pork with plum sauce and choy sum

this was dinner from a week or two ago.  i remember over summer i forgot what choy sum was called so i was trying to describe it to kathy since it’s one of my favorite vegetables and i was hoping she could find it at the asian grocery store.  i drew her a picture, and then her sister yanni was like “spinach?.”  mmm… spinach is good too.  but anyway, here’s a photo i found online of yummy choy sum (so no one has to draw any more pictures):

choy sum

pork with plum sauce and choy sum

(from the essential wok cookbook)

600 g (1 1/4 lb choy sum, cut into 6 cm (2 1/2 inch) lengths
1/4 cup (60 ml/2 fl oz) plum sauce
2 tablespoons chinese rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup (125 ml/4 fl oz) peanut oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
500 g (1 lb) pork loin fillet, thinly sliced across the grain
2 tablespoons cornflour, seasoned with salt and pepper

1. bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the choy sum and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the stems are crisp but still tender.  plunge into iced water, then drain.
2. to make the stir-fry sauce, combine the plum sauce, rice wine, soysauce, and sesame oil in a small non-metallic bowl.  set aside until needed.

3. heat a wok over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and swirl to coat the side of the wok.  add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry ove rmedium heat for 3 minutes, or until softened.  remove from the wok.

4. toss the pork in the seasoned cornflour to coat, shaking off any excess.  reheat the wok over high heat, add the remining peanut oil and swirl to coat the side.  add the pork in batches and cook for 3 minutes each batch, or until golden on both sides.  remove.

5. drain the oil from the wok and return the meat and any juices to the wok.  pour the stir-fry sauce into the wok.  cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the choy sum and return the onion mixture.  cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes.  serve immediately with rice.

pork with plum sauce and choy sum

the pork with choy sum and some cabbage over rice (in bunny bowl).

comments: i don’t think i’ve ever made such an involved stir-fry, but it was still pretty simple.  i just had to use more bowls/plates to hold the separately-cooked ingredients.  we used dark soy sauce so that’s probably why the pork looks a little darker, and it tasted very good.  it was nice because all the elements were cooked to the right consistency and together they worked well.

cooking class #4

so after the previous week’s lack of proper pacing and chewing, i was determined in week 4 to eat smart and not repeat that. the plan: don’t inhale food; chew food; don’t get too excited; keep a moderate, steady eating pace; don’t end up with PAIN. more on how the plan went later.

so class 4 was titled “seeds, grains, legumes and nuts.” at the beginning tom mannion told us a bit about storing grains, beans, etc., and gave us this handy dandy tip: to keep the moths out of your food, put in a dry bay leaf. he also talked a little about cast iron cookware and told us his recipe for baked beans (sadly we didn’t get to try these because he didn’t get a chance to make them for us the previous day).

take a look:

cooking class 4 starting from the bottom left: two types of fried shrimp, cornbread, risotto #1, kung pao chicken, risotto #2, cashew chicken, egg roll and tofu, hummus and pita bread.

there was also a table of breads and cheeses and various types of spreads that i didn’t even get to. not to mention dessert. there was a huge special chocolate cake for tom mannion’s birthday and some kind of coconut pie. i didn’t get a chance to eat them. 🙁 i’m not used to being unable to eat more. i think i’m a pretty decent eater, but this class is a real challenge. it’s some good training.

how the plan went: i was totally following the plan and things looked really good. then i hit the risotto. i hadn’t realized how cheesy the risotto was because when our group made it, i don’t think we added as much parmesan cheese. when the class eats, everyone’s food gets combined, so i think the other groups added more cheese. that was the killer. if not for all that risotto i got, everything would have gone according to the plan. so, i got too much risotto (filled about half a plate), and all that cheese slowed me down. parmesan is so sharp and i just can’t handle that much. anyway, i managed to finish everything except a little bit of my risotto. i went home hurting again i think. so for future weeks, in addition to chewing all my food, i’m going to watch out for parmesan cheese.

anyway, here are the recipes (btw, we didn’t make all the chinese food. tom mannion thought our meal was low on meat and stuff, so he ordered a bunch of trays of chinese food with nuts for us. so much food!):

corn bread/corn sticks

1 cup corn meal
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tbl sugar

heat oven to 450 to 475F. sift dry ingredients. beat egg, add milk. add dry ingredients and beat well. melt 1 heaping tablespoon shortening in skillet and add batter. bake 20 to 30 minutes.

comments: mmm… corn bread. so easy and so good. tom mannion had fresh corn meal (?) that he stored in his freezer. he also had these cute little molds for corn sticks that look like little ears of corn (not shown in photo).

honey mustard horseradish sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups honey
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup horseradish

mix all ingredients well.

