Browsing Category: Dinner

How to Beat the Heat: Office Edition (Skill Level: Beginner Cook)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, folks are still getting used to having more than a week’s worth of 80+F degree weather. Many houses don’t have air conditioning, and even offices can feel pretty warm. Mine is LEED-aspirational, which means the temps swing up and down just outside most people’s comfort zone, and certainly outside mine.
If you’re lucky enough to have fridge access at work, with ice cubes, and you haven’t struck on this yet, here’s a couple things to try:*

“Instant” Ice Tea!

Ingredients:
1 tea bag of your choice
2 cups
~7 ice cubes
~8 oz hot water
Optional: your choice of creams or sugars

Steps: Continue Reading

What CAN you eat off the ground?

Forest Fire Fruit: Morels!

Morels, with their buddy thyme.
Morels, with their buddy thyme.

I was lucky enough to score some wild-foraged morels from my friend Tesia, after she came back from a good weekend of collecting them. Apparently, her s.o. even maps out last year’s forest fires to track where good spots to find some morel treasure. It definitely peaked my interest, especially after a stint earlier in the year at a local community garden prepping for summer, when we found a morel poking out through the cardboard laid over a garden patch for winter. No- I didn’t eat it, my fellow volunteers warned me it was ‘a city mushroom,’ with unknown consequences. Even NPR did a segment on it.

From Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.
“Sometimes we call it ‘chasing the burns,’ ” mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.
After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters ‘Chase The Burn’

Apologies, much of the ingredients are amounts “to taste,” and I was trying to track too many things so don’t have any exact times on here. The Serious Eats article did not specify times either.

Now, a rare medium on this blog thus far: a video.*

Ingredients:
Morels from your friend, the mushroom-gatherer (or from your friend at the farmer’s market)
1/2 onion, minced (alternatives: garlic, shallots, minced)
High heat oil for pan
Butter, about 1 pat
soy sauce, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
lemon juice, 1 tsp (to taste)
chicken stock, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
optional: chives, minced
salt & pepper, to taste

Optional but very useful supply:

pastry brush (or in my case, an extra toothbrush from my travels, because my pastry brush is silicone and the bristles would have been too big) Continue Reading

The Easy Sauce You Can Bank, to Up Your Spontaneous Grill Game This Summer – Chimichurri

You guys, I have a confession: I hate cilantro.* I used to think I hate parsley, but in the last five years its resemblance to the flavor of cilantro has faded. Then, I had the privilege to vacation in Chile last year, and there was this sauce that kept appearing at restaurants with the steak. It tasted of garlic, and was full of green stuff. I liked it so much I had to stop a waiter to find out what it was. His reply was: chimichurri. Obvi, K and I had to grab some pre-mixed (as training wheels) packets on our habitual grocery-store-for-travel-keepsakes** run before we left Santiago. I think it was a Carrefour..

Fast forward months later when I finally got around to mixing it up as K seared some steak on the Big Green Egg, some balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, and a bunch of the dry packet. Eh, it was okay, but it also kind of tasted like dried leaves and dust. Long-time readers may notice this packet also made an appearance in one crispy-bottomed oyster mushroom steak post. The sauce was much improved once eaten on top of something, but I feel like anything you pour atop something else, even if a little strong, should be able to stand on its own too.

Now get back in the time machine, and move forward a little more:

Chimichurri sauce recipe from L. Borchert
Chimichurri sauce recipe, thanks to L. Borchert!

I went out and got some actual red wine vinegar to add to my pantry for this, just to get closer to the intended flavor. I was doing another recipe that called for some parsley, and needed to make use of the rest before it sits in a jar in the back of my fridge getting forgotten. Then, I mixed up a big batch of this into 3 mason jars, to last a whole month in the fridge! Continue Reading

Radish Cake (No Shrimp!)
Gluten-free options included

Radish Cake by Food the Wong Way: homemade, with gluten-free ingredients and no dried shrimp bits.

A super-processed food recipe! Special exceptions must be made for once-a-year-events. Happy lunar new year! Special thanks to my mama, and also to my co-conspirator Sarah, for providing her grandma-made childhood memories and decisive nature to help with quality assurance, with decision-making, and for even loaning me a steamer.

Other names for this dish:

Turnip cake
Lo bak gao (phonetically in Cantonese dialect, often found via dim sum restaurant lingo)
Carrot cake (in Singapore)
蘿蔔糕 (Luo Bo Gao written, traditional Chinese)
萝卜糕 (Luo Bo Gao written, in Simplified Chinese)

Why no shrimp?I tried this labor-intensive recipe at home because lately when I go to some Chinese restaurants in the States, they’ve sprinkled their radish cake with bits of shrimp so I can’t eat it unless I want to risk anaphylactic shock (re: crustacean allergy, i.e. shellfish that has an exoskeleton). This is one of my favorite standard dishes for dim sum both in the U.S. and abroad, I especially love when they get the outside just-right crunchy, and a soft, squishy inside.

