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
salt
2 lemons
1/2 cup white wine (chardonnay works well)
1/2 bunch parsley
capers
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

Slurry
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 careful...you 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.