With Halloween around the corner, it reminds me of my first Halloween after my divorce. I got invited to a party but felt funny going solo especially as me and my ex had always gone as a pair of something, “Ketchup and Mustard, “ Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen”…you get the picture. But then I realized it was a fantastic opportunity to slip into an alter identity for a night and escape my current reality. I donned a Wonder Woman costume and those gold handcuffs really set me free from all my worries (at least for one night). It was the first time I truly had a blast in a long time and reminded me that life is short and not to take things too seriously. It was a turning moment in my healing from divorce and that’s why Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays. Here’s a fun recipe for spookily spectacular Halloween themed fortune cookies.
24 fortune cookies
2 cups orange candy coating, such as Candy Melts
2 cups black candy coating, such as Candy Melts
Various Halloween themed cupcake sprinkles and decorations
- Place orange candy coating and black candy coating in separate ceramic bowls. Heat orange candy coating at 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each interval until melted and smooth. Set aside. Repeat steps with black candy coating. You may use a double boiler alternatively to melt candy coating.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Place toppings in individual small bowls. Dip each cookie in either orange candy coating or white candy coating. Decorate with toppings as you desire. Place on cookie sheet. Once cookie sheet is full, place in freezer for 5 minutes to set. Store in an airtight container.
Written by Katie Chin, The Sweet and Sour Chronicles
After spending several years living in the same city and having never run into my ex, I just wrote it off as an impossibility. But then it happened. I looked up from my son’s baseball game and there he stood. I said, “Hi, it’s Katie.” He looked at me blankly (I guess I was wearing sunglasses) and said, “hi?” Then I said, “It’s Katie CHIN.” He did a double take and said “OMG. Wow.” We realized our sons were on the same team (gasp) and politely sat down together and chatted about our lives and relived some of the fun memories we shared together. His wife showed up and you know what? She was open and lovely. He expressed how happy he was that I seemed so content and fulfilled in my life and I returned the sentiment. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty awkward for both of us but I left the field feeling so blessed for how I’ve grown and grateful that I had experienced a chapter of my life with him that contributed to the woman I am today. It just made me want to celebrate my family and count my blessings. Here is a great recipe to make when you just want to express love your family through food and to celebrate where life has taken you so far on your personal journey.
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 large egg
2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons all-purpose cornstarch, divided
1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
¼ cup all-purpose ﬂour
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons oil
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Oil for frying
MANGO COCONUT SAUCE
1 tablespoon high-heat cooking oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ cup (185 ml) Basic Chicken Stock or store-bought
¾ cup (185 ml) coconut milk
¼ cup (65 ml) puréed mango
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup (50 g) sugar
2 tablespoons rice or white vinegar
- Cut the chicken in half lengthwise and pound to ﬂatten the thick part so the chicken is of consistent thickness. Place the chicken in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, 2 teaspoons all-purpose cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper and the ginger. Pour the egg mixture over the chicken, turning the chicken to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Reserve the marinade.
- Mango Coconut Sauce: In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, puréed mango, lime juice, sugar, and vinegar; bring to a boil. Stir in the all-purpose cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until thickened, about 10 seconds. Remove from heat.
- In a shallow dish, mix the reserved marinade, ﬂour, water, the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch, oil, baking soda, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt.
- In a wok or deep skillet, heat 2–3 inches (5–7.5 cm) of the oil to 350°F. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces into the batter to coat all sides. Fry the chicken pieces for about 3 minutes, or until light brown, turning 2–3 times. Increase the oil temperature to 375°F (175°C). Fry the chicken pieces again until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes, and drain on a paper towel-lined sheet pan. Using a very sharp knife, cut each piece of chicken crosswise into ¾ inch (2 cm) pieces. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter. Reheat the sauce over medium high heat and pour over the chicken. Serve immediately.
Food for Thought by Chef Katie Chin, For recipes, visit thesweetandsourchronicles.com
Everyone knows that divorce can be especially challenging when kids are involved. I didn’t have kids when I got divorced but I have plenty of friends in this situation. A good mom friend of mine is going through a recent divorce with two small young children and is having to go through all sorts of back-to- school crap without the help of her spouse. “Will everyone stare at me at the back-to- school BBQ?,” “Why do I have to figure out all this stuff on the school supplies list by myself?” and “How am I supposed to figure out this nut cup thing on my son’s baseball uniform on my own?” The last thing anyone needs is feeling the pressure of making elaborate meals during this hectic time. This recipe for Pineapple Fried Rice is so simple and delicious and the best part is you can use leftover chicken and shrimp to make it. Not only will your kids love it, but it’ll blow everyone’s socks off at that back-to- school BBQ!
