Dish off the Block

When the phone rings at 4 p.m., I know exactly who it is. My sister-in-law, Lisa. I can picture her with the phone in the crook of her neck staring down at a package of chicken on her counter. I answer the phone, “Hi, Lisa.” And she responds, “What can I make with this frickin’ chicken??”
She doesn’t love to cook (like I do) and gets stuck in the recipe rut, tired at the end of the day, making the same dishes over and over again.
But she knows who to call.
Everyone loves chicken parm or chicken pot pie, but she needed something different, something new. I also know that she has a pepper fetish, so I suggested, “How about a stir fry? Chicken, pineapples, onions, garlic, ginger root. Super easy to make, loaded with flavor… and peppers!”
Hope you enjoy it as much as Lisa and her family!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry
3 cups cooked sushi rice (or plain rice)
6 tbs. peanut oil
2 tbs. vegetable oil
3 large chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3/4 cup corn starch and 1 tbs. (for sauce)
1 large onion, cut into thin strips
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece ginger root, chopped
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 small green pepper, cut into thin strips
20 oz. can pineapple chunks
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup basil, chopped
Optional – 1 cup honey roasted peanuts or cashews
Make sushi rice according to package directions and set aside.
In a large frying pan or skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Slice chicken breast into thin strips across the grain of the meat. Season the meat with 1 tsp. of the salt and pepper. Put the corn starch into a large ziplock bag and add half the chicken. Shake to coat and add the chicken to the pan in a single layer. Brown about 1 minute per side until just cooked through and remove from pan. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Add remaining oils to the pan. Sauté onions, garlic, ginger, and peppers over medium heat until the peppers are tender and fragrant. Add pineapple (including the juices), orange juice, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and remaining tsp. salt to the pan and cook until sauce is reduced by one-third. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon corn starch in a small bowl with milk and whisk until smooth. Add to the pan and stir as sauce thickens. Add chicken back to the pan and let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over sushi rice and garnish with basil (and chopped nuts if desired).
Pamela Gelsomini is a passionate cook and foodie who grew up spending every summer on Block Island. An entrepreneur, she spent the last 20 years traveling the globe for her business — and embracing its cultures and cuisines. 
Gelsomini retired a year ago from that business and launched a food and lifestyle blog, ‘Dish off the Block,’ which features food that is inspired by local and international flavors… and of course Block Island fare.
Visit her blog at

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