Soundtrack for Cooking: Radiohead

Love love love this song. Radiohead – 15 steps

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Nachos With Cabbage, Beans, And Cilantro Sauce

I made these nachos for a holiday movie night with some friends. I served each item in separate bowls and let every choose their toppings. It turned out very well. I loved how all the items tasted together.

For the Cabbage
1 heaping cup shredded red cabbage
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the Beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
1 poblano pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
Salt, to taste

For the Cilantro Sauce
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil

For the Cheese Sauce
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese (or a mix of cheddar and pepper Jack—see note), grated on large holes of a box grater
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 (12-ounce) can fat free evaporated milk2 teaspoons Franks Red Hot or other hot sauce

5 ounces tortilla chips

For the cabbage: Combine cabbage, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Toss to dissolve sugar and salt and coat cabbage with liquid. Let sit for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.

For the beans: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Add onions and poblano and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, one minute more. Add beans and cook until heated through and beginning to break down a bit, about 10 minutes. Mash beans against sides and bottom of pot with a wooden spoon and stir to combine all ingredients. Taste for salt. Cover and keep warm.

For the cilantro sauce: In a mini food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, and olive oil. Process until well combined. Set aside.

To assemble nachos, spread tortilla chips on a large platter. Top evenly with beans and then with cheese sauce. Pour off liquid from cabbage and dry cabbage between paper towels. Top nachos with cabbage. Drizzle cilantro sauce overtop. Serve warm.

For the cheese sauce: Add cheese and cornstarch to large bowl. Toss to combine. Transfer to medium saucepan. Add 1 cup evaporated milk and hot sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until melted, bubbly, and thickened (about 5 minutes). Mixture will look thin and grainy at first but will thicken and come together after heating. Thin to desired consistency with additional evaporated milk.

References
The Crisper Whisperer: Nachos With Cabbage, Beans, And Cilantro Sauce
Cheese Sauce For Cheese Fries And Nachos

Drunken Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

What’s drunken macaroni and cheese? It’s mac ‘n’ cheese with booze, of course! This recipe if primarily based off of Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese recipe with additional awesomeness: sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, and ale.

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 slices wheat bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup ale (I used Stone Brewery’s Arrogant Bastard)
1 lb mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced into strips 

Heat over to 350 degrees. Place sausage links on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake on one side for 8 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 8 minutes. Allow to cool and then cut links into thin slices.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In the microwave, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano, 1/2 cup of beer; set cheese sauce aside.

Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce. Add sausage and sun-dried tomatoes.

Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

Ice Cream Cake in an Ice Cream Cone

Lorraine requested ice cream cake for her birthday party. I looked for recipes over the internet and I came across this great one from Lemonpi. Super cute presentation and the execution seemed very feasible. The inside of the cone is coated with a thin layer of dark chocolate. Then the inside of the cone is layered with white cake and chocolate ice cream then topped with chocolate and sprinkles.

Ingredients

1 box of cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist white cake)
1 quart ice cream (I used chocolate ice cream)
1 box (12 count) of sugar cones
Sprinkles
16 oz jar of prepared vanilla frosting
2 4.25 oz. Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate

Bake the contents of the white cake, allow to cool. You can make the cake in any container.

While cake is baking, melt 1 of the Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bars in the microwave. Microwave for 1 minute. Taste a pastry brush and coat the inside of the cones with a thin layer of dark chocolate. Place completed cones in the freezer. Leave there until set. I left them there for an hour.

Once the cake has cooled, divide the cake in half. Reserve one half for later use. With the working half, take a teaspoon and put cake in the bottom of the cone, filling the cone only 1/3 of the way. Do this to all the cones.

Next scoop the ice cream filling the cone up to 2/3 of the way up the cone. Do this to all the cones and immediately put them back in the freezer. Allow the ice cream to set for an hour.

With the second half of the cake, crumbly the cake up and add 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla frosting. You want the cake to be at a consistency where you can make them into cake balls. After the ice cream has set in the cones, top off the cone with the cake-frosting mix and mold an additional mound on top of the cone so it looks like ice cream on top of an ice cream cone.

Melt the other Hershey’s bar and/or use the remaining melted chocolate to coat the top of the cones and adorn with sprinkles. Place cones back in the freezer to set until ready to serve.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

I made this for my girlfriend’s Lorraine birthday party on Sunday. She said that she wanted satay and here’s what I made.

Ingredients

For the Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 scallions , white and green parts, sliced thin

For the Satay
2 lb of chicken breast meat, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/8 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions , white and green parts, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Whisk peanut butter and hot water together in medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients for the peanut sauce; transfer to serving bowl and set aside.

Put chicken cubes in a glass casserole and combine the fish sauce, oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, garlic, and scallions with the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. After marinated, weave chicken onto individual skewers. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place skewers on the foil. Coat skewers with marinade that’s left over.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chicken for about 6 minutes, flip over and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with the peanut sauce.

Reference
Grilling: Beef Satay

Gyoza with Turkey, Napa Cabbage, Cilantro, and Shiitake Mushrooms

I have never made gyoza before and it took more thinking and patience to make and after a few errors, I was finally able to make and cook gyoza pretty well. However, I can still use some practice. I really enjoyed making gyoza because I was able to get kind of creative with the ingredients and what I wanted in them, and it turned out very tasty. You can follow my ingredients but you can also choose different veggies or a different meat or even tofu.

I used Serious Eats’ How to Make Gyoza as a reference and also looked through the slideshow that shows a step-by-step of how to do it. It’s extremely informative and I highly recommend looking through it for additional tips and photos. They also talk about different ingredients that you can put in gyoza so you can create a unique mix of your own.

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb ground turkey
1 head of Napa cabbage, minced
1 bunch of cilantro, minced
5 green onions, chopped including the greens
2 in. piece of ginger, peeled and minced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 package of gyoza wrapper

Dipping sauce

2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vineager
A couple of drops of Tapatio hot sauce or other hot sauce

Place ground turkey, Napa cabbage, cilantro, green onions, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, garlic in a large bowl and mix everything well. I used my hands but you can use a large spoon. Add soy sauce and sesame seed oil in the mixture.

Fill a small bowl half way with water and keep it aside. Place a gyoza wrapper on a clean surface. Wet one of your fingertips with water from the bowl and trace alone the edges of the wrapper. Do not get it too wet because this will cause the wrapper to tear.

Scoop a little less than a teaspoon of the mixture in the center of the wrapper. Carefully fold the edges of the wrapper over. It’s important to leave as little air as possible inside the gyoza. You can simply seal it flat or, if you want to get fancy, try crimping the seal.

Below is a great YouTube video showing how to do this. I didn’t produce this video but it really helped.

Continue doing this until you are done with wrappers or the mixture. Once you have the completed amount of gyoza, it’s time to cook them.

Use a pan with a lid and keep 1/4 cup of water near by. First heat the pan uncovered on medium-hight heat. Once heated, add vegetable oil, enough so that it covers the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, start adding the gyoza to the pan. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottoms are brown. Next steam the gyoza. Put the water in the pan, lower the temperature to low and cover the pan with the lid. Allow to steam for 4 minutes.

Then you are done and they are ready to eat!

For the dipping sauce, just mix the 3 ingredients together and serve.