Steamy Kitchen Recipes | RSS Feed http://steamykitchen.com Steamy Kitchen Food Blog: fast recipes, simple recipes, with fresh ingredients to create delicious meals. Thu, 30 Apr 2015 14:38:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 Healthy General Tso’s Chicken http://steamykitchen.com/30918-healthy-general-tsos-chicken-recipe-video.html http://steamykitchen.com/30918-healthy-general-tsos-chicken-recipe-video.html#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:00:32 +0000 http://www.steamykitchen.com/?p=30918 White meat or dark meat? I’m definitely a wing and dark meat gal, preferring the juicier, more flavorful, more tender and harder-to-overcook parts of the chicken. I think most Asians prize the dark meat (I know it’s a gross generalization, but I’ve never met an Asian who didn’t like dark meat!) Scott, on the other hand, is breast meat all ...

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Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

White meat or dark meat? I’m definitely a wing and dark meat gal, preferring the juicier, more flavorful, more tender and harder-to-overcook parts of the chicken. I think most Asians prize the dark meat (I know it’s a gross generalization, but I’ve never met an Asian who didn’t like dark meat!)

Scott, on the other hand, is breast meat all the way. When we first started dating, I had to re-learn how to cook chicken properly. All I used to care about was roasting, stir-frying or grilling the thigh, wing and leg portions perfectly, not even giving a second thought to the breast, which cooks faster than its dark brothas and sistahs. Most of the time, the breast meat and bones went into broth-making anyways. I also had a Jack Russell terrier who was spoiled with slightly overcooked and a touch dry chicken breast dinners.

Yummy and Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

The argument for eating chicken breast is that “it’s healthier” – but just HOW MUCH healthier?

White Meat versus Dark MeatAccording to an article from Josh Ozersky on Time Magazine, the difference isn’t as great as you might think.

From U.S. Department of Agriculture:

100 grams of white meat – 0.56 g of saturated fat and 114 calories
100 grams of dark meat has 1 g of saturated fat and 119 calories. 

To save .46 grams + 3 calories, I’ll take the dark meat any day!

 

Men’s Health article: “The extra fat in dark turkey or chicken meat raises your levels of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that makes you feel fuller, longer.”

Live Science: “A nutrient called taurine, found abundantly in poultry dark meat, significantly lowered the risk of coronary heart disease in women with high cholesterol, the study revealed. The researchers said that taurine also might help protect against diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Slate: The Dark Side of the Bird: “Dark chicken meat is also nutrient rich, containing higher levels of iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12 than white meat.”

Despite this research, Scott still prefers the breast. Which is just fine by me – we don’t have to fight over who gets which part of the chicken! We each call dibs on our own section.

Steam Kitchen Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

I’ve made a Healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken – one of Scott’s favorites – using white meat, of course – but feel free to substitute with boneless, skinless dark meat :-)

Healthy General Tso’s Chicken Recipe Video

 

 

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Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Healthy General Tso's Chicken Recipe

Feel free to substitute the chicken for thinly sliced lean pork or beef. For a vegetarian version, use extra firm tofu cut into cubes and vegetable broth.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced (or grated on rasp grater)
4 stalks green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

Directions:

1. In a bowl, make the General Tso sauce: Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili sauce, chicken broth, just 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch. Set aside.

2. In a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Add broccoli to the pan and cover. Steam for 2 minutes or until broccoli has turned bright green and is crunchy-tender (just shy of cooked through.) Remove broccoli from pan, drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Set broccoli aside. Empty water from wok or pan and dry well. Return wok or pan to stove.

3. In a medium bowl, add chicken, remaining 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, salt and pepper and stir to coat chicken evenly.

4. Heat the wok over high heat. When very hot, add cooking oil and swirl to coat. To get a nice crust on the chicken, you'll cook them in a single layer, giving them plenty of space to brown. Add half the chicken to pan in a single layer. Let cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes, until the bottom of chicken is browned, flip chicken, cook until other side is browned. The chicken should be halfway cooked through - remove the half-cooked chicken pieces to a plate to set aside. As you take chicken pieces out, continually add in more of the raw chicken to the pan to cook.

5. When all the chicken have cooked, turn heat to medium. Let the pan cool a bit before adding the rest of the ingredients (so they don't burn). The pan should still have some cooking oil left from the chicken. To the pan, add the green onions, garlic and ginger . Stir fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Control your heat so that the ingredients don't burn.

6. Pour in the General Tso's sauce to pan and bring mixture to a simmer. Return the chicken and broccoli to the pan, toss and cook for 1 minute. The sauce should thicken and the chicken should be cooked through completely. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

 

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Asian Sweet Chili Sauce http://steamykitchen.com/28458-asian-thai-sweet-chili-sauce-recipe-video.html http://steamykitchen.com/28458-asian-thai-sweet-chili-sauce-recipe-video.html#comments Tue, 24 Sep 2013 19:53:46 +0000 http://www.steamykitchen.com/?p=28458 Good Asian cooks never run out of rice, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. I’ll also throw fish sauce and Thai sweet chili sauce in the mix too. I must be a bad Asian because I’m constantly out of these ingredients – too lazy to drive 30 minutes to the Asian market and too cheap to pay the crazy mark-up at ...