comments: this was the sauce for the shrimp. nice sweetness with a little bitter from all the mustard.

hummus (makes 4 servings)

1 1/4 cup cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or one 15-oz can, rinsed and drained
2 tbl tahini paste
2 tbl fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper

combine the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and 1 tsp salt in a food processor or blender and puree until the paste forms. add water 1 tbsp at a time ad continue to puree until the mixture has a light, spreadable consistency, similar to mayonnaise.

transfer the hummus to a bowl, taste, and season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. drizzle a little additional oil over the surface, if desired.

comments: i love hummus. this was very easy and very tasty. tahini paste is something i’ve never seen before. it’s made from white sesame seeds.

risotto with dried porcinis or morels

1 medium onion, minced
1 stick butter
1 cup dried morels or porcinis, rinsed, soaked in barely enough warm water to cover for 30 min.
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
2 cups basic chicken stock or water
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
salt and black pepper to taste
(white wine: we also added some of this to replace some of the chicken stock)

cook onion in 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy bottom 4 qt. pot until onion turns translucent but does not brown, about 10 minutes. while onion is cooking, squeeze liquid out of mushrooms, reserve the liquid, and coarsely chop mushrooms. add mushrooms to onion and stir until you smell the fragrance of the mushrooms, about 2 minutes. add the rice, stir for about 1 minute, and stir in 1 cup of the liquid. keep liquid at a bare simmer on the side. cook rice about 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. start tasting for doneness at this point and add liquid in 1/2 cup increments, the rice should take 4 1/2 cups, but the 5 cups is in case it absorbed more. when done, stir in remaining butter. when butter is melted, stir in cheese. season to taste.

comments: for the liquid, we added some of the mushroom water juice, some chicken broth, and some white wine. each group made two pots (each pot had one type of mushrooms). everyone in our group tasted ours when we had finished, and it was very tasty. as mentioned though, this was what killed me. the other groups added more parmesan and some didn’t cook out the wine i think. but it was still quite yummy.

coconut shrimp

5 large shrimp
3 tbl flour
1/2 egg
3 tbl beer
salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup frying oil

remove the skin from shrimp, leave tailed attached. butterfly shrimp 1/2 way, dush with flour. mix flour egg, beer, salt, pepper and sugar creating a batter. dip shrimp into batter without dipping the tails, then dip into coconut. refrigerate for 15 minutes minimum. heat oil to 325 F. deep fry shrimp

club soda battered shrimp

this batter is very light and crispy. Because the carbon dioxide in the club soda dissipates quickly, this batter must be made at the last minute.

starting with 1 cup, whisk just enough club soda into 3/4 cup flour to make a smooth paste. work the mixture as little as possible. gently stir in the rest of the club soda. add black sesame seeds. use immediately. this method will also work with beer.

comments: so we made TONS of the coconut shrimp, especially since our group had trouble with making 8x the recipe. we ended up making 16x the batter, so we made extra shrimp. both of these batters were very easy and quite tasty, but i have to say, i don’t like fried shrimp as much as other ways of cooking shrimp. i think i figured this out after eating half a plate of shrimp though. in small quantities fried shrimp is delicious, but i like other non-fried ways of preparing shrimp too.

next week: dessert night! dinner will be provided (i wonder what it’ll be) and we’ll prepare a bunch of desserts.

cooking class #3

class #3 was focusing on stocks and sauces so tom mannion gave us a bunch of packets with recipes and information about various sauces and stocks and how to make them. it will be super useful in the future! a sampling of the stuff we got: two packets of barbeque sauce recipes, definitions and basics about broths, stocks, white sauce, bechamel sauce, blonde sauces, brown, chasseur, bordelaise, hollandaise, vinaigrettes, italian sauces, and much much more!

class 3 had amazing food. but it was so good and so much that i was in major pain afterwards. i think it was partially due to the fact that i inhaled the food without chewing much. not so good. but it was still awesome. take a look!

cooking class 3 starting at the bottom and going clockwise: beef tenderloin (several slices) with the steak and peach salad underneath, mac and cheese, ribs, pasta with fresh tomato and basil sauce, and (in the center) asparagus with hollondaise sauce. YUMMO!!!

this week the recipes were again all quite easy and delicious. here they are:

master barbecue sauce (the TA’s made this and we just ate it)
1/4 C dark brown sugar, packed
2 tbl chili powder
1 tbl black pepper
2 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbl salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground mace
1 C white vinegar
1/2 C clover honey
2 tbl worcestershire sauce
2 tbl soy sauce
1 32-oz. bottle of ketchup

combine dry ingredients in non-reactive saucepan. blend in vinegar, honey, worcesteshire sauce, and soy sauce. bring to a boil. stir in the ketchup. reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. adjust seasonings to taste or application. use warm or chilled. will keep for several weeks.

