Egg Rolls with Asian dipping sauces

I realize I write a weekly food blog and have hosted food classes in my home so it may seem to some that I know what I am doing in the kitchen. I do know my way around and enjoy making and eating yummy food but there are so many things I have never attempted for fear of intimidating ingredients or the process seems out of my realm.

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I pulled some egg roll wrappers and a package of ground pork out of the freezer last week in hopes in trying my hand at making egg rolls. This is one of those times where I have always wanted to try but had a little fear that maybe this is one of those things I leave to my local take out joint. Boy was I wrong they couldn’t have been easier and tastier; plus I knew exactly what went in them. That in itself made me wonder why I took SO long to make them. Sometimes I cut open those tasty little packages and inspect what they put inside. Somethings are undetectable to the naked eye but they must be there for a reason. They add flavor or texture. I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t really look at your food. Not sure who said that but I always look at my food most times so I could potentially recreate the dish at home. 

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I added to this week’s groceries list; fresh artichoke; this is another one of those ingredients that is a little intimidating to me but I have wanted to check it out. I do hope if you ever had an interest in making egg rolls with a couple of super simple dipping sauces. This one is easy and delicious!

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Egg Roll

1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground garlic powder
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 quart peanut oil for frying
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
8 7 inch square egg roll wrappers

Season pork with ginger and garlic; mix thoroughly. Heat medium skillet with a little bit of oil, fry pork till no longer pink. Taste and adjust before you set aside

In a large skillet heat oil to 375 F degrees or medium high heat.

Combine water and flour in a small bowl to make a paste for closing the the wrappers

In a separate bowl combine the cabbage, carrots and pork mixture till combined.

Lay the wrapper with the corner pointed toward you. Place about ¼ cup of the mixture folding the corner over the pork, the fold left and right corners toward the center and roll to opposite corner. Brush a bit of the paste on the final corner to seal the edge of the egg wrapper.

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Fry rolls, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels or a rack.

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Honey Sesame Sauce – in a small mixing bowl add first 4 ingredients and top with last two

½ cup honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
Fresh ginger sliced thin
Toasted sesame seeds

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Spicy Soy Sauce – in a small mixing bowl add first 3 ingredients and top with last two

¼ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon honey
Chopped green onions
Toasted sesame seeds

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Egg roll adapted from allrecipes.com by Angela Hamilton
Asian dipping sauces Recipe by Culinary Ginger at http://culinaryginger.com/spring-egg-rolls-with-trio-of-asian/

 

Carrot Soup

I was initially going to start this post with I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving with your family and friends; I literally had to backspace over the statement because it donned on me that this is a North American holiday and not everyone celebrates it and I actually do have a few readers out of the US that I am sure were doing something else all-together this past Thursday; probably working??? So for those of you who gathered with friends and/or family I hope your turkey was moist, your stuffing/dressing had an amazing crust and there was some room for the yummy pies that were sitting on the counter.

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My day started off pretty relaxed at first sitting at the island with a nice cup of tea with my hubby. Since we were not eating till 3 and we prepped all the veggies, made the pies and set the table the night before this should be a breeze right! For how organized I think I am and all the lists and yes I even make a timeline of sorts just so things have enough time to cook and kind of show up at the table somewhat warm.

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I started making my dinner rolls; easy – then I focused on the dressing and it went downhill from there just a bit; I forgot to pick up a fennel bulb, really Donna one of the main ingredients for your dressing, so I double checking I had everything else I needed for the day and off to the store I went. Oh did I forget to mention that I woke up ridiculously early and sat in bed convincing myself I didn’t buy a big enough bird. While at the store I also picked up a little 3 pound ham – just in case.

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I’m back at home and my nice relaxed feeling is fading fast, I make the dressing and it tastes awesome. I start to prep the bird; an hour later than I wanted to.  Once seasoned and filled with chopped up apples and onions into the 350’ oven it went. While I was cleaning off the stove top I must have hit the oven knob because when I looked over at the stove 30 or so minutes later the oven was set at 250’ UGH here we go! Long story short thanks to my convection oven; which I turned on when I took off the tinfoil to brown; did the trick. Though I was really hoping to let the bird rest for at least an hour it ended up being closer to 30 minutes and we ate a little later than 3.  But it was gorgeous brown and very moist I wanted to take a picture to share but it was a little hectic in the kitchen and I had made people wait a little longer than I had envisioned so you are going to have to take my word for it.

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Oh and I need to share one more little misstep I made this year. My daughter had made a whole 3 quart pot of sliced carrots that I cooked but they never made it to the table. I put them up on the shelf above the stove top to get them out the way to make my gravy and never found them again till I was cleaning up. This is the first time ever there were not carrots on the Thanksgiving table and no one said anything.  My son thought to himself that it was kind of weird there weren’t any but I would have thought my daughter would have remembered she peeled a boat load of something not on the table, I am all for leftovers but what to do with SO many cooked carrots… I’ve always wanted to try and make carrot soup so that is what I did on Friday.

