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Pork belly with honey mustard greens

Pork belly with honey mustard greens

Hot and sour vinaigrette reducing

Hot and sour vinaigrette reducing

Sometimes the very first flavor in a  meal is the dressing on the salad. They are the strength of this course. We’ve recently been having crisp pork belly salads around the house. Here are two simple and very different preparations.

Hot and sour vinaigrette– this is a hearty and versatile dressing. Use as a condiment with the pork belly as an entree or as a dressing on a salad course. Leftovers can be used with crisp calamari or shrimp.

1 cup braising liquid from the pork belly
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 Tablespoon sliced garlic
1 teaspoon diced fresh very hot pepper or crushed red pepper
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar( we use black vinegar, try using a hearty one yourselves, balsamic is probably not appropriate)
1/4 cup mirin
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch scallions, chiffonade

Lightly sautee the garlic, ginger, and hot pepper in a few drops of oil. Add the pork stock and reduce by 1/2. Add remaining liquid ingredients save the sesame oil and reduce for some time until thickened. Finish with sesame oil, scallion and salt and pepper to taste. Cool completely before using. Good Stuff!

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette– This, also, is a very versatile dressing. The garlic and shallot make it hearty and capable of holding up to game flavors.

1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon fine mustard
1/2 teaspoon parsley chiffonade
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
 

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Serve cold and often. Good Stuff!

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Wonton of Fun

Assembled ingredients

 

Layed out wonton doughs with water nearby to seal

Always looking for uses for the amazing Mayport shrimps we’re getting in FL. Got some slices of fresh pork side and chopped ’em both up, coarsely. Did not bring the food processor so had to manually chop. By all means used ground pork, or a meat grinder, or a food processor. Don’t be like me,  be like Mike, or Paula Dean, or whomsoever you please. We had them steamed the first time we did this, then fried the leftovers the next day. Potstickers, you know. This time, no foolin’ around, fried them all. Served with fresh local vegetables, most assuredly – Good Stuff!

Potstickers

1 pound peeled raw shrimp

1 pound fatty pork (well, I guess you could use lean)

2 Tablespoons fresh ginger

1 Tablespoon garlic

4 Tablespoons shallot

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon hot sauce

black pepper

1 package wonton wrappers or dumpling wrappers

ponzu for dipping – soy, ginger, garlic, scallion, lime juice, hot sauce, and cilantro combined to taste.

Combine all ingredients in the food processor or meat grinder and coarsely puree.

Steaming on the left and frying on the right

Tasty shrimp and pork potstickers with braised spinach and ponzu

Lay out wrappers and wet one half of the edge to help seal. Put 1 teaspoon of stuffing into each wrapper, fold over and seal or crimp with a fork. Steam dumplings in one layer in the steamer for five minutes. Remove from steamer right to some hot olive oil and brown both sides for about two minutes each. Serve hot with fresh vegetables and ponzu. Good Stuff!

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Spring Rolls…Rollin

Eggrolls

 

1 package of eggroll wrappers (look in the produce section for these.)

For the filling
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 head of small cabbage (about 10 ounces) julienned
3 carrots, julienned
8 fresh shitake mushrooms (or dried Chinese mushrooms soaked overnight), stems discarded, julienned

1 tablespoon high-heat cooking oil
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (optional, any vinegar will do.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toss the ground pork, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and sesame oil and set aside for an hour to macerate. In hot oil, sautee the garlic and ginger swiftly, add marinated pork and brown. Add carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms, cook until nearly tender. Add mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar. Season and spread to cool completely.

 

Beat one egg with a few drops of water to make a wash to seal the rolls. Roll like a burrito, trying to leave no holes and little air within. Seal with the eggwash and set aside to airdry for one hour before frying or freezing. Fry at a stable 375 degrees until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Always be mindful and careful when deep frying at home. Good Stuff!

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Comfort with assorted Asian ingredients can help to introduce a whole new horizon to your lunch and dinner tables. These days almost any ingredient you desire can be obtained at your local grocery or gourmet store. If you are so lucky as to have an Asian or West Indian grocery nearby, you will find much more attractive prices on these items. Good Stuff!

Black Bean Vinaigrette

We like to serve this with the season’s best tomatoes and sharp salad greens, like arugula or mizuna. The fermented black bean sauce is an emulsifier and readily binds this dressing.

1 Tablespoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 Tablespoon Mirin

1/4 cup oil (Olive oil can be used, but will impart an olive flavor. Grapeseed oil is flavor neutral.)

1/4 cup fermented black bean sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

honey to taste

Combine all ingredients and sweeten with a light amount of honey to taste.

 

Yogurt Curry Dressing

This is a subtly curried dressing we use for chicken salad or with raw vegetables.

1 cup yogurt

2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice

2 t toasted curry powder ( toast over low heat in a nonstick pan and allow to cool completely. )

2 Tablespoons Mirin

1 Tablespoon honey

Combine all and reserve refrigerated for several hours before use.

 

Here, also, are two complete salads using Asian ingredients.

Ginger-Carrot salad

1 pound carrots, shredded or julienned

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 cup carrot juice

1 teaspoon ginger juice ( puree ginger in a press or processor and squeeze through a cloth.)

1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Reserve carrots. Combine rest of ingredients, add to carrots and refrigerate for at least a half hour before service.

 

Sesame noodles

This dressing keeps, and improves, for more than a week. Dress your noodles as you wish and save any remaining dressing for another meal. Spaghetti works for this salad, but we try to use udon noodles.

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 cup peanut butter ( optional to accommodate peanut allergies.)

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 Tablespoon chopped ginger

1/2 teaspoon minced lemongrass

5 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all in food processor and puree well. Refrigerate well before use. Apply to chilled, slightly oiled, cooked noodles for best results. Garnish with julienne spring onions, red bell pepper, black sesame, and/or peanuts. Good Stuff!

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