Fried Rice

If possible use cold rice and make it the night before.  That way it won't become mushy.  You can use white or brown rice and  longer grains are best.  I think bacon or spicy sausage would be great in this but I didn't have any around.

Vegetable Fried Rice

4 cups cold rice

canola oil or grapeseed oil

2 eggs, beaten

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 nub ginger, finely diced

1 shallot, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2  red pepper, diced

1 heaping cup brussel sprout leaves

1 carrot, peeled and diced

2 scallions, diced

a few fresh leaves of basil, chopped

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon each fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar

squeeze of lime juice

In a small dish add sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and squeeze of lime juice.  Set aside.  In a large pan heat a drizzle of oil and cook egg at medium high heat whisking as it cooks, creating cooked bits of egg.  Set aside and clean pan.  Drizzle oil in pan and on medium high heat cook carrots, brussel sprouts, scallion and red pepper about 4 minutes.  Set aside vegetables along with the egg. Again, drizzle oil in pan and cook ginger, red pepper flakes, shallot and garlic about 2 minutes, until fragrant.  Tun heat to high and add 2 tablespoon oil.   Add rice, vegetables and egg.  Add Sauce and stir continously until rice is hot and all ingredients are incorporated.  Remove from heat, add basil and season with salt and pepper.

Peanut Chicken

I really wanted something crispy and chicken-y the other day but wasn't prepared to commit to fried chicken.  And considering an unusual abundance of mixed nuts from my parents last visit, I tried to come up with the next best thing. (yes, I picked out all the peanuts.)  This dish is baked in the oven at a high temperature which gives it the crispiness of something fried.  This recipe needs crushed peanuts so if you have a food processor, this would be an opportune time to use it.  I do not have one and easily crushed the peanuts in a bowl with the bottom of an ice cream scoop handle.

Peanut Crusted Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips

2 cups peanuts, finely crushed

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Set up a small assembly line for yourself.  First bowl: beaten eggs, salt, pepper and optional chile powder.  Second bowl: crushed peanuts.  And a greased baking sheet.  Dip chicken strips in egg mix, then coat with peanuts.  Press chicken into peanuts to make sure its fully coated.  Arrange on sheet and bake about 15 minutes.

For a dipping sauce I combined mustard and samba oelekl fresh chili paste.

Roasted Chicken (and stock)

This was really just a path to the tortilla soup the leftovers from this will make.  It's also one of the simplest to prepare but still exciting and impressive.  I recommend using organic pastured/free range chickens whenever possible.  (Happy chickens taste better.)  Save all chicken bits and bones and vegetable peelings for the stock we are going to make after.

Roasted Chicken Dinner

3lb whole organic chicken

olive oil

salt and pepper

8 mini or 5 small potatoes, scrubbed and coarsely chopped

5 small or 1 bunch turnips, trimmed and halved

5 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

2 whole garlic cloves

4 sprigs thyme

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Rinse chicken, inside and out, remove anything (liver, giblets..) from inside cavity, remove excess fat from around cavity if present and dry.  In a roasting pan, toss chopped potatoes, carrots, onion and whole garlic cloves in a drizzle of olive oil.  Set thyme sprigs on top of vegetables.  Rub chicken with olive oil or butter an season with salt pepper.  Place chicken breast side up with its wings tucked underneath in roasting pan on vegetables.  Tie legs together with a small length of kitchen twine.  Add 1/2 cup water to pan.  Roast for one hour.  Use a meat thermometer to make sure chicken reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes.

Chicken Stock

Leftover chicken bones and carcass

8 cups water

any leftover vegetable scraps

2 carrots, cut in half

2 celery stalks, cut in half

1 onion, cut in half

salt, pepper, herbs

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours.  Season with more salt and pepper to taste.  Strain and Store.

Calabacitas

Spicy, citrusy and salty.  All the qualities one wants in a taco.  These are vegetarian but suitable for any meat eater.

Vegetarian Taco Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 zucchini, sliced and cut in half

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/2 - 1 jalapeno, grated

Juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon each: dried oregano, chili powder, garlic powder

Saute olive oil, zucchini, jalapeno and mushrooms in pan about 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until desired texture is reached. (About 5 minutes more.) Serve fajita style or fill taco shells and pile on toppings.   I suggest sour cream, pico de gallo (or salsa), guacamole,  shredded cheese, lettuce, black beans, rice and olives.

Pizza Party

I made pizza, a lot of pizza the other night. i made so much dough that i ended up freezing four pizza size portions of dough that proved their convenience later in the week with surprise pizza nights and/or lunches.

I found Jim Lahey's dough recipe in Bonapetit and changed it up a bit to make it a little healthier. Instead of kneading, the dough rises and ferments overnight. (i made the dough the day before i planned on making pizzas.

Pizza Dough (for six pizzas!) 4 cups whole wheat flour 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (substituing 1/2 cup cake flour for all purpose will give you a fluffier crust) 4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast 3 cups water

Mix dry ingredients, add water. Combine with hands and shape into a ball. Place in big clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 18-24 hours. The dough will have doubled in size.

Divide dough into 6 portions, forming each into a ball, let rest covered with towel or plastic wrap for an hour. dough is now ready to be formed into a ball and baked at 500 degrees in the oven for 8-10 minutes. (Do not over flour the bottom of your pizza, use cornmeal for a better taste.)

As for toppings, pizza one was homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, sliced pepperoni and a drizzle of olive oil.  pizza two was home made tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sliced mushrooms, shaved brussel sprout, artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.  i made one later in the week for lunch with artichoke hearts, tomato sauce, mozzarella and black olives that was also very good.

Vegetable Lasagna and Tomato Sauce

Lasagna needs a homemade sauce. This is a very easy tomato sauce that takes no time to make. While it simmers you can get started on cooking the pasta and prepping the veggies. These recipes make enough for a 9"x13" Lasagna. I like to double the sauce recipe and freeze it in muffin pan molds, its always nice to have some on hand.

Quick Tomato Sauce Olive oil 4 garlic cloves, finely diced 1 shallot, finely diced Red pepper flakes Dried oregano 1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes Fresh Basil Fresh Parsley Salt and Pepper

Add a bit of olive oil to a pot over medium heat. Sauté garlic and shallot for about 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes in your hand or puree in blender and add to pot. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Vegetable Lasagna About 9 cooked normal lasagna sheets Tomato Sauce 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 egg yolk 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated Mozzarella cheese, grated Splash olive oil 1 brocoli floret, chopped 1 zucchini, chopped 1 yellow squash, chopped About 5 cremini mushrooms, chopped 1 carrot, peeled and chopped Salt and pepper

Image

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute vegetables for a couple minutes until vegetables reach crisp/tender texture. In a large bowl combine vegetables and all except 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Set aside for now.

In another bowl combine egg yolk, ricotta and parmesan. Set aside.

Ladle half remaining tomato sauce into lasagna pan. Smear around. Lay single layer of noodles. Spread half ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle layer of mozzarella cheese and spoon on half the vegetables. (I added a couple shakes of red pepper flakes for spice and threw in some salt, pepper and torn basil leaves for extra flavor. There can never be too much basil.) Repeat noodles, remaining ricotta, mozzarella and remaining vegetables. Layer rest of noodles, remaining sauce and mozzarella. Bake for 45 minutes.

Image