Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hollow stem vegetables with fermented tofu

This is a very basic recipe, but to do it well, it has to be done right. Combined with my parents' and relatives' secrets, and my own experiments, here is what I've found works best.

1 bunch of hollow stemmed vegetable (sometimes called Chinese water spinach or Ong-Choy) Make sure the bunch is very fresh, with no wilted leaves.
4–5 cubes of fermented tofu (see pic below):

(Made in Taiwan. See?)
5 tbs olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
white pepper
a small sprinkle of Hondashi:Separate the stems from the leaves. Cut the stems into 1 inch sections. Soak stems and leaves in two different bowls for 1 hour. Wash and strain both, then pat dry with paper towels.

Mash and cut garlic into chunks. Heat the olive oil in a wok, and throw in the garlic until the oil is very very hot, but make sure to not burn the garlic. Throw in the stems. Stir and coat the stems in the oil. Cook for 3 minutes until the stems turn a bright green color. Add 2 cubes of the fermented tofu and stir until veggies are coated in deliciousness.

Throw in the leaves and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add remaining fermented tofu. Stir until everything is fully coated. Just before you take it out of the wok, add salt, white pepper, and hondashi. Stir to fully flavor.


Baby octopus and tomatos stir fry, Taiwanese style

1.5 lb baby octopus or squid
2 tbs sesame oil
white pepper
A LOT of freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, mashed and cut into chunks

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
3 tbs olive oil
1 medium tomato, cut in half then sliced into 1/4" pieces
1 tsp chili pepper flakes

Massage salt, black and white pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar into baby octopus. Let it marinade for 30 minutes. Heat up oil in wok and throw in garlic until it sizzles. Next throw in the tomatoes and chili pepper flakes. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Coat marinaded octopus with cornstarch, and throw it in the wok. Stir fry for 8-10 minutes. Serve over rice, with a side dish of hollow vegetables with fermented bean curd (recipe to come!).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Zucchini and Squash Fritteres

These are so good and easy to make. Use a large grater to grate one squash and one zucchini. Coat lightly in flour. Add one egg (or egg white if you want to be healthy) and mix it all up. Add salt and pepper, and any spice you wish to taste. Heat up olive oil and pan fry, about 3-4 minutes each side until golden crispy. Thanks to Nicole for this recipe!

All Season Bean Salad

Julia Child's recipe, with some modifications from yours truly.

Beans take well to salad dressings, herbs, peppers, onions, and garlic, but be sure to warm the beans before dressing them so they will absorb these added flavors.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

3 cups of warm home-cooked beans, or canned beans such as cannellini (I used edamame beans, white corn (both frozen), and canned navy beans.)

3 Tbs finely minced onions or scallions

1 large clove of garlic, puréed and then mashed with 1/4 teaspoon salt

Half of a large lemon

2 Tbs or so good olive oil or salad oil
Herbs, such as fresh or dried thyme, oregano, and sage (I used sage. It's important to use fresh herbs in this recipe. Makes a world of difference.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Additional elements, such as one or a combination of: strips of red or green bell pepper or pimiento; hard-boiled eggs; rounds of red onion; sardines, tuna, and/or salami; spinach leaves or salad greens (I used bits of pancetta to make it a full meal!)

Flavoring the beans.
Toss the warm beans in a big bowl with the onions or scallions, garlic, several tablespoons of oil, herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing several times, and correcting the seasoning.

Serving. Build an elaborate composition with eggs, sardines, and so forth, or use a simple decoration of spinach leaves, strips of red pepper or pimiento, and onion rings. I used pancetta and it was delicious! I served this on the side of zuchinni and squash fritters (recipe to come!)