Thursday, December 31, 2009

Halibut in Chardonnay Mushroom Orange Reduction

Eating fish has numerous health benefits. It's an excellent source of high quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, essential vitamins and minerals. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish per week to help prevent heart disease, reduce blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes and osteoporosis.

Trout, sardines, salmon, herring, anchovies, sea bass, cod, tuna, halibut are highest in omega fatty acids. Flash frozen halibut is one of our favorite. It freezes well, has a very clean taste and it's flesh is firm and dense.

We love to eat fish but living here in the heartland we have very few options unless we make a special trip to the seafood section of the Asian Supermarket. Here's a recipe for halibut with a reduction sauce consisting of leftover chardonnay, two kinds of mushrooms and orange juice. Enjoy!

Halibut in Chardonnay Mushroom Orange Reduction
1 1/2 pound halibut
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 cup Chardonnay
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced baby portabellas
2 Tbsp dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp orange zest
1Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Thaw fish in fridge, pat dry, and salt lightly.  Heat the oil in a cast iron pan, add the halibut to the hot pan. The fish will not stick to the pan if the oil is very hot.  Sear the fish on both sides then cover the pan, turn off the heat and let the fish cook with the residual heat.  Prepare the sauce by mixing orange juice, soy sauce and  brown sugar in a bowl.  Remove the fish from the cast iron pan.  To the pan, add the butter and the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook a bit then add the sauce and stir in the chardonnay.  Let the sauce reduce down, add orange zest and the cooked halibut.  Cover the pan and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Add sesame oil. Adjust seasoning and serve the halibut with steamed vegetables and rice. Enjoy the delicious, fresh taste of the fish accentuated with this rich sauce!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Garlic Chicken Stir-fry in Tamarind Sauce

Too tired of soy sauce based stir-fried chicken? Here's a dish that is hot, sweet, salty and tangy. The key ingredients are fish sauce and tamarind concentrate. Tamarind has a deep flavor both sour and sweet but leaning more on the sour side. It's robust and distinctive flavor melds well with the saltiness of fish sauce and the sweetness of brown sugar. I used tamarind sauce left over from my Thai Son-in-law Eggs recipe. This Chicken Stir-fry recipe is a keeper!

Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry in Tamarind Sauce

2 chicken breasts, cut up
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 c tempura flour
1/2 c water
1/4 c celery
1/4 c yellow squash
1/4 c red bell pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 garlic, minced
1 bird's eye chili, minced
1/4c-1/2 c tamarind sauce

Season chicken pieces with garlic salt. In a bowl, combine tempura flour and water. Stir till there are no lumps. Add chicken into the bowl. Deep-fry chicken in oil. Drain fried chicken on paper towel and set aside.

Heat canola oil in a wok. Add minced garlic and gently fry till golden brown. Over high heat, stir-fry yellow squash, celery and red peppers. Add chicken pieces, minced chili and half the tamarind sauce. Gently stir for 1 minute for the sauce to lightly coat chicken pieces. Chicken should still be crispy. Serve with steamed rice and extra tamarind sauce on the side. Delicious!

I am submitting this to Weekend Wokking: Tamarind, hosted this month by Palachinka

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thai Son-in-law Eggs

This fascinating name comes from a story about a prospective bridegroom in Thailand who wanted to impress his future in-laws. It is said that he created this dish based on the only dish he knew how to make: boiled eggs!!!

Thai Son-in-law eggs are so easy to prepare. I prefer them over deviled eggs anytime--they are prettier, more flavorful and not as perishable (no mayo). The eggs, shallot mixture and sauce can be prepared ahead of time, stored separately and combined just before serving. How easy is that!

You can make this as a side dish (first photo) or as finger food (second photo) or over salad greens.

If you don't have time to prepare the shallot mixture or if you prefer not to add it, just the eggs with the tamarind sauce is wonderful! We like it this way too. As appetizer, it's finger-licking good!

This is my version:

6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
Oil for frying
1/4 cup cilantro for garnish (If you don't have this, use minced green onions)

Shallot mixture:
1 tbsp canola oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 bird's eye chili, minced

Tamarind sauce:
5-6 Tbsp muscovado/ light brown sugar
3 Tbsp fish sauce
4 Tbsp tamarind concentrate (I use Tamarind sour soup base instead of messing with tamarind paste that has to be dissolved in hot water and mushed to extract the juice!)

Fry hard-boiled eggs in oil for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. You do not have to use a deep fryer. Just move the eggs in the hot oil till it is evenly golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel. Set aside.

Prepare sauce by combining sugar, fish sauce and tamarind concentrate. Taste the mixture and add more sugar, fish sauce or tamarind sauce if needed. Place in the microwave and zap till sugar is dissolved. This is my shortcut instead of boiling the mixture in a sauce pot. If the sauce is too thick for you, dilute it with a tablespoon or so of water.

Prepare shallot mixture by heating oil and frying shallots, garlic and chili for 3 minutes. Set aside.

To serve, cut fried eggs into half or quarters. Drizzle with tamarind sauce and sprinkle shallot mixture. Garnish with cilantro sprigs or green onions. Yum!

I am submitting this to Weekend Wokking: Tamarind hosted this month by Palachinka

Monday, December 14, 2009

Soft and Chewy Orange Coconut Cashew Granola Cookies

Nature's Hand Granola has been around since 1971. The first batch was crafted by German-born immigrants in Burnsville, Minnesota. Their sweet, hearty granola quickly became a local favorite. So they decided it was time to share their homemade product to the general public and Nature’s Hand Granola was born.

