Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage "Noodles"

Want to spend 3 hours making dinner?  Who doesn't!  Don't worry, this recipe has easy and minimal prep, otherwise simmering on the stove unattended.  This stew is full of south east asian flavors, rich and spicy.  

When browning the meat, start with a hot pan that is not too full.  If there are too many pieces of meat in the pan they will end up steaming without color.  We are looking for a deep brown, crust to form.  This adds a ton of flavor to the meat.  

We used cabbage instead of my usual preference of rice or noodles to keep the recipe healthier and gluten free.  A quick dip in boiling water milds the flavor and creates a chewy, tender texture making it perfect as a noodle substitute.  

I used a fresno chile but you could use a long green chile, hot cherry or jalapeno.   If you use anything spicier, think about decreasing the sambal oelek which is a popular spicy chile paste, found in grocery stores near the siracha.  

Serves 4.

Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage Noodles

3 tablespoons high heat oil

2 lbs stew beef chunks, 2 " pieces

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4 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, chopped

2" ginger root, peeled, chopped

1 fresno chile, seeded, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped, divided

2 star anise pods

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons sambal oelek

3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

32 oz beef stock

1 lb daikon radish, peeled, halved lengthwise, 1/2" slices

8oz carrots, peeled, 1 1/2" slices

lime juice, to taste

1/2 head cabbage, cored, thinly sliced

Heat a heavy pot, like a dutch oven, over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Add to pot in 3 or 4 batches, careful not to over crowd the pan or the meat will not brown, only steam.  Brown meat well on all sides.  Transfer to plate, set aside.  

Add a splash more oil to the pot, if needed.  Add lemongrass, ginger, chile, garlic, 1/4 of the onion, star anise and cinnamon.  Cook until lightly browned, stirring often to avoid burning.  Add browned beef and all juices, tomato paste, sambal oelek, tamari, fish sauce and beef stock plus 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer.  Let simmer, covered, 2 1/2 hours.  

Remove beef.  Strain cooking liquid.  Discard solids.  Return beef and stained liquid to pot.  Add daikon, carrots and remaining 3/4 of onion.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer partially covered until daikon is tender, about 45 minutes.  

While stew is simmering, blanche cabbage:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add cabbage.  Cook about 1 minute or until cabbage is crisp tender.  Strain.  When stew is done, ladle over portions of cabbage.  

 

 

 

Plum + Flax Fruit Roll ups

Once i've made a batch, I carry these and roasted nuts with me everywhere as an emergency snack.  

It's best if your plums are ripe.  The riper the fruit, the sweeter the fruit roll up will be.  Ginger is optional, it adds a little zip and spiciness.   (if you're curious, the lighter colored pieces in the photo were not cooked first and the darker ones were, following the posted instructions.  Just a little recipe test.)

Makes 1 18 x 13 inch half sheet pan.  

Plum + Flax Fruit Rollups

1 teaspoon whole flax seeds

6 ripe plums. pits removed, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.    Prepare a 18" x 13" sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.  If using the parchment paper, cut it so it fits the base of the pan without over hang.  

Grind flax seeds in spice or coffee grinder.  Set aside. 

Place chopped plums in pot, over medium-low heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until plums begin to break down and become soft.  Transfer to a blender with ground flax seeds and ginger.  Blend until very smooth. 

Pour puree onto prepared pan.  Smear it out to the edge of the parchment or silpat with a flat sided spatula to even thickness.  (The evenness is important so it all cooks right so take your time with this part.)  

Transfer to oven and bake 4 to 5 hours until dry to the touch and not mushy.  Remove from oven.  Rotate pan occasionally.  Let cool and set.  If you used parchment paper, cut into strips.  If a silpat was used, carefully peel whole fruit leather off silpat and place on a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper.  Cut into strips.  

Store in airtight container.   

 

 

Ginger Peach Margarita

A tasty margarita might be just the thing you need to cool off during these hot summer days.  For an extra kick of ginger, throw in a small slice and muddle it with the peach.  

Serves 1. 

Ginger Peach Margarita

3 peach slices

1.5 oz blanco tequila

.5 oz triple sec

1 oz fresh lime juice

.5 oz ginger simple syrup

lime wedge + thin ginger slice for garnish

Muddle the peaches in a glass.  Pour in tequila, triple sec, lime juice and simple syrup.  Add ice, shake and tumble into a salted glass.  Garnish with lime wedge and ginger slice.  

 

Ginger Simple Syrup

Ginger syrup, it's so simple to make.  (ha! Sorry.)  It's great way to punch up your lemonade, ice tea or cocktails this summer.  You'll find it in a margarita in an upcoming post.  Store it in the fridge.

