Archive for May, 2009

I have moved!

Please check out all new posts on www.soupbelly.com. It’s just like Dumpling, but a slightly funnier name.

Thank you! :)

Gai Lan with Garlic and Oyster Sauce

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Gai lan is a Chinese broccoli served mostly in Cantonese cooking. The flower buds and stalks are both eaten. The recipe I’m about to show you can be used as a universal way of stir-frying any vegetable; you can use this for green beans, spinach, bok choy, choy sum, snow pea leaves, Chinese cabbage, etc. Gai lan has a slightly bitter flavor, and that’s why we cook it in garlic and oyster sauce.

I know, I’m using a non-stick wok. I look like a total amateur, with no authentic Chinese cookware. I gave my real wok away when I moved out of my apartment years ago, and never got a new one, due to laziness.

This is a fairly easy recipe. It actually shouldn’t be a recipe at all; after you do it once, you’ll always remember how to do it.

Gai Lan with Garlic and Oyster Sauce (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of gai lan, washed and patted dry
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp corn oil
  • salt
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce

*You will need tongs and a wok

Quick Directions:

1) Soak the gai lan in a big tub of water for a few minutes. Pat dry; the water on the gai lan will make the oil splatter, so the dryer the better.

2) Heat oil in a wok on high. Immediately after you drop the garlic in, put the gai lan in. Use a lid as a shield from splattering oil.

3) Using tongs, flip the gai lan from bottom to top, so all the leaves are coated with oil. Sprinkle salt over the leaves, this will flavor it plus force the water out of the vegetable.

4) Put a lid on it, turn heat down to medium. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

5) When it is done, the gai lan should be a vibrant green, and the stalks should be tender and crisp. You can put the oyster sauce in now, or drizzle it on top when you serve it.

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Illustrated Directions:

1) Soak the gai lan in a big tub of water for a few minutes. Trust me, if you saw my post on salad earlier, the state of gai lan is worse, given that you don’t purchase it pre-packaged in a fancy container. Pat dry; the water on the gai lan will make the oil splatter, so the dryer the better.

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2) Heat oil in a wok on high.

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3) Immediately after you drop the garlic in, put the gai lan in. It will splatter (no matter how much you dried the leaves), so use a lid as a shield.

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4) Using tongs, flip the gai lan from bottom to top, so all the leaves are coated with oil. Sprinkle salt over the leaves, this will flavor it plus force the water out of the vegetable.

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5) Put a lid on it, turn heat down to medium. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

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6) When it is done, the gai lan should be a vibrant green, and the stalks should be tender and crisp. You can put the oyster sauce in now, or drizzle it on top when you serve it.

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See how easy that was?

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Please wash your salad.

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I know that when I’m watching chefs on TV prepare food without washing things, I cringe.  Like plucking herbs off a plant and putting them right into a salad, dirt ‘n all. I know it’s because they’re on camera and they are in a make believe world where everything is perfect and clean. 

And I’m worried my salad at the restaurant isn’t being washed either. On top of many other things I worry about at restaurants.  It doesn’t matter if the bag of salad you purchased says triple washed, you should still wash it, because even a little particle of bacteria can multiply exponentially in that bag. Especially in raw foods nowadays.

Paranoid yet? You will be, just as I am.

So I washed a colander of salad under the faucet. This is enough washing for most of us. Then I decided to see how much dirt still remained on the leaves.

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I soaked the leaves in a big bowl of water for a few minutes, swishing it around.

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Then I put the leaves back in the colander, and this was what was left over.

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I mean, it’s really not that big of a deal. I’m still alive. My husband is still alive. I never got sick eating my own salads I made at home.  But I don’t know many people who wash fruit before consuming it. So I wonder who even washes their salad at all.

Salmon with Mango Salsa Coating

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Wow. Only 5 ingredients. The great thing about this mango salsa is it keeps the salmon so moist when it is baked altogether. This is an adapted recipe from my free Costco cookbook. Hahah. The only thing I changed was I added mango and removed cumin. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, make this a little less wordy, wrap it up and enjoy my Friday morning.

Salmon with Warm Mango Salsa Coating (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
  • 1/2 cup salsa, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 3 Tbsp. chicken broth

*Double ingredients for 4 servings.

Quick Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Mix mayo, drained salsa, and cubes of mango in a bowl.

3) Cover surface of baking pan with thin layer of chicken broth. Place salmon fillets on, and slather mango salsa coating on top.

4) Bake for 20 minutes. Serve.

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Illustrated Directions:

1) Gather ingredients for salmon coating. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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2) Use a strainer to filter out unwanted salsa juices.

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3) Collect 1/2 cup of drained salsa.

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4) Put mayo and salsa together.

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5) Score squares on mangoes. Make smaller squares for smaller cubes. Pop em inside out.

