Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday's, Feasting with Friends Featuring Angie Forkapa

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."

~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

My guest for today is my friend and neighbor Angie Forkapa. Hands down the hardest thing about moving to a new home was having to leave our wonderful neighbors behind.  I was heartsick about starting over, building new friendships not only for my children but myself as well.  We were truly blessed in our first home, surrounded by good, kind people who cared for my family. How could we possibly find anything that could compare?  Well God provides!! Our new neighborhood is again filled with amazing neighbors, instant family friends and playmates for my boys.  Angie and her family live across the street from us and her youngest son Keegan was the welcoming committee when we first came to our new home.  And that is just a perfect example of the Forkapa Family. They are welcoming, kind, and have a ways about them that makes you feel like you have known them for years.  Angie was my first friend here on Deep Cove and I will always treasure how she made us all feel at home in our new neighborhood. Thank you Angie for just being you.  

Angie Forkapa
Angie and her amazing Bernese Mountain Dogs, Gunner and Daisy

What is your occupation?
I'm a stay at home mom for the most part although I do rock a hairnet twice a week in the cafeteria at my children's school.  

What is your favorite thing to cook?   
Hmmmm that's a tough question. I like to cook things that I can prepare all at once and pop in the oven or cook quickly on the stove. I don't enjoy cooking meals that take hours to prepare. Mostly because I am not the most patient person. I would say right now my favorite thing to cook is a copycat version of Panda Express's Orange Chicken.  I made a gluten free version and it was a big hit with the kids and easy to make too which is a bonus.  

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Fish! I like to eat all types of fish...except sushi...but I am not a fan of cooking it. I think it is more that I don't really know how to cook fish. All I ever do is bake it which is rather boring.  

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?   
Cleveland has so many wonderful restaurants! Blue Point is at the top of my list. I love a good steak and have heard great things about STRIP in Avon and would love to go there.  

The Forkapa Family

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Both my husband and I have a pretty wide range of musical tastes. He likes to put on music that represents the food we are eating. If it's taco night, he puts on the Mexican music. An Italian dish, then Italian dinner music. Amazon Music has a great selection of dinner music.  

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Surf and Turf! I love a good steak and have always loved shrimp and lobster….dripping with butter of course.  

What are you currently reading?
I love to read and the book I currently have on my Kindle is Almost Dead by T.R. Ragan.  It's the 4th book in the Lizzy Gardner Series.  A crime/who done it/suspense. My favorite book series have been Harry Potter and also the Outlander series. I have read both series more than once.  

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
Not really a gadget, but we recently bought a cast iron skillet. I have been cooking EVERYTHING in it. I wish we had bought one earlier. My grandmother swore by hers and I can fondly recall her at the stove cooking many delicious meals.  

Do you have a signature go-to dish?  
My kids love when I make roast beef and mashed potatoes or oven roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. My son was just home from college and he requested both of those along with flank steak.  

What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
Cleveland has so many things to offer! Picking one favorite thing is so difficult. I love our park systems, the islands, restaurants and museums. My favorite though would be the Lake Erie islands.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
My mom, hands down, made the BEST roast beef. It was something that she was frequently asked to make for parties in large quantities because it was that good. Even though she taught me how to make it, I just have not been able to duplicate hers.  

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Gladiator, Gone With The Wind and Elf.

What was your happiest moment in life?
When each of my children were born.  Nothing can possibly top that.  

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
I like to buy as much organic as I can and do most of my shopping at Heinen's. However if I am in the neighborhood I will always stop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I recently joined Costco and have been impressed with their organic food selection also.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?  
French Onion chip dip! So bad for you, but oh so good. If I'm invited to a party and they have french onion dip...that's where you will find me.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?  
Over the past few years I have tried to go as organic as possible. Also limiting the amount of processed foods my family eats and making most meals from scratch. My ultimate goal would be to be proactive enough to put a menu together a week ahead of time and then grocery shop for it so I am prepared each day rather than deciding that morning what's for dinner based on what I have available.  

One word that best describes you is: Loyal.  

Well actually the first word that really came to mind was Sassy. Lol.  Loyalty is extremely important to me when it comes to my friends and family and I am fiercely loyal to those close to me.  

And now for your favorite recipe: Since it has been such a big hit with the kids recently I will share the Gluten Free Orange Chicken I have been making.  I most definitely did NOT come up with this recipe myself, but found it on Pinterest.  I use Gerber’s chicken which can be found at Heinen's and my cast iron skillet.  I serve it over organic white rice.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  

Gluten Free Orange Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used chicken tenderloins)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1/4 cup oil, approximately
  • 1/4 cup tamari gluten free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • green onions, to garnish, optional

  • Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Place the cornstarch in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, add the chicken on top and toss until evenly coated.

  • Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the hot skillet and then add the chicken. Cook stirring occasionally until all the chicken is cooked through and golden brown.

  • Meanwhile whisk together all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

  • Once the chicken is cooked through and golden brown remove it from the skillet. Pour the contents of the small bowl into the hot skillet and simmer and stir until thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the chicken back in, and toss to coat.

  • Garnish with some green onions if you want, and enjoy. You can serve it with steamed rice if desired.


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