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Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

Good Asian cooks never run out of rice, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. I’ll also throw fish sauce and Thai sweet chili sauce in the mix too. I must be a bad Asian because I’m constantly out of these ingredients – too lazy to drive 30 minutes to the Asian market and too cheap to pay the crazy mark-up at my local regular grocery chain.

Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

While I’m not quite ready to grow a rice paddy out back (though with all this rain this year, I’m seriously thinking we can!), I am going to start growing garlic and attempt to grow ginger as well. Scott, the boys and I bet our neighbors too, will surely veto homemade fish sauce (fermenting anchovies!??) but homemade Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is a definite YES!

Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

I use Asian Sweet Chili Sauce on everything. More importantly, my kids like it on everything. It’s sweet, not spicy – though some brands are spicier than others. We use it to dip Chinese Egg Rolls, Mushroom Tofu Potstickers, Roasted Tofu, Firecracker Shrimp. Toss after roasting Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Chili Sauce. Add a spoonful to any stir fry – like Bok Choy with Ground Chicken. Smother on Baby Back Ribs. Make a salad dressing for Fried Green Tomatoes.

Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

When I make my own Asian Sweet Chili Sauce – I specifically choose a combination of very mild, sweet peppers and just a few medium hot peppers. I want flavor with a little bit of heat….not searing heat like most sriracha).

See list of recommended peppers at bottom of post!

Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

Cooking Asian Sweet Chili Sauce

cft_automaticJamMakerIn my video, I used the Ball® FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker (by Jarden Home Brands)
This nifty machine heats up your concoction and auto-stirs. It’s convenient if you can a lot of jams, jellies AND hot sauce.

But you can use any large pot, pan or wok. You’ll just have to stir occasionally.

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 12.15.00 PMCanning Asian Sweet Chili Sauce

This recipe makes 5-6 cups! Sure, you can cut down the ingredients to make less, but why not make the full recipe, can them in cute jars and give some away as gifts.

Those pretty jars that I used are from Sur La Table, they have some GORGEOUS jars from France and Italy! I especially love these canning jars with colored gaskets for $3.95 each.

The type of chili (or chile – however you prefer to spell it!) pepper you choose is up to you! Use a total of 2 pounds of chili peppers. Remember, you can always ADD more heat. It’s hard (if not impossible) to take away the heat!

 

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Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe Video

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Asian Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

Servings: Approximately 5 cups Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
sweet chili sauce recipe featured-9696

Ingredients:

2 pounds of chili peppers of your choice
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce

Directions:

In a food processor, add in the chili peppers, onion and garlic. Process until desired consistency. I like mine a rough mince.

In a wok, large pot or large sauté pan, heat the cooking oil until shimmering on medium high heat. Add in the pepper/onion/garlic mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the remaining ingredients, mix well and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Quickly taste and decide if you would like to add more spicy-hot chili pepper.

Taste and adjust seasonings. If you feel like it needs more saltiness and savoriness, add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Need it sweeter - 1 tablespoon brown sugar. If the sauce is lacking that tang, or high flavor note - 1 tablespoon vinegar.

 

Use a combination of peppers based on your tastes:

MILD PEPPERS:
bell pepper (yes, you can use regular bell peppers!)
Banana pepper
Sweet chile pepper (like the ones I show in the video)
Anaheim chile
Poblano chile
Hungarian wax chile
Japanese shishito peppers
Cherry peppers

MEDIUM PEPPERS:
jalapeño pepper
Fresno pepper

HOT PEPPERS:
Cayenne pepper
Serrano pepper
Thai bird’s eye chile

EXTREME PEPPERS:
Habanero
Scotch bonnet

For my batch – I used:
1 1/2 pounds sweet mini chili peppers
1/2 pound Fresno and jalapeño peppers

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Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad with Crispy Wontons and Spicy Cilantro Vinaigrette http://steamykitchen.com/17479-heirloom-tomato-and-avocado-salad-with-crispy-wontons-and-spicy-cilantro-vinaigrette.html http://steamykitchen.com/17479-heirloom-tomato-and-avocado-salad-with-crispy-wontons-and-spicy-cilantro-vinaigrette.html#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2011 18:35:21 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=17479 I’m currently in a room with 3,500 other women (mostly) bloggers – at the BlogHer conference in San Diego. You can imagine all the tweeting, facebooking, blogging and hugging that’s going on here. If you’re internet access speed at home is a little slow, blame it on the swarm of bloggers here in San Diego sucking all of the internet ...

