Monthly Archives: March 2015

Miso Soup with Shrimp and Watercress

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, March 2015

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Simple but satisfying, miso soup is traditionally served with dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced green onions and tiny cubes of tofu. Here it gets a springtime makeover with shrimp and watercress. Kombu is basically an edible form of kelp or seaweed and bonito flakes  are dried fish flakes.Both of theses products are staples in Japanese cooking and are available at almost any Asian market.

Ingredients:
3-inch piece kombu
1⁄2 cup bonito flakes
2 Tablespoons light miso paste
1⁄4  pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1⁄3 cup  watercress greens
Thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts

Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine the kombu and 3 cups  cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove and discard the kombu. Remove from the heat, add the bonito flakes, and stir gently once. Let stand for 5 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the bonito flakes. Return the broth to the saucepan.

In a small bowl, combine the miso paste with 1⁄4 cup  of the warm broth. Stir until the paste is softened and very smooth. Stir into the broth and warm gently over medium heat, taking care not to boil the soup.

Add the shrimp and simmer just until bright pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in the watercress, garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

 

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Octopus with Black Bean-Pear Sauce

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Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert is a master at weaving together unexpected ingredients, like this tender  cooked octopus with a sauce of salty fermented black beans and sweet pear. Finding a wine pairing for such a complex dish, however, is a challenge. “It needs a very aromatic wine, just to stand up to all the flavors,” says wine director Aldo Sohm.

I used a fresh baby octopus that was available at the Asian Market in my local area. Cooking the octopus by this method ensure a very tender protein.

Given the amount of salt in the various components of this dish, I omitted the squid ink. I also added a pinch of brown sugar just give a little more sweetness to the dish and to balance out the acidity of the lemon juice and the balsamic vinegar.

Enoy!

Serves 4
Ingredients:

For the Octopus
6 garlic cloves, halved
2 parsley sprigs
One 2-ounce piece of prosciutto
1 teaspoon salt
4 octopus tentacles (about 2 pounds total)

For the Black Bean–Pear Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon finely diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeño
1/2 small Bartlett pear, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced chives

For the Miso Vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon white miso
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon squid ink (optional)
2 tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To Finish:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons hot paprika
Salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
16 baby arugula leaves
1 small Anjou pear, cut into very thin wedges

Directions:
In a large, deep skillet, combine 2 quarts of water with the onion, garlic, parsley, prosciutto and salt. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the octopus to the broth, cover partially and simmer over low heat until tender, about 1 hour; drain and pat dry.

In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the black beans and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pear and remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and chives.

In a small bowl, whisk the miso with the balsamic vinegar, oil, squid ink and 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix the olive oil with the paprika and rub it all over the cooked octopus; season with salt. In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the octopus and cook over high heat until browned all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer the octopus to a carving board and slice it crosswise 1/3 inch thick.

Spread the vinaigrette on 4 plates and top with the octopus. Spoon the black bean–pear sauce over the octopus. Garnish with the arugula and pear wedges and serve.

Banana Soufflés

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Adapted from Eric Ripert

These simple, airy soufflés are the perfect marriage of Puerto Rican ingredients and French technique to make this dessert. These banana  soufflés are also  the perfect compliment to a meal  for those who like their desserts just sweet enough, but not too sweet. Enjoy!

Serve 4

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
5 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 firm, ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/4 cups)
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon coconut rum
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 large egg yolk
3 large egg whites
Salt

Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Brush four 1-cup (8 ounces) ramekins with melted butter. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar to 1 of the ramekins and rotate it to coat with sugar. Tap the excess sugar into another ramekin and repeat until all the ramekins are coated with sugar.

In a food processor, puree the bananas with the lime juice, rum, vanilla, egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of the sugar until smooth. Scrape the banana mixture into a large bowl.

In a medium stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until firm and glossy. Using a rubber spatula, beat one-fourth of the beaten whites into the banana mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Spoon the soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins and tap them lightly on a countertop. Transfer the soufflés to a baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and risen.

Serve at once.

Scallops with Orzo, Tomatoes and Ginger

Recipe Adapted from Eric Ripert

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Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 cup orzo or other tiny pasta
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, tender inner core of  bottom third only, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes
3 Tablespoons chopped basil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops

Directions:
In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the orzo, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a mini processor, mince the ginger with the lemongrass. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the ginger and lemongrass and cook over moderately high until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the basil and the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the scallops, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook for 1 minute longer.

