Posts Tagged ‘rotation’

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mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐)

March 25, 2019

Quest for the perfect mapo tofu!

VERSION 1 – a sweet, Americanized version by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

•1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
•1 1/2 pounds soft (not silken) tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
•2 tablespoons Chinese hot bean paste (also called chili bean sauce)
•1 tablespoon Chinese black-bean paste or sauce
•4 tablespoons oyster sauce (note: this is too much, and will make your dish very, very sweet)
•2 tablespoons Asian chili powder (note: this is clearly too much for most westerners; add a little at first and more to taste)
•1 tablespoon cornstarch
•1/4 cup peanut oil (I mixed in some hot chili oil from dan dan noodles)
•4 ounces ground beef
•1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced on diagonal
•1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
•1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), washed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 1/2 cup)
•1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
•1 tablespoon light soy sauce
•1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

recipe by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

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VERSION 2 – from omnivore’s cookbook

•120 grams (4 ounces) ground meat (pork, chicken or turkey)
•2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or Japanese Sake)
•1 teaspoon light soy sauce
•1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

For braising
•1 teaspoon cornstarch
•2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns (increase to 3 teaspoons if you like your dish extra numbing)
•1 tablespoon vegetable oil
•3 tablespoons Doubanjiang spicy fermented bean paste
•2 tablespoons green onion, chopped (note: I didn’t have any, so I used 2 cloves of garlic)
•1 block (400-g / 14-oz) firm or medium firm tofu , cut into 1.5cm (1/2 inch) squares
•1 cup water or stock
•2 teaspoons Chinese chili oil; 1 teaspoon for a less spicy dish (note: for a mild dan dan noodle chili oil, you will need all 2 teaspoons.)
•1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
•1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
rice or another grain to serve

1. Combine ground meat/veg, cooking wine, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl. Mix well.

2. Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

3. Cut and prep ingredients.

4. Heat vegetable oil and Sichuan peppercorns in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When the Sichuan peppercorns turn dark brown and crispy, scoop them out with spatula and transfer into a bowl layered with paper towel to soak extra oil. Save to use for garnish the dish.

5. When oil is hot, add ground meat and bean paste. Stir-fry over medium heat with a spatula, until pork is evenly coated with bean paste. Add green onion and stir fry for another minute.

6. Spread tofu evenly on top of ground pork – don’t stir until it braises for a few minutes, so the tofu doesn’t fall apart. Add chili oil, five-spice powder, and sugar. Pour in broth/water and simmer, covered, over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tofu becomes tender and the sauce has reduced to half the original amount. Taste the tofu with some broth. Adjust seasoning by adding salt. If the dish is too spicy, add another teaspoon of sugar. Gently mix well with spatula.

7. Mix cornstarch water again until fully dissolved and swirl it into the skillet. Gently stir a few times with a spatula, until sauce thickens. Turn off heat and transfer everything to a bowl.

8. Garnish with green onion and Sichuan peppercorns, if using. Serve warm over rice or another grain.

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VERSION 3 – from iron chef chen

1 package silken tofu
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
water, for parboiling tofu

3 ounces ground pork
1⁄2 cup green garlic chives, chopped in 1/2 inches (nira)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chinese chili bean sauce (toubanjan or doubanjiang)
1 tablespoon chinese brown bean sauce (tenmienjan, tenmenjan, or tenmenjiang)
2 teaspoons fermented black beans, chopped finely
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 teaspoon ichimi togarashi pepper or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon japanese dried red chili pepper, minced
1 teaspoon chili oil
3⁄4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sake or 1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon szechuan peppercorn (optional)

Cornstarch paste: 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water

Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes. Heat enough water in a large saucepan, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and tofu pieces. Bring to boil and cook tofu on medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes and remove from heat. Precooking tofu in water prevents tofu from breaking apart easily later. Set aside.
While tofu is cooking, make cornstarch paste by mixing 1 T cornstarch and 1 T water. Set aside.
Set wok on high heat for 1 minute until hot. Add 2 T vegetable oil and swirl the pan, then add ground pork, stirring to separate.
When ground pork is browned, add Chinese brown bean sauce ie tenmenjan, tenmienjan, or tenmenjiang, Chinese chili bean sauce ie toubanjan or doubanjiang, fermented black beans, and ichimi tougarashi or minced dried red chili pepper. Continue to cook for 1 minute.
Add chili oil, drained tofu pieces, chicken stock, garlic chives, soy sauce, and sake. Stir fry gently for 1-2 minutes.
Add cornstarch paste to thicken and add sesame oil. Swirl gently and cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. Sprinkle Szechuan peppercorn on top.
Serve with steamed white rice.

