Monthly Archives: March 2011

(61) Granola

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4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pure cane syrup
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the oats, almonds, coconut, and pepitas with the maple syrup, oil, and salt.

Bake, tossing once, until golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.

Add the dried fruit and toss to combine. Let cool.

(58-60) Egg Drop Soup, Crispy Wontons, & Sesame Chicken

Egg drop soup may be one of my favorite soups.  Mostly because it’s served with fried wontons.  I can’t get enough fried wontons.  I finally decided to try my hand at making them myself at home and… wowza.  So good!

Usually, recipes I find online for Chinese dishes are mediocre at best.  It seems everyone wants to find a shortcut to recreate the flavors at home, but they typically end up failing miserably.  This recipe, however, was whoa-nelly good.  Make it for your friends and they won’t believe you didn’t order take-out.

Seriously.

The recipe did not call for any veggies, so I added what we had in the fridge (carrots, peppers, onions, etc.).  I highly suggest you do the same.

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Egg Drop Soup

4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 eggs
ground pepper

Reserve 34 cup of chicken broth.  Pour the rest of the broth into a saucepan.  Stir in the ginger, salt and green onions.  Bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, combine cornstarch with reserved chicken broth.  Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk eggs together with a fork.  Turn off the burner and slowly drizzle the eggs into the broth with a fork, a little at a time, stirring continuously.  The egg will cook right away.

Pour the cornstarch mixture into the broth and stir until it is mixed well.

Crispy Wontons

1 egg
1/3 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil (enough for frying)

In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Mix in the water.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Create a well in the center of the mixture and slowly pour in the egg and water. Mix well. If the mixture is too dry, increase the amount of water one teaspoon at a time until a pliable dough has formed.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until elastic. Cut dough into two separate balls. Cover the balls with a damp cloth for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Cut each ball into four equal pieces. Roll the pieces into 10 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch squares. Cut each into nine 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch squares.

Drop the dough squares into hot oil, a few at a time.  Cook until just slightly golden, then quickly remove.  Wontons will darken further while draining on a paper towel.

Sesame Chicken

3 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili paste (or just mash up some chili peppers!)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Peanut oil, for deep-frying
Salt
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions, for garnish
5 to 6 cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Wash the chicken under cold running water, pat dry and trim off any excess fat. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes and put into a large mixing bowl. Add the marinade ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the sauce.

To make the sauce: In a saucepan, add the sesame oil and set over low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and fry gently until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well to dissolve the cornstarch. Gently pour into the saucepan with the fried ginger and garlic. Stir as you pour because the cornstarch will thicken up pretty quickly. Keep warm over low heat.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep-fryer heat enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 375 degrees F.

Fry the chicken, in small batches, until golden and crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken using a wire mesh strainer and drain on paper towels. Season with a little salt, to taste. To serve, arrange the fried chicken on a platter and pour drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with a generous amount of toasted sesame seeds and garnish with scallions and cilantro sprigs.  Serve with rice.

(57) Steak Fajitas

This is another dish made from leftover roast.  I took a platter of bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green) to a finger food reception… and brought the whole thing back home (am I the only person who enjoys bell pepper with hummus?).  Anyway, this was a quick meal that made at least a small dent in all. those. peppers.

 

leftover blackened roast, sliced into 1-inch strips
bell peppers, sliced
red onion, sliced
flour tortillas
lettuce
cilantro
sour cream

Sauté peppers and onion.  Add meat and cook until heated.  Fill tortilla with meat mixture and top with lettuce, cilantro and sour cream.

(56) Asian Steak Salad with Mango

I used leftover steak from the blackened roast I made the previous night.  If you’re starting from scratch on the steak, then just season a sirloin steak with salt & pepper, slice steak into 1-inch thick slices, and cook in a hot skillet for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare.

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leftover blackened roast, sliced to 1-inch strips
1 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into strips
1 mango, cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

In a large bowl, whisk together the lime zest and juice, honey, ginger, soy sauce, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Add the lettuce, mango, bell pepper, basil and scallions and toss to combine.  Gently fold in the steak and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

(53-55) Blackened Top Sirloin Roast, Broccoli Salad, Sweet Potato Fries

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Blackened Top Sirloin Roast

Top Sirloin Roast
Blackening seasoning

Rub meat with blackening seasoning.  Sear meat on all sides in hot cast iron pan.  Roast in oven at 350 degrees for two hours or until meat reaches desired level of doneness.

 

Broccoli Salad

2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup carrot, grated
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Cook broccoli and cauliflower in boiling salted water to cover 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.  Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain well.  Place cauliflower and broccoli in a large bowl.  Add cheese, carrot and onion.

Stir together mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.  Pour over cauliflower mixture; toss to coat.  Chill 1-8 hours.

 

Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato
1 quart vegetable oil
salt

Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron pan.  Meanwhile, julienne sweet potato.  When oil is hot (potatoes will float to the top), drop in potatoes.  Fry until light golden brown.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt.

 

(51-52) Blueberry Scones & Lemon Curd

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Blueberry Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas.  Freeze 5 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in blueberries.

Turn dough out onto wax paper; gently press or pat dough into a 7-inch round (mixture will be crumbly).  Cut round into 8 wedges.  Place wedges 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Brush tops of wedges with remaining 2 tablespoons cream just until moistened.

Bake at 450 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until golden.

