Food in the Northwest and Beyond

 

Chicken and Veg with a Peanut Sauce, Version 2

I’ve been wanting to revisit this recipe for awhile now, partly because I’ve been really enjoying peanut flavors at the tail end of this pregnancy and partly because what’s up there now isn’t a reflection of how I prep this dish anymore. That said, what’s there is good - it’s what I call the quick-and-dirty version - but this…well this is better.

It saves time if you already have a chicken cooked and shredded - but I usually don’t, and with the weather cooling off use it as an opportunity to cook a chicken and make some stock! The recipe as written below will assume you have better planning skills.

The veggies I default to are carrots (4-5), celery (2 stalks), broccoli (1 large head), mushrooms (shiitake, 2-3 handfuls) and red bell pepper (1). 

Chicken and Veg with a Peanut Sauce
(serves 6-8)

1 1/3 c onion, diced
peanut oil
sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2  c dark brown sugar
1/4 c soy sauce
1 c peanut butter
1/2 c ketchup
4 tsp sherry
3 tsp lime juice
Sriracha to taste
1 chicken, cooked and shredded
mixed veg, chopped small and/or sliced thin (like broccoli, red bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, celery, snap peas)
rice (6-8 servings)

1) Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and drizzle in a tablespoon each of peanut oil and sesame oil. Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger until soft and reduce heat to low.

2)  Stir in the red wine vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter, ketchup, sherry and lime juice and add Sriracha to taste. Leave over low heat, stirring occasionally. If you would like to thin the sauce, add water by the 1/4 c to desired consistency.

3) Begin cooking the rice according to package instructions.

4) Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and parboil any of your large or firm veggies (this could be broccoli or carrots, depending on the size of your slice and dice :))

5) Bring a large pan to medium high heat, add a tbs each of peanut and sesame oil, and toss in all the veg, drizzling in a bit of soy sauce. Once veg are ready, add the shredded chicken to the pan and toss together. 

6) Serve the chicken and veg over a bed of rice with the peanut sauce.

If you ask Adam or me to pick any type of restaurant to come to our slice of the world, we’d choose Indian. The Baby must agree because I cooked up Indian recipes 4/5 nights so far this week (more on those later), and in the spirit of not being cowed by persistent NVP I made naan, from scratch, every day.

That tells you two important things about naan and this recipe:

1) it’s easy
2) it’s worth it

Naan
(Yield: 6)

1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar, divided
3/4 warm water 
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbs plain, full fat yogurt
2 c unbleached AP flour (plus more for rolling dough)
1 tsp fine sea salt (+ more for seasoning later)
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp butter

1. In a small bowl combine the yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and the water. Set aside for about 8 minutes.

2. Sift the flour, salt, 1 tsp sugar, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.

3. Once the 8 minutes are up and the yeast mixture is lightly frothy, add the yogurt and olive oil to the small bowl and give a quick mix.

4. Add the liquid mix to the flour and with one hand gently bring the (sticky!) dough together.

5. No kneading. Once just combined that there’s no flour left sitting in the bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 3-4 hours.

(3-4 hours have passed here :))

6. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat (I like to use our two-burner cast iron grill pan but a nice large cast iron skillet will work), get a bowl of about a 1/2c flour, and another small bowl with a cup of water. Melt the tbs of butter.

7. Divide the dough into 6 parts, rolling each in the bowl of flour to thoroughly coat so they won’t stick. Roll each ball into an oblong shape (In the top left photo I’m about 3/4 of the way there), if you lift at one end it will fall into the teardrop shape of naan. Target 1/4” thick, hands width across and twice as long. 

8. Dip your hands in the bowl of water, then pick up the rolled piece patting both sides to dampen. Place on the hot pan, flipping after about a minute (there will be brown and black spots). Cook an additional minute, then remove to a plate and brush with a bit of the melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat for remaining loaves.

I’m posting this on the fly, which is why you get the super awesome, real life pic above. I made a pumpkin smoothie, I liked the pumpkin smoothie, and that’s the end of the Pregnant Lady photo op.
Pumpkin Smoothie(one serving)
1/2 c pumpkin purée 3/4 c plain yogurt 1/2 frozen banana 1 tbs honey+ (to taste) 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients til smooth!
(option: add a cup of ice to make it more like a pumpkin shake!)

I’m posting this on the fly, which is why you get the super awesome, real life pic above. I made a pumpkin smoothie, I liked the pumpkin smoothie, and that’s the end of the Pregnant Lady photo op.

Pumpkin Smoothie
(one serving)

1/2 c pumpkin purée
3/4 c plain yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
1 tbs honey+ (to taste)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients til smooth!

(option: add a cup of ice to make it more like a pumpkin shake!)

