Jul 2, 2015

Seared Scallop Salad with Toasted Sesame Seed Ginger Vinaigrette

Seared Scallop Salad with Toasted Sesame Seed Ginger Vinaigrette

This Seared Scallop Salad with Toasted Sesame Seed Ginger Vinaigrette is the perfect summer dinner.

I love scallops. They are so rich tasting, yet they are actually very light! They require very little prep, and are ready in minutes.

Seared Scallop Salad with Toasted Sesame Seed Ginger Vinaigrette

This recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on the number of servings you need. Just cook the scallops in batches so that you get a nice golden sear.

Get the best scallops you can find, and if you can find "dry packed," even better. This helps you achieve a good sear on the surface. If you can't (you'll know by the milky liquid in your scallops), make sure you dry the scallops in the refrigerator between layers of paper towels dusted with cornstarch before cooking.

Seared Scallop Salad with Toasted Sesame Seed Ginger Vinaigrette

I seared these scallops in a wok prior to making this bean sprout dish, but you can also use a heavy frying pan or wide Dutch oven (better to control splatters). Make sure there is plenty of room between each scallop so that they get crusty and golden.

Seared Scallop Salad with Toasted Sesame Seed Ginger Vinaigrette

Toasted Sesame Seed Ginger Vinaigrette

Ingredients

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Instructions

Place all of the ingredients into a jar, cover, and shake. 

Seared Scallop Salad

Ingredients

8 large scallops
Salt and pepper 
2 tsp cooking oil
2 large handfuls of dark, leafy salad greens
Dressing (above)

Instructions

  1. Place the salad greens onto two plates. 
  2. Sprinkle the dried scallops with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan, wok, or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the scallops and sear for two minutes.
  4. Flip the scallops over and sear for two more minutes. 
  5. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook for two minutes more. 
  6. Divide the scallops between the two plates and drizzle with the dressing. 
Enjoy your guilt free dinner... or maybe add some garlic toast. Just saying. 

Jul 1, 2015

Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Chili Bean Sauce | Wok Wednesdays


This stir-fired bean sprout with chili bean sauce dish is incredibly easy to make, and makes a wonderfully refreshing vegetable dish.

According to Grace Young, the author of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories, "when the weather's hot, it's important to eat more yin, or cooling vegetables like bean sprouts to restore balance to your body."

These sprouts are stir-fried with garlic, a sauce of Shao Hsing rice wine, soy sauce, and chili bean sauce. They also include a quarter cup each of julienned carrots and shredded scallions. Even after stir-frying, these sprouts are crisp and crunchy.

Chili bean sauce you ask? It's made with soybeans, chilis, and spices. There are several brands, each a little different. The one I have is Lee Kum Kee. I haven't had a chance to really compare it to the other brands, so I can't say that it is the best. I do like the mild spiciness that it adds to the stir-fried sprouts. I've heard that the Koon Chun brand is really good. I just need to finish my current jar, or Mr. Kitchen might crack down on my ingredient collecting tendencies... he's been very tolerant so far....


First you stir fry minced garlic for about 10 seconds (right?) and then add the bean sprouts and carrots. Once they have been stir-fried for about a minute (I know!), you add the scallions, some salt, and the mixture of rice wine, chili bean sauce, and soy sauce. Stir for another 30 seconds, and boom! You have an amazingly refreshing veggie dish.

To go with the yin theme, we had this vegetable dish with a seared sesame scallop salad. Ah-maze-ing summer dinner!

The recipe is on page 200 of Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.

Jun 28, 2015

Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies with Chipotle Honey Dipping Sauce

Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies with Chipotle Honey Dipping Sauce

I have been obsessing about making Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies ever since we had some as an appetizer at a wonderful restaurant while on vacation in Santa Barbara with our friends Jim and Michele. The hushpuppies were so good that we all went back to the same restaurant on the last day of our trip and ordered them again. Several months later, Mr. Kitchen and I headed back to Santa Barbara for a weekend stay. Guess what we had with our cocktails...

Clearly, I needed to try to make these at home.

Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies with Chipotle Honey Dipping Sauce

I'm ashamed to say that, while I'd heard of "hush puppies" before, I really was not familiar with them. They are essentially made of cornbread dough that is deep fried, and they have strong roots in the South as well as the Caribbean. Why, of course, they have their own Wikipedia page!

Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies with Chipotle Honey Dipping Sauce

I made a chipotle honey dipping sauce to go with these, and it was the perfect compliment to the savory hushpuppies. Maple and chipotle would probably be good too.

I'm usually pretty hesitant about deep frying anything. Things have a way of breaking apart the minute I drop them into the hot oil, or the oil isn't the right temperature.. or I splatter my entire kitchen with little droplets of oil. I also hate throwing out so much oil.

Kitchen gadget obsession alert... I finally got this mini deep fryer! It worked so perfectly. I've been trying to be "good" and not buy more kitchen gadgets, but this one made it so easy, and it used less than one liter of oil.

Speaking of gadgets, this tablespoon cookie scoop was perfect for measuring and dropping dough into the deep fryer. I have a collection of these (told you I have a kitchen gadget problem), and they are great for measuring out cookie dough and cupcake batter.

These hushpuppies were so moist and incredibly crispy, and were delicious dipped in the sweet honey and chipotle.

I can't say that I perfectly recreated the hushpuppies we had in Santa Barbara, but I came pretty close!

Cheddar Cheese Hushpuppies with Chipotle Honey Dipping Sauce

Makes about 20 hushpuppies.

Ingredients


1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used white cheddar)
1/4 cup minced onions
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels
2 tsp minced jalapeños
2 large eggs
1/2 C plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
Vegetable oil, for frying
About 1/4 cup of honey
About 1 to two tablespoons of chipotles in adobo, mashed with a fork

Instructions

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 
  2. Add the cheese, onions, corn, and jalapeños. 
  3. Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together and add the mixture to the dry ingredients. 
  4. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until all of the ingredients are incorporated. 
  5. Add oil to a deep fryer or a heavy pot so that it is deep enough to fry 1 1/2 inch rounds. Bring the oil to 360 degrees F.
  6. In batches, drop tablespoon sized rounds of the dough into the oil and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, turning to brown all sides, until they rise to the surface and are crispy golden brown. 
  7. Using tongs, remove the hushpuppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. 
  8. Place the honey into a small microwave safe bowl or mini souffle dish. Add the chipotle in adobo to taste. Microwave for about 30 seconds, until warm. 
  9. Serve immediately.
Enjoy! 

Jun 27, 2015

Durum Bread

Durum Bread

I have wanted to try making this Durum Bread for quite some time. I love the nutty flavor of durum flour, but I'm sometimes defeated by the fragility of the dough.

Durum flour has a high protein level, and is typically used for making pasta. It does not behave like bread or all purpose flour. However, it does make amazingly flavorful bread, as long as you pay attention and make sure you are developing adequate strength in the dough.

The flour can be found in Indian markets or online. You may even be able to find it at a big box store. I get mine from King Arthur Flour, as well as Surfas Culinary District (we are lucky enough to have the mothership here). Don't confuse it with the more coarsely ground semolina. Durum is finely ground.

I love it in this Durum Stirato (beginner), Semolina Sourdough (advanced),  and Semolina Rounds (intermediate). The most famous bread with durum is pane di Altamura. It is made with 100% durum. You are not supposed to call any bread pane di Altamura unless it is actually made in Altamura. Hopefully the Italian bread police won't come and get me!

Durum Bread

As I mentioned, I've had some serious failures with this flour, yet I am always drawn back to it because of its flavor, the beautiful yellow color, and the challenge.

This particular bread has a high percentage of durum flour (90%) and is leavened by both a levain (sourdough), and a small amount of yeast. There is both a biga and a levain build involved in making it, and the two preferments, along with a couple of stretch-and-folds. It's 80% hydration (bread geek talk for a very wet and sticky dough). I'm pretty excited about the final product. It makes the best toast and cheese bread!

The biga and levain are made about 12 to 16 hours prior to mixing the final dough. If it's the weekend, I mix them the evening before, and make the bread the next day.

Durum Bread

Ingredients


Biga

9.6 ounces (2 1/8 cups) durum flour
6.2 ounces (3/4 cups) water
Pinch of instant yeast

Levain

3.2 ounces bread flour
4 ounces water
.6 ounces active starter

Final Dough

1 lb. 3.2 ounces (4 1/4 cups) durum flour
15.4 ounces (2 cups)
1 T salt
1 tsp instant yeast
All of the biga
All of the levain


Instructions


Make the Biga

  1. Mix all of the biga ingredients until smooth. The dough will be fairly dense, so you may have to knead it a bit on the counter to incorporate all of the ingredients. 
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 16 hours. 

