Archive for the ‘sauces’ Category

4
May

Ova Elixa – Eggs dressed with fish sauce

   Posted by: Livia

This is another Roman recipe. I made it for Noisemakers IX.

So a lot of SCA events just have a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the shell – pretty much for people to fill up on when they aren’t adventurous for weirder dishes. So I found a recipe that would make hard boiled eggs one of the adventurous dishes.

These were served cut into quarters and already drizzled with the sauce, and a side pitcher so you could add more sauce, if desired.

Ova Elixa: liquamine, oleo, mero vel ex liquamine, pipere, lasere – Apicius VII, xix.2

Boiled eggs with a sauce containing fish sauce, olive oil, red wine, black pepper, asafoetida

So for the fish sauce, I ended up being convinced by my favorite cheese mongers to try . And I chose this dish to use it on because I thought the woodiness and the eggs would go well together.

We strewed the plate with baby arugula so the eggs wouldn’t shift in transport from the kitchen to the buffet.
The pitchers with the sauce were made by Brunissende.

And this was at the very start of the buffet so that it would be like the sources in a Roman dinner party – from eggs to nuts – but I forgot to put out the nuts in the end.

4
Aug

Jam update

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

Peach Chipotle Jam

Ended up including:
4 cups of cut up yellow peaches
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 lemons (zest and juice)
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp (dipping the spoon in gently twice) adobo sauce with chipotle peppers
1/4 tsp (2 generous shakes, really) ground chipotle
8 whole allspice berries
once boiling – 1/2 packet of liquid pectin

Directions: Cook cook cook. Stir. Stir. Cook Cook Cook. Remove allspice.

Take sanitized jars, fill with jam, clean rim, add lid, return to boiling water for 30 minutes, remove and let cool.

Jam of awesome!

yield: 4 – 8oz jars

result: Has a loose consistency, but still holds together enough to be called preserves. Tastes delicious! Tingles my tongue without burning – must remember, however, not to offer to my more heat-sensitive friends.

Ginger Peach Jam with lime

Ended up including:
4 generous cups cut up white peaches
2 cups white sugar
4 limes (zest and juice)
pinch of salt
2 healthy glugs of ginger juice (1-2 Tablespoons?)
3/4 inch of fresh ginger, minced
4 – 2″ stalks of lemongrass (for cooking, and then stood up in each jar)
1/2 packet of pectin

Directions: Cook cook cook. Stir. Stir. Cook Cook Cook.

Take sanitized jars, fetch out a lemongrass stalk and put it in the jar, fill with jam, clean rim, add lid, return to boiling water for 30 minutes, remove and let cool.

yield: 5 – 8oz jars (yes, I was 1 lemongrass short)

result: Didn’t jell at all. It makes a very tasty sauce/syrup, but it’s not jam. I am considering popping these back open and recooking them – possibly even turning them into chutney.

Plum and Nectarine Jam

Ended up including:
1.5 cups of assorted plums and nectarines (and one white peach that was in disguise as a nectarine)
3/4 cup of sugar
juice of half a lemon
pinch of salt
10 black cardamom seeds, ground
the last squeezings from the pectin packet

Directions: Cook cook cook. Stir. Cook Cook Cook. Go, “Oh shit! It’s burning to the bottom! Best can it right away!”

Take sanitized jar, gently fill with jam without scraping the bottom, clean rim, add lid, return to boiling water for 30 minutes, remove and let cool.

yield: 1 – 8oz jars (and just a wee bit extra)

result: Firm and solid like real jam (like you can buy in stores). Managed to take it up without getting any burned bits in – so it still has a nice, clear flavor. The cardamom, which I was expecting to be nigh overwhelming, it only faintly noticeable if you are looking for it. I think this is the one I’m giving to my parents because they like a fairly traditional (i.e. simple flavors) jam.

