Food review, why me? Why not?
I’m a foodie and a restaurant rat and a blogger and an enthusiast and I'm mad-dialed-in on social media. I'm also a former personal chef and a cookbook author and a restaurant marketer and currently, pretty open to projects, barter and contract.
So it's no surprise that restaurant owners and marketing reps would reach out to me for a review on their menu drop, product launch or special event. These are the perks of being a lifestyle blogger. I said I love to eat. I especially love to eat for FREE. So when someone sends me food to try, I'm in.
But I'm a food snob and something of a clean foodie. With 20 years in the restaurant industry in every role from bus girl to manager to director of marketing to personal chef (I owned a fitness and food business for many years), I'm not interested in eating anything sub-par. And I wouldn't serve it to my family or friends. So you know I wouldn't offer it up to the girls in my club, my foodie club, the Gloucester Glitterati. These ladies cook, write about, photograph, video, promote and sell nourishment at the highest culinary level, from the purest sources, often from their own hives and gardens. This is a tough group of critics to present with a product test recipe. I brought out my "Stir It Up" Pepper Jelly test drive for this one. Thank heavens it rocked it or I might have to take up Soduko.
The pressure to produce an impressive contribution was intense and my desire to incorporate my newest product review, "Stir It Up" Cuisine's Pepper Jelly meant the stakes were high, and producing something amazing on a weekday, as a mom, meant bringing gourmet food production into my regular family style cook session. That meant only one thing - crock pot.
There's no single more important culinary tool in my house than my crock pot. None. It is filled weekly with soup, meat for pulling, sauce for using on meatballs, homemade pizza and as a started to be frozen till the next soup is needed. My mother is a crock pot cook. She's amazing and efficient and healthy and frugal and clever and I know nothing else. Crock pot cooking is healthier, faster and great for making multiple use bases for bulk cooking. Plus, it's only one dish.
The "Stir it Up" Pepper Jelly Asian Pulled Chicken Lettuce Wraps were incredible. The sweet heat was PERFECT in contrast to the creamy heat of the red cabbage slaw and soft butter lettuce leaves with crunchy won ton, pecan and golden raisin "crouton". This is hands down the best this recipe has ever come out, and it's really, truly all about the perfectly balanced Stir It Up Pepper Jelly. I didn't have to change it at all to get the flavor I was looking for. It was already there.
Here's how to make it yourself.
Asian Pulled Chicken
1/2 jar "Stir it Up" Cuisine Lime Pepper Jelly
2 lbs chicken breast, rinsed and trimmed
3/4 c rice vinegar
2 generous scoops pickled ginger
1 tbs sesame oil
Combine ingredients in crock pot and cook for 5 hours on low till you can "pull" chicken with a spaghetti spoon. Cool. Serve in butter lettuce leave "wraps" topped with Cabbage slaw, Crouton mixture and a dollop of remaining Pepper Jelly. Recipes below.
Cranberry Horseradish Cabbage Slaw
1/2 bag shredded cole slaw mix
1/2 bag shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons cranberry horseradish mayonaisse (I use Boar's Head Brand)
1 tbs sugar
Stir wet ingredients till mixture is even. Toss in lettuce. Chill 5 hours.
Won ton, Raisin and Pecan Crouton
Mix 1/2 bag won ton crisps (the long skinny kind) with a 1/2 bag of golden raisin and spiced pecan salad topping.
Serving it up - drop 1 serving spoon of chilled pulled chicken into a washed lettuce leave, add slaw and crouton. Top with a teaspoon of additional pepper jelly and roll into a delicious, light, bite-sized sandwich.
This recipe will be the first in the long long long overdue follow up to my first cookbook , "Eat Well", which I wrote in my days as a fitness trainer and chef. Be patient, though. I'm not so good at translating "A littla this and a littla that" into measurements. This will take time. PS, they make sweet gifts.