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I’m currently in a room with 3,500 other women (mostly) bloggers – at the BlogHer conference in San Diego. You can imagine all the tweeting, facebooking, blogging and hugging that’s going on here. If you’re internet access speed at home is a little slow, blame it on the swarm of bloggers here in San Diego sucking all of the internet power 😉

So while I’m here at BlogHer, I have a lovely, lovely friend Viviane Bauquet Farre, author of Food and Style blog as my guest. I discovered Viviane’s blog a couple of years ago and had the pleasure to meet her in person in NYC during my book tour. I hope you enjoy her recipe! ~Jaden 

 

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When I met Jaden at her book signing in New York City in 2009, it was love at first sight. While her bubbly personality shines through every word and every photograph on this blog, in person Jaden is truly like sunshine. So when it came to creating a recipe for this guest post, I wanted something as fun and colorful as she is.

This is how this salad came to be. It’s snappy-fresh, vibrant, super-flavorful, and has an Asian flair to boot. My hope is that it will look as beautiful as Jaden… and taste as scrumptious as her recipes.

 

When I think of colorful vegetables, heirloom tomatoes (though technically a fruit!) come instantly to mind. There are few things as delicious — or as stunning — as a vine-ripened heirloom tomato. Fortunately, heirlooms have become the jewel in the crown at farmers’ markets and gourmet stores all around the country, so they’re much easier to find today than ever. (Of course, if you happen to have a sunny spot in your backyard, these stunning fruits will be more than happy to grow there all summer long.)

In today’s salad, heirloom tomatoes and ripe avocados are served on a bed of baby arugula. The whole salad is drizzled with a spunky cilantro vinaigrette that’s almost like a cilantro pesto (the pine nuts give the dressing a lovely creaminess). Then the salad is garnished with crispy wonton strips that have been lightly sautéed in olive oil until they’re crunchy and golden-brown. Every bite is a delight, offering a marvelous array of flavors and textures.

For a casual meal, serve this salad in generous bowls and let everyone dig right in.

For a more elegant presentation, serve the salad on rectangular or square plates. Arrange a mound of the baby arugula in the center of each plate, in log-like fashion. Top with thin slices of avocado (see photograph), drizzle with a bit of the dressing and garnish with the heirloom tomato pieces and the crispy wontons. It makes an attractive salad course for a dinner party.

The summer season is in full swing and so is summer eating… May you enjoy every morsel!

Crispy Wontons Step-by-Step

Step 1: Cut the wontons in 1/4 inch strips

Step 2: Heat a large frying pan at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and wonton strips.

Step 3: Toss well, then sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until they become golden-brown, continuing to toss occasionally.

Step 4: This is how the wontons look when they are done.

Step 5: Transfer wontons to a paper towel and sprinkle with the salt.

Arugula in morning light

 

I picked this baby arugula from my garden minutes before I photographed the salad. A small 4′ x 2′ raised  bed has been giving us a constant supply of baby arugula for the last two months now. I cut the leaves at the base of the stems and within a week the plants have grown new leaves.  Eating from the garden is a pure joy — and knowing that Jaden is going to adore her new “urban farm,” I can hardly wait to see what she grows — and cooks — with her bounty!

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Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad with Crispy Wontons and Spicy Cilantro Vinaigrette

Servings: serves 4 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes
Salad in bowl white grd L-2

Ingredients:

For the wontons:
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 square wonton noodles
sea salt to tasteFor the vinaigrette:
1 ounce cilantro leaves (1 cup, tightly packed)
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 garlic clove – skinned
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or organic sugar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenneFor the salad:
2 ripe avocados – cut in 1” pieces
1 1/4 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes – cut in 1” pieces
5 ounces baby arugula – rinsed and spun dry
freshly ground white pepper

Directions:

1) Cut the wontons in 1/4” strips. Heat a large frying pan at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and wonton strips. Toss well, then sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until they become golden-brown, continuing to toss occasionally. Transfer wontons to a paper towel and sprinkle with the salt.

2) To make the vinaigrette – Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until creamy, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl once. Transfer to a small bowl.

3) Divide the arugula into 4 salad bowls. Top with the avocado and tomato pieces. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with the crispy wontons. Sprinkle with the pepper and serve immediately.

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Chicken Wings, Momofuku Style http://steamykitchen.com/6902-momofuku-baked-chicken-wings.html http://steamykitchen.com/6902-momofuku-baked-chicken-wings.html#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2009 17:39:01 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=6902 I was lucky enough to share the green room with Chef David Chang of Momofuku while we were both cooking on View From The Bay television show in San Francisco. If you’ve never heard of David Chang, he’s the guy that Anthony Bourdain calls the one of the best chefs in the world.” And if you’re familiar with Bourdain, the ...

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I was lucky enough to share the green room with Chef David Chang of Momofuku while we were both cooking on View From The Bay television show in San Francisco. If you’ve never heard of David Chang, he’s the guy that Anthony Bourdain calls the one of the best chefs in the world.” And if you’re familiar with Bourdain, the bad-boy of food television, you can insert a couple of f-bombs in that sentence. In fact, you could probably throw in a few f-bombs for Chang as well.

