Archive for October, 2010

October 24, 2010

I <3 Indika

Houston DOES have a foodie community!
Huzzah!

Had a great time at my cooking class tonight. Will update with a post once exams are over (:

October 23, 2010

Pumpkin and Spinach Pasta

yea. this is me putting off studying for pharmacology.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 small kabocha squash (japanese pumpkin)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • ~1 tsp cinnamon
  • ~1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 serving spinach linguini
  • 1 tbs goat cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup of milk or cream

INSTRUCTIONS

  • preheat oven 400F
  • cut squash in half, scoop out seeds (roast these in the toaster oven with some cinnamon, salt, pepper, and nutmeg! mmmm…makes the house smell reeeally good). halve again lengthwise, then once more to form 8 wedges. then halve the wedges width-wise (?) into triangles. i used 8 wedges for this recipe and found it more than enough for a one person serving.
  • bake squash in oven for 20-30 min.
  • mince and saute shallots in butter. season with cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper. remove from heat and set aside.
  • in a small pot, boil water, cook linguini.
  • while linguini cooks, remove squash from oven (a fork should pierce wedges easily, but not sink into a mushy mass.) cut flesh off of skins (i used a paring knife), cut into cubes, and add to blender. add a dash of milk/cream, sautéed shallots, a couple leaves of fresh sage, and pulse until blended smooth. add more cream if you prefer a thinner consistency sauce. salt to taste. (but not too salty because goat cheese will add another layer of saltiness.)
  • reboil hot pasta water (yea i’m lazy) and cook a handful of spinach. remove when just wilting and plate on top of pasta.
  • spoon pumpkin puree over spinach.
  • add a tbs of goat cheese on top of puree (you can use any other type of cheese. mascarpone blended into the puree. grated hard cheese. be creative. i just always happen to have goat cheese in my fridge).
  • sprinkle on some toasted pine nuts and/or toasted pumpkin seeds.
  • i had a couple of extra wedges of roasted pumpkin so i added that to the plate too. you can also dump them into the blender with the rest of the pureed pumpkin, pulse a couple times, and have some nice chunks in the sauce.

now back to my drug list…

October 18, 2010

Minced Pork and Green Onion Scramble

I was hungry so i didn’t bother to keep the egg whole. when my mother makes this dish (and she has often throughout my childhood), it always comes out perfectly golden and whole. don’t know how she does it. it cooks so much faster when i just scramble it. and because i forgot to pack an afternoon snack today, i took as many short cuts to get this off the stove and into my belly as i could.

oh. and a general disclaimer that i probably should’ve stated about 20 posts back: i don’t measure.

i don’t believe in measuring cups and little spoons. this is why i can’t bake to save my life. all of my recipes are approximations. has the phrase “salt to taste” fallen out of favor or what? i hate it when people review recipes and give it 2 stars because it was “bland”. dude. add salt. do you not taste your food when you cook it? if it’s bland, it’s your fault. yeesh.

enough bitching. here’s dinner:

(told you it wasn’t pretty. i got the “golden” part down, but not quite the “whole”…)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 lb? 1/2lb? ground pork… a little less than 2 fist sizes
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 3-4 capfuls of soy sauce*
  • 1 tsp sesame oil.
  • salt

*i pour soy sauce directly into the cap of the bottle, then in a circular motion around what i’m seasoning. easier to control how much goes in. otherwise you tip the bottle a littttle too far and out comes a whole cup of soy sauce. great way to fuck up good food. i learned the hard way. many times.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. mix soy sauce and sesame oil evenly into ground pork
  2. in a large bowl, beat 4 eggs. add minced green onions. set aside.*
  3. heat wok, (when stir frying, always heat on high until smoking) add a tsp or so of oil, dump in pork and use edge of spatula to break up the pieces as much as you can. once the meat is browned and cooked through, scrape it out of the pan and into the egg mixture.
  4. salt the eggs, mix thoroughly, pour back into still-hot pan. **
  5. once edges of egg mixture begins to lighten/cook, flip over to other side. tip: cut into four pieces and turn each one individually.
  6. remove from heat when center is still a little bit runny. you don’t want it too look fully cooked in the pan or it’ll be dry and overcooked on the plate.
  7. eat.

*according to my hero, Alton Brown, salting eggs before cooking denatures the proteins and makes for a watery, rubbery scramble. Mother Chen has been salting her eggs pre-cooking for 30 years and never has she plated anything watery or rubbery. i think i’ll have to go with my mother on this one. i’ll take my chances with science for the sake of evenly seasoned eggs.

** something else my mom taught me: you can salt to taste raw egg. just dunk your chopsticks into it, taste, and spit it out. (“chopticks?” you say? yea. i don’t know how to beat eggs any other way.)

