Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I don't know why I didn't just make them meatballs.

Does anyone actually eat Bulgar Wheat? My phone keeps trying to change it to "vulgar" wheat, which I take as a sign that I do not, in fact, want to try it. Well, I'd try it, of course, but I'm not going to buy it. Anyway, this recipe called for it. But it also called for me to make my own plum sauce from scratch.

Heh. Cooking Light. Heh.

I had whole wheat couscous (which, really, is the same thing), and I had hoisin sauce and sweet chili sauce, so substitutions were readily made. Not the same as plum sauce, obviously, but they worked great-or you could always buy plum sauce. Or make it. That's all you.

Pork Patties with Slaw
2/3 cup boiling water
1/3 cup whole wheat couscous
1 package ground pork, 80% lean
Good squirt Sriracha
4 stalks green onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp sherry
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Cooking spray

Hoisin Sauce and/or sweet chili sauce, to serve

4 stalks green onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 cups shredded coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Sriracha (to taste)
pinch ground pepper (white)
handful peanuts, chopped

In saucepan or bowl, combine water and couscous, cover and let stand 5 minutes. When all liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork. In large bowl, combine couscous, pork, sriracha, green onion, cilantro, sherry, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Divide into 10 to 12 small patties. Poke a hole in each one. (I don't know why, but the original recipe said to, and I did, and they were good, so why chance it?)

Heat pan over medium high, spray with cooking spray. Cook 5-6 patties for 5 minutes, then turn and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove and repeat with remaining patties.

Combine remaining green onion, cilantro and cabbage in a large bowl. Whisk together vinegar, oil, sriracha and pepper, and pour over cabbage mix. Toss well and top with peanuts.

Serve slaw and patties together, and top with hoisin and/or sweet chili sauce.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Maybe it's just an acquired taste.

Tarragon is one of those herbs I just don't use much. I've tried dried, I've tried fresh, and it's always just too...sweet? (If you can get them, and they aren't ridiculously expensive, always spring for the fresh stuff. With the exception of something that's going to cook a long time, like chili or crock-pot recipes, fresh herbs almost always win out over dried.) It's really pungent, but I'm not sure how best to describe it. I kept trying, but I just hadn't found a tarragon-centric recipe that I've liked much.

Until now.

This tarragon and lemon chicken is. so. good. I originally was going to try just lemon and tarragon, but it was missing something for me. So I added some garlic and mustard, and then I actually found myself wanting more of the sweetness to come through, so I added some white wine, and bit more tarragon, and boom. Perfect.

Served it over mashed red potatoes (with margarine, salt, pepper and a bit of white wine) and a simple green salad, and we gobbled it right on up.

Tarragon Chicken
2  boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
White pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
Zest of one lemon
Juice from half a lemon
About 2 tsp fresh chopped tarragon
1/4 cup white wine (i.e. Sauvignon blanc)
1 tbsp olive oil
Cooking spray

Sprinkle chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray, and cook chicken over medium high heat for about 3 minutes. Pour over half the sauce, then turn chicken. Cook another two minutes, pour over remaining sauce, and cover. Cook another 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (less if it's really thin, more if it's not).

Serve with the cooked juice ladled on top.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


We did Sam's Chicken Adobo last night, and while I have no idea if it's super authentic—Adobo is like the mainstay recipe of the Philippines—it was mighty tasty.

Which brings me to my question of the day...why are people from the Philippines Filipino? The ph-f conversion confuses me. Can someone explain this one to me? People from France aren't Phrench. People from Philadelphia aren't, um, Filadelphians.

I'm not stoned, I swear, though I realize that's kind of a stoner thing to get all caught up on. Anyway, just wondering. Doesn't matter. We'll move on.

I also made Filipino eggrolls, called Lumpia, though I know they're supposed to be smaller than what I made...I used egg roll wrappers instead of wonton wrappers, cause that just seemed like that much less work. When you're cooking in half hour increments (AKA "Naptime") 20 big rolls seems far less daunting than 60 small ones. So they probably weren't as crunchy as they should have been, but whatever. I served with two dipping sauces-one I'll give the recipe for, and the other was just 1/4 cup or so of sweet chili sauce with a tbsp of fish sauce added. And then I mixed the leftover sauces together at the end, and that was actually my favorite of the three. (Actually, I preferred the rolls the next day, too, just reheat about 5 minutes a side at 400.)

And I used ground turkey, but ground pork would probably taste better. Also, when you open the eggroll wrapper package, and there are only 10 wrappers, even though the nutritional information clearly states there are 21 in there, relax. They're stuck together. Don't shrug and start rolling anyway.

Again, not stoned. But really not helping my case here.

Simple Chicken Adobo
2 pounds chicken thighs
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp fresh ground white pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, crushed
4 bay leaves 
Hot rice, to serve

Note: I used boneless/skinless thighs because I think chicken skin is utterly disgusting. It still worked, but was a little drier than it should have been.

In large pot or dutch oven, combine soy, vinegar,  pepper, sugar, garlic and bay leaves over high heat. Add chicken. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, turn over chicken pieces and leave uncovered to simmer an additional 30 minutes.

Serve over steamed white rice.

Lumpia Eggrolls
1 lb ground lean pork or turkey
1 carrot, (or about 10 baby carrots) grated
1 small white onion, grated
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped fine
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and chopped fine
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 /2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 package eggroll wrappers (about 20)
1 egg white, beaten

Combine meat through pepper (probably easiest to mix with your hands). Coat a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling  on a wrapper and roll up. Dip your finger in the egg white and use as glue to close, and place seam side down on cookie sheet. Repeat til you're out of either wrappers or filling. Obviously.

Bake at 425 for about 12 minutes a side (20-25 minutes total).

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with the water
1/2 inch piece ginger, grated

Mix. Dip.