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6) I used a little cheese spreader to take my mango cubes off the peel.

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7) Mix mangoes, mayo and salsa together.

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8) Pour about 3 Tbsp. chicken broth into small baking pan with lip. Or if you’re using a larger pan, pour enough broth to cover the surface.

 

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9) Slather on mango salsa coating on surface of salmon fillets.

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10) Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.

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11) Take out of oven, and enjoy!  We eat like this allllllllllll the time (not really).

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Whoever says my husband doesn’t eat well, I will punch in the face. HE ALWAYS EATS WELL. Sometimes I think that’s the only reason he married me. Or maybe because I pour him a nice big glass of wine after work every night. Keep him all relaxed and happy.

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 Just to prove the coating keeps this salmon moist, take a look!

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Going….

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Going………

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Gone. :)

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Enjoy your weekends everyone.

Not to brag or anything…

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Woohoo. #5 on 1,723 posts that day. My moment of fame. I was flying high that day. And my profile name is Dumpling29 on Foodbuzz, if you want to look me up and be foodie buds. I will be your BFF.

Thai Sticky Coconut Rice with Mango

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I

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LOVE

mangoes

MANGOES. I love them so much I make artistic (stupid)  flower patterns with them and take their picture.

Words to go with this dessert: Refreshing. Or Coconuttiness. Or Mangolicious.

Mangoes are my favorite fruit. And I’m quite a fruity person. I like the smoothness in their taste, and that subtle sweetness when they are at their peak of perfection. And what better way to accompany them than with coconut? This sticky rice has an ooey gooey texture that binds the coconutty flavor of the milk it is cooked in. Most recipes say this takes an entire day to prepare, but I’m very impatient, and I don’t want to wait for my dessert. This takes about an hour. Because when I want it, I want it now (or within the hour). That’s what cravings are made for, instant (sort of) gratification.

Thai Sticky Coconut Rice and Mango Dessert (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sweet rice (package will say sweet, glutinous, or sticky – all are correct)
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 2 ripe mangoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • salt
  • coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch with 2 tsp. water, mixed into a paste

Directions:

1) Soak one cup of rice with one cup of water for 20 minutes.

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2) After 20 minutes, add 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup coconut milk, pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar to the rice. Mix thoroughly.

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3) Cook in rice cooker until it clicks off. Let steam with the cover on for 5-10 minutes. If you do not have a rice cooker, simmer in a pot on the stove for 20 minutes or until the water absorbs into the rice.

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4) Use a small pot to prepare the sauce. Add remaining coconut milk, pinch of salt, 1 tsp. vanilla and handful of coconut flakes. Obviously I have a rediculously enormous bag of coconut flakes, but that’s just because I wanted to show it off. Just use a handful.

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5) Cook on medium low for 5 minutes, stirring consistently. Do not boil. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture to thicken the sauce, take the pot off heat. It sure smells co-co-nutty.

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6) To cut cubes out of the mangoes, cut the two largest surface areas parallel to the mango seed. And score squares with knife as seen below.

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7) Invert (flip) the slice so it pops out like so. Spoon the cubes out into a bowl.

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8) To prepare dessert, pile the sticky rice into a pyramid (which I didn’t do a good job of) in the middle of a bowl. Ladle a generous amount of coconut sauce on top. Plop mango slices around the rice.

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9) Eat.

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Italian Meatballs

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This recipe was adapted from a cookbook a friend gave me, ‘Journey into Cooking’, by Maria Gray. It’s even an autographed copy. There is more content in this book than any illustrated, commercial cookbook has nowadays, with 270 pages with 1-4 recipes per page.

Next time you go to the bookstore or Amazon.com to purchase the next celebrity chef’s new cookbook, go to the bargain section and look for an old-school, un-illustrated, un-trendy cookbook someone cared to pass on to you. You’ll find treasures.

Italian Meatballs (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup real bread crumbs (bread torn by hand)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup processed bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 quart tomato sauce

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak real bread crumbs in a cup of milk.

2) In large bowl, mix all ingredients except tomato sauce together. If you’re not afraid to get dirty, use your hands to mix. It is finished mixing when you get that springy, bouncy texture from the meatball mixture.

3) Gently shape meatball mixture into balls (little smaller than golf ball size), but do not handle them much, or they will be very tough after baking.

4) Cook sauce in pot over low heat.  Lightly drizzle olive oil to grease 2 cookie sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, turning over once.

5) Spoon into sauce, simmer for 5 minutes – 1 hour. Serve over pasta.

 

*Substitutions/Tips:

- 1/4 cup sour cream instead of 1/3 cup milk

- The longer the meatballs simmer in the sauce, the more it enhances the flavor/saltiness.  You may want to add a little more salt to the meatball mixture if you don’t want them to cook in the sauce for a long time.

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