Friday night dinner: Carrot soup with Orange and Tarragon & General Tso’s Chicken

I apologize for the lack of a recipe in my last post.  We spent the last week finishing up a lot of leftovers that we had in our fridge and I honestly haven’t been cooking at all for the last week.  I hope this makes up for it since below are two tasty recipes.

Today was a very rare occasion… a Friday night that we stayed home and cooked!  Typically on Friday nights we go out to Metairie for Shabbat dinner either at our Rabbi’s house or at the home of some friends from our Shul.  However this week our Rabbi is in Israel and our friends decided to have a quiet night at home so we took advantage of the situation by doing the same!

We had a whole bunch of leftover carrots from a couple of weeks ago when Ken made coleslaw.  So… I looked up a carrot soup recipe and here’s what I found:

Carrot Soup With Orange and Tarragon (Adapted to make it kosher, but originally from Bon Appetit, April 2005)

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 lb. of carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup of chopped onion
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (we used Bourbon cause we don’t have a well-stocked liquor cabinet)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • Fresh tarragon sprigs

Put olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add carrots and onion and saute until onion is soft, about 8 minutes.

Add broth; cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, uncover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until very smooth.

Then stir in orange juice, brandy, and chopped tarragon.

Simmer 5 minutes for flavors to blend.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish soup with tarragon sprigs and serve.

The soup was delicious-it had a bit of a citrusy flavor from the orange juice.  This soup is also very healthy for you!  It has a lot of Vitamins A and C.

You may not be able to tell from recipes I have posted thus far (brownies, cookies, muffins, etc.) but typically we try to eat very healthy in our house.  Dinner generally consists of fish or chicken, with a veggie and sometimes a starch.  Occasionally we have red meat.  This next recipe is not an example of healthy cooking… however, it’s very tasty!  And it’s Ken-approved because it’s basically a one-pot meal.  (Not sure if I’ve mentioned this… but Ken, being a man, likes to cook one-pot meals such as chili, pasta sauce, and this next one).  This was the third time that Ken made this recipe, and it turned out spectacularly well.

General Tso’s Chicken (Ken found this recipe by looking on Wikipedia!)

For the Chicken:

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

For the Sauce:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons chinese rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry

For the Rest:

  • peanut oil
  • cornstarch, for dusting
  • 8 small dried hot chili peppers
  • 1/4 finely sliced green onions
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, steamed


Mix together egg, salt, black pepper, and cornstarch in a bowl.  Add the chicken cubes and mix to coat.  Marinate for at least 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar, and sherry for the sauce; reserve.

Heat wok over high heat for a minute or so; add about 3 1/2-4 cups of peanut oil to wok, and heat to 350 degrees F.

With tongs, remove chicken cubes individually from bowl, dust with 1 tbsp. cornstarch, shaking off excess, and place in the hot oil.  Deep fry chicken pieces for 1 1/2-2 minutes, until browned and crisp.

(You get bonus points if you can find an attractive husband to cook for you!  Yes… he’s wearing scrubs, and yes, cooking is kind of like doing surgery… but he’s just so cute, isn’t he?!)

Turn off heat, and remove chicken with a wire strainer and drain over a bowl.

Pour off all but 1 1/2 tbsp. of the oil from the wok.

Heat the wok over high heat for 20-30 seconds; add the chilies and stir-fry for 15-20 seconds, then add the green onions, cooking for 30 more seconds.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring for 1 minute; remove all from wok and set aside.

Stir sauce mixture into wok, stirring well, until sauce thickens into a nice glaze. Add chicken and chilies/onions back into the wok, stirring until everything is well coated, about 1 1/2-2 minutes.

Place on platter and garnish with steamed broccoli florets.

Serve with rice.


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