Archive for ‘Main Course Recipes’

August 13, 2012

Whole Roasted Trout with Thyme, Lemon, and Garlic

This is a simple and beautiful dish that is so easy to make. Roasting in foil packets minimizes cleanup. Instead of trout, you can use salmon, halibut, catfish, striped bass, rockfish, branzino, etc. Instead of thyme, you can also use fresh parsley, basil, rosemary, dill, and/or tarragon. A perfect weekday dinner, serve with rice (or any whole grain) and a fresh salad.

Advance preparation: You can prepare the fish and make the foil packets several hours ahead. Keep in the refrigerator until shortly before cooking.

Total time: 15-20 minutes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10-15 minutes, unattended

Serves 1-2

Adapted from Recipes for Health

  • 1 whole rainbow trout, boned
  • few sprigs of thyme
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 bay leaves (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Grease the foil with olive oil so that the fish doesn’t stick to it when roasted. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and open it out flat, skin side down.

3. Place the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and a couple lemon slices down the middle of the trout, and fold the two sides together. Drizzle some olive oil over the fish.

4. Making sure that the trout is in the middle of each square, fold up the foil loosely, grabbing at the edges and crimping together tightly to make a packet. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, checking one of the packets after 10 minutes. The flesh should be opaque and pull apart easily when tested with a fork.

5. Place each packet on a plate. Carefully cut across the top to open it, taking care not to let the steam from inside the packet burn you. Gently remove the fish from the packet, and pour the juices over it. Serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 10, 2012

Kung Pao Tofu

This is NOT the Americanized version of this classic Sichuan dish: this is the real deal! You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor. If you don’t have both dark and light soy sauce, you can just use 2 tsp of the soy sauce you have.

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 2

Adapted from Appetite for China

  • 16 ounces dou gan or extra firm tofu
  • 2 to 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 5 slices of ginger
  • 5 to 6 scallions, roughly chopped, plus some thinly sliced scallions for optional garnish
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • At least 10 dried red chilis (add more for more spice)
  • 1 tbsp whole Sichuan peppercorns (or ½ tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns)
  • At least one handful of dry roasted peanuts

Marinade

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or medium dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water

Sauce

  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp dark Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chicken stock or water

1. Cube the tofu and mix in the marinade ingredients. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. If you haven’t done so already, mince the garlic and peel and slice the ginger. Roughly chop the white parts of scallions, and thinly slice the green parts for garnish (optional.) Either leave the dried chilis whole, or slice them in half and take out as many seeds as possible.

3. In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. (Note: Different brands of soy sauces vary in terms of saltiness, so taste your sauce. If it’s too salty, add some sugar and water to dilute.)

4. Heat a wok with oil over high heat. Before the wok begins to smoke, add the chilis and Sichuan peppercorn. Stir-fry briefly until the chilis are slightly blistered and oil is slightly fragrant.

5. Add tofu and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

7. Pour in sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients.

8. When the sauce is thickened and shiny, stir in peanuts.

9. Transfer to plates, garnish with thinly sliced scallions, and serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 9, 2012

Artichoke, Goat Cheese, Sweet Pea, and Mint Ravioli with Lemon Chive Butter Sauce

More ravioli from Eastern Market! Again, the sauce is versatile: you can use any type of pasta you want!

Tip: If you don’t have a grater, you can shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano with a peeler.

Time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

  • Pasta, of choice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • small bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook the pasta.

2. While your pasta cooks, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook until golden brown.

3. Add chives and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and set aside.

4. Drain the pasta, but leaving some cooking water, and gently pour into saute pan and return to heat.

5. Add the cheese, toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 8, 2012

Sichuan Eggplant

This is a classic Sichuan dish that is spicy, sour, salty, and sweet all at the same time. You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor.

Tip: To grind the Sichuan peppercorns: Toast peppercorns in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until very fragrant and smoking, 3 to 5 minutes (be careful not to let them burn). Grind, while still hot, to a powder in an electric coffee/spice grinder (or a blender/food processor). If you want, you can sift through a fine sieve, discarding hulls.

 

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from Appetite for China

  • 1 1/2 pounds Asian eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock, or substitute water
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns

1. Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters. Cut each quarter in somewhat substantial, but still bite-sized, cubes (about 1 1/4-inch to 1 1/2-inch cubes).

2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl the pan to coat the base and sides. Add the eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorn and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

 

5. Pour in the sauce mixture and mix well. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the eggplant to fully cook and the sauce to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.

6. Remove from the heat, plate, and sprinkle scallions on top.

Happy Eating!

