Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cucumber, Ham & Sriracha Bites

Something I came up with when we decided to have friends over for cocktails last minute and I had to make some noshes with whatever I had in the fridge.

These are so easy to make and super tasty, too!

I didn't give exact quantities because it's pretty easy to imagine how much of what ingredient you're going to need for the number of pieces you're going to make.

Cucumber, Ham & Sriracha Bites
Printable Version

- cucumber sliced into just under 1/4" thick pieces on an angle (Baby Cukes or English Hot House are good for this recipe)
- mayonnaise
- ham (about 1/3 to 1/2 of one of those round, thin deli-sliced slices per cucumber slice)
- green onion, chopped

As you can see from the pic, you just take a slice of cucumber, schmear it with a little mayo (maybe 1/2 a teaspoon per slice), fold up your little piece of ham and lay that on top of the mayo, give it all a little squeeze of sriracha and top with 2 or 3 pieces of chopped green onion.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Easy Kimchi Jjigae (김치 찌개 - Kimchi Stew) for Two

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

To make kimchi jjigae (TCHEEgeh), you really should use ripe (as in sour) kimchi.

You could make it with the fresh stuff, but that's not what this dish was invented for, which was to get rid of the kimchi that's been fermenting just a little too long when you've got huge earthenware jars full of fresher stuff still waiting to be eaten.

And because it's jjigae or stew, you don't want it to be all that soupy. Jjigae is meant to be thin enough to give you the occasional spoonful of intensely flavored piping hot broth to eat with your rice, but not so soupy that you could drink it.

This recipe is easily doubled if you'd like more servings. Just need a bigger pot. ;)

Easy Kimchi Jjigae
Makes 2 servings.
Time: 45 minutes
Printable Version

- 2 cups ripe kimchi
- 1.5 cups sliced pork shoulder (but you can use other protein)
- half an onion, sliced into roughly 1/4"thick pieces
- 1 serrano or jalapeño, sliced
- 5 dried anchovies of shrimp (You can sub a teaspoon of fish sauce or omit this component altogether if you have neither.)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1.5 cups water

*If you're going to eat this with steamed rice, best to get the rice started before you start on the jjigae.

1) Put all ingredients in a small pot (if you don't have the little earthenware pot like I used, you can use a medium saucepan.)

2) Turn the heat to medium high until it's actively boiling, uncovered, for a couple of minutes. At that point, give a few gentle stirs to evenly distribute all the ingredients.

3) Turn the heat down to medium, put lid askew, and let continue simmering for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the kimchi is soft and tender.

4) Depending on how much salt is in your kimchi and how the salt concentrated during cooking, you might want to adjust the seasoning about 5 minutes before it's down, adding salt in pinches, or fish sauce in dashes, to taste. Or, if too salty, adding just a little bit of water to dilute.

5) Enjoy with steamed rice. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mongolian Beef for Two

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

Sometimes it's just Hubbalicious and me, which is why I have these occasional recipes for two.

This recipe is easily doubled, but you'll still want to stir fry in smaller batches to get the best result (as is generally the case for stir-frying on a regular home stove rather than a commercial range - you want as high a heat as you can get and too-big batches of ingredients dilute the heat too much for optimal stir-frying).

For example, if you double the recipe, do the beef in four equal batches, and the veg in two batches. It'll still be good if you're in a hurry and cook all the veg at once and all the beef at once, but it'll be even better if you do it the other way. :)

Mongolian Beef for Two
Makes 2 Servings
Time: 30 minutes
Printable Version

- 1 pound skirt steak, sliced into roughly 1/4-inch thick pieces on an angle
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1.5 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like things
- 1 Tablespoon chili garlic paste (sriracha works in a pinch)
- 1/2 Tablespoon vinegar
- oil
- 1/2 a medium onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 2 green onions, cut into 1.5-inch segments

*If you're going to have this with rice and you need to make a fresh batch, best to get the rice going before you start on the Mongolian Beef.

