Tag Archives: salad

Korea…

Friday, August 23 – photo 1

Sooooooooooooooo much good food. This, I’m pretty sure, was one of the best blog dinners ever. My mouth still waters thinking about it, and it happened two weeks ago!

I made Bibim Bap, using the marinade recipe below instead of bottled sauce. I also purchased cabbage kimchi, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger to go on the side. Sir VJ and RubsWithLove made short ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, stuff for lettuce wraps, and a bean sprout salad. They also purchased cucumber kimchi. Sir VJ had a table-top grill that he set up outside on the picnic table and grilled the ribs, pork belly, and mushrooms right in front of us. It was amazing times a million.

I made the marinade and put it into a ziplock bag (I don’t have a juicer, so for the pear I just put it into a food processor and then strained the juice). Then I cut the beef (which was actually a sirloin cut) into thin strips and put them into the marinade. I put that in the fridge while I prepped the veggies and the hot sauce. I cut and sliced and prepped all of the veggies into their own bowls and set them aside. Then I made the hot sauce into a bowl and set that aside. I made the executive decision to use just one pot of boiling water to cook all of the veggies, even though it says not to. How bad could it be? Turns out, it wasn’t bad at all – it worked just fine. I started with the carrots, then the zucchini, then the mushrooms, then the sprouts, and last was the spinach. Once all of the veggies were done, I put the beef and marinade into a hot pan and cooked until *just* done enough. While I was doing that, WingWoman cooked us some fried eggs, leaving the yolk as runny as possible. photo 2

Into the bowl went rice, then some of each of the cooked veggies, then little bits of ripped up seaweed sheets, then sesame seeds, then the meat, then the egg, and then I dumped the cooked sauce over the top of all of the bowls.

We dug into the Bibim Bap (read: devoured) and there was much “mmmmmmmmmmm”ing going on. With the short ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, garlic, and sides, there was so much food I didn’t want to get up from the table. Absolutely epic dinner. Thank you to all of my Korea dinner friends, it was a night I’m going to remember and drool over for a very long time!

Korea
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://recipes.wikia.com and http://koreanfood.about.com)

Bibim Bap

Beef

  • 4 slice bulgogi beef – (⅛ lb)
  • 2 tbsp bottled bulgogi marinade
  • 1 tsp oil

Vegetables

  • 4 x fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tbsp bottled bulgogi marinade
  • 2 x carrots
  • 4 cup spinach
  • 1½ cup soybean sprouts
  • 1 large zucchini

Rice

  • 2 cups short-grain rice

Sauce

  • ¼ cup red pepper paste (kochujang)
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Assembly

  • ½ cup bottled kimchi cut thin strips
  • 1½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • ½ sht nori seaweed – (8″ square) sliced into fine, thin strips
  • 1 fried egg

Directions:

Beef:    Place the beef in a bowl, add the bulgogi marinade, cover and refrigerate, 1 hour.    Remove the beef from the marinade and cut into ½-inch slices.    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.    Add the beef and stir-fry until cooked through, 1 minute.    Note: cook the beef just before assembling the dish.

Vegetables:    Cook the mushrooms in the oil and the marinade in a skillet over high heat until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.    Set aside.    Cut the carrots into very thin, long strips.    The spinach, carrots and soy bean sprouts need to be blanched in separate pots of boiling water.    Blanch the spinach 30 seconds.    Drain and squeeze dry.    Blanch the carrots, 1 minute; the soybean sprouts, 30 seconds.    Cut the zucchini into very thin slices.    Cook the zucchini in boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes.

Rice:    Wash the rice several times in cold water until the water is clear, rubbing the rice well.    Drain.    Place the rice in a heavy pot; add 3 cups of cold water.    Cover and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and steam, covered, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Sauce: Combine the red pepper paste, sesame seeds, honey, oil and garlic in a small bowl.    Set aside.

Assembly:     Place the hot cooked rice in a large serving bowl.    The vegetables can be at room temperature.    Arrange them on top of the rice in separate groups, along with the kimchi.    Sprinkle with the sesame oil and sesame seeds.    Arrange the beef on top and a small pile of nori strips at one side. Place the egg in the center.Pass the sauce in a separate bowl. Add this to taste and stir it into the mixture, preferably with a long-handled Korean spoon.

