Guest Post: Spicy Peanut Chicken and Cucumber Cold Noodles

Mattster Chef is back on the blog! Tonight, Matt will be writing about one of our easy weeknight meals.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything for Our Happy Jar, and April wanted me to post this recipe because it’s one of our favourite cold noodle dishes and also super easy to make.

Spicy Peanut Chicken and Cucumber Cold Noodles

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It tastes better than it looks!

 Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)
  • 1 package of spaghetti or noodles
  • 2 pieces of chicken breast (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 English cucumber (julienned)
  • 4 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (crunchy)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce + ½ tablespoon to marinate chicken
  • ½ tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (split into halves)
  • Chili oil to taste
  • Water (varies)
Directions
  1. The first thing to do is cut up your chicken into small pieces. I try to cut mine into long, narrow pieces to give it a shredded chicken feel.
  2. Once your chicken has been cut up, marinate it with the minced garlic, ½ tablespoon of soy sauce, and ½ of the sesame oil, and mix it up. Once mixed, let the chicken marinate for as long or as little as you would like. Obvious rules apply: the longer you marinate, the more taste the chicken will have.
  3. While the chicken is marinating, start to julienne the cucumber and make the peanut sauce.
  4. For the peanut sauce: in a large bowl, add the peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, ½ tablespoon of dark soy sauce, ½ sesame oil, and chili oil. Once all the ingredients are added, stir them together. The mixture will be thick, which is where the water comes in; slowly add water little-by-little and stir it into the peanut sauce.  This will gradually reduce its thickness, and you can stop adding water when it has enough of a saucy consistency (basically, you need it to be able to easily coat your noodles).
  5. When the chicken is done marinating, boil the water for the pasta and heat a pan for the chicken. The chicken can be cooked and set aside while you’re making the pasta. Once the pasta is done, run it under cold water to cool (if you have time, you can also let it cool naturally).
  6. After the pasta is cooled, get a large mixing bowl, and throw the pasta, cucumbers, and chicken together. Pour the peanut sauce over everything and toss thoroughly so everything is mixed well.

And then you’re done! This is a quick and easy meal that practically anyone can to make during the week, which is a requirement for us because we both work all day.

Chatime Opens Shop in the Annex!

Last Friday, Mary from Mary’s Happy Belly was kind enough to invite me to join her at Chatime Annex’s media launch. We not only got to tour the newest location—which is stellar given its close proximity to UT, residential buildings, and offices—but we also got to learn a little bit more about the company and its philosophy.

At the heart of it, it’s about making good tea (one part of their slogan of “Good Tea, Good Time”). At all the locations, they brew each kind of tea according to unique times and temperatures, and the tea leaves are imported from Taiwan. The toppings, like pudding and grass jelly, are also made fresh in-house!

One of the things I have always liked Chatime is the customization aspect of their drinks. Matt and I like ours with less ice, 50% sweet, and it’s awesome that they do that for their customers.

Chatime AnnexGood Tea Good Time

During our visit, we sampled their most popular drinks, as well as some of their more unique offerings!

Most Popular Drinks
  • Chatime Milk Tea with Tapioca
  • Taro Milk Tea with Pudding
  • Roasted Milk Tea with Grass Jelly

The Roasted Milk Tea with Grass Jelly is actually my favourite drink from Chatime, and ever since Matt got me hooked on it, I crave it all the time. The Chatime owners also explained something that I had lamented about in an earlier post: I thought that the taro milk tea seemed powdery. It’s actually because they use real taro, which has that grainy texture, whereas I had mistaken it for powder! It’s good to know that it was because it was fresh taro!

Unique Offerings

chatime

  • Chatime Red Bean Milk Tea
  • Hazelnut Chocolate Milk Tea
  • Brown Rice Green Milk Tea
  • Japanese Sakura Sencha
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Wintermelon Mousse
  • Taiwan Alishan JinShyuan Tea

*The adorable bubbletea cake in the middle is a chocolate cake with green tea mousse from Kelly’s Baked Goods!

