Walnut Prawns

July 7th, 2010 No comments

Recipe: Walnut Prawns

I know it's not a very good picture - but they tasted delicious!

Summary: These were always my favorite at nice chinese places. The combo of the fluffy shrimp, sweet walnuts, and creamy sauce are hard to describe and seem like they are so good they must be unhealthy. And, they are! But now you can make them yourself, and they are even better than what you can get in a store. I based this on some recipes online but simplified a lot (who needs to boil, then fry, then roast walnuts?!) I also subbed pan fry for deep fry and ditched condensed milk and some of the worst offenders so it’s a little bit less horrible for you but still pretty spectacular. The texture of the shrimp is the best part.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb large shrimp, fully peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 C walnut halves
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 C cornstarch
  • 4 T mayonnaise
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  1. oven to 350
  2. toss walnuts with just a little oil
  3. roast 8 minutes, remove, let cool. Toss with the honey when cool
  4. mix mayo, sugar, and lemon juice with a fork until smooth and set aside
  5. whisk egg whites, 1 T sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl to a thick mixture with lots of bubbles
  6. pour a thin but full layer of oil into a 12 inch skillet and heat over medium-high until almost smoking.
  7. dip shrimp into the mixture to fully coat. Allow extra to drip off, then place into oil. It should sizzle up good. Fry 6-8 at a time. Work quickly!
  8. once you have a pan full, it’ll be time to flip the first. Use tongs and turn over. It should be nicely browned. As it flips, marvel at how the shrimp puffs up so nice.
  9. after about 2 minutes on the second side, when the shrimp are nice and brown all over, remove the shrimp to a plate.
  10. repeat, adding oil if necessary, for remaining shrimp (I think it takes 2 batches usually, but DO NOT CROWD SHRIMP)
  11. toss shrimp and walnuts with the mayo mix
  12. serve that joint.
  13. go exercise to compensate

Quick Notes

This recipe is 2x better with homemade mayo. And, the best thing – you can use the two whites leftover from making mayo to make shrimp

The key to great shrimp is high heat, and never crowd. If you get it right, on the second side, the shrimp will grow visibly. This will translate into a much puffier texture. I cannot understand why anyone boils shrimp if they can pan fry.

Cooking time (duration): 30

Diet type: Pescatarian

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: Chinese

My rating:4 stars: ★★★★☆

Recipe by Austin.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

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Custom Potato Salad

February 20th, 2010 1 comment

The veggies look much prettier before they go into a salad

Recipe: Custom Potato Salad

Summary: Potato salad is an old staple, but as often as not it’s a weird gooey mess with no flavor. I have made a few potato salads with a shift in ingredients from the standard and now I feel comfortable putting down a potato salad blueprint. This recipe was one take on that but all you need for a unique potato salad that will be different every time is: potatoes, crunchy veg, onion-like veg, herby veg, mayo, mustard, and an optional creamy cheese prouct. And then pick something at random that you’ve never had in a potato salad – I went with sundried tomatoes because that’s what was in my fridge.

The finished potato salad. Tastes better than it looks!

Ingredients

  • 12 small red potatoes
  • 2 medium hot peppers (crunchy veg)
  • 1 large shallot (oniony veg)
  • 1 bunch watercress (herby veg)
  • 3 oz goat cheese (creamy cheese product, optional)
  • 5 sundried tomatoes (also optional), chopped small
  • 1/4 C mayo (preferably homemade)
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 10 grinds of black pepper or more to taste

Instructions

  1. quarter or half the potatoes to bite size pieces
  2. boil potatoes
  3. while they are going, dice up the shallot, cut the peppers into celery-like pieces, shred the watercress and mix together
  4. strain the potatoes and let them cool partway
  5. mix in the cheese, and then add everything else
  6. stir gently so you don’t break the potatoes down further
  7. refrigerate at least one hour to bind all the flavors together

Cooking time (duration): 25

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

My rating:3 stars: ★★★☆☆

Recipe by Austin.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

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Best Mayo Ever

January 25th, 2010 2 comments

Recipe: Homemade Mayonnaise

Summary: I didn’t even really like mayonnaise. Not until I read about the science of it in McGee’s epic, ‘On Food and Cooking.” Why would that make me like the condiment better? Well, because I’m a big dork. And it’s a really cool suspension of oil (of which there is a lot) in water / acid (of which there is a little). It’s like pouring a bucket of bowling balls into a hatful of golf balls and ending up with heaven. It’s not water dissolved in oil – that would be gross. It’s the other way around! And the egg is this magic mediator that keeps the oil droplets apart and maintains the fragile delicious peace. The basic recipe is fool proof and takes less than 5 minutes (seriously!!) Never buy mayonnaise again. The best part, though, is that you can infuse the oil with just about anything and make luxurious flavored aioli. It works amazing with rosemary and other herbs, just heat the oil gently with the herb in it for a few minutes, let cool, and proceed as normal. I’ve used the result in potato salad (to be posted next), burger dressing, walnut prawns (to be posted soon!), and many sandwiches. Lasts for weeks with just a little weeping (no artificial stabilizers after all). No photo because let’s face it – mayo is not photogenic.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 T + 1 t lemon juice
  • 1/4 t dijon mustard
  • 1/8 t sugar (unless using meyer lemons, which are better anyway)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • few grinds white pepper (or black is fine)
  • 3/4 c oil (I use half olive half vegetable)

