Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Black Bean Mussels (or clams)

We wanted to do something yummy for our anniversary, so I went to check out what seafood was available at Costco (seriously, their meat / seafood dept is fantastic!). They had some amazing looking mussels, so we went for it! Since we wanted something a little different from the usual wine, garlic & butter broth, we decided to do black bean style! YUM!

Here is what we did:

3 large pinches black fungus (optional - avail. at Asian mkt.)
1 big pinch lily buds (optional - avail. at Asian mkt.)
1 cup hot water for soaking

2 lbs mussels (or clams)
1 package Cantonese noodles
1 bulb garlic (or any obscene amount)
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger 
1 jalapeno (or thai chili or serrano pepper...etc)

2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 cup (approx 1/2 jar) black bean sauce

3 Japanese eggplants
3 green onions
pinch salt
dash white pepper
First soak the black fungus & lilly buds in hot water (approx 15 min.) and set aside

Cube eggplant for cooking (small pieces, about 1" sq)

Cook the noodles for about 2 min & set aside.
Sautee garlic and ginger in a large pan or wok until slightly golden on high.

Toss in eggplant and stir. Reduce heat to med. high & cover for about 8 min. (until soft)

Deglaze pan with water from fungus & lilly buds
Add in mussels, fungus, lilly buds, cover and cook on med. for about 8 min (or until mussels start to open)
Add sauces and jalapeno. stir for 1 min or so
stir in noodles & garnish with chopped green onions

serve hot & enjoy!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rack of Lamb

So recently we had my mama over for Sunday dinner. We wanted to do something a little special, but not a huge, all-day-long production, since the weather is warming up a little...didn't want to heat the whole house up cooking all day. We went to Costco to check out our options, and we picked up a nice rack of lamb! YUM!

Here is what we did:

we got 2 racks from Costco. each was about 1.5lbs.
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped
2 slices old bread or 1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste
 First season your meat on all sides with salt, pepper and chopped rosemary.

 we were at the end of our mustard, so we used the wine to clean out the jar.

 Place the racks in a big bowl & pour your mixture over all your meat so it is well coated.

Let your meat hang out in your wine / mustard mixture for as long or as little as you wish.
then coat thoroughly with bread crumbs.

Lay out your racks on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for 1 hour.

We served ours with roasted potato / celery root au gratin and an arugula salad with beets, tangerines, candied walnuts and goat cheese. Recipe here. Make sure you have a good bottle of wine for this meal. We had a Zinfandel, and it was great!

Celery Root & Potato Au Gratin

To go with our delicious Sunday lamb, we needed a hearty side dish. We have been experimenting with different root veggies lately, and we have really come to love celery root! We decided to make a celery root / potato au gratin. It's really decadent, so we made a small one (8 x 8 pan)

Here is what we did:

2 medium potatoes washed and sliced
1/2 medium celery root washed and sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 pint heavy cream
2 oz each sharp cheddar and gruyere cheese grated
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste

 First slice up your root veggies and set aside.

 Then grate your cheeses.

 Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and add course chopped garlic.

 Once your pan is hot, toss in your sliced veggies and cook on medium until they are almost soft.

 Rub a sliced clove of garlic on the bottom of your baking dish.

 When your veggies are tender, add your cream, cheeses (we tossed in a little extra goat cheese too!) and seasonings.
 Cook until it's all melted together - stirring occasionally.

We didn't have any bread crumbs so we toasted a few slices of bread and ran them through the blender.

 When your mixture is ready, pour it into your baking pan.

 Then top with shredded cheese and bread crumbs.

 Bake on 425 for 30 minutes until the top is browned and you see bubbles at the bottom of your pan.

 Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Seafood Pasta

We were really in the mood for mussels and / or clams the other night, so we headed over to Costco to pick some up. Unfortunately, they didn't have any fresh shellfish that day. We wandered around for a bit deciding what to do instead when we came upon the frozen seafood area. We spotted a bag of frozen seafood, and voila! Seafood pasta! 

