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