Tag Archives: recipes

Tempura!

I typed this up for a friend and realized I might as well put it out here since I took the time to type it up.

Vegetable Tempura with Dipping Sauce

We made tempura vegetables last night, waaaaay too many of them. Here’s the recipe, in case you are interested in our findings.

After some research, I found out that tempura flour is the way to go. So I went to our local Asian market and got some. We just chose the one that had the coolest packaging, heh.

For the batter, put 1 cup water in the freezer 10-15 minutes before you are going to make everything. We used the 10 minutes to chop everything up.

Batter:

1 cup cold as you can get it ice water
1 cup tempura flour
1 egg
salt

In a bowl, give the egg a few stirs, then add the water and tempura flour. Slightly mix – the worst thing you can do is over mix this – it will make it heavy and greasy. There should be big lumps in it. Add an ice cube or two to keep it very cold.

Last night we went way overboard for the fixings – onion, zucchini, carrots, sweet potato, mushrooms, broccoli. Waaaay too much food. For the carrots and sweet potato, we just sliced it about 1/4 thick. Mushrooms were by far our favorite.

To make the tempura, heat canola or peanut oil (high heat oil) in your wok, or favorite deep frying implement. Put a bowl of just the tempura flour out. Dredge your veggie in the dry flour, then dunk it and cover it in the tempura batter. Fry until it looks done (not very long, actually) and then set it on a plate with paper towels to drain.

If you like the tempura dip that you usually get at restaurants – you can buy a commercial one in a bottle or to make your own:

Tempura Dipping Sauce:

1 cup dashi (see below)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (you might be able to get away with a sweet white wine or saki)
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For dashi – soak 1 stick kombu (seaweed) in 4 cups water. If you want it to be veggie dashi, add at least 4 dried shiitake mushrooms. Let it sit at least an hour (I do it over night when I am going to make miso soup). If you don’t care if it’s veggie, add 1/2 cup bonito flakes as well as the shiitake. It’s basically just a good broth base.

Brian thinks it’s just as good to dip tempura in soy sauce, so there you go. We’ve been eating a lot of Asian so I always have the mirin & dashi on hand so I make the dipping sauce too.

I was impressed that the sweet potato cooked so quickly. Next time I am going to do thin slices of winter squash – I had that at a restaurant once, and yum!

Playing catch up with food

(heh. get it? Ketchup? LOL. Okay, maybe not. Nevermind. Back to your regularly scheduled post.)

Things I’ve learned about myself recently: I make food that I consider to be pretty prosaic, and I am not the world’s best person for taking pictures of food. Even worse, I’m lousy about keeping up with posting on here, so we will see if I continue this. If I do, I’m thinking of spinning it off to a separate website so that this one doesn’t become “here’s what Heather had for dinner today…”

At any rate, food I’ve made from the CSA box this week:

Spanish Rice
Spicy Spanish Rice.

After we got back from Mt St Helen’s, neither of us wanted to cook so I made a “Spanish rice” sort of dish. Items used from the farmshare: scallions, garlic, onions and chives. The corn was from our farmers, though not from the fall CSA boxes. I also made it much spicier than I normally do, and really prefer it that way.


Brian eats more tortillas than anyone I know. The beginnings of a wrap.

For lunch the next day, Brian made tortillas for us – really just used the same things again, onions, garlic and chives. O, and he tossed some of the mixed greens in before he rolled it up into a wrap.

Lentil soup
Not gruel. Lentil soup.

I started to feel like I needed more protein than I’ve been getting so dinner was lentil soup. I am now convinced there is no way to take a picture of lentil soup and have it look good. It just comes out looking like gruel, even though it smells wonderful and tastes better. I used scallions, onions, garlic and spinach for this soup… really only the spices and lentils came from the grocery store.

Fried potatoes
Fried Potatoes.

In a fit of nervousness before the election, I decided I needed filling food that was not very good for me, so I used some butter to fry potatoes for lunch. Dinner was quick as we were watching the results come in – Garlic, parsley and olive oil over spaghetti noodles, which is comfort food to me. I eat it when I am sad or when I am hung-over. My sister says that we eat so much garlic there is no way we will ever have strokes. Heh. No pictures – the wine and the results distracted me.

Veggie fried rice
Veggie fried rice

Lunch today was veggie fried rice because I had some cooked rice in the fridge left over from last night (to do a decent veggie fried rice you must refrigerate the rice at least over night). This one used carrots, onion, garlic, chives, and chard from the farmshare. It was really good. Fried rice is the best way to use up some bits of things you need to use up.

