Thursday, September 17, 2020

Classic Chinese Fried Rice

 

Fried rice is one of my absolute favorite Chinese dishes. Personally, shrimp fried rice is my go to, but there are so many variations. It's also super easy and affordable to make, once you know a few tricks!

 
Ingredients:

4 whole large eggs, whisked until smooth
1/4 cup soy sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 large bag frozen peas with diced carrots
4 cups cooked rice
8 green onions, chopped, including white parts
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Protein (if desired)

1 lb raw, peeled, deveined shrimp  (sauteed until pink and firm, but not overcooked)

OR - you can add diced chicken, Chinese BBQ Pork (click link for recipe) mixed vegetables, steak... this is an easy recipe to modify!

Directions:

Heat the sesame oil on medium high heat in a large non-stick pan and add the rice. The true secret for fried rice is that leftover, cold or room temperature rice is far easier to crisp than hot rice you've just steamed. If you know you're making this dish in advance, you can make the rice the day before OR what I usually do is if I make some sort of dinner with rice, I set some aside and make fried rice sometime later that week.

The first time I learned this trick, someone suggested saving plain takeout rice and using it to make fried rice... a funny idea, ordering Chinese delivery one day and then making Chinese food from scratch a few days later!  But... I've used this trick multiple times, ha ha... I do really like fried rice!

Cook the rice, stirring as necessary, for about 10 minutes or until it gets brown and crispy.  Add the egg to the edge of the pan and mix it around until scrambled, then integrate into the rice.  Add the veggies, soy sauce and white pepper, then cook until desired texture is achieved.  Taste and add additional soy, if needed.

If adding protein or veggies, you would cook those separately and then stir in once the rice is done.  Enjoy!



Char Siu - Chinese BBQ Pork

I wanted to make BBQ pork fried rice and had never realized that the pork in the rice is itself, from a classic Chinese recipe called "Char Siu". It's used in various recipes or just served alone.... and it's delicious.

Ingredients:
4 lb pork shoulder roast
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
4 cubes red bean curd
4 tablespoons five spice powder
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine (Chinese cooking wine)
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Glaze:
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup marinade



Directions:

Slice the pork roast along the grain into long strips no thicker than 2 inches. Trim off any large pieces of fat.

Mix all the ingredients (with the exception of the glaze items) and mash in the bean curd.  Whisk until combined.

Pour marinade over pork until coated and marinate for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator, turning the pork at least once to ensure even distribution.  Reserve some of the leftover marinade for the glaze.

When ready to cook the pork, heat an oven to 400 degrees. Roast the pork uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes or until it starts to brown.  Whisk the glaze ingredients together until combined. Remove the pork from the oven and brush with the glaze, then return to oven for about 10 minutes, or until the glaze has dried.  Remove and glaze again.

You can glaze the pork as many times as you like, but somewhere between 3-5 times should do the trick.  Roast for about an hour or until the internal temp reaches 155 degrees, then remove.

If the pork does not have a crispy exterior at this point, glaze it again and turn the oven to broil, leaving the oven door open, until the meat is charred as desired.

Be sure to let the pork rest for at least 10 or 15 minutes before serving.  If making for fried rice, dice the pork into 1 inch pieces and combine with rice - here's a recipe for fried rice.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Bacon-Cheddar Hasselback Potatoes


I don't know why I never tried to make these potatoes before, since I've seen the recipe all over the internet for years. I think it looked challenging, but it is actually very easy and fast!

Yield:   4 servings

Ingredients:

4 large russet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
8 slices cooked bacon, cut or broken into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings: sour cream, chopped chives or green onions

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make cuts in each potato, about 1/8 inch apart, stopping just before cutting through to the the bottom. Place on a greased baking sheet and drizzle with butter, then season with salt and pepper. Place baking sheet in oven and bake until the outsides are beginning to crisp, about 45 minutes.

Remove potatoes from oven and place bacon pieces evenly throughout the cuts in the potatoes. Drizzle with more butter and sprinkle each potato with the cheddar cheese. Place back in the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or so, until cheese is melted and bacon pieces are crisp.

Once the potatoes are ready, top with any desired toppings and serve! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Crispy Mongolian Beef


Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:
Vegetable oil (for frying)
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 lbs flank steak
1 cup cornstarch (divided,1/2 cup for sauce, 1/2 cup for beef)
6 green onions, sliced on the bias in approx. 1 inch pieces
2 cups sliced mushrooms (if desired)
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds (if desired)

3 cups white rice (if desired)

Directions:
Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic to the pan and fry until softened. Add soy sauce and water, then add brown sugar and cornstarch and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let stand.

