Friday, May 28, 2010

Crunchy Asian Cabbage Salad

On the cooking board I frequent, we get a lot of questions about non-mayo salads for picnics, barbeques, and other outdoor events.  Let me tell you, people, this one would be perfect!  It's fantastically easy to put together, packs a great flavor punch, and stays crunchy for quite some time.  Sounds perfect for summer, doesn't it?!?


Crunchy Asian Cabbage Salad
adapted from Good Things Catered

Ingredients:
1 small head cabbage, sliced thinly.
1 carrot, grated
6 green onions, sliced and dark green ends discarded
2 TBSP cilantro, minced
1 1/2 TBSP reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 TBSP freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. lime juice
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 TBSP sesame seeds

Directions:
 1.  Combine all ingredients in large bowl and toss well to combine.  Place in fridge and let stand at least one hour.  Before serving, toss once more.

one year ago: spiced nuts
two years ago: one of my all-time favorite cupcake recipes, key lime cupcakes with white chocolate-coconut frosting

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sesame Chicken

Another winner from Katie!  This chicken was very easy to assemble, even with a kitchen that was only 75% functional.  Even better, it was super tasty, especially served alongside crunchy Asian cabbage salad and sugar snap peas with sesame.


Sesame Chicken
from Good Things Catered

Ingredients: 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 heaping TBSP Chinese garlic chili sauce
1 c. bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 ts. freshly-ground black pepper
1 TBSP black sesame seeds (If you can't find them, toast up some regular sesame seeds.)
1 tsp. olive oil

Directions:
1.  In a medium bowl, combine chicken, sesame oil, and garlic chili sauce.  Toss to combine well and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes and up to four hous.  (Katie says two hours, but I didn't read well enough and left mine marinating for four hours.  It was nice and spicy!)

2.  Remove chicken from the refrigerator when ready to cook.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place a non-stick pan over medium heat.  When pan is heated, add olive oil and heat until almost smoking.

3.  While pan is heating, combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds in a shallow bowl.

4.  Place chicken breasts, one at a time, into bread crumb mixture and coat well.

5.  Once coated, place chicken breasts into hot pan, taking care not to over crowd the pan.  Cook until golden in color on one side, two-three minutes.  Flip and cook for an additional two-three minutes.

6.  Bake until internal temperature registers 160 degrees, about 10-15 minutes.  Let chicken rest on a warmed serving plate for ten minutes before serving.

one year ago: Cuban beef picadillo
two years ago: zucchini and sweet potato muffins

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame

Finally.  Finally!  I'm back!  I am so glad to have my kitchen up and running.  I've been a cooking fiend since getting to the operational phase late last week.  It wasn't easy.  I was definitely a grump.  M put up with a lot of attitude and moping.  As it turns out, it's not easy to have a girlfriend who loves to cook but can't.  M definitely found that out.  And I'm sorry for it, honey.

It's not only cooking I've missed, but you guys, too.  I love sharing my food (and a few anecdotes along the way).  I'm starting small with this simple recipe, but it's my first offering in a long time.  I hope you'll enjoy it.  Thank you for sticking around and I can't wait to share more delicious food with all of you.


Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame
from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 lb. sugar snap peas
dark sesame oil
black sesame seeds (If you can't find them, toast regular sesame seeds until brown.)
kosher salt

Directions:
1.  Pick through the sugar snap peas to remove any that aren't perfect. Remove and discard the stem end and the string from each pod.  If the peas are too tough to eat raw, blanch them in boiling salted water for up to five minutes, drain immediately, and then immerse them in ice water before starting the recipe.  (I like them blanched for about three minutes.)

2.  Toss the snap peas in a bowl with desired amount of sesame oil, seeds, and kosher salt. Serve at room temperature.

two years ago: ciabatta pizza with walnut pesto and mini zucchini and goat cheese tarts

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Almost There...

I'm going completely and totally nuts in my still-unpacked townhouse. I started packing up my apartment six weeks ago. Six. Weeks. That's six weeks of not knowing where my stuff is, six weeks of not having a place that's clean, and six weeks of having to step over things, walk around things, and move things from one place to another. I'm so tired of it. I just want a place to live that is clean, decorated, and organized. We're close to being able to put things where they belong. But close isn't close enough for me. I'm a type-A girl. I can't take this.

