Veggie Good Pad Thai

This is one of my favorite Vegetarian dishes.  It hits all the taste sensations; sweet, savory, sour and nutty.

One of the things I love best when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai.  One of the things I like least when ordering Thai food is Pad Thai...when it is not up to par. I’ve been disappointed more than once. So I’ve been making my own.

Making Pad Thai is much easier than you think.  You can tweak ingredients to your own liking and add chicken and/or shrimp to make it non vegetarian or omit the egg to make it vegan.  Experimenting with flavors is best. For me personally, I love an excellent homemade vegetarian Pad Thai using rice noodles.  Depending on my mood I might switch up the veggies or make more or less of the sauce.  So this is kind of a non-recipe recipe.

Before we get started a few basics you should know:

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST PAD THAI

  1. Prep your ingredients. Have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you begin. Cooking Pad Thai is a very fast process and by having your ingredients prepped and within hands reach, this will ensure that everything goes smoothly.
  2. Continuously stir. I use a huge frying pan (you can also use a wok). You will need to continuously stir veggies throughout the cooking process to ensure even distribution of heat and even cooking.
  3. Do not overcook the noodles. I always pre-cook noodles in a separate pot and add them last (they may appear a bit lumped together if you don’t use them right away, however they do separate once you add them to the pan). Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain. Cook veggies until the sauce dries. The noodles should still be firm and not mushy when you add them to the pan. Fully-cooked noodles will change color from transparent to white. If you are new to stir-frying noodles, I would recommend turning down the heat while cooking, as things move fast.
  4. Serve hot. Pad Thai is best served immediately. Once the noodles turn cold, they will start to lose their texture and flavor.
  5.  Toppings are Everything. Serve Pad Thai topped with fresh bean sprouts, green onion (cut on the bias), cilantro, shaved carrot, chopped peanuts and lime wedges.

Ingredients (for two):

1 package Flat Rice Noodles (you can find ones specifically for Pad Thai)

1 Red Bell Pepper cut into strips

1 Onion thinly sliced

2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped

1 inch chopped fresh Ginger

Extra Firm Tofu cut up into cubes

1 Large Egg, slightly beaten (optional and added to hot pan before noodles)

Handful of Snap Peas

1 Carrot (cut into small chunks)

The above is my go-to but you can also add sliced mushrooms and/or broccoli 

Right before serving add the following:

Handful of Peanuts finely chopped

Fresh Bean Sprouts

Chopped Cilantro

Chopped Green onion

Shredded Carrot

Lime wedges

Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain.

You can use a combination of some or all of the below ingredients for the sauce.  My suggestion is to try what I recommend at first and then adjust according to your taste.  Omit any that don’t sit well with you.  For instance, I don’t always use fish sauce.

These are general guidelines as I don’t have a set recipe.

2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil, 2 Tbsp. Rice vinegar, 1-2 Tbsp. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce, 2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce (optional), 2 Tbsp. store bought peanut sauce, 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice, 1 Tbsp. tamarind paste (not difficult to find in the Asian section of almost every grocery store).

TO MAKE *SAUCE:

Pour about 2 Tbsps of toasted sesame oil in a large frypan or wok.  When hot. add the garlic, ginger, onion + pepper.  Stir until fragrant.  Add any other veggies (snap peas, carrot, tofu, mushrooms, etc.) and then add your rice vinegar, soy, fish sauce, chili-garlic sauce, tamarind paste and lime juice.  With wooden spoon, stir veggies and coat with sauce.  When all veggies are just about done, add the slightly beaten egg, then the noodles to the pan or wok. 

TOSS together then:

Add peanut sauce to the pan; to taste.  Divide mixture among two plates and top with bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, shredded carrot and chopped peanuts.  Serve with lime wedges.  If you like it spicier add a bit more chili sauce.

Let me know how you like it.

*you can buy store-bought pad thai sauce to try if you like, but some of the ingredients are things like ketchup, corn starch and sugar.  Some people making homemade sauce add ketchup and a bit of peanut butter to the sauce.  I omit ketchup all together (really not necessary) but I like adding some spicy peanut sauce. It’s all up to personal taste.

French Party Platter – Charcuterie 101

You’ve invited some friends over for an informal gathering and you want to offer your guests something to soak up the wine/cocktails with (because you’re a gracious host and always put out some food be it the tasty but predictable dips, cheese and coldcuts platter)…but this time you want something a little more pleasing than the usual.  Maybe a little charcuterie?

