Chicken and Vegetables in Plum Sauce

Had a little of the soy substitute sauce left over from the recipe a couple of days ago so thought I’d make some choy mein. But there wasn’t quite enough sauce for that and I’d gotten a jar of plum jam out of the freezer and added some of that and oh my goodness, how mouth-watering is this! Like adding a little pear or apple to a pork or chicken gravy, adding a little plum to this Chinese sauce turned out luscious. Don’t have any plum jam around the house? Stew up 2 plums (skin too if organic) along with about 2 tablespoons of date syrup and then puree it and you’ve got plum jam!

Just like with most Chinese recipes, the first step is always to cut everything up!

Peel:

1 small to medium onion, slice in half thin slices

1 large o 2 smaller carrots, slice on the diagonal

2 garlic cloves, minced

Trim:

2 whole stalks or 4 stalks from the celery heart (about a cup altogether), slice diagonally

6 ounces of shitake mushrooms, sliced

Put the vegetables in a bowl and set aside until ready to cook. Trim the fat and slice:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts*

Place the slices in a food storage bag and add:

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot

1/4 to 1/3 cup plum jam

Seal and refrigerate 15-30 minutes until ready to cook. When ready to cook, heat over medium heat in a 12″ skillet:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Add the vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Cover and lower heat to medium low and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until carrots are tender. Remove the vegetables to their bowl, turn the heat back to medium and add to the skillet:

the marinated chicken and marinade

Cook stirring constantly until the chicken is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the vegetables back to the skillet along with:

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Stir to combine and continue stirring until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Serve with brown rice or rice noodles.

*Want a vegan entrée? Substitute firm tofu or your favorite plant-based protein.

Raspberry Bars

I’ve always preferred making bars instead of cookies, takes less effort and time and tastes just as good. So I was pleased to find a recipe for raspberry bars (my favorite berry) that I think came out pretty good with revamping.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 9×9″ baking dish being sure to grease at least a 1/2 inch up the sides. Combine in a food processor:

2/3 cup white rice flour

1/3 cup brown rice flour

3 tablespoons potato starch

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1/3 cup date sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Pulse until blended. Add by spoonfuls:

2/3 cup shortening or vegan margarine

Pulse until combined and mixture forms pea like bits (it looks a lot like pastry crust. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture to a small bowl. Press the remaining mix into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. While it’s baking, stir into the 1/2 cup of mix reserved:

2 tablespoons date sugar

1/4 cup hemp hulls (or any seed your family likes such as pumpkin or sunflower, chopped)

1/4 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats

Set aside. In another small bowl mix:

1 cup sugar-free raspberry jam

1 cup fresh raspberries

zest of 1/2 a lemon

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Stir together, breaking up some of the raspberries, until combined. Spread this over the top of the hot crust when it’s comes out of the oven. Sprinkle the reserved flour/hemp/oat mixture over the top of the raspberries. Bake another 20-25 minutes until the top has browned and the filling is starting to bubble. Cool on a cooling rack and then in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before cutting into squares.

TIP: I left the other half of the bars in the baking dish, covered them and left them in the refrigerator overnight and they came out of the dish much cleaner the next day, keeping more of the bottom layer intact.

Strawberry Jam (sugar free)

This is one of my favorite times of the year — strawberry season.  What a wonderful treat fresh picked strawberries are; they make so many great things, so much more than just strawberry shortcake.  Here’s a delicious and easy recipe for sugar-free strawberry jam.

Wash and hull:

  • 9 cups fresh strawberries

You can either mash them with a potato masher or puree them in your food processor; it all depends on how smooth you want your jam.  If you like pieces of strawberry in your jam, use the masher.

Follow the instructions on Pomona’s Universal Pectin to make calcium water.

Put in a 3 quart or larger pot:

  • 8 cups strawberries, pureed or mashed
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water

Bring to a boil.

While you’re waiting for the strawberries to heat, combine:

  • 3/4 cup agave nectar with
  • 4 teaspoons Pomona’s Universal Pectin

I find the pectin mixes best into the nectar if you add the pectin to the agave rather than adding the agave to the pectin.  Use a small whisk to blend.

When the strawberries are bubbling, stir in the pectin-nectar mixture.  Continue heating for several minutes (2-3) to dissolve the pectin.  Remove from heat.  Pour into water bathed jars.  This should make 4 pint jars and a 1/2 pint jar.

You can either put these filled jars into a water bath for 10 minutes or, I prefer the easier method of just letting them cool completely and then placing them in the freezer.