Sunday Lunch and Spatchcocking

We’ve been having lots of friends come and stay for the weekend this summer.  It’s been really nice to have long leisurely visits, not to mention enjoying dinner and breakfast together.

A few weekends ago I made this lunch for some dear friends and their sweet little girl.  The next day I brought left overs to work for lunch and I received several requests for the recipes, so I thought I’d put them all together here.

Note: I rarely follow recipes, and am even worse at writing down the ingredients and steps of the things I make, so be sure to taste and adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes.

Thai Mango Salad

Serves 4 with second and third helpings

3  green mangoes (peeled and sliced thinly/julienned, I used a mandoline)
1/2 red pepper (julienned)
1/2 medium cucumber (julienned, and wrapped in paper towel to dry it out a bit)
1 carrot, grated
roasted unsalted peanuts (shelled)
chopped coriander
Dressing (I eyeballed this, so use these measurements to start and adjust according to your tastes . The dressing will seem quite strong before it’s mixed with the mangoes and vegetables.)
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. Sambal Oelek
2 tbsp. honey (but agave syrup or sugar would work too, just adjust for the sweetness)
1 tbsp. fish sauce
Toss the mango and the sliced veggies together, drizzle the dressing on top and toss to coat the salad.  Top with chopped coriander and peanuts.

Peanut Soba Noodles with Grilled Bok Choy

Serves 4

500g Soba Noodles  (I used Eden Soba noodles)
1/4 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter (the low /  no salt variety works best, we like Nuts to You organic brand)
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil (you may need more)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
Siracha (optional)
2 green onions, finely chopped ( I like a lot of green onions)
water (for boiling noodles, and little for the thinning the peanut butter)
Bok Choy
Genmaiso (sesame salt – I use the Eden organic brand)

A couple of notes about cooking soba noodles: you do not need to salt the water, and they don’t take as long to cook as regular wheat pasta. Once the water boils, it usually  takes 6 – 8 minutes to cook a serving for 4.  Gobble a couple of strands to test – leave them too long in the pot, and they’ll turn into a soggy mess. Once I’ve dumped the hot noodles into a colander, I run warm water over them to cool them off (slowing the cooking process).

While the noodles are cooking – stir fry or grill the bok choy.  If you choose to grill the bok choy, don’t cut off the bottoms, just cut them in half lengthwise, brush with some vegetable oil and place cut side down on a medium hot grill until they are cooked but still crunchy.

Quick!  Run back and check the noodles!  When they’re done, drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with some warm water. Let the noodles dry out a bit, then in a large bowl, drizzle the sesame oil on top of the noodles, toss to coat.

For the dressing I mixed about a 1/4 cup of peanut butter with the rice wine vinegar and soy sauce and then added enough water to make a thick sauce  – too much water and it won’t stick to the noodles.  Just add more peanut butter if it needs thickening. If you’d like a bit of heat in your noodles, add some Siracha.

Pour the sauce over the noodles, add the green onions and mix well.  Place the grilled bok choy on top, and sprinkle with the genmaiso.

These noodles can be gobbled up warm or cold and forms a great base for adding protein like tofu, shrimp, chicken, mmmmmmmm!  Oh yeah, I added some sliced snow peas for extra crunch!



Hoisin BBQ Chicken, Spatchcocked!

with Green Onion, Ginger Sauce

The inspiration for this recipe came from the early summer issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine, but the sauce that accompanied it didn’t appeal to me. So I changed a few things up using a classic Chinese ginger and green onion sauce. The original recipe also didn’t call for spatchcocking the chicken, but I love how fast you can grill a whole chicken this way.

Have you spatchcocked a chicken? Ahem. This New York Times video shows how it’s done and will make you giggle too.

1 chicken
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (mild, we had an apple bbq sauce on hand, so that’s what I used)
1/2 cup hoisin sauce

Ideally your chicken will have been resting at room temperature for at least 2 hours before cooking.

Preheat your BBQ to medium – 375 to 425°F (190-220°C).

Take your spatchcocked chicken, brush with a little (just a little!) oil, then season with salt and pepper front and back.  Place the chicken skin side up (bone side down) on the grill and leave to cook for 20 – 25 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, mix the bbq sauce with the hoisin sauce.  Baste with a thick layer of sauce on the chicken while it’s still on the grill.  I left my chicken another 15 minutes, basted it again. let it cook for another 5 before removing it from the grill. A poke with sharp knife revealed clear chicken juices, so I knew it was done. Use your preferred method of testing if your chicken is done.  Let the chicken rest for at least 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Ginger Green Onion Sauce

I could have written this up too, but Lottie & Doof does it much better!  I love this condiment, have been eating it since I was a kid on steamed chicken, eggs, rice, tofu, steamed fish.  I’ll often make an extra big jar just so that I can put this *#%@ on everything!
But first a word of warning  – you might think it would be easier to add the green onions, ginger and salt to the hot oil instead.  Resist the urge!  You will over cook the ginger and green onions and you’ll lose the bright fresh flavours that make this so delicious.  Trust me.

Also – be careful while making this condiment, as the oil is quite hot and may splatter (ouch)!
Check out Lottie and Doof’s beautiful pictures and write up here.

Lunch is served!


 note to self: learn to take better pictures of roasted chicken!


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