Veggie fried rice

Ingredients:

  • Rice, at least a 1/2 cup per person, cooked and refrigerated overnight
  • Peanut oil, or failing that, a veggie oil that does okay at high heat
  • If you have it, a few drops of toasted sesame oil go a long way in this.
  • Soy sauce (may I recommend a nice Tamari?
  • Garlic – maybe 2 -3 cloves, minced
  • Onion – for two people, maybe half of one
  • 2-3 carrots, diced (I slice them into coins, and then madly chop through them a few times)
  • Veggies. I just go with whatever I have hanging around. Today’s included two mushrooms, diced up. If I have some water chestnuts, I’ll dice ’em up too. I’ve done broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, all sorts of things. Go by your mood and what you want to use up.
  • If possible, some sort of nice green. Today it was chard, sometimes it’s spinach. Doesn’t take much, and adds some good vitamins and a nice taste. Chop it up.
  • If you feel so inclined, an egg or two. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Directions:

  1. Make sure all of your prep work is done – that’s the longest part of making this. Get everything diced up, either on the cutting board or into little bowls, or whatever floats your boat.
  2. Heat your wok really hot. I put the burner on high, if that helps you, you want everything to cook really quickly.
  3. Toss in a tablespoon or two of the peanut oil.
  4. Follow this with a tablespoon of soy sauce. Splash the toasted sesame oil if you are using it too. Sometimes I will do a few dashes of garlic powder too – I like this garlicky, and I have powdered garlic on hand normally for a weird recipe I make every so often. I told you I like garlic a lot.
  5. Stir with a wooden spoon. It will sizzle or bubble a bit when it’s ready.
  6. Toss yer onions into the wok, stir. When slightly browned from the soy sauce, go to the next step.
  7. Carrots next. Followed by the mushrooms, if you are using.
  8. The rest of the veggies go in – I added them in order of hardness, if that makes sense, with the greens and garlic going in at the very end.
  9. When all the veggies are in (keep stirring!), and seem pretty nicely cooked (I like things to remain crisp), add the cold rice. It will be clumped – just break them up with your wooden spoon as you are combining it.
  10. If you are going to add an egg or two, push the fried rice up the side of the wok to clear some space. Break the egg into the cleared space, give it a good stir or two. Let it fry, and break it up with your spoon. Mix it in with the rice.
  11. There you go. Once the prep work is done, the whole process takes about 4 minutes from start to finish.

A quick lunch

You can keep yer mac-n-cheese.

Pasta in roasted pepper sauce
Rotini in roasted pepper sauce.

I had roasted some bell peppers from the farmshare and put them in the fridge for later use. We ended up making a roasted red pepper sauce. However, because red + yellow = orange, it actually looked even more like a fancy mac-n-cheese than a red pepper sauce.

It was quick and easy too if you either have recently roasted peppers and stuck them in your fridge, or if you just buy a jar of roasted sweet peppers.

Rotini with Roasted Pepper Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Two good-sized roasted bell peppers, or one 14 oz. jar
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter (what? I didn’t say it was mind blowingly healthy!)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • About a cup of milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rotini (or another pasta, as strikes your mood)

Directions:

  1. Put the water on for the pasta.
  2. Toss the peppers in a blender (a food processor probably would work too, I don’t have one, so I use a blender) and blend until smooth.
  3. On the stove, melt the butter in a saucepan.
  4. When the butter is melted, add the flour and the garlic. Stir for about a minute – you want the flour to cook for the roux, but not burn.
  5. Add about a cup of milk and the peppers (I eyeball how much milk I want)
  6. O yeah, add some salt and pepper.
  7. Stir, until thickened, while the pasta finishes cooking.
  8. Mmmmm…..put the sauce over your pasta and enjoy!

Stuff from the box: peppers, garlic

Dinner so far this week

Cauliflower and brussel sprouts
Roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts over rice.

I had some brussel sprouts I needed to use up, so I roasted the cauliflower, the brussel sprouts, and some onion. Also sauted some garlic and shallots in some butter, and fried some panko. Tossed it all together, put it over rice, and man was it good. There should have been leftovers for lunch, but we ate every last bit. It tasted exactly like fall.

Butternut squash in my kitchen
Dicing butternut squash in my kitchen.

Last night I wanted something simple because I was feeling a bit down. I cubed and roasted the butternut squash from last week. While it roasted, I diced an onion, and sauted it in a bit of olive oil. Added some cumin, salt and pepper and a can of black beans. While I was doing all that, I minced garlic, tossed it into yet another pan, and threw some spinach in with it to wilt the spinach.

Inside the burrito
Squash and black bean burrito before rolling.
When the squash was done, I assembled the burritos – tortilla, a bit of shredded cheddar, bean mixture, spinach mixture, squash. Rolled it up, put it in a cooking pan, and when the pan was full, tossed some grated mozzarella over the top (who ate all the pepper jack?) and put it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Burrito
Finished burrito.
Pretty good, and I used so little cheese, it felt pretty healthy. The only thing that wasn’t local was the salt. Yay! We are eating pretty healthy at this point.

