Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday dinner

It was kind of a busy day when I really expected a mellow day so I threw something together quickly for dinner. It was appropriate on a warm day such as today was also with the cucumber cooling off the slight heat of the Indian spices in the wings.

Appetizer: Sesame & fennel seed cucumber salad with rice wine vinegar & sesame oil dressing.
Main course: Yogurt, lime & Indian spices marinated roasted wings garnished with fresh mint.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Monkfish en Papillote with Shiitake and Indian Spices Herb Butter

Served with julienned green onion, lime with side of wasabi cucumber salad.
Before wrapping up in papillote on a bed of shiitake slices and medallions of herb-spice butter.


For papillote:

Monkfish chunks, patted dry and salted
Dried shiitake mushroom, rehydrated and sliced
Green onion, julienned

Herb- Spice Butter:

Butter, room temperature
Ground cumin
Ground coriander seeds
Indian chili powder
Garlic powder
Black pepper
Cilantro, finely chopped 

Mix well, wrap in plastic film into a sausage shape, twist tight and refrigerate until needed.

Cucumber salad:

Persian or Korean cucumbers, sliced thin and salted. Squeeze excess liquid out.
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
Sriracha to taste
1 Tsp of wasabi powder
Lime juice
Sea salt
Green onion, finely chopped
Black sesame seeds
Furikake of your choice

Crispy Fried Monkfish Fin

Lightly dusted with potato starch. Served on mint leaf, garnished with lime and sliced green onion.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pork Stir Fried Noodles with King Oyster and Shiitake Mushrooms

The hu tieu noodles have tapioca in it and makes for a chewy bite. 
Stir frying the mushrooms, onion, carrot in Sichuan peppercorn, garlic and ginger oil.


Pork shoulder, sliced into thin strips (1/4 in.) and soaked in baking soda solution for 15 minutes to tenderize. Pat dry, dust with rice flour or corn starch and make sure to coat all surfaces before cooking.

Hu tieu noodles, blanched in boiling water briefly, rinse and dress well with sesame and vegetable oil.

Half a medium red onion, sliced
King oyster mushrooms, sliced
Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Small carrot, sliced at bias
2 - 3 Garlic cloves, sliced
2 - 3 Dried chiles (cayenne, japones or one of your choice)
Small piece of ginger, minced
1 Tbsp of Sichuan peppercorns

Sesame oil
Vegetable oil
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce
1/4 Cup of water or chicken broth

Green onion, sliced on bias for garnish
Cilantro, rough chopped for garnish
Lime juice to dress dish before serving


Fry the Sichuan peppercorns, ginger and dried chiles in hot oil until fragrant. Add mushrooms, carrots, onion and fry until almost done. Reserve.

Add a couple tablespoon of oil to pan as needed, stir fry pork at high heat until just cooked. It should go quickly since it is cut in thin strips. Do not overcook.

Stir fry noodles and add a little (1 Tbsp) of hot water or chicken broth to steam and help cook. When noodles are about done, pour in sauce. Bring to boil then plate: Noodles on bottom, pork and vegetables on top and garnish.

Braised Duck Gizzard in Soy and Star Anise Sauce

Served hot or room temperature.

1 lb of duck gizzard, cleaned and membrane removed. Cut into bite sized pieces
3 Tsp Soy sauce
1 Knob of ginger about 1 inch cubed, minced well
2 Cloves of garlic, minced well
1 Dried chile of your choice
Dried crushed chile to sprinkle
Dried tangerine or other citrus peel
1heaping teaspoon of brown sugar

Whole Wheat Épi Baguette

 This is my first attempt at making an épi baguette. I think I need to roll the baguette dough into a thinner shape before cutting it with scissors.

Fresh out of oven. I need to make the baguette thinner next time.

On second rise just before cutting with scissors.

Baguette for Saturday's Breakfast

Friday, April 26, 2013

Crispy Crust Double Thick Pork Chop with Roasted Red Salsa

Chop served with roasted red salsa.

One double thick pork chop with bone on, tenderized in water to cover with one tablespoon of baking soda for at least one hour, up to four. Rinse well, pat dry then put in fridge uncovered for at least half hour for surface to dry.