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RECIPE 1: I’ll be honest – I hardly followed the recipe. I made my own low-sodium versions of bean paste, since I ran out of fermented bean paste a few months ago. I combined miso, a homemade version of hoisin with peanut butter and tamari… the substitutions were a mess. Sherry for Shaoxing wine, sesame oil for peanut oil… I barely had anything the recipe called for at all. But this was still one of the best things I made all winter.

Hits all those comfort food notes. Greasy, sweet, salty, savory, texturally interesting, and absolutely numbing and spicy. Just… yes. I used some extra chili oil from last month’s batch of dan dan noodles (dandanmian), and a ton of Sichuan peppercorns toasted and ground, although nowhere near the teaspoon called for in the recipe.

A comment on the Epi review recommends iron chef Chen‘s recipe as slightly more authentic and less sweet. Since I used half my oyster sauce on this recipe, I’ll definitely try it.

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RECIPE 2: I was worried it’d be too spicy, so I cut the bean paste from 3T to 2T. It wasn’t spicy enough last night, but the leftovers sat and got spicier and spicier! Today it was just perfect. I’d say cut it to 2T if you’re making it for tomorrow. Otherwise, go for the whole 3T! Very different from the super-sweet oyster sauce version. They’re both so good! I would say version two is a little more savory and simple, and recipe one is a little more of a flavor bomb, much saltier and sweeter. The first is perfect for American palates, and the second is great for people who don’t care for sweet food. I highly recommend both! I can’t wait to try iron chef Chen‘s recipe to complete this trifecta of tofu!

Added this to the “rotation” tag because I plan to try all the different versions of this amazing dish. I made this twice so far in March. What a rad way to use up the last little bit of ground meat in your fridge!

 

edit: help I can’t stop eating this incredible spicy meal

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RECIPE 3: (July, 2019) I’m guessing this is the most authentic, as it tastes the least like something from an Americanized Chinese restaurant. Recipe #1 is way too sweet, even for me, but it’s really delicious if you like it sweet. Recipe #2 is super flavorful. Recipe #3 is definitely more subtle. I splurged on some fermented black beans this year, and I really liked their subtle flavor in this. I definitely recommend recipe #3 – it’s delicious.

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BEST MAPO TOFU EVER: for my tastes, I prefer recipe #2 with some alterations. Next, I will start combining all these recipes – a little oyster sauce or hoisin from recipe #1, a ton of chives from recipe #3, using the skeleton of recipe #2. I have made this no less than five times this year!

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panko-crusted mustard-thyme roast chicken thighs

March 18, 2019

Easy weeknight chicken! What could be better? I’m including the original, from epicurious, and my own (way better) crispy-skinned version!

MY VERSION:
– preheat oven to 450
– rub chicken thighs with black pepper
– on the stovetop, brown chicken thighs on a smokin’ hot cast iron, skin-side down, til the skin is crispy
– flip thighs, sprinkle with thyme and a little bit of salt, and place in oven til done (about 25 min for small thighs)
– remove thighs, put smoking hot cast iron onto the stovetop on medium heat, and add white wine and mustard to deglaze the pan, maybe some thyme to taste.
– turn off heat, add fresh lemon juice to taste, and pour pan sauce out into another container so the acidity doesn’t mess with your cast iron. serve chicken with pan sauce. great served with a honey mustard dressed salad, or some roasted veggies like orange carrots with tahini drizzle, or even just toss potatoes in the pan sauce and roast them on the side! also great with veggies sautéed in tarragon mustard citrus butter.

ORIGINAL RECIPE:
•3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
•4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
•1/4 cup Dijon mustard
•2 tablespoons thyme leaves, plus 3 sprigs
•8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, patted dry
•Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
•1 pound medium carrots, scrubbed, cut into 3″ pieces, halved lengthwise if thick
•2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Place a rack in highest position in oven; preheat to 450°F. Place panko in a small bowl. Mash butter, mustard, and thyme leaves in another small bowl with a fork (it will be a little lumpy). Season chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange skin side up a rimmed baking sheet and smear all over skin side of thighs. Working with 1 piece at a time, firmly press chicken, skin side down, into panko so crumbs adhere. Place back on baking sheet skin side up.
Arrange carrots and thyme sprigs around chicken and drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and bake until carrots are tender and chicken is cooked though, 25–30 minutes.
Heat broiler. Broil chicken and carrots just until panko is golden brown and carrots are tender and browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour pan juices over top.

