Archive for November, 2010

November 25, 2010

The secret to fabulous fried rice:

Can I even call it a secret? I’ve probably only ever made fried rice twice in my life.

But I’ve eaten plenty. And I use to watch my mother make it all the time. So that counts, right?

Here’s some general tips and tricks:

  • use old left over rice. nobody likes soggy fried rice and that’s what you tend to end up with if you use fresh steamed. so you know that take out box full of hard, kernel-y left over rice you have in the back of your fridge? use it.
  • i dig a little whole in the center of the pan once i’m done frying the rice and pour the egg straight in. 1) because i’m lazy 2) because it coats the rice in lots of egg. makes for a more homogenous result.
  • do the same with green onion at the end. make a hole, add some oil, fry the minced green onion. mmm… smells good. then mix.
  • use salt instead of soy sauce. i like my flavors to come from my ingredients. not from a cup of soy sauce.
  • top with japanese sushi seasoning. this stuff is magical! i like the kind of pork sung in it.

terrible image, i know. you wanna buy me a camera?

anyway. if you don’t like it plain with just eggs and green onion (which is how my mother makes it most of the time) any sort of left over meat can be mixed in. i’m partial to salmon fried rice. i’ll even take away half your grilled salmon dinner and save it for my fried rice tomorrow and let you go hungry for the evening.

really. i will.

if you want an actual recipe, look it up online. the world wide web doesn’t need more How To’s on fried rice.

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November 21, 2010

Fig, Walnut, and Prosciutto Salad

w/ a honey balsamic dressing and lots of pepper.

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November 16, 2010

Lamb Stuffed Peppers

baking:cooking :: watercolor:acrylic painting

you just don’t have room to fuck up when it comes to baking. when you cook over a stove, you can always blend, adjust, taste as you go. but baking? not so much. you throw it together, toss it in the oven, and hope for the best.

and seeing as you can’t find a single measuring spoon in my kitchen, baking has always been my nemesis. and what’s a masochist like me to do but to force herself into uncomfortable situations.

anyway, here goes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 cups left over white rice
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • salt (more than you think you need.)
  • 3 large bell peppers (preferably red or yellow. green is too bitter)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. mix spices/seasoning in small bowl.
  2. heat oil in pan. saute onions ~2 min.
  3. mix in half the seasoning. add salt to taste. should taste over-salted. continue sauteing until onions are translucent. ~3-5 more minutes. remove from pan and put in fridge to cool.
  4. in a large stock pot, boil enough water to cover bell peppers.
  5. cut tops off peppers and scoop out seeds.
  6. blanch peppers in water ~5 min. not until soggy. make sure they stay submerged (fill the peppers with water to weight them down.)
  7. remove peppers and set aside, upside down, to drain.
  8. line a pan with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 375F
  9. in large mixing bowl, add lamb, beaten egg, rest of the seasoning, and rice. mix with hands. careful not to squeeze too much. you don’t want it too dense.
  10. add cooled onions. fold in and distribute evenly.
  11. drizzle peppers with olive oil, inside and out. (i drizzled a bit of olive oil in the pepper, then rubbed it around with a folded paper towel.)
  12. place on foil covered pan and bake ~40 min. (edges of peppers will just begin to brown)
  13. tip: if the stuffing looks a bit dry while baking, pour a few tbs of beef broth in the center.

aw. look at my little rockstars, all lined up in the spotlight.

well. so much for thinking i can’t bake. alright, to be honest, i’ve made a successful meatloaf before. (it’s the one baking dish i’ve not only been able to finish successfully, but successfully reproduce.) and this really wasn’t much different. add an egg to help binding, use rice instead of bread crumbs, use some similar seasoning as my lamb meatballs, but let’s not give away all my secrets of laziness and cheapen tonight’s success here….

next on the list? thomas keller’s mountain of a quiche. with a little help from alton brown’s pie episodes, i’m gonna learn to make me a flakey pie crust if it KILLS me.  oh, and thomas keller’s leek bread pudding (i recently recieved a TK cookbook as a gift. can you tell?)

anyway. just ’cause i’m so damn proud of myself, one more shot:

and btw, it tasted pretty darn good.

November 14, 2010

Korean Stir Fry

i had a hankering for jap chae. but seeing as i have no sweet potato noodles, a stir fry will have to do:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb sliced marbled beef*
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks of green onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 broccoli head, diced
  • 5 crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs  go chu jang (sweet & spicy korean chili paste)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • beef broth

*i used half a package of hotpot beef from the chinese supermarket. super thin slices.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. mix soy sauce, sesame oil, chili paste, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl.
  2. in a medium sized bowl, pour in half of the soy sauce mixture. dissolve cornstarch in mixture. marinate beef and set aside.
  3. wash and chop your veggies.
  4. heat vegetable oil in a hot nonstick pan (sesame oil has too low of a smoking point. i use it for its flavor and not for cooking.)
  5. brown beef quickly.  remove from pan.
  6. reheat pan. add onions and saute ~3 min. add minced garlic. (i usually from a little hole in the center of the pan, add a bit more oil, and fry the garlic until fragrant. then mix.)
  7. add broccoli and mushrooms. add enough beef broth to produce a bit of steam (1/4 cup..?), cover, reduce to medium, and steam ~3-5 min.
  8. remove cover, add carrots, stir and add more soy sauce mixture over veggies to taste.
  9. form a little hole in the center of the pan again, add a dash of oil, then fry green onions until fragrant. mix.
  10. finally, mix in beef. stir and remove from heat.
  11. sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve with rice! 
November 13, 2010

