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Showing posts from 2020

Thai Chicken with Basil/ Gai Pad Prik Grapao- Top Thai Dish

Thais’ love fresh basil, and use many different types. Most of us are familiar with Sweet Basil, and this is easy to find in any market. However, it’s the “Holy Basil”, known as Bai Grapao, which is the most flavorful and authentic.

This basil has an anise type of flavor and gives this dish an amazing flavor and dimension that just doesn’t taste the same with sweet basil. If you can't find the holy basil, a good quality fresh Thai basil will work as well.
You should always use fresh basil for this recipe, as the dried variety will not give acceptable results, unless you can find the authentic dried Thai Grapao.
Ingredients

¾ lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, coarsely ground and marinated in about 1 Tbsp. of fish sauce, and 1 Tbsp. of light soy sauce. 1/2 sliced large Onion 1/2 sliced sweet Red Pepper 2 finely chopped Thai Chilies 2 Tbsp. of Peanut or another Vegetable oil 3 cloves chopped Garlic 1 tbsp chopped fresh Ginger Root 4 stalks of fresh Basil, pulled apart just before adding to…

Shanghai Shrimp with Rice Cake (Chao Nian Gao)

This is a dish that I often used to order at Din Tai Fung in LA. Along with their rightfully famous xiaolongbao. I had tried it a few times in China, but not with shrimp.

After tracking down the rice cakes (who knew there were so many types and shapes), it was a bit of a learning curve to figure our how to prep them for the wok. 
I finally settled on boiling them in water with a splash of fish sauce. The big take away, was it only took about 2 minutes for them to cook and they were done when they floated. Additionally once you drain them and start stir frying everything else, they tend to stick together, but quickly release once they hit the wok.
Ingredients
3 Tbsp Vegetable oil  1 cup Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced  2 cups Bok Choy, hard ends removed and cubed and sliced 2 Green Onion, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces.  2 cloves Garlic, minced 2 cups Rice Cake, see note.  10-12 large raw Shrimp, cleaned and peeled, tails intact.  1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine
Sauce Mixture: 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce  1 tsp Dark Soy S…

Pan Pizza, quick and easy.

There are so many options to make your own pizza. I really enjoy my 72 hour cold proof pizza dough, but sometimes I want something faster.



The pizza dough in this recipe is more like a focaccia texture, but that makes it perfect for a pan pizza. It is a recipe from the amazing Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC. It is from his book "My Bread".

Ingredients 
3 3/4 cups/500 grams Bread Flour 2 1/2 tsp Instant or Active Dry Yeast 3/4 tsp Salt 3/4 tsp Sugar 1 1/3 cups/300 grams Water, at room temperature.  2 Tbsp Olive Oil 
Mix all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl, slowly add your water and mix well with a spoon or spatula until well mixed. About 1 minute. Cover and allow to rise for two hours. 
Turn it out onto a floured surface and form into a ball and allow to rise for another 30 minutes covered with a damp cloth. 
Preheat your oven to 500°F. Once the dough has finished its second proof, oil a half sheet pan well and gently stretch the dough into a loaf shape and …

Sweet and Savory Oven Roasted Salmon

This salmon was truly amazing. I found so many recipes online, but this one seemed to really bring out the best of the salmon. Butter for richness, honey for sweetness and garlic and thyme for a savory element and a little brightness for the chili flakes.



Ingredients

2 lb Salmon filet. Skin on or off is fine.
2 Lemons thinly sliced, and a 1/4 saved for after cooking.
4 Tbsp Butter, melted
2 Tbsp Honey
1 clove Garlic
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Chili Flakes

Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon filet. Lay on a bed of sliced lemons. Spoon over the glaze.




Into a preheated 350F oven for 20 - 25 minutes and then turn on broiler for 3-5 minutes, and broil until the glaze sets. Squeeze on the reserved lemon quarter and let it rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Thanks to www.delish.com for the recipe and inspiration.

Caribbean Banana Cake with Lime and Nutmeg

I had been looking at this recipe for a long time, but as I've mentioned, I'm not much of a baker. Enter quarantine and I have plenty of time to hone my skills.

This comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. Her recipes reflect the heritage of her homeland of Guyana and her current home in the Netherlands. It's really a special book. 






A few things I learned when making this cake. Firstly, the recipe was vastly more accurate when I weighed the ingredients. Example, I found that 9 oz of AP flour was much more than 1 2/3 cups. My friends who are accomplished bakers say to always weigh if possible. I have tried to adjust the recipe to reflect this, but weighing would really be best.







Secondly, the recipe calls for 35-40 minutes cooking time, but I found in my oven it needed a full 50 minutes. 

Lastly, in the original recipe, she did not call for allowing the cake to rest before turning it out of the pan. I waited 15 minutes and it…

Sweet, Sour and Spicy Chicken Thighs

As with most of you, I have time on my hands, so I broke out the slow cooker aka crock pot. I found a recipe online, but wanted to adjust it to be more Asian influenced, almost a Korean BBQ. It was very good and will definetly be on rotation for dinner.