Instructions

  1. For this recipe and this one only – MEASURE EXACTLY! This is foolproof but you gotta follow this one – mayo can fall apart pretty easily
  2. In a food processor, pulse everything except the oil a few times. Use a rubber spatula to push any splashes down to the bottom
  3. with the processor running, pour in the oil SLOWLY. It should take 30 seconds for the whole thing.
  4. Stir once as you pull it out since a little of the oil at the bottom may not be incorporated
  5. Mayo! Aioli! Whatever you call it – it’s done! Just like that

Cooking time (duration): 4

Number of servings (yield): 12

My rating:5 stars: ★★★★★

Recipe by Austin.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

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Goat on Goat

December 11th, 2009 No comments
Goat Burger. Use your imagination on the condiments.

Goat Burger. Use your imagination on the condiments.

Recipe: Goat Squared Burger and Sweet Tater fries

Summary: Ok, something seems wrong about making goat burger with goat cheese. Not sure why – a cheeseburger is, as they say, cow in the milk of its mother. Either way, I got this amazing ground goat and just had to make a tasty burger with it. I served with spiced sweet potato fries, green beans and salad. This makes 3 burgers and a good dose of fries. Of course, you can just use beef and it will be delicious, but – have you ever had a goat burger? It’s amazing! Give it a shot.

Ingredients

Burgers

  • 1.5 lb goat, ground
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 grinds black pepper
  • 3 buns
  • mayonnaise
  • tomato slices
  • 4 oz goat cheese

Sweet Potato (oven) Fries

  • 1 large sweet potato or 2 small
  • cumin, ground
  • paprika, ground
  • allspice, ground
  • black pepper, ground
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. First get the fries ready. Cut the potato in half ring-wise. Then put each half upright and slice into half that way. Make these slices into fry shape
  3. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil and a generous shake of all the spices. Be a little gentle on the allspice – it’s the secret ingredient, but can get overwhelming.
  4. Spread into a single layer on a cookie sheet, and bake about 25 minutes, until soft and a little crispy.
  5. Meanwhile mix the ground goat with the salt and the touch of pepper. Toughen up and use your hands, it’s the only way to do it
  6. divide into three equal balls. Squish into burger shapes. Make sure they are even thickness (not thicker in the middle) and a little thinner than you want them to end up, as they will ball up slightly when you cook.
  7. get a grill or a cast-iron pan nice n’ hot. If using a pan, add a little olive oil to get things started.
  8. When hot (the pan, not you) and about 10 minutes remain on potatoes, add burgers to pan. Enjoy the sizzle. Under no circumstances press down on the patty making all the delicious juices come out. Resist the urge.
  9. Lay the buns open on a small cookie sheet. Slice the goat cheese into three rings and put on the tops.
  10. After 5 minutes or so, flip the burgers. More sizzle.
  11. Pop the buns in the oven, or a toaster oven
  12. Medium rare is the only way to cook a hamburger. I check the burgers doneness by a few methods. When touched lightly, they will give the proper amount. the sides in the middle will have just lost their pinkness (in the center, some nice pinkness will remain). Lastly (really, principally) I guess and usually it works out.
  13. Pull the buns out, smear the bottom (the one without the cheese) with a little mayo, get the patties on there, add tomatoes, top bun – Boom! Plate’m
  14. Side of sweet taters and you’re good to go. Enjoy the goat on goat burger!

Cooking time (duration): 30

Number of servings (yield): 3

Meal type: dinner

Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)

My rating:4 stars: ★★★★☆

Recipe by Austin.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

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Pot Rack Project

November 18th, 2009 3 comments

6-finalMy big kitchen upgrade has been supplemented with a great new set of All Clad pans. These are the buy once keep forever sort of pots and pans, and being the kitchen dork that I am I wanted to show them off. I also recently stopped by Julia Child’s kitchen and I love the way she and Paul kept their

pans right out in the open on improvised peg board racks. Well, I don’t like the plain white much but I loved the concept, so I made a project out of designing and building my own. First, I measured out apatch of wall between two studs near the working part of the kitchen. I got a piece of pegboard cut to match this and then made a thin frame to space it away from the wall.

Now the fun part – color. I picked out a light and a dark green. I wanted to make outlines of the pans, but have them look better than the simple tracing. So, I painted the whole board light green and then made paper cut outs of all the pans. After deciding on an arrangement, I taped the outlines on and then used a sponge to make dark green swirls everywhere the pans aren’t.

Finally, I screwed in a magnetic strip to keep my knives. There was just the right amount of space!

Done! When all the pans are on, it looks dark green, but when one is in the sink or drying, a nice light green outline reminds me where to put it away. Downside, I’m a total dork. Upside, my potrack is totally sweet and cost like $30 to make.

