Archive for January, 2012

January 25, 2012

Heath Toffee Cookies

THANK you, Simply Recipes, for putting this into the world. These cookies are amazing. They are thin, soft, slightly chewy, with crisp edges.  The rich, buttery toffee bits and that perfect crunch of the walnuts,…. totally gonna give me diabetes. I usually eat about 4 every time I walk past the kitchen. I highly suggest forming the dough balls and then freezing them. This recipe is perfect for baking quick, small batches in your toaster oven.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Heath Bar pieces (Eight 1.4 ounce bars)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine Heath Bar pieces and chopped walnuts. Set aside.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, and vanilla.
  3. Alternatively mix in the Heath Bar mixture and the flour mixture, a third at a time, until well blended. Chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes (better an hour or longer).
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. On cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat, spoon out the cookie dough in small 1-inch diameter balls (size of a large marble). Place dough balls 3 inches away from each other on the cookie sheets. (Make sure there is plenty of room between the cookie balls, and that the cookie balls aren’t too big. These cookies spread!)
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Feel free to freeze extra dough!

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January 14, 2012

Stir Fry Rice Cake w Salted Mustard Greens 雪菜肉絲炒年糕

One of my favorite classic dishes of all time. I figured it was about time I learned to make it myself. Much easier than I thought it would be. I wish I had tried this years ago!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large batch of mustard greens
  • 3/4 cup pork tenderloin, cut in thin strips
  • basic chinese meat marinade*
  • 1/2 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup small bamboo shoot, cut in strips
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs ginger
  • ~3-4 cups rice ovals, thawed

Marinade:

  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Lots of eyeballing on measurements here…

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. THE NIGHT BEFORE: Trim leaves off mustard greens. Discard stems. Roll leaves up like a cigar and slice from one end to the other (kind of like a chiffonade), then slice again the other way to create small squares. Salt generously. Pack in a sealable container and leave in fridge overnight or for several hours.
  2. Thaw rice cakes in fridge overnight or soak them for an hour or so, changing water frequently.
  3. Marinate pork for ten min+. (How to Cut Pork Tenderloin: meat is easier to cut when partially frozen. slice diagonally from one end to make flat ovals, then stack the ovals and cut strips)
  4. Heat wok or large non-stick pan on high with a drizzle of oil. Add pork and brown evenly on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  5. Drain rice cakes. Add a bit more oil to pan if needed and add rice cakes. Toss and let it brown on all sides.
  6. Add mushrooms and mustard greens. Toss. Cover and let it steam for 5 min or so, or until rice cakes are just starting to soften. (If it dries up, add a dash of chicken stock)
  7. Add bamboo and meat and continue to stir fry until rice cakes are al dente: just soft enough that it gives to slight finger pressure, but not floppy, and slightly chewy.
  8. Remove from heat and plate.

January 11, 2012

Open Faced Salmon Sandwich w/ Honey Mustard Sauce

Delicious sandwich.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg
  • Four 4-ounce salmon fillets, about 1 inch, no skin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tomato cut into four 1/2 -inch slices
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 8 slices dark rye or multi-grain bread
  • Mixed leafy greens
  • 1 avocado halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained
HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE:
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt/pepper
INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Whisk together the mustard and honey in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

2. To hard boil the egg, put the egg in a small pot and fill with water to cover the egg by 1-inch. Bring the water to boil and immediately turn the heat off. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for exactly 7 minutes. Drain, rinse under cool water and peel when cool enough to handle. Cut the egg into quarters, lengthwise.

3. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Brush salmon fillets with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side.

4. Toast bread.

5. To assemble sandwiches, first cut each piece of salmon into 2 pieces. Layering leafy greens, tomato, avocado, egg, red onion, grilled salmon and capers on each bread slice. Spoon the sweet mustard sauce on top and serve, opened faced.

January 9, 2012

Shrimp and Pumpkin Curry

I love pumpkin. Seriously. Love it. How it’s firm yet yielding in texture, how it drinks up the flavors of the stew yet maintains it’s unique sweetness. It’s vibrant color. I could go on.

But I won’t. So here’s another installment of I Have Too Much Crap in My Fridge. Luckily, curries are rather forgiving in terms of mix and matching ingredients. Everything came together quite well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large shallots, sliced thin
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cups green beans
  • 1 lb unshelled shrimp (2 cups?)
  • 1 medium kobacha squash, cut in 2 inch cubes
  • 2 small cans or 1 15oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tbs+ thai yellow curry
  • turmeric (for extra color)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 splash fish sauce
  • 1.5 tsp fine grain brown sugar (asian supermarkets)
  • 1 15oz can chicken stock
  • 1 large lime
  • parsley/cilantro for garnish
  • garlic salt


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat 2 tbs+ oil in bottom of dutch oven (or skillet, if you dont mind washing extra pots and pans). When oil is smoking hot, add shallots and fry until golden, crispy, and aromatic. Remove to paper towel and drain. Pour off excess oil from pot.
  2. Add onions and saute until just browned and softened.
  3. Push onions to one side of the pot. Add curry paste and skim off tops of the cans of coconut milk (the thick part that floats to the top of the can). Mix with onions. Add fish sauce, brown sugar, tumeric, ginger, and plenty of garlic salt. Stir to mix evenly.
  4. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add squash, cover, and cook ~ 15-20 min. (depending on size of cubes)  OPTIONAL: I like to deshell the shrimp and add the shells to the stock. To keep things from getting too messy, place the shells in a little steamer, then place that directly into the soup so that it’s easy to remove later on.
  5. Add green beans. Cover and cook 5 min or until just tender.
  6. Add shrimp. Cover and cook until orange and cooked through. ~2 minutes.
  7. Ladle into serving bowls, squeeze on fresh lime juice, top with fried shallots, and garnish with cilantro/parsley. Serve over rice.

