My husband, who has known me since I was in high school, is often amazed at how my memory works. I may not remember anything about a movie we watched a week ago but I can tell you in details what I ate on a particular date, a company holiday party, a vacation, or a rehearsal dinner.
On our first date, my husband and I, for the lack of a better destination, stopped by Lucky Penny, a diner on Mason and Geary in San Francisco. Neither of us was really hungry, so we decided to split a Sesame Chicken entree. Paying little attention to the chicken we watched day turn into night, while sharing our lives with each other. There, over Sesame Chicken entree, our story began.
A few years ago, while driving in the city, I passed by Lucky Penny and the memories of our first date came gushing in. A burgundy booth tucked away in the corner of the half empty diner, worn out plastic benches, dim lighting, and walls covered with faded pictures of celebrities; first-date butterflies, cozy conversation, Sesame Chicken….
I came home that night hoping to re-create the gastronomical sensation of our first date. Within a few clicks, I found a perfect recipe. Not only did it remind me of the Lucky Penny’s original, but it was also delicious and easy to make. That night, with the help of a bottle of Riesling, an entree from All-Recipes took us back in time to our very first date.
Adapted from All-Recipes.com
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 lb chicken tenders
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (I recommend using Sesame Seed oil)
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 6 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons honey (my favorite is Billy Bee Organic)
- In a wide frying pan, toast sesame seeds over medium heat, tossing occasionally. For convenience, keep a few bottles of toasted sesame seeds in your pantry.
- In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Place a few pieces of chicken at a time into the bag, and shake to coat. Remove to a platter.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Place chicken into skillet, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine Liquid Aminos and honey. Add sauce to skillet. Sauté for 2 more minutes, then add corn.
- Warm gently until heated through.
- To finish off, add 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds and remove from stove.
- Serve immediately.
My favorite wine to accompany this dish is an organically produced Chehalem 2008 Dry Riesling Reserve. Its tart peach, pear, and lime flavors go really well with the sweetness of the Sesame Chicken.