Dry rub:

Sea salt
Black pepper
Crushed or ground coriander seeds
Ground cumin
Pimento or smoked paprika

Enough rice flour to coat all surfaces

Roasted Red Salsa:

8 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise 
1 Onion, cut in half inch thick slices
1 Head of garlic, sprinkled with olive oil, salted and cut in half and wrap in foil
4 - 5 Jalapeno chiles

Mexican oregano
Coriander seeds
Chili powder
Black pepper
Lime or lemon juice

Salt and drizzle olive oil over tomato, onion and chiles and place in 425º F oven until well charred. This can take up to 30 - 40 minutes. Place in blender with spices and herb (in batches if necessary) with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and puree well. Adjust amount of water for right consistency and finish with fresh lime or lemon juice. This recipe makes about a liter of salsa.  


Rub chop with rub mixture and cover all surfaces then dust with rice flour, pat it into chop well and let dry for about 5 minutes before deep frying at 370º F (about two to four minutes) until crust is golden. Finish in preheated 350º F oven for about 5 - 8 minutes or until desired doneness (I like my chops about medium). Remove, place on plate or cutting board and tent with foil to let carryover heat finish cooking and meat juices to be reabsorbed before serving or cutting. Do not overcook or meat will be dry and tasteless. 

Vietnamese Red Cabbage Chicken Salad with Prawn Crackers

Vietnamese red cabbage and chicken salad.
Salad served with fried prawn crackers. 
Dressed salad in mixing bowl.
*Note: for vegetarian version, replace chicken with poached shiitake, oyster or king oyster mushroom. For vegetarian version, you could use soy sauce or try this recipe from The Chubby Vegetarian blog. (I have not tried it myself but it sounds very tasty).


(This recipe portion will serve four people)

3 Chicken thighs, gently poached with half an onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 4 cloves, bay leaves, 2 star anise pods. Poach for about 20 minutes, remove and let cool then shred into small bite sized pieces. The cooking liquid could be reduced and other ingredients added to make a stock. I don't waste any of it. Try adding things like mushrooms, carrots, celery and you will have a pretty classic chicken stock.

Half a small red cabbage, finely shredded with mandoline or sliced with knife. Do not grate as the texture will change.

Small piece of ginger, finely minced.
Two jalapenos or chile of your choice, thinly slice with seeds intact.
One small red onion, thinly sliced then quick pickled in vinegar for about 15 minutes.
Two small carrots (or one large), shredded or julienned.
Bunch of Vietnamese coriander, roughly chopped.
Bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped.
Lime or lemon juice, to taste.

Prawn crackers, fried. (They can be bought at most Asian markets and come in a small box. They can also be microwaved as a hack but won't be as light and crisp as frying in oil).

Fish sauce dressing:

Fish sauce, 1 part
Water, 3 parts
Rice wine vinegar, 1 part
Sugar to taste
Lime or lemon juice to taste
Crushed garlic
Crushed ginger
Crushed chile

Assemble ingredients in large bowl, dress, mix well and keep in fridge until ready to serve.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicken and Crispy Prawns Hong Kong Style Chow Mein with Mushroom Oyster Sauce


Crispy fried prawns

Velveted chicken, baby bok choy and king oyster mushroom on bed of crispy fried chow mein.

Pan charring chicken thigh meat.

Mise en place.

Late Night Snack: Spicy Crispy Fried Shrimp

Potato starch helps make for a crispy finish.

I put this snack together during commercial breaks while watching TV. Shrimps were frozen so I ran them in water to thaw quickly (about ten minutes), quickly cleaned them but left shell on and returned
them to fridge for them to dry out a bit while heating up fryer.

I tossed them in a large bowl with a couple tablespoons of potato starch (you could use rice flour or corn starch too), pinches of ground cumin, chili powder, turmeric, salt making sure surface if well coated. Let them dry for a couple minutes until oil is hot at 320º.

Fry them for two minutes then pull to let oil drain and rest then raise temperature of oil up to 370º. Drop them in again until they are golden brown and crispy. This should only take about another two minutes. Remove and salt immediately while still hot.

I didn't make a dipping sauce but ketchup and sriracha with a touch of vinegar is a good option.

Chicken Pad Thai with Purple Cabbage



Tapioca or glass noodles, soaked in very hot water or microwaved for about 1 - 2 minutes then dress liberally with cooking oil or sesame oil. (You could find them in Asian markets as Pad Thai noodles or Vietnamese hu tieu noodles. It has tapioca flour in it which gives it a chewy bite and slightly translucent look.)

Chicken thighs, deboned and cut into equal sized strips about 1 cm wide. Don't you dare use chicken breast! Soak in mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 Tbsp of baking soda for 15 minutes then drain and rinse before cooking to preserve tenderness of meat. (Technique can be used with pork and beef too. I've never tried with it with shrimp).

