Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

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chinese twice-cooked fish

October 15, 2019

Craving some Chinese restaurant food? This uses only a few ingredients, but since they are fermented, the flavor is complex. Great, simple way to cook some fresh fish. Recipe by by Elaine, loosely based on a twice-cooked pork recipe.

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marinade:
1 fish fillet, around 600 grams
1 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
a little shredded ginger – original calls for “5-6 sheds”(?)
cornstarch for coating

stir-fry:
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 tbsp. red bean paste (doubanjiang)
1 tbsp. fermented black beans (dou-chi)
1 thumb ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chili pepper, shredded
scallions or garlic chives (one or two, or more to taste)
1 tbsp. light soy sauce

1. Cut the fish into pieces around 2cm thick. Add cooking wine, ginger shreds, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Set aside and marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle corn starch over fish – she suggests 1/4 c – until coated. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, until corn starch gets gummy.

3. Add 1/4 cup of oil to a pan or wok on medium-high heat, and shallow fry the fish pieces until golden brown on surface. Move fish to plate; keep pan on heat.

4. Leave around 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, turn down heat, and fry doubanjiang for 1 minute until the red turns red. Add garlic, ginger and dou-chi and fry until aromatic.

5. Place chili peppers, scallion sections and garlic sprouts in. Fry until almost soft and return the fish, add light soy sauce and salt. Mix well. Serve immediately.

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recipe by china sichuan food and adapted by me, friedsig

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I love how this still allows some fish flavor to come through – it’s not deep-fried – and the shallow pan-fry allows the fish to stay moist and not overcook. The flavor isn’t exactly subtle, depending on your doubanjiang and other ingredients, so it’s nowhere near bland. Just right. (If you have some nasty frozen fish with a bad flavor, you may want to try something like fish cakes. If you’re set on this dish, though, you could probably beef up the flavor of this dish with chili oil, more scallions or garlic chives, more garlic, and more bean paste.) I splurged on some fresh lake trout, and still got plenty of fresh fish flavor since I reduced the chili and scallions. I also removed all the salt in the recipe because the ingredients are way more than salty enough for me, but of course, if you like it salty, add a pinch of salt.

Definitely recommended if you want something straddling the line between “healthy” and “fried”. Another keeper from Elaine!

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pan-roasted juniper and garlic brined pork chop

October 8, 2019

Pork chops are perfect seared off with just salt and pepper in a pan. However, if you want to boost the flavor of a pork chop with some sauerbraten-inspired spices, brining is an easy overnight treatment.

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Make the brine! Combine water with salt, sugar, a teaspoon of juniper berries, a pinch of whole black peppercorns, and a few cloves of raw garlic sliced in half. You can add a pinch of whole coriander seeds and allspice berries, and a few sprigs of thyme if you have them. I added some fennel seeds, too.

Heat in saucepan til simmering, then shut off heat.

When cool, pour over pork chops. refrigerate marinated pork chops 8-12 hrs.

The next day, preheat pan with grease or oil on stove top. If chops are thick, preheat oven, too, to 450.

Pan-sear dried chops over medium-high heat until pork chops develop some nice caramelization. Just a few minutes. turn up the heat if they turn gray instead of brown. If the chops are very thick, leave chops in pan and shove them in the oven for a few minutes or until they register at a temperature you’re comfortable with. Thin chops will easily reach a safe temperature on the stove in no time – don’t overcook.

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recipe by Brian Leth, from bon appetit, adapted here by friedsig

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The brine definitely flavored the pork chop. I would do this again. Served with cast-iron roasted fennel root and apple with caramelized onion and sage. Definitely tastes like fall. Sweet, comforting, and just complex enough. Has a subtle gin/sauerbraten flavor from the juniper and spices.

This adds some really nice German flavors to your Oktoberfest meal. Lower in sodium than knackwurst or brats, and (at least in my area) way more affordable. Don’t forget the Black Forest sweet-and-sour red cabbage or sweet-and-sour beet salad, German-style potato salad, and some good carbs like knäckerbrot and soft pretzels.

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lemon meatballs with tahini sauce

October 2, 2019

These meatballs are packed with middle Eastern flavor. Definitely not your everyday boring meatballs! Thanks to Shabnam of Cooking and Cooking for this recipe – click to check out her photos!

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MEATBALLS:

650 g extra lean ground beef
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 medium onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt and pepper to taste

TAHINI SAUCE:
1/2 cup tahini
4 tablespoons lemon juice (or more depends on your taste)
salt
enough water to thin the mixture

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mix the meatballs, pan-fry, and bake at 350 until done.

separately, mix ingredients for tahini sauce. don’t cook it! just combine and eat!

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recipe by cooking and cooking

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I made a ton of alterations – no cilantro, no basil, pistachios instead of walnuts – and they were still good. Lately, I have been trying lots of vegan and vegetarian meatballs, like vegetarian buffalo “meatballs”, meatless wild rice and mushroom “meatballs”, and the disappointing polpette (Italian vegetarian “meatballs”). I have found that meatballs do stay together a bit better and are easier to cook all the way through. Usually, with meat, I like it medium rare. However, if your ground meat isn’t so fresh and the idea of a rare burger seems sketchy, pan-frying some meatballs is a great choice. (They came out well-done. Oops. Oh, well. Check ’em often.)

The tahini sauce is great. Not the sauce I would normally think of to eat with meatballs. The texture of the meat was good. I liked the nuts in the meatballs – reminds me of the pine nuts in Lebanese sausage. The turmeric and cinnamon in these quantities are almost sweet. These would be outstanding with all the herbs in them, because it did seem like it was missing something, but I’d still definitely make them again. This recipe is a keeper!

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fresh fennel and cucumber salad in yogurt sauce

September 26, 2019

One of my new favorite salads!

