Browsing Category: Guest Blogs

Upo trials – Part 2!
Upo two ways, a guest post by Tricia

A guest post from my friend Tricia! Y’all get a two-fer today, enjoy!

-Y_______.

Upo, Two Ways

When I read about Yiling’s upo bounty, I was excited to take one on for myself. I love all vegetables and love to think up creative ways to cook them. Reading more about the squash, one recipe quickly came to mind. After looking further at how it was used in different recipes, I had another plan in mind – not a recipe, per se, but an approach.

Two upo’s arrived on my doorstep one evening and I was very impressed by their size and their heft.

Carrying one is akin to carrying a pumpkin, if the pumpkin was long and oblong rather than round. The rind/skin was very tough – nothing like a summer squash or cucumber. It took some muscle and a lot of patience to carve the rind off of the more tender center. Some parts of the squash were notably woodier than others with large, tough seeds. This was different from the pictures I’d seen, so decided to cut that away. I am guessing that this is because the squash were harvested late and/or had sat for a while toughening up. Regardless, even after cutting out about a third of the squash, I was left with enough for both recipes I wanted to try. Each recipe made 4 servings.

For my first attempt, I started at the butcher. B&E is my local butcher – taking over from A&J Meats, a Seattle institution. Fortunately, B&E hired the butcher who made A&J’s sausages, which were and are once again fantastic. I picked up 2 traditional bratwurst and 1 chicken garlic for a total of ~ 1 pound of meat. The butcher removed them from their casings, so it was ready for me to sauté along with a diced onion. I added to that some roasted poblano (spicy!) that I had left over from my CSA, several tablespoons of minced ginger, some rice wine, a spoonful of chili-garlic sauce, and a 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes. Then the cubed squash joined the party as I let everything cook together for an hour or so. The result was delicious – like a bolognaise but with more heft from the squash and spice from the ginger, pepper, and chili. I served this with roast spaghetti squash.

For upo #2, I followed this recipe from food52: Miso Quinoa Pilaf with Grilled Cucumber, Eggplant, and Soy Dressing:

I substituted the eggplant and cucumber with the upo and some diced radishes (also from the CSA box; wasn’t sure what else to do with them). I followed the recipe, more or less, other than cooking the quinoa in stock rather than milk and stir-frying the veg rather than grilling them. I also added the miso at the end, as it’s my understanding that you get more of miso’s health benefits if it doesn’t boil. Again, terrific results: the balsamic/soy/orange/miso combo was intensely flavorful, the radishes added crunch, and the squash rounded out a healthy vegetarian meal.

Novelty Rating: 5 of 5
It was really fun trying something totally different, especially as there is very little about this on the internet. The recipes I used also had very unusual flavor combinations, which made the meals fun to eat.
Likelihood of Repeat: 5%
While it was really fun trying something new, the squash took a lot of work to cut up and it didn’t, on its own, contribute much to the flavor of the dish. I would, however, try the recipes with other vegetables, however, like eggplant, cucumber, and summer squash.
Lesson learned: This was a good reminder that really tasty sausage can make a dish very special. I’ve already gone back to B&E to try another variety for another recipe.

 

Thank you, Yiling, for giving me a fun culinary experience!

Tricia

Guest Vid by K: Espresso & Tonic!

Inspired by our neighborhood coffee shop Neptune’s Espresso Tonic (as mentioned in Bon Appetit), K___ tried his hand at making one himself, using our favored tonic water of choice, Fever Tree*. Presenting: espresso tonic, the Wongson way!

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
 5 of 5 stars.
Well, that is certainly novel.
Likelihood of Repeat: 35%
The first couple sips are always a little startling, after that it starts to grow on you..I think…maybe..
Don’t worry folks, if this is not enough cold refreshment for you this summer, I’ve got at least two more in my back pocket coming, on top of last year’s frozen coconut limeade.
Lesson Learned: Even when you’re feeling unsuspectingly casual and lazy-looking without a stitch of makeup on a Sunday afternoon, you might still concede to post a video that includes your mug in it, in the interest of telling the world about the DIY espresso tonic your household experienced..shrug.
But seriously, next time I might try muddling the rosemary** a little, and maybe adding a few crushed berries for a sweet, tart flavor.

