Double-feature bonus posts this week! My offering to you, Dear Reader, for being a faithful audience. Enjoy!
A few years ago, I found myself buying one of those cup-salads from Whole Foods a lot in the summer. I liked it so much I figured I should start making it, so I can (a)get it without cilantro and (b)stop feeling like such a yuppie for buying a salad I could clearly reverse-engineer to make myself. Now when I’m up for more than throwing together some greens with nuts (read: up for more chopping), I’ll use this mix as the base recipe and improvise from there. I was actually pretty surprised when I couldn’t find a blog entry for this. Perhaps because it’s so straightforward, it didn’t feel like a recipe. This week’s weather in Seattle is sneaking up to the mid-80s, which counts as hot, so here’s a good option for those hot late Summer days when you don’t want to add another degree to your house by turning on cooking appliances. Air conditioning is a luxury, yo.
This is a follow up to my earlier post, 90% Home Made Pot Stickers. Some friends tried their hand at making some and had some technical questions. Maybe you’d like to have some home cooked ones but not spend the time making from scratch? If you haven’t before, or run into problems, here’s a pretty comprehensive article on it, thanks to Serious Eats!
Other dumpling follow up: leftover filling meatballs: if you’re not going to buy or make more wrappers but you have filling left over, you can roll the pork filling into balls and bake in the oven until they look nice and crisp, and have passed the safe cook temp of 145.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars
How novel to make something again after an earlier recipe.. Likelihood of Repeat: 10% Lesson learned: this got a lackluster reception in my house, and the soy sauce made it a bit on the salty side. It’s totally worth going to get a few more wrappers to wrap more dumplings. You can freeze the rest of the wrappers (and the raw dumplings) anyway.
I’ve made several different sets of this since the first time I shared this recipe (click here for the first post on it), and both settled on a preferred base of ingredients, and eaten enough of them to stop making them for a while (what, about a month of eating them every weekday is not enough?) I have put in my additional updates in blue font below.
1/4 cup almond milk
1 cup chard, finely chopped (or whatever palatable veggie you have on hand such as kale, finely-diced broccoli, zucchini, etc).
1/4 c onions, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, sliced
1/2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices very thinly cut deli ham, orplus coconut oil to grease cupcake cups
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sauté onions 4 minutes on medium, add garlic (optional), fry 1 minute more until garlic is golden.
2. Grease 6 cupcake molds with coconut oil, line thinly with half a ham slice in each cup.
3. Whisk together eggs, almond milk, chard, and onion-garlic mix.
4. Filled 6 cups with mixture, top with one tomato slice each.
5. Bake 30 minutes, then pop out egg cups to eat for the week. Storage Note: if you make a double portion, these also freeze for a pretty decent breakfast later (defrost the day before you want to eat them). If you are a toaster oven devotee, you can pop them in to toast and it crisps them right up.
Today’s Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
The is the second round, I may update if I find the ham was even better (or maybe tasted more virtuous to eat than turkey bacon, which may or may not be better for you than using prosciutto). Likelihood of Repeat: 98%
This has been a household hit too, increasing the chances of repeat. It’s also so portable and satisfyingly filling! Lesson Learned:Just always oil the pan, otherwise you’ll be scraping forever and ruining the finish on your cupcake mold. Also, they are so much prettier with tomato slices on top (and the egg rises through it when baked, neato).
I feel like using thinly sliced ham is both less fattening than prosciutto and less of a waste of prosciutto (and less tedious than pressing sausage into the molds).
Dear Readers -all five of you’s (besides the spammers),
Besides being busy with real life, I’ve had a few dud recipes I am still tinkering with before I admit to having tried them at all. I have more busy life adventures coming up too, so this blog may continue to fall off…
When I’m 80 and looking back (hopefully I’ll be so lucky), I’m pretty sure I won’t say, “aw man, I wish that instead of spending time with people in person I had updated my food blog more!” Plus, I’m pretty sure when you’re 80 and looking back (I wish you the same luck), no one in the history of the world ever said, “aw man! I wish I’d had more blog entries to read about food!”
