Monday, July 06, 2015

Fried Rice

One of T's contributions to our Asian dinner was Fried Rice. But in true form, she managed to be busy when it was time to cook the rice so the task fell to me. I pick on her about this all the time, her knack for finding something else to do when I'm in her kitchen so she's off the hook for cooking. I actually don't mind - I love cooking in her kitchen. There's so much room!

Asian night
(all photos by T. Casey)

Anyway, let's talk about this fried rice. T did all the prep the day before (a must when making fried rice - the rice needs to be pre-cooked and cold) so all I had to do was throw it all together in her huge cast-iron skillet.

Asian night

This was outstanding. So fresh and flavorful. T doubled the recipe for our dinner and it was enough to feed 6 adults, 2 kids plus two of T's adult kids who scrounged the kitchen for leftovers after we'd eaten.

Fried Rice
As seen on Gimme Some Oven

3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 eggs, beaten
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
4 cups cooked and chilled short-grain white rice
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Heat 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Add the beaten egg, and cook until scrambled, stirring occasionally. Remove egg to a separate plate.

Add an additional 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and heat until melted. Add carrots, onion, peas and garlic, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion and carrots are soft.

Increase heat to high, add in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, and stir until melted. Immediately add the rice, green onions, soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir until combined. Continue stirring for an additional 3 minutes to fry the rice. Then add in the eggs and stir to combine. Add the sesame oil, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

Serve warm.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings

The theme for our latest dinner with our friends C & T was Asian food. We usually pick one recipe to make at T's house and this time we chose Steamed Dumplings. I've never made dumplings before and incorrectly assumed they'd be a lot of work. Nope!

Asian night
(all photos by T. Casey)

T always cons me into doing all the work (just kidding, I love cooking in her gorgeous kitchen). After I mixed up the filling we assembled the first batch, placing up a little bit of filling onto each dumpling wrapper, wiping the edges with water, and then folding the dough into a triangle. Then we pinched the two edges together to make little packages.

Asian night

SP and I got a bamboo steamer as a wedding present and had never used it. Oops! We lined the bottom with cabbage leaves, placed the dumplings on top and set it over a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Asian night

These dumplings were outstanding. They had great flavor from the filling and the dipping sauce (which mirrored those same flavors) was perfect. We all gobbled them up. We doubled the recipe below so we had 40+ dumplings for 6 adults and 2 kids and it wasn't enough. Thankfully we had extra filling and T had more wrappers in her fridge, so I quickly assembled another 20 dumplings. The kids would run into the room, grab a handful of dumplings off the platter and run off to play, then come back for more. So, so good.

Asian night

I can't wait to make these again. My mom has already put her in request.

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings
From Rasa Malaysia
Makes about 20-24 steamed dumplings

1/2 pound ground pork
8-10 medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into small pieces
1 scallion, finely chopped
3 dashes white pepper
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine or sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
1 pack potsticker/dumpling wrappers

Combine the ground pork, shrimp, chopped scallions, ginger, and all the seasonings together. Mix well and set aside.

To make dumplings, place a small spoonful of the filling in the center of a wrapper. Dab a little water with your finger and circle around the edge of the skin, and then fold and pleat the dumpling accordingly. Repeat the same for the rest.

Arrange the dumplings in a bamboo steamer (lined with parchment paper or cabbage leaves at the bottom) and steam for 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

To pan fry the dumplings: heat a large skillet and swirl some oil around to coat the pan. Add a single layer of pot stickers. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to turn golden on the underside. Don't move them. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover immediately. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the dumplings release from the pan. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce
From Martha Stewart

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 scallion, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl.
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quick Stir-Fried Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas

Baby Girl loves snow peas. Usually she eats them raw but I wanted to try cooking them as a side dish for dinner one night. After a quick Google search I found this recipe for Quick Stir-Fried Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas. The ingredients closely mirrored my main dish (a family favorite - Cheater Korean Beef) so I thought it would be perfect

Snow peas

Sadly, I overcooked the snow peas, but they were still tasty. Baby Girl told me she loved the flavor but wished they were still crispy like when she eats them raw. Next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I won't let them go too far.

