Archive for the ‘Main Entrees’ Category

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.

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.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Moroccan Spice

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Aren’t you gorgeous? You’re a really attractive hunk of meat. And it’s okay for a hunk of meat like you to have a little fat around the edges, that makes it more natural. Wait, what are we talking about? What are YOU talking about? I was talking about the rack of lamb. Yea, that’s right, I called you a rack of lamb. And if I may say, that’s a nice rack you have.

Innuendos aside, this recipe was fairly easy. No, I did not make my own Moroccan spice, because I didn’t want to spend the money on 9 different bottles of spice to blend together. But please feel free to cheat, by adding one fresh spice to give the recipe an extra fresh kick to it.  Add 1 tsp. of fresh mint, or fresh parsley if you have it.

I purchased a bottle of Moroccan Rub, from Pampered Chef, a few months ago. It worked quite well, and had a lot of flavor.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 rack of lamb (7-8 ribs)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Moroccan spice

Directions:

1) In a bowl, mix spice into olive oil, making a paste.

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2) Brush paste onto meat, refrigerate for 1 hour.

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3) Place rack of lamb on a raised cooking rack in a roasting pan, bone side down.

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4) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast for 25 minutes. Take out of oven and insert meat thermometer in meatiest part of rack. The temp usually rises 5-10 degrees out of the oven. 125 degrees for rare, and 135 degrees for med. rare. Cover loosely with aluminum foil for 5 – 10 minutes before cutting. That way the juices stay inside the meat. Serves 3-4.

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Stuffed Tomatoes

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These roasted tomatoes stuffed with cheesy rice, peppers and sausage were as good as they look. I figured I’d make a non-vegetarian dish for once, since it almost looked like I was eating too healthy lately. I had some spicy Italian sausage in the freezer, and figured I needed a reason to use them.

Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes (serves 2-4)

Ingredients:

  • 4 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped peppers (green, orange, yellow, or a mixture of all 3)
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 Italian sausages, casing removed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 Tbsp bread crumbs
  • olive oil

Directions:

1) Use a knife to carefully cut and remove the top of each washed tomato.

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2) After cutting the top with a knife, I used a grapefruit spoon to carefully dig its guts out. Save the tomato guts in a bowl for later, you will need it to cook with.

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Tomato guts! I just like saying tomato guts…

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3) In a pan, melt a tsp. of butter on medium high. Add onions and peppers, cook until translucent.

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4) Add sausage, cook until browned.

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5) Add tomato guts! Turn heat down to low, cook for 10-15 minutes. Preheat oven at 425 degrees.

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6) Add rice, salt and pepper to taste.

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7) Stir 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese into rice mixture.

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8) Using a spoon, stuff rice into tomatoes, packing it firmly. In casserole dish, wedge tomatoes in so they are holding each other upright. I could only get 3 to fit into my largest casserole dish, and used a smaller dish for a loner tomato. Top with remaining cheese, sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Pour a tiny bit of water into bottom of casserole dishes to prevent burning/sticking.

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9) My Macgyver skills led me to create this aluminum foil contraption to wedge the single tomato in securely.

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10) Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are tender. Should come out like this.

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Buddha’s Delight

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Buddha’s Delight is a vegetarian dish made up of lots of soy based proteins to mimic real meat. There’s probably a ton of different versions, but this one’s mine.  The can of ‘lo han chai’ I’m using has a variety of vegetarian meats and veggies, containing braised wheat gluten (people sensitive to gluten, beware – I’m also slightly sensitive to gluten, and if I eat enough of this it sits in my stomach like a rock), mushrooms, carrots, tofu.  Btw, the picture on the can shows snow peas, but THERE ARE NO SNOW PEAS.  So add them if you’d like. I also add other ingredients, like shiitake mushrooms (reconstituted in water, I buy bags of dehydrated mushrooms at the local asian market), Bean curd strips (also needs to be reconstituted, bought in dried strips in a bag), and chinese vermicelli. Chinese vermicelli is a noodle made of green beans so it is a good alternative for people sensitive to flour, and, ironically in this dish that doesn’t help much.  In my variety of Buddha’s Delight I add a tablespoon of curry, for an extra kick.

Ingredients:

  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted (if dry) and sliced
  • 1 cup of bean curd strips, reconstituted and cut into smaller strips
  • 1 can of Lo Han Chai, drained
  • 2 packages of green bean vermicelli, soaked in hot water to soften, then drained
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp green onions, chopped

Shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted

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Sliced shiitake mushrooms

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Bean curd threads, reconstituted in water

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Can of Lo Han Chai

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2 Packages of green bean vermicelli

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Vermicelli soaked in a bowl of hot water until ready for use

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Directions:

1) In a wok on medium high heat, pour the first 4 ingredients in, stirring quickly. Stir-fry for around 2-3 minutes.