Charcuterie is the perfect essential French cured meats and more.
Charcuterie is the perfect essential French cured meats and more.

Done right, the charcuterie board is an awe-inspiring sight. There are the meats, of course, in a smorgasbord of cuts, cures, and flavors. And then there are the mustard and pickles and crusty baguettes, and the fact that we get to eat it all with our hands. In a world where fine dining typically comes with dainty cutlery and elegant plating, charcuterie speaks to a different, gloriously primal, kind of indulgence.

But what exactly is French charcuterie? How does it differ from, say, the cured meats of Italy, or the bounty of smoked Delikatessen meats made in neighboring Germany? And what do experts consider the most noteworthy items under the charcuterie umbrella?

The word itself comes from the French words chair, meaning “flesh,” and cuit, meaning “cooked.” It first entered the culinary lexicon in the 15th century to represent storefronts specializing in the preparation of pig and offal at a time when shop owners weren’t allowed to sell uncooked pork. These owners,charcutiers, would hang inventory in their shop windows to draw customers in. It worked: The craft was mastered, and a culture was born.

As for how it’s defined today? Elias Cairo, founder and charcutier of Oregon’s Olympia Provisions, puts it simply: “Charcuterie is value-added meat,” he says, “where something is added, be it salt or heat, to enhance flavor and prolong shelf life.” So, really, charcuterie is an exercise in crafty innovation—resulting from a need to preserve the fruits of a day’s hunt. Smoked meats and fish came first. Cured meats came second. Once processed, many products in the charcuterie canon were covered with melted fat, either butter or rendered poultry fat, to maximize stability and prevent spoilage.

Then again, these methods of preservation are practiced internationally. So what makes French charcuterie so diverse and unique? “The French rely on amazing technique,” says Cairo. “But they’re so good at farming and processing, too, and have such respect for ingredients.” And, when most charcuterie items are little more than pork and a few spices, it’s crucial that each be of the highest caliber. French chefs place such value not only on the end product, but [on] the entire process and where the food comes from.

French charcuterie has always been shaped by regional variety as well, which contributes to its vast inventory. Each region uses its geographic strengths and uses the wealth of ingredients that are readily available in that particular area. The full list of French charcuterie items is long and not at all lean, but there are a few that experts consider classics.

So let’s open a bottle of wine, break into some fresh bread, and dig in.

PÂTÉcharcuterie3

“Pâtés and terrines, broadly speaking, are essentially big sausages cooked in some sort of mold,” Michael Ruhlman writes in Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, the book he coauthored in 2005 with Brian Polcyn. Put simply, they’re a mixture of fat, meat, and seasonings that can be ground or puréed.

The grind can vary from coarse to fine, and pork is the dominant pâté meat. But in the US, says Collins, “we have a broad umbrella and use the word ‘pâté’ very loosely.” She talks about her own experience in France, where the structure of definitions is less rigid. But for the American market, which is less familiar with charcuterie products, Les Trois Petits Cochons distinguishes pâtés as coarse in texture, meat-based (from mostly duck, chicken, and rabbit), hearty, and garnished with spices and, occasionally, vegetables.

Pâté de campagne, the most common, is a coarse grind of lean and fatty pork with spices and little, if any, liver. More lavish versions are found baked in pastry dough (en croûte), in a mold (en terrine), or in skin (galantines and ballottines), but, historically speaking, the charcutier’s goal was always the same: “Pâté was created to use up the excess product—offal, trim, fat—from a day of slaughter,” Cairo writes in his book, Olympia Provisions, coauthored with Meredith Erickson.

A typical pâté de campagne comes in the form of a savory loaf, flavored with onions, white pepper, and cognac. It’s a deeply porky product that’s simultaneously light and delicate.

TERRINEcharcuterieterrine

“The terrine category throws a lot of people off,” Collins says. “We tried to keep it as a more vegetable-based or seafood-based category, because what we found in France was [that] a lot of the vegetable and seafood items were termed terrines.” Collins also notes that most of the layered charcuterie items she’s found in France use the term. In Charcuterie, Ruhlman writes that “we use the words pâté and terrine interchangeably. Technically, though, terrine is short for pâté en terrine.”

MOUSSEcharcuterie4

Mousses, like pâtés, can be made from a variety of meats. But a mousse is much more finely ground, yielding a smooth texture. And, while you’ll find liver in both pâté and mousse, the percentage is typically much higher in mousses, which gives them their famously creamy consistency.