The Science Behind Baking the Most Delicious Cookie Ever

Korean Beef Bowl - Damn Delicious

This was, as promised, super easy and very yummy. However…between pregnant me, husband with a mid-range appetite, and the toddler, it was all gone after one go. I’d double it! Also, thinking of incorporating veg or kimchi next go.

I made an apple and celeriac soup with crème fraîche and sage butter - which was all pretty meh, tbh. BUT, look at that cute bowl.

I made an apple and celeriac soup with crème fraîche and sage butter - which was all pretty meh, tbh. BUT, look at that cute bowl.

There’s this place I’ve never been, and I make their cookies. Momofuku Milk bar is in NYC, and if you’re familiar with the opposite coast it’s like the Dahlia Bakery is to Tom Douglas, only Tom Douglas is David Chang (and Christina Tosi). 

My go-to cookie, the Momofuku Compost Cookie combines my favorite of all cookies (chocolate chip) with irresistible saltiness. Gooeyness. Dare I say crunchiness

Using an amped up version of your basic chocolate chip recipe (creamed butter, beaten eggs), you then add 1.5c each of your favorite sweet and savory foodstuffs. And you can choose. Really. Anything. That said, I noted my favorites below, and I know there exist people somewhere on this planet that would go so far as to use things like oats and raisins. I try not to judge.

This recipe kind sorta definitely requires a mixer. I went over ten years of my cooking life without a stand mixer - and I still maintain I can whip up cream to stiff peaks better and faster than my KitchenAid - so know that this prerequisite comes from a place of, well, requisiteness. 

The Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie
(Christina Tosi Recipe, my words, hope I didn’t muck it up, Christina)

1 c unsalted butter 
1 c granulated sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar*
1 tbs corn syrup 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 c AP flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 c your favorite baking ingredients (I use half chocolate chips and half sweetened shredded coconut)
1 1/2 c your favorite snack ingredients (I use 1 c crushed potato chips and 1/2 c corn flakes)

1. Cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Aim for fluffy and light yellow, and scrape down the sides (about 3 minutes).

2. Turn down to low and add eggs and vanilla, get them well folded in before increasing the speed to med-high. Leave there for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides a couple times. When the 10 minutes are up the sugars will be dissolved and the color will be a creamy white color.

3. Turn speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix until just combined.

4. Add the baking/sweet ingredients and mix until just combined. 

5. Add the snack foods/savory ingredients and mix until just combined (I mix a little less, then scrape down the sides and fold a few times to finish). 

6. Assuming you don’t consume all the raw dough at this point, cover with plastic wrap and stash in the fridge until well chilled (this will take an hour, but you can go for the “aged dough” process and leave for a week. BTW, I don’t trust people that can resist cookie for a week).

7. Heat the oven to 400 F. Scoop out cookies into golf ball sized blobs, put on cookie sheet and bake 9 to 11 minutes. (Top left pic shows what mine look like just out of the oven, they should have some browning going on without being crisped up. If they still look downright doughy in the middle, bake for another minute or two)

8. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a rack/plate/napkin/your face (top right and bottom pics). 

*Confession: I always have dark brown sugar around, rarely have light brown, and usually just use dark brown sugar. 

Mexican Pizzas from Hilah

This is a true thing that happened:

Actually, it’s all true. I’ve been to Taco Bell once maybe 7 years ago. Technically, it was a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo situation. 

BUT the important thing here is that I’m back in the kitchen! I decided to start by cooking the food from the lady I’m referring to as “Adam’s Woman on the Side”, since he had to secretly watch all cooking shows during my Hyperemesis Gravidarum food sabbatical. 

Here’s a link, make the pizzas. They’re Mexican. 

Mama, there’s a baby growing in your belly. There’s not a baby in my belly, we’re going to need to go to the grocery store and get one.

-The Toddler

The Blog is on Hiatus for Pregnancy.