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October 17, 2010

Ode to Ube

found this beautiful image featured on TasteSpotting today.

and for anyone who’s been pronouncing it OOB like PUBE, or NOOB, please don’t.

let’s get it straight. it’s OO-BEH.

repeat with me: OOOO, BEH.

thank you.

October 17, 2010

Camembert Shmamembert

(alright, so i added the shmamembert. you like?)

to my inexperienced palate, looks and tastes rather like a brie. which is nottttt a bad thing at all. very soft and buttery texture. creamy almost sweet flavor. definitely spread-able at room temperature. i like.

hmm. would really like a nice crusty baguette right now.

i’ve gotta move on from this soft cheeses phase i’m in. the whole point of this is to try nEW things afterall.

but these are just so darn goOD!

October 17, 2010

Oven Roasted Aloo Gobi

I’ve been meaning to try this dish for many months now. glad i finally got around to it.

so from my research (and by research i mean wikipedia, bugging my indian/pakistani friends, and eating lots of aloo gobi), there  are two versions of this dish: 1) dry and 2) curry style.

personally, i kinda felt that i’ve gone curry overkill lately so i wanted to try the dry version. however, i was a bit concerned that because potatoes and cauliflower both have the potential to be rather mushy, i would have a soppy mess by the time it was ready to plate (i am rather stir crazy when i cook. just cant keep my spatula away.) my solution? dry roast. i wanted to give the potatoes and cauliflower a toasty texture to offset their innate mushiness. but because i am a masochist and wanted to make things complicated for myself, i also wanted the flavor of sweet onions and bay leaves but wasn’t sure how to incorporate those flavors via a dry roast. solution addendum? season and caramelize some onions, puree said onions, then mix with roasted veggies. this would give a nice even flavor coating without sacrificing the crisp oven roasted texture of the veggies. overall, this hodgepodge of cooking styles turned out surprisingly well. i can confidently say that i was thoroughly pleased with the result. as with all my recipes, i’m sure i’ll continue to tweak and adjust each time i try this again in the future, but for now, here’s what i’ve got so far:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of cauliflower (anyone else think this looks freakishly brain-like?)
  • 2 medium yukon potatoes
  • 2 tbs trader joe’s curry powder
  • 1/2 tbs tumeric
  • salt
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs dry parsley
  • garlic salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. preset oven to 400F
  2. dice potatoes into small cubes, skins on (gets nice and crispy in the oven.)
  3. cut cauliflower into small florets, wash and set aside.
  4. shake and bake time: dump potatoes into a large plastic ziplock bag. add 1 tbs olive oil, 1 heaping tbs curry powder, 1 tsp salt. (i also added and extra half tsp tumeric for extra color).
  5. line a pan with aluminum foil. pour potatoes and spread them out so they lie flat, cover and seal with another layer of aluminum and bake ~ 10 min. (potatoes need a head start as they take longer to bake.)
  6. transfer cauliflower into the same plastic bag and repeat shake and bake process: add oil, 1 tbs curry powder, salt. set aside.
  7. heat dutch oven. melt a small pat of butter and caramelize onions. season with salt, parsley, 1 bay leaf. set aside to cool.
  8. remove potatoes from oven. stick a fork through one of the bigger pieces. should be slightly tender but NOT soft. if fork is having trouble piercing potato pieces, cover and bake a couple more minutes.
  9. add cauliflower into roasting pan. stir evenly. if you’re anal like me, turn potato pieces skin side up. (for added crispiness.). return to oven UNCOVERED. bake 30 minutes.
  10. take onions, now cooled, and pulse in a blender to a smooth paste. once potato and cauliflower is done roasting, reheat dutch oven over med heat and return onion paste into pot.
  11. remove veggies from oven (should be nice and toasty. cauliflower should have a nice browning on the edges) and add to onion paste in pot. mix. salt to taste with garlic salt.
  12. remove bay leaf, sprinkle on some more parsley, and serve!

tip: after mixing in the onions, found potatoes to be a weeeee bit undercooked. too late to return to the oven (and too lazy to), so i simply kept it in the dutch oven, lid on, and let it steam in its own heat ~ 5 min. voila! problem solved.

October 14, 2010

Sautéed Chard w Toasted Pine Nuts and Cranberries

my first time making chard. my first time eating chard. it’s like a buttery, more tender version of spinach. according to the wonderful world wide web, it’s some sort of super food, with ridiculous amounts of vitamin K (something like 400% daily value per cup), iron, vitamin C, antioxidants, etc etc. i’m sure if i didn’t use a whole tablespoon of butter while making this it would be a rather guiltless addition to my diet…

lesson learned for next time: white stalked varieties have more tender stems. the pink stalks are kinda fibrous…(but they’re prettier. so i probably won’t follow my own advice..)