“Pâté and mousse and all the products we make, a lot of people think of them as high-end, which is great, because we use great ingredients, and they’re labor-intensive. But pâtés and mousses are really a labor of love. They utilize items that are essentially leftovers,” says Collins.

The transition from liver to mousse typically starts by soaking livers in cold water. “This will remove some of the really iron-y flavor that liver may have,” Cairo says. For his pork liver mousse, Cairo marinates livers for two days once they’ve soaked, after which they’re puréed in a food processor and passed through a fine-mesh sieve. The rich liver, enhanced with a dose of cream and egg before it’s cooked, is balanced with a splash of port. Chili flakes, white pepper, and coriander add a spiced depth to the spread.

BOUDINcharcuterie5

Boudin means “pudding,” but these savory sausages are made from ground, spiced meat packed in natural casings and then boiled, poached, or blanched. The two most common varieties are blanc and noir (white and black, respectively). Blanc is more of a holiday sausage, usually served around Christmastime, and often seen in Auvergne, in central France, where chestnuts are widely grown. The Fatted Calf stores in Napa and San Francisco, California, make theirs with cream, bread crumbs, and chestnuts that have been braised in broth and bourbon.

Boudin noir is named such for the addition of pig’s blood to the sausage, which gives the final product its signature deep, dark red color. “The French aren’t afraid of anything,” says Heather Bailie, an owner of Fatted Calf. “That’s where blood comes in.” Theirs, like most traditional boudin noir, is a pork product made from a mixture of shoulder, blood, diced back fat, caramelized onions, apples (when they’re in season), and a salty, smoky Basque spice called piment d’Espelette. The sausage mixture is encased, tied off at the ends, and poached in water with onion and bay leaf. The blood solidifies as it cooks, for a delicate, savory sausage with a mousse-like texture.

SAUCISSONcharcuterie6

The regional variation in French charcuterie is perhaps most evident in saucisson: dry-cured, fermented salami. Dry-curing is simply preserving meat by using salt. As saucissons age, natural, healthy molds develop on the casings that prevent bad bacteria from contaminating the meat. These casings can be removed, but Cairo, who makes four different, regionally inspired saucissons, encourages leaving the natural casings intact to enhance the experience.

Saucisson sec (dry) is the most common of the French saucisson arsenal. “If you go to France and go to a charcuterie shop and buy a dried salame,” Cairo says, “this is the flavor profile you’re going to get.” That profile is dominated by pork, as it should be. But Cairo strikes a balance of that porcine perfection with a hint of garlic and a subtle spice from traces of black pepper, the only other two components of saucisson sec. This type of charcuterie is about simplicity and respect for ingredients.

As you travel around France, though, you’ll discover many variations on the theme. In Alsace, saucisson is traditionally spiced with clove, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, making a deeply savory and satisfying wintry salame. In Arles, where it is at its purest, you’ll find it made with just pork and salt. Meanwhile, eastern France, near the Swiss Alps, is famed for its saucisson aux noisettes, a salami made with pork, salt, and whole hazelnuts from Savoy.

JAMBONcharcuterie7

Cooked and cured hams are frequently seen in French charcuterie, but different regions are known for different types. Jambon de Paris is a three-muscle, lean, low-fat ham wrapped in its own skin and cooked in its own juices. It’s flavored with nothing but salt—with little else to distract from that flavor, it’s important that the meat be high-quality. Jambon de Paris is the perfect slicing ham, typically cut thin and served with butter on baguettes, or on croques monsieurs and croques madames.

Jambon de Bayonne is the quintessential French cured ham, the country’s equivalent of Italian prosciutto di Parma or prosciutto di San Daniele. It comes from the city of Bayonne in southwest France, a city cut in two by the Adour River, which sits in the shadows of the Pyrenees Mountains. Jambon de Bayonne is a regionally protected foodstuff under PGI (protected geographical indication)—a designation that covers goods whose production, processing, or preparation takes place in a specific area. To qualify, the ham must be cured with salt from the Adour River basin only. This, along with USDA restrictions on the number of foreign meats allowed for import, is part of the reason Bayonne ham wasn’t spotted on American shores until spring of last year.

Thinly sliced, a piece of Bayonne ham tastes like a cool glass of clean river water. It’s slightly salty, evidence of the Adour River’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and then sweet from traces of pork fat that melt on your tongue. It’s still difficult to find in the States, so your best bet is a specialty meat and cheese shop. The minimum age for a jambon de Bayonne is only seven months, but a longer cure will give it a more intricate and nuanced flavor—the 12-month ham sold at Murray’s Cheese is something truly special.