More info on Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

While The Toddler has been under the weather and Mardi Gras shenanigans have been underway, I’ve taken a break from vintage food and skewed toward trying some new low-budget recipes instead. Perfect timing for Lenten pescetarians! Above are fish tostadas with a pineapple salsa and navy beans from Melissa d’Arabian, and I generally like her recipes.
But…
This one reads like a nightmare. I think she’s prone to underestimating cook times, here it’s both egregious and disorderly. Below is my rewrite and I hope you try this one, it’s yummy!
If you’re just killing time let’s talk about some other typical low budget recipe offenses: singular ingredients and servings. If you really want to maximize your budget efforts you need to be really careful to overlap ingredients, like the white wine called for in this recipe, or the half cup of purple cabbage, or part of a red onion and part of a yellow (below, I used one yellow below instead). 
Then we have servings, almost always 4, which is a stupendous conundrum with 2 adults and a little one. It always leaves just enough to maybe fill out part of a lunch for 1.5 of us. Sure, once you’re familiar enough with the recipe you can tweak the quantity up a little, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t an ongoing source of refrigerator detritus. 
Fish Tostadas with Pineapple Salsa and White Beans(serves 4)
IngredientsFish:1 lime, zested and juiced, plus lime wedges for garnish2 cloves garlic, minced2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking sheetKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper1 lb white fish fillets, like tilapia, flounder, sole, or cod, skin discarded and cut into finger-sized pieces
Tortillas:1/4 cup vegetable oil10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
Sauteed White Beans: 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil1/2 white or yellow onion, finely choppedKosher salt1 clove garlic, minced1 tsp ground cumin1/2 c white wine1 can navy beans2 tbs chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)Freshly ground black pepper
Pineapple and Avocado Salsa1 (14-ounce) can sliced pineapple in juice, drained, chopped and juices reserved1 tbs lime juice1 tbs honey1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and dicedKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper1/2 onion, finely chopped1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cubed2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
Directions
Pineapple and Avocado Salsa:
1. In a medium bowl mix 2 tbs of the reserved pineapple juice with the lime juice, honey, oil and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
2. Add the pineapple and onion. 
3. Fold in the avocado and cilantro and let rest on the counter while you prep the rest (15 minutes minimum).
Fish:
1. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, zest, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
2. Put the fish in a baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Marinate for no more than 30 minutes. (Prep the white beans now) 
3. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler or grill. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. 
4. Remove the fish from the marinade and arrange on the baking sheet, making sure to leave space between the pieces. Broil until just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes.
White Beans: 
1. In a small pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute until soft. 
2. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat and add the white wine.
3. Cook until the wine has reduced by half. Stir in the beans and oregano and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook gently for 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
Tortillas: 
1. While the white beans are going and the fish is marinating, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a medium pan. 
2. Fry the corn tortillas, 1 at a time, just until crisp, flipping halfway through to brown both sides. Drain on paper towels and salt while still hot.
To assemble the tostadas: Layer each tostada first with Sauteed White Beans, then the fish. Top with the shredded cabbage and Pineapple and Avocado Salsa. 

While The Toddler has been under the weather and Mardi Gras shenanigans have been underway, I’ve taken a break from vintage food and skewed toward trying some new low-budget recipes instead. Perfect timing for Lenten pescetarians! Above are fish tostadas with a pineapple salsa and navy beans from Melissa d’Arabian, and I generally like her recipes.

But…

This one reads like a nightmare. I think she’s prone to underestimating cook times, here it’s both egregious and disorderly. Below is my rewrite and I hope you try this one, it’s yummy!

If you’re just killing time let’s talk about some other typical low budget recipe offenses: singular ingredients and servings. If you really want to maximize your budget efforts you need to be really careful to overlap ingredients, like the white wine called for in this recipe, or the half cup of purple cabbage, or part of a red onion and part of a yellow (below, I used one yellow below instead). 

Then we have servings, almost always 4, which is a stupendous conundrum with 2 adults and a little one. It always leaves just enough to maybe fill out part of a lunch for 1.5 of us. Sure, once you’re familiar enough with the recipe you can tweak the quantity up a little, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t an ongoing source of refrigerator detritus. 

Fish Tostadas with Pineapple Salsa and White Beans
(serves 4)

Ingredients
Fish:
1 lime, zested and juiced, plus lime wedges for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking sheet
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb white fish fillets, like tilapia, flounder, sole, or cod, skin discarded and cut into finger-sized pieces

Tortillas:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
10 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage

Sauteed White Beans: 
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 c white wine
1 can navy beans
2 tbs chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
Freshly ground black pepper

Pineapple and Avocado Salsa
1 (14-ounce) can sliced pineapple in juice, drained, chopped and juices reserved
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs honey
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cubed
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves

Directions

Pineapple and Avocado Salsa:

1. In a medium bowl mix 2 tbs of the reserved pineapple juice with the lime juice, honey, oil and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

2. Add the pineapple and onion. 

3. Fold in the avocado and cilantro and let rest on the counter while you prep the rest (15 minutes minimum).

Fish:

1. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, zest, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

2. Put the fish in a baking dish and pour the marinade on top. Marinate for no more than 30 minutes. (Prep the white beans now) 

3. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler or grill. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. 

4. Remove the fish from the marinade and arrange on the baking sheet, making sure to leave space between the pieces. Broil until just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes.

White Beans: 

1. In a small pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onion with a pinch of salt and saute until soft. 

2. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat and add the white wine.

