Archive for the ‘Snack’ Category

Bao

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

bao-001

This morning I got a wild craving for char siu bao, which are Chinese buns filled with barbecued roast pork and either steamed or baked. The baby and I headed into Chinatown, (where all the bakery ladies were very nice and made him smile), and we bought everything we could possibly want, including a scallion roll (no idea what’s in there), two baked char siu bao and one steamed, plus steamed Chinese sausage and combination bao. We’ll have them for dinner with some bok choi sauteed with ginger, and maybe some bad beers or vinho verde. I can’t wait!

Obama Shrimp

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

shrimpEveryone should have a few dishes they can make just from things they keep stashed in their pantries.  Case in point, the night of the last presidential election, I was glued to the television all day long and hadn’t shopped for dinner.  I had some frozen shrimp, so I decided to check in with Mark Bittman, whose ingredient lists are usually pleasingly brief.  He has a recipe in his book How to Cook Everything, called “Shrimp My Way,” that he says people go nuts for, and which, besides the shrimp, only needed garlic, a few spices, and olive oil.  Being keen on things people go nuts for, I decided to try it out.  Needless to say, it is fantastic, especially on top of roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, or with a baguette, a nice green salad, an IPA or a nice Torrontes, and OBAMA!!!!

Bittman calls for hot paprika, but I like to use hot smoked paprika — it adds a little extra zazz, and who couldn’t use a little zazz? I buy frozen uncooked shrimp, peeled and cleaned but with the tails on, which is the only way to fly.  Most shrimp you buy will have been frozen previously anyway, so why not buy them that way and have them whenever you want them?  To defrost just put them in a colander and run them under cold water for about 10 minutes.

1/2 cup olive oil
3 or 4 large cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 to 2 lbs shrimp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
minced fresh parsley or cilantro and lemon wedges to garnish

1. Preheat the broiler to its highest temperature, and adjust the rack so that it is as close as possible to the heat source.
2. Very gently warm the olive oil over low heat in a large, broad, ovenproof skillet or baking pan. My Le Crueset tarte tatin pan is perfect — heavy, and with 2 handles! A cast iron skillet would also be perfect. There should be enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan; don’t skimp. Put the garlic in the oil and cook for a few minutes still over low heat, until it turns golden.
3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir to blend, and then place immediately under the broiler. Cook, shaking the pan once or twice and stirring if necessary, but generally leaving the shrimp undisturbed, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly. This will take from 5 to 10 minute depending on the heat of your broiler. Garnish and serve immediately.

Walnut Oil and Zucchini-Walnut Spice Bread

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

walnut021Roasty, toasty and mellow, walnut oil has recently become one of my favorite ingredients.   It is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and is polyunsaturated.  Whisked into some aged balsamic vinegar, with a little crushed garlic, it is a fantastic salad dressing, especially for a salad of roasted beets and goat cheese.  It also adds a delicate but warm complexity to zucchini bread.   Just after my son was born last August, my mother baked us a batch of this wonderful zucchini bread, which freezes beautifully, and helped sustain us through the early days and nights as new parents.

Wet Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves

To Finish:
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup raisins
1 tbsp walnut oil

Preheat the oven to 350º. In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. In a large bowl “sift” the dry ingredients together by whisking them gently, then gradually add in the wet ingredients and stir just to combine. Fold in the walnuts and raisins, and then add the walnut oil last.

Grease 2 large or 4 small loaf pans, and pour in the batter to about 3/4 full. Bake 45-50 minutes for small loaves, or 1 hour for large. Loaves are done when a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean (or with crumbs, but no batter.)

To freeze, wrap in waxed paper, then in foil, and then in a sealable freezer bag. Will keep for several months!

Cheesy Mac for Hippies

Friday, February 24th, 2006

I have invented health food store Hamburger Helper. You can make it in about 1/2 an hour using only one large pan. My health food store has packages of natural lean hamburger for about $7/lb, and the other ingredients are readily available. I don’t know that this is actually all that much better for you than real Hamburger Helper, but at least there are fewer preservatives and the tomatoes are real. Also, I guarantee it is superior in tastiness.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean organic ground beef
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
splash of white or red wine
1 can Muir Glen whole peeled tomatoes
the same can full of water
1 tbsp thyme
2 bay leaves
2 boxes Annie’s Shells and Cheese
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated parmeggiano-reggiano (optional)

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan with a lid. Add ground beef and brown, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl, and add diced onions to pan. Sauté until softened, splashing the pan with wine if the bottom gets to dry or crusty. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add the meat back in, and add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hand (poke a hole in them with your thumb first to avoid the dreaded tomato squirt). Add thyme, bay leaves, water and pasta from both boxes of Annie’s and cover. Go away and do something else for 15-20 minutes. When you come back, check the pasta for done-ness. Assuming it’s cooked to your desired al dentation, add the Annie’s cheese packages and stir. If it’s too wet, turn the heat to high and stir like heck for a few minutes. If it’s too dry, add more water and cook a few minutes more. Add butter and stir. Correct seasonings. Enjoy. For even more enjoyment, pour into a 9×12 casserole, top with grated cheese, and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.

Makes about 8 normal person servings or 4 really hungry person servings.