Items used from the box: cauliflower, onion, garlic, spinach, butternut squash.

Empanada Dough

I’m making squash and black bean empandas for dinner tonight.

Here’s my version of empanada dough:

Empanada dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup partially frozen butter (cut into small cubes, place them in the freezer until nearly frozen)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl sift together flour and salt.
  2. Blend in the cold butter cubes using your fingers until the mixture resembles pea-sized coarse meal.

  3. Whisk egg, ice water and vinegar in a bowl.
  4. Gradually add to flour, stirring until just incorporated (you don’t want to over mix or it will be tough, it’ll end up a bit lumpy).
  5. Put on a lightly floured surface and bring dough together with your hands. Gently knead with your hand once or twice (just to bring the dough together – don’t overwork it!!).
  6. Form the dough in a semi-flat ball.
  7. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour (can be chilled for up to 8).

Cathy’s Swiss Cheese Fondue

I typed this up today for someone who asked for a cheese fondue recipe, so as long as I’ve gone to the work of typing it up, I’m adding it here. MMMMMMMM. I’m going to make it this week, but it won’t be the same without Cathy hanging out drinking a glass of wine with me and the sounds of video games loudly wafting into the kitchen.

Cathy’s Swiss Cheese Fondue

3 garlic cloves
6 cups cheese, grated (1/2 gruyere, 1/2 emmentaler)
2 tbs flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs Kirschwasser
2 1/4 cup dry white wine

Take one garlic clove, slice in half. Use the cut side to rub the inside of the fondue pot, when it gets “worn out,” finish with the other half. Mince the garlic (including the two you used to rub). Put wine & garlic in pot and turn pot on for cooking. When it is hot, add handfuls of cheese that has been mixed with the flour, stirring constantly.

When the cheese is all in, dust with cayenne powder (about a 1/4 tsp – although we just shake cayenne powder over the top and never measure). After you’ve combined everything in the pot, whisk the Kirschwasser and baking soda together. Add to cheese mixture.

Now for the part that involves standing around the kitchen drinking wine and talking. Stir constantly, taking shifts if possible. It’s hard to describe, and will take forever, but you will eventually see a change in the consistency. When that happens (and not when you arm feels as if it’s going to fall off from stirring), dinner is ready for dipping things. We tended to put bread in the oven, cubed, at 200 degrees for a while as we prepared the cheese so that the cubes get nice and hard for dipping.

Mom’s Chicken Salsa dish

Ingredients

Chicken breast, skinned and deboned
16 oz. jar of salsa
1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
1 cup frozen peas
1 can chicken broth
cheddar cheese
black olives

Instructions
Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Put the rice in the bottom of baking dish (9 X 13 or so) sprayed with cooking spray (Pam, for example).

Mix broth with salsa. Pour about 2/3 of mixture over rice in baking dish. Stir.

Add chicken over mixture. Cover with the rest of the salsa-broth mixture.

Cover with aluminum, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Stir in peas, cover with cheddar cheese. Cover back up, bake for another 20-30 minutes.

Put sliced black olives on top and serve. MMMMM.

Don’t let Brian or anyone else let you skip the peas, it’s not as good without them.

Mom’s Salmon patties

Ingredients
Can of Salmon, drained
2 eggs
1 small onion or some green onions, diced
Unflavored breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs)
Salt and pepper (a dash of each)
2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil

Instructions
Mush together the salmon, onions, 2 eggs, and breadcrumbs. Add salt and pepper. Make patties out of the mixture.

Heat oil in frying pan; fry to golden brown.

Great with rice and green beans. Or french fries and carrot sticks.

I also have a super yummy (but much, much more expensive) fresh version of this, if you ever want it. It involves potatoes and carrots too.

For Gretchen who asked (Green Pepper Recipe)

Stuffed Green Peppers (Mom’s version)

3-4 large green peppers
1 cup rice
1 medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic (Mom used garlic powder sometimes)
1 package fresh mushrooms
Hamburger (I have no clue how much, I omit it)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Stuffing
Cook 1 cup of rice.
Mix with tomato sauce.
Saute onions, garlic, mushrooms, and hamburger (or leave the meat out).
Add saute to rice mixture (or add rice to saute).
Add oregano, thyme and basil.

Assembling
Cut peppers in half, clean out seeds and the white part of ribs.

Stuff peppers with filling. Put about an inch of water into glass cooking pan. Cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (check to see when peppers are cooked the way you like it, Mom didn’t tell me how long so I always guess and check them).

Cover with cheddar cheese, cook until melted.

mmmmmmmmm