Thursday, May 29, 2008

Steamy Cups

Some recipes are worth repeating. Some recipes are just so good that you gobble up the left overs for the next days lunch and dinner. And some recipes are just plain fun. This recipe, thanks to Jaden of Jaden's Steamy Kitchen, is all of the above.

Remember those great spicy chicken lettuce cups you get at P.F. Changs? They don't come much better than that, but I think Jaden and her recipe have managed one up on Mr. Chang. So I will try to do Ms. Jaden justice here in my tiny kitchen, and try not to mess it up too badly.


1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 cups frozen carrot/pea mix OR red/yellow bell peppers, finely diced
2 stalks, scallions
1/2 tart green apple, finely diced

Toppings, Wrap
2 bunches of Mung Bean noodles
2 medium carrots; use a vegetable peeler or a spiral slicer to cut them into tiny slivers
1 head of Boston Bibb or Butter lettuce, leaves washed and separated

The Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp hot sauce

Fry noodle - wok or a pot (something not too wide at its base. the smaller the base width, the less oil you will need to use). Fill with about 2" of oil. While oil is heating to 375F, use your hands to separate the strands of the mung bean noodle into small clumps. When oil hot, fry one batch at a time. It should only take 10 seconds to fry. Remove, drain paper towels.

Heat wok on high heat with cooking oil. When oil is hot, add scallions, ginger and garlic and fry a few seconds until fragrant. Add chicken and fry until 80% cooked through. Add vegetables and cook 1 minute. Add sauce ingredients. Let simmer for 1 minute to thicken slightly. Add apples. Toss to coat. Immediately remove from heat. You don’t want to "cook" the apples - keep them nice and crunchy. Serve with hot sauce sauce, lettuce cups, fried noodles.

Serve in lettuce cups with fried noodles and carrot slivers.

Thanks once again to Jaden and her great recipe. Take a look at her blog to see what a foodie blog is supposed to look like, and keep an eye out for her new cookbook due in bookstores sometime soon.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Check this out...

Hello to everyone in foodie land. I wanted to bring to your attention a little website that just found me, The International Recipe Forum. One of the many enterprising foodies out there, Jeena of Jeena's Kitchen has developed a great web-based forum for the discussion and sharing of all manner recipes and food-related marginalia.

Whether your predilictions lean toward exotic fare or you just want to share your favorite apple pie recipe, Jeena and the International Recipe Forum have you covered. So check out Jeena and all of the folk on the forum, and help a fellow foodie grow her site into something great. Enjoy!

Comfort Food

Sometimes you get in a rut. Sometimes you feel uninspired. Sometimes, you just don't feel like cooking. For those times, when your creativity seems to have run dry and you feel no desire to deal with the challenges of having an incredibly small kitchen, you need the right recipe. And the right woman.

The woman, in my case, was my lovely wife, who's constant prodding finally got us back into the kitchen with a new recipe to try. The recipe we found after looking for something to excite our palettes and warm our bellies. I must admit, though, that while I am writing the blog about this dish, my wife did most of the cooking. I helped with chopping and prep, but she really did the bulk of the work. This is because, well, risotto scares me. Yep, that's right. I've tried it before, and it tends to come out like a salty rice pudding rather than the delicate, comforting dish we are all used to.

So, without further ado, here is the recipe that just might help get me back in the game and my head back into the kitchen. Oh, and by the is frickin DELICIOUS!


4 1/2 cups homemade or canned chicken broth, may need a small amount more
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed sage leaves, adjust to taste
4 slices turkey bacon, cut into thirds - regular bacon can be used as well
2 medium shallots, minced or 1 small onion, chopped (approximately 1/4 cup)
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups arborio rice or risotto rice
1/2 cup fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese - more if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the broth in a saucepan under medium heat, keep warm. In another saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the sage and bacon. Saute for about 5 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Transfer the bacon and sage to a paper towel. Add shallots to the pan, stirring for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Add the squash and rice to cook, for about one minute. Ladle enough broth into squash and rice mixture to just cover the rice.

Here is where risotto gets tricky: Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add more broth and continue the process, adding and stirring, for about 25 minutes, until the rice is just tender. Now, be careful, if you add too much broth, the rice will keep absorbing it and it will become mush. As the broth gets absorbed by the rice, continue to taste the rice to check flavor and consistency. If you use all of the broth before the rice is cooked, add a little more at a time until the rice is done and the liquid is absorbed.

Once the rice is just this side of al dente, stir in the bacon, sage and cheese. For a tasty garnish, add some roasted garlic. Take a full head of garlic and chop off the top so you have removed the tips of each garlic clove. Place the head of garlic on a sheet of foil, and drizzle olive oil over it. Wrap tightly, and cook in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until it is light brown and fragrant. The garlic will be soft and very hot, so once it has cooled down a bit squeeze the cloves out of their skins into a small bowl. Mash the garlic into a thick paste, and spoon on top of your risotto.

Thank you to our friends at for the great recipe. Enjoy!