*I actually drink tonic water on its own sometimes, no gin.   On the advice of one of my docs, the quinine in it supposedly helps with nocturnal leg cramps -so painful they wake me up. The internet, however, indicates that docs no longer prescribe quinine for anything besides malaria due to strong side effects (beyond the crazy dreams, I’m guessing). I have to assume that tonic water has much lower amounts of it than a prescription, though. However, if you are after quinine in tonic water, read the bottle labels carefully. Sometimes it’s just sugar water without any actual tonic-ness.

**From the garden out back! Hooray!

Guest Blog: 
Lasagna Cupcakes!

Mmmm, cupcakes.
Mmmm, cupcakes.

Do you ever say, ‘I’m just looking’ and then you find something? I was cruising around Pinterest to find a new recipe for cooking Valentine’s Day dinner for my husband. I was intrigued with the notion of taking traditional lasagna into a cupcake shape. It was well worth it – each cupcake had it’s own crispness (much like the corners of a traditional lasagna) and wonton wrappers felt less filling than pasta noodles. Overall a fun spin on an original that I will make again!
-Jenni L.

Recipes source from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

 

 

 

Lasagna Cupcakes

Ingredients
1/3 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1 ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup ricotta cheese
1 cup pasta sauce
Basil for garnish

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray
3. Brown beef, season with salt and pepper
4. Drain beef
5. Return pan to heat and add tomato sauce
6. Cut wonton wrappers into circle shapes (using the top of a drinking glass)
7. Start layering; wonton wrapper, tomato sauce, ricotta
8. Repeat layers until add about 2-3 wonton wrapper layers are added per cupcake
9. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown
11. Let cool for 5 minutes
12. Use a knife to loosen edges, then pop each lasagna out
13. Garnish with basil and serve

Buon appetito!

Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
3.8 of 5 stars
Likelihood of Repeat: 75%
The taste of melted cheese is like gelato on a warm day and that’s lasagna; however, lasagna in a cupcake shape is phenomenal. I don’t think I could ever go back to making lasagna in a rectangular pan. My cupcake tin is now reserved for lasagna!

Lesson Learned: Use cooking spray and let the lasagna sit for 5 minutes after removed from the oven. Removing the lasagna cupcake from the tin is delicate and letting the lasagna rest for 5 minutes after removed from the oven is key (reserve a little cheese to munch on in the meantime). ☺

So easy to eat!
So easy to eat!

Guest Blog: General Tso’s Chicken!

I was inspired by a documentary and couldn’t shake my need to visit the General. Fairly quick, kinda tasty, really fried, and sweet. Je suis Tso.
-Kris J.

The General

Ingredients:
1 pound of chicken (I prefer thighs)
Some mayonnaise for coating chicken*

Dry Coating (inspired/copied from Serious Eats):
½ cup of flour
½ cup of corn starch
½ teaspoon of baking powder
some salt/pepper to taste (I personally prefer it on the salty side)

General Sauce
1 bottle of general or orange chicken sauce
Orange zest to taste (less is better)

Oil
Lots of high heat safe oil

Chop, mix, bread, fry.
Chop, mix, bread, fry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut your chicken into small little pieces and coat in mayonnaise. *Mayonnaise was my egg bath substitute due to my lack of eggs in the fridge and worked well. Good thing because I don’t support abortion.
  2. Combine the dry coating ingredients in a separate bowl.
you can see the sieve in the foreground for draining some oil off.
you can see the sieve in the foreground for draining some oil off.
  1. Place coated chicken in dry bath and toss like a deflated football.
  2. Fill a pot with oil, you don’t need as much as you think and heat to 350 degrees. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Try to maintain oil temperature at 350 degrees (ie you need to increase heat after you add the chicken).
  3. Remove chicken and place in a pan.
  4. Add General sauce and toss at mediumish heat and add orange zest to taste.
    I’m too poor to have a wok, but my non-stick pan worked OK. I went easy on the sauce, but add as much as you like.
  5. Heat until your desired caramelization.

And there you have it.

sauce from Whole Foods, try applying it lightly first and see.
sauce from Whole Foods, try applying it lightly first and see.
it.
it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
3 of 5 stars.
Likelihood of Repeat: 100% (still have most of the bottle left and chicken is cheap)
Lesson Learned: Don’t listen to spouse when she insists on adding more and more orange zest.