Bryan and I don’t really celebrate valentines day. Mainly because in my opinion it is a “hallmark” holiday and people feel pressured to buy cards, chocolate, and even more so flowers. He can do that any other day of the year with no pressure and way less money. Instead we celebrate loving each other throughout the year instead of just one day. I love to surprise him with his favorite meals, have a nice dinner at home and occasionally make him something sweet. We don’t tend to eat a lot of sweets in our house so those treats are for really special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.
We both love spicy foods and find ourselves frequently adding chili paste to many dishes, even eggs (okay, that is what I do, but still). His two favorite dishes are my version of P. F. Chang’s Sichuan Beef and my Sweet and Spicy Chicken. So when I received an e-mail from Velvet Aroma to participate in their “My Gourmet Valentine” event, I was lost on what to submit as my entry. As I said, we don’t eat many sweets and when I looked at all the other entries…they were all sweets. So I’m going out on a limb here and submitting something different. Instead of sweet, we are going spicy, and instead of desert, we are going entrée.
I already gave Bryan his card, which I don’t normally get him but the deal was just too good to pass up…free card and free shipping. I saw this card and laughed out loud because I automatically knew what I was going to write on it. Three years ago, our first New Years Eve together, I apparently woke up around 5 am confessing my love of olives to him. At first he thought I was telling him I loved him, but had me repeat it only to realize I said olives…his response? “ummm ya, me too” and back to bed I went. Needless to say this has been an ongoing joke with us ever sense. Here is a picture of the card I made him, and the inside says “hope you know how serious that makes me”
Last year we “celebrated” valentines day by going to a hockey game and enjoying a nice meal at Fire and Ice. This year though I think we will be staying in, enjoying a nice home cooked meal, and watching some nontraditional, non-romantic movie, like predator for example. The last few special occasion dinners were celebrated with the P.F. Chang’s Sichuan Beef, so for valentine’s day I’ll be making him my Sweet and Spicy Chicken.(Recipe below has several adaptions so please read the ‘fine print’)
Sweet and Spicy Chicken
1 – 2 chicken breast – boneless, skinless
1/4 cup corn starch*
2 tablespoon veggie oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup honey (You can also use Agave instead of honey, or half and half)
3-4 Thai Chili peppers finely chopped (keep seeds in for even more heat…adjust the amount of peppers depending on your spice level) Dried or fresh chilis work well in this recipe
2 tablespoons spoons of water
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- Mix honey, Thai chilis and water and set aside. Right before adding to the pan heat in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and mix well. This helps it “loosen” up a bit and makes it easier to pour into the pan or wok
- Cut up chicken in bit size pieces.
- In a medium bowl add the corn starch*, garlic powder, salt, pepper and chicken. Coat well and shake off any excess corn starch.
- In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoons of oil, add half the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with second half of chicken and additional tablespoon of oil.
- In the same skillet add the honey – chili mixture and bring to a boil for two-four minutes until the sauce reduces, thickens slightly and turns a nice caramel color. Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Serve over quinoa, white or brown rice.
Its a bit sweet with a nice spicy finish.
If you can not have corn in your diet, both potato and tapioca starch work well
Both honey and agave or a mixture of the two work great. We have made this all three ways and have enjoyed them all.
Depending on how spicy you like your food, either remove the seeds for less heat or keep them in or add more chili peppers for more heat. We personally use about 5 chili peppers when we make it.
If using dried chili peppers, the best way to “chop” them is to take a small pair of kitchen shears and cut them in to small pieces.
I hope you all have a wonderful valentines day and enjoy this recipe.
To vote for this recipe please click on the “My Gourmet Valentine” image above!! Voting ends on 2/10/12 Thank you!
Below are the prizes up for grabs, and you as voters have a chance to win also – 2 dozen roses for Valentines Day!! Read the details:
Blogger submitting a recipe: The blogger with the winning recipe will receive, KitchenAid’s new product: a 2-speed Hand Blender (in red color), a box of Gourmet foods from LoveWithFood, and a $100 gift card of winners choice from Amazon, Sur La Table, William Sonoma or Crate & Barrel with a combined value of approximately $300.
Person Voting: The person chosen at random will receive a bouquet of 2 dozen red roses sent to any address in the continental US in time for Valentine’s Day.