Archive | May, 2010

Shrimp and Baby Bok Choy Stir-Fry

22 May

I definitely underestimate stir-frys. When I first started cooking for myself on a regular basis (when I moved into an NYU dorm 30 minutes from campus that had a full kitchen), I made all kinds of stir-frys.  They’re easy to make because you can do everything in one pan and have minimal clean-up.  Plus, they are easy to change up and therefore hard to get tired of.  The recipe I’m going to share with you is Chinese stir-fry with Tapioca noodles, but you can also make them with rice or pasta and throw in some mixed veggies and chicken, sausage, or tofu and just keep it simple.  It just requires keeping a few staple items in the cupboard.

Shrimp and Baby Bok Choy Stir-Fry

Adapted from Gourmet

Makes 4 main courses

Ingredients

24-30 shrimp (You can always use fresh but frozen farmed shrimp are easy to store for long periods of time and completely fine for a dish like this)

One bunch baby bok choy

8oz Chinese noodles of your choice (I used Hang’s Tapioca Noodles from Whole Foods, you can also use cellophane or egg noodles)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (preferably Shaoxing) or medium-dry Sherry

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

1 large red pepper, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

3 scallions, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)

Bring 8 cups unsalted water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot, then add noodles, stirring to separate, and cook 15 seconds. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until noodles are cool, then shake colander briskly to drain excess water.

Add peanut or vegetable oil to a wok (or large skillet if you do not have a wok) over high heat.  As oil starts to smoke, add scallions, ginger, garlic, and pepper for 30 seconds.  Add bok choy and shrimp and cook for 2 more minutes.  Mix chow sauce (soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, corn starch, white pepper, and add to the wok along with the noodles.  Cook for 2-3 minutes more.  Turn off the heat and add sesame oil just before serving.

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Baked Chicken Meatballs

16 May

When our friend Jill came to New York from Oregon to visit us a few weeks ago, we took her on a (mini) food tour of New York. She is 14 weeks pregnant, so no drinking for her!! Instead, we did our best to fit in some good eats in the short time that she was here. In the middle of a day of shopping, we stopped at Momofuku Milk Bar in the East Village for some Cereal Milk Ice Cream, got brunch another morning at Clinton Street Bakery (gahh Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes w/ Maple Butter), and went to lunch at The Meatball Shop.

The Meatball Shop opened within the last few months, and I hadn’t been yet. But my friend Sam, a native New Yorker turned Berliner, told me she heard great things about it (even in Germany she’s the first to know all the great stuff in NY), so I decided to go, and I’M SO GLAD I DID. Wow wow. These meatballs were uncomprehensively moist, I don’t know how they do it. I would love to get my hands on their recipe.

Well I couldn’t find that, but eating there inspired me to find my own meatball recipe. The ones I had at The Meatball Shop were beef, but I went with a bit of a healthier chicken meatball.

Baked Chicken Meatballs
Adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients

3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided*
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.

Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.

Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan or roasting dish.

Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs , then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Champagne Vinaigrette

9 May

I recently went searching for some new dressing recipes.  I’ve been on a huge salad kick lately and I have finally started to get tired of my amazing 18-year Balsamic from Le Roux Kitchen in Portland, ME, where my family lives.  On a recent trip there (to replenish my balsamic supply), I noticed that they have various infused balsamics–but the selection was so overwhelming that I ended up going with the basic stuff.  Next time I’m determined to narrow my choices down to 2 or 3 and experiment with them.  They also have an equally large selection of olive oils…

I found this vinaigrette when I was making a Five Bean Picnic Salad recipe that I found online. For the salad, I eliminated the hot sauce so that I could add strawberries for a twist on the classic champagne and strawberries combo.  I’m a big proponent of putting fruits in salads, although I have discovered that a surprising number of people like to keep them separate.  If that’s you, try adding a dash of fruit juice to the vinaigrette instead.

I tossed this into a wild arugula salad with sliced strawberries and some hydroponic watercress.

Champagne Vinaigrette

Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tablespoons dijon Mustard

1/4 cup champagne vinegar (I used O Citrus Champagne vinegar)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.

Fiddlehead Ferns

2 May

This is less about the recipe and more about the ingredient.  I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day about things that we had cooked lately, which we do from time to time, more lately, and almost always before I host a party.  So she said, have you ever cooked fiddlehead ferns? Then she went on to tell me about how she had made them the other night and how they are in season right now and all the health benefits they have.  I’ll admit, I was only half-listening at the time, but, a couple weeks later, there they were in a big square basket at Whole Foods.  I immediately filled up a bag of them; they are green, they are a vegetable, and I love the way they look! (…ferntastic?)

Fiddlehead Ferns with Garlic and Sea Salt

Makes about 4 side dishes

Ingredients

1 lb fiddlehead ferns, rinsed, with dark ends trimmed

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Large cloves garlic, minced

Course ground sea salt and black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over Medium-high heat.  Add the fiddleheads, sautéing them 4-6 minutes, flipping them in between. Add the minced garlic, reduce heat to low and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, then top with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Momofuku Crack Pie

2 May

I discovered this dessert on a date night a few months back.  We decided to eat at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, and so we went, of course, to Milk Bar for Dessert.  I had heard about the pie before, there were various tv personalities and celebrities who raved about it.  Their other trademark is Cereal Milk Ice Cream (corflake cereal milk to be exact), which is probably a love it or hate it kind of thing, but i love it.

The crack pie is displayed in the glass cases amongst various other desserts: the compost cookie (pretzels, chocolate chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, potato chips), grasshopper pie (graham crust, mint cheesecake & brownie filling)…I can’t even bear to go on without getting up, putting on my sandals and going there right now.

Anyway, Jay’s birthday was coming up so I decided it was the perfect thing to make.  Finding the recipe wasn’t hard, it never really is in the age of Google.  I used a recipe I found in the LA Times, which made two pies. Since each slice of this aptly-named dessert has 432 calories, I used half the filling and put the other half in the freezer.  The first pie I made came out perfectly: after about 4 hours in the fridge the consistency was perfect, gooey but firm, the way pecan pie is. I had major issues with the second one.  I took the filling out of the freezer earlier in the day, let it thaw, mixed it well, and cooked the pie at the same temperature for the same amount of time.  But hours after being in the fridge, it was still overly liquidy and all of the butter gathered in one area of the pie and hardened.  I’m not sure what happened, I guess my best recommendation is Don’t Freeze the Filling.

Momofuku Crack Pie

Courtesy of LA Times

Servings: Makes 2 pies (6 to 8 servings each)

Note: Adapted from Momofuku. This pie calls for 2 (10-inch) pie tins. You can substitute 9-inch pie tins, but note that the pies will require additional baking time, about 5 minutes, due to the increased thickness of the filling.

Cookie for crust

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour

Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter

1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar

3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar

1 egg

Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy

4. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

5. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.

Crust

Crumbled cookie for crust

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

Filling

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar

3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 egg yolks

2 prepared crusts

Powdered sugar, garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.

3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.

4. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.

5. Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.

6. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.