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Apricot and Edamame Stir-Fry

Who doesn’t like a good stir fry? They’re flexible, relatively quick and absolutely packed with different flavors and textures. This stir fry is loaded with shelled edamame, bamboo shoots, and fresh ginger.

Serves 2

Assemble the Following:

  • 2 TBSP. Soybean Oil
  • 1/3 C. Onion, Minced
  • 2 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger Root, Minced
  • 1 1/2 C. Bok Choy or Cabbage, Chopped
  • 1/2 C. Red Bell Pepper, Coarsely Chopped
  • 1/4 C. Fresh Cilantro
  • 1/4 C. Bamboo Shoots
  • 1 C. Edamame, Cooked and Shelled
  • 1 C. Broccoli, Blanched
  • 1 Scant TBSP. Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBSP. Apricot Preserves
  • Pinch Cumin
  • 1 TSP. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 TBSP. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2/3 to 1 C. Cooked White Rice

Do This With It:

  • Heat wok or large heavy skillet with oil, very high heat.
  • Add Onions and Cabbage, fry until tender.
  • Add Red Pepper, garlic, and most of the ginger, fry until tender.
  • Add Cilantro, and Bamboo Shoots, reduce to medium heat.
  • Slowly stir in Soy Sauce, reduce to low heat.
  • Add Edamame and Broccoli.
  • Add Apricot Preserves, stir or toss until thickened and reduced.
  • Add dried spices and remaining ginger, remove from heat.
  • With wet fingertips mold heaping tablespoons of rice into little balls for plating.

Notes:

  • I leave the peel on my ginger; you get a much bolder flavor this way.
  • I remember now when Alton Brown did a show on Stir-Fry, he emphasized the importance of having every ingredient ready to go before you even heat the oil. Well, he wasn’t kidding. The good news is I think I may have broken a world speed record for shelling Edamame.
  • You can just pile the stir-fry on a bed of rice and forgo the rice-balls, but they add a flair to the presentation don’t you think?

Summer Vegetable Stock

Making stock used to be a regular part of my routine. However, I’ll admit that I’ve been using the store bought stuff for the last six months or so. Hello sodium city!!!! With all this time on my hands lately and a renewed interest in my own kitchen, I recalled how easy it is to just make your own. This recipe yields as much as your stock pot will hold. In this case it’s roughly a gallon and a quarter (I tend to spill some of it while packaging it for the freezer). I have a six quart stock pot, and use a pasta strainer so that I can easily remove the vegetabilia. Adjust amount of veggies for a different sized pot. Made with veggies that are available at the local market, this stuff is useful in the preparation of risotto, soup, pasta, fish, or anything that calls for a cooking liquid. Hell, I’ll occasionally heat some up and drink it from a coffee mug all by itself. Freezing in individual portions allows for quick and effortless use.

Assemble the following:

  • 1/2 C. Red onion
  • 4 Ribs Celery
  • 4 Large Carrots
  • 4 Medium Portobello Caps, sliced
  • 1 CL Garlic
  • 1/2 TSP. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1/2 TSP. Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 TSP. Dried Sage
  • 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt

Do this with it:

  • Very coarsely chop vegetables into large, inch sized chunks.
  • Heat Olive Oil in heavy skillet, sauté garlic and onion until caramelized.
  • Fill large stock pot with water and add all vegetables, seasonings and a pinch of salt.
  • Bring to rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour, covered.
  • Strain vegetables from liquid, and allow to cool.
  • Discard the veggies, unless you like celery.
  • Fill quart-sized freezer bags with the stock, refrigerate overnight, and freeze.

Kitchen Essentials: Super Rooster Salsa

Salsa is good for so many things. It’s so versatile, that it’s become an essential in my kitchen. It finds its way into so many of my creations. The idea behind the Kitchen Essentials series is that you regularly have these things on hand. Unfortunately this salsa is so good, it barely lasts two days in my home, and I live alone. It packs some serious heat so it’s not for the faint of heart, or the weak of stomach. Of course you can always modify or eliminate some of the ingredients to take out some of the fire, but what would be the fun in that?