comments: i actually did not like this barbecue sauce that much (WHAT?). but i think it might have been because i’m used to sweeter, more mild sauces that i can lather on. i think i put too much of this sauce on my ribs, which were already very well-seasoned. so i think it i didn’t add so much, i would have liked this more.

grilled steak and peach salad with creamy blue cheese dressing

12 oz. new york strip steak
2 peaches
4 C mesclun greens (avoid radicchio)
2 tbl chopped fresh chives
3 tbl chiffonade basil
1 tbl chopped tarragon

pat-dry the steak, season with salt and pepper, and place in a shallow glass pan. pour 2 cups rosemary oil over steak, cover, and refrigerate for several hours. turn the steak occasionally to coat both sides. allow steak to come back to room temperature before grilling. reserve 1/4 cup oil. place a ridged grill pan over moderately high heat until very hot. season the steak again and grill steak about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. remove steak to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes before cutting in slices.

brush the flesh of peaches with remaining rosemary oil. place cut side face down on the hot grill pan for 3 minutes. turn over and grill the other side just for 1 minute to soften. remove and slice peaches into wedges. toss the greens and herbs together and divide among plates. fan the steak slices and peach wedges on top. drizzle the dressing over steak and peach salad, garnish with remaining 1/4 pound crumbled blue cheese. season with freshly cracked black pepper and serve

rosemary infused olive oil

2 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 fresh rosemary sprigs

to prepare the rosemary infused olive oil: warm oil and rosemary over low heat in a small saucepan. allow to steep for 8 minutes. remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

creamy blue cheese dressing

1/2 lb. crumbled blue cheese, plus 1/4 pound for garnish
3/4 C sour cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbl red wine vinegar
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbl minced chives

to prepare the creamy blue cheese dressing: whisk together 1/2 pound blue cheese with sour cream, lemon, vinegar and cayenne until smooth. fold in chives, cover, and chill until ready to serve.

comments: mmm… steak. this was a very tasty dish, especially considering that i think blue cheese is pretty nasty stuff. the steak was of course very very tasty, and it went very nicely with the soft juicy peaches and the greens.
macaroni and cheese

basic white sauce

thin: 1 tbl butter, 1 tbl flour, 1 C milk
medium: 2 tbl butter, 2 tbl flour, 1 C milk
thick: 3 tbl butter, 3 tbl flour, 1 C milk

melt butter over medium-low heat. stir in flour and heat for 1 minute to form roux, a paste. remove from heat and whisk in 1/4 of the milk. return to heat and stir until mixture thickens. gradually add remainder of milk while stirring gently. increase heat slowly until mixture boils. reduce heat and simmer gently for about five minutes, whisking occasionally, to cook flour

Tip: try with evaporated milk for quicker sauce. after thickening, add a few tablespoons of heavy cream and/or butter for a much, much richer sauce.

mornay sauce
add 2/3 cup finely grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, parmesan, or romano) to the basic white sauce. this is a typical sauce for any pasta i.e. macaroni and cheese.

for extra richness you will need to add 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten, 3 tbl light cream, half and half or milk

to the basic white sauce, stir in cheese and remove from heat. in a small bowl blend remaining ingredients with fork. to temper the eggs, add a small amount of warm sauce to egg/cream mixture and stir gently. pour this mixture into the sauce and whisk gently over low heat for about 1 minute. salt and pepper to taste.

comments: i have a very special place in my heart for mac and cheese (that’s why i took some leftovers for game day). i love it so much! mmm… so rich and cheesy.

beef tenderloin… thyme, pepper, rosemary crust.  red wine reduction – demiglace/bordelaise

comments: for this one we just cut off the fat/shiny skin stuff and made the rosemary crust.  it was sooooooooooo juicy and tender and awesome.  i ate too many pieces.  but it was delicious.

hollandaise sauce

water for double boiler (about 1 cup)
1 tbl vinegar, white (or lemon juice)
1 tbl water
3 large egg yolks
1/2 C butter, softened to room temperature
pinch of salt and pepper (white or cayenne)

heat water in bottom of a double boiler over very low heat until just simmering.  place vinegar and water in top section.  in a separate bowl, heat the egg yolks with about 1 tablespoon of the butter.  slowly add egg mixture to vinegar and water while continuously whisking.  add 1/2 teaspoon at a time of remaining butter while slowly and constantly whisking untl the emulsion is formed.  as the emulsion is forming, the egg will be cooked, not scrambled.  salt and pepper to taste.  serve with fish, vegetables or over eggs benedict.