Random Sunday brunch trial time! ..based in leftover rice from restaurant Revel‘s rice bowl dish with short rib, sambal daikon, and mustard green, plus inspirations from my “roommate”‘s meal selections on trips to Tokyo, and another friend’s rendition of Chicken Arroz Caldo (click here for a random example recipe). My mother would make me really bland congee as a kid when I was sick (or perfectly healthy). Along with fried rice, rice porridge can be a great dish to stretch the rice you have. I took a verbal test in Chinese language once involving a hypothetical dialogue at a fancy hotel, and I still remember my professor being surprised I ordered congee. That was when I learned it’s considered poor folk’s food. Little did he know, they still serve congee at the fancy breakfast buffets in high-end hotels in Asia, because people still like it there too. I seen it with me own eyes.
Leftovers Congee* with Faux Fish Katsu and Crispy Garlic
About 1 cup leftover restaurant rice (the more random delicious flavors in it from, say, short ribs, the better)
~2 cups chicken broth**
~2 cups boiling water**
3 frozen fish sticks
1 tsp chives, minced (could also do scallions)
1 raw egg
1/4 tsp shredded ginger (not included this time, but only because I’m pretty sure there was already ginger in the rice)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup frozen sweet corn
optional but recommended if you make the garlic: breath mints
*Note: this recipe is titled congee, but there are near-infinite variations on this dish across Asia, and even in Portugal (see wikipedia article).
**Liquid amounts are approximate, usually a 1:4 ratio is good for porridge, but it depends on how you like it. Various areas and individual people prefer from runny porridge, to really thick porridge. If you find it is too thick you can always add more water or broth.
1. Boil rice in broth and water until it reaches your desired consistency, 45-1.5 hrs. This can be done via a rice cooker, or in a more watchable format on stovetop. I actually started mine in my high-tech rice cooker so I wouldn’t have to tend it, then found it was too runny for my taste and boiled it on the stovetop another 10 minutes to thicken.
2. Meanwhile, prepare fish sticks per packaging. Toast for a few minutes at the end for extra crunchiness.
3. Set a frying pan with the olive oil to medium heat, once pan is hot, add garlic slices, flipping a few times and frying for just a few minutes until golden brown on both sides. Be careful to take garlic off the pan before it gets to burning.
4. Use the residual oil in the pan to fry an egg over easy on the pan.
5. Assemble toppings on rice (put the sweet corn on the bottom of your bowl before you load in the soup) and enjoy!
This Week’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars
I usually have rice porridge with dried pork sung, but was abysmally low on it in the pantry (since I no longer will just eat it straight out of the package like I did when I was a kid, so supply habits are low), but was on a fish stick kick from yesterday, it was okay but I generally feel a little bad about eating such a processed food. The crispy garlic was quite novel and delicious, though. I may make that again next time i feel like making congee. Likelihood of Repeat: 65%
Unlikely to deign to make frozen fish sticks with this again, but it was worth the shot. I think next time it may be worth trying to boil it with all broth and not water. Lesson Learned: The egg did not need to be completely done to the level desired for eating, since it continues to cook once placed atop the rice porridge, some pickled vegetables might have been nice to try too. I think I would rather have done scallions than chives.. Post-script: I had dragon garlic breath the rest of the day, so it may be good to have some breath mints or a toothbrush and toothpaste on hand.
Do you make a ridge porridge? What variations do you like to do, and what are your favorite things to top it with?