2) Add sesame oil, oyster sauce, stir for another minute.

3) Add chicken broth, turn heat down to simmer. Stir curry in. When sauce thickens, turn off heat and pour into a dish to serve. Top with green onions.

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Congee

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Cantonese people call it jook. I just found out where the word Congee came from. It came from other asian countries.  That’s all I know. But we always called it jook, or rice porridge. It’s a chinese soup, with a thick gooey stock made from watered down rice cooked over a loooooong period of time. Using a crock pot is the BEST way to make it, on low heat, for 8 hours. I’ve tried making it on the stove, and the consistency just isn’t right.  It’s okay, but it isn’t like the consistency you’d get at an authentic Chinese restaurant. We eat it mainly for breakfast or brunch, but it can be eaten any time during the day, and especially if you’re sick, because it’s like a chinese chicken soup.  I always add chicken to mine, it gives it a lot more flavor.

Congee with Chicken (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 medium chicken breast, fresh or frozen
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 preserved duck eggs (century eggs), chopped (optional)

*cut all ingredients in half for half the servings.

Directions:

1) Pour 1 cup rice into crock pot.  Add whole chicken breast, water, salt and pepper.

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2) Cook on low for 8 hours. DO NOT STIR.

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3) This is what it should look like when it’s done.

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4) Remove chicken breast and shred with fork, put it back into the jook.

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5) Add preserved duck egg into jook now. The images below show you what they should look like, so don’t panic if you crack them open and they are black, with crystallization patterns on the skin, and a creamy green yolk.

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6) Serve jook with pork sung or chopped green scallions.

Kimbap (korean sushi rolls)

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Kimbap (or gimbap, or Gim-Bahp) is basically korean sushi, but without the raw fish.  It consists of rice, meat and vegetable rolled in a seaweed wrapper. They are incredibly addictive (probably because of the naturally occurring MSG in the seaweed?).  The ones I had at a friend’s house consisted of vienna sausage, egg and pickled radish.  You can use other forms of protein, like canned tuna, or strips of  bbq beef.  My husband had a craving for kimbap this past weekend and we couldn’t buy pickled radish, so we sliced regular pickles instead. It sounds like an odd combination, but the taste actually works.  They require some time and effort; we probably made these a total of 10 times in the past couple years before we mastered rolling something that resembled sushi. But practice does make perfect. In the picture above, I rolled the big ones (my husband jokingly nicknamed them ‘fat boys’), and my husband rolled the smaller ones (I didn’t nickname his because it’s not a competition for me).

Kimbap (makes roughly 10 rolls)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cooked eggs, cut into strips (directions below)
  • 2 cans vienna sausage, cut lengthwise into 4 strips each
  • 5 pickles, cut lengthwise into 4 strips each
  • 6 cups cooked sushi rice (2 cups uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup sushi vinegar
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 10-12 seaweed sheets
  • bamboo mat for rolling sushi

Directions:

1) Whisk 3 eggs with 1 tsp. oil. On medium-high heat, pour egg mixture into wok, cook for 1 minute, then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes. Do not scramble. Cool on cutting board, then cut into strips.

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2) Prepare ‘sushi making station’ with 3 bowls for egg strips, slices of meat, and slices of pickles, all roughly the same thickness/size as shown below. Don’t worry about the lengths, you can tear them to fit the rolls later on. Have bamboo mat(s) and seaweed sheets ready.

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 3) Cook 2 cups sushi rice in rice cooker. As rice is cooking, have vinegar, sesame oil, salt and sugar ready.

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4) Leave rice to steam in rice cooker for 10 minutes after it is finished cooking.  Then scoop the rice into a bowl, and mix the ingredients (above)  into the rice.  Immediately begin making rolls while rice is still hot.

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Step by step directions on how to roll sushi:

1) Using a spoon, quickly spread a thin layer of rice onto seaweed sheet. Leave a bit of clearance on all sides, as shown. Put strips of egg, meat and pickle on top of rice an inch above bottom of sheet.

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2) Roll bamboo to cover ingredients with seaweed, squeezing bamboo tightly with hands. 

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3) You don’t need the bamboo for this part, so take bamboo off the roll as shown below.

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4) Finish rolling the sushi by hand.

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5) Place rolls seam side down on cutting board.

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6) Wait for them to cool for a couple minutes, then cut pieces with a sharp knife.

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Below: the ‘rejects’. These are the odds ‘n ends, we usually eat these rejects first because we’re perfectionists, and we don’t like seeing them on the table for long, so they go fast.

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They go really well with beer.  I think all korean food goes well with beer. I wish we had banchan….

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