Tag Archives: asian

2 good dinners

  1. Thai chicken salad: I marinated a chicken breast in a ginger marinade, grilled it up and sliced it thin. The dressing is fish sauce, lime juice, chilies, a little sugar and grapeseed oil. The greens are mache, spinach and cilantro. Throw in some peanuts, carrot sticks, red bell pepper, and we’re good to go!
  2. Greek pita and salad: First of all, we didn’t need the beet/goat cheese stacks. I had a roasted beet leftover, so I made it. But it was overkill. Just saying.  I made small patties with ground lamb, lemon zest, salt & pepper, and chopped mint. Sauteed those and served in half a whole wheat pita. Top it with greek yogurt mixed with a crushed garlic toe, a whole shredded cucumber, salt & pepper. YUM. The greek salad is just parsley, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber and feta, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Boom

Sichuan Green Beans

Among other things, my mom instilled in me a deep love of Sichuan green beans. That sweet, spicy, sticky glaze sends me over the moon. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this (if you didn’t already know), but  most restaurant versions are deep fried. That doesn’t entirely cross it off my list, but I do sort of stop counting it as a “veggie” if it’s primary method of cooking is submersion in hot oil. Call me crazy.

Anywho, I found this recipe on Cooks for stir-fried Sichuan green beans and figured I’d give it a go. I edited it a bit, mostly to eliminate some ground pork. Not that pork wouldn’t be good, but I want a veggie dish. Plus, cutting out the pork, but keeping the sauce the same means that the beans are extra saucy and I like that. Boom

Here they are with an Asian cucumber salad and some of those frozen shrimp potstickers I chefed up awhile back:

  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T dry sherry (or vermouth, in a pinch)
  • 1 t sugar
  • ½ t cornstarch
  • ¼ t white pepper
  • ¼ t red pepper
  • ¼ t dry mustard
  • 2 T water
  • 2 T veggie oil
  • 1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 scallions, white and green thinly sliced
  • 1 t toasted sesame oil
  1. Stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot (just smoking). Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. If beans darken too quickly, reduce heat to medium-high.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (~20 seconds). Stir sauce to recombine and add to pan. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions and sesame oil. Serve immediately and ENJOY!

All you can eat shrimp!

A few weeks ago, I decided I better scoop up some good Gulf shrimp while the gettin’s good. My market generally has both fresh and frozen gulf shrimp. It’s great to buy the frozen shrimp before they thaw it, so you can just put it straight in the freezer (they are able to flash freeze those suckers on the boat, so they stay really yummy for at least a month or two). So, I knew I would freeze a pound, but wanted 1) a intensely shrimp-y dish to cook up right away, 2) something intensely shrimp-y that I could make and put in the freezer. The problem with frozen shrimp dishes is that the texture of the shrimp ends up wonky- sort of mushy and nasty. A dilemma, no?

After pouring through a few cookbooks and websites, I decided I would try shrimp potstickers. They freeze beautifully and I loved the idea of just being able to pull out a few at a time. You know what? They are awesome! They are perfumed with shrimp flavor- light, fresh, delicate and insanely delicious. AND nowhere near as much trouble as I thought they’d be. Honestly. The filling is made in a food processor and then I rolled them the next day (while watching Dirty Harry, thank you very much). Check it out:

Before sealing:

All sealed up (and creepy looking):

Ready to eat:

As for my ready-to-eat, intensely shrimp-y dinner, I opted for New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp. Lordy. It was my first time making the dish and Michael’s first time eating it. It was soooooo good. The basic idea is to cook unpeeled shrimp in a skillet with a shrimp stock, Worcestershire sauce, butter and creole seasoning. Serve it in the skillet with French Bread.

I made some tasso maque choux and kale on the side. And, yes, that is Coors Light you see.It’s leftover from a party, so lay off.

In summary, BP can suck it.

Veggie fried rice…for breakfast

I was so pleased with the ginger and leek fried rice I made earlier this year, that I thought I’d try a variation for breakfast. I’m always trying to find ways to bring veggies into breakfast, but I get sick of omelets. I had some leftover white rice and tons of different veggies, so I thought I’d give it a shot. This is a very loose recipe, so just play with it.

1/2 Cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 Cup carrots, diced

1 Cup spinach, cut into strips or chopped

1 small onion, diced

2 toes garlic, pressed through

1 inch ginger, grated

1 T soy

1 T hoisin sauce

2 t chili sauce

1 t sesame oil

4 eggs

2 Cups leftover white rice

1 T roasted peanut oil (or whatever…that stuff just tastes GOOD)

  1. Heat 1/2 T peanut oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onions, carrots and peppers, and saute until fork tender (soft, but not 100% done).
  2. Make a small well in the center of the pan and add the garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant (~30 seconds) and then stir into veggie mixture. Add the spinach and stir to combine. Allow the spinach to wilt a bit (1-2 min) and then set aside mixture in a small bowl. No need to wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add remaining peanut oil to empty pan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add rice and distribute in an even layer. Cook without turning for ~1-2 minutes. This will allow some of the rice to crisp up a bit. YUM. Pour in the soy, hoisin, chili and sauces, as well as the sesame oil. Stir to distribute and allow to heat through (1-2 min more).
  4. Add the veggie mixture and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, maybe a bit more soy or some rice wine vinegar for tartness). Serve into 4 bowls.
  5. With the heat still on medium high, crack 4 eggs into the skillet. If your pan isn’t big enough, you may need to work in batches of two. Once the outside is set, cover with a lid to allow the yolk to set some without flipping. Cook eggs sunny side up. When cooked, place an egg on the rice, dot with Schriracha sauce (if you like delicious hotness) and serve.

