Sunday, March 21, 2010

honey ginger stir fry

what i love about stir fry is that the options are endless! you can basically pick your veggies, meat, and sauce and every time it will be different. one time i was just throwing random things in (like honey for example, which i think confused some people) and out came this tangy, crunchy, and sweet dish.

honey ginger stir fry
vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/4th of a cabbage, cut (see here for help!)
2 green onions, cut into small pieces
2 celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup carrots
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup honey
1/4 tsp ginger
dash salt
1/2 tsp pepper

heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil on medium heat and add garlic until it sizzles. add cabbage for 3-4 minutes or until it cooks down. add green onion, celery, white onion, bell pepper, and carrots. saute for 5-6 minutes, adding oil as needed.

mix in peanuts. make a space in the pan and pour in the rest of the ingredients. (this is so the honey can get warm and mix better with the soy sauce). then mix with the vegetables for another few minutes.

serve over white rice, brown rice, rice noodles, unseasoned ramen noodles, flat pasta noodles...anything you like! serves 1-2.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

everything tortilla soup

i basically lived on this my sophomore year of college when we had a was the first recipe i made up on my own! it keeps really well, too!

everything tortilla soup 
1 clove garlic, minced
vegetable oil
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, sliced or diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 medium sized potatoes, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed thoroughly (at least 3 times)
1 can corn (pour out 1/2 of the juice)
1 can ROTEL (any version, keep juice)
dash salt
dash seasoned salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp lime or lemon juice

pour a thin layer of vegetable oil in a pot. heat pot over medium temperature, add garlic.

when garlic sizzles, add celery, carrots and onion. let onion become translucent (after a few minutes). then reduce heat to medium-low and add the rest of the ingredients.

after stirring for 5 minutes, reduce heat again to low, and let simmer with the lid on for at least 20 minutes.

*add water if you would like the consistency of your soup to be more liquidy-- i usually add a "can full" by filling the corn can with water to measure.

you can cook up some chicken ahead of time and shred it into small pieces and add to the soup once all of the other ingredients are in. let simmer and enjoy with chips! serves about 4.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

six layer tiramisu

the first tiramisu i tried was in cinque terre, italy, with my study abroad travel buddies. in such a rugged, open natural park, my remembrance of the food is, similarly, straightforward, classic, and for that reason simply stunning. tiramisu is just that: elegant without being pretentious.

for one of our reunion dinners, i decided to try and whip up a quality serving. most recipes are made for a cake-style dessert. why not modify them into cute little individual servings?

traditionally, this italian dessert uses ladyfingers, mascarpone (a sweet, creamy cheese), and rum and coffee flavors. my take on tiramisu uses a brick of angel food cake instead of ladyfingers (because i can't find any at the grocery!), less rum and flavored coffee. this recipe also needs to be made a day early for the flavors to chill, merge, and develop.

--> three parts of tiramisu
typically, there are three major aspects of the dessert: ladyfingers soaked in rum and coffee; a custard made of mascarpone and egg yolk; and a thick whipped cream. it's typically sprinkled with cocoa. wikipedia tells me there is a little controversy over the origins of the dessert, but a friend of mine revealed the origin of the name, "tirami su" to mean in italian "pick me up," which it certainly does! the original recipe allegedly used honey as an ingredient, so let's see how that goes-- why not!

six layer tiramisu
6 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup almond milk
1 pound mascarpone cheese (found in the specialty cheese or italian food section in the grocery store; the brand i used was sold in tubs by the half pound)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup coffee (divided) (this means actual brewed coffee! so just order a basic cup of joe somewhere and bring it back to your place to go. any blend is good, i ordered a crème brûlée flavor, but make sure there's not a lot of creamer or milk added on)
1 + 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 tsp vanilla extract
angel food cake (i used a "brick" sized cake)
1 tbsp rum
1 tbsp amaretto
unsweetened cocoa powder
12 clear plastic punch cups

part A: mascarpone custard (allot an extra hour for this to chill!)
whisk egg yolks, sugar, and both milks together in a medium sized saucepan until blended.
heat over medium. stir constantly and bring to boil.
let boil gently for one minute, then remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes or so.
cover and chill in a plastic tub in the refrigerator for at least an HOUR.
after chilled, pour into a bowl and whisk in the mascarpone, honey, and 1/4 cup coffee until smooth.
refrigerate until you have completed the other parts.

part B: whipped cream
beat cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
--> try your best to time this JUST SO. when you get a sudden feeling of resistance from the cream, stop the beater and check the peaks. just lift the [turned off] beaters straight up from the mix. if there are literal peaks that stand on their own, congrats! if they are rounded or melt back down, you need to beat them some more.
set to the side or in the fridge until part C is complete.

part C: cake base
in a bowl, combine the rest of the coffee, rum, and amaretto.
slice and dice the angel food cake into one inch squares. i used about 7 squares per cup, so try for 90-100 just to be safe.
put the squares in another bowl, and pour the coffee sauce on top. the squares should soak up most of the liquids, but if not, stir them around to make sure everything is evenly coated.

now...time to layer! (note that what's listed first is what's on top!!)
(*) a pinch of unsweetened cocoa powder
(6) a spoonful of whipped cream, spread
(5) a smaller dollop of mascarpone custard, spread
(4) 3-4 squares of angel food cake
(3) a spoonful of whipped cream, spread
(2) a large dollop of mascarpone custard, spread (see above photo for a dollop)
(1) 4 squares of angel food cake

let chill in the fridge for a day, covered with foil or saran wrap. should make about 12 servings. then serve and enjoy!

*recipe modified from here. i changed some ratios, added honey and amaretto, and made this a layered, individual serving recipe.

**make it your own: add almond extract, hazelnut syrup to the whipping cream and more amaretto instead of rum; add some seedless raspberry jam to the custard or raspberry syrup to the whipped cream; use maple syrup instead of honey.