 

Love,

Yang

August 6, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter

Ok, I didn’t make this pasta (it’s from DC’s Eastern Market), but it’s fresh! This is a delicious and comforting fall recipe and it can also be a quick weeknight recipe because it’s versatile: you can use any type of pasta you want!

Tip: If you don’t have a grater, you can shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano with a peeler.

Time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

Adapted from Mario Batali

  • Pasta, of choice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook the pasta.

2. While your pasta cooks, melt butter in a saute pan and continue cooking until golden brown color appears in the thinnest liquid of the butter.

3. Add sage leaves and remove from heat. Add lemon juice and set aside.

4. Drain the pasta, but leaving some cooking water, and gently pour into saute pan and return to heat.

5. Add the cheese, toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

August 2, 2012

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

This is a delicious and comforting weeknight recipe. You can use any vegetables you have on hand (I used sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, and carrots). The measurements for the sauce are approximate and feel free to add more sugar, soy sauce, or vinegar, depending on how salty, sweet, or acidic you like it. The water is important to add because the sauce will thicken as it cooks, and it can become gummy if the water isn’t added in the beginning. As the tofu turns golden brown, you might feel tempted to stir, but don’t. Just let it sit and crisp up in the pan for 5 minutes, and check every few minutes to see if it’s golden brown. This is a simple stir-fry, but tastes phenomenal!

Hint: To peel ginger, place your thumb on the back of a spoon and apply downward pressure; the skin will come off easily!

Time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

SAUCE

  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter (Organics Old-Fashioned Creamy brand is my favorite!)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, (or white vinegar, or lime juice)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or honey)
  • dash of crushed red pepper or cayenne (optional, to add some spice)

TOFU & VEGETABLES

  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 cups of vegetables (any kind!)
  • 2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • fresh basil (optional garnish)

1. To prepare tofu: Drain and rinse tofu; pat dry. Cut the tofu into ½ inch cubes.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add tofu and cook in a single layer, without stirring, until the pieces begin to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Then gently stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all sides are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes more.

3. While the tofu is crisping, prepare the sauce: Whisk water, peanut butter, rice vinegar (or white vinegar), soy sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Taste it, to make sure it’s the way you like it.

4. When the tofu is golden brown on all sides, transfer to a separate plate.

5. Saute onions, ginger, and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vegetables, tofu and the peanut sauce and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just cooked, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, garnish with fresh basil, and serve.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

July 15, 2012

Dan Dan Noodles (擔擔麵)

A Sichuan favorite! Sichuan peppercorns are necessary in this dish and give it the characteristic “ma la” flavor. If you get the whole peppercorns, toast them slightly in a dry wok or frying pan before grinding them in a spice grinder. Ya cai or Sichuan preserved greens, which can be found in Chinatown markets, is also an important component of this dish, but they can be omitted if you can’t find them. The dish will still taste amazing!

Adapted from Red Cook

Total time: 40 minutes

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

1 lb. fresh Shanghai style noodles (if you can’t find fresh noodles, boxed spaghetti/noodles will suffice)

4 tablespoons light soy sauce (生抽)

4 teaspoons Chinkiang black vinegar

Chopped cilantro and scallion for garnish

Pork Topping

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 oz. ground pork

2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine

a pinch of salt

4 oz. Sichuan preserved greens (芽菜 ya cai) or pickled mustard (optional, only if you can find them)

Sesame Sauce

4 tablespoons sesame paste

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon sugar

Chili Oil

5 tablespoons chili oil

1 tablespoon dried chili flakes

2 teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns (花椒)

1. Mix all the ingredients for the sesame sauce and set aside.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the chili oil and set aside.

3. In a wok, heat the vegetable oil until just beginning to smoke then add the ground pork. Stir-fry the pork until just cooked then add the rest of the topping ingredients and continue to stir-fry until the liquid completely evaporate. Set the topping aside.

4. Divide the sauce by putting one quarter of the sesame sauce mixture and chili oil into each of four bowls. Add one tablespoon of soy sauce and one teaspoon of Chinkiang black vinegar to each bowl.

5. In a large 8-quart stockpot bring four quarts of water to boil. Cook the noodles in the boiling water for about three minutes or until the noodles are just al dente. Divide the noodles into four portions and put them in each of the bowls. Top the noodles with one quarter of the pork and Sichuan preserved greens topping, and garnish with chopped cilantro and scallion. Serve immediately.

July 15, 2012

Poached Eggs with Rosemary Tomato Sauce

This is a great brunch recipe and very versatile. Other herbs and seasonings can be substituted for rosemary. Instead of tomato sauce, you can put poached eggs over toast, a salad, beans, pasta, rice, etc. Once you get the hang of poaching eggs, you’ll want to do it again and again! It’s a simple process and the result is beautiful. If you want to poach more than 2 eggs at once, use a bigger pan to avoid crowding or have 2 pots/pans going on at once.