The two people who kept me company and loaned me a big pot each took home a jar of jam. One opted for the chipotle one, and the other wanted the ginger peach one even though it was loose: she plans to put it over ice cream.

8
Jul

Vegan Cream Cheese Experiment

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , ,

So I volunteered to help some friends make food for a Vegan Bruncheonette thing they are doing this weekend to raise money to go off for yoga teacher training.

Only I won’t be around this weekend, so I had to think of something on the spot that I could make ahead, and I said to my self, “Hey, I know there’s vegan cream cheese – it must be better with stuff in it than plain. I could make flavored cream cheeses.”

And the guy said, “Why, yes, that’d be wonderful.”

So I said, “Where’s the best place in Philly to buy vegan cream cheese?”

And he gave the wrong* answer – “I have a recipe.”

note: after checking recipes online, I did go back to him and say, “Do you really think this sounds like appetizing food?” and he was still pleased with the idea.

Right.

So.

Yester morning (Monday) I ran around shopping for silken tofu and cashew butter. Last night, I borrowed the use of a friend’s food processor at 10pm and tried out a couple recipes.

I have to say that the results were kind of nasty.

But they did firm up into a more cream cheese-esque firmness this morning (Tuesday), and I figure it’s as good as any other homemade vegan cream cheese. Blech.

Check.

So the next stage of the plan will be to flavor the hell out of them tonight Tuesday night.

Here’s the list of things I’m thinking of adding. Let me know if you have any other ideas/suggestions.

The first batch was made with: silken tofu, cashew butter, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and white sugar
  • Korintje cassia cinnamon, cinnamon, brown sugar, toasted walnuts, and buckwheat honey**
  • bronze fennel, black pepper, Japanese pepper, black cardamom, lemon zest, nutmeg, and clove
  • black olives, green olives, and toasted almonds

The second batch was made with: silken tofu, canola oil, rice vinegar, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and white sugar

  • roasted garlic & herbs from my garden (chives, parsley, rosemary, thyme, savory, and lovage)
  • pesto (Genovese basil, purple basil, toasted pine nuts, roasted garlic, and black pepper)
  • chipotle & adobo, garlic (roasted and fresh), brown mustard, and molasses

*Only wrong in that I hadn’t expected the extra layer of complication and uncertainty of results. IN fact, the whole experiment was rather fun.

**Great Vegan Honey Debate is discussed at length here.

~*~

Results as each was made –

So far, the pesto one has turned out surprisingly well.

The chipotle one, however, is not for the faint of heart. I ended up adding dijon mustard in order to get enough bulk to make my mini food processor happy, and then a tiny little bit of molasses for sweet. But I still had to add the entire portion in the food processor before it stopped tasting of ick, and that might be too spicy for a lot of people. I’ll add a little warning on the label, and no one will believe me, but that’ll be fine.

have just made the garlic and herbs one. Right now it is very disappointing, but I yet have confidence that it will turn awesome over the next couple days as the flavors mingle.

Olives – I don’t know, since I don’t like olives. I ended up buying ones with pits in my quest to get only 6 olives per color, so I wasn’t able to mark the container with a pretty olive slice.

fennel – meh. It’s flavors did suit the tofu concoction well, but you’d have to like the tofu concoction in the first place to enjoy this one.

honey/cinnamon/walnuts – winner! This one was tasty. I wouldn’t put it on a bagel, but I had no problem just eating the spoonful that wouldn’t quite fit in the container.

14
Mar

Apple Salsa

   Posted by: Livia Tags: ,

They said it could couldn’t be done! (Okay, so it was just my friend Meghan who said it couldn’t be done – these other people seemed fairly confident. But I rely on her advice on food matters. Constantly. I trust this woman… but I don’t always take her advice… because I am a bad friend. Yes, Meghan, I did go out and buy more tortillas anyway, too.)

But, anyway. I have made what I am calling apple salsa! Actually, add some nuts, and it would make a kick ass charoset.