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first recipe adapted by friedsig from the second recipe, which is by epi and bon appetit

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I found the panko crust didn’t get crispy and brown, even when I broiled the thighs for six or seven minutes. My version is way better! You still get that nice mustard and thyme flavor, with a little more depth of flavor from the wine and lemon. Also, instead of the carrots absorbing all that great chicken fat, you get a huge quantity of pan sauce and you can use that to flavor a ton of different roasted veggies throughout the week! Try the Bon Appetit version if you want, but if you want a nice crispy skin, try my version! Tagged “rotation” because I make this all the time.

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eight treasure congee (八宝粥)

March 5, 2019

If you want something warm, thick, and comforting – something that will stick to your ribs and keep you full – you’re in the right place. It’s -20F with wind chill here right now, and this was amazing at making me feel better when I got off my bicycle and cuddled up alone under a blanket. It’s like a warm hug from a friend!

•1/2 cup (120 ml) glutinous rice
•2 tablespoons forbidden rice
•2 tablespoons barley (or brown rice)
•2 tablespoons dry red beans (or mung beans)
•1/8 cup (30 ml) raw cashews (or peanuts, or lotus seeds)
•1/8 cup (30 ml) coarsely chopped raw pecans (or walnuts, or chestnuts)
•6 to 10 dried Chinese jujubes (or dried Longan, rinsed) (I used 2 large dates)
•2 tablespoons raisins
•8 to 10 cups of water
•sugar or honey to taste (optional)
•Chinese five-spice powder to taste (optional)

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Soak dry glutinous rice, forbidden rice, barley, dry red beans, peanuts, and pecans in water overnight.

The next morning, add the water into a big pot, boil the water, and then add all ingredients (minus the sweetener).

Lower heat to a simmer. Leave pot open a crack to let some steam out. Stir regularly.

Cook for an hour or so. Add sweetener and serve.

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recipe by Maggie Zhu at Omnivore’s Cookbook and barely adapted by friedsig

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I added the Chinese five-spice powder because I wanted to keep the sugar low. The original calls for 1/4 c rock sugar, but I probably cut it to between a teaspoon and tablespoon of sugar. It was still a bit bland for my taste, so I would say the Chinese five-spice powder is mandatory if you’re cutting the sugar. However, I left five-spice optional in the recipe in case you are making this for someone who is feeling unwell or picky. I think this would be an amazing soft food for someone recovering from nausea, as it’s filling and a complete protein, with no irritating ingredients. Leave a comment and let me know if this helped cure a hangover or some food poisoning!

The original recipe says it’s a special food for a festival. For me, it’s a perfect breakfast and midnight snack. Naturally sweet (from the black rice and nuts,) and filling enough to keep you full for a while. I even had it as a side with dinner! The next night, I drizzled it with honey and had it for dessert! Flexible and healthy. A great porridge that I will definitely be making again.

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soy-cured eggs and rice (tamago kake gohan / tamago no shoyu-zuke)

February 19, 2019

Today, I am sharing one of the breakfasts I eat regularly. It’s one of the fastest and most satisfying breakfasts I know. Pure comfort.

ingredients

fresh or leftover rice
raw egg yolk, or soy-cured egg (see below for recipe)
splash of soy sauce
seaweed flakes, or roasted seaweed (optional)
splash of leftover miso soup (optional)
sesame seeds or Japanese rice seasoning blend (optional)

process

Heat rice. Add rice to bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients on top of the rice and mix til fluffy. Eat.

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soy-cured egg

Soft-boil eggs. Peel. Sit them in a water/soy sauce/sugar for some number of hours. If you want them sooner, heat the marinade before curing eggs. These look beautiful when finished, like a tea egg or other pickled egg.

from rasa malaysia

soy-cured egg yolks

Rest egg yolks in soy sauce/tamari, mirin/sake, and a pinch of sugar for some number of hours. (8? 12? Does it matter? Just depends how strong of a tamari flavor you want.)

from wild greens and sardines

ham dan / salt-cured egg yolks for grating (!)

Rest whole eggs in a blend of salt and sugar. You can add dried onion or garlic for flavor. Ensure yolks are completely covered in the mixture. Chill in fridge for four days, turning often. Brush off excess seasoning and gently dunk into water. Finish curing on your oven’s lowest setting for an hour or two, or in a dehydrator. This method of preserving egg yolks allows them to be kept unrefrigerated for up to a month.

from bon appetit; more info at taste cooking

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tagged “rotation” because I eat this absolutely all the time. Haven’t tried the salt-cured yolks, but the tamari-cured yolks and tamari-cured whole eggs are delicious. A nice way to mix up your savory breakfast routine!

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make your own sausage with your hands (without casings!)

