Saturday, April 28, 2007

Asian Soup with Spring Vegies

I'm posting this as a customizable approach to a simple asian soup.

First, the broth:

Vegetable or Chicken Stock, 40-45 oz.
1 garlic clove thinly sliced
1 inch of ginger, grated or finely chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

In a medium sized stock pot, but the stock, garlic, and ginger together and bring to a boil.

Next, the noodles:

You can use either soba or udon noodles for this recipe. If you can't find soba, you can use a whole week pasta. 4 oz. of noodles is a good amount for this soup.

Pick whichever noodles you desire, and put them into the boiling broth, reduce to a simmer for the amount of time needed to cook the pasta as directed on the pack.

Next come meat and vegies:

For the meat, you can use thinnly sliced chicken, pork, beef, or even cleaned and deveined shrimp. I used thinly sliced chicken in the picture above, and it turned out great.

For vegies you can use any combination of snap peas or sno peas, red bell pepper or thinly sliced hot chili peppers, bok choy or asparagus, shitake or golden mushrooms, etc. Stick to just a few vegetables to keep the soup elegant, and try to pick vegies that will add some nice color or contrast.

After the noodles have cooked, drop in your sliced vegies and meat. It should only take a few minutes in the boiling broth for the meat to cook. It's important that the vegies don't cook too long, or at too high of a heat, so they stay crisp and fresh.

Finally, the finishing touches.

2 Tsp of Lime juice, or about 1 lime. This adds a wonderful flavor to the soup.
Chopped scallions. Drop in the thinnly sliced white parts of 2-3 scallions.
Instead of scallions or in addition to them you can add some fresh cilantro. 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on whether or not you use the scallions.
Salt to taste.

Serve the soup fresh and hot a few minutes after you add the finishing touches.

Source: Original

Sunday, April 22, 2007

La Caja China

I was watching the Food Network last week and saw this intersting contraption called a "Caja China" featured on Bobby Flay's show. La Caja China was a Chinese cabinet that was brought to Cuba by Chinese immigrants that Cuban street vendors turned into a grill. Sort of a cultural cooking mash-up if you will. La Caja China is a box that has a rack of coals on top that roasts meat inside the box in about half the time as on a spit. La Caja China is an intersting concept, and comes highly recommended from some of the best chefs around.

I'm I think I'm going to buy one and try roasting a pig and a chicken for a backyard bbq. I'll take photos of the whole experience and post them here later this summer.

Check out La Caja China for yourself:

And if any of you out there have used a Caja China please post about your experiences!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Grilled Ginger-Soy Salmon Sandwiches and Spring Salad with Asian Pear


2 6 oz. Wild King Salmon Filets
1/2 Baguette
Melted Butter
Wasabi Paste or Powder
Mixed Greens
Cherry Tomatoes
Asian Pear

First prepare a simple marinade. For this one I used soy, rice wine vinegar, fresh sqeezed lime juice, 2 smashed garlic cloves, and about a 1/2 inch of chopped fresh ginger. I marinated the filets in the fridge for about 2 hours prior to grilling.

After the salmon is marinated, and the grill is heating, cut the baugette in two even halves, then slice each half down the middle to create the bread for your sandwiches. Lightly brush each underside with butter for grilling.

Next prepare your wasabi horseradish sauce. In a small dish combine your wasabi paste and horseradish until you get the classic looking wasabi green color, and it tastes right. In many grocery stores now you can find premade wasabi horseradish or mayo, and you can just as easily use one of these.

Grill the salmon, flipping once, until you see the meat of the fish begin to flake and seperate. Grill the buns butter side down at the same time, careful not to let them burn.

The salad can be made with a variety of ingredients. Asian pear is crsip and juicy, if you can find one at your local grocer it makes a wonderful treat in any salad. The feta compliments the pear nicely by adding a soft salty texture to the salad.

Comments: Both the salad and the fish turned out great, but I think the sandwich could have used a little something extra on it. Maybe grilled shitake mushrooms? Or perhaps if I had laid the fish on a piece of romaine. If anyone tries this one out and has suggestions for an improvement I'd appreciate it.

Source: Original

Monday, April 16, 2007

Simply Delicious Lentil Soup

Here is a quick, cheap, delicious lentil soup recipe that I've made for many years. This one always gets rave reviews. Don't skimp on the fresh spinach, it makes the soup extra tasty.


1 Large Onion
1 Pound Package Lentils
2-3 Carrots
4-5 Diced Yellow or Red Potatoes
2-3 Cups Fresh Spinach
10 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
2 Tbs. Herbes de Provence or 1 Tbs. Thyme 1/2 Tbs. Rosemary 1/2 Tbs Marjoram
1/2 Tbs. Fresh Ground Pepper
1/4 Tbs. Salt


Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in medium sized stock pot. Saute onion until it is translucent.
Add diced carrots and potatoes. Saute for 5 mins, until carrots and potatoes begin to soften. Add Herbes de Provence and pepper and salt, stir to evenly coat ingredients. Add lentils and soup stock. Bring content of pot to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 35 mins. After lentil have softened, and about 5 mins. before soup is done, add fresh spinach. Serve hot.

Comments: Photo coming soon. This soup freezes and reheats very well.

Source: Original

Black Bean Ful

This is a simply delicious dish that was taught to me by a friend many years ago. I've modified the recipe slightly, but this one is a classic. I never make this without someone asking for the recipe.


2 Cans Black Beans
2 Lemons
1 Medium Tomato
1 Medium Onion
2-3 Cups Loosely Packed Fresh Cilantro
1 Cup Olive Oil
Black Pepper


Begin by cooking the onion in 2 tbs. Olive Oil until the onion is transparent. Put in finely chopped onion along with black beans and chopped tomato. Add remaining Olive Oil. Juice the lemons, and add lemon juice until the taste between olive oil and lemon balances out to slightly lemony flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer mixture for 10 minutes so flavors blend. Add chopped cilantro and simmer 5 more minutes. Serve over steamed white rice.

Comments: No picture for this one yet, but I will post one soon. For a tasty variation on this recipe, try adding red wine to sauce and a package of chicken legs. Simmer until chicken falls off the bone, then remove bones and enjoy.

Source: Original

Steak Frites with Bistro Fries

Steak Frites

4 beef steaks, such as porterhouse, sirloin, rib eye, shell or filet mignon (1/2 pound each and 3/4 to 1 inch thick), or one 2-pound steak
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon water

With a sharp knife, make small incisions, about 1 1/2 inches apart in the fat around the outside of each steak.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet or sauté pan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear for 1 minute on each side. Reduce the heat to medium. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper and continue cooking, turning the steaks every other minute, until you see little pearls of blood come to the surface, about 6 to 8 minutes. The steaks should be cooked rare to medium for juicy, tender meat.
Remove the steaks and place them on warmed plates. Over medium heat, deglaze the pan with the water and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Drizzle these pan juices over the meat and serve at once with fries.

Bistro French Fries with Parsley and Garlic

4 medium russet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), unpeeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices, then cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide strips. Pat potato strips dry with paper towels. Combine potatoes and oil in large bowl; toss to coat well. Divide potatoes between 2 large baking sheets; spread in single layer. Bake until potatoes are deep golden brown, turning and rearranging potatoes frequently, about 40 minutes.
Transfer potatoes to bowl. Toss with parsley, garlic and coarse salt.

Comments: Delicious! We used organic filets from a local market, Kowalski's, and this turned out excellent. Very easy to prepare. A note on preparing the fries: I wasn't too careful about making them all the same thickness and as a result they cooked unevenly. Next time, I will take more care to make them consistent.

Source: Epicurious