy this type of bread in a stuffed bun form called “salapao” in Thai or “baozi” in Chinese. I’ve had a bag of Red Lotus Special flour which is used to make the steamed buns for way over a year. I’ve been trying and trying to make them on my own but alas no time as usual. So I was so happy to discover they were sold at the Veranda Asian Market in Portland. They’re in the frozen section and steam in no time. It’s great to have in your freezer when you need a quick snack. This Chimei brand is nice because it’s a good size (pretty wide) and has a good thickness so it can be overstuffed and not fall apart.

I’ve filled it with duck, pork loin and pork belly. Today I had a craving for Chik-fil-A so I just had to make fried chicken. Super simple sandwich that packed a lot of flavor. I made a maple-honey mustard sauce that paired deliciously with the fried chicken, and the bread and butter pickles balanced the whole sandwich out. I think steamed buns have become so popular because though they let the sandwich ingredients stand out, the bread itself still doesn’t get overshadowed. This is a great way to enjoy the buns, and I’ll definitely be making it more often than not.

Maple-Honey Mustard Sauce – Mix all ingredients

2 T.  Mayo (I used Kewpie)

3 T. Yellow Mustard (I used French’s)

2 T. Dijon Mustard (I used Grey Poupon)

1 T. Barbecue Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

1/2 T. honey

1/2 T. maple syrup

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Simple Fried Chicken

1 Chicken breast sliced thin, 2-3 inches in size (bun is small remember)

Dredge: Mix all ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup semolina flour (This gives the chicken a nice crispy crust)

1 t. salt

1 t. white pepper

1 t. garlic powder

Batter: Mix all ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup water

1 T. soy sauce

1/2 T. Sriracha

Steamed Buns – steamed 5 minutes (I used a bamboo steamer)

Bread & Butter Pickles

Fry Oil (350 degrees)

1.) Make mustard sauce.

2.) Dip chicken pieces in flour dredge, then batter and then dredge again. Fry until golden.

3.) Steam buns while chicken is frying.

4.) Assemble – pickles, then chicken, and then drizzle with mustard sauce.

 

 

 

Sweet Peas Take Me Away

Seriously, I know every winter I complain about the cold, but it’s really just too much. I’m so over it. All I want to do is start getting my hands dirty in the garden and start planting. I needed a nice respite from the winter doldrums so I was searching for photos of flowers to brighten up my day and serve as a little inspiration. I never knew what sweet peas were until last year when I read an article in Martha Stewart’s Living about a woman who grew sweet peas. I instantly fell in love. They really are so sweet, delicate and have such a romantic smell.

I grew my first few plants last summer. Some I grew from seeds, which didn’t really yield as many pretty flowers. I also bought some seedlings at the local farmer’s market that produced beautiful flowers way into late September. I’m going to try to make sweet peas my focal flower this year if the warm weather ever arrives.

Here are some arrangements using the sweet peas from last summer (2016):

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Prik Khing B.L.T. 2.0

I still had some prik khing bacon left so I thought of this sandwich. It’s an open faced B.L.T. topped with salt pickled duck eggs. The saltiness of the eggs were a wonderful contrast to the spicy and sweet bacon. Duck eggs are awesome and I’m lucky that my local health food store – Uncle Dean’s, carries them. Salt pickled duck eggs are a wonderful food to have on hand because if you’re in a pinch for time and hungry, having an egg with rice and some chili paste is pretty satisfying.

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I use a salt brine method to pickle the eggs, and though it takes about 6 weeks it’s well worth the wait. For a dozen eggs I’ll use 2 cups sea salt and 4 cups of water. A jumbo mason jar works best. Just add the eggs to the brine uncooked. After 6 weeks, just boil the eggs for 10 minutes and you’ll have perfect salt pickled eggs that can be enjoyed in so many ways. Chicken eggs work fine as well and only take 1 month.

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