Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three Cups Chicken

I have ordered Three Cups Tofu at a local Taiwanese restaraunt for many years, now I can make my own! This is a very refreshing dish, not too salty or sweet and the basil makes it so flavorful. This is worth a try, especially if you're looking for a quick weeknight meal.

 Three Cups Chicken

Rasa Malaysia

  • 1 lb. chicken 
  • 6 slices peeled ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic (skin peeled)
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 1/2 teablespoon dark sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
  • A big bunch of basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda (to tenderize the chicken, optional)

How To:

Cut the chicken into pieces and marinate them with baking soda. Set aside for 10 minutes before rinsing the chicken off with water. Make sure the baking soda is completely rinsed off. Pat dry the chicken pieces and set aside.

Heat up a claypot on high heat and add the dark sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry until aromatic. Add in chicken and do a few quick stirs. Add soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and continue to stir-fry the chicken. Cover the chicken and lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add basil leaves and stir well with the chicken, dish out and serve immediately.

Original Recipe Notes:
  1. This recipe calls for dark sesame oil, which is different from regular sesame oil. Dark sesame oil is a lot more expensive but the flavor is more intense and with a stronger toasted sesame fragrance.
  2. You can skip the first step of tenderizing the chicken with baking soda. I personally like it because it makes the chicken so tender.
  3. If you don’t have a claypot, you can use a regular wok to make this dish.
My Notes:
  1. Use a lot of basil! I Used a very generous handful, and was thinking it needed a bit more. So, don't be too cautious, just pile it on.
  2. I recommend using the baking soda, it worked great.
  3. A wok worked very well.
  4. Tofu, especially fried, would be a great substitute for chicken.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Green Goddess Chicken Salad


Make this for lunch. Chop up some romaine lettuce and a cup of this salad and it makes a terrifically satisfying lunch. If you're planning on making ahead for the week, I would recommend adding in the bread the morning before you plan to eat it so it doesn't get soggy.

The original recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, however I poached a bone-in chicken breast in white wine and thyme -- mainly to hone a new cooking skill with regards to meat.  Also, I used jarred roasted peppers rather than piquillo peppers, and used a bit more lemon juice to bring out the flavors of the fresh herbs in the dressing.

Green Goddess Chicken Salad
 Adapted from Food and Wine


  • 2 oil packed anchovy filets
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed dill
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 3/4 cup mayonaise
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • One 1 pound ciabatta bread
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds shredded chicken
  • 3 roasted red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • salt and pepper to taste
How To:

In a food processor, pulse the anchovies, garlic, parsley, basil, dill and oregano until coarsely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice and process until smooth. Fold in the chives; season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the ciabatta with the chicken, peppers, celery and olives. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Notes: the dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated up to 2 days. I recommend making it ahead and letting all the flavors blend together.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Bisque

Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) are the root or tuber of a particular sunflower variety. They have a potato like texture, but are less starchy, crunchier, and have a nuttier more earthy flavor. This soup builds upon the sunflower-family theme and incorporates sunflower oil and sprouts. The result is a simple yet rich and soothing soup.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke Bisque
Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups, serves 4

  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, cut into one third of an inch slices
  • 1 three ounce potato, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Sunflower sprouts

How To:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Drizzle the sliced Jerusalem artichokes, potato, and unpeeled garlic with 2 tablespoons of oil and a couple pinches of salt. Place in a roasting pan and roast for approximately 45 minutes.

In a dutch oven or soup pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add in the onions and saute for a few minutes until softened. Add in the roasted vegetables, be sure to peel the garlic, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 4.5 cups of water; be sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender - about 20 minutes.

Puree the soup with a blender, but be sure to leave some texture. Stir in the cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a generous handful of sunflower seed sprouts on top.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Beer and Horseradish Mustard

This mustard is ready to eat within hours rather than days. It takes an afternoon to make, the flavors blend and compliment each other, and there is a nice horseradish kick. You could easily adapt this method to other mustard varieties...I am already dreaming up a whiskey and honey mustard to glaze grilled chicken with.

This mustard goes great with soft pretzels or Choucroute Garnie.

Beer and Horseradish Mustard
Bon Apetit

  • 1 cup of lager beer, divided (see note)
  • 2/3 cup malt or red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup prepared white horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
How to:

Whisk together 1/2 cup of beer, vinegar, mustard seeds and dry mustard in a glass bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for three hours.

Transfer the beer and mustard mixture to a blender and add in the remaining beer, horseradish, salt, pepper honey, and caraway seeds. Pulse until a coarse puree forms.

Transfer the puree into a glass or metal bowl and place on top of a simmering pot of water. Stirring occasionally, let cook for about 15 minutes. The mixture will thicken and resemble the consistency of pancake batter.

Transfer the mustard to a sauce pan and add in the cornstarch mixture. Cook over a medium high flame until the mustard thickens and boils, about 2-3 minutes. Funnel into a jar and let cool. Keep refrigerated -- this will last about one week.

