Monday, May 24, 2010

Thai Chicken Curry- Family Circle & Stir Fried Beef with Onions- HTCE

For 6 years I have committed myself to a wonderful television show by the name of Lost. Many memories and nights with friends have been spent in wonder, amazement, confusion, and heartbreak and all of it came to a resoltion last evening. I was sad in the days leading up to the finale. After living with the characters and storylines for so long it was tough to know that the story would be ending and I would only have the memories (and DVDs) to bring me back to it. I won't wax poetic about the finale, or my thoughts on it, because that's not what this blog is about... it's about food.

That being said, I wanted to make something fun in honor of the finale event! I had a thai chicken recipe that I had been wanting to make for months now and thought it would be a good dish for the evening. I also wanted to do one other item and after some deliberations decided to add a second entree. Steak was on sale and the recipe from my How to Cook Everything cookbook seemed simple and incorporated ingredients that I had available.

I started by getting everything prepped up while John was still up so that once he went to bed I could quickly whip up the meal and we could get in front of the flatscreen for Lost. I sliced up the steak, chicken, & onions; minced up the garlic & ginger, and had everything set aside for take off. Once the boy was in bed I started the rice and got started with the stir fries. I wouldn't attempt this again with the two stir fry dishes at once. It got a little hectic for me as I tried to coordinate them both. It worked, but it was way more stressing than it should have been!

For the curry sauce, I combined 2/3 of the can of light coconut milk with curry paste. I used a little less paste than it called for because I didn't want to scare Shawn off. I simmered the sauce for a minute and then added the remaining milk with sugar, soy sauce, and cornstarch and simmered for another minute. I added the chicken to the mix and it actually cooks in the sauce! Kind of neat to see chicken cooking in a cream sauce. Italians- do not try this with your alfredo!! Once the chicken is cooked through I added a thawed bag of asian frozen mixed vegetables until heated through and it was done! While this was going on.....

I sauteed the onions in sesame oil until they were charred and removed from the pan. I then added the garlic and ginger, sauteed for a minute, and added the beef. Once the beef was browned I added the onions back to the mix, added stock and hoisin, and it was ready for serving.... unfortunately my rice was not yet ready. I don't understand my challenges with rice!!! It's so annoying when everything is set to be ready at the same time and one item is lagging behind. It took almost an additional 10 minutes for my rice to fully absorb the water. Grrr....

So once it was ready, I heated the dishes up quickly and we were ready to try it all. Despite the holding time everything came out delicious! The steak was tender and flavorful and the onions were delicious with it. I love the combination of ingredients for the beef dish so I knew I would love it. You really can't go wrong with garlic, ginger, onions, and sesame oil. The chicken was fantastic! The curry was subtle and it all worked out beautifully. Shawn and I kept going back and forth which of these were our favorites and the chicken won out by only a little. It's also the heathier of the two!

I was so excited that Shawn really liked the curry. I loooove curry and this dish is super easy to make and healthy to boot. I'm definitely making it again!!

Thai Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice- Family Circle 10-09

Stir Fried Beef with Onions- How to Cook Everything- Mark Bittman
3/4- 1lb flank or sirloin steak
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2T peanut or vegetable oil
2 large or 3 medium onions, sliced thinly
1t minced garlic
1T peeled and minced ginger or grated fresh ginger, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup stock or water
1T hoisin sauce or soy sauce

1. Slice beef as thinly as you can; it's easier if you freeze it for 15- 30 minutes first. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
2. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until it smokes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the onions. Stir immediately, then stir every 30 seconds or so until the onions soften and begin to char slightly, 4-5 minutes. Season the onions with salt & pepper then remove them; keep the heat on high
3. Add the remaining oil to the pan, then the garlic and 1 tablespoon of ginger; stir immediately and add the beef. Stir immediately, then stir every 20 seconds or so until it loses color, just a minute or two longer, then stir in the onions. Add the stock or water, the hoisin or soy, and the remaining ginger; let some of the liquid bubble away and serve immediately, over rice.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Simply Sensational Potato Salad- Marukan Rice Vinegar Bottle

Shawn recently got a new smoker for his birthday and we are very excited to be trying out new things on it! I love when spring rolls around and the weather starts getting nice.... we have a beautiful screened in porch with speakers outside for music and we really try and take advantage of it when the weather is nice. I especially love this time of year because a lot of the cooking responsibilities shift over. Shawn's the griller of the family so instead of complete dinner management I get downgraded to sides and sauces. I don't mind- it gives me a little extra free time at the end of the evenings.

This weekend was our second foray into the world of smoking meats. Shawn has been having a lot of fun looking up BBQ sauces and rub recipes and will be hijacking this blog on a occasion to discuss his new adventures. We picked up some ribs from the supermarket and I decided to make some potato salad to go with it. Originally I was going to make the potato salad from my earlier blog posting, but realized at the last minute that I didn't have white wine vinegar. I went to replace it with rice vinegar and then realized that there was a recipe on the back of the bottle for potato salad! It was simpler than the one I was about to make, slightly healthier, and qualified as a new recipe, so I went for it!

I boiled the potatoes for 20 minutes, until tender, and whisked the dressing while the potatoes cooked. It was simple as anything- equal parts of mayo, dijon mustard, and vinegar with green onions. Mix while hot, and then let the salad cool in the fridge for a few hours.

