Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thai chicken and noodles stir fry

Thai food does not tend to be among my favorites. I don't find it bad, just not quite as good as some other cuisines. This is my first attempt at Thai stir fry, with the guidance of America's Test Kitchen. It wasn't bad, but again, not my favorite taste world.

12 oz chicken breast
1 tsp baking soda
8 oz wide rice noodles
0.25 cup vegetable oil
0.25 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp fish sauce
3 garlic cloves
3 eggs
10 oz broccolini

Cut chicken breasts in half, then cut against the grain into 0.5-cm slices. Mix with 2 tbsp water and 1 tsp baking soda in a bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Cut broccolini florets into 1-inch pieces, stalks into 0.5-inch slices diagonally.

Bring six cups of water to a boil and pour water over rice noodles in a large bowl, stirring immediately to ensure they do not stick together. Soak for 8 minutes, stirring once halfway. Drain and rinse with cold water, toss with 2 tsp vegetable oil.

Whick oyster sauce, molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar together in a bowl. Set aside. Rinse chicken when 15 minutes are up.

Slice garlic cloves into thin slices. Heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet over high heat, add garlic slices and brown lightly. Add chicken and 2 tbsp of sauce mixture, toss to coat and cook without stirring for 90 seconds, flip and cook for another 90 seconds. Push chicken to side of skillet.

Add two tsp oil and the three eggs to empty side of skillet, stirring them in the pan lightly to create a white and yellow streaked scramble. Mix with chicken, cook until eggs are done and set aside chicken and egg mix in a separate bowl.

Add 2 tsp oil and add the broccolini with 2 tbsp sauce mixture. Cover for 1 minute, then cook for 2-3 minutes uncovered until brown in spots. Add to chicken and egg mix.

Heat 2 tsp oil in the empty skillet and add half of the cooked rice noodles and 2 tbsp of sauce mix. Toss to coat and cook about 2 minutes, stirring halfway, until brown in spots. Repeat with other half of noodles. Combine everything back in the skillet. Heat through and serve with chile vinegar (I used Sriracha and vinegar mix).

Mediterranean veggie sandwich

This was inspired by Panera's Mediterranean sandwich, a delicious, light meal. While Panera serves it on a soft sandwich bread with herbs, I only had English muffins at home, and they worked fine. Panera's bread definitely wins if you have time, make a soft sandwich bread for this.

jalapeno slices
Havarti cheese
cilantro pesto

Spread the cilantro pesto on the bread slices, to cover one side of both the bottom and top slice.

Top with veggies: sliced radishes, lettuce leaves, cucumber slices, tomatoes, jalapeno pepper slices. Add generous slices of Havarti cheese. Serve.

Cilantro pesto

I'm a fan of cilantro. The first time I tasted the herb was only five years ago, and it was love at first encounter. In this cilantro pesto the flavors are toned down somewhat, but it's just perfect for pasta and sandwiches.

0.75 cup cilantro leaves
0.25 cup basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp hazelnuts
0.25 cup grated parmesan
0.5 cup olive oil
black pepper

Pick cilantro leaves off of stalks. Measure pressed into cups.

Add every ingredient into the food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Save in freezer.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Balzano apple cake

The queen of apple cakes, tender, creamy, custardy with a delicate flavor. Not a particularly light dessert, but delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

1 stick butter (~110g)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 Fuji/Granny Smith apples
0.5 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 cup milk
1 tbsp vanila sugar

Allow the milk to equilibrate to room temperature. Heat oven to 350F and butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Combine baking powder, flour and salt.

Melt the butter and set aside. Beat the eggs with half the sugar, add the remaining sugar slowly until thick and foamy. Add the vanilla sugar.

Peel apples and cut straight off the core. Slice thinly. Stir butter into egg-sugar mixture. Stir in flour mixture alternating with the milk.

Stir in apples and pour into cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes, rotate pan and bake for another 25 minutes or until cake pulls apart from the edge. Cool for 30 minutes or more and serve.

Roasted new potatoes

This is meant to be a side dish, but on our recent vegetarian trend it worked out as an amazing main meal. New potatoes are perfect for this, but it can be made with red potatoes as well. The skin turns crisp while the insides are so deliciously creamy. The other veggies add to the flavor.

1 lb new potatoes
8 oz mushrooms
half a red bell pepper
half a yellow onion
black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Wash the potatoes and in a glass dish toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and the rosemary and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

 In a separate dish toss the mushrooms with the other tbsp olive oil. Salt lightly.

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the red pepper into 1-inch squares. Add the onions cut into strips.

Place the mushrooms and the potatoes in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn and return for another 20 minutes. Remove and stir again and add the vinegar to the mushrooms. Place back to the oven for another 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave potatoes in there for another 15 minutes. Serve!