Korean Meat Marinade (Bulgogi sauce)

  •     3 Tbsp chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  •     3 Tbsp soy sauce
  •     2 Tbsp sugar
  •     1 Tbsp honey
  •     2 Tbsp fresh squeezed juice from an Asian pear
  •     1 Tbsp Japanese rice wine (mirin)*
  •     1 Tbsp sesame oil
  •     3 green onions, finely chopped (including white part)
  •     1 tsp pepper

Preparation:    Mix marinade together until sugar and honey are dissolved/distributed.    Can be stored in refrigerator or freezer for use on beef, pork, and chicken.    (Serves 4)   *If you don’t have access to the rice wine, a splash of dry white wine will also work here.


Jordan…

Monday, July 15 –

I’m late on this post. I know it. SUPER late, really. To tell you the truth, I lost my mojo for this project somewhere along the last few weeks. I’m trying to get it back, but it’s a struggle. So here’s this one, and I will try my best to get back on photo(25)board with it…

This dinner was just BestestFianceEver and me, but we were hoping to have yummy leftovers for lunch. So we took a pound of ground lamb, one onion finely chopped, some garlic, some spices, an egg, and a grated carrot and mixed it altogether. It ended up being super, extra oniony – but that’s ok because we love onion. I made them into round-ish patties instead of balls because they tend to cook faster and more evenly on the stove. Then I threw them onto a hot pan that had a little coating of oil.

While those were cooking I started on the sauce. And I have to ask – how do you boil two teaspoons of water for several minutes? I have no idea. So I put two teaspoons of water into a coffee mug, put the saffron threads in with it, covered it with plastic wrap and microwaved it for three minutes. That was about as close as I knew how to pull that off. I took the wrap off and put the rest of the ingredients in and ended up doubling the lemon (so one whole lemon, juiced) and extra parsley.

BestestFianceEver made rice and a salad (yes, a salad – it was hot outside and it sounded good). Once the meat was done cooking we were good to go for dinner. The meatballs ended up super crumbly because of the meat-to-onion ratio, but the flavor was good. The sauce was still a little tasteless but it went pretty well with the caraway seeds in the meat. All in all this dinner gets a thumbs up.

Jordan
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://khanapakana.com)

Jordanian Meat Balls

  • Lean Minced Lamb or Mutton 350 gm
  • Small Onion finely chopped 1
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Fresh Thyme 1 tsp
  • Caraway Seeds 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika 1/2 tsp
  • Egg 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • All Spice Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Carrot Grated 1/2
  • Oil as required for grilling

For the sauce:

  • Saffron Threads a few
  • Boiling Water 2 tsp
  • Fresh Parsley 2 tbsp
  • Lemon 1/2
  • Yogurt Unsweetened 1 cup
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Directions:      In a bowl mix the lamb mince, onion, garlic, thyme, caraway seeds, all spice powder, grated carrot, paprika, salt and black pepper along with the egg.    Mix well to combine.    Shape the mixture into approximately 16 balls and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.    Soak the skewers in cold water.    Carefully thread the meatballs onto the skewers and grill on a well greased grill either charcoal or a grill pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes until meat is cooked through making sure to rotate the skewers whilst cooking.    For the sauce soak the saffron threads in the boiling water for about 10 minutes with a pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally.    Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley and the rind of 1/2 lemon along with the yogurt to the saffron and soaking water.    Transfer it all into a small bowl for serving.    Serve the ready meatballs with the sauce, lemon wedges and sprinkle with some more caraway seeds and fresh parsley.


Iceland…

Monday, March 25 –

Another dinner with a ton of people, how exciting! We had: LostBoy, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ (salad), ChinUp, MyBuddy (caramelized potatoes), OurCuz (wine), BestestFianceEver, and yours truly (fried halibut and bread). photo(7)

We bought 2.3 pounds of halibut, fresh from Central Market. I cut the slab of fish into pieces approximately 2″ square. I figured it would be easier for people to portion control that way. I mixed the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl and rolled the pieces of fish in the flour mixture. I melted a stick of butter in a large pan (medium high) and I fried the pieces of fish in the hot butter. It took me two batches, the last batch smaller than the first batch, so I added chopped onion to the second batch. After I pulled the last of the fish pieces out and set them on a plate with a paper towel; I covered them with foil until the onions were browned and beautiful from frying in the butter.

Dinner was served – fish fried in butter, onions fried in butter, caramelized potatoes, and a salad with strawberries, gorgonzola, almonds, and balsamic dressing. (We couldn’t find a real salad recipe from Iceland, but it does say to serve it with one in the recipe, so I told them to wing it with whatever sounded good.)