Purple cabbage, thinly sliced
Bean sprouts

Shiitake mushroom, sliced
Shallots, sliced

Garlic, crushed and sliced
Fresh jalapeno, serrano or Thai chile, sliced
Crushed peanuts (optional. My wife doesn't like nuts in cooked foods so I don't add them)
Green onion for garnish
Cilantro for garnish

For sauce:

Corn starch
Tamarind paste
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Palm sugar or brown sugar (in this case, I used piloncillo which is Mexican sugar and it gave a nice twist)
Lime juice


Cook ingredients in batches using nonstick skillet or wok then move to large bowl: I did cabbage and mushrooms first, shallot, bean sprouts, chiles and garlic second, noodles third (get good char on noodles and don't be shy with oil), chicken (get char again) after that and egg scrambled into pan with chicken last. Assemble with noodles on bottom, veggies next, chicken and egg on top then pour remaining sauce over all and garnish.

Base of sauce is water and tamarind paste. Add other ingredients in small amounts until you get a flavor you like. Sprinkle a bit of the sauce as you saute or stir fry each ingredients and reserve a good amount for the last batch and pour over dish.

Daily Baguette

The daily baguette

This is made from a recipe found on the King Arthur Flour site  (found here) with the exception that I substitute a small portion of the all purpose flour with some whole wheat flour to give it a nuttier flavor and chewier crust. The batch I make is half of what the recipe calls for and for a two person household, that is enough for four baguettes which I just scoop out the necessary dough in the morning from container in fridge, shape and let rise while I'm working. It's my low maintenance way of having fresh bread.


Wait until about 15 minutes before you put bread into oven to slash it. Use a VERY sharp knife or it will just catch the dough and drag.

When preheating oven, place an oven proof container of water in oven to bump up humidity and steam for a better crust. Use at least two cups of water.

Shrimp and Baby Bok Choy Dumpling

Open faced dumpling

Wonton wrappers
Shrimp, peeled and food processed but not too finely
Baby bok choy, cut into 1 inch sections then food processed but not too finely
Green onion, finely chopped
Sesame oil
Five spice powder
Fish sauce
Sesame oil
Black bean sauce (optional)
Soy sauce for dipping
Sriracha for dipping


Don't food process ingredients too finely, you want to still keep its textures.

Don't over cook, steaming time is very fast; about 8 minutes. 

Roasted Beet Potato Salad

Amuse bouche served on shiso leaf.


Red new potatoes
Roasted beets
Garlic, crushed with paper left on
Eggs, soft-hard boiled
Shiso leaves (mint or other leafy green could be used)
Shallots, finely chopped
Dijon mustard
Pimento or smoked paprika
Black pepper
Lemon juice


Bring eggs in cold water to boil, cover, take off heat for ten minutes then drop into cold water or ice bath to make peeling easier.

Roast beets with skin on wrapped in foil with garlic and drizzled with olive oil and pinch of salt, about 35 - 40 minutes. Rub skin off with paper towel when cooled enough to handle.

Crispy Fried Red Snapper with Lemongrass and Garlic

Served on bed of butter lettuce with green onion, cilantro, crispy fried dried shallots and lemon. Dressed with nuoc cham dressing.

Shallow fry in pan until crust is crispy then finish off in oven.
Covering fish in slurry

Make diagonal slices and salt fish liberally. Put uncovered in fridge for skin to dry.

For the fish:

Whole red snapper or other firm white flesh fish
Stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped
Garlic, well ground in mortar or finely chopped
Ginger, well ground in mortar or finely chopped
Rice flour
Chili powder
Thai chiles, chopped (serrano or jalapenoo can be used as substitute)

Make a slurry with all ingredients, apply liberally to fish and let marinate uncovered in fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.

Nuoc cham dressing:

Fish sauce, 1 part
Water, 3 parts
Rice wine vinegar, 1 part
Sugar to taste
Lime or lemon juice to taste
Crushed garlic
Crushed ginger
Crushed chile

This dressing should have a taste of salt but not too much. You are looking for a balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy. Experiment, taste often as you go and have fun until you find your personal balance of flavors.

Quick cucumber salad with shishito peppers

A very quick and tasty salad. 
Dry roasting shishito peppers


Korean cucumber
Shishito peppers
Soy bean sprouts, blanched
Korean chili powder
Rice wine vinegar
Sesame oil
Lemon juice