This is a fairly simple recipe, so it was an easy dinner. You can make your own noodles (like we did) or just buy some boxed pasta from the grocery store. It works fine either way.

Here is what you need:
mixed seafood (we used about 1/3 package from Costco)
1 bulb garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons
1/2 cup white wine (chardonnay works well)
1/2 bunch parsley
parmesan cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 fennel root (optional)
1 box of pasta or home made pasta (here)

First you want to bloom some garlic.
Take most of your bulb of garlic & chop it up fine or push it through your garlic press.

sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon (or one pinch) of kosher salt. Cover with olive oil (1 - 2 tablespoons) add chopped parsley, stir it all together and set aside.

At this point, get your pasta water going - you will cook your pasta to al dente (usually about 10 minutes from when you toss the pasta into your boiling water). If your cooktop is as inefficient as mine, you will need lots of time to get your water boiling.

If you have your fennel, start cooking it while you are waiting for the water to boil.

Place some olive oil in a pan over medium heat. 

 Chop up your fennel and add it to the pan.

 Cook over medium heat until caramelized. 

 Next you will get your pan hot to cook your seafood.
Add about 3 cloves of chopped garlic, your butter and a little olive oil to raise the smoking point of the butter.

Once your butter is melted and your garlic is starting to sweat, toss in your seafood mix, lightly salt and pepper, add wine and cook until it's almost done. 

About 5 minutes. (Any clams or mussels should be opening, and your shrimps should be just pink)

At this point, toss in the capers and remove from heat. Strain your pasta & return it to the pot. Pour seafood mixture over it and add your bloomed garlic and fennel. Stir everything together and top with fresh lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

Here it is served. Delicious!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Beef With Broccoli

There is something so endearing about good old beef & broccoli. Definitely a favorite from the local take-out joint, but it's actually quite easy to make at home. It's one of our regular dishes. 

Beef and broccoli, like most Chinese dishes, is a lot of prep work up front, and then very quick to actually cook.

Here is what you will need:

1 large sirloin or chuck steak (about 1lb)
1-2 bunches of broccoli
1/2 medium onion
sliced ginger (we like a lot - experiment with this)
6ish cloves of garlic

Beef Marinade
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 tsp wht pepper (black pepper works, but it looks weird)
1 Tbs mirin
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs shao xing wine (you can use sake if you have it)
1/8 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp tahini (optional)
1/4 tsp MSG

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup shao xing wine (again - or sake)
1 Tbs Oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs corn starch
1 Tbs mirin

First slice up your meat. It helps to freeze it for about 25 minutes before you are ready to slice to firm it up. Makes it easier to slice thin.

 place your meat in a bowl big enough to stir it around in.

Sprinkle your baking soda over the meat.

 Then add your other marinade ingredients, and stir. You will let your meat sit in this mixture while you prepare everything else. (about 20 minutes. Be don't want your meat to sit too long in the baking soda as it will break down into mush....not what we are after!)

While your meat is marinating, prepare your slurry. This is the sauce you will pour over everything to make the brown yummy sauce you recognize.

 thinly slice your garlic & ginger.

 And your onion.

Once you have everything prepared and ready to go (make sure you have everything you need done, because there is very little time once you start cooking.) 

Heat up your pan with a little high-temp oil (vegetable, peanut, canola, etc)

 Add your marinated meat with the marinade into your hot pan and stir it around.

 You just want to brown your meat, not cook it too much. Remove and set it aside.

 Add in your garlic & ginger and give it a stir (make sure you keep your pan nice & hot!)

After a few stirs, toss in all your broccoli and stir it a bit. You want to just barely cook your broccoli...just barely. 

 Add your sauce to the broccoli and keep stirring.

Keep it moving while your sauce thickens up a bit.

Add your beef and sliced onions.

 Give it a stir to distribute / warm up your onions.

 Serve over rice!

If you are adventurous (like Tyson) you can add a little Chinese BBQ sauce to your rice. I think it tastes like what we feed the guppies (read: shrimpy / fishy) not bad, but I don't love it like Tyson does.
 I prefer Chinese pickled daikon radish. Recipe coming soon.