Posts Tagged ‘food’

Gai Lan with Garlic and Oyster Sauce

gailan2

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.

_______________________________________________________________________

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.

gailan3

2) Heat oil in a wok on high.

gailan4

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.

gailan5

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.

gailan6

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

gailan7

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.

gailan8

See how easy that was?

gailan1

Please wash your salad.

salad4

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.

salad1

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

 salad2

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

salad3

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

smallsalsasalmon2

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.

____________________________________________________________________________

Illustrated Directions:

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

saucesalmonsmall

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

salsa7

3) Collect 1/2 cup of drained salsa.

salsa2

4) Put mayo and salsa together.

salsa5

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

mango3

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

cuttingmangosmall

7) Mix mangoes, mayo and salsa together.

salsa6

salsa4

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.

 

DSC_0105

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

DSC_0107

10) Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.

rawsalsasalmonsmall

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

DSC_0135

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.

DSC_0134

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

DSC_0137

Going….

DSC_0140

Going………

DSC_0141

Gone. :)

DSC_0142

Enjoy your weekends everyone.

Not to brag or anything…

mememe

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

mangodessert

I

DSC_0006

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.

DSC_0018

DSC_0020

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.

DSC_0021

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.

DSC_0023

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.

DSC_0025

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.

DSC_0027

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.

DSC_0029

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

DSC_0030

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.

DSC_0031

9) Eat.

mangodessert

Italian Meatballs

meatballs

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.

Which Soy Sauce to Use?

Kikkomaso

Kikkoman!!  The soy sauce warrior.

Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and Walnuts

chickensalad

This chicken salad is surprisingly delicious with a unique flavor combination of sweet red grapes and walnuts. Think of Waldorf salad, but instead of apples, use grapes. And add chicken. Ok, so the only thing this has in common with Waldorf is the walnuts. But you get the idea. It is delicious on a bed of salad greens, or in a sandwich, or on crackers. Use a croissant if you’re not afraid of a heart attack.

Chicken Salad with Red Grapes and Walnuts (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. onion, minced
  • 1 small bunch of red grapes, chopped
  • 1 handful of walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1) If you have the time, to get really juicy chicken breasts, cook on medium low heat in a pot of half chicken broth/half water for 1.5 – 2 hours. Take out of pot and let rest for few minutes, then chop. Or, use cooked leftover chicken chunks. Place chicken cubes in bowl.

DSC_0187

2) Trim bottom of 2 washed stalks of celery. Cut thin vertical strips.

DSC_0188

DSC_0189

3) Finely chop. Add to bowl.

DSC_0191

DSC_0192

4) Add minced onion to bowl.

DSC_0201

5) I’m not being accurate with saying ‘1 small bunch of grapes’. But this is how much I used. Chop into quarter slices. Add into bowl.

DSC_0194

DSC_0204

6) Add walnuts to bowl.

DSC_0213

You can see the bottom of my wine glass in this picture. Yes, please drink wine when you make something as simple as chicken salad.

DSC_0216

7) Add one cup mayonnaise to salad. I used Hellmann’s made with Canola, it tastes just as good as regular, and about half the calories. Or you can use the mayo of your preference.

DSC_0220

8) Squeeze half a lemon into salad. Mix with spoon, and salt/pepper to taste.

DSC_0224

9) Serve as a sandwich, on a bed of salad, on crackers, etc. Refrigerate unused portions in airtight container.

DSC_0231

Soooooooooooooooo gooooooooooooood. I will never make chicken salad without grapes again.

DSC_0233

Foodstalgia

Croatia, Italy 252

Foodstalgia. It happens when you eat/smell something and it brings you back to another time you’ve eaten the same thing. I have 10 pictures of my husband eating gelato on our honeymoon. 10 different instances he ate gelato. Obviously, because it’s so good, he kept going back for more each day. Not because he’s a gelato pig, but because tasting it brings back good memories. Isn’t that why we all eat?

mcdonalds%20logo

I have foodstalgia about McDonald’s, school cafeteria food, and cheap shitty beer. Yea, I know, three disgusting things. Going to McDonald’s was a great treat when I was little, since we usually ate 5 course meals every single day made by my mother slaving over the stove (see how deprived I was?). So, cheap greasy french fries and hamburgers were the smell of freedom. We got to act like Americans at McDonald’s. Of course, a Chinese family of 4 splits each meal in half, since we can’t eat the enormous quantities they serve, and we’re quite cheap. I finally was able to finish an entire happy meal by myself at age 14. Practice!

2528824189_d429a7b75f

Do you remember sitting in the school cafeteria complaining how gross your meal was everyday? I said it was gross just to fit in. But I secretly loved it. I never ate so many things cooked in butter. Chinese people rarely cook with butter, unless they’re baking something, and even then it’s baking with lard most of the time.  I loved pizza day, which was once a week. The dough was made from scratch every morning by the cafeteria ladies. Then it was slathered with over-seasoned tomato sauce and generously piled with mozzarella cheese over an inch thick. And we also had daily alternatives if you didn’t prefer the main lunch.  The alternatives were PB&J, or toasted cheese. Imagine each of those sandwiches 2.5-3 inches thick. Imagine the toasted cheese cooked with half a stick of butter. Can you picture how good it was? 

genesee_can_d

Cheap, shitty beer. Reminds me of college parties. The ‘good ol days’. Not really. But I recently had a sip of something really nasty (Genesee beer in a can) and I felt like I was unwillingly dragged back in time to some stupid frat party all over again. It’s funny how our brains work.

Roasted Asparagus

asparagus4

I don’t think we’re in Asparagus Season quite yet.  I should really google it up and determine when the perfect time to buy these are…OR I could go to the local farmers’ market and see what they have. Oh that’s right, I have, and they have nothing yet. Since I live in Rochester, NY (more specifically, small city 8 hours north of New York City, or neighboring city of Buffalo, NY) we’ve just recently defrosted from our 8 month winter. We all joke around here that in Rochester, there are only 2 seasons, winter and construction. The road construction is to fix the large potholes we take as a souvenir from winter each year.

I’m drifting away from the subject. What was I talking about? Do I even know if asparagus is grown locally here anyway? I should do my research before I type. I will later. But I bought these at the supermarket for $1.50. They were the big, thick stalks. To me, they are a little older than I would’ve liked. The younger ones seem to be less stringy/chewy. I will have to make them again after I find better stalks. But I can still offer the recipe. It’s really a non-recipe recipe, it’s so easy to make it doesn’t require much direction. Wow, I really dragged this one out, didn’t I?

Here is a helpful link for FAQ about asparagus.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • olive oil
  • ground sea salt
  • lemon (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2) Trim bottom of stalks (at least half an inch). Wash and pat dry with paper towel. On roasting pan, spread asparagus out in single layer. Drizzle olive oil over asparagus, and swish the pan back and forth to coat evenly. Salt them.

asparagus3

3) Roast for 10 minutes. They should come out a vibrant green, and look a little skinnier like the pic below.

asparagus2

4) Serve with a squirt of lemon, or sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Or both. Or none.

asparagus1

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.