Lemon Curd

2/3 cup sugar
2-1/4 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/3 cups orange juice
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
pinch of salt

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan; gradually whisk in orange juice.  Whisk in egg.  Bring to a boil; boil, whisking constantly, 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat; whisk in butter, zest, and salt.  Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on curd (to prevent film from forming), and chill 8 hours.  Store leftovers in refrigerator up to 3 days.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Alright, y’all.  Here’s the deal: I am a wretched procrastinator and therefore have about… oh… 30 meals that I have made but have yet to blog.

And I’m still cookin’.

So pretty much the “To Blog” pile of recipes is growing exponentially.  This is a problem.  More for me than you.  You may not even care (meanie pants).

To remedy this fiasco, I am going to forgo the cutesy/witty (witty, right?)/charming (charming, right?) introductions and explanations and I’m just gonna gung-ho post pictures and recipes to get myself all caught up.  Not entirely how I imagined this blog playing out, but sometimes you just gotta eat the lemon and forget about the lemonade.  You know what I’m sayin’?

Anyhoo, once I’m all caughty-uppy, I’ll revert back to clever (clever, right?) remarks.

You know you’ll miss it.

P.S. I apologize for the complete inundation of posts that will occur over the next two or three days.  Don’t hate me.

(50) Spinach Salad with Salmon, Barley and Oranges

Seriously.

This is pretty healthy, right?  This one salad probably has like 25,000 super foods in it.

Okay, so maybe 25,000 is a slight exaggeration.

This is a purty good lil’ salad.  Great for a light dinner or for a lunch.  Or for a dinner and a lunch.  Leftovers, ya know.

By the way, is anyone else totally disturbed by Law & Order: SVU?  I really don’t want to know the horrible things people do.  I especially don’t want to see it portrayed visually.

And on that pleasant note…

 

Spinach Salad with Salmon, Barley, Oranges
from Real Simple

2/3 cup quick-cooking barley
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
4 4-ounce pieces skinless wild salmon fillet
kosher salt and black pepper
2 navel or blood oranges
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
freshly grated Parmesan

Cook the barley according to the package directions. Spread on a plate and refrigerate until cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large cast-iron or other nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season the salmon with ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate until cool. Using a fork, flake the salmon into bite-size pieces.
Cut away the peel and pith of the oranges: Working over a small bowl, cut along both sides of each orange segment, releasing the segments into the bowl.

Transfer 2 tablespoons of the accumulated orange juice to a large bowl and whisk in the vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.

Add the spinach, cilantro, avocado, orange segments, scallions, and cooked barley and toss gently to combine. Serve topped with the salmon and Parmesan.

(48-49) Sesame Chicken with Ginger Bok Choy

I love sesame seeds.

I love bok choy.

I love ginger.

So it stands to reason that I would love sesame chicken with ginger bok choy.

I did.

 

Did I just write a poem?  Every sentence is its own line.  I think that counts.  I’m such a poet.

 

Anyway, this is a fairly simple weeknight meal.  And it has major yum-o factor.

Just make sure the sesame coating stays on the chicken.  I didn’t.  I am a sesame chicken cooking failure.

FAILURE!

I can still spot your fused sentences and comma splices, though, so :-P.

 

Sesame Chicken with Ginger Bok Choy
from Real Simple

2 large egg whites
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
kosher salt and black pepper
8 small chicken cutlets (1 1/4 pounds total)
4 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
6 heads baby bok choy, quartered
1 jalapeño (preferably red), sliced (seeded for less heat, if desired)

 


In a bowl, whisk the egg whites, sesame seeds, ¼ cup cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Dip the chicken in batter and shake off excess.

 


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken.  Cook until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining chicken.

 


If the sesame coating falls off the chicken while cooking (like mine did), then stir the cooked coating into the rice for a faux fried rice.  Smart.

 


In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, ginger, sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and remaining teaspoon cornstarch.

 


Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy and cook, turning, until just starting to soften, 1 to 2 minutes.

 


Add the soy sauce mixture and jalapeño and cook until liquid has thickened slightly and bok choy is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with the chicken.

(45-47) Beef Tips with Rutabaga Fries and Kale Chips

My dad gave me a subscription to Natural Home for my birthday.  I received the first issue this week.  It’s hippy as all granola, but it does have some great recipes (like homemade Chèvre).

One article was written in response to a reader’s question: “I am so sad!  I just heard that dairy cows are impregnated and then the fetus is aborted so that we humans can have milk.  Is that true?  What’s the best alternative?”

They answered that no, aborting the fetus is not a common practice (Sidenote: duh. Why would farmers abort future milk producers?  Think, crunchy, think!).  But, “Calf abortion isn’t the only thing to cry over.. The calves are taken from their mothers.  Most females become milk machines.  Males wind up as veal.  The lifespan for a typical cow is 20 years.  The average milking cow is about 4 when she’s considered ‘spent’ in industry terms.  ‘There’s no retirement home for dairy cows.  Nearly 100 percent of them are taken to slaughter for beef production.'”

How sad.  Cows are eaten.

So, in honor of this article, I am blogging a recent meal I cooked with beef that came from one of my grandfather’s-in-law spent dairy cows.

Poor cow.

It was goooood.

P.S. The kale chips are ridiculously awesome.  You’ll be amazed.

 

Beef Tips over Rice

1-2 pounds beef tips
1 beer
1 red onion, cut into wedges
5+ cloves garlic
salt & pepper

 


Place meat in a crockpot.  Cover with onions and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour in beer.  Cook on low for 6 hours, or cook on high for 4 hours.  Serve over rice.

 

Rutabaga Fries

1 large rutabaga, julienned
olive oil
salt & pepper

 


Toss rutabaga in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 450 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender.

 

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale, stems removed
olive oil
salt & pepper

 


Toss kale in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until leaves are crisp.