Make the Levain (at the same time as the biga)

  1. Mix the levain ingredients in a small bowl. 
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 16 hours, until bubbly. 

Final Dough

  1. Add all of the final dough ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Mix with the spiral attachment on low for about 3 minutes. 
  3. Change to the second lowest speed and mix for about 2 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. 
  4. Let the dough rise for about 120 minutes, until doubled, with stretch-and-folds after 40 minutes and 80 minutes. This will strengthen the dough. 
  5. Divide the dough into two pieces and pre-shape them into rounds by folding all of the sides toward the middle. Flip the dough over and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for about 10 minutes. 
  6. Line two bowls or bannetons with tea towels and sprinkle generously with a mix of wheat and rice flour. 
  7. Flip the dough back over, and shape again into boules. Place them, seam side up, into the bowls. Cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Let rise for about an hour, until puffy. If the room is colder, let rise about 90 minutes. 
  9. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with a baking stone or cast iron Dutch ovens. If you are using a stone, set up your oven for steam by placing a pan on the lowest rack. 
  10. Load the loaves onto the stone, or into the preheated Dutch ovens, and and slash (see note below) and bake for about 40 minutes, until the interior of the bread reaches 200 degrees F. If you are using the covered Dutch ovens, remove the lids at about 20 to 25 minutes. 
Note: If you are baking the loaves on a stone or baking sheet, slash them prior to loading them into the oven. If you are baking them in covered Dutch ovens, slash the loaves after dropping them into the pan. 

Jun 24, 2015

Chinese Barbecued Pork - Char Sui

Chinese Barbecued Pork - Char Sui

Chinese Barbecue Pork, or Char Sui, is, to me, a revelation. Two of my Wok Wednesdays posts, Singapore Noodles, and Barbecued Pork Lo Mein, called for this pork.

It's about the best stuff ever. No joke.

Chinese Barbecued Pork - Char Sui

This pork is amazing for steamed pork buns. It's also perfect for sandwiches, fried rice, and noodles. Frankly, I could just eat it unadorned.

The pork is marinated overnight and then broiled until it is charred.

Chinese Barbecued Pork - Char Sui

Whenever I prepare a dish that calls for this pork, I always make extra. Why? Pardon the hyperbole but this is about the best pork ever. I crave the leftovers. So good.

Chinese Barbecued Pork - Char Sui

Ingredients


1 pound pork shoulder or pork butt
2 T sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 T hoisin sauce
1 T dark soy sauce
1 T Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 T bean sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 T honey

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork into four pieces, lengthwise.
  2. Rub the pork with one tablespoon of the sugar and let sit for 15 minutes, and then pour off any liquid.
  3. Combine the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, dark soy, rice wine, bean sauce, sesame oil, and the other tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the pork, stir to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. 
  4. The next day, let the pork come to room temperature. 
  5. Place a rack in the oven about 5 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. 
  6. Place a rack into a half sheet pan or 13 inch by 18 inch cake pan (which is what I did). 
  7. Place the pork on top of the rack, reserving the marinade, and drizzle the meat with the honey. 
  8. Place the pan onto the oven rack and add enough water to have about 1/4 inch of water on the bottom of the pan. 
  9. Broil the meat for about 7 to 10 minutes, until charred. 
  10. Turn the pork over  and brush with the reserved marinade. Continue to broil for another 7 to 10 minutes. 
  11. Remove the pork from the oven and let rest, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve. 
Killer good. Recipe adapted from Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories.

Jun 21, 2015

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese

These Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese are perfect for an elegant dinner. With a hint of horseradish, they go perfectly with roast beef. We had them with brisket, and they were a big hit.


It's Secret Recipe Club time again! Every month, members are secretly assigned another member's blog, and must choose one recipe to make. On reveal day, we all post at the exact same time. You can see all of the fabulous recipes we made by clicking on the thumbnails below.

This month, I was assigned Wendy's blog, A Day in the Life on the Farm. Wendy and her husband are both retired police officers who are now living on a small farm in a quiet town. She has a fascinating story with lovely a cast of characters. I was excited to get Wendy. For one thing, we hang out together on a monthly basis with the #BreadBakers. Check out the yummy looking grilled naan she made this month.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese


Wendy made these Horseradish Mashed Potatoes as part of her 9th Day of Christmas menu. She has five recipes in one post!! These mashed potatoes go perfectly with her French onion soup, beef tenderloin bourguignon, chopped salad with bacon and blue cheese, and cherry pie a la mode.