The salad was crisp and bright with sweet strawberries. The fish was light and flaky, with only a little bit of the butter flavor lingering. The potatoes kind of tasted like doughnuts and kind of like potatoes. Not bad, but not my favorite. The food was on plates and then disappeared into bellies so fast that I almost missed everyone actually eating it. I think from the silence while the food was being devoured that it was a pretty darn good dinner.

All of the dinner ideas for the I, J, and K countries are up over here. Don’t be shy, come have dinner with us!

Iceland
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.isholf.is)

Lúðubuff – Fried Halibut Steaks

  • 1 1/2 kg. halibut (or turbot, sole or other flat fish)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 150 gr. oil, butter or margarine
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • 1/3 tsp. ground pepper
  • 100 gr. onion

Take one small, whole halibut. Cut off the head, tail and fins. Scrape off the slime and loose scales under cold, running water. Cut the fish into slices, about as thick as your thumb is wide. Mix together flour, salt and pepper. Coat the slices with flour mixture and fry in the hot fat until done (3-4 minutes on each side). Remove from the pan and arrange the steaks on a serving dish. Slice the onions and brown in the fat, remove and put on top of the fish. Pour some water on the frying pan, roll it around and pour over the fish. Serve with cooked potatoes, green salad and lemon wedges.
-Try grilling the fish steaks: cut into large cubes and thread onto skewers with onion pieces, fresh mushrooms and pieces of red bell pepper (capsicum).

Brúnaðar kartöflur – Caramelized potatoes

  • 1 kg. cooked potatoes (preferably red)
  • 50 g. butter/margarine
  • 50 g. sugar

Potatoes should preferably be cold, but it is not necessary. They should be small and even sized. If they are too big, cut into smaller pieces, flush with water and pat dry. Put the sugar on a medium hot frying pan. When it starts to brown, add the butter and stir to mix. Lower temperature and add potatoes. Roll the potatoes around to coat evenly. The caramel covering should be soft. Serve hot, for example with the Sunday roast. Caramelized potatoes are also good with all kinds of pork, especially smoked.


Hungary…

Monday, March 18 –

Full house for this dinner, that’s for sure! We had: Hot Momma (wine and bread), Baby Bear, MoneyShot, SlotMachine (cucumber salad, wine, and beer), Officially Gangster, ChinUp (goulash), MyBuddy, photo(5)BestestFianceEver, and yours truly. Whew, what a crowd! And we had some seriously good food, too.

I heated up two large pans and put the cubed pork in, browning the pieces on both sides but not worrying about cooking them all the way through. Then I transferred the pieces from the secondary pan to the main large one and added a little oil to the smaller pan and cooked the onions until they were translucent. In the big pan I added in the paprika, crushed tomato, sugar, bay leaves, water, and drained sauerkraut. Once the onions were done I added them in as well. Covered and set to simmer on low until everyone showed up. Once everyone was over I added the sour cream, stirred, and it was ready to go.

The green beans I rinsed and trimmed off the ends. I put them into a large pot, covered them in water, set it on the stove, covered it and turned it onto medium high. I let that boil until they were tender but not squishy. Drained and set aside. In another pan, while the beans were simmering, I melted the butter, added the onions, and cooked until they were soft. I used dried dill and then added the flour. Once that was well mixed I added the rest, let it bubble, and it thickened pretty quickly. I added the beans, stirred, turned the heat to low and put the lid back on.

That’s all four burners going at once! Which meant I had to quickly shuffle the two extra pans into the sink when everyone showed up so that the goulash could be on the heat as well. And dinner was served!photo(4)

The pork was tender and cooked through after being on low for about 40 minutes. The sauerkraut, tomatoes, and sour cream tasted almost like a vodka sauce for pasta. You almost couldn’t tell it was sauerkraut except for the texture. That with a good crusty bread would be a great warm, filling dinner. The goulash looked tender (I say looked because I didn’t try it, as it was beef) but the potatoes I did nibble on had great flavor and were extremely good. And finally the cucumber salad was a good bright, sharp flavor to cut between the rich flavors.

Definitely a win all around – and all of the plates were scraped clean. Keep these recipes handy!

