Monthly Archives: May 2014

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

Have you ever tried to re-create a dish you had while eating out?  I have definitely tried; some were successful some not so much.   I do make a mean Crab Rangoon and I love making Pan Fried Chicken Dumplings.  There is a recipe from my favorite local restaurant that I order every time we go that eludes me; Lemongrass Chicken with a Caramel Sauce served over Jasmine rice with seared greens.  I LOVE the taste and presentation of this dish!  I do wonder though if I were able to re-create it at home would the love fade.  I don’t think I am willing to risk it; I will save this special dish for when we have date night.

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This weekend I will be testing a few Asian Fusion recipes that I hope to be able to have a class on soon.  I have the ingredients to make Pad Thai and a Spring Roll that sounded delicious with a Thai Chili sauce that I am super excited to see how they come out.

My son just came back from visiting his sister in Japan and asked me to experiment with different Ramon dishes.  My daughter went to Vietnam over her Christmas New Year’s holiday and fell in love with their street food.  Next up on my testing list is Banh Mi which is a Vietnamese Sandwich; she literally tried every different vender she came upon.  She also mentioned that I really need to learn how to make Pho which is pronounced Fa.  They are definitely are on my foodie radar.

Last night we had some friends over and I made a Beef and Broccoli dish served over Jasmine rice.  A couple of weeks ago I tested a Portuguese Paella on a few friends. At least I had made the Beef and Broccoli one other time for my guys and they both really liked it.  The Paella was a true test as I have never made before.  I always have a backup plan if things don’t go the way I plan.  We have like 5 or 6 pizza places in our small town; just a phone call away.

This comes together pretty quickly; the rice will take the longest.  Unless you use boil-in-bag rice; I did not I just made some jasmine rice, because it is my favorite.

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Serves 4 – I doubled this last night to serve my friends

Note: pre-measure your ingredients ahead of time and place them by the stove, it will keep things moving along without the threat of burning and over cooking your ingredients.

2 Tablespoons dry white wine or dry sherry, divided

2 Tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided

1 teaspoon sugar

1 pound boneless sirloin steak, cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices

½ Cup lower-sodium beef broth

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha

2 Tablespoon canola oil, divided

1 Tablespoon bottled ground fresh ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

4 cups trimmed up broccoli

¼ cup water

1/3 cup sliced green onions

Cook rice according to directions

Combine 1 Tablespoon wine, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, sugar and beef.  Stir together 1 Tablespoon wine, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, broth, cornstarch, hoisin and sriracha. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add beef mixture; sauté 3 minutes or until browned.  Remove beef from the pan.  Add ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds stirring constantly. Add broccoli and water; cook 1 minute.  Add onions cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add broth and beef mixture; cook 2 minutes or until beef is thoroughly heated and sauce is slightly thick.  Serve over rice.

Snacks from the past- Poop Cookies

I am pretty sure afterschool snacks have evolved over the years and some are far healthier that what I used to eat.  When I was growing up, for a spell, we had a housekeeper that also made the most delicious homemade cookies & sugar cinnamon doughnuts for when we got off the bus.  It was for a very short period in our lives, but it was very memorable.  After she was no longer with us we had to fend for ourselves and made due with whatever was in the house; which at times was not much.  I recall eating sardines on saltines, buttered bread cut up in a bowl with maple syrup. I do not have fond memories of either of those but when you go from rags to riches back to rags you figure some things out.

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I do have some fond memories of a couple of afterschool snacks and have shared them with my kids & others.  I really have no idea where my favorite snack came from.  I can’t imagine that I came up with it; but who knows I have always been pretty creative; or at least I want to believe that I was/am.

My favorite afterschool snack was a peanut butter and fluff grilled sandwich.  Don’t knock it unless you try it.  While I know this is not a healthy snack and it shouldn’t be an everyday snack.  If you like peanut butter and fluff I encourage you to try it at least once.  It is made exactly like a grilled cheese just different fillings.  My daughter doesn’t like fluff and my husband is not a fan of peanut butter but my son loves them and makes them on occasion. I recall sitting around one night surrounded by family not sure how they came up but they are so easy to whip up; I made several of them; sliced them up and handed them out. They were a hit!

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The other is a cold bean sandwich; simply buttered bread, beans done!  I am pretty sure this one came from my parents. I remember my dad putting thinly sliced raw onions on his, he loved cold bean sandwiches. Again might not be for everyone one but it is pretty darn good.  I posted that I was eating a cold bean sandwich on FB a few years ago and it definitely stirred up a response.  Some people loved them others not so much.  Same goes in my house the kids and I like them my husband does not, but his brother does.  He was one of the ones that commented on my FB post.

After reading this I hope you reminisce a little about snacks from your childhood.  If they were noteworthy share them!   I also wanted to share a recipe that I made as a child and still make to this day and it is pretty easy for kids to make if you allow them to use the stove top.

Poop Cookies (not sure why my family called them this but we always have)

2 cups sugar

½ cup butter or margarine

½ cup milk

3 TBS cocoa

3 cups oatmeal

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup peanut butter

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter, milk and cocoa.  Bring to a full boil over medium heat, boil for 3 minutes (do not skip this step) remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper.  Let them set until firm.  If you skip the boiling step they will not set up.  Trust me I’ve done it, my son has done it.  Just be patient and let the mixture boil for a bit.

