Dijon Mustard and Panko Breadcrumb Chicken

Panko chicken with brown rice and steamed green beans

Verdict: my most cooked recipe, three years running! It taste like a master chef prepared meal but is incredibly easy and oh so tasty.

I found this recipe on Serious Eats ‘Eat for $8 column’ four years ago. It was love at first bite and remains my favourite ‘go to’ recipe. The flavours and textures are incredible! The Dijon mustard keeps the chicken moist and provides a slight bite while the panko bread crumbs contrasts with crispiness and savoury flavour.

This dish is a modern twist on a classic French dish where chicken pieces are coated with Dijon mustard and bread crumbs, then baked to perfection. Instead of plain bread crumbs, this recipe uses Panko, a Japanese bread crumb that has a very subtle soya flavour and gets incredibly crispy when baked.

panko breadcrumbsPanko bread crumbs, the last step of the chicken seasoning process.

We make this all the time! Simple, delicious and affordable. Does anyone else wonder why chicken thighs can be so inexpensive? It’s one of the first recipes I taught Andrew (his sleeve is pictured below).

panko chicken with dijon mustardUsing a spoon to coat the chicken with Dijon mustard.

This chicken is great paired with brown rice because they cook at about the same time, 50 minutes in total. What I love about this recipe is after you have cooked your brown rice and put the chicken in the oven, there’s nothing more you need to do. You can take a long shower, chill out on the couch, or if you’re good, you can wash the dishes. After your break, a lovely dinner is ready for you!

Moist and tender chickenSuper moist and flavourful panko chicken.

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Japanese Dressing

Japanese dressing jar

Verdict: one of the best salad dressings I have ever made at home. The first time I made this dressing, I made 3 more batches within the same month. So delicious and light, it makes me excited to eat salad!

Do you ever feel like you should be eating more salad? For me, when I take a break from salads and need to get back into them, it’s hard to think that a cold salad could be satisfying. Thank goodness I have this Japanese dressing recipe in my back pocket, it makes me look forward to having salad again! It’s a light, soya based dressing. The sesame oil gives it richness and depth while the rice vinegar brings a brightness. The small amount of onions is subtle, mellow, and sweet.

salad and dressingJapanese dressing will bring more veggies into your life.

This dressing makes any salad irresistible. I once brought this dressing and a very simple salad to a Thanksgiving dinner and witnessed people go for seconds and thirds of salad – not for the stuffed turkey or beautifully roasted fall vegetables. Seeee, you can make friends with salad!

You will probably need a trip to the supermarket but it’s well worth getting all the ingredients. Throughout the year, the mustard powder and rice wine vinegar serve no purpose other than to help create this dressing but it’s okay, this recipe is so spectacular, I don’t mind these items taking up the pantry space.

Japanese dressing ingredientsThe dressing ingredients.

Linh’s Kitchen favourite salad:

Watercress, spinach and arugula mix, red and green cabbage mix (sometimes called ‘Crunchy salad’ mix), red onion, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes.

Simple salad: spinach, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

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Easy 3 Ingredient Miso Salmon

Verdict: Simple and spectacular! It doesn’t get easier and more delicious than this 3 ingredient miso marinade.

I was really impressed the first time I made this dish, so much flavour for so little effort! A truly versatile meal: great for a quick weeknight dinner yet impressive enough to save for a special dinner. You can add sake and ginger but it’s such a nice dish, I’ve never felt inclined to add more.

Miso, mirin and sugar is all it takes!

If I have green onions around, I thinly slice them and garnish for extra flavour and to add a pop of colour to the presentation.

Sliced green onions add a pop of flavour and colour.

The cucumber salad included in this recipe is quite nice but I like my salads a little heartier so my favourite way to enjoy this dish is to start with a big salad dressed with Japanese dressing (recipe later this week!).

P.S. It might be the rice lover in me but I love to eat this miso salmon with a mountain of jasmine rice. Add an extra half cup of rice to your cooking process just in case you find yourself in the same mind set.

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CBC’s Next Food Host Audition

Still shots for CBC food host audition

Have you ever felt like taking a leap? Putting down your guard and just going for something? In times like these, I look to Ray Bradbury.

“You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” – Ray Bradbury

Last week, my coworker sent me the link to CBC’s food host search and set my imagination on fire. HEY, I thought, that could be me!

The fear set in shortly after. Since making cooking videos has been more of a daydream than a reality for me, this would mark my first time in front of the camera. Needless to say, I was nervous and hesitant to audition. I had to ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

My friends joked about the worst nightmare scenario: CBC airing a segment on live TV where they laugh at every fault in my audition video.

In the end, my passion conquered my fear, and I jumped in front of the camera, armored with the love for food and cooking. Initially, filming gave me the same sensation that writing first gave: a feeling of nakedness, of baring all. I’m happy to report that it gets easier. You start feeling more confident and start having fun with it. Also, it was a great excuse to eat a ton of Ube ice-cream! If you look carefully, you can see that my tongue is purple for the last segment.

Here’s my audition tape for CBC’s food host search!

Thanks for watching!

Click here for the simple thai curry recipe.

P.S. For anyone learning to use iMovie, I recommend this video about adding music to your movie. It taught me the all mighty iMovie shortcut of using the spacebar to stop and play clips.

How to Make Quinoa in Rice Cooker

quinoa in the rice cooker

Summary: learn how to make quinoa in your trusty rice cooker. We make it in our $20 six cup rice cooker and the results are consistently great. I’ve included the stove top instructions as well.

We prepared quinoa (pronounced “qin-wah”) at home for the first time in July 2011. It was so healthy and delicious, it has earned a spot in our regular dinner rotation. If you’re hesitant to try quinoa, here are a few reasons why you should give it a chance.

Why Eat Quinoa?

  • Super healthy: one of the few plant foods that is a source of complete protein, high in fiber, and a source of calcium (good for lactose intolerant)
  • Very filling: you’ll find yourself eating a smaller portion of quinoa than rice because it’s so nutritionally dense
  • Very easy to prepare: you can cook it on the stove or in a rice cooker
  • Gluten-free!
  • Tastes good: delicate nutty flavour with a subtle crunchy texture
  • Pairs very well with seafood, especially salmon
  • Adds a protein component to vegetarian dishes such as salads and stir frys

Raw quinoaRaw quinoa.

The first time I made quinoa, I cooked 2 cups quinoa with 4 cups of water and it boiled over in our 6 cup rice cooker. In the end, it made well over 4 cups of cooked quinoa, way too much for two people. I also learned that if you keep your quinoa on the “keep warm” setting of the rice cooker, the bottom gets overly browned. I’ve summarized my lessons learned below so your quinoa cooking will go smoothly.

cooked quinoaCooked quinoa with salmon and mango salsa.

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