Assemble the following:

  • 3 C. Fresh tomatoes of your favorite variety, diced into small cubes
  • 1 C. Red onion, finely minced
  • 1/2 C. White onion finely minced
  • 1 Large clove of garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 medium sized Jalapeno pepper, cleaned of seeds, very finely minced
  • 2 Medium Anaheim pepper, cleaned of seeds, very finely minced
  • 1 Small Serrano Pepper, cleaned of seeds, very finely minced
  • 1/2 Small Habanero Pepper, very finely minced
  • 2 Medium yellow bell pepper, cleaned of seeds diced into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 C. Cilantro, stems removed coarsely chopped
  • 2 TSP. granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP. lime juice
  • 2 TBSP. Mango or Pineapple Juice
  • Lime zest
  • 1/2 TSP. Ground Coriander
  • 1 TSP. Fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Do this with it:

Use non-reactive (glass or plastic) mixing bowls and utensils only.

  • Spread diced tomatoes in single layer and sprinkle lightly and evenly with sugar.
  • Combine red and white onion, cilantro, garlic and lime juice in small mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate twenty minutes.
  • Combine peppers with Mango or Pineapple juice in another small mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate twenty minutes.
  • In large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, black pepper and coriander. Blend thoroughly before incorporating onion and pepper mixtures.
  • Blend everything thoroughly and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving as a dip for chips.

Notes and Abstract:

  • Be careful with the capsicum peppers, they’re awfully dangerous!
  • Only use non-reactive glass or plastic mixing bowls and utensils for this. Nearly every ingredient in this recipe reacts with metal, and no one likes partially oxidized salsa.
  • The heat of the salsa can be moderated by adding the pepper mixture in small increments until desired level of heat is reached. If you have left over peppers sauté them in some olive oil until reduced, and make your own super-spicy Recaito! Recaito can be added in small amounts to countless dishes to give it a real kick.
  • This salsa is great as a dip for chips, a topping for burgers or a salad, blended with rice, or as a spicy addition to a pasta sauce. Like any of the other Kitchen Essentials, it has countless uses.

Kitchen Essentials: Mushroom Stock

Assemble The Following:

  • 1 Large Red Onion Cut into sixths, bulb intact
  • 5 Large Carrots quartered, skin intact
  • 5 Large Celery Ribs, Halved
  • 5 Stalks Bok Choy
  • 1/4 Lb. each of Cilantro and Parsley
  • 2 Lbs. White Mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size, cleaned
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Qt. Water

Do This With It:

  • Sautee veggies in 5 Qt. stock pot, until onions are tender, and greens are wilted. About Ten Minutes.
  • Cover with water and bring to rapid boil for an ten to fifteen minutes. Reduce Heat.
  • Simmer for an hour.
  • Strain vegetables from stock pot.
  • Add Mushrooms (in increments if using a small stock pot).
  • Simmer on low heat until mushrooms are reduced by half, roughly one hour.
  • Strain stock through a fine cloth to remove smallest particles.

As with all stock recipes, any vegetables you have on hand will work just fine. This Makes about four quarts, or sixteen cups. Freeze in one to two cup portions in vacuum packages.

Zucchini and Mushroom Risotto

I am not good with rice. I can make the most fabulous dinner, but when it comes to rice I fail miserably, and I never have been able to figure out exactly why. So tonight, I figured I would try my hand at risotto. Preparing risotto better suits my style in the kitchen. I am a meddler, constantly stirring and sampling things, making slight additions on the whim; none of these qualities lend themselves to proper preparation of boiled rice. I suppose that the traditional preparation of rice takes too much faith. I can’t just let something sit there on my stove and not mess with it, hoping that it will produce a suitable end-product.

Enter risotto: rice that REQUIRES meddling and constant adjustment and attention. The rice is sautéed (raw) in oil before slowly adding stock ladle by ladle to produce the perfect product. To prepare this zucchini and mushroom risotto I took careful steps to preserve the vegetable flavors that I used. It was the star of tonight’s meal and was so tasty I wish I had more at this point! It also occurred to me as I was eating it, it was not only vegetarian, but completely gluten free!