This granola is 100% natural, sweetened with brown sugar and honey with no added salt, preservatives, artificial flavors and artificial colors. It is oven-baked and comes in eleven delicious flavors: Raisin Hazelnut, Cranberry Apricot, Coconut Cashew, Wild Blueberry, Cinnamon Apple, Maple Pecan, Vanilla Almond, Double Berry, Banana Walnut and Original Recipe. They keep coming up with new flavors to satisfy different tastes. We've tried five varieties and they are excellent---not too sweet with the perfect balance of dried fruits, nuts, rolled oats, sunflower and sesame seeds. My whole family loves this great-tasting granola!

The first bags of Nature’s Hand Granola were carried exclusively by specialty stores and health food outlets. They were not easy to find. Right now, it is available only in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin but if you are interested, you can order them online at http://www.natureshand.com.

Last week, I made these moist, soft and chewy cookies using their recipe. At work everyone who tasted the cookies wanted more and asked for the recipe so I'm posting it here. Hope you give it a try!

Soft and Chewy Orange Coconut Cashew Granola Cookies

1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup rolled oats
1-1/2 cups Nature's Hand Coconut Cashew Granola
1/4 cup candied orange peel (I used tangerine peels)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Blend together butter and sugars till light in color and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.
In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt then stir and add to the creamed butter. Stir in Nature's Hand Coconut Cashew Granola, candied orange peel and chocolate pieces (if using this).
Drop dough by teaspoonful into lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper. I used Silpat so there was no need to spray oil over it. Bake cookies at 375 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are brown and the centers are soft. Take out baking pan from the oven and let cookies cool a few minutes on baking pan. Remove cookies and cool completely.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Weekend Wokking : Apples Roundup

With apple as the ingredient for this month's Weekend Wokking, I expecting to receive many sweet recipes. I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of savory dishes using apples.

The first was Green Tea Noodle Soup with Apples by Dancing Kitchen. Green Tea buckwheat noodles was combined with the mild taste of apples. If you can find the noodles, it's an interesting dish worth trying!!

Wandering Chopsticks, creator of Weekend Wokking, was inspired by Bon Marche Bistro/B Village Cuisine to make Fried Rice with Apples and Cubed Beef. A unique and delicious one skillet/ wok dish using leftover rice, scrambled eggs, apples, beef and soy sauce!

Eat!Travel!Eat! prepared a yummy Apple Curry Chicken with Vermont Curry Roux as base. It had a very mild, spicy and slightly sweet flavor. Adding bell pepper will result in a curry reminiscent of what is offered in most Hong Kong Cafes.

The last savory dish was from Natasha. One of the dishes for Thanksgiving dinner 5-Star Foodie created was Savory Apples Au Gratin. The superb combination of apples with melted Gruyere and Emmentaler chesses was incredible and became the favorite dish of the night. I can't wait to try this for myself!

Now for the sweet dishes:

Javaholic made Indonesian Spiced Apple Caramel Bars with coconut milk in lieu of whipped cream and macadamia nuts for a tropical flavor. Yum! Yum! It's very sweet, tasty and a sure hit with kids!

Erbeincucina prepared a Spiced Apple Sauce with sugar, star anise and pepper to pair with meat or savory pancakes.

I created Apple Mac N' Cheese Fruit Salad, a light fruit salad made of apples, kiwi and strawberries with wacky pasta and a honey lime dressing. You can add whatever other fruit you may prefer such as mandarin oranges, nectarines, mangoes, or whatever is in season!

This month's WW dishes were superb! Thanks to everyone who participated.

January's Weekend Wokking will be hosted by Marija of Palachinka. Please send entries by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, January 3 to palachinkablog@gmail.com. Roundup will be on Wednesday, January 6. The secret ingredient is: tamarind.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Steamed Buns with Teriyaki Turkey

Kiddo prefers home lunch over school cafeteria food. His favorite is onigiri or japanese rice balls. Sushi and steamed buns with various fillings comes a close second and third.

After Thanksgiving, how do I deal with leftover turkey? I make Steamed Buns with Teriyaki Turkey! It's my Japanese spin on Turkey leftovers for the 5 Star Makeover--Turkey Leftovers.

To my wonderful friends, Mindy and Michelle W., maybe you'll like this easy recipe. Make it with turkey, chicken or beef teriyaki filling.

Bun Dough
1 -1/4 cup flour
2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
5 Tbsp + 1 tsp warm milk

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Slowly pour warm milk while stirring. Knead dough until it is soft and pliable (around 5 minutes). Be careful not to overhandle the dough. Cover dough with plastic wrap and set aside while preparing the teriyaki turkey filling. Double the dough recipe if you are making more than 8 dimsum sized buns.

Teriyaki Turkey Filling
1 cup shredded leftover turkey
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin
1-1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp cornstarch

In a small saucepan, mix rice wine, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, grated ginger and cornstarch. Adjust the sweetness of the filling by adding more or less sugar. Let the mixture simmer and thicken. Stir in leftover turkey, remove from the heat and cool. You will have more filling than needed for 8 buns.

Divide the dough into 8 balls. Flatten dough balls and place about a teaspoonful of filling in the center. Gather the dough to the top to seal the filling in. Make sure the filling does not leak out. Place filled buns seam side down in a steamer. Steam over high heat for 15-20 minutes. Yum!