Apple Salsa

Squeeze 1 lime into a bowl. Also, add zest from about half of the lime, but not more.

Pour 1/6 cup white balsamic vinegar into the bowl, too.

Quarter, Core, Peel, and dice finely – 2 apples. Ad you dice each quarter, immediately transfer it into the bowl and stir to coat. Every 2 or 3 quarters, remove the pieces into a separate container, leaving as much of the acidic liquid behind as possible.

Add 2 dashes of cinnamon and an equal quantity of crushed chipotle pepper to the apples. Mix in.

When all of the apples have been move to a separate container, pout the remaining liquid into a small saucepan. Add 1/4 cup water, 2 Tablespoons apricot jelly, 1 Tablespoon sweet red wine (Manischewitz) , 2 tsp brown sugar, and the crumbles head of 1 clove. Bring to a boil and stir until the jelly is completely dissolved and the liquid has reduced.

Turn off the heat, and wait until there are no more bubbles. Toss apples quickly in the saucepan, just until thoroughly coated and mixed, and then pour back into a container and refrigerate immediately to stop further cooking.

11
Mar

3 salsas

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , , ,

So I bought a pineapple and a couple magoes with plans to experiment with possible salsas to make for the Cooking with Catladies dinner this coming weekend. I put it off for a bit, and then the fruit was perfectly ripe and making it clear that it would not wait for the 15th.

So here were my experimental salsas:

Pineapple/Grape Salsa
This one is designed to be light a fresh and perky, and it succeeded admirably.

Cut 2/3rds of a pineapple into 1cm dice. Slice seedless red grapes in half until the quantities of pinapple and grapes are equal.

Peel ginger and cut several paper thin slices against the grain. Then stack those slices and cut them into strips. Add to the fruit.

Slice the flesh off of 1 jalepeno pepper, and cut that into thin strips. Add to fruit.

Mix everything together and put into a jar.

Make a syrup of 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rice vinegar. Reduce by 1/3 or until bored, whichever comes first.

Pour in enough to make the salsa wet, but not drippy – maybe halfway up a tightly-packed jar. Close the lid, and let sit overnight.

Pineapple Habanero
This one was meant to be just a bit too strong for my tastes, just in case someone particularly macho came by. Therefore, I didn’t make a lot of it. But also, it annoys me when very spicy food is only spicy, so I was trying to get a bit of layering to the flavor. The end result is delicious, but not hot enough at all.

Finely mince 1/3 of a pineapple

Cut the flesh off of 1 3 habanero peppers, and slice it as finely as possible.

In a mortar and pestle, crush together 2 clove heads, 6 allspice berries, and some nutmeg.

Stir all together.

Make a syrup of: the juice of 2 limes, 1 tsp buckwheat honey, 2 tsp brown sugar, and 1/4 cup white balsamic. Boil until it thickens a bit, and then pour sparingly over the salsa.

Let sit overnight. (Hoping this one might last a week)

Mango and Green Pepper SalsaOddly, this one ended up being the hottest of the lot, but that’ll depend on the next jalepeno I buy. I like the crisp texture of the green pepper here.

Dice a ripe mango as best you can, but it’s better for the mango to be ripe and sweet than to have a perfect dice

Cut the flesh off the seeds of the bell pepper in about 5 passes, and then cut those strips into narrow strips (so you end up with pieces about 2mm x 4cm) – this will make the width of the bite about the same, the pieces still large enough to be crunchy, and yet it will still fold into everything smoothly as salsa should.

Thinly slice 1/2 of a jalepeno all the way through. Then mince those slices and add them, including seeds.

Add the zest of 1 lime.

Stir all together, and pack it into a jar.

Pour white vinegar into the tightly-packed jar until it comes about halfway up the fruit. Let sit overnight.

Now to see if they can be replicated. *grin*

4
Feb

Pita Chips & Tzatziki

   Posted by: Livia Tags: , ,

The secret to my pita chips are the awesome thin pitas by local halal grocer carries. Really, extremely thin pitas result in light, crispy pita chips that are more addictive than potato chips.