Assemble the following:

  • Two cloves garlic (very finely minced)
  • 1/8 C. Yellow or white onion (fine chopped)
  • 1/8 C. Green onion or scallion (fine chopped)
  • ¼ C. Carrots (julienned or finely chopped)
  • ¼ C. Zucchini (coarsely chopped, and )
  • ¼ C. White Rice
  • Plenty of vegetable stock
  • 1?8 C. Italian Blend Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Large cap Portobello (very coarsely chopped into large chunks)
  • 6 TBSP. Olive Oil

Do this with it:

  • Sauté aromatic veggies (carrots, garlic, onion, scallion) until tender and reduced.
  • Heat vegetable stock in small saucepan. (If using canned, bring to hard boil for a bit to get rid of some of the salt)
  • Remove vegetables from heat and strain over container to catch all oil drippings.
  • Return oil drippings from veggies to sauté and add a bit more oil.
  • When mixture is hot again add rice and stir to evenly coat in oil.
  • Sauté on med-high heat for about ten minutes or until rice is slightly brown.
  • Gradually stir in vegetable stock, and cook until liquid is nearly reduced before adding more stock. Repeat until rice is tender and well cooked.
  • When all the stock has been absorbed, remove from heat.
  • Stir risotto, add cheese.
  • Toss in previously reserved sautéed vegetables with a bit more stock and reduce again .
  • Add Portobello and simmer very briefly .
  • Remove from heat and add zucchini.
  • Stir well and allow to sit for three minutes or more before serving with zucchini spirals as garnish

Notes/Abstract:

  • Use any aromatic veggies in the beginning. There are lots of aromatics available at your local grocers, or even better your farmers markets.
  • I used canned Vegetable Stock. 960 mg of sodium later I feel like I may need some cardio and a salt fast to make up for over-doing it on salt today. I will post a homemade vegetable stock recipe soon that uses little to no salt.
  • The Zucchini spirals take skill and a very steady hand with a very sharp knife. I learned the trick from a sushi chef. BE CAREFUL!
  • All canned products should be double checked for ingredients that could compromise a gluten free diet. Modified Food Starch sticks out in my mind as a big red flag.

Missing Tahini Hummus Rolls

I’ve decided to join my friend Jennifer in cutting meat out of my diet. Don’t get me wrong I love meat, I just wanted to give this a try and see how it felt. While she may be trying to become a vegetarian, I am not. I’m not about to give up Ham and Turkey for Thanksgiving, which looms right around the corner. I just figured it would be interesting to see how a meat-free diet affected the way I felt and also what interesting recipes I could come up with without using meat. This is day one. These hummus rolls are super tasty and have plenty of flavor and protein. Of course this can be made with store bought hummus, but I like to make everything from scratch. It’s been a while since I posted anything, and I no longer have a camera so you’ll just have to use your imagination

Assemble the following:
1 Can (16 oz.) Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)
1 very finely minced clove garlic
1/4 Cup coarse chopped pine nuts.
Boston Leaf Lettuce Leaves, whole rinsed
Black Olives, coarsely chopped
Carrot Shreds, coarsely chopped
Olive Oil
Coarse ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt, very little
1/4 cup water (maybe)

Do this with it:
Drain and rinse garbanzo beans.
Toss beans with pepper and salt to taste, set aside.
Saute garlic in a small pan with olive oil, very briefly. Do not allow to caramelize.
Combine cooled garlic and olive oil with garbanzo beans in a blender or food processor.
Blend at high speed, streaming in olive oil as needed to achieve smooth texture characteristic of hummus.
Remove to storage container and season with more black pepper to taste.

Spread two or three tablespoons hummus across lettuce.
Add olives and carrot shreds.
Roll in a spiral fashion, securing the roll with a toothpick.
Chill for a minimum of one hour and serve.

Traditional hummus calls for Tahini, alas I have none. It tastes just fine without it though, you can add all sorts of seasonings to your taste, although I wouldn’t go overboard on the number. I’ve done this before with fresh rosemary and it’s oh so good, you just have to be sure to very finely chop the rosemary. Another alternative to tahini would be sesame oil, but I was going for Mediterranean flavor here.