They were all very good, but for me, the most interesting were the wintermelon mousse (kind of savoury-sweet) and the Japanese Sakura Sencha (very refreshing!) I also enjoyed the red bean milk tea, which you can’t go wrong with!

Two of Chatime Ontario's Owners, Kenton and Thomas

Two of Chatime Ontario’s Owners, Kenton and Thomas

Overall, it’s cool to see that Chatime has done so well in Ontario and in Canada, which is truly a job well done on the part of owners Kenton, Vincent, and Thomas. I think I value predictability and stability too much to ever be an entrepreneur, but it’s fascinating to hear the stories behind those who are!

Chatime Annex on Urbanspoon

Where We Ate: Portland Variety

More than ever, Instagram has become a source of new restaurants to try. Portland Variety was one of these finds! Conveniently located at Portland and King (former home of the now-closed KiWe Kitchen), the restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The drink menu is pretty interesting (they have a proper mixologist and all), and there are plenty of shareables to choose from. We liked pretty much everything we tried!

What We Ate

  • Housemade ricotta with honey, hazelnuts, and pears (soooo good!)
  • Salt cod brandade (loved it!)
  • Roasted bone marrow (the crispy top was a nice touch)
  • Grilled octopus
  • Eggplant confit
  • Beef tenderloin carpacio with Parmesan shavings
  • Patatas Bravas
  • Bite-sized beignets with chocolate sauce (airy, vanilla cream-filled goodness)
Housemade Ricotta

Housemade Ricotta

Salt Cod Brandade

Salt Cod Brandade

Roasted Bone Marrow

Roasted Bone Marrow

Grilled Octopus

Grilled Octopus

Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio

Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio

Eggplant Confit

Eggplant Confit

Mini Beignets

Mini Beignets

Portland Variety Cafe on Urbanspoon

Favourite Spots: Chicken Rice at Doner Kebab House

This post is going to be a short but very necessary post. When Matt and his friends first started raving about the chicken rice from Doner Kebab House, I was pretty skeptical about it, but now I’m a believer: honestly, that stuff is like crack. Chicken? Goood. Rice? Goood. Housemade garlic hot sauce? Extra gooood.

It’s right by Ryerson and a short walk away from Yonge-Dundas Square, so if you’re in the area, get yourself some chicken rice (or don’t, because then you’ll be like me and crave it all the time). Even if you don’t love it, you really can’t go wrong with a good, filling meal for $8.50!

The good stuff

Chicken Rice!

Doner Kebab

Look for this sign!

Donair Kebab House on Urbanspoon

Favourite Spots: Treadwell Farm-to-Table Cuisine (Niagara-on-the-Lake)

The first time I went to Treadwell was in 2009 (Matt and I were celebrating 4 years together… how time flies!), and it was love at first bite. The food was delicious, innovative, and well-executed, which was only made better by the fact that the service was on point. Ever since then, Treadwell has been on the list of our favourite restaurants!

The last few times we’ve been, the restaurant was still in its old Port Dalhousie location, but last year, it relocated to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The dining room is smaller but the restaurant now features bar seating by the kitchen, a large patio space, and a wine bar. I also love that it’s nestled among all of the little shops and restaurants in NOTL, but still tucked away in a nice, cozy space.

A couple of weekends ago, my girlfriends and I decided to take a somewhat spontaneous wine country getaway to celebrate my good friend J’s birthday, which was the perfect opportunity for another meal at Treadwell. As usual, it didn’t disappoint!

True to the name of the restaurant, all of the ingredients used are in season, fresh, and locally sourced. I don’t think I’ve had the same thing twice at Treadwell, but the food is always delicious. My parents are coming to town next week, so we’ll definitely be making a trip to take them there!

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Treadwell’s former location at Port Dalhousie

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On the patio at Treadwell’s new location in Niagara-on-the-Lake

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Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine on Urbanspoon