Monday, January 24, 2011

Korean/Chinese Mandoo

Last week my wife set up her jewelry kiosk in my office building, so we got to see each other more than usual. For lunch there are several places in my building, most pretty simple -- you know salads and sandwiches. One is a pretty good Chinese restaurant. Now I do like good Chinese food and the first time my building had a Chinese Buffet it was a disaster. Picture, if you would, a short line of various canned Chinese food in steamer trays. It was . . . . well . . . disgusting was the word that came to mind. It didn't last long!

A few years back a contractor came in and opened an actual Chinese lunch place. The menu has about 30 things, beef, chicken, pork and seafood and even a few vegetable dishes. Most are served with a side of rice, a fried honey chicken wing, and a Mandoo -- a Korean or Chinese fried dumpling. I had found myself partial to the Combination Rice, Sweet and Sour Pork, Chicken Lo-Mein, and Mongolian Beef. Since my wife also likes Chinese I introduced her to what is frequently her favorite, the Mongolian Beef. Surprising me, she loved the Mandoo. Her next day's lunch was an order of the Mandoo and a large iced tea.

So that got me thinking -- I know, dangerous -- why not try my hand at making them! So I did what I usually do and went digging for a recipe. I found one interesting on on Food Channel and another one a website I found through Google -- TasteMemories. At this point I'm not sure which one I will attempt, but both looked interesting. Food Channel looks easier, but TasteMemories looks much more flavorful. I'll let you know which I do on Saturday and how they turn out. If they are good I will post the recipe here, including any tweaks I might make :-) What I have loved about reading through the recipes, there isn't much you can't put into one of these dumplings and go wrong -- well I certainly hope not.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Did Chili again!

Ran the Chili recipe again, this time a double batch so I had some at home as well as taking in a small crock pot full for the office. An empty crock pot is a good sign!

Made a couple of small changes. Still use chuck roast meat, but I am not as happy with it's texture after 2 hours of cooking. It does fall apart nicely, but it still is a touch chewy. I am debating cutting into smaller pieces or braising the meat separately before building the chili itself. Still debating on that one. I do know I want the meat to be less chewy.

It also was a little on the thin side, sauce-wise. I used corn starch instead of corn muffin mix and I might not have used enough. It had a great taste, without the slight corn taste I get from the muffin mix. I might have to pick up some Masa Harina flour next time! That seemed to be the perfect thickening agent for chili, but I haven't found a small package. Five pounds of masa flour tends to go bad. Guess I might have to find another use for it. maybe homemade corn tortillas?

Gotta weekend coming up and might have a few inches of snow. So gotta think of a few new recipes, something nice and hearty. Maybe an Irish Stew one evening! Anyone have a good recipe?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Shrimp Scampi, I hope.

I would like to surprise my wife with a little Shrimp Scampi tomorrow night. Like most of the stuff I cook, I have never cooked shrimp outside of tossing some raw shrimp on a grill. So here is my plan:

I am going to start with a bag of pre-cooked shrimp. I know, it's cheating, but I want to concentrate on the butter-garlic sauce this time. Next time I'll try raw shrimp.

Following some advice, I picked up pre-cooked jumbo shrimp and made sure the only ingredient is Shrimp! I will defrost in some hot water for about 15 minutes before starting on the sauce.

The sauce, I was thinking about a verblanc sauce, but thought that might be too heavy, so I am going to simplify it down a bit. A stick of unsalted butter, melted, two minced garlic cloves sauteed for about a minute lightly. Then toss in the defrosted shrimp to heat through -- trying to be careful not to overcook it. A little lemon juice right at the end and a tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with either rice or angel hair pasta. So how do you think it sounds?

I'll give it a shot and see what happens. I know many scampi recipes also call for wine or vermouth, shallots or onion, and even Parmesan cheese. I am going to keep it pretty simple.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Skirt Steak tomorrow night

I didn't get a chance at the Chili Verde, no tomatillos. I guess they aren't in season, so I'll be patient. In the meantime anyone who want to share a recipe, please pass it on.

Since I am holding off on that, I am thinking of some Skirt Steak with a bit of Chimichurri Sauce. Here is a recipe I will try. I'll pick up the fresh herbs on the way home. It's courtesy of Michael Chiarello. I'll let you know how it turned out.

Chimichurri Sauce:
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
I have seen a number of other recipes, including finely chopped onion, lime juice, green onions, even a mild pepper like a poblano. The first time with a recipe I usually stick to it and then mess with it the next time, especially if there seemed to be something missing. For some reason the onions seem like they would be a good fit, well we shall see. If I mix it up and it doesn't have the expected impact, I always have some yellow onion in the house :-)

The skirt steak will be pretty simple. I love it quick grilled on a hot grill pan with nothing but a little oil, salt, and pepper. Skirt steak cooks in a flash, so don't turn your back on it. Now some might suggest that Chimichurri is a bit overkill on skirt steak and that a bottle of A1 is all you need. Sorry, A1 is OK, but I think it's overkill on thin cut like a skirt. I prefer a sauce that will add it's own level of flavor and still allow the meat to shine. A1, , is good with a thick cut, like a sirloin, but for skirt it's like using a shotgun on a mosquito.