Mother’s Day – Pain Perdu

Firstly I would like to wish all the mom’s out there a wonderful day of peace and relaxation doing whatever it is that makes you happy. I personally hope to get in 9 holes of golf this afternoon. This is my first mother’s day with nothing really planned.  My normal mother’s day consists of me making my mother and mother-in-law either brunch or dinner and sometimes both. Neither is in the state this year so I get the day off, for that matter my own kids are both out of state well actually they are both out of the country.  My son went to visit his sister in Japan; he does arrive home late tonight so off to Boston we will go, my husband and I will go out to dinner somewhere en-route.

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Looking for something a little special for breakfast? Pain Perdu can be as easy or as sexy as you want to make it.  Just the name sounds sexy; you got to just love romantic languages they can make an ordinary meal sound phenomenal.  Case in point Pain Perdu translates to “lost bread” or as we know it French toast nuff said.

My inspiration for how I made this dish was from my favorite local restaurant, they serve something similar for one of their desserts and it is amazing.  It also helps that there were a couple of bananas’ on the counter that needed another purpose and we had some leftover French bread from the previous night’s dinner.  This shows exactly how frugal I can be.  Quick story – my girlfriend was over one night and mentioned something about caramelized bananas so I whipped it up for her YUM!

Sorry a little longer than a quick story – The best French toast I ever had and forever changed the way we make it from that day forward.  For my 25th birthday my husband surprised me with a weeklong trip to the US Virgin Island of St Thomas.  We went into Charlotte Amalie for breakfast at the Greenhouse Café and I ordered French toast.  It looked pretty, but the taste was just amazing.  It was sliced elongated; it was buttery cooked to perfection and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.  I asked the waitress if the chef would share how it was made.  Even back then I was a foodie and didn’t know it.  His secret was the wash; it was only egg and rum.  Who knew!

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Caramelized Bananas

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 bananas

In a small sauté pan melt butter medium low heat, add sugar and sliced bananas. Cook until sugar has caramelized; watch carefully it could turn from yummy to yucky pretty quickly.

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Pain Perdu (aka lost bread)

3 Eggs

Splash of rum

Splash of Milk (yes I can’t not put some in)

Few sprinkles of cinnamon

Splash of Vanilla

Loaf of leftover French bread

Sprinkle of confectioners sugar

Slice bread, in a shallow dish add eggs, rum and cinnamon beat till combined.  Add sliced bread to egg mixture soak a minute or two, flip to soak other side.  Pre-heat griddle add soaked bread once up to temperature.  Cook till brown on both sides.  While toast is cooking; make the caramelized bananas.

Taco Tuesday (Fish Tacos)

I believe I mentioned my family tried meatless Monday for a spell.  I think we lasted 3 or 4 months before we ran into some difficulty in staying true.  Lunches were definitely my Achilles heel. Having enough time to plan ahead for my busy schedule especially during the summer months; I was just not organized enough nor creative enough being such a meat and potato kind of girl. Who knows we may try it again at a later date.  It was comical to me how many of my co-workers and close friends thought we were nuts.  My girlfriends 8 year old had one of my favorite comments.  “What are they going to do next Taco Tuesday” I love it!!! And also thought what an awesome idea!

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No; we did not start taco Tuesday but we have come across a fish taco recipe that we are definitely adding it to our meal rotation.  We seem to make them when we have friends and family over.  My father-in-law said they were the first tacos he has ever liked. Now that is saying something being that he is in his 80’s.  Everyone has really liked them so I wanted to share them with you.

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Make the salsa, cover and put in the fridge until you need to use it.

Make the mayo and if you have an empty squeeze bottle; I find it works really well, plus you can store in the fridge for another use.  I bet you end up making these again within a month; maybe even the following week, I know we did.

2 Pounds boneless, skinless Mahi Mahi (flash frozen fish worked out excellent) Thaw it completely

2 Cups AP flour

3 Eggs, lightly beaten

4 tablespoons water

2 Cups Breadcrumbs (I used my own but panko would be awesome)

Kosher Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

½ head savoy cabbage, finely shredded

1 bunch of cilantro

1 bunch chives, chopped

3 limes; cut into wedges for garnish 

Cut fish into 1 ounce strips, set up breading station of flour, eggs with water and breadcrumbs.  Salt and pepper each container.  I use my glass Pyrex pie plates that I have had for years!

Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, eggs, than breadcrumbs.  Once all completed fry fish in small batches in 375’F oil. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm until ready to serve.

 Chipotle Mayo:

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayo

3 chipotles in adobo, plus 2 tablespoon of adobo sauce

½ lemon, juiced

in a blender put the chipotles and puree until smooth, add sour cream, mayo, adobo sauce and lemon juice and combine to process until the mixture is consistent and creamy.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mango Radish Salsa: 

2 Limes

2 ripe mangoes, diced

4-5 red radishes, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 tablespoon chili powder

½ bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Add all into a dish stir and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Serve Family Style: toast corn tortilla’s on a griddle or over an open flame on your stove top.  I used my griddle it works great.

Enjoy!!!