Ginger Simple Syrup

8 oz water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped, peeled fresh ginger

In a small sauce pot, combine water, sugar and ginger.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes.  Strain.  

Ginger Peach Mini Pies + Coconut Crust

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What's better than pie?  Lots of things, but pie is pretty great.  Even better when it's served as a miniature/individually sized portion that you can eat all by yourself.  Just make a little dent in the middle, ad ice cream and it's perfect.  

Coconut oil pie crust is great if you're vegan.  It's tender and has a mild taste of coconut.  

Recipe makes 4 mini pies but portion will also make 1 normal sized pie.  

Makes 4 mini pies.

Ginger Peach Mini Pies + Coconut Crust

for the crust

 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut oil, cold and solid

ice cold water

for the filling

2 lb ripe apricots, pitted, sliced

1 tablespoon grated ginger  

3 tablespoons flour

2 pinches salt

12 scrapes of whole nutmeg

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

In a bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar and salt to evenly combine.  Add cold coconut oil with a pastry cutter.  Use your hands if necessary.  Combine just enough so pea sized pieces of coconut oil remain and the rest looks like sand.  Add cold water tablespoon at a time until dough feels very hydrated and sticks together as a ball.  Cut dough into 8 pieces or 2 pieces.  Flatten each piece into a disc.  Wrap securely in plastic and let rest in fridge 20 minutes.  

While dough is resting in the fridge, heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease pie tins and set aside.  Toss apricot slices, ginger, flour, salt, nutmeg and light brown sugar.  Set aside.  

Roll out 4 discs for bottom crusts:  place a dough disc between two sheets of parchment paper and roll with rolling pin to 1/8 inch thick.  Carefully peel back top sheet, invert over tin and peel away remaining piece of paper.  Gently press into tin.  Fill each tin with apricot mixture.  

Roll out remaining 4 pieces of dough for top crusts between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 inch thick.  Carefully peel back top sheet and use a pastry decortaing tip or straw to poke out holes.  Invert polka dotted dough sheet over filled tin with paper side up.  Carefully, peel back paper, seal and trim edges.  

If you're not vegan you can use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash of 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon of milk.  To keep things vegan, use soy milk. 

Place in oven and bake 30 minutes.  Crust should be golden brown and pies fragrant.  

Cool and serve. 

 

 

Ginger Lime Noodle Bowl

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Noodles!  I'm frequently making demands or dreaming about noodles.   I love them.    This noodle bowl is great for lunch as it is served cold and most of the veggies are fresh and not cooked.    

Serves 4.

Noodle Bowl + Ginger Lime Sauce 

6 oz lo mein noodles  

1 broccoli, chopped

1 cup snow peas, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

2 carrots, match-sticked or thinly sliced

1 package brown tofu, sliced

sesame seeds

for the ginger lime sauce

juice of 2 limes

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons agave syrup

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, diced

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoon soy sauce

Cook noodles using package instructions, usually a few minutes in boiling water.  Drain and set aside. 

Blanche broccoli and snow peas 1 minute in boiling water, drain and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking.   

Divide cooked noodles, broccoli, snow peas, peppers, carrots and tofu in 4 portions.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  

In a blender, blend lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce.   Strain and spoon onto noodles and veggies.  Toss if you like and eat. 

Chai Apple Cake + Lemon Ginger Frosting

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 If you are needing a little indulgence, this cake will do the trick.  Originally, I wanted this cake to be a bread but after making 3 different test breads (because each wasn't just right) it seemed like the bread was telling me it wanted to be cake.  It would also be good as cupcakes.  I like cupcakes.  

Chai Apple Cake

1 cup milk

2 chai tea bags

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons cardamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 1/2 cups cake flour

1 stick butter. softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons white vinegar, separated

2 apples, peeled, cored, diced

Lemon Ginger Frosting

1 stick butter, softened

grated zest of one lemon

grated fresh ginger of about 1 inch root

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two cake pans, 8 or 9 inch rounds and set aside.

For cake, Heat milk until hot but not boiling and brew a strong tea using both chai tea bags, about 5 minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let stand 5 minutes.  It is now chai flavored buttermilk.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.   Set aside.  In another bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs 1 teaspoon vinegar and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and chai butter milk.  Lastly add apples.  Pour evenly into prepared baking rounds.  Bake about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow cake to cool 10 minutes in pans and then turn out to cool completely.

In the mean time, make the Frosting.

For Frosting, with an electric hand or stand mixer, combine all ingredients.

Frost the cake.