Back in the green room, David was sprawled out on the couch in slouchy jeans, sleepy eyes, head in hands moaning, “Damn, I’m so hung over,” and his co-author Peter Meehan chimes in, “yeah, we drank about 100 shots last night.” And here I am sitting perkily on the other couch, amped up on an energy drink, in my perfectly pressed shirt, sparkly silver jewelry and 12-ounces of hairspray.

091215_momofuku-chicken-wings-octo-vinaigrette_002.jpg

Was I intimidated, being in the presence of the most talked about restaurant chefs in America? Not one bit. And it had nothing to do with my Red Bull wings. David Chang is so down to earth, warm and big-brother friendly (uh…wait. I think I’m older). We exchanged signed cookbooks, a big hug and even a smiley photographic moment.

Steamy-kitchen-cookbook-tour-david-chang-7938.jpg

To get a glimpse of Chang’s brilliance, pick up his momofuku-cookbook Momofuku cookbook where he reveals recipes from three of his restaurants including his famous pork belly buns recipe. While most of the recipes aren’t really practical for the average home cook (anyone know where I can get a whole pig’s head?) the ones that are simple enough are worth the price of the book. We made the Octo Vinaigrette recipe and tossed them with baked chicken wings (instead of twice-fried, 10-step version that’s in the book) for one of the very best chicken wings I’ve ever laid lips on.

091215_momofuku-chicken-wings-octo-vinaigrette_003.jpg

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Chicken Wings with Momofuku Octo Vinaigrette Recipe

Servings: serves 4 as appetizer or snack Prep Time: Cook Time:
NAC-005

recipe from Momofuku cookbook by David Chang

The recipe for the Octo Vinaigrette (all of the ingredients minus the wings) is straight from book. Really take the time to chop the garlic and ginger finely and evenly. Don't buy the jarred, paste or puree ginger and garlic, just go for the real stuff. Also make sure you use a good quality light soy sauce. I like using low-sodium version. If all you can find is regular soy sauce, I'd recommend cutting the soy sauce to 3 tablespoons and adding 1 tablespoon of water. If you love fresh cilantro, you can add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh cilantro to the vinaigrette as well. You can use any type of chili pepper you want (or omit) and I've used small, skinny bird's eye chili with the seeds discarded. Feel free to use jalapeno, serrano or even the big banana chili peppers for less heat.

Instead of frying the wings, I like baking them instead as it's easier and less messy. I dare not mention "baking is healthier too!" as wings are fattening no matter how you cook 'em. I buy the chicken wings whole, cut them apart and freeze the tips for stock.

Ingredients:

3 pounds chicken wings, tips saved for another use
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chili pepper
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper (or spray the pan with cooking spray). Place the chicken wings on the parchment paper in single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the chicken wings over halfway during cooking process.

2. While chicken is baking, make the vinaigrette. Combine together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl (large enough to fit all of the wings)

3. Toss the chicken wings in the vinaigrette to coat.

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And more…

For dessert, why not try David Chang’s Crack Pie? Only Martha Stewart could wrangle the recipe.

Inuyaki makes the Momofuku Pork Belly Buns

Serious Eats has Momofuku Brussels Sprouts

Andrea of Vietworld Kitchen tries the Momofuku Slow Poached Eggs

Momofuku Ginger Scallion Noodles by The Amateur Gourmet

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Momofuku’s Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulbs http://steamykitchen.com/4241-asian-pickled-wild-leek-ramp-bulbs.html http://steamykitchen.com/4241-asian-pickled-wild-leek-ramp-bulbs.html#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2009 04:43:03 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=4241 (Step by step photos on how to pickle wild leek bulbs or ramp bulbs) [imagebrowser id=20] It’s the end of wild leek or ramp season, and what’s left in some markets are just the bulbs, which last much longer than the entire thing. For these strays, it’s best to pickle and preserve so that you’ll get to enjoy them all ...

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(Step by step photos on how to pickle wild leek bulbs or ramp bulbs)

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It’s the end of wild leek or ramp season, and what’s left in some markets are just the bulbs, which last much longer than the entire thing. For these strays, it’s best to pickle and preserve so that you’ll get to enjoy them all year long.

I just learned that in the South, where they are harvested in April, they are called RAMPS. In the north, they are called WILD LEEKS. Why the difference? I really don’t know….readers?

If you’ve never had wild leeks/ramps before, here’s what they look like fresh – a photo I found at a great website called The Forager Press:

wild leek ramps

From what I understand, Wild Leeks have a bigger bulb and more pungent flavor. Leeks have skinnier, smaller bulbs (like that photo right above)

Wild Leeks or Ramps are basically a wild onion – and the taste is like if you smashed an onion with a clove of garlic. Yes, quite pungent. Eat too many of these babies…and let’s just say…don’t plan on any nookie tonight.