Mound the orzo in shallow bowls or on plates and top with the tomatoes and scallops. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of basil and serve.

Gochujang 고추장 (Hot Pepper Paste)

Move over, Sriraccha,

There is a new red hot pepper sauce on the culinary horizon………Gochujang……..

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Gochujang on spoon This Korean red pepper paste is a staple sauce used throughout Korean cooking, It is used in most Korean dishes that are spicy such as Jeyuk bokkeum, Bibimbap and ddukbokki. It is warm, sweet and spicy and goes well with most meats and also has a lot of health benefits to.

 

History
Gochujang can be traced back to the mid to late 16th century, it was made after chilli’s were introduced by Japan. It was traditionally made at home by adding red chilli powder to powdered sticky rice, and adding in powdered soybeans and salt. This mixture was then aged in traditional Korean jars in a similar way to kimchi, this gives the sauce it’s pungent flavor.

It is a fermented and preserved food, used mainly for seasoning and flavoring. This hot pepper paste is thought to stimulate digestion because it contains amylase and protease.

gochujang boxIn Modern South Korea it is now produced on a mass commercial scale, you will find gochujang in every Korean home, as it’s an absolute must for Korean cooking, however homemade gochujang is much rarer, due to the time it takes to make it, but a number of elders still carry out the tradition and you may be able to pick up some homemade red pepper paste in a Korean street market.

Gochujang has become part of Korean tradition over the past few hundred years. Its health effects are as impressive as many other Korean foods. It has been found that it contains as many nutrients as soybean sauce. Gochujang sauce is known to contain Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, protein and carotene. Another health component is that gochujang contains a number of Micro-organisms that can help purify the intestines. Capsaicin which is the substance that makes chilli’s spicy, is also attributed to a number of health benefits, it is believed to calm down the stomach and speed up the excretion of waste, this in turn is believed to help fight obesity and is a contributing factor as to why South Korea has one of the world’s lowest obesity rates. Capsaicin is also great if you have a cold.

The popularity of gochujang   has started to grow and spread outside of South Korea, it’s unique warmth and versatility allows it to be used with almost anything, and recent appearances on cooking shows seen on television, alongside famous faces such as Nigella Lawson, will only help its popularity. It surely won’t be long before it moves from Asian stores to mainstream local grocery stores and supermarkets.

For recipes for excellent home made gochajang see the links below:

Easy Korean Food:
http://www.easykoreanfood.com/gochujang-Recipe.html

Maangchi:
http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/gochujang

Video: http://youtu.be/1yuaUJ2oh6Q

St. Patrick’s Day

Just as Spring is right around the corner, many people are wearing green  and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day  with  parades and food on this day, March 17, 2015.  And speaking of food, there is nothing better than traditional Irish food to comfort your soul on a celebratory day.

My paternal Grandmother was half Irish and a pretty good cook. And her elder brother was born of St. Paddy’s Day, to boot. There are childhood memories of the warm smell of Irish soda bread floating through her  house.  And mixed in with the smell of baking bread was  the smell of corned beef coming from the stove. The colcannon and the steamed cabbage  was ready to be served.

Based on my Grandmother’s recipes, here is my version of traditional Irish food served on St. Patrick’s Day, shared among family and friends.

You can find the recipes in my new cookbook , “The Celebration of Spring available now as an e-book at www. blurb.com.  Just follow the link:

http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/519516-on-the-menu-tangie-s-kitchen

corned beef                                                             Corned Beef

 

corned beef 2Corned Beef, Colcannon and Steamed Cabbage

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Irish Soda Bread

Braised Chicken Thighs in a White Wine Broth with Shiitake Mushrooms

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This dish is a variation of Chicken Marsala and is a one-pan chicken dish with mushrooms, all cooked in a pan with wine and chicken broth. This dish is so easy to prepare, and is so delicious, as well as budget friendly.


Serves 3 to 4

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt , to taste
Ground black pepper,  to taste
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 Sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound Shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the chicken thighs on both sides until the skins become brown and crispy.Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, add garlic, thyme, mushrooms, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter, cook until softened.Add wine, broth, and return chicken to pan along with any accumulated juices. Season with salt, pepper, and cook,until the broth is reduced by half.

To serve, ladle broth and mushrooms into a pasta bowl.Top the broth with one chicken thigh and top the dish off with chopped parsley and serve immediately.