In better news, I have managed to cook twice. I won't be posting either dish on this blog, though. Taco salad and bean and veggie burritos aren't anything to write home about and they certainly aren't anything to write here about. M's grandma is coming over for dinner Sunday, though, so I know I'll be doing some blogworthy cooking for that. I'll see you then. Maybe I'll even be able to post some pictures of my (finally!) put together place.  Keep your fingers crossed...

one year ago: tilapia with sweet peppers and banana-oatmeal scotchie bars 
two years ago: My Mother's Day meal--Mother's Day salad, herb-marinated chicken, grilled herbed peaches, basmati rice with sweet onions and summer herbs, and chocolate Pavlova with Chambord cream and fresh berries

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mrs. D's Homemade Ravioli

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been on the move.  Turns out, readers, it is taking me longer than expected to get my kitchen in working order.  I managed to make a simple taco salad last night, but it definitely was NOT blogworthy!  While I finish up the last few tasks to get my new kitchen in shape, I've got a delicious recipe from Mrs. D of Mrs. D Loves to Eat.  I am so glad she offered to do a guest post for me.  Man, does she have a great blog!

I was especially happy when I saw what she'd be offering up--homemade ravioli starting with homemade pasta.  I've got homemade pasta on my 30 Things to Make Before I'm 30 list.  Mrs. D's recipe looks wonderful and her instructions make it seem quite manageable.  Thanks, Mrs D!

Without further ado, I'm turning it over to Mrs. D:

Hello Apple a Day readers!  I'm so happy to be able to fill in with a guest post today.


I first attempted homemade pasta last summer and I'm sad to say that, until this week, my pasta roller was hidden away...shoved in the back of an empty closet.  That doesn't mean we haven't been eating plenty of pasta in the last year.  My pasta-loving husband and I may or may not have a carb addiction.  Nothing compares to the texture and consistency of homemade pasta, and I've been craving ravioli lately.  So this weekend, I decided to pull out my pasta machine and make good use of a noramally lazy Sunday.

Homemade pasta is much easier than you would expect, however it can be time-consuming.  I prefer to double my pasta batch and freeze a portion for quick weeknight meals.  (Pasta can be refrigerated for one week and frozen for up to three months.)  

I doctored my original recipe based on a family friend's recipe and came up with the filling based on what I had at home.  Next time, I would love to add some spinach and prosciutto to this recipe.  Give this three cheese ravioli a try--you won't be disappointed!


Homemade Three-Cheese Ravioli
pasta adapted from Mrs. D's original recipe
filling a Mrs. D original
For the pasta:
2 c. all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 TBSP oilve oil
1 TBSP water
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

For the filling:
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp. dry Italian seasoning



Directions:
1.  Mound flour in center of a large work surface or a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle and crack eggs into well.  Using a fork, beat the eggs slowly and incorporate flour, beginning with inner rim of the well.  Add olive oil, salt, and water and continue incorporating flour.  When flour is fully incorporated, gather dough to form a rounded mass, adding flour as needed to handle.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, knead dough on low speed until it is smooth and elastic, about ten minutes.  If dough seems dry, add more water, one TBSP at a time, until dough begins to form and pulls away from the side of the bowl.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.

3.  Divide dough into four pieces; keep three covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel.  Before handling the dough, dust your hands, the machine, and any accessories with flour and lightly flour your work surface.  Flatten dough to shape somewhat narrower than pasta machine opening and feed through machine widest setting (seven on my machine).  As pasta emerges, gently support it with your palm and guide it onto the work surface.  Fold dough in thirds and roll out again, using flour, as necessary.  repeat process until dough emerges smooth and supple, about eight to ten times.

4.  Now it's time to thin the dough.  Dust pasta lightly with flour to prevent sticking, if necessary.  Roll dough progrssively through the thinner settings, without folding, two times per setting, until you have reached your desired thickness.  (I did mine six times.)  If pasta sheet becomes too long to work with easily, cut it into two pieces.  Allow pasta to rest for ten minutes before cutting.

5.  On a floured surface, use a sharp knife to cut 3x2-inch rectangles out of the dough.  Spoon cheese filling into the center of half of the rectangles.  Using water, lightly brush the edges of the filled rectangles.  Place one of the dough rectangles on top and press the edges to seal in the filling.  (If you want to freeze your ravioli, place on a baking sheet and place in you freezer for 15 minutes, then seal them in a freezer storage bag.)

6.  Bring a pot of salted water to a roaring boil.  Add the pasta and cook for 2-5 minutes, or until al dente.  Enjoy!