Okay folks, I admit, I’ve been a little distracted by the glorious Pacific Northwest summer, traipsing about in the mountains. Between that, work, and other personal projects, feeding the Internet Blog Machine has gotten a little backlogged. So without further ado, here’s one more..
Quite some time ago, I went to school in the other Washington -the District of Columbia. While there, I was exposed to the experience of an even more humid climate than my native Midwest summer. Wandering the concrete jungle blocks from my job at a nonprofit and nerd-exciting statistics classes, I was exposed to my first taste of Korean food ever. It was ironically a vegan Korean shop, and my favorite dish was tofu japchae. In retrospect it was an easy gateway crossover from my beloved childhood Cantonese restaurant dish of beef chow fun (see fellow pun lovers’ recipe at Woks of Life, and really, anything noodle. That first taste opened me up to a whole other cuisine full of spicier, more vegetable-filled and bbq-beef-laden meals like dolsot bibimbap and tofu soup!
Fast forward to years later on a warm Seattle summer day, living with some one who eats low carb, and here is my experiment in turning Japchae paleo friendly.
Sorry I’ve been a little M.I.A. with no weekly post for a while. I started a new job assignment and was pretty busy with that, …and a quick vacation in Kauai to get some quality relaxation in before my work & life falls back into hectic-ness. Also just generally always busy trying to seize life by the throat and shake it all around..
Without further ado, here’s a new installment:
Factor 1: Ah, how memories blur with time. A few years ago I got the privilege of exploring a little bit of Turkey, mostly Istanbul. As an ancient history fan, it was super exciting to explore this city with so much East-Meets-West history, with layers and layers of stories all piled on top of itself, not to mention multiple legacies of countless Roman leaders! That, and trying the food was such an adventure. I still dream of the egg and tomato dish I ate on an Airbnb host’s recommendation near Galata Tower in Istanbul. Fast forward to now, when I finally get around to trying my hand at the recipe below: tomato, egg, peppers, sounds delicious, right? Sounds the same!
Factor 2: When I was a kid and my mama went out of town I’d look forward to my Baba making his signature dish, egg and tomato fry. Yum! Apparently, it is a popular combination with me..
Voila: Sunday brunch dish trial, thinking I was making this:
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.
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
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
Back when I was killing time with my friend Torey spectating a Spartan Race in Vermont (a state worth visiting, by the way), I mentioned to her I was trying to eat more lean protein and that I’m really into chickpeas as one source. She mentioned a particular recipe, and even more impressively, remembered to email it to me later the next week once we were both back on our respective coasts. It’s a happy coincidence that the kitchn is one of my favored sources for recipes too, yay! I roasted a sweet potato the first time, and grossly underestimated the amount of time for that to finish baking in my toaster oven, so if you do the sweet potato, try starting that a bit early, or cut it up to help it cook. Note: there is no recipe directly in here for sweet potato, only a link.*
Is it Fall? Is it windy with a risk of power outage in the Pacific Northwest? Are the daylight hours narrowing into a tiny sliver of hope/despair? Did I just go to Facing East and have stewed pork after a 7 mile hike a few weekends ago?
Time for some long-stewing braised pork! Check out the new gif below.
Below is a combo of my old friend Jenny’s roast pork recipe plus another recipe she sent me (photo from a book). You can generally find five-spice powder at your local Asian grocery store, or online if you don’t want to make it yourself. I’ve known Jenny longer than I haven’t, and she’s been a long-time co-conspirator for cooking tons of food to overfeed people. I’ve learned a lot from her, in cooking and life. Even though we grew up together, she’s one of my favorite role models for living courageously. Thanks a bunch for this recipe, Jenny!
3.74 lb. pork (pork shoulder or butt, bone in)
2 cups water
1 cups soy sauce (for gluten-free, use tamari sauce)
1 cup wine (sherry)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons five-spice powder*
1 large onion, diced
7 slices of ginger
1 green onion, sliced lengthwise
Optional (see steps 3-5):
your starch staple choice of brown rice, quinoa, white rice, etc.
3 carrots, chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled Continue Reading
I looked in the fridge, and all we had were drumsticks, an onion, and a bag of frozen pineapple. I had just a little extra time before my spouse would arrive home from his 20 mile bike ride, so, seized with a mild feeling of inspiration, I took a shot at this classic filipino dish of comfort food (perfect for old school methods of non-refrigeration preservation).
1.5 – 2 lbs dark meat
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
5 Cloves Peeled Garlic, Minced
About 1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 Large Onion, Peeled and Julienned
1 Cups Soy Sauce (for gluten-free: try tamari sauce)
3/4 Cups White Vinegar
1/2 c Fresh Pineapple, Crushed (used frozen, but I’d go with fresh if I had it in reach)
1 TB Black Pepper 3 Bay Leaves (didn’t have any in the house)
These days, my household tries to eat less carb-heavy things on a regular basis, and I’ve taken to making lettuce wraps regularly. One of the first google search results will give you a copycat of the P.F. Chang’s recipe, so that was my jumping off point. Frankly, that is where I’ve eaten most of the lettuce wrap dishes in my life. Not vouching for the authenticity of it here, going there kind of drives me nuts sometimes (okay, every time). I also halved all the sauces from original recipe for a full one pound portion of pork. You’ll want to adjust it to your taste, other people probably like more sweet, oozy sauce than me.