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Halloween Cous Cous

October 30th, 2009 No comments
Spooky cous!

Spooky cous!

Recipe: Halloween Cous Cous

Summary: Maybe cous cous doesn’t strike you as the most creepy of possible ingredients, and I didn’t plan for it to be holiday themed – but the beet water just looked too nice to pour down the drain. I had this as a side with a grilled cheese and also in a tortilla with some plain yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 C cous cous
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3-4 small beets
  • 1/2 C spinach
  • 1/4 C pine nuts
  • Parmesan or feta to taste

Instructions

  1. peel the beets and dice into small cubes, about 1/4-1/2″
  2. drop the cubes in a small saucepan and cover with water
  3. boil until done, about 15 minutes (until the beet feels pokable by a fork.)
  4. DON’T pour out the water when finished! Either remove the beets with a slotted spoon or reserve at least 1 C of it.
  5. get 1 C beet water back up to a boil, add olive oil and salt, stir in cous cous, remove from heat and cover
  6. take a 5 minute break
  7. mix the now brightly colored cous cous with beets, spinach, pine nuts, cheese, and anything else you like (olives, roasted peppers, yogurt, veggies, whatever)

Cooking time (duration): 25

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 3

Meal type: lunch

My rating:3.5 stars
***1/2

Recipe by Austin.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

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He’s back!

October 30th, 2009 No comments

I’m moved in, settled, and cooking up a storm again. Sorry for the long absence, it’s been a bit of a crazy month! Here’s a snapshot of my new kitchen. Soon to follow: the building of my new potrack. Which will also let me show off my brand new pots and pans :)

My new kitchen!

My new kitchen!

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this blog is not dying…

September 16th, 2009 1 comment

I have so many things to make! But I’m in between kitchens right now as I move into Dan’s basement. The kitchen will be a huge upgrade, I’ll tack a photo onto this once get down. Also scoping out real grown-up cookware to stock the place – I’ve been working with pretty improvised gear. The the meantime, enjoy new friend and amazing blogger Alejandra’ site: http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/
… just don’t forget to come back to my humble lunch at some point

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disappearing **** pasta

September 2nd, 2009 1 comment

Recipe: Disappeaing **** pastaIMG_1619

Summary: OK, I promised I would never mention a particular ingredient again. But, I made this in the height of **** season so I want to sneak it in. Feel free to make it without the ****, it will be a little less nutritious and not have the same texture but, since the point is that the **** disappears, you mostly won’t notice. This is based on a recipe from Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” when she faced a similar surplus gourd-like vegetable problem.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium ****
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb dried pasta (I like farfalle, or bow ties, for this)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, washed and chopped (~1 C shredded)
  • 1/4 c shredded parmesean
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. shred ****, either in a food processor or with a cheese grater
  2. add ~1/2 t salt and mix. Let sit ~30 mins so it releases water
  3. get enough water for the pasta boiling in one pot
  4. heat oil to medium high in a large skillet
  5. dice onion and add to the oil as you go
  6. brown the onion for 5 mins or so
  7. meanwhile, chop the carrot into bite-sized pieces and add to the oil. Stir once
  8. squeeze the **** shreds as hard as you can in a colander to release as much water as possible.
  9. chuck the **** in, stir, and fry off as much water as you can. Should be steamin hard.
  10. about here, the water should be boiling – chuck in the pasta, stir
  11. drain the tomatoes and add. Stir.
  12. once the pasta is done, drain it.
  13. about now, the veggie mix should be good to go. Remove from heat.
  14. Stir in the basil and parmesean, stir.
  15. salt and pepper to taste
  16. tupperware it up! Wonder where the **** went!

Cooking time (duration): 30

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 3

Meal type: lunch

My rating:3.5 stars
***1/2

Recipe by Austin.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

The veggie mix steaming away all its water

The veggie mix steaming away all its water

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Squash wars!

August 28th, 2009 2 comments
The sqush horde!

The sqush horde!

Ok due to overwhelming customer demand, this will be the last post about squash. Probably. Also, in my delivery this week I only got 2 squash so I’m making serious headway. I still had to post a shot of the squash deluge at its peak. This is the army of squashy foes I have waxed dramatic about. Scary scary stuff.

I should also say that despite all my ranting, the vegetables I’ve been getting have been amazing. I’ve been getting potatoes, basil, green beans, tomatillos, chives, farm eggs, and all manner of other treasures regularly. And even better, there is a new sheriff in town. The weekly overabundance of squash was, this week replaced with too many tomatoes. Wait, check that. It is not possible to have too many tomatoes, or even enough. I’ve gotten a tomato every now and then (including one, shown below that made an entire caprese salad by itself. But this week, it was a competing army, to turn the tide of the war. Again, see below, with cousin tomatillos as backup.

Last night's tomato delievery. I'd aleady eaten ~five of the cherry ones before I made them pose for me.

Last night's tomato delievery. I'd aleady eaten ~five of the cherry ones before I made them pose for me.

This guy went from pie pan to being an entire caprese salad

This guy went from pie pan to being an entire caprese salad

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