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fresh cucumber, chopped into bite-sized pieces
minced fresh fennel leaves

plain unsweetened yogurt
minced or jarred horseradish
fresh lemon or lime juice and/or zest
minced garlic
pinch of sugar (optional)
salt and pepper

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original recipe by cooking light and adapted by friedsig

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Experimenting a lot with fennel this week, after scoring a giant fennel root with tons of plant still attached. This was my favorite of all those recipes! This sweet horseradish yogurt dressing is addictive. My other favorite was the roast chicken with roasted fennel root and caramelized onion and garlic in a white wine and dijon sauce. Great fall recipe. The miso-sesame fennel salad is definitely decent, but I like how fresh and crisp the fennel stayed in the yogurt sauce compared with the miso-sesame.

Anyway – highly recommended.

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If you like a cucumber salad, try some of my other favorite cucumber recipes: a flavorful vegan charred onion and cucumber salad, a spicy sichuan cucumber salad, or a summery cucumber, lime, and mint salad

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lu rou fan (滷肉饭, Taiwanese braised pork belly)

August 23, 2019

One of the absolute best recipes of the year. Maybe the best pork belly of all-time? I love you, Woks of Life!

1 lb skin-on pork belly, cut into 1/2” pieces
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 oz. rock sugar (or about 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar) (or less is fine, too!)
1 small onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
8 shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 cups water
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled (optional)

whole spices:
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 pieces dried tangerine peel
2 slices fresh ginger

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1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and blanch the chopped pork belly for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over low heat, and add the sugar. Cook the sugar until it starts to melt and then add the onions. Turn up the heat to medium high and stir-fry the onions for a minute. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another couple minutes.

3. Add the blanched pork, shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add the spices (which should be tied in cheese cloth), along with the peeled hardboiled eggs and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

4. At this point the meat should be fall-apart tender. To finish the dish, remove the spice packet and turn up the heat to medium high to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. This process should take about 5-minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but there should still be plenty of it left. Serve over steamed white rice.

by Judy @ the Woks of Life

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These flavors are so complex! The chewy shiitake texture was amazing with the melty sweet pork belly. We ate a ton of this with hot chili oil and rice. The flavors build and layer with every bite! Although these are traditional “five-spice” flavors, it tastes completely different than a five-spice powder without the fennel. It’s really its own unique flavor. The sauce came out thin, since we used low-salt tamari instead of thick dark soy sauce, and a pinch of sugar instead of rock sugar. Still amazing, even without the thick, sweet sauce. Without question a highly recommended dish.

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hot and sweet plum chutney

August 15, 2019

Nigel Slater’s plum chutney is just what plum season needs. If plum and mustard sounds like a weird combination, think of it kind of like a peach salsa – sour, sweet, hot, and flavorful.

1 1/2 pounds plums
12 ounces onions
a generous 3/4 cup raisins
1 cup light muscovado sugar (I cut this quite a bit)
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chile (or more if you like it hot!)
1 teaspoon salt (I cut this by at least half and it was fine)
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup malt vinegar
1 cinnamon stick

1. Halve the plums and discard the pits. Peel and coarsely chop the onions. Put the fruit and onions into a large stainless steel or enameled pan with the raisins, sugar, chile, salt, mustard seeds, vinegars, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and leave to simmer for an hour, giving the occasional stir to reduce the risk of the chutney sticking.

2. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal.

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from Nigel Slater via seriouseats

Thought it was just okay… until the next day. After sitting in the fridge for 24 hours, the flavors melded together and I ended up eating it on everything from eggs to chicken. Adds that perfect kick of flavor to almost anything. Next time, I’ll add more chili and turn it into more of a hot sauce! I’d also like to try it blended, although I’m not sure you can still call it chutney without the chunky-but-mushy texture. Y’all know I still prefer a fermented condiment, like cortido, or a Chinese-style hot chili oil, but this is among my favorite vinegar-based condiments. If you like chutney, check out my favorite peanut mint chutney, or this traditional tomato chutney.

Substitutions? I chose some very acidic plums, but it still didn’t need the whole cup of sugar. If you’re using a sweeter fruit, you might not need more than a pinch of sugar. I couldn’t find malt vinegar, so I used about a cup of apple cider vinegar with a splash of unseasoned rice vinegar. & there’s no way this small batch of chutney needs an entire teaspoon of salt. Otherwise, followed it surprisingly closely, and – yes – I recommend it!

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liangban tofu (chilled soft tofu salad)

July 31, 2019

ten minutes til a quick snack full of protein, all nine essential amino acids, iron, calcium, magnesium, and more…

one block soft tofu
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon black vinegar
2 fresh Thai peppers (you can replace it with chili oil)
1/2 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 green onion, finely chopped
minced cilantro, to taste
toasted Sichuan peppercorns, to taste

1. cube tofu and steam for ten minutes
2. separately, mix together all other ingredients
3. dump ingredients on top of tofu and refrigerate

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adapted from china sichuan food and tim elwyn

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my favorite tofu is definitely mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) and my favorite junk food tofu is crispy vegan kung pao tofu

…but what if you don’t have an hour to press and fry tofu? what if you like mapo tofu but you don’t eat pork?

THIS is my new go-to quick tofu recipe for lazy vegans. it’s a great summer recipe, too, since you don’t have to kick your wok up to high heat.

i wasn’t completely smitten with it when i first tasted it, but once the tofu sucked up the sauce, i had no trouble eating an entire brick of tofu myself.

if you don’t care for wild splattering oil, if you’re on a diet, if you’re not into pork, if you’re in a rush, or on a soft food diet after surgery or dental problems, or if you’re just too lazy to cook, i definitely recommend this!