 

Carrot Soup

½ stick of butter
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
3 cups carrots peeled, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 Cups chicken stock or use turkey broth if you made some
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice – I added the lemon zest but felt it was too much
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Melt butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onions; saute for 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; saute for another 2 minutes. Add chopped carrots (I added a few fresh ones and kept the cooked ones out until everything else was done) tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and puree with either an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Return soup to the pot and add lemon juice to taste, just enough to brighten the dish, not over power it. Season with salt and pepper; top with a dollop of sour cream.

Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salad

I seem to break the cardinal rule of “never make a new dish to serve company” fairly often. I also always confess up front that this is a new dish; I am not sure how it’s going to come out or taste. I think I confess upfront just in case it’s not a hit; kind of a cop out isn’t it! Maybe I will turn over a new leaf and just pretend “Oh I make this all the time” yeah I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.

I do take pride in making a family Sunday dinner. I actually take pride in making family dinner almost every night. When my kids came along no matter how hectic life got, we all sat down for more dinners together than not. I think that might be where the whole family being foodies came from.  I even have as part of my cooking class mission statement “Help bring your family together at the dinner table”

Last Sunday being Mother’s day I made my guys and in-laws a couple of new dishes that were on my list to make at some time during the week; which I never got around to doing, so Sunday dinner I made them both, a little worried that they didn’t necessarily “go together” I was making them both since I had bought all the ingredients and hoping for the best. They were both a hit and actually worked out really well together. I made a Roasted Tomato Panzanella salad and a Grilled Chicken with Pineapple Salad.

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Grilled Chicken

Because you are grilling, I suggest bone in skin on; they are more forgiving of not overcooking or drying out; however please use your favorite or what you have on hand

You can also make this on the stove or in your oven if you don’t have a grill

4-6 Chicken Thighs – bone in skin on (you can always remove the skin before you eat it)

Olive Oil

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

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Grilled Pineapple Salad

Cut pineapple into spears

Grill 2-3 minutes per side or until charred. Remove from grill and cut into bite sized pieces

1-2 heads of radicchio

1 cup julienned carrots

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbs chopped parsley

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Make the vinaigrette (you can do this ahead of time) whisk together the lemon juice, parsley, Dijon mustard and a drizzle of olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper; add the chopped grilled pineapple, radicchio and carrots to the bowl. Toss and coat all ingredients in the vinaigrette.

Chicken & Dumplings

I totally intended on trying another recipe in my slow cooker this last week but every night seemed to have something going on so I didn’t have time to prep and I am really not interested in making and cleaning a mess so early in the am. So instead I made chicken & dumplings on the stove top. It is definitely a warm comfort meal and pretty easy to make.  The batter for the dumplings is pretty simple and they cook themselves to perfection sitting on the top of the yummy broth. Homemade if you have it on hand.

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By using one pot to brown the chicken and made the stew it can’t help but being delicious, there is SO much flavor sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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I do use a lot of chicken broth both homemade, which I refer to as liquid gold, and pre-boxed which is great when I forget to take mine out of the freezer.

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I am not a fan of mushy peas so I only use frozen ones and by throwing those in last works out really well.

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The dumpling dough is really easy to make; it will be slightly thicker than pancake mix.

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The size of your dumplings depends on the size of the dollop you place on top of the stew. Be mindful they will expand.

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If you can hold off, it tastes a lot better if you can let it sit and let all the flavors meld.

Season chicken liberally with salt, pepper and adobo; add oil to a heavy duty pot, such as a Dutch oven. Cook chicken letting each side get nice and brown and remove to a plate until cool enough to shred.  Add celery, carrots and onions to hot pot, if too dry add more oil. Saute until onions are soft but not browned. Add flour and cook another minute; add chicken broth and simmer until veggies are cooked through. At the last minute add peas. Whisk all dumpling ingredients and add by spoonful. Cover and let the dumplings steam for about 15-20 minutes. Let meld and enjoy!!!

Stew

1-2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into chunks

Kosher Salt

Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Adobo seasoning

Olive Oil

2 ribs celery diced

3 carrots diced

1-2 onions diced

3 tbs flour

Chicken Broth

Handful of peas

Dumplings

Whisk all ingredients

¾ Cup Flour

1 ¾ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Salt

½ Cup Milk

Chicken White Wine, Tarragon and Cream – slow cooker

My mother-in-law mentioned the other day that she was looking for some crock-pot recipes, I noticed a slow cooker magazine at my local grocery store and I figured I would check it out and then give it to her. While looking at it I started marking pages; I can’t tell you how many times I see a recipe that looks awesome and make a note to try it later and never find it again. After marking like 7 pages I quickly came to the conclusion; I am going to have to buy her her own copy.

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Like most I don’t always have a ton of time in the morning so I planned on prepping both my dinner for the night and the crock-pot for the next day. If I have several dishes in mind I will always cut enough onions, peppers, garlic and potatoes and carrots or whatever I am going to use in multiple dishes all at the same time and just set aside per dish.  You already have the cutting board and knife out just keep going; you’ll be happy you did.