The finished product: take 2 post freezing and thawing.
The finished product: Take 2, post-freezing and -thawing.

蘿蔔糕 (Luo Bo Gao)! Radish Cake!

Makes: 2 medium steamers and one rice cooker 4″ x 4″. Enough to serve a dozen ppl as a small side
Overall Time: 60+ Minutes to Multi-Day

Ingredients

1.5 long daikon/Chinese radish (2lbs), skinned & shredded
2-3 chinese sausages, thinly minced into tiny pieces (for vegetarians: you’ll still get umami if you do the mushrooms and no sausage)
16 oz. rice flour
3-5 shiitake mushrooms, minced (you can also used dried, but fully rehydrate it before cutting, at least 1 hr or overnight)
1.5 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 cups water
high heat oil for frying

Optional but Recommended: choose a few for umami

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Seoul Revisited – Guest Blog from K on Chizza

On Jan 28, 2016, at 7:51 AM, Kristoffer Jonson (email redacted) wrote:
My 2pm KFC excursion ended up being my lunch and dinner.
Chizza brought me there but there was so much to experience.

ChizzaTrip1

Apparently it was a great time to come to Seoul because they are discontinuing the Chizza.

ChizzaTrip2
It was 38% off but still full of flavor.  I love the precision they used in how much it was on sale.

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Home Made Almond Milk

You guys, I finally gave in and tried making home made almond milk! Blame it on that Monday MLK holiday, and a big bag of expensive-feeling almonds from Cash & Carry. As a lactard, I ordinarily drink almond milk at home en lieu of regular milk, when I’m not indulging with coconut milk to lace my coffee, so it’s already a staple in my house. It was delicious, and I can’t believe it took me so long to finally try making it, especially as I was gifted with a powerful Vitamix last year.

Almond milk: snapped this pic just before the rest of it got gobbled down!
Almond milk: snapped this pic just before the rest of it got gobbled down!

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Butternut Squash & Coconut Milk Soup

I love soup. Did I mention I love soup? Predictably, my household caught the sniffles after all that holiday activity and travel, and my mind was filled with thoughts of healing soup. It’s a great way to take a lot of fluids and help you get better. There was this one day where I made two vats of soup for the week, went out to eat for another soup, and made a quick mug of noodle soup before bed. Just soup-er.
This one is creamy despite not having dairy, “thank goodness,” said the lactard. I also did away with the shrimp to eliminate my risk of anaphylactic shock, and took a shot frying tofu on the side. *I had to go to two different stores to get a red curry paste without shrimp paste in it (thank you vegan options), so if you’re going vegetarian check the ingredients listing before buying that. Entertainingly, the original recipe I riffed off is from Whole Foods Market via an Instacart link, see Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Shrimp. If you choose tofu as your side protein, read up in step 1 beforehand and adjust your task times accordingly.

The completed dish: butternut squash & coconut soup with fried tofu.
Butternut squash & coconut soup with fried tofu.

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Chickpea & Chorizo Soup

I was hunting for chickpea recipes a while ago to help me eat more lean protein, and I tried this one. I did not like the result. Then I ate some the following day, and it was delicious! The flavors just needed to marinate more. I took the recipe and cut it in half, because I was making an other giant vat of soup in parallel. This is a nice hearty one for winter, I made a pot on Sunday for the rest of the week.

Chickpea and Chorizo Soup
(originally from The Kitchn)

makes about 1 quart

Ingredients:
6 ounces chorizo sausage, sliced
1/2 large white onion, chopped and thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

Pan-fried chorizo! tempting to eat it this way.

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Artichoke Dip – the travel potluck dish

Have you flown thousands of miles for the holidays and unwittingly still found yourself signed up to bring a dish for the family potluck? Have all the gifts been arranged and wrapped by your helpful partner (or recent Past Self) , patiently helping you bear the crush of expectation to somehow visit 50+ people in the span of a few days? Do you still feel that inexplicable competitive urge to “win” the potluck?
Well my friends, I’ve got the recipe for you. Here’s my fallback, which has only 4 critical ingredients, 1 bonus, and the real secret ingredient is finding out when the store near where you’re staying is open on Christmas Eve day, Christmas Day, or whatever other  holiday you are celebrating.

Lots of other people tend to have some of these things lying around their house already, I try not to use too many canned products in my cooking, but I do keep canned artichokes around so I can make this on short notice.

This was originally from my friend Gihani back in 2007 when I live in DC, she got it from her husband who got it from his mom. I’ve refined it only a little, because the base was just so solid.

Ingredients
1 cup mayo (I trying mayo with olive oil today, but hopefully the smoke point of olive oil won’t mess it up)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Parmesan,, shredded
15 oz. can artichokes hearts, drained and chopped. (or marinated artichokes)

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