tip: if the sauce curdles or separates from too high a heat (breaks), remove from heat and add a small amount of boiling water and whisk until recombined.  alternately, place in blender on low speed for about 30 seconds, then resume the cooking process

comments: i love hollandaise sauce.  i love eggs benedict.  it was also tasty on the veggies, but made me crave some eggs benedict.

fresh tomato and basil sauce

1 lb plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large bunch basil, torn into small pieces
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and peper to taste

mix tomatoes with the other ingredients in a bowl.  cover and set aside for at least one hour.  if sauce is to be kept longer, seal tightly and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

comments: we got to blanch tomatoes, which was kinda fun.  this was a very tasty and simple no-cook sauce.  cameron was in love with it so he took leftovers for game day.

if you have read this far, you are amazing!  anyway, this meal was ridiculous and delicious and great except for the major stomach pain afterward.  it was worth it!  (but from now on i am going to make sure i chew my food)

game day 10/14

saturday was college football day, and cameron bought the fresno state vs. university of hawaii game online. we made a yummy game day lunch to go with it.

first, we made spam musubis. yum!

spam musubi

here they are happily arranged in some nice IKEA tupperware:

spam musubis

this is the first time we made our spam musubis with some fried egg inside. YUM! spam musubis are really easy to make. we just pan fry the spam and put some sugar and soy sauce on each side to brown it. you lay down a half sheet of nori, and then you get your handy-dandy spam musubi mold, put in some rice, mush it, put in the spam and egg, sprinkle a layer of furikake, add more rice, and mush it again. then wrap the nori over and use a little water to make it stick to itself. i don’t know if they sell spam musubi molds most places. i know they are in hawaii, but sometimes even there it is hard to get one (sorry bingus!). you can always be hardcore and do it without the mold. or you can use a cleaned out spam can. SPAM!

anyway, here’s the game day plate i made for myself:

game day plate

1. spam and egg musubi
2. homemade egg mcmuffin (toasted english muffin+fried egg+3 pieces ham+nice melted cheese)
3. leftover homemade macaroni from cooking class #3
4. leftover pasta with tomato and basil sauce from cooking class #3
5. homemade potato salad from the last entry
center: ruffles sour and cream potato chips

it was a very tasty game meal. and guess what? hawaii won! they did really well too. the final score was hawaii 68, fresno state 37. yay!

crunchy potato salad

for lunch it’s nice to have a side of potato salad with a yummy sandwich. buying it at the store is kinda expensive and not always that tasty, so i tried this recipe from julia child (she went to polytechnic!). mine turned out crunchy because my potatoes were slightly undercooked, but still very tasty.

potato salad

julia’s american-style potato salad
(from foodtv.com)

2 pounds large Yukon Gold potatoes, or other waxy, boiling potatoes
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/3 cup chicken stock or potato-cooking water
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3 or 4 slices crisply cooked bacon, chopped or crumbled
2 to 3 Tbs finely chopped pickle, sweet or dill
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced thin
3 Tbs or so finely chopped fresh chives or scallions, including a bit of their
tender green
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup or so mayonnaise, homemade if possible
Sour cream, optional

For garnishing
Crisp whole red-leaf or other lettuce leaves
Canned red pimiento, diced; sliced hard-boiled eggs; tomato quarters; parsley sprigs

Peel the potatoes and slice each one lengthwise in half, or in quarters if very large; then cut crosswise into half-round or quarter-round slices, about 1/2 inch thick.Put the slices in a saucepan with water just to cover and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water. Heat to a simmer, and cook the potatoes for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just cooked through. It is essential that they be just cooked through. Bite into a slice or two to be very sure. Immediately remove from the heat and drain the potatoes into a colander, but save a cup of the cooking liquid for dressing the potatoes. Transfer bowl. Stir the cider vinegar with 1/3 cup of the potato water or chicken stock and drizzle this over the potato pieces, turning them gently to distribute it evenly. Let sit 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.

Add the prepared onion, celery, bacon, pickle, hard-boiled eggs, and chives, and season carefully, to taste. Top with 2/3 cup of mayonnaise (or a mix of mayonnaise and a bit of sour cream) and, with a large rubber spatula, gently fold everything together until well blended. Taste the salad and add more salt, pepper, or mayonnaise as needed.

Cover the salad and set aside in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so before serving. If it is refrigerated longer, let it come back to room temperature before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning again.

To serve, line a bowl or a platter with red-leaf lettuce or other greens, and mound the salad on top. Decorate at the last moment, if you wish, with any or all of the optional garnishes.

comments: this recipe was very easy and the potato salad has a really great combination of flavors. more bacon bits next time! mmm… bacon. next time if i cook the potatoes a little more, it will be even better.