Well. I must say, I just had an extraordinarily long day that culminated with a 5 hour class and drive home from Red Deer, and I was feeling a little like I had to get my homework done before getting to crawl into bed, but seeing all these fantastic posts has revived me. Somewhat.
Tonight my excellent friend Nik and I drove to Red Deer to teach a private Asian cooking / tea class / dinner at The Cooking Room. I made hoisin pork lettuce wraps, Vietnamese rice paper rolls with peanut sauce, Thai coconut soup with lemongrass and chicken/shrimp (two varieties), pork potstickers, chicken fried rice, teriyaki beef satay, curried peanut orange shrimp, and green tea crème brulée.
Yikes, that really was as much as it felt like.
Thai Coconut Noodle Soup with Chicken or Seafood
This ingredient list may seem exotic, but everything can be easily located in most grocery stores. If there’s something you can’t find, a trip to an Asian market is always worthwhile. This recipe easily halves or doubles, or you can make the whole batch of stock, freeze half, and add chicken or seafood to the rest for dinner.
1 stalk fresh lemongrass
4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable broth
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can light or regular coconut milk
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. curry paste or curry powder
2-3 tsp. red chili paste, chili-garlic sauce or 1 small Serrano or jalapeño chili, minced
thin or wide rice noodles – enough as you’d like for each person
1-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small strips, and/or 1/2-1 lb. (250-500 g) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, or raw scallops
1/4 cup lime juice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil or cilantro, thinly sliced
Remove the tough outer leaves from the lemongrass and cut the stalk into two or three pieces. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, combine the lemongrass, chicken broth, coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, fish sauce, mushrooms, ginger, sugar, curry powder and chili paste. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the rice noodles according to package directions.
Add the chicken or seafood and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until cooked through. Fish out the chunks of lemongrass, which aren’t meant to be eaten. Stir in the lime juice, green onions and basil or cilantro. Put a small pile of noodles into each bowl. Ladle the soup over top. Serve immediately.
Curried Peanut Shrimp
Throw the shrimp and marinade into a baggie in the morning and you’ll have dinner almost ready when you come home from work. Sometimes I simmer the whole lot, sauce and all, in a large sauté pan and serve it over rice to catch the sauce.
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. curry paste (or to taste)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. chili sauce or sambal olek
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with the tails left on
Combine everything but the shrimp in a bowl or jar and whisk or shake until smooth. Pour over the shrimp in a container or zip lock bag and marinate in the fridge for an hour or overnight.
Now you can proceed one of two ways: pull out the shrimp and cook them quickly in a skillet, just until cooked through, and simmer the reserved marinade in a small saucepan for a few minutes to serve alongside the shrimp for dipping. Or pour the whole lot into a larger skillet set over medium-high heat and cook until bubbly around the edges and the shrimp turn pink; serve over rice.
Per serving: 159 calories, 5 g total fat (0.8 g saturated fat, 1.8 g monounsaturated fat, 1.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 13.2 g protein, 16.5 g carbohydrate, 86.2 mg cholesterol, 0.4 g fiber. 27% calories from fat.
1 cup finely shredded bok choy or napa cabbage (optional)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. lean ground pork
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 pkg. wonton wrappers
chicken or veggie stock, or water
If you’re using it, toss the cabbage with salt in a medium bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Pick it up in your hand and squeeze out the excess liquid, draining it as well as you can. Add the pork, green onions, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and sesame oil and mix it all up with your hands.
To fill wontons, place a small spoonful of filling in the middle of each wrapper; moisten the edges with water (just use your finger) and fold over, pressing the edge tightly to seal. Place seam side up on a cookie sheet, pressing lightly to flatten the bottom. Cover with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out. (Dumplings can be prepared up to this point, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen.)
When you’re ready to cook the potstickers, heat a drizzle of canola oil in a largeish skillet set over medium-high heat. Place half the dumplings at a time in the skillet and cook for a minute or two, until deep golden brown on the bottom, shaking the pan a few times to keep them from sticking. Don’t crowd the pan too much.
Pour about 1/4 cup stock or water into the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes – this will allow them to steam, cooking them through.
Makes 2 – 3 dozen potstickers.
Each: 45 calories, 1 g total fat (0.2 g saturated fat, 0.4 g monounsaturated fat, 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 3 g protein, 5.9 g carbohydrate, 5.2 mg cholesterol, 0.4 g fiber. 20% calories from fat.
Green Tea Crème Brulée
6 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. matcha powdered green tea
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream or 18% coffee cream
½ tsp. good-quality vanilla
sugar, for sprinkling on top
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Dissolve the tea in a little bit of water or cream to get rid of any lumps; whisk the cream, tea and vanilla into the egg yolks and sugar.
Divide among 6 small ramekins, and put them into a roasting pan or 9?x13? pan; pour water in so that the water comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This will sort of insulate them so that they cook gently and evenly. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the custards are set but still just slightly jiggly in the middle (you’ll get a feel for this!). Take them out, let them cool and then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, until nice and cold.
Sprinkle an even layer of sugar over each dish and caramelize with a torch or transfer to a cookie sheet and place under the broiler in the oven for about 2 minutes, just until the sugar is caramelized and golden. Turn the sheet around if you need to to help them caremelize evenly. Refrigerate again, or just let them sit on the countertop while you eat dinner, just until the sugar is set like glass.