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Weeknight cooking: recipes in 30 minutes or less.

QUICK CHICKEN MOLE

SERVES 4 TO 6 / 30 MINUTES

A traditional Mexican mole sauce takes hours, but we tinkered with it and came up with a version that achieves similarly deep flavors in a fraction of the time.

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp. New Mexico chile powder' (optional)
1/2 tsp. each pepper, kosher salt, cayenne, and cinnamon
1/4 tsp. anise seeds
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup each tomato puree and reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips
2 lbs. boned, skinned chicken thighs
1/2 to 1 serrano chile, minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

1. Heat a grill to high (450[degrees] to 550[degrees]).
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about
3 minutes. Stir in spices, sesame seeds, and almonds
and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in tomato puree, broth, and chocolate chips.

2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until
flavors develop and sauce thickens and darkens slightly,
about 10 minutes. Puree in a blender with 1/2 cup water
until smooth, about 30 seconds.

3. Pour 1 cup mole sauce over chicken in a medium bowl
and toss to coat.

4. Grill chicken, turning once, until browned, about 8
minutes. Set chicken on a serving plate and sprinkle with
minced chile and cilantro leaves. Serve with remaining mole
sauce and lime wedges.

* Fruity, mild New Mexico chile powder is available at
well-stocked grocery stores and Latino markets, but if you
can't find it, you can leave it out and still have a
flavorful dish.

PER SERVING 226 Cal., 44% (99 Cal.) from fat; 24 g protein;
11 g fat (2.5 g sat.); 8.1 g carbo (1.8 g fiber); 318 mg
sodium; 92 mg chol. GF/LC/LS


TOFU and RICE NOODLES with BLACK BEAN SAUCE

SERVES 4 / 30 MINUTES

Pan-searing sliced tofu gives it a meatiness that's deliciously offset by crunchy vegetables and a drizzle of black bean sauce (pour on a little less if you're salt-sensitive). The Asian ingredients can be found in any large grocery store.

16 oz. pad Thai rice-stick noodles
14 to 21 oz. firm tofu, drained
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
20 small, thin carrots, peeled
1/3 cup black bean garlic sauce
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine
3 tbsp. each soy sauce and toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. each toasted sesame seeds and minced fresh ginger
2 green onions, chopped
4 oz. sugar snap peas, thinly sliced crosswise

1. Boil noodles according to package directions, about
6 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, set tofu with a long side facing you. Cut
tofu into eight 1/2-in.-thick slices, then lay between
sheets of paper towels; gently press out excess moisture.

3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add
tofu and fry until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer to a plate. Add carrots and cook, stirring
occasionally, until carrots begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to plate of tofu. Halve tofu diagonally.

4. Meanwhile, stir black bean garlic sauce, rice wine,
soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, sugar, sesame
seeds, ginger, green onions, and 1/4 cup water together
in a medium bowl.

5. Add black bean mixture to frying pan and boil over medium
heat until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 3 minutes.

6. Divide noodles among 4 wide bowls. (If noodles are stuck
together, rinse with hot water and drain.) Spoon 3 tbsp.
sauce over each bowl. Arrange 4 pieces tofu, 5 carrots,
and 1/4 cup snap peas over each, and spoon on remaining
sauce if you like.

PER SERVING WITH 3 TBSP. SAUCE 828 Cal., 31% (256 Cal.)
from fat; 19g protein; 299 fat (3.6 g sat.); 118 g carbo
(7.6 g fiber); 890 mg sodium; 0 mg chol. VG


SCALLOPS with ORANGE, AVOCADO, and JICAMA

SERVES 4 / 30 MINUTES

Elegant and fast-cooking, scallops make a smart choice when you're expecting company on a weeknight.

8 small Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. butter Salt and pepper
1 orange, such as Cara Cara, blood, or novel
1/2 cup finely diced jicama
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 firm-ripe avocado, diced
1 tbsp. each chopped fresh dill and lemon juice
Salt and pepper
12 dry-packed sea scallops (about 1 lb.)
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 dill sprigs

1. In a large nonstick frying pan, spread potatoes
evenly. Add butter and 3/4 cup water. Cook over medium-high
heat, partially covered, until water evaporates and
potatoes are soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, reduce heat
to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes
just begin to turn golden on the edge, about 5 minutes.
Season lightly with salt and pepper and keep warm over
low heat.
2. Meanwhile, with a small, sharp knife, cut ends off
orange and set on a cut side. Following the fruit's curve,
slice off peel and white pith. Cut orange between inner
membranes to release segments; discard membranes. Finely
dice segments and put in a medium bowl. Stir in jicama,
shallot, radishes, avocado, dill, and lemon juice. Season
to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large, heavy frying pan (not nonstick) over
high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Swirl
in oil and heat until just beginning to smoke. Sear
scallops until browned, about 1 minute. Turn and sear
until just cooked through, about 30 seconds more.
4. Divide potatoes among 4 wide, shallow bowls. Arrange
3 scallops in each bowl and spoon on some jicama and
orange mixture. Top bowls with bits of dill.

* Any orange works in this dish, but the Cara Cara holds
its shape especially well when diced.

PER SERVING 434 Cal., 39% (170 Cal.) from fat; 24 g
protein; 19g fat (6.89 sat.); 41 g carbo (4.3 g fiber);
257 mg sodium; 60 mg chol. GF/LC/LS
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Title Annotation:Food & Drink
Publication:Sunset
Date:Mar 1, 2014
Words:1029
Previous Article:Spice it up: a chef's easy-to-adapt curry recipes unlock a world of Indian cooking.
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