Total Time: 30 minutes

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Serves 4

Rosemary Tomato Sauce

2 tbsp of olive oil

4 large tomatoes, chopped

½ onion, diced

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

Poached Eggs

8 eggs (2 for each person)

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp salt

1. Heat up a large sauté pan to medium heat.

2. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the onions and stir occasionally until they become translucent, 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes. When the tomatoes have cooked down, add the rosemary. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer.

4. Make the poached eggs: Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a small deep skillet or a pot. Add the salt and vinegar, and lower the heat to the point where it barely bubbles. One at a time, break the eggs into a shallow bowl or cup and slip them into the water.

5. Cook for 3-5 minutes, just until the white is set and the yolk has filmed over. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow the water to drain off for a couple seconds.

6. Season the rosemary tomato sauce with salt and pepper. When it’s the way you like it, spoon ¼ of it on a plate. Add 2 poached eggs on top. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

Happy Eating!

Love,

Yang

July 11, 2012

Panang Curry with Tofu, Eggplant, Potatoes, Sweet Red Bell Pepper, and Fresh Basil

I’m a fiend for curry and Thai curry is one of my favorites. There are many different Thai curries (Massaman, Panang, Red, Green, Yellow, Karee, Kaeng Kua, Khing, etc.), each with a unique flavor that stems from the different ingredients in their pastes. If I was an authentic Thai chef, I’d grind my spices in a pestle and mortar and crack a coconut and strain its milk. Let’s just say I’ve tried to make authentic curry before in just this manner and ended up with multiple bruises on my forehead and a chipped countertop. Since I’m a college a student with no time, the following recipe is one that I’ve made up over the years and is as convenient as can be without sacrificing taste. You can use any protein you want (chicken, pork, beef, seafood, duck, etc.) and any vegetables or fruits you want (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, green beans, etc).

Again, this recipe is a simple concept where you can mix and match to find your favorite combination:

Concept: curry paste + coconut milk + protein + vegetables = delicious curry.

This is a great recipe for making a huge batch and reheating the leftovers throughout the week. Curry will taste even better the next day when all of the flavors have had time to mingle. A batch of curry will last for about a week in the fridge.

If you’re watching your fat and calorie intake, you could use light coconut milk (best deal is at Trader Joe’s, $0.99/can). However, this will make your curry runnier (since light coconut milk is essentially diluted coconut milk) and, in my opinion, less delicious. You could do 1 light can, 1 full-fat can to compromise, but from my own experience, just use the unadulterated coconut milk and eat less of it. Trust me, the taste and texture of your curry will be absolutely amazing and it will be worth it.

Chao Koh is the best authentic brand of canned coconut milk for foodies and Thai home cooks alike, and is available at Safeway. The next best brand is Thai Kitchen’s Coconut Milk, which is available at Whole Foods.

I always use Maesri brand curry paste, which I get from Asian grocery stores, but Thai Kitchen curry pastes are good, too. You can find those at Safeway and Whole Foods.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp of neutral oil such as canola, peanut, safflower, or vegetable

2 13 oz cans of coconut milk

1 can (4 oz, or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste (or any curry paste)

1 medium eggplant

3 medium-sized potatoes (or 6 small potatoes)

1 14 oz box of firm or extra firm tofu (spongy tofu, tofu gan, or any form of tofu will work, but firm will hold up better in the curry)

1 red bell pepper

1 small handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded

1. Heat up a medium to large pot to medium heat.

2. Stir fry 4 oz (or 6 tbsp) of red curry paste with 2 tbsp of oil.

3. Add 1 can of coconut milk and stir to integrate the curry paste with the coconut milk. While you’re waiting for the mixture to boil, chop the tofu into small 1/2 inch chunks.

4. When the mixture boils, add the tofu and stir thoroughly.5. While the tofu is cooking, chop the eggplant and potatoes into small 1/2 inch chunks.

6. Add another can of coconut milk and add the chopped eggplant and potatoes. If the liquid doesn’t cover the newly added eggplant and potatoes, add some water, but not too much, since the eggplant and potatoes will reduce down as they cook.

7. While the eggplant and potatoes are cooking, remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and slice the pepper into strips.

8. After 20 minutes, check to see if the eggplant and potatoes are tender by sticking a fork or chopstick in it. The potatoes should not be too hard or too mushy. If they’re too hard, let them cook for 5-10 more minutes.

9. Once the potatoes are tender, add in the chopped red bell pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, and then serve immediately over jasmine rice or by itself. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. If you like it spicy, you can also garnish with fresh red chilies.

Happy eating!

Love,

Yang

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