Snow peas

Quick Stir-Fried Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas
As seen on Diner's Journal from the NY Times

2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil
1 1/2 pounds snow or sugar snap peas, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Place 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep skillet or wok and turn heat to high. When it begins to smoke, toss in peas and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they are glossy, bright green and begin to show a few brown spots, about 5 minutes.

When peas are almost done, stir in ginger and garlic, and cook another minute or so. Turn off heat and remove peas to a platter. Drizzle with dark sesame oil and soy sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning, and serve.
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Monday, June 08, 2015

Cut-Out Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

::waves hi:: I hope you guys are still with me. I didn't realize I'd taken such a long break. It was completely unintentional, actually. Here's the short explanation before I tell you about these cookies I made for Christmas.

Long story short, blogging isn't as much fun for me as it used to be. I've never been a big-name blogger but I started to get annoyed that my photos aren't that good, that I always had to try new recipes instead of remaking old favorites, that I wasn't interested in food trends like spiralizers and zoodles. Frankly, blogging became a chore so I just stopped doing it. I can't remember the last time I photographed a meal with the intention of blogging about it. I started remaking dishes I hadn't made in years and just enjoyed eating with my family every night.

Last night I realized it had been more than a month since I blogged and I figured I should see if I had any recipes in my draft folder that I could write about. And I found these Cut-Out Sour Cream Sugar Cookies that I made for Christmas.

Sour cream sugar cookies

I never even grabbed a shot of these frosted so you'll just have to take my word for it that the frosting was awesome. Baby Girl and I made these together and they were so easy and so delicious. Definitely my go-to cookie recipe for the holidays from now on.

I don't know how often I'll blog in the coming weeks/months, but I'm actually making a new recipe tonight. If it's good, I'll blog about it. If you want to follow me on Instagram you can see all the food photos I do take, although it's not always of things I've cooked.

Cut-Out Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
By Monica

FOR COOKIE DOUGH:
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

FOR FROSTING (makes 1/2 cup of frosting):
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons half and half
food coloring

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In second large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the sour cream and butter at low speed; add sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined. (It's okay if it's a little lumpy as long as no butter chunks are visible.) Gradually add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture, mixing until well combined. Dough will be sticky. (You can stir it by hand with a wooden spoon.) Divide dough onto two pieces of plastic wrap; flatten dough, wrap tightly, and refrigerate 1-2 hours. (Make ahead tip: Dough may be made to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Generously flour your counter and rolling pin. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour. Starting at the center, roll the dough out until dough is an even 1/4" thick all over. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out dough shapes. Transfer dough shapes to baking sheets.

Bake 2 sheets at a time for 8-10 minutes, rotating and switching pans half way through cooking time. Bake just until they are cooked all the way through but haven't started browning on the bottom. Transfer hot cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, softened butter, vanilla, and half of the half and half in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine ingredients on a low speed until you have a thick paste and all of the lumps are gone. Gradually add remaining half and half and continue mixing on medium speed until frosting is a smooth, silky, spreadable consistency. If it's still too thick, add more cream 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Mix in food coloring, if desired. Frost each cookie and decorate with sprinkles while frosting is still wet. Leave out to dry for several hours until dry to touch before storing in an airtight container. If stacking frosted cookies, put waxed or parchment paper between layers.
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Friday, May 01, 2015

Homemade Tater Tots

Sometimes I see a recipe and I have to make it right away. That was the case with these Homemade Tater Tots. I was reading my blog feed on a Friday afternoon and came across this recipe. Baby Girl doesn't like tater tots, (for some reason she isn't a fan of most potato dishes) but she was going to my parent's house for a sleepover that night. Score! I immediately went into my kitchen to see what kind of potatoes I had. Unfortunately I only had red potatoes, but I forged ahead anyway.