The ones I buy are made by Soumaya & Sons Bakery in Whitehall, PA.

Pita Chips

So split the pitas open into two separate halves, and brush the bready side lightly with olive oil. And then stack them one upon the other so that both sides end up lightly greased.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cut the stacks into wedges and lay out a single layer of wedges on a baking sheet.

Mix together the following spice mix:

  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
  • a dash of thyme or oregano
  • a dash of sumac (or zatar that has been ground smooth in a mortar)
  • a few grinds of nutmeg
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • just the tip of a knife of smoked paprika, it’s strong stuff

Sprinkle spices over pita wedges. And then sprinkle kosher salt over to taste.

Bake on middle rack of oven until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.

Tzatziki Sauce

Buy any old cheap brand of plain fat free yogurt, and turn it into awesome yogurt by letting it drain for several hours.

Peel a cucumber. Now it can be any kind of cucumber – I have used the long, fancy seedless cucumbers; regular eating cucumbers; big, fat pickling cucumbers; and, most recently, small pickling cucumbers. Actually, I think my favorite so far has been the small pickling cucumbers because they had hardly any water content. But, honestly, I’ve had great results every time. And the only time I worried about seeds at all was for the very thick pickling one.

So peel the cucumber. Then slice it lengthwise just as thinly as you can. And then the other plane lengthwise, so that you end up with long, thin strips. And then mince all the way down, so that you end up with wee tiny cucumber pieces. Dump them all into the thick yogurt.

And then I will often add about a 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic from a jar. It’s better from ajar than fresh in this case because it has had a chance to mellow out a bit.

And then maybe a pinch of salt.

And that’s it. By the next day, everything is settled in and delicious.

3
Feb

Cooking with Catladies – March 15, 2009

   Posted by: Livia

Okay, so I am in the planning stages of making a lovely dinner party that will benefit charity. Which charity? City Kitties. As of now, the date is March 15th, but I will make another post when there is a real announcement with a graphic and everything.

Why City Kitties and not PAWS or some local SPCA group? Because while they are also awesome, I was reading back entries of a friend’s (friend from pilates classes) livejournal and came across an entry where they had done one of these a year ago, and it fills the dinner party void in my life. So there.

So here’s the menu planning part (I really would love your feedback and suggestions):

Beverages

  • We shall provide sangria with the appetizer course, and after that it is BYOB

Appetizers (3-4 of what is listed below based on availability of ingredients)

  • pita chips & tzatziki
    pita chips: (I think I’ll make a separate post about these)

    tzatziki: drain 1 qt yogurt. Peel and finely dice 1 large to 4 small cucumbers. Stir together with 1/4 tsp jarred minced garlic.

  • Sweet potato spears with dipping sauce
    sweet potato spears: toss cut sweet potatoes with olive oil, cumin seeds, powdered garlic, ground coriander, ground black pepper, ground chipotle, and ground thyme. Bake at 400F for 20-35 minutes (depending on size up spears). Sprinkle with salt.

    dipping sauce: Sweet hot Garlic Sauce

  • Asian-style Pickled Cucumber & Carrot
    Peel cucumber in stripes and slice into 2-3mm pieces. Cut carrots into as fine slices as possible. Also cut thin slices of purple onion. Combine in a water-tight container, sprinkle with (citrus-infused) sugar and pure over 1/4c rice vinegar. Shake to mix and let sit 8-36 hours.