3. Cook until the wine has reduced by half. Stir in the beans and oregano and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook gently for 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Tortillas: 

1. While the white beans are going and the fish is marinating, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a medium pan. 

2. Fry the corn tortillas, 1 at a time, just until crisp, flipping halfway through to brown both sides. Drain on paper towels and salt while still hot.

To assemble the tostadas: Layer each tostada first with Sauteed White Beans, then the fish. Top with the shredded cabbage and Pineapple and Avocado Salsa. 

Made this potato bacon torte to round out a leftover soup supper - yummy! It’s basically potatoes au gratin in a flaky crust. 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/potato-bacon-torte-recipe.html#!

Made this potato bacon torte to round out a leftover soup supper - yummy! It’s basically potatoes au gratin in a flaky crust.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/potato-bacon-torte-recipe.html#!

Sweet Potato Ricotta Fritters

Sorry for the lapse in vintage recipes, The Toddler has been a sickie and that leaves no extra time for bologna and peas in gelatine. 

But sweet potatoes are her favorite, which is just enough reason for me to return to frying.

A little background: I like fried food. I don’t like frying. I don’t have a fryer, it stinks up the house for days, and the sentence “I haven’t started a kitchen fire in at least a year” has direct correlation to the last time I fried. 

Just so you understand it takes a little extra nudge to start up a frying venture. Add in the fact that while I have been really tempted by the idea of sweet potato fritters, most recipes committed some pretty egregious crimes - notably, they used all but a few spoonfuls of multiple ingredients. I hate that about as much as kitchen fires.

image

They’re worth it.

Imbued with a fresh sense of purpose and imprecise memories of frying misadventure only the distance of time can bring, I put these together. They’re magical. Crispy outside, the gooey wonder of a hush puppy inside, and that beignet sweetness to boot. Plus, they led to a discussion of Dragon Quest as a cheese-making sim. 

Sweet Potato Ricotta Fritters
(yield approx 3 dozen fritters)

Oil for frying
1 good size peeled sweet potato, cooked (I boiled) and mashed
1 15 oz container whole milk fresh ricotta
1/3 c confectioners’ sugar, a handful more for dusting
1/2 c rounded self rising flour
hearty pinch Kosher salt
half dozen grinds of black pepper

1. Heat a few inches of oil in a deep pot, preferably something heavy like a Dutch Oven. If you have a deep frying thermometer, you’re aiming for 365F.

2. In a mixing bowl combine the potato, ricotta, sugar, salt, pepper and flour til smooth.

3. Add large teaspoons of the batter to the oil, working in batches.* Fry to golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, then remove to drain on paper towels. Dust or gently roll in confectioners’ sugar with a sprinkle of salt.

*I did this by putting the batter in a ziplock, snipping a corner off, and squeezing out the potato mix.

Peas and carrots, carrots and peas!

This may seal my fate as a mid-century foodie: I love peas. I love carrots. I love when they get together with butter and garlic (and a bit of dill, as above). 

Peas and carrots, I eat you up! I eat you all up!

Peas and carrots, carrots and peas!

This may seal my fate as a mid-century foodie: I love peas. I love carrots. I love when they get together with butter and garlic (and a bit of dill, as above).

Peas and carrots, I eat you up! I eat you all up!

Lime Cheese Salad

Sarah and Joseph had us for supper last night and invited me to bring along one of the vintage creations (this even after I brought the banana candle “into their home”, as Joseph put it). That’s why they’re getting an above-the-fold mention here, they’re such good sports!

Thus far the recipes on the list have come from cookbooks. This one, I suspect (but can’t be certain), does not. It looks to me like a magazine or back-of-the box recipe, designed to get you to buy Jell-O and legitimize it for your luncheon table as more than dessert. 

image

Also, that image is crazy misleading.

image

They easily used 2-3x as much Jell-O to achieve that picture. Mine looks like something Mario needs fireballs to defeat.

But back to the recipe. 

What tips it over the edge for me into “advertisement” isn’t just the misleading image, but the addition of a seafood salad. Because the cottage cheese and lime Jell-O tastes fine, good really (really!). If you grew up with any Jell-O recipes at all, odds are you had something like this. Sure there’s the funky addition of grated onion, (which I honestly don’t get because it’s in such small quantity it doesn’t have an impact on the flavor), but the seafood is just…why? The makers of Jell-O don’t want to be resigned to dessert. So they waged a brilliant mid-century campaign to become a part of mealtimes, regardless of course. 

Bonus: While I was snapping the pic The Toddler confirmed that it’s impossible to not poke Jell-O:

image

And so I’d like to draw a line here, because I think that may have been the last of the truly mild vintage recipes. Next week will be interesting.