Pineapple Fried Rice
When my mom and I made this on the Today show a few years ago, it didn’t occur to me to slice the underside of the pineapple before going on live television so it would be easier to cut on camera. Needless to say, it was a bit of a struggle to cut through that pineapple quickly, but Al Roker charmingly dubbed my huffing and puffing the “Everyday Chinese Cooking Workout”! I love this recipe because the presentation is so impressive—the rice is served right in the pineapple shell. The chunks of fresh pineapple are sweet, bright and refreshing, perfectly offsetting the saltiness of the soy sauce in this dish.
Chicken, shrimp, mushrooms and egg round out this delicious and refreshing dish.
Serves 4 to 6 as part of a multi-course meal
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 whole pineapple
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Dash of white pepper
2 tablespoons oil, divided
3 cups (450 g) cooked and chilled white rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup (150 g) cubed cooked shrimp
1 cup (150 g) cubed cooked chicken breast
6 white button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup (75 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
2 green onions (scallions), finely chopped, plus more for garnish
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
- Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise. Following the rim, cut deeply around the inside of the pineapple, being careful not to pierce through the skin. Cut the flesh inside the pineapple into cubes by making long slices down the length of the pineapple and then make 1-inch- (2.5-cm- ) wide crosscuts. Scoop out the flesh using a flat-edged spoon and reserve.
- In a medium bowl, combine the eggs with ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Whisk to blend.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and stir-fry until they have set, but are still moist. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the wok or skillet, then heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the cooked rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Mix in the soy sauce, shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, peas and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked eggs, reserved pineapple flesh and green onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds more. Season to taste with the salt and white pepper.
- Scoop the fried rice into the pineapple halves and garnish with additional green onion. Serve immediately.
For best results, the rice should be chilled overnight before cooking this dish.
Written by Katie Chin, TheSweetandSourChronicles.com
I remember dating for the first time during my divorce. I had dated this guy a few times and finally invited him to my bachelorette pad for dinner and a movie. I was so nervous as this was a defining moment in our “relationship” (I think you know what I mean). In some ways, it was a way to get over the hump. Just sex, really, but carried so much weight on the other hand. I mean, the poor guy didn’t realize it would be first time I had sex with someone other than my husband for the last 10 years. I called my gay friend Frank who told me to think like guy or Samantha from Sex in the City (basically the same thing). Well, I heeded his advice and it was completely liberating and fun. I let go of expectations and just enjoyed myself. We only dated for a month or so after that but it was healing and I finally felt empowered in the dating realm to call the shots. I remember making these Raspberry Nutella Wontons and served them with some bubbly to set the mood.
Raspberry Nutella Wontons Recipe
- 4 cups raspberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsps. corn starch
- 3/4 cup Nutella
- 8 round wonton wrappers
- Heat raspberries in a saucepan, stirring over heat until they reach a jam-like consistency.
- Add water, then sugar, stirring continuously until blended. Add cornstarch, stirring consistently until blended.
- Allow mixture to boil, then remove from heat. Strain mixture into bowl, keeping both liquids and solids.
- In a separate bowl, combine raspberry solids and Nutella. Stir well. Lay out wonton wrappers, and touch edges with egg wash. Spoon approximately 1 tsp. of Nutella mixture into the center of each wrapper, before folding in half and sealing.
- Deep fry dumplings in vegetable oil, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Using raspberry liquid as a sauce, plate and garnish dumplings.
- Add powdered sugar if desired.
Food for Thought by Chef Katie Chin, For recipes, visit thesweetandsourchronicles.com
My husband (new and improved) took my twin seven year-olds camping over the weekend. For the first time in years I slept in without having little monsters jumping on me at 6am! Lying in my cozy bed, it brought back memories of waking up alone after leaving my ex years ago. It was such a strange feeling — relieved, yet lonely; at peace, yet unhinged. In that half-conscious state, I’d awake thinking everything had been a bad dream. I felt like I could lie there for hours swirling in the memories, regrets, self-doubt and finally resolution that I had done the right thing. But I forced myself to get up and get on with it. I got up and made myself a fabulous breakfast and poured myself a mimosa. It was the first day of the rest of my life and I decided it should begin with champagne. If you have one of those mornings, I hope this will inspire you to whip up this delicious recipe for Smoked Salmon Benedict and celebrate the first day of your amazing new life!!
Smoked Salmon Benedict
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
6 ounces smoked salmon
4 English muffins, split
Chopped parsley or chives for garnish
- Make the sauce: Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a medium bowl and until the mixture is thickened (volume should be doubled). Transfer the mixture to a double boiler. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and set aside.
- Poach the eggs: Fill a small pot or shallow pan with 3 inches or so of water. Heat over medium heat until just simmering (not boiling). From just above the surface, crack an egg into the water (you can cook multiple at a time depending on the size of your pot or pan). Poach for about 3 minutes, or until the eggs are set. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
- Put two English muffin halves on each of four plates. Top with smoked salmon, then one poached egg per disk. Drizzle with reserved Hollandaise sauce over and garnish with chopped parsley or chives. Serve immediately.