November 27, 2018

Recently learned you can make a great sausage without any special tools! No blender, no meat grinder, no sausage stuffer, no casings!

If you eat meat, you’ll love this recipe: buy ground pork, and just mash it up with your hands with some spices and herbs. THAT’S IT!

You can either form them into patties, or dump the whole mess into a pan and break it up with a spatula to make little sausage chunks like for pizza. Either way, you can cook them on a grill pan, cast-iron, or regular ol’ non-stick pan on a medium or medium-high heat.

Here are some I have been experimenting with lately to get your imagination running wild. Don’t let these recipes limit you! Add some curry powder for some currywurst patties… or jalapeno and cheddar… or sundried tomato and roasted garlic… fresh herbs, fruits, anything! If you make your own sausage, post a recipe here!

Enjoy!

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maple breakfast sausage

3/4 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2T salt 1t or less salt (or more to taste)
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c maple syrup splash of pure maple syrup
~0.8-0.9 lbs ground pork
a little minced lard

recipe adapted by friedsig from epicurious

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sage breakfast sausage

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt 1 t or less salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
~0.8-0.9 lbs ground pork
a little minced lard

* a little bland – could really use a kick – next time I will try adding some more of everything

recipe adapted by friedsig from bon appetit

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crispiest, best roasted potatoes ever

September 8, 2018

a little food science goes a long way in this recipe from kenji at serious eats. i tried them, and it’s no exaggeration. these are like mashed potatoes inside, and extremely crispy outside.

the crispiness is amazing. the only down sides? a bit more time-consuming than your average roasted potato. they’re also most delicious on the day you make them. reheating made my batch dry out and cave in; if you’re making a huge batch for the week, i’d still go with your average roasted potato. but you can still spruce up your potatoes even if you don’t use kenji’s method…

check it out at serious eats, or just make sure to use yukon golds or russets instead of red potatoes, add a half-teaspoon of baking soda to the water you par-boil them in (alkaline water yields crispier potatoes,) and toss the chunks roughly in oil so the chunks are covered in a “mashed-potato-like paste”.

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…another tip for amazing roasted potatoes? this tip is from epicurious/bon appetit by way of mark – he puts vinegar on the potatoes before roasting, so they come out like crispy salt and vinegar chips! i tried them, although i left out the chives and used apple cider vinegar instead. no idea why this never occurred to me, but it’s a great idea! i’ll make them again for sure.

both methods are recommended to mix up your roasted vegetable routine!

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peach balsamic chicken skillet (and a vegan alternative!)

August 12, 2018

It’s peach season here, and there is nothing in the world like a fresh, ripe peach. But if you grab some early, not-quite-ripe peaches, turn them into dinner!

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about two pounds of chicken legs or thighs
one medium onion
two to four cloves of garlic
two to three peaches
about a half-tablespoon of balsamic
handful of cherry tomatoes, or some tomatoes from a can (optional)
raw basil (optional garnish)

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Preheat oven to 425.

Heat a cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet on the stove on medium-high until very hot. Add some drippings, schmaltz, oil, or butter.

Brown chicken, skin side down, til crispy. (If you don’t eat chicken, heat some coconut oil or margarine, and add veggies cut side down. I have not tried this yet with vegetables, but I bet brussels sprouts cut in half, cauliflower, or something else savory would go great with the sweet peaches. Maybe even some mushrooms for that savory flavor.)

Remove chicken or veggies from the skillet. Add chunks of onions. When beginning to caramelize, add chunks of garlic, or whatever you have in the house, like shallots. Stir often. When cooked, add the chicken back to the pan, along with chunks of peaches, and if you have them on hand, cherry tomatoes. Splash balsamic on top – not much, just a few dashes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir well.

Roast at 425, stirring every fifteen minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with veggies and garlic rice, and top everything with fresh basil.

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original recipe by cooking classy and adapted by friedsig.

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Really fantastic. A very August dinner, using everything from the garden or farmers market. I left out the honey from the original – August peaches don’t need sweetening. In fact, this recipe might be too sweet for some. Adding some tomatoes (from a can, or an acidic varietal like calabash or celebrity from your garden) will help cut that sweetness. It’s worth noting that the handful of cherry tomatoes I threw in were totally overwhelmed by the caramelized onion-and-peach flavor. This makes me think that a caramelized onion and peach pie would taste amazing, maybe in the style of a zweibelkuchen!

Adding this to the “rotation” tag because this is as easy as it gets for a sweet and savory weeknight dinner! Next time, I want to try this with brussels sprouts for a vegan peach stew – or maybe even both chicken and veggies?