Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring and Winter Day? Hot and Sour Soup!

The last few days have been gorgeous!  I'm talking highs in the upper 50's, sunshine, no coats, windows down, FLIP-FLOPS!  Today was the last day of this winter break.  This morning was beautiful, sunny, no need for a coat.  By lunch the wind had picked up, bringing in some grey clouds.  Raining, hailing, then snow on my way home from work, around 6.  At 8 o'clock the result was FIVE INCHES of snow, and still falling.
To match the weather I was in the mood for hot and sour soup for dinner.  This is by far one of my favorite Chinese foods.  I used a recipe from Chowhound as the basis for the soup.  I followed the directions exactly, just changed the ingredient list.
 This makes two servings for me.  I added the nutrition info to the bottom of this post.

Easy Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
4 cups of chicken broth
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 full hand mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, drained and julienned
3/4 tablespoon Srirachi
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg, beaten
4 oz firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 green onion stalks, diced (including green tops)
1/4 cup rice vinegar

-Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a 2-quart saucepan.
-Combine soy sauce, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, srirachi and red pepper flakes, then add to broth.
-Simmer for five minutes.
-Combine two tablespoons of cornstarch with two tablespoons of cold water in a cup. Stir until mixture is smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to soup and stir well.
-Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes until soup is thickened.
-Beat egg in a cup until yolk and white are combined. Pour beaten egg slowly, in a fine stream into soup. Stir soup several times.
-Wait 30 seconds.
-Add tofu and green onions to soup. (I marinated the tofu in a bit of fish sauce) Stir well. Remove from heat.
-Add vinegar
-Stir a few times and serve.
Makes about 4 cups.

Nutrition Facts

User Entered Recipe
  2 Servings

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 210.7
  Total Fat 4.3 g
      Saturated Fat 1.0 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
  Cholesterol 102.5 mg
  Sodium 4,275.2 mg
  Potassium 690.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 29.7 g
      Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
      Sugars 12.3 g
  Protein 14.1 g

Valentine's Day is for Lovers, Food-Lovers that is...

Monday was Valentine's Day!  A day for people to show love, and I did just that, for myself!
I decided to make some homemade sauce for some cheesy mini ravioli I bought last week.  First, I warmed some olive oil and a few tablespoons of prepared pesto on the stove.  Then coated some fresh garlic and red bell pepper strips with olive oil and some basil.  They went into the oven at 350 until they were well roasted.  Then, I blanched a couple Roma tomatoes.  (Blanching is an easy way to prepare tomatoes for sauce.  Just drop them in boiling water for 60 seconds, when you see the skin split, drop them in an ice water bath.  The skins will easily peel away from the fruit.)  I tossed some chopped onion into the pesto to soften, then added the chopped tomatoes.  A quick dash of basil and a splash of white wine, then simmer 10 minutes.  Chop the peppers and garlic, add to the tomato mixture, recover and simmer another 10 minutes.  Spoon over ravioli, sprinkle with parm and shredded fresh parsley.
While I savored this I started reading my Valentine's gift to myself, a new "cookbook". "
I was in the aisles at Ross when I noticed just a couple cookbooks.  One specifically caught my eye, "Secrets from the Southern Living Test Kitchens: Revealed: over 5,000 insider cooking tips, shortcuts, & foolproof solutions".  Upon flipping this jewel open, I found it was more like a cooking dictionary of ingredients, techniques, recipes, etc.  Then the clincher was the $3 price tag on the back cover.  ; )
Here we are five days later and I am 150 pages into this 550+ page book.  I have found so many wonderful things.  There is an alcohol substitution chart.  Have a recipe calling for Grand Marnier?  For 2 T of Grand Marnier, use 2 T of unsweetened orange juice concentrate or 2 T orange juice and 1/2 t orange extract.  The best known American blue cheese is Maytag blue, made by the same Maytags who make washing machines.  Your cakes tend to have a peak in the center?  There are four possible things wrong, too hot oven at beginning of baking, too much flour, not enough liquid, or overmixed batter.  I LOVE THIS THING!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed my Valentine's Day, I hope you did too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's a Fiesta!