St. Angel – Triple Cream

  • specialty cheese. French. Cow’s milk.
  • it’s like eating BUTTER. same texture (refrigerated and unrefrigerated…so uh, don’t leave it out on the counter.).
  • flavor is actually rather pungent unlike other soft, brie-like cheese i’ve tried.
  • incredibly creamy and spreadable, even when still cold.
  • something about the processing technique of not draining the curds makes it super loaded with calcium and proteins.
  • whatever. i just like pretending i’m eating a stick of butter and that it’s actually goOD for me.
November 13, 2010

Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas

i know, i know. i go through phases. apparently i’m in a chickpea phase.

or a chard phase.

or perhaps a curry phase. but this isn’t a curry. so hA!

yea whatever. i’ll get more creative when school stops kicking my ass.

adapted from foodnetwork.com. i wanted something chunky and hearty, not soupy, but the spices and flavors of this dish intrigued me. so here’s my take on it:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 -1/3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1/2 tbs coriander
  • 1 tbs brown sugar  (there’s a lot of acidity in this dish. may need more)
  • chili powder (to your level of spicy tolerance)
  • 1/2 tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tbs tumeric (mostly for the color)
  • 1/2 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • pepper
  • salt
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 batch rainbow chard

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. heat oil in dutch oven.
  2. saute onions and garlic until translucent – 5-10 min
  3. combine cinnamon, coriander, paprika, cumin, tumeric, and chili powder  in a small bowl, add half to the onions. mix well to distribute.
  4. add tomatoes and chickpeas, along with about a cup of chicken stock, then the rest of the spices.
  5. cover and reduce heat to simmer – 30 min.
  6. rinse and clean chard. remove stems and cut leaves into 2 or 3 inch pieces.
  7. in a separate pot, boil water and blanch chard for a few seconds until just wilted. remove from water and set aside.
  8. check on chickpeas. once they’re soft and cooked through, squeeze in juice from one lemon. if too soupy, simmer uncovered until liquid reduces.
  9. mix in chard
  10. top with several grinds of pepper and salt to taste if needed.

November 10, 2010

Massaman Curry!



INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb beef, chuck
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 large japanese yam*
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 5+ tbs massaman curry paste (Mae Ploy)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2-3 tbs brown sugar
  • 3-5 pods cardamom
  • 1 clove
  • 0.5-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cups beef broth

*can substitute with white potatoes (don’t use russet! will fall apart on you.) Japanese yams are not the same as Ube! They have a deep purple skin and a creamy white center. I like the subtle sweetness of the flesh and find it compliments the cinnamon/clove mixture well. these seem to cook faster than regular potatoes, so keep that in mind when substituting!

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. preheat oven ~230F
  2. dice yams and onions into large cubes/squares. (matching the cuts of beef.)
  3. heat dutch oven, med/high. add a few tbs of vegetable oil and brown chuck on all sides. remove from pot into separate bowl.
  4. reduce heat to medium and add coconut milk (don’t want the heat too high or milk will curdle). add curry paste and mix constantly until homogenized. 2-3 minutes.
  5. return meat to pot, along with peanuts and enough broth to completely submerge the beef. keep in mind that you need enough liquid for the potatoes and onions later.
  6. add fish sauce, and other spices (i ground the cloves and cardamom in my spice grinder to a fine powder. i am way too lazy to empty out the seeds first…). tip: put spices in a small bowl, then introduce a few tbs of warm broth from the pot and dissolve until no lumps. then mix slowly back into pot.
  7. slide pot into oven, covered, for 2 hours.
  8. check: adjust to taste. too sour? add more sugar. too sweet? add more fish sauce or curry paste. etc. add more broth/water if running dry (i actually just filled the coconut milk cans with water and added that).
  9. meat by now should be at or just past the “tough” stage. a few more hours and it’ll reabsorb the moisture and get melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  10. add potatoes and onions.
  11. return to oven, covered, for another hour or two.
  12. you really cant over cook it. reheating it several times for leftovers is no problem. (:

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November 8, 2010

Chana Masala w Cucumber Mint Raita

I actually made this a couple weeks ago and forgot what exactly i put in here… my bad. (Although smittenkitchen has a great recipe!)

A few notes:

  • canned chickpeas tend to get mushy on you. adjust cooking times accordingly.
  • lemon substitute for amchoor powder works wonderfully. thank you, smittenkitchen.
  • lots of cumin!
  • i use roma tomatoes for all stew-like recipes. less acidity.

Cucumber Mint Raita

This I do remember. And you will too! It’s super easy

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-2 cups greek yogurt (Fage, plain)
  • half a cucumber, diced into small cubes
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • ~ 1 tsp cumin
  • ~ tsp paprika
  • salt
  • 1/2 lime, juiced.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. mix and chill.

that’s it! a wonderfully cool and refreshing accompaniment to a spicy chana masala. get some store bought garlic naan, and dinner is served.