RILLETTEScharcuterie8

Though rillettes can be made from meat simmered in stock, the most traditional iteration starts as confit—meat that’s been heavily salted and then cooked in its own fat. But where confit is presented whole, rillettes call for finely shredding or chopping the cooked meat and then folding it back into that fat. From there, the rillettes are packed into a small container, making them less unwieldy than an entire confited duck leg, and topped with a final layer of fat, which keeps air out and extends shelf life.

Pork is considered the standard choice for rillettes due to its relative affordability, but duck and rabbit are often used as well. An amazing rillettes will be spreadable, soft, and rich, with a slight chew from the lightly seasoned meat.

So there you have it. I found it interesting to read the history of how the charcuterie is prepared.  Then having said that, maybe it’s better off not knowing too much.  I’m the girl who does not eat Foie Gras but loved Boudin (which I first discovered and tried in New Orleans) before knowing some of it comes with pig’s blood added to it.  Ewww.

Source: Story – Craig Cavallo, contributing writer for http://seriouseats.com

Craig Cavallo has been working and eating in New York City restaurants for a decade. His insatiable appetite (and bike) take him from one delicious thing to the next. You can follow Craig’s journey @digestny and on Digest NY, a website he launched in 2012 to share his love of food and the stories told through it. A love affair with wine grew organically when Craig was an opening staff member at Eataly’s wine store. The job lead him to Piedmont where he discovered even more joys. Craig’s from Syracuse, but he lives and writes in Brooklyn.

Photos: Vicky Wasik

Food: CHEFS’ Table – CURRY CUP challenge

FOR CURRY LOVERS ONLY.  Here’s something that may pique your interest if you live in Vancouver.  currycup1For those not able to attend,  I’ve posted one of my Indian curry recipes below.

CHEFS Confirmed for 3rd Annual Curry Cup

[Vancouver, BC] On March 7, 2016, the *Chefs’ Table Society of BC’s third annual Curry Cup returns to Heritage Hall, 3102 Main St., Vancouver from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

Each ticket includes samples of curry from all the teams (listed below); wine from Evolve Cellars, beer from R&B Brewing, alcoholic & non-alcoholic drink samples created by Lauren Mote, and an entertaining evening.

For many chefs and their brigades, curry is the ultimate family-style meal, the proud product of a cook’s cultural heritage.

Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king (my recipe below)

This year’s COMPETING CHEFS will present their version of a Curry dish:

Last year’s winner, Rob Ratcliffe, Hawksworth Restaurant, will be back this year but this time as a judge, along with Sonia Beeksma, Global BC, Meeru Dhalwala, Vij’sMy ShantiRangoli, Barbara- Jo McIntosh, Barbara -Jo’s Books to Cooks, and Mijune Pak, Follow Me Foodie.

Emcee for the evening is once again Vancouver’s “Man About Town” Fred Lee.

Proceeds from the event go to support Growing Chefs, an organization that teaches children how to grow and cook their own food.

Tickets, $60 (+ taxes & fees), are now on sale and moving quickly. Get yours here.  The first 80 tickets purchased will also receive a Chefs’ Table Society of BC organic cotton tote bag (to be picked up at the Curry Cup).

About the Chefs’ Table Society:

*The Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia is a non-profit society comprised of BC’s leading chefs and culinary professionals. It is a chef-administered, province-wide collaborative dedicated to creating a foundation for the exchange of information between culinary professionals. The Society supports innovative and sustainable programs that will inspire, educate and nurture BC chefs, producers and the local food industry. The Chefs’ Table Society secures apprenticeships for and bestows bursaries to emerging local chefs and also finances culinary education programs in BC schools. For more information or to become a member visit chefstablesociety.com.

Not to worry, we all love curry especially those on the jury.
Not to worry, we all love curry especially those on the jury who are in no hurry (because they want to keep sampling….just to make sure).

Oh; I’m also a poet, but I bet you already know it (or a rapper – ha, ha goofing around)

What I’m not is an official judge of this CC, however my consolation prize is to be a judge of an upcoming new annual Barn Burner BBQ (yeah; bring it on!) event.  I’ll tell you about that later.  In the meantime….