also, i don’t know what all this talk about chard being bitter is. perhaps you need a better grocery store…

anyway, here’s my take on CHARD:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 batch swiss chard
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
  • 2 tbs dried cranberries
  • 1 pat of butter
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.
  • soup stock
  • salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. cut chard, separating stalks and leaves.
  2. melt butter in hot pan. caramelize onions on med heat. ~10 min.
  3. in toaster oven, spread aluminum foil on a pan and toast pine nuts at 400F until golden (don’t remember how long this took. just check on it.)
  4. once onions are caramelized, add stalks of chard.
  5. pour in a few oz of chicken/vegetable stock (just for moisture), cover 2 min.
  6. remove cover, add chard leaves, balsamic vinegar, a few pinches of salt, and saute until just wilting.
  7. add pine nuts and cranberries. stir, remove from heat. top with plenty of pepper and serve.

i read up on several recipes before i threw this together. one had toasted pine nuts, so i added that to my version. i figure it’ll add some texture. another had balsamic vinegar, so i added that too. gives it a unique, punctuating flavor. and cranberries? i just had a bunch in my pantry and thought i’d need something sweet to offset the vinegar. oh, and i love pepper with balsamic. so bring on the pepper. sweet yellow onions were just to round out the sweet/savory combo (ok. and i also just had half a left over onion sitting in my fridge begging to be used.).

that is all.

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October 13, 2010

Shrimp and Edamame Stir Fry: 毛豆蝦仁!

my first attempt at recreating my favorite thing to order at chinese restaurants 😀

nothing like a good protein packed meal after a hard work out. GRRR. (<– that’s me making tough sounds. scary, no?)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined.
  • ~ 10oz shelled frozen edamame
  • 2 tbs rice wine
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 stalks of green onion

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. dissolve ~ 1/2 tbs corn starch and a pinch of salt in rice wine. toss and mix shrimp.
  2. in a small sauce pot, boil water.
  3. heat wok. add tbs of oil. stir fry shrimp until no longer translucent (~5 min). don’t cook all the way! overcooked shrimp = crap. remove from heat into bowl you marinated it in.
  4. when water boils, cook edamame as per instructions (2-3 min)
  5. dissolve rest of corn starch in a small bowl with chicken broth. set aside.
  6. drain edamame. add to wok. dump in shrimp.
  7. pour in broth. mix until sauce thickens. (2 min) season with garlic salt to taste.
  8. toss in green onions.
  9. remove from heat and serve.

October 10, 2010

Snow Pea and Scallop Stir Fry

I love how quick and easy stir frys are. It’s a lazy person’s dream, really. (Or, as I like to tell myself, not lazy, just busy.)

You can prep all your ingredients way ahead of time, and the actual cooking takes about 5 min. No wonder the majority of my contribution in the kitchen growing up was chopping vegetables for my mother . It’s 75% of the work! I always asked her when she was gonna teach me how to cook for REAL. It’s been almost 20 years and I’ve finally learned: If you cant work a knife, don’t bother at the stove.

Yea whatever. I’ve served my time. I had Steph to julienne my veggies for me today.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/4 lb mini scallops
  • a handful of snow peas
  • garlic salt (i was too lazy to mince garlic)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth/water
  • 1 tsp garlic chili sauce
  • 2 tbs rice wine
  • 1/2 tbs cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. julienne carrots and snow peas.
  2. rinse scallops, dry off with paper towels
  3. dissolve cornstarch in rice wine and coat scallops evenly
  4. heat oil in wok on high, quickly saute scallops and remove from heat (don’t cook all the way through.)
  5. add veggies, garlic salt, just a BIT of broth for some moisture and saute 2 min.
  6. reintroduce scallops to wok and stir in chili sauce.
  7. remove from heat and serve!

    lunch for tomorrow? done.

    easy pea-sy.

    October 8, 2010

    Lentil and Sweet Potato Chili

    Yay for Autumn!


    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1/2 cup red lentils
    • 1/2 cup green lentils
    • 3 roma tomatoes
    • 1 yellow onion
    • 1 med orange bell pepper
    • 1 sweet potato
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • ~40oz beef broth and/or chicken broth
    • 2 tbs Mexene chili powder
    • 1 tbs cumin
    • 1 tsp garlic salt
    • parsley
    • salt

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. soak lentils over night.
    2. Saute onions, garlic, and bell peppers in a hot dutch oven with butter.
    3. add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil.
    4. add sweet potatoes and lentils, chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. cover and reduce to simmer ~ 30 min
    5. salt to taste, continue to simmer ~30 min with cover half off to reduce liquid to a thicker consistency.
    6. spoon 1 cup of stew into blender and blend until smooth. reintroduce into pot and mix.
    7. top with fresh chopped onions and some parsley, then serve with crusty bread (or cornbread!).

    *special thanks to Sous Chef/Photographer Stephanie Chen (:

    and because today’s theme seems to be orange, Hook ‘Em.

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