28 June 2016

I figured out how to make Anong's Spicy Eggplant and it's super easy

OK, for me it's Anong's, the megamillion dollar Wyoming chain of swank Thai restaurants, for you it's some other random Thai restaurant in your much sadder state with less-fancy things. But every good Thai place has a salty, sweet, spicy grease bomb like this stir fried eggplant I dream about when I haven't ordered it for a while, right? Well, here it is.  Save your cash, and you're welcome.

Spicy Thai Eggplant Stir Fry

Serves 4

3 medium-sized Chinese eggplants, halved and chopped into 1"-1.5" pieces
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 carrot, thinly sliced
4 oz. white mushrooms, thickly sliced
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped into large pieces
3 serrano chiles, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
a generous handful of fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons mild-flavored oil, like peanut or grapeseed


2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with 4 teaspoons cold water

Mix fish sauce, soy, water and brown sugar; set aside. Heat large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and eggplants. Fry for 2 minutes on either side, or until they begin to brown and turn soft. Remove from pan.  Add 1 additional tablespoon of oil to wok. Add onions, garlic, chiles, and ginger and fry for 6-7 minutes, or until soft and glossy. Add all remaining vegetables and cook until crisp-tender, stirring constantly. Return eggplant to the wok, and toss to combine. Add sauce to the wok, stirring for 1 minute. Toss in basil. Add corn starch, cooking until the sauce becomes thick and coats the vegetables. Serve immediately over hot rice.

PS--I threw some oven-baked tofu in mine, too.

24 June 2016

Black Pepper Tofu and other Genius Recipes

The good folks at Food52 have come out with an in-print book, Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. It's actually a compendium of other famous chefs' recipes throughout the ages (including Julia Child's lovely grated zucchini casserole and Marcella Hazan's weirdly boring tomato sauce with onions and butter). Notes from the editors at Food52 explain how and why the recipe works and include "kitchen hacks" like "you can cut the amount of butter if you want."  So really, they've done a great job of rounding up some excellent recipes and putting them in one place for us to use.  It's debatably ironic for a well-established food blog to be in the printed cookbook business at this point in the 21st Century, but I still enjoy the tactile sensation of flipping through it, at any rate. And the photos are very nice.

Two of my favorite recipes are pretty modern in origin, including one from fellow blogger Smitten Kitchen.  I have included my own substitutions (or "hacks", if we must). Buy the book if you want, or just subscribe to Food52's excellent blog. You really will learn new things.

Yotam Ottolenghi's delicious Black Pepper Tofu recipe

with these substitutions:
  • just use 9 tablespoons of soy sauce, and add one more tablespoon of sugar
  • I used four small serrano peppers because it's what I had
  • I could not for the life of me crush my black pepper by hand--it just kept jumping out of the bowl. So I used a pepper grinder and did more like 3 tablespoons (to make up for the heat of the serranos)
  • I used 6 green onions and about 2 cups of steamed broccoli

Another great recipe included is Debra Perlman's (Smitten Kitchen) Mushroom Bourguignon. I actually used a mix of white and shitake mushrooms, because it's what I had, and I definitely had to add some water to keep the gravy from being too pasty in the end.  I also added salt, because I apparently like it more than she does.  But it's a totally solid foundation for a recipe. 

21 June 2016

The best recipe for your extra green beans

Oh man, I love this super-fast and simple recipe.  It's as junky as whatever your favorite greasy take-out is, and it's a great way to to use green beans that are slightly (ahem) past their prime. It makes a total mess out of your stove, though. Sorry.  It's worth it. 

Szechuan-Style Charred Green Beans

Serves 4

1 pound green beans, trimmed
4 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
4 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons peanut oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and dry well with a kitchen towel.
Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce: ginger, chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar. 

Heat the peanut oil in a large, deep skillet over high heat. Cook the green beans, stirring occasionally, until they begin to blister and develop some charred spots. Remove from heat and allow to sit for a minute or two to avoid an explosive mess, and then stir in the sauce.  Serve as a side or with rice and black tea and pepper tofu!

17 June 2016

What's easier than pie? CRUMBLE.

Rhubarb pie is very nice, but a crumble is even easier, and this one also involves pretty simple clean-up (mix the filling right in the baking dish, dirty one other bowl for the crumble). I love the flavor of coconut oil in this topping, but you traditionalists out there could easily replace it with butter.

Rhubarb Crumble

Serves 8-10

3 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

6 tablespoons coconut oil
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup pecans

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking or gratin dish. Toss rhubarb with white sugar, almond extract, lemon zest, and cardamom and spread evenly in baking dish.

Combine all remaining ingredients (coconut oil through pecans) in a large bowl and mix with your hands. Crumble the topping over rhubarb and bake until golden and beginning to brown, 45 to 50 minutes.