Soup (Choice of 1)

  • *Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup
    Heat 1 can of foreign (full fat) coconut milk until the oils separate. Fry asaphoetida, 2 inches minced ginger, and a spice mix made up of (kala jeera, black cardamom seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, black peppercorns, and salt). After 2 minutes, add 20-ish carrots, peeled and cut into large 2-3″ pieces. Add a can of lowfat coconut milk and vegetable stock until the liquids cover the solids. Check seasoning and add salt, pepper, juice of 1 lime, and 1 tsp creamy peanut butter. When thoroughly cooked, blend until smooth. Garnish with ground chipotle, toasted slivered almonds, and possibly arugula

  • Spicy broth with tofu and avocado
    Make my usual vegetable stock with extra garlic and three kinds of pepper (fresh jalepeno, powdered chipotle, dried cayenne). Marinate tofu strips in cumin, chipotle, oregano, and lemon juice. Add tofu to hot broth and garnish with strips of avocado (and maybe fresh red hot peppers).

Main Course – Build your own soft tacos (with optional store-bought tortilla chips?)

  • Beans
    • Curry Black Beans – Sabut Urad Lajawab
      adapted from The Ultimate Dal Cookbook by Mona Verma
      Soak block beans overnight. Heat olive oil and mustard oil in a pan and fry onions until translucent. Add minced ginger, garlic, and seeded jalepeno. After a couple minutes, add turmeric; garam masala; and ground mix of roasted cumin seeds, roasted coriander seeds, and dried chillies – fry a minute until fragrant. Add drained beans, salt, and tomatoes. Cook down. Season with lime juice near the end of cooking and adjust flavors.

    • Kidney Beans
      onions, garlic, jalepeno flesh cooked down. Add kidney beans and 2 cans of stewed tomatoes. Add 1 bay leaf, thyme, oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika. Cook down until fairly thick and mushy.
    • Thai-inspired chickpeas
      Toast finely shredded fresh coconut in a dry skillet. Add olive oil. Add finely diced purple onion. When soft, add minced garlic, minced ginger, minced jalepeno, minced cilantro stems, minced lemongrass (if available). After 1 minute, add a conservative amount of thai green curry paste. Add chickpeas (from a can, drained and rinsed), lime juice, lime zest, and a bay leaf. After a few minutes, add a mixture of vegetable stock and water and let cook until no longer loose. Let flavors sit overnight.

  • Greens
    • Kenyan Collard Greens
      Cook down thin strips of collard greens in a tiny amount of water/oil. Add vegetable bouillon cube and 5 spice powder. Add diced tomato

    • Asian-inspired Kale – ETA: not served
      Cook down kale and add a mixture of soy sauce, wasabi, minced ginger, and lemon juice.

  • Root vegetables
    • Sweet potatoes
      Roast sweet potatoes and then mash with butter, cumin, chipotle, thyme, oregano, nutmeg, sumac, salt, and black pepper (and maybe a bit of smoked paprika).

      That’s just gilding the lily. Instead, mashed roasted sweet potatoes with roasted garlic and maybe some lime juice to keep things perky. And that’s it.

    • Beet/Cabbage Shred (based on this one)
      Slice beet as thin as possible. Shred purple cabbage. Slice a purple onion thinly. Seed and slice thin matchsticks from a jalepeno or two. Toss together and dress with the following pre-mixed liquid: sugar, finely minced garlic, and a wee bit of minced ginger, rice vinegar and red wine vinegar (equal parts), olive oil, and a decently generous amount of lime juice. Toss together. Grind some black pepper and sprinkle in some cilantro. Toss again. Let sit for 15 minutes.

  • Sauteed onions and peppers
  • Sauteed mushrooms – ETA: not served
  • Cheese
    • hand shredded extra sharp cheddar – ETA: not served
    • queso fresco
  • shredded lettuce, diced tomato, minced purple onion, sliced hot peppers – ETA: not served
  • sour cream and maybe Mexican crema
  • Salsas
  • Guacamole
  • Rice
    1 cup white rice, 1 jar salsa, 1/5 tsp turmeric

Salad – ETA: not served

  • *Carrot & Garlic Salad
    blanch 2 pounds peeled carrots, toss with lemon juice. Roast carrots, 8 peeled scallions, and a head of garlic until tender. Cut carrots and scallions and mix them with the blended mix (roasted garlic, zest and juice of 1 orange, parley, salt, cinnamon, cumin, ground ginger).