What I really liked about it, was that it was packed with flavor, but not a sodium bomb. The flavors were balanced and blended well. I served it with steamed jasmine rice and broccoli.
Ingredients
2 lbs Chicken Thighs, boneless and skinless. Excess fat removed. 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 1/2 cup Catsup or Tomato Sauce 1/4 cup low sodium Soy Sauce 2 Tbsp Honey 2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar  1 Tbsp Shaoxing Wine 1 Tbsp Sriracha 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced 2-3 inch piece of Ginger, peeled and grated.  1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil 1/4 cup Green Onions, sliced 2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
Lightly brown the chicken, then into the slow cooker with rest of ingredients, except green onions and sesame seeds. 



Cook on high for 2-3 hours and sprinkle with sliced green…

The NY Times No Knead Bread

Originally developed by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. Published by NY Times and food writer Mark Bittman. Incredibly easy and well worth the time.



This recipe makes one loaf
Ingredients
3 cups All Purpose unbleached Flour or Bread Flour 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast 2 tsp Salt 1 1/2 cups, and 2 Tbsp slightly warm Water

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Give it a quick stir to incorporate. Pour in the water, and with a spoon, stir until blended and all the flour is incorporated. The dough will be rough and shaggy, almost like a scone dough, and fairly sticky. This step only takes one minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter for 18 hours. If your kitchen is cold, you might need 24 hours. No need for a “warm” spot, room temperature is fine.


The dough will be ready when the surface is level and bubbly. 


Preheat the oven to 450˚, with the enamel pot inside, and with the lid on. While the oven is heating, turn the dough out onto a well floured…

Biscuit Topped Apple Cobbler

This is a great way to use up any leftover apples or other fruit and handy if you’ve got some canned biscuits laying around as well.

Ingredients 4 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored. Cut into 1 inch pieces.  4 Tbsp Butter 1 tsp Cinnamon  1/2 tsp Nutmeg  1/2 cup Sugar 2 tsp Vanilla Extract Pinch of Salt 1 can of Flaky Biscuits 
Topping 1 Tbsp Butter 3 Tbsp Sugar



After peeling, coring and cutting the apples into 1 inch pieces, put them into a sauce pan with the 4 melted tablespoons of butter. Add a pinch of salt and allow them to soften and reduce. 


Then add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Continue cooking until slightly thickened. If you find they are not sufficiently thickened, add a cornstarch slurry and continue cooking. You make a slurry by adding 1 tsp of cornstarch with 2 tsp of water and mixing together. Once at desired thickness, pour into a pie dish/pan to cool. A square Pyrex can work as well
Preheat your oven to 350F. Open your can of biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarte…

Pasta all'Amatrice

This was a specialty of the original Florence’s in the North End of Boston. Sadly Florence has passed away and the original restaurant closed in 2015, but I like the idea of keeping this dish alive. I've heard they've reopened as the Florentine Cafe.
The North End has traditionally been a home for Italian immigrants and is packed with great restaurants and bakeries. In addition, it is also the home of Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church. If you visit Boston, it's  well worth a visit.

After I moved away from Boston, I tried to recreate Florence's recipe, and I think this is very close to the original. This sauce can be made thicker and more concentrated by just using one can of tomatoes. It’s your choice.
For the purists, they would likely disagree that this is the famous pasta from the town of Amatrice. However I like both. If you want to sample the "real" dish from Amatrice, here is a link. https://www.ciaoitalia.com/seasons/season-2300/episode-231…

Beef Bourguignon- Country French at it's best.

So rainy and cold here today, it just begs for some French bistro comfort food. So, time to crack open a nice bottle of wine and make a hearty beef stew. I just braved the weather to pull together the basics for preparing my beef bourguignon.




Ingredients


2 Tbsp. Butter 3 cloves of Garlic, chopped 1 Shallot, chopped  1/4 lb. lightly smoked, unsmoked Bacon or salt pork 1 lb pearl Onions, blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes and then peeled. Frozen pearl onions are a good time saver.  ½ lb of whole Mushrooms 4 lbs. of boneless Beef Short Ribs, or Beef Chuck, cut into 2 to 3inch pieces 3 large Carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 to 3 inch pieces, or a 1 lb bag of baby Carrots 1 bottle of Red Wine (Pinot Noir is perfect) ½ cup Cognac ½ tsp. dried Thyme, or 6 stalks of fresh thyme 2 Bay Leaf 3 tsp. of Salt  Fresh ground Black Pepper
Cut the meat and put into a large bowl or plastic freezer bag with 4 springs of the fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf and two cloves of garlic, crushed with the side of your knife. 
Now…

Risotto alla Parmigiano Reggiano, the perfect rice dish?

Risotto is one of the most amazing dishes known to man. It is a simple combination of butter, stock and rice, which when properly prepared rises to an art form.
Many people do not know this, but in Italy rice is raised in the north in two main areas, the Piemonte (think Milan and Turin) and the Veneto, which is the area of Venice. 




The north of Italy has always been more of a rice centric region while the south was more of a pasta centric region.
While not complicated to make, for an authentic risotto, the ingredients and cooking process must be followed carefully. I have seen many variations on this theme, but a basic recipe is a good place to start.
There are a few things you must remember to make a good risotto:
Only use true Italian Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice, other rice just doesn’t give equal results. If you’re in a pinch, medium grain rice will give you vastly superior results to long grain rice, but it's not quite the same. These rices can be purchased in most grocery store…