Archive | February, 2013

Spicy Thai Fried Rice

21 Feb

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think leftover rice? I bet its “fried rice” –the widespread solution for leftover rice. Any disagreements on fried rice being the common answer for leftover rice can be resolved by the 36million plus results on Google for “fried rice”.IMG_2476

While rice and vegetables or meat are common to this classic one-pot dish the herbs and spices used vary by region and personal taste. This recipe uses Thai Basil, fish sauce and bird’s eye chilies to create a “Thai” version of a favorite one-pot meal. The “Thai” touch adds a little oomph to a comfort classic, creating a dish that will tantalize your taste-buds and satisfy your soul.

Spicy Thai Fried Rice
Recipe adapted from Food.com’s Thai Spicy Basil Fried Rice by Chef Bolistoli
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy
1-2 thinly sliced bird’s eye chilies
1.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil
½ cup sliced green onions
6 cloves of garlic, minced
½ medium red pepper, sliced
½ medium yellow pepper, sliced
1/3 cup bean sprouts
¼ frozen green peas, thawed
3 cups of a day old jasmine, basmati or brown rice
1/3 cup Thai basil, roughly chopped
1 cup boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed (Optional)
1 egg
Salt and white pepper to taste

Method:
1) In a small bowl mix the oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce and bird’s eye chilies and set aside.
2) In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the green onions and garlic and cook for a minute.
3) Add the red and yellow pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes until the peppers are slightly tender. If using chicken add it now and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through.
4) Add the peas and bean sprouts and cook for another minute.
5) Move all the ingredients to the side and break the egg into the center of the wok. Stir constantly to quickly scramble the egg.
6) Add the oyster, fish and soy sauce mixture and stir well with all the ingredients.
7) Turn the heat to high and add the rice and blend everything well together. Add salt and white pepper per your taste. You can also add more fish sauce or soy sauce at this time.
8) Once the rice is heated through remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve hot.

Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Cups

11 Feb

Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate CupsNo hallmark card can say “I love you” like a homemade sweet treat for your sweetie! This easy, elegant and delectable recipe, features just in time for Valentine’s Day to help you express your true feelings for that special someone.

Nothing spells romance like chocolate and strawberries and this dessert marries both these ingredients.Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Cups The star this Valentine’s Day is creamy white chocolate, perked up with an underlying hint of fresh strawberry juice. If you prefer raspberries, you can entirely substitute the strawberries with raspberries. Setting this mousse in chocolate cups (the perfect aphrodisiac) creates a patisserie equivalent masterpiece. All you need with these is a bottle of bubbly and it won’t be long before you are showing that someone special how you feel ….in more ways than one! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Cups
Recipe Adapted from Le 15 Patisserie’s Chocolate Lover’s Class
Time: Active: 30 minutes Inactive: 3 hours (setting time)
Yield: 14-16 shot glasses

Ingredients:
6 oz of white baking chocolate
3 oz whole milk
3 tablespoons, freshly squeezed strawberry juice (See note)
2 large egg whites, at room temperature (See note)
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
7.5 oz heavy-whipping cream
Dark or milk chocolate cups or cases, store-bought (See note)

Garnish:
Chopped strawberries
Milk or dark chocolate shavings

Notes:

  • Place a handful of strawberries in a blender and puree them. Place this puree in a sieve and use a spoon to press the fresh juice through the sieve. Keep the juice and discard the seeds and skin, leftover in the sieve.
  • The eggs must be at room temperature to get the most volume out of the whites when you beat them. Make sure the egg whites have no traces of yolk in them.
  • Most large grocery stores, gourmet food and party stores carry chocolate cups or cases for setting desserts in them. These can also be ordered online. If you cannot find these, just set the mousse in shot or cordial glasses and increase the amount of chocolate shavings.

Method:
1)  Create a double-boiler over the stove-top and melt the white chocolate in it. Keep stirring so that the chocolate does not burn.
2) Stir in the milk and strawberry juice into the melted chocolate and set aside.
3) In a separate bowl, stir the lemon juice into the egg whites. Turn on a hand-held electric mixer or an electric stand mixer on low, and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the chocolate mixture carefully into the eggs whites. Be careful to not deflate the air volume that has been incorporated into the egg whites.
4) In a separate bowl, using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer on low beat the heavy-cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
5) Divide this mousse into chocolate cups or cordial/shot glasses and chill for at least 3 hours. You can use a piping bag to make the mousse look even fancier in the cups.
6) Just before serving garnish with chocolate shavings and chopped strawberries.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul

8 Feb

IMG_2487My Facebook news feed is flooded with updates of plans and preparations for the potential historical blizzard – winter storm Nemo. Since you cannot really beat Mother Nature at her game, why not stay in and warm up with an effortless, delicious and hearty one-pot soup-based meal? And even if you are not caught in the eye of this storm this is the ideal flavorful and healthful one-pot meal for any chilly night.

This soup is a detour from a classic chicken noodle soup; it is in fact a Far East variation of it. Ginger, lemongrass, lime and Thai birds-eye chilies breathe new life into a classic chicken broth, while the bacon adds a layer of smokiness to it. The chicken, noodles, bok choy and mushrooms come together to create a well-balanced meal. There’s nothing wrong with a traditional chicken and egg-noodle soup, but this feisty and flamboyant cousin is sure to gratify your soul on a cold and dreary day.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul
Recipe Adapted from Serious Eats: Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup with Lime and Ginger Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (Store bought or homemade)
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces (see note)
2, 1 inch pieces of ginger, peeled
2 -3 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 Thai birds-eye chilies, seeded and diced
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (or 2 small ones)
½ tablespoon of good olive oil
3 slices of center cut bacon, diced
½ cup scallions (whites and greens), minced
2-3 bunches of baby bok choy, roughly chopped
6-8 thinly sliced shitake mushrooms (see note)
1/3 cup thin Thai basil, shredded (see note)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
4 ounces of rice noodles or ramen-style Japanese noodles, cooked al dente per package instructions
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon of cilantro
Optional condiment: Siracha sauce, to be added per taste at the time of serving

Notes:

  • Fresh lemongrass is available at all Asian grocery stores and several large grocery chains. If you cannot find fresh lemon grass then, substitute it with the bottled kind that can be found in the international aisles of most grocery stores.
  • Thai basil is available at all Asian grocery stores and several large grocery chains.
  • You can substitute the shitakes with crimini or white button mushrooms.
  • The fish sauce and broth are salty, so make sure before you add any additional salt you taste the soup to determine how much you need.

Method:
1) Pour the chicken broth into a large stock pot. To this add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic cloves and birds eye chilies. Bring these ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the broth reaches a roaring boil, reduce the heat to low and add the chicken breast. Cover and simmer until the chicken breast is fully cooked.
2) Turn-off the heat and remove the pot from heat. Remove the chicken breast and it set aside to cool. Remove the ginger pieces and garlic cloves from the broth and discard. At this point you can even discard the lemon grass, but I prefer to remove it right at the end as it keeps infusing the soup with flavor. Set the broth aside to use in the soup. Use a fork to shred the chicken once it has cooled and is easy to work with.
3) In a medium Dutch-Oven or soup-pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the diced bacon and cook it through. Now add the scallions and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
4) Add the broth to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil (uncovered). Once it reaches a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low and add the bok choy and mushrooms. Cook for a minute and then add the shredded basil, chicken, noodles, fish sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Give everything a good stir and then turn-off the heat.
5) Stir in the lime juice and garnish with cilantro. Serve with Siracha sauce for some extra heat!

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