If you’re lucky to find ramp bulbs or wild leek bulbs, PICKLE THEM!! I seared for a perfect Asian-style recipe and BINGO – found it on Chow. And get this…the recipe originates from picklin’ god himself, David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar.

Momo-frickin’-fuku!

Yeah, recipe is a definite keeper – FANTASTIC.

Momofuku’s Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulbs Recipe

recipe adapted from David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar via Chow. You can find wild leek/ramp bulbs from Earthy.com. Hurry – only a few more days left before they run out!

This is a perfect pair-with-beer or pair-with-sake type of little pickle. Just make sure your girlfriend or boyfriend is eating the same thing as you. If you are using whole ramps (bulb and leaves, you can use the entire thing, unless the leaves are old…then in that case just use the bulbs and trim off the leaves)

1 pound ramps bulbs (or whole ramps), trimmed and washed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tablespoon table salt)
1 tablespoon Japanese seven spice (Shichimi Togarashi)
1 1/2 teaspoons Korean crushed red pepper (kochukaru) or other mild crushed chili pepper

1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Briefly blanch the ramp bulbs in salted water. If using entire young ramp (small bulb + leaves) no need to blanch. Drain and set aside.

2. Combine all ingredient except the ramp bulbs in the saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the ramp bulbs to the brine mixture in the pan. Let cool to room temperature and then transfer to a smaller nonreactive container, cover tightly, and place in the refrigerator overnight. You could also can the pickled ramp bulbs.

Another great recipe using ramps is No Recipes’ Ramp Kimchi

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Sushi Superhero: I lovehatelove him http://steamykitchen.com/2928-sustainable-sushi-casson-trenor.html http://steamykitchen.com/2928-sustainable-sushi-casson-trenor.html#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2009 14:09:05 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/?p=2928 [imagebrowser id=4] There are 4 photos in the above photoset! All photos courtesy of Casson Trenor from his book, Sustainable Sushi I’m deeply, truly, utterly and fantastically in love with sushi. Well, let me be more specific. I love GOOD sushi, none of that supermarket crap. It’s an indulgence that I allow myself once a month (it’s sooo expensive!) and ...

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There are 4 photos in the above photoset! All photos courtesy of Casson Trenor from his book, Sustainable Sushi

I’m deeply, truly, utterly and fantastically in love with sushi. Well, let me be more specific. I love GOOD sushi, none of that supermarket crap. It’s an indulgence that I allow myself once a month (it’s sooo expensive!) and use the sushi dinner as a treat for celebrations or a reward for jobs really well done (like finally ironing four weeks of wrinkly clothes that I’d been avoiding.) And when I’m at the sushi bar – you gotta watch out. Every bite is just so fresh and delightful, especially with a gentle smear of real wasabi (not the dyed horseradish) and just the slightest fish-side-down touch of soy sauce. Have you ever heard a grown woman moan at a sushi bar? I make all the other patrons blush. YES! It’s just like the Asian version of “When Harry Met Sally!”

But then I met Casson Trenor, whom I have very, very conflicting feelings for. You know the term, buzzkill? Well, Casson is my sushikill. He’s a fish sustainability expert and told me that some of my favorite sushi fishes, like salmon, bluefin tuna and unagi are a no-no for the environment.

Sure, I could have just closed my eyes, covered my ears (like my kids do to me) and just walk merrily away, but you can’t just do that with someone like Casson. How do you ignore someone who’s saves whales in the Antarctic, speaks five languages, has done marine research in over forty countries and has gone octopus fishing with holy men on the Island of Yap? Seriously!

Do you see why I lovehatelove him so?

So I told Casson that in order for me to supress my urge to hold him in a tight headlock and then do a legdrop/mandible claw combo, he’d better give me some alternatives to my beloved salmon and tuna.

Farmed Salmon: Parasites and Poison

jaden I love the fattiness and distinct flavor of salmon sushi! Please tell me that I don’t have to give it up.

casson-trenor-thumb There’s a tremendous difference between wild salmon and farmed salmon. Some of it is obvious, sure – you can tell them apart at a glance. Farmed salmon ranges from a dull brick to a startling international orange. To me, it’s the kind of color I’d want on my vest if I were biking home from a bar at 2am, not draped across my dinner plate. Wild salmon, by contrast, is a vibrant, healthy red; a color that’s striking in its vivacity and luster.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. The real difference is what these fish mean to the planet.

Farmed salmon is generally raised in net pens about a twenty-second backstroke away from a Chilean beach, Canadian forest, or Norwegian fjord. These operations can have devastating effects on the local environment. Parasites build up in these farms and lay waste to local wild salmon populations, especially in British Columbia. Fish waste washes out of these pens and collects on the seafloor below, poisoning the plants and animals that are unable to escape to cleaner areas. Add this to the disease problems, potential genetic issues, and the demand for wild fish as feed (it can take up to four pounds of wild fish to produce one pound of farmed salmon!) and you have dozens of little environmental disasters, scattered up and down coastlines around the world.

