Time Away | A Guest Post from The Cilantropist
I’m taking a little time off to spend some much needed R&R with my family and an early celebration of my upcoming 10th wedding anniversary. By the time you read this, I will hopefully be relaxing on the beach, Piña Colada in hand, a straw hat on my head, and a book on my lap. The kitchen has been cleaned spotless and I am looking forward to not cooking for a full week! But I have a few things planned in my absence, the first of which is a beautiful guest post from Amanda Opaluch, who writes The Cilantropist. If you haven’t yet encountered Amanda’s gorgeous blog, you will find someone who shares my passion for the freshest foods, mouthwatering recipes, and tantalizing photographs. The recipe she graciously shares here is just my kind of dish – I can’t wait to make when I return! Amanda, thank you, the stage is yours.
I want to thank Liren so much for giving me the opportunity to share a post with her lovely readers! I really enjoy the recipes Liren shares here on Kitchen Confidante because I find they match with many of my food philosophies – specifically that I like to use a lot of fresh, seasonal ingredients – but also because a lot of her recipes strike a chord with memories I have of food and family. When she asked me to create a post for her blog, I let a few ideas run around in my head (I have been obsessed with cherries lately, seems Liren has too) but I ultimately wanted to do a recipe that would be a healthy weeknight meal for family, but could also be a quick meal for one.
Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Tangy Peanut Sauce
Though you can certainly slice the squash and carrots into ribbons by hand, a julienne-style peeler or mandoline will make the job a breeze. If you want to use a peeler to julienne the squash, it is best to choose medium to small zucchini and summer squash - they should be no wider than than the width of the peeler. Also, topping these zucchini 'noodles' with chicken and peanut sauce is just a suggestion for a simple healthy meal, but these fresh vegetables are a great foil for tomato based sauces as well.
2 cooked chicken breasts, either boiled or pan-fried
4-6 medium-sized zucchini and summer squash
2 large carrots
About 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
About 1-2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic (or more)
1/2-1 tsp granulated sugar (depending on taste)
At least 1/4 cup water, add 1-2 more tablespoons depending on texture
First, prepare your chicken breasts by either shredding the chicken (if you prefer to boil it) or by dicing it (if you prefer to pan-fry it). Set the chicken aside.
Next, make the peanut sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Start by adding 1/4 cup water as the recipe suggests, and if the sauce is too thick for your taste, add additional tablespoons water to reach desired consistency.
Lastly, prepare the zucchini, squash, and carrot ribbons by using a mandoline or by using a peeler designed to julienne vegetables. If using the peeler, hold the stem end of the squash in one hand and drag the peeler from the top to the bottom to create the ribbons. Julienne all the vegetables, keeping the carrots separate from the squash and zucchini. Briefly blanch the vegetables in a pot of boiling water by adding the carrots first for about 2-3 minutes, and then adding the zucchini and squash for another 1-2 minutes (it gets tender very quickly). Drain the hot water, immediately add cold water to stop the cooking, and once the vegetables have cooled, drain the water again.
Assemble the dish by putting some of the vegetable ribbons on a plate and topping them with diced or shredded chicken, then the peanut sauce, and chopped cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature, but can also be served cool (if you would like to refrigerate ingredients before serving).