As I mentioned in my intro blog post, I have quite a few cookbooks that were gifted to me by my uncle which previously belonged to his mother. I got these books about 3 months ago, and have only cooked from one prior to this project. For tonight’s dinner, I am venturing into these books for realistically the first time.
The concept of a book written by a collection of food editors is particularly exciting to me. If there is anyone that can seriously geek out over a good community or church potluck cookbook, it’s me. Those always have the best recipes from local cooks that may have been passed to them from someone else like a parent or relative, or maybe it’s something new they tried in their own house that was a big hit. In any case, those kind of books (aside from general food preferences) hardly every have terrible recipes. This book was exactly that, only every recipes was contributed by food editors – these people see food and recipes all day, every day. In my mind, that gives it a slight leg up.
Anyway, the Food Editor’s Favorite: Treasured Recipes book apparently is a book compiled of recipes written by the Newspaper Food Editors and Writers Association (NFEWA). The introduction makes a special note that the contributing editors gave credit where credit was due, but that they do not claim authorship of these recipes. That got me thinking, isn’t the best part about a recipe that you can apply it to your cooking/ food preferences and evolve it into your own? After all, we all have our own things that bring joy to our lives. Why should the same food bring joy as well? In my opinion, food is too personal to be uniformly created by everyone. It should continue to evolve to express the people creating it.
In that spirit, I think I will deviate from tonight’s recipe and future recipes to create my own interpretations of food.
Sweet & Sour Pineapple Chicken
This dish is inspired by Food Editor’s Favorites: Treasured Recipes 1983
This recipe was initially contributed by Natalie Haughton of the Daily News in Van Nuys, California. I did some research on Mrs. Haughton, and it turns out that after contributing this recipe she was the food editor of the Los Angeles Daily News for more than 25 years and had 5 best-selling cookbooks of her own, many of which seemed to center around slow cookers. She already seems like my kind of girl.
In the intro to this recipe, Haughton notes “sweet-sour recipes of all sorts rank high in popularity with readers. This is one of my favorites, and it goes together with a breeze”.
Here’s hoping that popularity logic will go along with my very picky husband as well…
Recipe: Sweet & Sour Pineapple Chicken
What you’ll need:
2 Good sized chicken breasts
1 large onion
1 green pepper, cut in ¾ inch squares
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2.5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
Worcestershire & Soy Sauce to taste
Hot white rice.
Heat a medium/large nonstick skillet over medium-medium high heat. While that is heating, take a sharp knife and cut chicken breasts into 1-inch squares. Once the skillet is heated, sauté onion and green pepper in 2 tablespoons of hot oil, stirring occasionally. Once the vegetables are tender-crisp, remove to a dish and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until hot. Add the chicken squares and stir-fry over medium-high heat until chicken cooks through. Should take about 5-7 minutes.
Mix together the vinegar and cornstarch. Combine mixture with juice drained from pineapple can, brown sugar, 2-3 splashes of Worcestershire. Stir into the chicken still in the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and adheres to the chicken and very little is left on the bottom of the skillet. Add the cooked onion and green pepper to the skillet, along with the diced pineapple chunks. Cover the skillet and let cook a few more minutes, until heated through.
Serve over hot cooked rice with Soy Sauce on the side.
We just finished eating and I give this recipe an overall 4 out of 5 stars.