Hungary
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://homepage.interaccess.com/~june4)

Sauerkraut and Pork (Szekely gulyas)

  • 2 lbs. pork cubedphoto(6)
  • 1 &1/2 lbs. sauerkraut, rinse and drained
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbls. lard or oil (if meat is very lean)
  • 2 Tbls. Hungarian sweet paprika (no generic please)
  • 1 large can of crushed tomato (or fresh tomatoes peeled and crushed)
  • 1 Tbls. sugar
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 pint of sour cream (no yogurt please)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown the meat and onion (in lard or oil if needed) in a pot with lid. Add the paprika to the meat and onion mix, stir to mix in (do not burn). Put in the drained sauerkraut, crushed tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Mix. Cover pot. Cook slowly for about one hour, or until meat is tender. Add the sour cream and stir it in. The aroma will make yphoto(3)our mouth water. Serve in soup plates, with good crusty bread, a meal fit for the Kaiser.

Green Beans with Dill (Kapros zoldbabfozelek)

  • 2 packages of green beans
  • 2 Tbl. Lard or butter
  • 2 Tbl. flour
  • 1/2 cup of sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup of good vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbl. chopped fresh dill

Directions: Cook beans in salted water till tender, not soft. Melt lard or butter, add onions and saute till limp, add chopped dill. Then add flour making a roux. Add 1 cup of water, sugar and vinegar and stir while the sauce gets thick. Add drained beans, and mix, if too thick add a little more water.


Honduras…

Saturday, March 16 –

For this dinner we had: BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire (wine), Mistress Whiskey (wine), Hot Momma (wine), Mr. Hero (baleadas), BabyBear, GrandpaBear, LittleBigBrother, ChinUp (mango, avocado photosalsa and chips), and MyBuddy (banana milkshakes). Later in the evening we also had LightsOn and WingWoman show up to hang out and drink some wine.

I started by adding oil to a pan and cooking the onion and bell pepper until they were just starting to brown. Then I added the garlic and let that heat up. While the veggies were cooking on the stove I added the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot. Once the veggies were done I added them in, stirred to mix, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. I did not use the sherry and I substituted a seeded habanero for the yellow pepper, which made it really, really spicy. Almost too spicy, really (which is really weird for me to say). After a few hours I blended the soup with an immersion blender and let it continue to simmer until everyone was ready to eat.

The sweet potato I substituted for a yam because I like their flavor better. Steamed, drained, crisped in hot oil, then drained. Put on a bed of baby arugula (which is what I had in the fridge) and feta, then tossed. I added the dressing in on top, made exactly as the recipe says, and gave that a good toss too.

ChinUp and MyBuddy had the salsa and chips out. Mr. Hero made the baleadas with all the toppings (basically tacos on soft corn tortillas), including beef, beans, onion, cheese, sour cream, and avocado. The wine was flowing freely, and dinner was served!

The soup was ok. I think I would have liked it better unblended. It was spicy but not terribly flavorful. Maybe it needed some ham or something to go with it? I’m not sure. The salad was good, the dressing was tangy and delightful. The beleadas were good and a great compliment to the other dishes. And the mango, avocado salsa was a perfect topping to chips and to all the rest of the food. Last we get to the milkshakes. They were good… and then they added rum. Banana rum milkshakes are pretty darn delicious. And dangerous, because you don’t really notice the rum!

Honduras
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://sidewalkmystic.com)

Bahia Black Bean Soup

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 garlic minced garlic cloves
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 15-oz cans black beans, drained
  • 2 C stock
  • 1 1/2 t. oregano
  • 1 yellow chili, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (brave souls leave the seeds)
  • 1 15-oz can whole tomatoes with liquid or 18-oz can sauce
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed for juice (critical)
  • 1/4 c. sherry (I use red wine)
  • fresh cilantro (1 1/2 t. if fresh isn’t available)

Directions:  [The website author says: my adjustments to the recipe include adding a smoked ham hock for flavor.  As well, if you find the soup too heavily favored by the tomatoes, merely back down on the amount of tomato and increase the stock proportionately]. Saute onion; bell pepper and garlic in oil until onion is translucent. Add beans, stock and oregano. Heat thoroughly. Seed and chop yellow and jalapeno chilies and put into blender. Add lime juice and tomato. Puree to finely mince the chilies. Add black bean mixture to blender (in batches) and puree. When everything is pureed, return it to the soup pot. Simmer at least 1.5 hours. Add wine and fresh cilantro to taste.

Garnishes: Rice, grated cheeses, diced onion, salsa, sour cream, plain yogurt, grilled sausages.