  • mixed greens
  • Salad dressings
      Southwestern Ranch
      make a French dressing base (mayonnaise and ketchup), heavier on the ketchup. Stir in 6oz plain yogurt. Add taco seasoning mix from a packet.

    • Sweet Garlic and Cumin dressing
      Roast 2 heads of garlic, and squeeze every clove into a small food processor. Add slightly less than a quarter cup of honey and 2 Tablespoons of good olive oil. Dry Roast 1 Tablespoon of cumin seeds. Add some whole and grind some in a mortar and pestle. Add 2 tsp sweet red wine. Season with salt and pepper. When smooth, taste. When it’s as good as you can make it while still being too strong and a bit too sweet, add cider vinegar until you reach a pourable (but still thick) consistency.

    Dessert

    Note: Adding asterisks to the recipes that need to be tested before the dinner, Anyone interested in tasting some of these things as I go? I especially need someone who likes chickpeas.

I’m leaving on a trip in a few days, so I am trying to make sure I eat everything perishable in the house.

First thing up – getting rid of the last of the green tomatoes that I picked when the garden season was ended by frost.

I split them in half, lay them on a baking sheet cut side down, and roasted them while I was also roasting a butternut squash. I wasn’t too sure what to do with them (because I knew I didn’t want to fry them), but I figured I could probably do anything to them I would do with tomatillos.

Green Tomato Salsa

Remove the peels from the roasted green tomato halves, and dice the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes and all of their juices into a container (but go ahead and compost the skins). I was using 1 very large one, 2 medium, and two very small. But juggle that around in your head and fix up the proportions to whatever you have – I certainly wasn’t being scientific.

To the diced tomatoes, I added roasted garlic pods. I just finished off a head, but I’ll say it was 1/3 of a head of garlic. Take the time to break up the garlic with a fork so that it will incorporate smoothly.

I added half a serrano pepper, seeded and minced.

1 tspn white balsamic vinegar, and then the juice of half a lime (squeeze a little, stir, taste, and then repeat until it tastes right).

Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, a tiny bit of cinnamon and a decent amount (maybe 2/3 tsp) of oregano.

And it wasn’t quite perfect, so I looked in my spices and pulled out my newly acquired (but not on purpose) Penzey’s Turkish Seasoning – which includes salt, cumin, garlic, half-sharp paprika, black pepper, Turkish oregano, sumac, and cilantro.

It was tasting pretty good, but then I let it sit for a couple hours, and now it tastes amazing. This is the first preparation where I have liked green tomatoes.

~*~

A couple weeks ago, the grocery store had a sale on rib roast. Now usually I am cheap with meat and I’ll only buy meats that are under $2/pound without bones. But for some reason, rib roasts catch my eye when they occasionally go on sale at under $5/pound.

So there I was with my $25 piece of meat, and I was busy that weekend and I became rather worried that I was going to have t go bad before I had a chance to cook it.

Then I had a half day of work the Monday after the weekend to go shopping with my mother (because there was no way I was willing to brave a mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas any time other than 9am on a Monday morning). I came home and brilliantly thought to pop in the roast before I left for work at 5pm so that it’d be ready when I came home. (and that way, I wouldn’t have to start cooking the thing at 9:30pm).

Beef Rib Roast

Slice a few garlic cloves in half lengthwise. Plunge the knife into a meaty area, and then stuff garlic into the slit.

Now use the knife to lift a section of the fatty layer on top apart from the meat, and then feed a sprig of rosemary into the resulting tunnel (so the fat will rend, get flavored by the rosemary, and then season the meat).

I dusted the top of the layer of fat with garlic powder and some salt.

Then I put the roast into a very slow oven (250F) for about 45 minutes/pound.