From there, I added things I actually wanted to eat..
(Insert Protein Here) Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
For protein base:
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 pound ground chicken, pork, turkey, salmon, beef or tofu*
For the sauce (portions adjusted from original recipe):
2 Tbs hoisin sauce
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional: Sriracha sauce or red peppers, to taste
To serve with protein base:
1 head butter lettuce, rinsed.
2 green onions, thinly chopped
1 orange, rind peeled and pieces sliced (see video below)**
a handful of toasted cashews, or raw cashews if you can’t find toasted.
1/2 an avocado, cut in bite-able chunks
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat.
Add ground pork and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks; drain excess fat/liquid. NOTE: adjust this time for other proteins until browned enough and reached safe eating temp.
While this cooks, you can toast the cashews on the side.
Stir in mushrooms, garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha (optional) until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. It may already be salty enough before you add salt.
To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the pork mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, add cashews, avocado, orange and green onions, and enjoy!
*Note: I’ve tried this with ground chicken, turkey, pork, and salmon chunks so far, but you could pick any main protein base, including pressed tofu for the focus. For that reason, I’ve tagged this recipe as vegetarian, and paleo. I also marked it gluten-free -standard hoisin and soy sauce ingredients are NOT gluten-free, but you could buy or make a gluten-free version of this if you were up for it and I don’t think it would impact the taste much.
This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5
I still haven’t made this dish enough for it to feel old hat, and every time the outcome is a little different. Likelihood of Repeat: 80%
Also, always a different outcome if you try different proteins with it! Chopped up chicken rather than ground chicken would probably work too, and as long as you don’t get too carried away with add-ons, it doesn’t take hardly any time at all. Interested to try tofu too. Lesson Learned: For this recipe, salmon is at the bottom of the priority list. Meh.
The portions of the recipe say four servings, and in fact it was enough ingredients that I ended up having to split it in half when sautéing -halfway through the process-, in order to get the mushrooms and onions to sear rather than boil. However, if the flavoring turns out good, you may end up with barely 1 mouthful left to put in the fridge between two hungry adults. Success! I think this otherwise could have fed a family of four if said people waited 10-15 minutes after having a few wraps, to feel full. You may also end up with leftover butter lettuce if you buy it in the live form I do, so a follow-up meal of tacos or sandwiches may be good later in the week.
This is definitely a somewhat messy affair to eat. Bring wet naps or be prepared to wash your hands after.
Also: I added the cashews for crunch, you could also try fresh, chopped daikon radish, raw carrots if you like carrots, or other toasted nuts.
**If you’d like a demo on how to cut citrus fruit to avoid the bitter pith, check out this random video I found of a charming guy with an entertaining shirt. Fight scurvy -eat more oranges!
My friend Jenni, of Lasagna Cupcake fame, expressed a burning desire to find out what I made the other night when I sent her a thank-you photo of my dinner with the single-serving tower of wine she kindly gifted me last month. It was perfect for being able to cook with, and have a few modest sips -especially on a day when I wanted to avert a cold but still relax for the weekend!
The critical tip here is: watch those scallops closely! No more than 3 minutes searing total (90 seconds per side)!
If you read the last post and haven’t tried ribboning scallions, here’s your chance. I was too impatient with the icing, which is why you don’t see any scallion curls in the photos here.
Corn & Potato Chowder with Seared Scallops
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: ~45 mins
A filling soup with a meaty seared scallop garnish.
3 slices bacon, cut into small dice (I used turkey bacon this time)
2-3 sea scallops, patted dry
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 lone but large yukon gold potato, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk, in my case)
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh (from 2 ears) or frozen
1/4 of a sprig of scallion, diced or julienned into curls
Optional: 1/2 cup canellini beans, rinsed
In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes, a little more for turkey. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
If you don’t quite have 1 tablespoons of bacon drippings; supplement with olive oil and butter.
Increase heat to medium-high.
Season scallops with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; cook until golden brown, about 90 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion to the drippings in the skillet and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the potatoes, sear for 2 minutes.
Add beans (optional), wine, broth, and cream/coconut milk; cover partially and reduce heat. Simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the scallops and corn and simmer gently to heat through. Sprinkle with the scallions and bacon.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
I don’t make a lot of creamy soups, so this was delicious, yet not as painfully heavy (or later as unhappy for my stomach) as using cream. Likelihood of Repeat: 65% Lesson learned: next time chop the potatoes even smaller, almost pea-sized. When I divided the original recipe proportionately, I ended up with a wet pile of potatoes with corn, and had to add more liquid mix after the fact. I have altered the proportions here for a more soup-like mix. Doesn’t really look like the original recipe’s picture, but whatever. I think I’d use real pork bacon next time, and regular coconut milk rather than lite.
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