My suggestion? Well, actually, I’ve got two. Wild Alaskan salmon and farmed arctic char.

Sustainable Salmon: go wild, baby

Wild Alaskan salmon are from fisheries that continue to set examples for fishery management around the globe. Strong populations, sensible quotas, and effective enforcement combine to not only protect these salmon runs, but to also provide seafood fans with a delectable fish that’s high in omega-3s, low in mercury, and nothing short of gorgeous on the plate.

Sustainable Arctic Char: a great alternative

Arctic char is an up-and-comer that is set to change the way we think about fish farming. Instead of using ocean net pens, arctic char farmers prefer closed inland systems that prevent any parasites and diseases from spreading to the surrounding environment. Waste is contained and filtered out in an eco-friendly manner, and the feed demand is much less than that of farmed salmon. On top of it all, farmed arctic char has a beautiful red flash and a delicious, light taste and texture. This fish is not to be missed.

Next time you’re at the sushi bar, dump the farmed salmon for either of these other two options. You won’t regret it, and the oceans will thank you.

Bluefin Tuna: in serious trouble

jaden Okay, parasitic waste…so totally gross! I guess that means I have look for wild salmon at the supermarket too. What about the very popular tuna?

casson-trenor-thumb Jaden, what are you doing?  Is that toro on your plate?  Ok, we need to have a little chat.  Didn’t you read my book?
Bluefin tuna is in trouble.  Serious, serious trouble.  Like slutty chick in a horror movie kind of trouble.  It’s gonna be really tough for bluefin to get out of this situation alive.

All over the world, there are people out to catch bluefin tuna.  Longliners, tuna ranchers, seiners, and even rifle-toting snipers are out for blood. 

Our insatiable lust for the fatty, supple belly flesh of this magnificent animal is driving it to the brink of extinction.

On top of this, the number of other animals that are killed and discarded by rapacious bluefin hunters is simply incalculable.  Hundreds of thousands of seabirds, sharks, and turtles have been dumped over the sides of longline vessels for no other reason than unadulterated greed.We have to give this creature a break and let it recover. This animal is a top predator with an incredibly important role to play in our ecosystem.  Lose the bluefin, and we very well may lose the oceans. So what do we do? Well, one answer lies in one of the bluefin’s close cousins – the albacore.

Sustainable Albacore Tuna: rosy, delicious alternative

Many albacore tuna populations, especially in the North Pacific, are strong and well managed. These fish are often caught with handlines that keep bycatch down and quality levels up. But the best part? Flip one over, close your eyes, and take a bite out of the belly.

Albacore toro is gorgeous. Sleek, rosy-colored morsels cut from the belly of this fantastic fish can grace nigiri rice with just as much class and luxury as any piece of bluefin. Simply put, there is no longer a reason to force the planet to pay for our toro addiction. Swap bluefin out for albacore and the oceans survive. Otherwise, well… you get the picture. It’s that simple.

jaden So you better come visit me in Tampa, Florida and take me on a sushi tour to help me break my bad sushi habits.

casson-trenor-thumb Deal. You’re on. May 2009?

Sustainable Sushi: Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time

jaden Okay, everyone – let’s help Casson spread the word…he’s got a new book out called Sustainable Sushi, a paperback guide with great photos and commentary of good fish/bad fish. All the fish is color-coded, green/yellow/red so you can see at a glance on what to eat.

sustainable-sushi-book

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goodfishbadfish

On Casson’s website, he’s got a great chart of fish, photos and ratings. Go see what to eat!

How to make sushi rice

In a future column, I’ll show you how to make handrolls in a step by step photo sequence. But for now, here’s a recipe for sushi rice. If you can get your hands on fresh sushi-grade fish (yes, Casson, I mean SUSTAINABLE fish) you can always make chirashi, which is simply sushi rice in a bowl and slices of fish draping on top. To show you the difference between farmed and wild salmon, here’s a photo from Casson’s brand new book, Sustainable Sushi. The wild salmon is in the foreground, and it has a smooth, beautiful reddish tinge. The farmed salmon is in the background with it’s Nemo-like stripes.

2 cups short grained white rice
3 quart heavy bottomed pot with tight fitting lid
2 cups water
sushi dressing (see below)

Put the rice in the pot and fill with cool water. Swirl the rice with your hands for a few seconds and dump out the milky water, keeping the rice grains in the pot. Repeat 3 more times, until the water is a bit more clear. Let the drained rice stand for 10 minutes. Add the 2 cups of water to the pot and cover with tight fitting lid. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Immediately turn heat to low and cook an additional 18 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit (still covered) for 5 minutes to finish steaming.

For the sushi dressing
5 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. If you are using “seasoned” rice vinegar, omit the sugar.