Indian-spiced lentils

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1  Cup lentils (I like green), picked over and rinsed

1  Teaspoon salt

2  Tablespoons EVOO

1  Teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 Teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 Teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 Teaspoons red pepper flakes (cut this back if you don’t dig spicy)

2  toes garlic, minced or pressed through

2  teaspoons minced ginger (about 1 inch)

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring lentils, 6 cups water, and salt to boil in medium saucepan; boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat; simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add next spices; sauté to develop flavors, about 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger; sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lentils and reserved cooking liquid. Simmer to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.

Acorn Squash Soup

I’ve revised this recipe a few times since I first made it and think I have it pretty nailed down. This is absolutely one of the best dishes I make. Seriously Sick Delicious.

  • 1   Acorn squash
  • 2  Tablespoons butter
  • 1  teaspoon sweet curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1-2 teaspoon dark brown sugar (will vary depending on how sweet your squash is)
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • Salt & white pepper to taste
  1. Split squash and remove seeds & fiber. Set aside the junk. Cut each half into ~4 even pieces. It’s easiest to do wedges.
  2. Heat butter in pot with a steamer basket (you’ll use the basket later) until foaming subsides. Add fiber/seeds and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Cover with 1-2 cups water (enough to cover seeds and provide steam, but not so much that it touches the bottom of the steamer basket).
  3. Place steamer basket over simmering squash broth and nestle cut pieces in. Simmer until tender- about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and set aside squash pieces. Strain broth into measuring cup, pressing on solids. Once cool enough to handle, remove rind from squash and place 1/2 to 1/3 of squash in a blender with a similar portion of squash stock. Puree until smooth and add to no clean pot. Repeat until all batches are pureed and smooth. NOTE: There is no need to use all of the stock. You still have 1/2 & 1/2 to add, so you’re looking for a nice, thick creamy soup. You can always add in more squash broth later, but you can never take it out.
  5. Bring soup back to low simmer and add seasonings and sugar. Let simmer on low for about 5 minutes. NOTE: Your seasonings bloom in the heat, so will taste stronger after they have warmed up thoroughly. Make sure you give the soup a few minutes to warm up with the seasonings before adjusting.
  6. Add 1/2 and 1/2 and season to taste with salt & white pepper. Serve plain, with fried shallots or a dollop of greek yogurt mixed with lime and cilantro.

I would like to note that I almost threw the whole mess away after pureeing/ before adding the seasoning, it was that gross. A few dashes later and Sick Delicious. Don’t give up. I’ll get more specific with the measurements next time.

Vegan-ish? Yes. Sick Delicious? Yes

I cooked up a storm in Week One of this little experiment. I would say I got an A in flavor and a A- for stick-to-it-ness. A few bumps, but not if you think of these as “guidelines”, right?

Anyway, hers are some of the real highlights:

Acorn squash soup: I just made this up on the spot, so I need to remake it and note the quantities. I’m including a draft recipe, but it is by no means final. My honey had surgery the day I made this- my thought was “sick honey…let’s make soup.” Turned out not to be the best idea. It was one of his favorite things I’ve ever made, but it was spicy and made his nose bleed. Not generally a good thing.

Indian lentils: Holy yum. I love love love green lentils, but have never cooked them in a way that really lived up to their potential. Until now.

Here are 2 pictures of yummy vegan dinners…

Pickled Asian cucumbers

This is one of my all-time favorite staples. It’s fast, easy, delicious and adaptable. I love it as a side (cut the cucumbers fatter and add red onion), as a slaw (cut the cucumbers into matchsticks), as a little accompaniment, and as a topping for sandwiches

  • 1  English/hothouse/seedless cucumber (I wish they would just pick one name and stick with it)
  • 4  Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Those are the only essential ingredients. Now, here’s where the creativity begins. Peel or don’t peel the cucumber. Slice it thick or thin. Mix 1/4 t cayenne and 1/2 t sugar into the vinegar for a spicier “pickle.” Add thinly or thickly sliced onion. Who cares? Have fun. Just prep your cucumber, add the ingredients, mix it up and set it aside for about 30 minutes minimum. It keeps beautifully, although you may need to strain a bit of the liquid off (cucumbers release water when combined with salt).  One of my hubby’s favorites.

Ginger Fried Rice

I don’t know what it is about this dish that drove me bananas. I LOVED it, but don’t think my hubby felt the same. I just loved the strong leek flavor, the gooy yolk, the little crunchy bits of rice, ginger and garlic. Heaven.

This recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation of a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe. Kudos to all that came before me and kudos to you for trying it!

Serves 4

1/4   Cup peanut oil
2         Tablespoons minced garlic
2         Tablespoons minced ginger
2         Cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and dried
4         Cups day-old cooked rice. Jasmine is best, but great with brown.
4         Large eggs
2         Teaspoons sesame oil
4         Teaspoons soy sauce

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels and salt lightly.
  2. Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low and leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very tender but not browned.
  3. Raise heat to medium and add rice. Cook, stirring well, until heated through.  If you like crispy bits, cook at medium-high and stir less frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Be generous with the pepper
  4. In a nonstick skillet (it just makes it easier) fry eggs in remaining oil, sunny-side-up, until edges are set but yolk is still runny.
  5. Divide rice among four dishes. I scooped mine into a small bowl and inverted it onto a plate (made a little dome), but it would also be good in a bowl.
  6. Top each with an egg and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle crisped garlic and ginger and serve.