Though sometimes it doesn’t always work out quite like you planned; both dishes I was making asked for some dry white wine. I opened a bottle made the first dish, poured myself a glass, my husband walking by decided he wanted a glass, by the time I got around to making the meal for the slow cooker, yup I was out of wine and had to open another bottle. It was worth it, the chicken from the crock-pot was amazing. We didn’t save the leftover carrots and mushrooms but we did have a couple of chicken breast (they were large ones) they were so flavorful and moist, so much so my husband sent me a text on his lunch telling me how amazing his sandwich was. He just asked me what I was blogging about and told me to tell you that the chicken has a great flavor and he really likes it. He is so helpful wink wink.

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Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon and Cream (slow cooker revolution)

Serves 6 – cook on low 4-6 hours

4-6 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, trimmed salt and peppered

¼ cup olive oil

16 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large

2 onions minced

½ tsp dried minced thyme

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup flour

¾ cup dry white wine – I used chardonnay

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound carrots peeled, halved length wise and sliced about ½ inch thick

2 tbs soy sauce

2 bay leaves

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup minced fresh tarragon – (note) I used less because I am not a fan of black licorice but I would use it again in this dish

  • Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken skin side down, do not crowd the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken. Set aside and let cool. Remove and discard the skin.
  • Add remaining oil, mushrooms, onions, thyme and some salt to the pan. Cover and cook till softened, about 10 minutes. Uncover continue to cook until the mushrooms are dry and browned about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stir in flour and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Stir in broth, carrots, soy sauce and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Place browned chicken along with the juices into the slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on low. Any longer and you risk drying out the chicken
  • Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil. Let braising liquid settle for about 5 minutes; remove any excess fat from the surface. Discard bay leaves. Stir in cream and tarragon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserving 1-2 cups of sauce to serve with chicken pour the remaining over the chicken and veggies.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (from my garden)

So I harvested all of my garlic yesterday as well as several zucchini and cucumbers but only one summer squash and a few tomatoes and a couple of onions. We have been getting broccoli pretty steady for a couple of weeks now. My garlic ended up with pretty small bulbs but there are 68 of them so I think we should be OK for a bit. I need to figure out how to grow larger bulbs; the small ones don’t really keep very well. Once it cures for a couple of weeks I will probably have to peel and freeze all of it. Once frozen the only way to use it is crushed but I do that more than anything else so I am pretty OK with it.

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Broccoli Cheddar

 

 

 

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Chicken Divan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broccoli really doesn’t keep very long in the fridge once harvested so I had to do something with it. I have already frozen a couple of gallon bags so this morning I decide to make something with it. I love broccoli cheddar soup so that took care of some of it and my son loves Chicken Divan so that took care of the rest. We had the soup for lunch and the divan is actually in the oven as I type.

 

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1 TBS melted butter

1 medium onion chopped

¼ cup melted butter

¼ cup flour

1 Cup half and half

1 Cup milk

2 cups chicken stock

Head of broccoli (use less if you want) trimmed

1 cup julienne carrot

¼ tsp nutmeg

8 ounces grated good sharp cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

Sauté onion in butter and set aside

I had a potato that I peeled for breakfast and didn’t need it SO I cut it up; ,boiled it and used my potato ricer and added it to my soup, it helped thicken the soup even more, which we all love.

Melt butter and add flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.  Stir constantly and add the milks. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste. You can puree this if you want or leave chunky (I left mine chunky) return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg and enjoy. My son doesn’t like broccoli cheddar soup but he did like and eat this one.

Pork the Other White Meat

This past year or so we have definitely explored pork more often and in a varied of ways; and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.  I am not sure when or who said pork apples and mustard sounds delicious let’s put them together; but damn were they right.  Some of the recipes I have tried and loved are in my monthly and sometimes weekly meal plans.  BBQ Pulled Pork with Homemade Coleslaw on a bun is outstanding and simple – I had no idea.

Growing up I knew that we had applesauce with our pork chops but I was pretty sure that was to add some liquid to the chewy dry overcooked piece of meat we were served.  Thankfully we are now able to have a juicy cooked to perfection chop, loin, bone-in, boneless vehicle to add so many different combinations of flavors – I am hooked!

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Pork Chops with Cider-Dijon sauce

4 center-cut-bone-in chop
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 apple – Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith halved, cored, and cut into small diced pieces
1 medium shallot, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
½ cup apple cider
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (coarse-grain if you have it)

Position rack in the center of the oven – pre heat at 425’F Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season the chop with 1tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  If needed working in batches, sear the chops on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast until no longer pink near the bone. About 8-10 min.

Lower heat to medium and add the apples, shallots and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the cider, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan, cook until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and mustard and continue cooking until slightly reduced, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve the sauce over the chops.

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Roast Pork Loin with Apples

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) boneless center cut pork loin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme and/or
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 apples, Fuji, Gala, or Granny Smith, cored and cut into slices
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large ovenproof skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, then push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140 to 150 degrees F, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Pork cooked this way will be slightly pink. If desired, cook the pork to 160 degrees F, but note that this lean cut will not be as moist at the higher temperature.

Transfer the pork a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce. Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Return the skillet to a high heat and add the vinegar scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits. Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by about half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
Slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces and arrange over the apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over meat and serve the rest on the side.