Notes: The original recipe calls for a lager style beer. I used a winter ale and it turned out wonderfully. Be sure to use prepared horseradish (grated not creamed). I used a variety that claimed to be extra-hot, but despite the 1/4 cup in this recipe, it is not too spicy -- give it a try even if you're not a spicy mustard fan.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Kaffir Lime and Ginger Ice Cream

My friend Liz tipped me off that our co-op had kaffir limes in stock.  This time last year I came across kaffir limes and attempted a sorbet. It was a complete flop. Too bitter to even eat. But this ice cream  was worth waiting for. This is one of the best ice creams I have made, so unique, so good. If you see these at your local store -- they're in season in California right now -- buy them and try this!

Kaffir Lime and Ginger Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz Ginger Ice Cream recipe in Perfect Scoop

  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Zest of three kaffir limes
  • Juice of two kaffir limes, approximately 2 tablespoons
How To:

Bring two inches of water to a boil in a saucepan. Cut the ginger into thin slices, no need to peel. Drop the ginger into the boiling water and blanch for about two minutes.  Strain and remove ginger.

In a saucepan, heat 1/2 of the cream, milk, salt, sugar, and blanched ginger. Be sure not to boil. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixutre is warm, remove from the heat and let steep for one hour.

Add the remaining cream, zest and juice to the saucepan.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Begin to reheat the milk mixture and slowly add in the egg yolks. Over medium heat gently stir the mixture until it thickens. It will be done when the mixture evenly coats a spoon and holds a line when you run your finger along the backside.

Remove the ginger slices with a slotted spoon, and pour the mixture into a bowl. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to its instructions. Remove ice cream and put into a freezer container and let set for an hour before serving.

Notes: The kaffir limes I used were very small, maybe an inch or so in diameter, adjust accordingly. Also, I skipped the crystalized ginger that David Lebovitz's recipe calls for. I wanted the lime to really come through and not have the ginger dominate. The ginger adds a perfect balance to the kaffir lime scent and flavor.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sweet Potato Biscuits

These caught my eye a couple of months ago when I was looking for Thanksgiving dinner ideas. There is a recipe in Food and Wine using these on top of a creamy veggie pot pie. I remembered this recipe when I came across a lone sweet potato in the pantry. No longer in the mood for a heavy pot pie, I decided to just make the top -- sweet potato biscuits.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
This recipe is adapted from Food and Wine and makes 8 biscuits.

  • 1/2 pound sweet potato
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

How to:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Poke the sweet potato with a fork and bake until tender, about 45 minutes, or microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Once the potato has cooled, peel and mash -- there should be about 3/4 of a cup.

In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar. Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and mashed sweet potato until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick. Using a 4 inch diameter round cutter, cut out the biscuits and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm with butter.

Notes: I served these for dinner with curried lentil burgers and braised kale. The next time I make these will be for a breakfast or brunch - they would be perfect smothered with butter and honey and served with a cup of hot tea.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Choucroute Garnie

I have changed my blog name to reflect my one true (food) love, cornichons. I keep a large jar of cornichons and religiously gorge myself on them for a post-work pre-dinner snack. They manage to be tangy, sweet, salty and with the slight tarragon flavor...mmmm...they never get old, there will always be a jar of cornichons (and my loving husband) at home.

I thought a French recipe would be appropriate for my first post under my re-named blog, a French recipe that I have been craving ever since the weather has been sub-zero and since my diet has evolved to include meat.

With the new year, a significant change has been made to my diet -- I am eating meat. How to incorporate meat into my diet, cooking techniques, and flavors are all new to me. After countless years as a vegetarian and 10 years of those being a strict vegan (even working as a vegan baker), I am eating meat. It's not a full on meat every day at every meal change, but rather trying to incorporate meat into my diet about once or maybe twice a week. This recipe is more than meaty.

I am starting with poultry. I have carefully tried a handful of dishes -- pollo alla birra, chicken meatballs, and apricot almond chicken curry.

Choucroute is traditionally made with an array of pork -- hamhock, ribs, smoked sausages-- or occasionally fish. This is my version of choucroute made with a variety of poultry. The recipe I am adapting from uses ribs, ham, kielbasa and sausage. I will try the original recipe once I am ready to eat pork.
Choucroute Garnie

This is largely adapted from Jacques Pepin and serves 4-5.

  • 2 lbs sauerkraut (in plastic bags), drained
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 6-7 juniper berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp of caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cups Riesling or Pinot Gris
  • 2-3 sausages, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 pound kielbasa, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4-5 pounds medium potatoes or 10 small potatoes, boiled

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a dutch oven, heat the oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the onion, garlic, bacon, and a pinch of salt. Saute until the onions are tender and the bacon begins to brown, about 7 minutes.

Add in the sauerkraut, stock, wine, juniper berries, caraway, and bay leaf. Scrape all of the bits that have browned on the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Place the lid on the dutch oven, or cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 1.5 hours.

While the sauerkraut is baking, bring a pot of cold water with potatoes to a boil. Cook until tender and drain.

Add the sausage and kielbasa to the dutch oven and cook until they are fully warm, about 25 minutes.

Add the boiled potatoes and serve with a variety of mustards (such as Vodka Chili Mustard), rye bread, and of course cornichons!

Notes: This is a must try recipe for winter! I cut the original recipe down to serve about 4 people. I used smoked turkey kielbasa, turkey bacon, and chicken sage sausages I found at my local co-op.