(And don’t forget to save the ribs as you eat the meat away for stock-making later)

~*~

Quesadillas

I use quesadillas as a way to go through small quantities of leftovers. So an ounce and a half of cheddar cheese, 2 ounces of the beef rib roast meat, the green tomato salsa, half a seeded serrano pepper, and some lettuce, made a pretty delicious couple of quesadillas.

I made a couple delicious sandwiches last week because I claimed some bread when I visited my mother the weekend before.

Step one: Herbed Mayonnaise
Cut up into itsy bitsy pieces (if using a food processor, I would still cut them up a bit first so you don’t end up with stringy chunks) the leaves of:
Rosemary
Thyme
Marjoram
Summer Savory
Chives

And then if you also want to use more distinct herbs, pick one of the following and label the jar with that one – and be careful with your amount (the others, not so careful):
fennel
sage
dill
basil

And then mix with your favorite mayonnaise in a jar and let sit in the fridge for a couple days. Also good as gifts.

Step two: Sandwiches

I really love these steak rolls I claimed from my mother (claimed means that she bought them so my father could make cheesesteaks one night and then they didn’t have any use for the rest of the package).

So one of those. Spread with a teaspoon or less per half of the herbed mayonnaise.

Thinly slice:
1 slightly larger than fist-sized home-grown fresh off the vine already ripened tomato (and cut the slices in half)
1 home-grown salmonella-free sexy serrano pepper also from my mother’s garden
1 super small and cute yellow summer squash from the farmers’ market
1 ounce (well, maybe 2) of Jack cheese made by random amish farmers and sold at the farmers’ market (which is surprisingly tastier than their cheddar)

Step three: Pile only roll. Nom nom nom.

~*~

Stir fried beef & eggplant salad

Well, I promised you more salad recipes

Cold bit
spring mix
a few leaves of kale torn up, too.
a small yellow squash, sliced up (why, yes, I thought they were adorable and bought several of them)
scallions
serrano pepper (was actually too hot – leave this off)

Hot bit
I had pulled some beef I had sliced thinly for stir fry out of the freezer, so add about 1 oz of that, maybe less.
1 long, thin chinese eggplant, sliced into 2mm thick rounds
stir fried in 1 tsp of oil (mixed olive and sesame oils)
with 1 Tbsp of black pepper sauce
And then I tossed in 3 small apples, quartered and sliced crosswise, but not peeled because their skins weren’t particularly thick.

Dressing
1 1/2 tsp chinese mustard (which I had thought was supposed to lose potency over time, but it could have knocked me over when I opened the jar)
1 tsp real soy sauce
2 tsp black vinegar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
juice of half a lime

Aside from being too spicy, this was a very successful salad.

So it all started when I was hosting a bridge night at my house, and I thought that a nice low-work thing to serve would be various frozen dumplings steamed and fried. Turns out – this was an amazing plan!

And I made several dipping sauces to go with:

From The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller

Mustard Dressing (p.717)

1 Tablespoon powdered chinese mustard
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
a few drops of sesame oil

1. combine in a jar, cap tightly, and shake well to blend
2. refrigerate 3-4 hours to develop the flavor.

**verdict: nasty! Despite vigorous shaking, the mustard rose to the top and the whole thing tasted mostly of vinegar. This one got one taste and then wasn’t served that night.**

From Real Thai by Nancie McDermott

Nahm Jeem Gratiem
Sweet-Hot Garlic Sauce
(p.189)

official proportions:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 Tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (tuong or toi sauce) or coarsely ground dried red chili

how I made it –
Brought to a boil:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

And then added:

  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

Once it hit a rolling boil, reduced the heat and simmered until it thickened to a thin syrup (longer than the 20 minutes the recipe called for, but I didn’t make it too thick because it still had too cool and be dip-able).

Then I poured it into a jar already containing:

  • and the tail end of a bottle of sambal olek (I guessed there was about 2 teaspoons there, but I could have been off)

And stirred. Then I tasted it and said, “Oh, god that’s good, but hella spicy!”