I brought it out when the time came for dinner- quick and easy. The dressing had a nice color, but the salad itself wasn't very aesthetic. It had a yellowish color from the mustard and only the touch of green from the scallions to take away from it. It was a little heavier on the vinegar than I prefer, but I should expect that when the recipe comes from a vinegar bottle! I enjoyed it this time around, but will probably make the other recipe the next time I make an attempt.

Simply Sensational Potato Salad- Marukan Rice Vinegar Bottle
1/4c mayonnaise
1/4c rice vinegar
1/4c dijon mustard
4 large red skin potatoes, skin on, cooked, & cubed
3 green onions, sliced

Whisk together the first three ingredients until smooth. Place potatoes & onions in bowl. Pour sufficient mayonnaise mixture to coat, toss well. Chill for at least one hour.
Serves 6

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spoon Bread-

You know you're getting older when you think back to how long you've been on a messageboard/ online community and realize how long it's truly been... I first heard about chowhound when Shawn and I were planning our first trip to New Orleans in 2004. I was at a networking event and started chatting up some strangers about my trip and they suggested I check it out for ideas on where to eat. I wish I could find those folks and thank them, because that was 6 years ago and since then has become a staple in my culinary life. I use it for vacations, for recipes, or just for reviewing and discussing restaurants in my area. The website consists of messageboards for different regions, plus discussion pages for chains, general topics, food in media, etc. It's an excellent form of time suckage for those of you who are as obsessed as I am about food and restaurants!

I was reading a thread on the Home Cooking board where people were discussing different things to do with Jiffy cornbread mixes. The common thought was that on it's own it's not the greatest product, but can be a base for many good recipes. Someone posted a spoonbread recipe, which intrigued me for two reasons. One, it features items that I regularly keep in my pantry and two, it sounded similar to the awesome corn cake that we used to have when I worked at ChiChis.

I've been wanting to make the recipe for a while, but was concerned about Shawn's interest in something like this. I knew that he would like it, but would freak out about the concept of "spoonbread" and inevitably freak himself out of liking it. Sorry, honey- we both know it's true! I was thankful that on our recent trip to New Orleans we went to a wonderful Caribbean restaurant where we tried a corn stuffing. It was more spoonbread or corncake than stuffing, but it was awesome and we both loved it. So last night, when I decided to make this to go with some leftover chili in the freezer, I told him I was making "corn stuffing" and left it at that.

The prep on this was simple- open some cans of corn, creamed corn, and green chilis and combine it with sour cream, eggs, dried onions, and diced red pepper. Combine it with the Jiffy Mix and bake for 45 minutes at 375.

For anyone who's never had spoonbread or corncake, it's a softer version of cornbread. You actually scoop it out with a spoon or ice cream scooper; hence the name. It came out with a nice, golden crust and I tested the bread with a toothpick to ensure it was done. My baking skills are typically on par with my rice skills, so I was a little concerned! Luckily, it came off clean and we were ready to eat.

It was awesome. It was moist and sweet and the crust had a slight chewiness. The bits of corn and peppers gave it a great texture, too. I had been hoping for the green chilis to give it a little kick, but it wasn't spicy at all. If Shawn was more into spicy I would consider adding a few shots of Sriracha hot sauce next time to kick it up a notch, but it isn't necessary. I loved the spoonbread as a complement to the chili, too. I ate it together in the bowl and it really worked for me! Shawn loved it, too, but preferred it as a side dish.

Great dish and I'd totally make it again! It was so easy and something different from the norm. Cheers!


1 package Jiffy cornbread mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 can diced green chilis
diced red peppers
2T dried onion

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour into a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 45 minutes and cool. Scoop and serve!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Creole Seasoning- Prime Time Emerill

So now that I recommitted I had a really hard time this week picking a recipe. What I need to start doing is picking my recipe over the weekend, prior to my weekly Acme visit, to ensure that I have absolutely everything I need. I was planning to try something Latin for Cinco De Mayo, then was going to try a Corn Jalepeno Cake, but didn't have what I needed and just didn't feel like stopping at the store..... this is how these weeks get away from me, so I sat down on Thursday (OK, not literally, but mentally) and decided that I wasn't getting out of this meal without using a recipe!! We had some honkin big pork chops that I had pulled out of the freezer and I was making some boxed red beans and rice, so I pulled out my trusty Emeril cookbook! I found the Creole Seasoning, which I thought would complement the chops and the rice. Whenever I mix rubs, I try to make extra to have on hand, so I made the full recipe to keep for summer grilling.

I took out the container where I planned to keep the spice and just added each item one after the other. It fit perfectly in the container and looked a little like the sand things that we used to make at the shore or at carnivals. I shook it up and added it to the one side of the pork chop before searing it.

TIP!!! One of the best tips I ever got was from Bobby Flay a few years ago, where he suggests adding rubs to only one side of meat instead of coating both sides. I tried it once and never looked back. This keeps the rub from overwhelming the meat so that you get the flavor of the rub, but still taste the pork/chicken/steak flavor. Brilliant!

We didn't feel like pulling out the grill, so I used my new grill pan that I earned from a recent Acme promotion. I multitasked by reading chapters of my text book while restraining myself from turning the chops over and over again. I seared both sides, turned it down to medium, and the chops were absolutely perfect! The rub was slightly spicy- perfect for me and just at the edge of Shawn's threshold. I found it too be a little bit salty, but am curious if it was from the beans and rice and not the rub.

Creole Seasoning- Prime Time Emeril
2 1/2T paprika
2T salt
2T garlic powder
1T ground black pepper
1T onion powder
1T cayenne
1T dried oregano
1T dried thyme

Combine and store in an airtight container away from light. Use within three months.