 I love Mexican food!
It is a simple truth to me that Mexican food is wonderful, and I have such a hard time comprehending when people say they don't like it.  I especially like authentic type Mexican, not Taco Bell.  The best place here in Logan is La Tormenta, best place ever is in Rancho Cordova, CA, El Puerto.
I was looking for a new Mexican recipe when I stumbled on this recipe from Rachel Ray.  I usually don't like her recipes because they use weird ingredients or crazy processes.  But this one simple in design. 
When making taquitos the main issue cooks have is keeping them closed while frying, and not having them soak up too much oil.  This recipe takes care of that by dipping the tortillas in warm oil, rolling, and baking.  The filling can be changed according to your tastes, it is the process that I fell in love with.  They come out crispy and perfect!

Every meal needs a dessert.  But what fits with Mexican food?  Ever had FRIED ICE CREAM?!?!
I love it, but who wants to attempt it and end up with ice cream soup in your frying pan?
Enter, FAUX Fried Ice Cream!
The crunchy cinnamon-y exterior and caramel sauce identify the fried ice cream dish.
Scoops of ice cream rolled in crushed cinnamon graham crackers satisfy the crunch and sweetness.

The caramel is heated Mexican caramel.  Ever had Cajeta (sometimes called Dulce de Leche)?  You can get it in a bottle or a can in the Hispanic section of the grocery store.  Cajeta is a goat milk caramel.  Personally I don't like caramel anything, but I was introduced to this product my freshman year of college.  I had a floor-mate from Argentina, we would eat this stuff right out of a tub.  Her mom made rice pudding with cajeta, I still drool just thinking of it! 

All together I love this meal!  Perfect combinations!


Deep Dish Reminder

My post from Oct 27th was about deep dish pizza.  I had forgotten to take a picture of the whole pie.  SO here is a picture of one I made a few weeks ago.  I followed my own advice and used a can of italian diced tomatoes.  I sauteed some fresh garlic in some oil and added the tomatoes until most of the liquid was gone.  The pizza held together better without the sauce. 
L think we should sell this pizza, lol, it is pretty good.  Even her fairly unadventurous brothers ate it, and loved it. 

Easy Chinese? POT STICKERS!

I love Chinese food, but high sodium and deep fried aren't waist or wallet friendly options.  I bought a wok a while back and actually followed a recipe for stir fry, which turned out great; and when plugged into a calorie counter, didn't break my daily count.  So, I have been cruising for other Chinese recipes.  I figured something steamed would be great, but I needed something packed with flavor. 
I used my Epicurious app to find Asian main dishes.  Pot stickers jumped out at me.  So I read a bunch of the recipes, seemed fairly uncomplicated, and pretty healthy.  (Tip: When making a new recipe read more than one version and the recipes reviews.  Sometimes a direction that is unclear in one recipe is cleared in another, or someone can review it and tell you what they used in a pinch to substitute a missing pantry supply.)  I used mainly the recipe from this recipe, and the prep directions from this recipe. 
Chicken Pot Sticker Filling
Here are the accommodations I made for the recipe.  I halved the recipe.  I didn't have ground meat on hand (I rarely do), so I finely diced some chicken (maybe it was minced?).  This is easiest if your chicken breast is slightly frozen, I used a 5 oz piece of chicken breast.  I also didn't have cabbage, so I used kale.  Also, didn't have carrots, I just left that out.  Since the recipe called for a half egg, I made the liquid whole recipe and just poured in half.  No sesame oil, just used toasted sesame seeds and olive oil.  Half an egg?  Just used the egg white.  I used wonton wrappers, the small square size.

Don't overfill these, they will shrink

1 1/2 tsp of filling, top and half of each side to seal
Keeping them covered with a damp towel keeps them from drying out

This is how many half of this recipe makes.
All DONE!!! Steamed and ready!
Beautiful Crispy Bottom   

This makes enough for two people.

And that is about 300 calories per person!

The second time I made these I served them with the frozen steamable rice, so easy and fast.

When you are cooking these just stick to the times in the recipe, even if it feels too long.

I will for sure be making them many more times!!!
They smell and taste like good Chinese, not fast food Chinese.

Have fun making them!!!

Yes, I Still Eat!

I am not good at this blog updating thing.  I have been cooking though, lots of new stuff.  I am not going to post in order of what I cooked, mostly since I don't really remember.  ;)  Enjoy!