Archive for June, 2011

June 28, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Back in NYC! Excuse the bad photographs. Not that I had a good camera in Houston, but my iPhone snaps will be more awful than usual.

The good news? Found this in the apartment I’m subleasing: Martha Stuart’s Cooking School

mmm.. a taste of home. (:


  • 3.5 cups chicken stock
  • ~2 lb bone in chicken pieces (legs, breast, etc)
  • 1 150z fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 dried pasillo chile
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • cilantro
  • corn tortillas

  1. Cook chicken in broth until juices from center run clear (165F). ~15 min.
  2. On high heat, toast chile in a small skillet until skin chars. Split and remove seeds. Submerge and soak in warm broth from pot for 15-20 min.
  3. Check on chicken. Remove meat from bone and shred. Discard bones and set meat aside.
  4. Saute onions and garlic until translucent ~5 min.
  5. Add tomatoes and heat through ~2 min.
  6. Add chile and soaking liquid. Continue to simmer ~2-5 min to let flavors distribute. Set aside to cool before adding to blender. Pulse into a puree.
  7. Strain puree and add to chicken stock. Simmer 5-10 min. Optional if making ahead: cover and place in fridge. Skim fat off before reheating.
  8. Add shredded chicken to heat through.
  9. In a small frying pan, heat enough oil to coat bottom. Fry one tortilla, both sides, until crispy. Set aside on paper towel and fry next batch. Cut into strips.
  10. To serve: squeeze in lime juice, top with cilantro, tortilla strips, and avocado slices.
June 28, 2011

Mexican Roasted Corn w/ Cotija Cheese

  • corn, still in husk
  • mayo
  • lime
  • cayenne pepper
  • garlic salt
  • cotija cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Pull back husks, remove silk, wash corn well, then fold husks back over.
  3. Roast in oven for ~40 min.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo, cayenne, and garlic salt.
  5. Remove corn from oven, peel back husks without removing. Spread on mayo mixture and roll in crumbled cotija cheese.
  6. Squeeze on fresh lime juice before serving.

Note: if you want a nice char on the corn, return corn to oven after folding back husks and continue roasting for 10 more min or so, until it browns to your liking.

June 2, 2011

Salmon & Avocado Poke + Handy things to keep in your freezer

(poe-kay): Hawaiian for “to slice/cut”

Alright. I’ll confess. I’ve been buying super market sushi as of late. But a hungry student’s gotta have her sushi. The Central Market HEB on Buffalo’s got pretty good quality stuff. Brown rice options as well. If I REALLy feel like splurging, I get my sushi at Whole Foods. Quality of fish is a tad better, but it’s almost twice the price. Not worth it, IMHO. I mean, it’s super market sushi for Pete’s sake. I’m getting unagi and spicy tuna rolls, not amaebi and escolar. Does it NEED to be super fancy?…

Anyway, for $6.88 I got half a pound of sushi grade salmon at Central Market. Didn’t know they sold the stuff. The euphoria produced from that transaction will last me well into the end of the week.

And side product of that transaction? –>

Appetizer for 4:

  • 1/2 lb sushi grade salmon, chopped
  • 1 small avocado, chopped to same size as fish
  • 1/3 cup green onions, minced
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs mayo
  • 1/2 tbs Sriracha
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • juice of 1 lime

Chop and mix your ingredients. Chill for at least half an hour in the fridge before serving. That’s it!

TIP: Toss your chopped avocados in lots of lime juice. Tastes good. And keeps it from oxidizing.

As I get busier and busier in clinic, I find that my freezer is slowly getting more and more full. Green onions are now on my list of stuff I buy bulk, prep, and freeze. Whenever a recipe calls for it, just break up chunks of frozen diced green onions and use as the recipe calls for. So far, the list of pre-prepped foods in my freezer include and are not limited to:

  1. Chopped green onions
  2. Peppers of all kinds (poblano, red bell) halved, roasted, and skinned
  3. Fish stock, beef stock, chicken stock,…freeze your stocks.
  4. White wine – After using a cup or so in a typical recipe, the rest of a regular size bottle will fill 2 ice cube trays. In the future, just pop out the cubes as you need.
  5. Bread – Freezes wonderfully. Great if you live alone like me and cant finish a whole loaf before it starts growing a mold metropolis. Just defrost on the counter top over night in a ziplock bag to keep moisture in.
  6. Celery – Why. WHY do they sell such ginormous bunches of celery at the super market? I only ever need 1 or 2 stalks at a time. My solution? Yup. Chop ’em and freeze ’em. And buy the Chinese variety. Not only are they smaller and thinner, they are PACKED full of flavor.
  7. Fish fillets – I use to think I was too good for non-fresh fish. But sometimes traffic is a little worse than you expected, or your day ended a little later than you wanted, or perhaps you’re just too damn lazy/tired to run to the supermarket for the fourth time this week. There are good, fresh, all natural brands out there of pre-packaged, flash frozen fish. Plus, a lot of “fresh” fish you get at the market is frozen and thawed anyway… Oh and FYI, shrimp is awesome frozen. Speaking of which:
  8. Shrimp – Shells on! More flavor. Even if you plan on peeling it before cooking, do the extra work. It’ll retain more flavor. And it does it’s job and protects the meat. Mmmm…meat. Oh, and do I need to tell you again? Always make soups/stews with shells on
  9. Coconut Milk  – Those tiny cans are expensive! And not to mention hard to find in a non-Asian grocery store (I only buy one brand: Chaokoh. It’s legit.)  There is some controversy over the effects of freezing on curdling, but I haven’t experienced any problems yet. I mostly use it in soups and curries. Oh, and like all other liquids, freeze in ice cube trays. And since I always add to taste, precise measurement of ONE CAN is not really necessary. You really dont want to waste your time chiseling off slivers of coconut milk while your curry burns on the stove. Believe me. I know.
  10. Nuts – Ok. I just wanted to make the list an even 10 so I thought really hard about this one. But I really do keep nuts in the freezer. Keeps them fresher. Nuts have a lot of oil and CAN go rancid. And who wants stale rancid nuts? Yea you heard me.

Oh, and tonight’s sushi grade salmon? Frozen.

June 2, 2011

Ga Ro Ti: Vietnamese Roasted Chicken

Adapted from this amazing recipe.


  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on/bone in ~ 1.75 lb (boneless/skinless works. cooks faster, but less tasty)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • optional: 2 cups leftover cooked rice* + 2 green onions chopped

*Any type of hard grained rice. I actually used cooked barley I had in the fridge:


PREP: Trim excess fat from thighs and marinate in sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, optional black pepper. Pour everything into a large ziplock bag, insert the chicken, squeeze out all the air, and seal it. Distribute the marinade evenly over the chicken by pushing it around in the bag. Leave in fridge overnight (Morning-of OK as well, especially for boneless chicken). I like to give the bag a good massage and flip half way through to ensure even marinating. Optional: stuff sliced garlic under skins!

FOR BONE-IN: Preheat oven to 350F. Heat 1 tbs of vegetable oil in a large skillet so as to avoid crowding. Place thighs, skin side down for 6-7 min, or until skin is crispy and brown. Turn over and ‘kiss’ other side for 2-2 more minutes. Drain off excess oil and remove charred garlic pieces. Place in oven for 30 min or until thighs reach an internal temperature of 170F (or juices from center run clear). Plate and set aside. In drippings left in skillet, add just a dash of chicken stock to deglaze on medium high heat. Add left over rice/grain and a handful of chopped green onions and stir until rice is coated and absorbs liquid. Remove and serve with chicken.

FOR BONELESS CHICKEN AKA FAST WEEKDAY MEAL AKA I GOT KIDS AND NO TIME FOR THIS BS: Heat large skillet or cast iron pot over medium high heat. Once smoking hot, add 2-3 tbs high smoke point cooking oil (like avocado, grape seed, or peanut oil. NOT olive oil) and swirl to coat pan. Add chicken pieces and brown in batches to avoid crowding. Reduce heat to medium after a minute. Flip and brown other side. 5 min each side give or take. Remove chicken and set aside. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Bring heat back up between batches so the initial contact with a new batch of chicken gets a good sear. Repeat until all chicken is done. Should look a bit charred once done. Add a dash of water or chicken stock and scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add left over cooked rice, a handful of chopped green onions (2-3 sprigs), and rest of the marinade from the bag. Stir until heated through. (to kill whatever chicken germs are in the marinade.) Plate and top with chicken.

Feel free to double the recipe. I often do. Recipe as is feeds two people.