The Kitchn’s Cauliflower Sausage Casserole caught my eye since it did not for once call for loads of cheese, per your traditional Midwestern casserole (er, ‘hot dish’) style. While loads of cheese is delicious, it’s arguably not the healthiest for you, and definitely not the best for lactose-intolerant yours truly. The Kitchn’s version used chicken sausage, but I just went with standard italian sausage for flavor, especially as it wasn’t that big a proportion of the whole thing.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Looks so familiar and homey, but doesn’t make my stomach upset! Likelihood of Repeat: 20%
There were too many partial-cook steps in this, part of the point of a casserole is that you put it all in the dish and bake the crap out of it (the other part of the point is that it may involve leftovers). If I’m going to be blanching cauliflower before baking it, then I might as well just directly roast it in the oven like I usually do (with butter, olive oil, and later lemon and mustard). This recipe was good, but just not remarkable enough for me to add it to the regular rotation. Lesson Learned: Procedure and time spent ratio to delicious reviews from consumers can be way out of wack. Sigh.
April can be a dreary time of year in the Pacific Northwest, when the reason behind the existence of a cozy coffee shop on every other street corner becomes apparent. This Sunday afternoon’s anticipation of spring warmth was salved with trying out this lamb stew recipe, with a side of netflix marathon. I don’t think I’ve ever tried cooking lamb at home, but starting with it in cubed stewed form seemed a good way to start. Got a chance to break in a recently acquired dutch oven (ostensibly bought for car camping cake purposes).
Lamb Stew with Butternut Squash & Carrots
Altered a minuscule degree from: Food 52’s Lamb Stew
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pound lamb shoulder, in 1-inch cubes
1medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped carrots (added more, I lurve stewed carrots) 2 4 cloves garlic, chopped (anything with 2 cloves of garlic, is worth making with 4!)
28 ounces chopped tomatoes (I cheated with canned. In the winter they seem to have more flavor than fresh tomatoes..)
2 cups beef stock 2 sprigs thyme 2 tsp dried thyme 1 sprig rosemary 1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cups cubed butternut squash (1/2-inch)
1/2 tsp butter
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a Dutch oven or saucepan with a lid heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the lamb with salt, and when the oil is hot, brown half of the cubes on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove lamb to a plate with a slotted spoon and add more oil if necessary. Brown the rest of the lamb and then set aside.
2. On medium low, add butter, the onions, carrots and garlic to pot. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
3. Add the tomatoes, stock, herbs and the browned lamb, along with any juices that have accumulated. Bring the stew to a boil over high heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to get up all the brown tasty bits from the bottom of the pot.
4. When the stew comes to a boil, cover the pot and put in the oven. Cook until the lamb is just tender, 2 to 3 hours. Optional: in the mean time, cook some brown rice, and/or butter some naan and add garlic powder and bake. It took me about 2 hours for the lamb to start falling apart.
5. Stir the butternut squash into the stew, re-cover it and return the pot to the oven until the squash is tender, another 20 to 25 minutes. Optional: serve with rice or naan.
This was a nice way to try out the new cast iron dutch oven I got. Now all I have to do is lift some weights so it isn’t so heavy any more. It was pretty difficult to put away left overs without being able to lift it with one arm. I also cheated a bit, using dried herbs, and snagging a box of pre-cut butternut squash from Whole Foods rather than sawing through my own whole squash. Looking forward to being set for a main dish for the next day or two..or three or four. Three other ways I thought of eating this in leftover form, in case you have a skewed mouth-to-portions-available situation like I did:
add chickpeas, roll in naan bread toasted with butter and garlic,
pour on top of pasta and top with parmesan cheese,
saute some thickly-sliced zucchini and onions and mix it in (the tomato cuts some bitterness of the zucchini),
freeze in single portions for a day when you have time to defrost but none to cook and want a hearty meal
stuff some puff pastry with the stew and bake until golden.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Looks so familiar, but everything is slightly different! Orange you glad I tried it, just so I could make that pun? Likelihood of Repeat: 70%
Mmm, nothing quite like filling your house with the smell of savory stew on a lazy Sunday. This is relatively low maintenance with darn high benefit/yield, so I definitely would like to make it again. Lesson Learned: “2 to 3 hours” + “20-25” + prep = 3-5 hours of total process time?! Better get a full season of tv watching ready, or maybe a good book.