My “crazy for curry” Indian recipe

https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/2015/04/20/cooking-crazy-for-curry/

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Here is a fast, easy, healthy recipe that most people will enjoy as a side dish or something different to take to a potluck.  quionoa3When I’ve made these on occasion, people really seem to enjoy them (unless everyone is lying which can happen). For vegetarians, just omit the meat.  You can use black beans and corn to turn it into something more southwestern and melt cheese overtop.  Use your imagination – they’re pretty foolproof.

Ingredients:

4-6 large red (or variety of colors) bell peppers

1 Tbsp. olive oil

½ large white onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed

1 lb. ground turkey

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup cooked tricolor quinoa

2 cups tomato and basil pasta sauce

Directions:

  • Cup the tops off the peppers and remove all seeds. Set aside.
  • Heat large saucepan on medium heat. Drizzle olive oil in the pan, toss in diced onions, cook until onions start to turn clear (about 1 minute).  Add garlic, and stir.  Let onions and garlic simmer for 30 seconds before adding ground turkey.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and half the parsley; stir occasionally.  Save remaining parsley for garnish.
  • Once turkey is no longer pink, turn off the heat and drain excess liquid. Add 1 cup cooled quinoa and 2 cups pasta sauce, stir to incorporate.
  • Stuff each pepper with the filling (add a bit of cheese to melt overtop if you want) then place peppers upright in a small baking dish filled with a little water. Cover with tinfoil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes until peppers are  slightly soft.  Some people prefer using a microwave to steam the peppers covered in plastic for 5 minutes.
  • Either way, cautiously remove them and plate the peppers individually. Garnish with parsley.

Serves 4 – 6

A few health benefits for Bell Peppers, Ground Turkey & Quinoa:

Peppers: the highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety. Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. They contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful.

Turkey: when you compare ground turkey with its beef counterpart, they’re relatively even. But ground turkey comes in a fat-free version that could be the best option for your heart. It’s a food low in both sodium and saturated fat, making it a great choice in general—and especially solid for those watching their blood pressure or cholesterol. Turkey also packs a nutritional punch with a healthy dose of B-complex vitamins, which help regulate cholesterol levels and promote healthy blood circulation.  Just make sure the packaging specifies ground turkey breast and that it’s labled at least 90% lean. (If not, there’s probably dark meat and skin mixed in, adding unwanted calories and fat.)

Quinoa: in comparison to cereal grasses like wheat, quinoa is higher in fat content and can provide valuable amounts of heart-healthy fats like monounsaturated fat (in the form of oleic acid). Quinoa can also provide small amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Given this higher fat content, researchers initially assumed that quinoa would be more susceptible to oxidation and resulting nutrient damage. However, recent studies have shown that quinoa does not get oxidized as rapidly as might be expected given its higher fat content. This finding is great news from a nutritional standpoint. The processes of boiling, simmering, and steaming quinoa do not appear to significantly compromise the quality of quinoa’s fatty acids, allowing us to enjoy its cooked texture and flavor while maintaining this nutrient benefit. Food scientists have speculated that it is the diverse array of antioxidants found in quinoa—including various members of the vitamin E family like alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol as well as flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol—that contribute to this oxidative protection.

Source: let’s eat – OC Family

Let me know if you like this recipe

Food: SLOW cooked COMFORT food

It’s that time.  I’m In the MOOD for COMFORT FOOD

Sweet 'n Spicy Chicken
SLOW COOKED Sweet ‘n Spicy Chicken 

But I didn’t really have a choice. When my freezer had a meltdown last week I had to do some quick thinking as to what would be the best ways to use up lots of chicken, ribs, pork and fish within a short time span.  I baked, steamed and grilled but I also put a few things in the slow cooker.  Here are two recipes I tried for the first time that turned out extremely well.  I forgot how easy & convenient it is to use my slow-cooker. The only thing is that I took it one tiny step further –  instead of throwing everything into the pot (which most people tend to do) I advise first browning the meat in another pot.  It only takes a few extra minutes, one extra pot to clean and it will give you so much extra flavour.  Trust me – it’s worthwhile!

Recipe #1: SWEET & SPICY CHICKEN (slightly adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe)

You can serve it Moroccan style in a tagine over cous cous (or on the side) and add cilantro or green onion.
TIP: You can serve it Moroccan style in a tagine over cous cous (or cous cous on the side) and add cilantro or green onion for an exotic spin.