1) In a medium to large bowl, mix the beef, corn starch, oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, chili garlic paste, and vinegar together, making sure to thoroughly and evenly distribute the seasonings throughout the meat. (I prefer clean hands for this purpose.) Let it sit for at least 10-15 and up to 30 minutes to soak up the flavor.

2) In a wok or large saute pan, bring 1/2 Tablespoon of oil to high heat and quickly stir fry onions and green onions just until the onions start to turn translucent. Set aside on a plate.

3) Keeping the heat high, stir fry the meat in two equal batches for 3 minutes or so (until the meat is done) with 1/2 Tablespoon of oil per batch. You can set aside the first batch on the plate with the veg while you stir fry the second.

4) When all the meat is cooked, put it all back in the wok or pan, and add the onions.

5) Give everything a few quick tosses or folds to make sure all the components get seasond.

6) Enjoy over steamed rice. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

French Toast for One

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

Yesterday morning was rainy, Littlest was at preschool, and I was working from home, so I decided to treat myself. (Did I mention I'm back to working work? More dish on that later. :) )

French Toast for One
Time: 20 minutes

- 2 thick slices of bread (about 3/4" thick). I like brioche, challah, and Texas toast. Slightly stale is even better.
- extra maple syrup or powdered sugar to finish
- butter for cooking

For the custard:

- 1 large or XL egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk (If you like it richer, you can use half and half or cream. If lighter, lowfat milk.)
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- a few grinds or small pinch of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) In a medium bowl, mix all the custard ingredients and beat or whisk until thoroughly combined. (Sometimes I like to pick out the chalaza, which is the twisty white cord, from the egg.)

2) Pour the custard mixture in a baking dish and soak your bread in the custard, flipping after about 20 seconds to make sure both sides absorb the mixture.

3) Preheat your frypan to medium, melt about a Tablespoon of butter on it, and spread the butter around.

4) Cook your French Toast for about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until each side is golden brown, and the center of the bread has firmed up from the custard cooking through. If you see that the toast is browning too quickly for the custard to cook through without burning the toast, turn the heat down just a little bit.

* If you can't fit both whole pieces of bread on your pan or griddle, cutting the bread slices in half might enable you to arrange them so you can cook them all in one batch.

6) Enjoy with a drizzle of maple syrup or sprinkling of powdered sugar. Or both! :)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Easy Viet-Inspired Coffee & Brown Sugar Braised Pork

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

This easy and delicious sweet-savory pork recipe was inspired by the traditional Vietnamese dish Thit Kho. The coffee and brown sugar lend a similar flavor to the dish as Vietnamese caramel sauce, which is often used in the dish for its roasted, caramelized, coffee type flavor and glaze, but which I rarely make or have on hand.

We like to eat it with steamed Jasmine rice and some simple Vietnamese style pickled cabbage and carrots on the side. (Or kimchi. I am half-Korean, after all.)

The leftover sauce is so delicious over steamed rice, you won't want to throw it away.

Oh, and the pork also makes an awesome filling for my Vietnamese Street Tacos, but that's a recipe for another day. ;)

Easy Viet-Inspired Coffee & Brown Sugar Braised Pork
Serves 4 to 6
Time: 60 minutes
Printable Version

- 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 a medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 large shallot, chopped (if you don't have shallots, just double the onion)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup black coffee (or 3/4 cup water + 1 Tablespoon espresso grind coffee or 1.5 Tablespoons instant coffee)
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar (Balsamic, distilled white, apple cider all work fine)
- chopped green onion for garnish

1) Put all the ingredients in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. This should take 15 minutes or so.

2) Once everything comes to a boil, give everything a couple of gentle stirs, lower the heat to medium low, and simmer, lid askew, for another 30 minutes.

3) Enjoy garnished with a sprinkling of chopped green onions and a bowl of Jasmine rice (or whatever kind you prefer).