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Raw Bar with Asian Mignonette (Oysters and Clams) http://steamykitchen.com/2289-raw-bar-with-asian-mignonette-oysters-and-clams.html http://steamykitchen.com/2289-raw-bar-with-asian-mignonette-oysters-and-clams.html#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2009 21:47:16 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/?p=2289 If I were stuck on a tropical island, I’d make sure I brought an oyster and clam opener knife thingy. All those oysters…ALLLLL MINE…wait. Do oysters and clams even grow in the tropics? If they don’t, well…they SHOULD. What’s the point of being stranded on an island if there are no oysters to be eaten? Normally, I only eat raw ...

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Raw Oysters with Asian Mignonette Recipe

If I were stuck on a tropical island, I’d make sure I brought an oyster and clam opener knife thingy. All those oysters…ALLLLL MINE…wait. Do oysters and clams even grow in the tropics? If they don’t, well…they SHOULD. What’s the point of being stranded on an island if there are no oysters to be eaten?

Normally, I only eat raw oysters and clams at raw bars, leaving the hard work of prying open the rock-hard mouth to trained professionals who are more patient and deft than I.

But, last week, I couldn’t resist. At Fresh Market in town, my inner daredevil kicked in and I need to conquer the shell. Plus, it didn’t help that four-year old Nathan was in the shopping cart and asked, “Mommy, how come we can’t buy oysters?” Yeah, and what was I going to say, “cuz Mommy can’t open them?” I’m Nathan’s superhero! How could Super-Mom be defeated by a three-inch tight-lipped marine mollusk?

As Yoda would say, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Okay, fine. Bastards. I do. Nathan picked out each oyster and chose not the cute, itty, bitty Littleneck clams, but the mammoth four-inch Cherrystone clams.

Words cannot describe the debacle that I went through to open a dozen of each. That pointy, thick knife with the big wooden handle called an oyster knife? Useless on the clams. Thinking back to the opening_coconut coconut opening catastrophe I experienced last year, I headed to the garage to find husband’s tools.

A hammer, chisel and the vice grip in the garage didn’t even crack the thing. Powerdrill, level and the wirecutter, nada. Even the Jedi force was no match for these guys.

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I finally admitted defeat and recruited husband (AFTER I tiptoed back from garage and laid his tools back EXACTLY where they were).

Oh, and do NOT ask me about that one clam in the photo up above that is unopened. I do NOT want to talk about it.

raw_oysters_asian_mignonette-054

“The clam that kicked my Mom’s ass.”

Continue reading RAW BAR WITH ASIAN MIGNONETTE (OYSTERS AND CLAMS)

raw_oyster_asian_mignonette

I’m not a fan of the traditional jarred horseradish and cocktail sauce, mainly because those strong flavors mask the delicate taste of the raw oysters and clams! Jim, owner of the Lucky Pelican in Sarasota, gave me his secret Asian Mignonette that he serves with his raw oysters and clams. Many thanks to him. If you don’t have seasoned or sweetened rice vinegar, use the unseasoned rice vinegar and add a pinch of sugar.

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Lookie how gorgeous these raw oysters and clams are!

How to Shuck Oysters and Clams

Really? Are you going to really ask my professional advice?

If you want to learn how to shuck raw oysters, watch this dude on oysters, these guys have a fab video on how to shuck oysters too. This is a video for clams. Yeah. I should consulted Sir Internet before embarking on my oyster and clam shucking adventure.

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Raw Bar (Oysters and Clams) with Asian Mignonette Recipe

John, the seafood dude at Fresh Market, tells me that the best way to determine whether an oyster or clam is fresh, alive and well is to knock ’em. Specifically, knock two against each other or one against the counter. If they sound hollow, throw ’em away. Also, oysters and clams should be closed super-tight (um, YEAH. I know.) When you get home, grab 2 bowls, one that fits inside the other. Unbag the oysters and clams and put them in the smaller bowl. Fill larger bowl with ice and put the smaller bowl inside, on top of the ice. Refrigerate. According to John, if stored properly, they’ll last for a few days like that. But I always go by the rule of eating them same day or next day.

1 dozen fresh oysters in shell
1 dozen fresh clams in shell
1 dozen extra large cooked shrimp

For the Asian Mignonette
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons sweetened (seasoned) rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red peppercorns
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon finely minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the Asian Mignonette ingredients. Set aside while you carefully shuck the oysters and clams. Serve the Asian Mignonette, shrimp, oysters and clams on a bed of crushed ice.

Serves 4 as appetizer

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Chinese Chicken Salad http://steamykitchen.com/1471-chinese-chicken-salad.html http://steamykitchen.com/1471-chinese-chicken-salad.html#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2008 04:05:26 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/?p=1471 (click on photo for shot-by-shot food styling and photography analysis of some of the photos that led up to the “money shot”) Chinese restaurants in China don’t really have Chinese Chicken Salad on their menus, it’s a creation of Chinese-American restaurants! According to Cecilia Chiang, author of The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco(one of my ...