So I mixed up another batch of syrup:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

and added that to the jar and stirred.

**Verdict: This sauce is amazingly tasty! It was also amazingly hot served the day I made it. Oddly, two days later, when I went to steam up some leftover dumplings, it no longer seemed so hot. So either the sauce mellows, or I just like spicy food and don’t have to notice how odd that is when no one is looking… la la la! Still, even the people who didn’t like spicy agreed that it was an awesome sauce**

From Classic Chinese Cuisine by Nina Simonds

Dumpling Dipping Sauce II (p.112)

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
1 Tablespoon chili oil
(plus a pinch of sugar)

**Verdict: I thought it tasted amazing and made a double recipe, but I was promptly informed that while it was tasty, it was too hot. So I sliced some scallions in this one to differentiate it and went on to make…**

Dumpling Dipping Sauce I (p.112)

1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
(plus a pinch of sugar)

**Verdict: So this was judged not to be the dipping sauce found in every chinese restaurant, but it was still found to be quite acceptable and very tasty.**

But even after eating up all of the tasty dumplings we hadn’t gotten through at bridge and after giving away about a third of the sweet-hot spicy sauce, I still had a ton of these dipping sauces left over.

So I thawed a pork loin roast.

After one evening in the fridge, it was thawed enough that I could take it out of the plastic back and score it with cross-hatched knife cuts. I put it back in the back and added some marinade:

  • a couple ginger slices
  • some 5 spice powder
  • and about half a cup of the two dipping sauces combined (I just dumped the two containers together after people left, since I didn’t mind the heat)

And I left it for another night.

It still wasn’t completely thawed, but I went ahead and roasted it anyway – with three cloves stuck in the crosshatching cut into the fatty side, a light dusting of powdered thyme, and salt over the fat (because it’s tasty!).

I cooked it according to the directions in my Joy of Cooking. Pre-heat oven to 450F; insert roast and turn down to 350F; cook 30-35 minutes/pound. I was generous in my time estimate because it was still a bit frozen in the middle, but I ended up with thoroughly a cooked roast I would not have wanted to have in the oven all that much longer.

So that first night, I just cut off bites and ate it slathered in the sweet-hot garlic sauce to finish that off – they went together perfectly.

~*~

But now I have the rest of the (cooked) roast in my fridge. So I took a few slices of pork, cut them into strips and made wraps/quesadillas/soft tacos with them.

In a bit of olive oil, I grilled down

  • half an onion, cut into short strips
  • 2 jalepeno peppers with just the flesh (no seeds or white part) diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • a little less that a tablespoon of pickled ginger, ripped into smaller pieces
  • a fistful of baby carrots cut into matchsticks
  • pork strips
  • shredded napa cabbage
  • and sprinkled over with black vinegar and some of the dipping sauce

Then I warmed a tortilla, piled on some lettuce from an oriental mix that had been on sale at my supermarket, and then put the pork/veggie mixture on top – and ate it. With a bit of homemade chinese mustard. Yum yum yum.

~*~

So last night, I not only still had leftover pork in my fridge (which I’ll get to next week), but also I had leftover wrap filling. So I put it on a salad.

Pretty much just more of that same salad mix, the rest of the filling popped into the microwave for a bit, and a salad dressing (made from a quarter of a teaspoon of chinese mustard, some plum sauce, some black vinegar, some more of the dipping sauce, and a dollop of honey).

The only thing I could have done to make it any better was slice up some more napa cabbage to refresh the cooked-down cabbage in the filling.

~*~

Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the roast (though sandwiches, with mayonnaise on white bread, are high up on the list).

ETA: There was also random fried rice (made from French red rice because I had acquired it randomly, and I thought its nuttiness would be kinda like brown rice and all that – it ended up being tasty food). It took a lot more work that brown rice to make the flavors play nice with the strong ricey ones.