Mixed Greens with Sweet Potatoes and Feta Cheese

  • ¾ lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ to ½ inch dice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar (don’t pinch; buy the top shelf stuff)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ t of Dijon mustard
  • ¼ C of buttermilk (you can use regular milk; just let it stand with a T of regular vinegar in it)
  • 8-10 oz of fresh greens (we use spinach and escarole – small slices of red cabbage add to the esthetic appeal)
  • 4 oz fresh feta cheese (I have used blue cheese when I make a fresh blue cheese dressing to accompany the salad)

Directions:  Steam the sweet potato for 5-8 minutes.  Just tender.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Get the steamed potatoes very dry. Heat 2 t of olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes, shaking pan often for 15 minutes.  Remove when crisp and drain again on paper towels.  Mix together the lime juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt pepper, and remaining olive oil and buttermilk.  Whisk in a blender (start to drool). Place greens and cheese in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing.  Top the salad with the sweet potatoes, serve, and call me.  Serve with tortillas.


Guyana…

Friday, March 1 –

Fish wrapped in bacon – what could be more delicious? I chose to use halibut because I love the flavor and the texture of it, but I’m sure you could wrap any kind of fish in bacon and be happy with the results. I also photo(10)wrapped portobello mushroom slices in bacon just for fun. Then I sprinkled salt and pepper and squeezed lemon juice over the top of everything. Arranged on a foil-lined baking sheet, I put them into the 350* oven for about 15-20 minutes. Just long enough for the fish to flake apart when tested with a fork. I served the fish and mushroom heaven with a green salad and this cilantro habanero rice recipe.

There wasn’t a scrap of fish or mushroom left after BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma, Wingwoman, BabyBear, and I were done with our plates. I could have probably even made more (I made 12 oz of fish, 2 portobellos cut into slices, 1 lemon, and 1 pound of bacon), but fortunately for our waistlines I didn’t. I highly recommend this way of cooking fish! YUM!

Guyana
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.islandflave.com)

Bacon Fish Rolls

  • 8 Slices of Bacon
  • 8 small fillets of fish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Parsley
  • Rice to serve

Directions:  Roll 1 slice of bacon around one fish fillet and secure with toothpick. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fish roll. Squeeze some lemon juice. Repeat steps 1 – 3 for each fish fillet. Bake on a greased pan at 350 degrees for about 20 – 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley.


Guinea…

Wednesday, February 13 –

Sometimes I take a look at recipes and all I see are the ingredients – and thinking “gosh, that sounds good!” I decide to make it. Then, when the day comes to actually make it, I look at how it is made and I decide to photo(8)change some of the directions. Or, you know, all of them. This dinner was one of those “let’s change it all but keep the ingredients” days.

I took two chicken breasts, plain, and put them onto a hot pan. I cooked them about 2 minutes or so on each side so that there was good brown color, but the meat was definitely not cooked through. While that was happening I chopped up a half an onion in to fairly big pieces. I added the juice of two lemons, some salt, some pepper, some cayenne, and some chopped garlic. I didn’t measure any of these things, I just added until it looked right. I mixed this all together and then set it aside until the chicken was brown. Once the chicken was done I put them into a baking dish, poured the onions and juice over the top, and put the dish into a 450* oven for about 15 minutes (uncovered).

While the chicken was baking I made some veggie Rice-a-Roni and BestestFianceEver made a couple of small salads. Once everything was done cooking it all went onto the plate and dinner was served!

The chicken was spicy, garlicky, lemony, and delicious. With a scoop of rice, a bite of chicken, a chunk of onion, and plenty of sauce – each bite bit back. And it was great. So I might not have made it the way the recipe was written, but it was pretty darn delicious.

Guinea
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.friendsofguinea.org)

Poulet Yassa

  • 3-4 pounds chicken
  • 6 lemons, squeezed.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 onions, sliced in rounds
  • 1 or 2 red peppers, or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 4-6 tbsp oil
  • bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • rice to serve

Wash and dry chicken and cut into pieces.  Marinate chicken in mixture of lemon juice, onions, garlic, and 2-3 tbsp of the oil for several hours, turning occasionally as that all parts are covered.  Remove chicken and grill, broil, or braise until all pieces are lightly browned on all sides.  Drain onions and garlic, but retain the marinade.  Use a heavy casserole, Dutch Oven, or fry chicken; saute onions and garlic in the remaining oil until soft.  Add chicken, bay leaf, peppers or cayenne, salt and pepper.  Simmer until chicken is tender (1 – 1 1/2 hours) or bake covered in medium (325 degree) oven.  Add marinade now and then so mixture remains moist.  Serve over rice.