INGREDIENTS – serves 4

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 chicken leg quarters (2 1/2 pounds total)  *I used boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges (root end left intact)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, sliced into rounds
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup raisins

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large zip-top bag, combine cumin, cimmamon, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; add chicken and toss to coat. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Cook chicken, skin side down, until golden, about 4 minutes each side.
  2. In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, place onion, garlic, and ginger. Add chicken, skin side up, 20151202_123330then top with tomatoes and their liquid and raisins. Cover and cook on high until chicken is tender, 3 1/2 hours (or 6 hours on low).

    Leftovers are always better the very next day
    Leftovers are always better the very next day

 

 

Recipe #2:

MAPLE DIJON PORK CHOPS 

mapledijonpork1serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2-3 large bone-in pork chops *(I used boneless but next time I’ll use bone-in as I think they have more flavour)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

5 tbsp pure maple syrup

4 tbsp dijon mustard

½  cup cider vinegar

1/2 tsp course salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tbsp vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat up the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the pork chops and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Sear both sides of chops over high heat (about 2 minutes per side) then transfer to your slow cooker.

Lower the heat to medium low and add the onions. Cook until onions are just starting to soften then add the cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes and then pour sauce over chops in the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours (but check after 3 hours – depending on your slow cooker they could cook faster). Serve chops drizzled generously with sauce.

Tip: Try serving it with a side of egg noodles to help soak up the juice. It’s delicious.   The only thing is that there was not enough – no leftovers to enjoy next day!

Source: adapted from eat.live.run.com

What kind of food do you take comfort in at this time of year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food – Sizzling Sukiyaki

SUKIYAKI is the perfect nutritious dish for cooler weather to share among close friends.
sukiyaki3sukiyaki4My friend Ryoko makes the most wonderful Sukiyaki.  Being from Japan it comes naturally to her, and I’m so glad that she showed me how to make it.  We sat at her counter while talking and chopping the veggies.  She explained that the meat you use is very important.  She gets it sliced thinly from a butcher and prefers rib eye – the thinner the better for fast results. You can’t buy readily cut meat for sukiyaki otherwise, and it’s almost impossible to slice it yourself.

You could cook it on the stove although an electric skillet is the simplest and best thing to use since all the ingredients are served at the table.  It’s actually quite easy to make if you chop and assemble everything beforehand. Just add what you like and noodles are optional – but since I love noodles I prefer adding them at the very end.

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Noodles she uses
Type of noodles used for this dish

Add a little *dashi of this and a little **mirin and soy sauce to taste.  If you’re not used to using these condiments you can go to any Japanese grocery store and ask someone that works there.  They’ll know what you need.

Ryoko never uses a specific recipe but if you’ve never made it before I found an easy one online that you can adapt to suit your taste.

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What you need:

Common ingredients include beef,tofu, negi (green onion), leafy vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and shirataki noodles. Have fun cooking and eating at-the-table!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced beef (she buys paper-thin rib-eye. You must get the butcher to cut it for you otherwise it will be too thick.
  • 1 cube tofu
  • 1/2 head nappa cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 medium onions
  • 7-8 shiitake mushrooms
  • 7-8 white button mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 package frozen *udon noodles (optional)

Sukiyaki Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium)
  • 3 Tbsp. sake (Japanese rice wine)
  • 3-5 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water

Cut all ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Arrange all ingredients on a large plate for a beautiful display.

Mix ingredients for sukiyaki sauce in a separate bowl.

Add a little vegetable oil to an Electric Skillet, and set the temperature to high. Once the surface is hot, sauté some of the beef slices until brown. Add other ingredients.

Pour half the sukiyaki sauce in the pan, and close the lid. Simmer until the ingredients are cooked through.

Everybody should take as much as they’d like to eat. Keep adding more ingredients and sauce as they disappear from the pan. Feel free to add more or less sugar, soy sauce and water to adjust the flavor of the sauce.

If you can find frozen udon noodles in your supermarket, add it to the sauce to enjoy a whole new meal.

楽しみます= Tanoshimimasu = ENJOY!

*What is Dashi?

Dashi is a flavouring stock used in Japanese cuisine, giving that quintessential Japanese flavour to your favourite foods. It all starts with something called “umami”, which when translated from Japanese to English, “savoury” is probably the closest word. Umami was discovered as one of the five senses to accompany sweet, sour, bitter and salty and is a more friendly name for the taste of glutamates.

**What is Mirin?

Mirin is a common staple used in Japanese cooking. It’s a type of rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol and higher sugar content.

Have you ever made it?

Photos: d. king

Source for recipe: http://www.zojirushi.com/