Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crispy Orange Beef

Adapted from the Shun Lee Cookbook by Michael Tong & Elaine Louie. The original recipe calls for about half of the amount of sauce I made, and I don't think it came out too saucy... So I say go for it!

  • 8 oz flank steak, cut into pieces 1"x1/2"x1/4" (very thinly sliced...)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 orange
  • 4 Tbs sugar
  • 4 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs rice wine
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 c cornstarch
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3 scallions, white part only, sliced
  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/4 tsp hot chile paste
1. Mix steak, baking soda and 3 Tbs water in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (to tenderize the meat)

2. Remove the peel of the orange with a veggie pealer. Cut the zest into thin strips. Slice the rest of the orange in half and set aside.

3. To begin the sauce, mix sugar, vinegar, rice wine, soy sauce and 2 tsp cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside.

4. Heat a large wok over high heat with about 1 1/2" of vegetable oil in it. Bring oil to 375 degrees.

5. Combine beef, 1 c cornstarch, and lightly beaten eggwhite. It will be kind of dry, but coat the meat.

6. Add the steak to the oil one piece at a time so it doesn't splash or stick together. Stir gently until it begins to look crispy (this happens quickly). Remove steak from oil and put in a colander to drain. Fry the rest of the beef in batches.

7. Remove most of the oil, leave 1-2 Tbs in the wok. Add sauce mixture, orange zest, scallions, sesame oil, orange juice, chile paste, and beef. Stir-fry until all of the ingredients are blended, about 30 seconds.

Ham, Cheese and Spinach Focaccia

 This recipe is adapted from one called "Cheese Focaccia from Recco" found in Savory Baking from the Mediterranean by Anissa Helou. Her recipe called for a cheese focaccia made with taleggio cheese (an Italian take on brie)... I added a few bonuses and substituted fontina cheese (another soft, cow's milk cheese).

I was totally dazzled by how few ingredients go into making the bread. There is an element of "mix it, walk away, knead it, take the dog for a walk, knead it, take a nap" ... So I thought it was perfect for making on a laid back Saturday :)

  • 1 1/3 c unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for working with the dough
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil for the dough
  • extra olive oil for brushing the pan
  • 9 oz soft cow's milk cheese (Fontina, Taleggio, Brie, Mozzarella... you pick)
  • 1/2 c finely diced ham
  • 1/2 c chopped spinach

1. Combine flour and fine salt in a large mixing bowl with a well shaped into the center. Add the EVOO into the well and incorporate into flour with your fingertips. Slowly add 1/3 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon warm water. Knead briefly to make a rough ball of dough.

2. Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes on a floured work surface. Turn the bowl over and cover the dough on the countertop for 15 minutes. (It's really amazing how much the dough "relaxes" during it's 15 minute cat-nap!!)

3. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until it's smooth. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly floured bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.

4. Fold the dough. Cover again. Put it back in it's happy place for another hour. The dough will have expanded some during this rest period.

5. On your floured work surface, cut the dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest 15 minutes.

6. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. On your floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough to be quite thin and about 12 inches in diameter. Liberally brush a non-stick baking sheet with olive oil and place the dough round on it. Add thinly sliced cheese, ham, and spinach to the center of the dough.

7. Roll out the other dough ball to just slightly bigger than the first piece. Just barely dampen the edges, and flip it over so that it covers the dough/toppings. Seal the edges by pressing with your fingers. Optional: I added some finely shredded fontina to the top of the focaccia (because it felt very "Panera") and it turned out crispy and visually enhanced the look of the bread.

8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown all over. Let sit 5 minutes, then slice and serve while cheese is still warm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Balsamic Chicken Caprese

This one came together sort of... off the cuff. But really, we're combining some great concepts here, so it was bound for greatness!

  • 4 thinly sliced cuts of chicken breast
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 2 roma tomatoes, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 c baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 3 T pesto
  • 1/2 lb linguine

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Prepare linguine according to al dente instructions on package.

2. Heat olive oil on medium in a saute pan. While oil is heating, lightly dredge chicken in flour. Saute chicken for 3-4 minutes on both sides, until golden brown. Set chicken aside, keep warm.

3. Saute onion and garlic (in the same pan used to saute chicken) for 5 minutes, until tender.

4. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar, whisk gently for a minute, then add chicken stock. Stir and cook down on med-high heat for ~5 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken.

5. Add chicken and mushrooms, simmer on low an additional 3 minutes.

6. In a separate bowl, combine tomato, mozzarella pearls and pesto.

7. Remove chicken and sauce from heat, toss in pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella pearls coated in pesto.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pesto Goat Cheese Pizza

What a really different and tasty pizza! I think I'll wait to make it again until the summer, so I can use garden fresh ingredients, but the store-bought versions sufficed this time and still produced a really yummy pizza.

  • Pizza crust (I used a thawed loaf of frozen whole wheat bread dough)
  • 1/4 c pesto
  • 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 c baby bella mushrooms, quickly sauteed
  • 1 poblano pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz goat cheese (I used an "herbed tomato" goat cheese I found at the grocery store)
  • 2 scallions, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 425 F
2. Spread pizza dough onto a cookie sheet or pizza pan
3. Layer your ingredients: basil (be generous), cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, green onions

4. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes, until crust is crispy. Let stand at least 3 minutes before slicing and serving.

Asian Veggie Slaw

There are a lot of ingredients in this dish, but I had most of the sauce ingredients in my pantry already and I found the slaw ingredients mostly pre-chopped and ready to go.

  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c veggie oil
  • 1/4 c rice vingegar
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 T peanut butter (I used a creamy organic peanut butter and it stirred right in without too much fuss)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t Sriracha
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 4 c shredded slaw mix
  • 2 c shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 c cooked/shelled edamame (in with frozen veggies in the grocery store)
  • 2 m scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 c chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro

1. Combine all sauce ingredients and whisk vigorously for 1 minute, until sauce is slightly emulsified
2. Combine all slaw ingredients and hand toss
3. Coat veggie slaw in sauce, refridgerate.

I served it with Coconut Shrimp :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spicy Thai Noodles

These spicy, nutty noodles are great hot or cold. Tofu takes on the flavor of the sauce really well :)

  • 1 lb linguine
  • 6 T honey
  • 6 T soy sauce
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c sesame oil
  • 1 T crushed red pepper
  • 1-2 c firm tofu cubed
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 4 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 c peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c shredded carrots

1. Cook linguine to al dente.
2. Combine oils over medium heat. Cook red pepper 2-3 minutes in hot oil. Add tofu and let fry 5 minutes, stirring gently occasionally. Spoon out tofu and set aside on paper towel.

3.  Whisk in soy and honey. Cook down 2-3 minutes.
4. Stir in noodles, cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

5. Remove from heat. Add cilantro, scallions, peanuts, carrots and tofu. Toss and serve (or refrigerate and serve cold later).

Easy peasy! Delish!