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chinese_chicken_salad

(click on photo for shot-by-shot food styling and photography analysis of some of the photos that led up to the “money shot”)

Chinese restaurants in China don’t really have Chinese Chicken Salad on their menus, it’s a creation of Chinese-American restaurants! According to Cecilia Chiang, author of The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco(one of my all time favorite Chinese American cookbooks), lettuce was rare and imported in China, and “salads” referred to pickled items. But, I still love a good Chinese Chicken Salad, especially if it’s got a tangy, sweet sauce and crunchy bits of fried wonton strips.

But please, Applebee’s restaurant, can we rename your “Oriental Chicken Salad” to something more hip? Asian Chicken Salad or Chinese Chicken Salad would be much better. Oriental is such a dated word…so..19th century!*

Recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad is below.

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Food Styling and Photography

Many of you requested that I continue posting my shot-by-shot analysis of all the failed photos that led up to this one that I like…my “money shot.” I also show you my photo setup – which really doesn’t change too much during the “NOT-winter” season. I use natural light as much as I can, and when dreary winter comes along, I switch to using my Lowel EGO lights.

Vegan Yum Yum just posted a fabulous write up on food photography – make sure you check it out.

For more food photography posts, I have a whole category called “Food Photography/Blog Tips.”

Updated Steamy Kitchen Web Design

Do you like the new look? Cleaner, brighter and much faster. I’m still working on it, but I think this is a lighter design that fits my personality more.

Guess what? Now I have a print functionality!!! If you want to print out a recipe without the sidebars and ads and stuff, there is a little print icon right next to each post’s header text. Click on that and you’ll get a nice, clean version that you can print out.

This Chinese Chicken Salad recipe makes a really quick light meal if you use store-bought roasted chicken and pre-fried crispy noodles (found in a bag or canister in the Asian section of supermarket.) I like to get a whole rotisserie chicken, use the breasts for the salad and the remaining meat for paninis the next day. The bones? I throw them in a pot, add water carrots, celery and make a very flavorful soup. Don’t waste the bones of a roasted chicken!

You can also throw in a handful of almonds too. The dressing for this Chinese Chicken Salad is one of my husband’s favorites – a copycat version of Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad dressing which is a tangy and sweet.

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

serves 4-6

15 wonton skins, cut into strips (or if you don’t want to fry: 1 cup fried crispy chow mein noodles)
oil for frying
1 head lettuce, leaves shredded or torn
2 cooked chicken breasts, meat shredded with your fingers
1 cucumber, sliced
handful snow peas, sliced on diagonal
11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

For the dressing
a la Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad Dressing

makes scant 1 cup (use half for the salad and store the rest in refrigerator)

6 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

To make the salad dressing, whisk together the honey, mayonnaise, mustard until very smooth. Then whisk in the oil and vinegar.

To fry the wonton skin strips, heat 1 inch of oil until 375F. If you don’t have a thermometer, just slide one wonton strip into the oil – it should sizzle immediately and turn light golden brown in about 30 seconds. Fry the wonton strips in several batches and drain on a rack or layers of paper towels. Each batch should take about 30 seconds to 1 minute to fry.

Assemble Chinese Chicken Salad with lettuce, chicken, cucumber, snow peas, mandarin oranges. Drizzle on salad dressing and sprinkle with wonton strips.

How to poach chicken breasts

If you have uncooked chicken breasts, you can poach the chicken breasts. In a medium pot, add the chicken breasts and fill with water or broth 1 inch above the chicken. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt to the water. Bring the pot to a boil and immediately turn the heat to low, simmering for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover. Let sit for 20 minutes. Save the poaching liquid for cooking or for soup. There you go…perfectly poached chicken breasts!

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Classy Is My Middle Name

The winner of the cookbook, Dave’s Dinners signed by Dave Lieberman is Lynn, the Half Asian. Part of the fun was to have each of you guess what my pickup line to Dave Lieberman was, when I first met him. Though your answers had nothing to do with winning – it was just for shits and giggles.

Here’s what Lynn thought I said:

“I don’t have to show my husband the film…”

Funny! Even though that’s not what I said, Lynn is the random winner that  was chosen by the Psychic Science random number generator. Congrats! Email me at jaden@steamykitchen.com with your address.

So, what was my pickup line to Dave Lieberman?

Dave Lieberman

“Ohmygod. I have lens envy!”

Clearly, his was big.

imabigdork. Yes, that’s exactly what I said to him the moment I saw Dave Lieberman. And he was sooo sweet, offering me use of his big lens. But after further inspection of his big lens, we discovered his big lens didn’t fit into my camera.** Just wasn’t a good fit, which was just too bad. We tried, but it didn’t work out.***

Sigh.

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*The word “Oriental” is not offensive at all to me (very few things actually offend annoying people like me) It’s like the word “Chinaman” – not offensive, it’s just a dated word that people don’t use anymore. Funky seeing the word “Oriental” on a big chain’s menu!

**My camera is very capable of handling big lenses, just not Dave’s big lens. Seems like wrong type. (ahem)

***But if you must know, his big lens fits his Canon Rebel XT but isn’t compatible with my Canon 40D.

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