May 29, 2011

Spring Rolls

Two posts in one day after months without a peep? Yes! I am prone to my particular excesses.

Spring rolls are amazing in the summer. I am not going to call these "easy," as there is a modicum of skill and some deep prep involved in assembling the mise en place. But they are a good project for a weekend afternoon, if you are crazy like me and enjoy the meditation of preparing many little components just so.

- spring roll wrappers
- rice vermicelli, cooked, drained and chilled (I used the thinnest I could find, but this would actually be more authentic with the next size up)
- shredded chicken
- carrots, julienned and quick-pickled (a splash of vinegar and 1 Tbsp sugar, add water to cover)
- basil leaves
- mint leaves

Dry spring roll wrappers are discs of rice paper.

Soak them in water for about 15 seconds per side. Too long and they will get waterlogged and slippery and won't stick properly when you go to roll them.

Then transfer to another surface for assembly (a slightly moistened cookie sheet, in my case)

Plop the noodles on the round wrapper, slightly off center. You want them to be on the side that is closer to you.

Add all the other fillings.

Now start rolling. Always roll away from yourself, as this makes it easier to get a nice compact package instead of a floppy roll.

Do this a bunch of times. Your first few will probably be floppy and ugly. Eat them immediately to destroy the evidence of your failure. I usually eat at least 2 while making them because being a one-woman operation means I have to conduct my own QC audits.

Peanut dipping sauce:
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- a splash of sesame oil
- a splash of rice wine vinegar
- minced garlic, or garlic powder
- chili paste, or red pepper flakes
- 3+ Tbsp water to thin

Basil Limeade

It is summer. My basil planter is full to bursting, and I've had to harvest 2x weekly to keep up. I didn't have anything planned for this weekend's harvest, so I came up with basil limeade.

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 limes
1 lemon
fistful of basil
Club soda

Heat the water and sugar until the sugar is all dissolved. Zest all the citrus and add it and the juice to the hot syrup. Chop the basil leaves and add them to the mix.
If you are patient, chill the syrup in the fridge before proceeding. If not, fill a glass with ice and pour 3-4 oz. syrup over ice. Top off with club soda. Enjoy your summer.

April 5, 2011


So. Yeah. That's brussels sprouts, rosemary potatoes and fish masala. on my camera phone because I'm tired.

and I got a little distracted.

but THIS FISH MASALA IS DELICIOUS. My kingdom for some cilantro though. This is inspired by a dish at Himalaya that I love.

Start by sweating a medium sliced onion in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil. Add a couple of slices of ginger toss around for a few minutes, the onion will still be pretty sturdy. add two cloves of chopped up garlic. Add a tablespoon of garam masala, pinch of cinnamon, pinch of fenugreek, pinch of coriander and as much spice as you like. Stir to combine. add a 14 oz can of tomatoes. simmer for 10 minutes. Place fish in mixture and poach for about ten minutes or until done? I used barramundi, but any mild white fish will work well.

serve with addled side dishes. or you know. rice.

February 4, 2011

Chicken Adobo

Ok, so I've made my friend Mike's pork adobo before and it is addicting and porky and salty and sweet and all the bad things for you in life. I'm actually making it right now using the excuse that the oven will help keep the house warm in this unseasonable Texan cold snap.

But the NY Times posts this article about the ADOBO WARS and publishes a chicken adobo recipe. This recipe is amazing. It winds up tasting like a clean curry. The sugar caramelizes slightly on the chicken skin. I just poured the left over sauce on leftover rice and ate it alone, but it also goes well with other meats. If it makes it that far.

So I took one camera phone picture of my bowl before I devoured it and most of the rest of the chicken. I made this recipe with a whole butchered chicken (thighs, drums, tenderloins, breast, wings) and it worked fine. It's not going to be as sinful as an all dark meat version, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Served with stir fried bok choy.

Also yes. This is the only pretty set of bowls in the house. Stephanie bought them for me years ago and they are still trucking as the happy part of my odds and ends plate collection.

January 24, 2011

Fried Rice

I'm sorry. I haven't been around. I've let this fallow. BUT. On this day, where I am the most tired, I am going to show you what I cook when I am the most tired and have to deal with fridge leftovers and have just enough energy to cut an onion and sausage and stuff into pieces.