These horseradish mashed potatoes are creamy and delicious. I left the skins on the potatoes when I mashed them, but if your family has a "thing" about potato skins, you can slip the skins off after they are cooked and drained.

After they are mashed, they are sprinkled with Parmesan and baked to a golden color. Nothing like a little golden cheesy crust on your potatoes, right?

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese


Thanks for the great recipe Wendy!!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients

3 pounds of redskin potatoes, quartered with skins on
1 1/2 C half and half
1 stick (8 ounces) butter
1 to 2 T horseradish
Salt and pepper
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Gently boil the potatoes in salted water until tender.
  2. Heat the cream, butter, and horseradish in a small saucepan.
  3. Add the potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on low until the potatoes begin to break apart. 
  4. Slowly (or it will splash all over, I speak from experience) add the half and half mixture. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place the potatoes in a buttered casserole and sprinkle with the cheese.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees F until the top is browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Jun 20, 2015

Sourdough Crackers | The Leftover Sourdough Starter Dilemma

Sourdough Crackers | The Leftover Sourdough Starter Dilemma from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These sourdough crackers are made with unfed sourdough starter. They have the tang of sourdough bread, and are a great way to use up the starter that you would normally throw away when feeding your levain.

Sourdough Crackers | The Leftover Sourdough Starter Dilemma from Karen's Kitchen Stories

If you are a bread geek like I am, you know what I'm talking about. If you are not, here's a brief explanation:
  • Sourdough starter, or levain, is basically flour and water that has been allowed to ferment and take the place of yeast in bread. 
  • It requires feedings on a regular basis in order to remain active.
  • If you feed it on a regular basis, you will end up having a starter the size of the "blob" unless you bake bread on a daily basis.
Sourdough Crackers | The Leftover Sourdough Starter Dilemma from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I have pretty much figured out how to minimize the amount of starter I have to throw away, and I also have learned that I can neglect my starter for months and bring it back to life (future posts for Bread 101). 

I know that you can make sourdough pancakes and waffles, but how many pancakes and waffles can two people eat? Thus, these crackers. At least they last a week, and can be given away (and they are delicious!).

Sourdough Crackers | The Leftover Sourdough Starter Dilemma from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These crackers are surprisingly easy to make. The biggest issue is that the edges of the rolled out dough burn before the middle crackers are done. I dealt with that by removing the baking sheet from the oven and removing the crackers on the outside and placing the sheet back into the oven.

I also placed the middle crackers on a rack on a baking sheet and placed them back in the turned off oven to ensure they are crisp.

Sourdough Crackers | The Leftover Sourdough Starter Dilemma from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I seasoned these crackers with King Arthur Flour's pizza seasoning, which consists of "salt, spices, herbs, onion, and garlic." I'm guessing there is Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper, along with the garlic and onion. I also think that herbes de Provence would be wonderful, as well as dried rosemary and thyme. It's up to you!

I'm never throwing starter away again!

Sourdough Cracker Recipe


Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

113 grams whole wheat or white whole wheat flour (I used KAF white whole wheat)
1/2 tsp sea salt (I skipped this because I used the pizza seasoning, which already has salt)
248 grams unfed, or discarded, 100% hydration sourdough starter
57 grams room temperature unsalted butter
2 T dried herbs and spices of your choice (optional)
Olive oil, for spreading
Coarse sea or Kosher salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients together (except the olive oil and salt topping) in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until smooth.
  2. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 hours. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  4. Lightly flour two 12 inch by 16 inch pieces of parchment paper. Place the pieces of dough on each piece of parchment and lightly flour the top of the dough.
  5. Roll each piece of dough with a rolling pin out to a 1/16 inch thick rectangle. The edges will be ragged. That's okay. 
  6. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet. 
  7. Place a small amount of olive oil on top of the dough and spread it with your hand. Sprinkle the dough with the sea or Kosher salt. 
  8. With a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 1 1/4 inch squares. 
  9. Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, for 20 minutes. Check the crackers at about 15 minutes, to remove any pieces that are browned. 
  10. Cool the crackers on a wire rack. 
  11. To crisp up the middle crackers, place them on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet and place them back into the turned off oven for 10 minutes. 
  12. Store in an air tight container for up to one week.