If you would like to add mushrooms to the dish, cook those separately and set aside.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into thin, bite sized slices. Dab with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, then dip each piece of meat into cornstarch on both sides. Let the beef stand for about 10 or 15 minutes, to allow the cornstarch to adhere.

Heat about 1 cup of oil in a skillet or wok on medium heat. Add beef to the oil in batches, frying until just crisp and removing to let drain on paper towels.

Once all the beef is fried, pour any remaining oil out of the pan. Add the beef, sauce and mushrooms (if using) and warm on low heat until meat and veggies are covered in sauce and hot.  Remove and garnish with sesame seeds if desired, then serve.  This is most frequently served over white rice. Enjoy!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Loaded Irish Potato Pancakes (Boxty)


Boxty are traditional Irish pancakes, different than American style potato pancakes in that they are made from half hash browns, half mashed potato. I prefer them to traditional potato pancakes; something about the mixture helps make them a bit less greasy.

The Irish saying goes, "Boxty in the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can't make boxty, you'll never get a man!"  Sexism and cooking; a great combination!  Happy St Paddy's Day!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
3 cups grated raw potatoes or frozen shredded hash browns
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups mashed potatoes
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable or olive oil, for frying

Directions:
Prepare mashed potatoes using standard methods and set aside to cool (can be made the night before, or used from leftovers).  Toss the grated potatoes with flour in a bowl.  Stir in the mashed potatoes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk, then add to the potato mixture.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil on a griddle or pan, then drop the potato mixture in large tablespoons onto the hot surface, pressing down slightly to form patties.  Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels and serve while warm.

Note: I turned these into "loaded boxty" pancakes; with sour cream, crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions. There are a lot of variations on boxty, so if you're in the mood to experiment, search online for more ideas.  In Ireland, these are traditionally served with breakfast or dinner, so there are a ton of ways to serve this recipe.  Enjoy!

Very Berry Muffins


A super easy muffin recipe!   Use fresh berries in the summer, frozen berries in the winter. For this recipe, I used a combination of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, but you could substitute other berries such as blackberry, boysenberry, etc.  These smell great while in the oven and taste even better while still warm!

Yield:  approx 15 small muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup diced strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.  Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add butter chunks and cut into the dry mix with a pastry blender - or, if you're lazy (I like to call it efficient), use an electric mixer to mix until the butter is incorporated into pea sized bits.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  The batter will be lumpy.  Fold in the berries and fill a muffin tin or cupcake wrappers about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until muffins are firm and a clean knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Curried Cauliflower and Potato Soup


The depth of flavor in this soup is amazing, considering how few ingredients are in it, and that it's completely vegan - there is no cheese, no butter, no cream, none of the things that I associate with a really creamy and delicious soup. I almost added some cream at the end, just out of habit, but decided to follow the recipe I had, and it turned out perfectly without it!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced

2 carrots, ends removed, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large baking potato, cubed
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste 


Garnish:  Fresh cilantro, if desired

Directions:
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onions, celery, garlic, and carrots until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then add the cauliflower and potato, vegetable broth, and seasonings.  Simmer until cauliflower and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste.

I served this chunky, but for a creamier soup, you could puree the mixture with a food processor or immersion blender.

Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve, maybe with some crusty bread on the side.  Enjoy!

Note:  You could also make this soup with a brightly colored seasonal cauliflower - a green or yellow cauliflower would pair great with the yellow shade the turmeric adds to the broth.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Meatless Meatballs

 

I stumbled upon this recipe while trying to make a meal that was both hearty and delicious for a vegetarian friend.  This turned out really nice and the texture is surprisingly similar to a meaty meatball.

One caveat - I tried making the veggie meatballs even healthier by omitting the frying and that version wasn't nearly as tasty, or as textured, as the fried version.  Oil, you win again!  Bake for health or fry for flavor! 

Yield:  about 20 appetizer sized meatballs 

Ingredients:
Olive oil, for frying 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 medium white onion, finely chopped 
1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
1 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped 
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: 
Coat large pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high. Add garlic and onions to hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms, jalapeno, and zucchini.  Cook until softened, then transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add cheeses, panko crumbs, and herbs to the vegetable mixture and mix until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the eggs and stir until the mixture comes together.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Once the mixture has chilled, form into firm meatballs with your hands or a scoop.  Add more olive oil to a pan, bring to medium-high heat, and fry the meatballs for about 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.  For a healthier version, bake the meatballs in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until brown.

Serve with pasta and marinara sauce as an entree, or try adding a little extra cheese to the top and serving as an appetizer with some marinara on the side.  Enjoy! 

Note:  for a vegan version, simply omit the cheese and substitute an egg replacer so the meatballs hold together