It took me more time to import pictures, half heartedly tweak, upload, write, than it did to make this.

And it's all thanks to this stuff. Which was on sale in two giant packages for 8.88. This is hilarious. Trust me. It's this sweet concentrated dried Chinese sausage which is all garlicky and I don't know, it's crack man. The best part is that it lasts forfreakingever in your pantry and is perfect for omigodtired days like this. But feel free to use any protein you like. Tofu. Chicken bits. There is a fine tradition of making fried rice with cheap hot dogs.

So I had an eighth of a week old cabbage, half an onion, CRACKSAUSAGE, garlic, some sad carrots and half a thing of rice that was a couple of days old from the last time I made this (emergency food for our group of friends after a showing of "Handmade Nation")

Chop about as finely as you feel like. I didn't really feel like.

order was oil hot, sausage hot, onions carrots cabbage, shove around for five minutes, crumble rice into pan.

My sad little rice pot.

Oh eggs. Shove everything to a side. leave a bit of space. crack eggs into space. You can scramble them if you want ahead of time. I like the different colors. also I don't want to wash another bowl.

And then remembered there was some leftover cooked chard in the fridge.

Yay green things.

Really anything goes here. I mean. After this I splashed in some chinese wine, a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, a splash of fish sauce and a little white pepper and sesame oil. And tossed it around on high heat for a while. the burny crunchies on the bottom are a bonus and not a failure.

Yay and there's enough for tomorrow for when I also don't feel like making dinner.

I got home at 7:00 pm. I let the dog out (who. who who. who who) and fed the cat. And then embarked on this quest. It is 8:00 and I am eating this food and posting this debacle of a blog post. See, I love you. I could have been depressingly watching Hoarders.


day old rice
stuff from your fridge
asian product (soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, hoisin, white pepper, whatever you have handy)

heat up pot. Add protein of choice, lightly brown. Add onions and and garlic and carrots and whatever raw vegetable matter you have chopped up. stir around for five or so minutes. crumble rice into pot with hands. wash rice off your sticky hands. mix around for a few minutes until rice is warm. shove all this stuff to one corner. crack eggs if you want into the open pan area. stir until set. mix all together.

add Asian Product by the tablespoon for flavor. Not as much soy sauce as you would think. I like a couple of tablespoons of soy, a couple of tablespoons of rice wine, a tablespoon of sesame oil, and a touch of fish sauce and seasoning with white pepper instead of black. your rice, your call.

mix together, add anything that doesn't need cooking but just needs warming up.

let sit on medium to high heat for a couple of minutes if you want a crust to form which is actually delicious. eat.

October 10, 2010


Closer to noon, but who's counting.
Super strong French-press coffee, and nectarine-berry-black pepper galette.
We watched Julie & Julia last night and the Julia portions were delightful. I think this is why I woke up wanting to make something French. Emily is planning to make boef bourguignion and tarte tatin tonight in tribute.

I had a single nectarine left, and it wasn't very ripe, and I was hungry. Somehow this seemed like less work than trying to eat an underripe nectarine.

Threw a slovenly pastry dough together in my mixer bowl: 1 stick butter, ~1 cup flour, a bit of salt and enough cold water to bind together.

Breakfast. Lunch. Brunch. It's 1:20pm.

August 11, 2010

Chilled green soup

a.k.a. Fridge cleaning before the veggies go bad.

It is the middle of another goddamn Houston summer so most nights I want the coldest, simplest food possible. Inspired by this NPR article on the subject, I set out to salvage a few items of produce that were getting kind of old:

1. 2 zucchini
2. 1 bunch parsley
3. 1 head roasted garlic

Shown here still in the pot, cuz I'm lazy. With lazy chunks of homemade bread.

Chunked everything up and boiled directly (adding parsley at the very end of cooking), didn't brown the veggies or use lemon as per the article's directives.
Once cooked, the pot of boiled veggies actually sat in my fridge for a few days before I got around to blending and seasoning...I waited to add salt until after I'd tasted the cold version, as cold tends to blunt flavors and you typically need more seasoning to get your point across. Also added a touch of half-and-half (aka remnants of cream and a glug of milk) while blending to round out the salt+green flavor.

It tastes really fresh (huge bunch of parsley). And cold. mmmm.