January 5, 2012

Kale Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

I found my new go-to salad recipe! Who would’ve thought raw kale could taste so good…I had a similar salad at Brooklyn Winery during my winter vacation in New York this December (awesome place, btw. we won trivia night last week!), and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

Solution? Some reverse engineering. Ok, so BKWinery’s salad still has some magical touch that makes it taste beyond amazing, but this recipe has passed my live-in New Yorker’s taste test, and he’s OK-ed it for our dinner rotation.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 batch of kale
  • 1/2 small butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup hulled barley or farro, cooked in chicken stock
  • 1/2 small apple, sliced
  • 1 cup candied walnuts* (adapted from SimplyRecipes)
  • ~1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinaigrette**

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Soak barley over night or for several hours. Rinse and drain. Add to a small sauce pan with 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until barley is cooked through. Stir when needed to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Wash kale thoroughly. Pull stems off leaves and discard. Stack a few leaves on top of each other and roll like a cigarette. Slice from one end to the other. (aka chiffonade) This prevents bruising of the leaves. And it’s less messy and produces more uniform results than hacking at the leaves. Set aside in colander to drain.
  3. Peel skin off squash with a vegetable peeler. Dice into small cubes. Line a baking pan in aluminum foil. Add cubed squash and drizzle with olive oil. Toss. Spread out evenly across the pan, and bake on 400F until soft. ~2o min.
  4. Add kale into a large mixing bowl with the vinaigrette. With your hands, massage the kale until it soaks up the vinaigrette and softens a bit.
  5. Add apples, squash, grains, and nuts. Mix and serve! (I served it with a spicy pan seared white fish.)


*Candied Walnuts: 

Toast 3/4 cups of crushed walnuts in toaster oven on 350F, for about 5 minutes. In a small sauce pan, heat 2+ tbs brown sugar until it just begins to darken and caramelize.  Add a pinch of salt. Toss in walnuts, stir, turn off heat, and continue to stir, on and off the hot stovetop until walnuts are well coated and not sticking together. Spread out on a flat surface and let it cool. I like my walnuts to have little grains of crunchy sugar, so I dont wait for all of the sugar to melt. You can do that instead if you want glossy coated walnuts.

**Apple Cider Vinaigrette (adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4+ cup olive oil
  • salt/black pepper
January 5, 2012

Chorizo and Egg Breakfast Tacos

I promise I’m not under endorsement contracts, I just happen to be rather brand loyal. When I find something that works, I stick to it! Also, I promise I did not intend to create something with so many specific brands in the recipe, feel free to substitute. I just happen to particularly like the end result with this combination of flavors, so I’m including the brands for my own future reference.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 package of Upton’s Naturals Chorizo Seitan
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 medium bell pepper, diced finely
  • paprika
  • chili powder (Mexene is my favorite brand)
  • cayenne pepper
  • 8 mini tomatoes (2 buches, still on the vine. )
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 lime
  • salt/pepper
  • olive oil
  • 9-10 small corn/wheat tortillas

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a skillet, heat plenty of olive oil on medium high. place tomatoes, still on the vine, flat on the skillet. Let them sit until charred on the bottom ~10 min. Flip and char other side.
  2. In a separate non-stick pan, heat another tbs or so of olive oil. Saute onions until soft ~5 min. Season with chili powder and a pinch of salt. Add bell peppers. Saute another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add chorizo and break it up in the pan. Stir until heated through. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add another tbs of oil if needed, and brown potatoes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Season with a generous sprinkle of salt, lots of paprika, a pinch of cayenne, and another pinch of chili powder. OPTIONAL: add a dash of chicken stock and cover, letting the potatoes soften under the steam. This is my way of using less oil when the potatoes begin to dry out. Otherwise, add more oil and continue cooking until potatoes soften and brown on the outside. Remove and set aside.
  5. Toast tortillas.
  6. Beat eggs. Add onion/bell pepper mixture into eggs. Reduce heat to medium and pour eggs into pan and scramble. Set aside.
  7. Slice avocados and drizzle generously with lime to prevent browning.
  8. Serve everything in separate bowls/platters and let everyone make their own breakfast tacos.

I think the charred fresh tomatoes are rather paramount to this recipe. The taco is otherwise composed of rather dry ingredients. Other alterations to consider: keeping the eggs separate (or mixed with the potatoes) and making a sort of onion/bell pepper/tomato salsa. The reason i didn’t go with a salsa is because for some reason I had a very specific craving for charred tomatoes. On the vine. Drizzled in olive oil and with lots of black pepper. I think I’m gonna go open my left overs container now…