Tater tots

Red potatoes have less starch and more sugar, so they're drier and stickier than a russet. I had a heck of a time forming these into tots, but I persevered with a bowl of water to rinse my hands. I can't wait to make these again, but with a russet instead. They're starchy and light, which makes them perfect for frying. Even so, these were really good. SP loved them. Now if only we could get Baby Girl to like them...

Homemade Tater Tots
As seen on Damn Delicious

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup vegetable oil

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and cook until parboiled, about 6-7 minutes; drain well and let cool.

Using a box grater, finely shred potatoes. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain potatoes completely, removing as much water as possible.

Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Stir in flour, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and dill; season with salt and pepper, to taste. The mixture should be workable but dry. Form potatoes into tots.

Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add tots (don't crowd the pan) and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with some more salt and then serve immediately.*

*TO FREEZE: Transfer cooled tater tots to an airtight container. Freeze up to 1 month. To bake, preheat oven to 400 and bake until heated through, about 15-17 minutes.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

One-Pot Chicken Mudega (Chicken with Prosciutto in a Lemon Wine Sauce)

I love one pot meals, especially when they involve pasta. I saved this recipe for One-Pot Chicken Mudega (Chicken with Prosciutto in a Lemon Wine Sauce) last year and I'm so annoyed that I put off making it this long. Isn't that always the way?

Chicken mudega

One day I found myself perusing the freezer looking for dinner ideas. I found some prosciutto and a few chicken breasts and I remembered this recipe. Like any one-pot meal, this one comes together easily with delicious results. I really love pasta cooked in a flavorful sauce rather than added at the end. The brightness of the lemon zest and juice really make this dish pop. And anything with prosciutto is a win in my book. We all gobbled this one up.

The sauce can get a bit thick after you add the cheese, but you can just add a little extra water to thin it out. The leftovers reheated beautifully the next day, too.

One-Pot Chicken Mudega (Chicken with Prosciutto in a Lemon Wine Sauce)
As seen on Coffee and Cannolis

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Salt and pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
12 ounces thin spaghetti, broken in half
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup shredded Provel cheese (or a combination of 1/2 cup American and 1/2 cup mozzarella)

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and cook until crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken in a single layer and cook without moving for about 1 minute to brown. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the prosciutto.

Add the onion to the skillet. Cook over medium heat until softened. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in wine and simmer about a minute until thickened.

Stir in broth, water and pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook at a high simmer for about 12-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the pasta is tender. Make sure to stir the pasta often with tongs so it doesn't clump together.

Add the chicken, prosciutto and any juices to the skillet, along with the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cheese. Stir well to incorporate everything and melt the cheese. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it with some water. You want the pasta to be silky and move around easily when picked up with tongs. Serve.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mustard-Roasted Fish

We all love fish but I'm not great at changing up how we eat it. We have two family favorites - homemade fish sticks and tilapia francese. I buy a club pack of frozen tilapia filets and those are the two dishes I make over and over again.

Then Ina's recipe for Mustard-Roasted Fish came into my life. I follow Ina's page on Facebook and it was re-posted there as an easy weeknight meal recommendation. I've had a jar of grainy mustard in my pantry for ages just waiting to be used and this sounded easy and delicious.

Mustard roasted fish

Ina recipes never steer me wrong but this was outstanding. I loved the flavors in the sauce (I was glad I made rice to sop up the extra) and it really was one of the easiest meals I've ever made. All you do is mix the sauce ingredients, put the fish in a baking dish, top with the sauce and bake. I'm happy to have a new fish dish in the rotation.

Mustard-Roasted Fish
From Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Cooking spray
4 fish fillets (tilapia, cod, red snapper, etc.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces creme fraiche
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons drained capers

Preheat the oven to 425.

Spray an ovenproof baking dish with cooking spray. Place the fish fillets in the dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the creme fraiche, 2 mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. You want the fish to flake easily at the thickest part (test by pulling at the fish with a fork).

Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.

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