Spicy Asian Minced Beef in Lettuce Cups

Perhaps my favorite Chinese restaurant in New York City is one that is close to my apartment on the East River midtown, the glorious Mr. Chow’s. One of my favorite dishes is minced chicken served in lettuce cups. So when I started to read Nigella Lawson’s cookbook years ago “Forever Summer” she had me with that title by the way.  No surprise here that one of my favorite dishes would be her Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Wraps! I’ve made this dish many , many times, especially for a quick week night recipe when you are looking for something light to eat, quick to make and delicious to eat. Below is my twist on her recipe, clearly inspired by the many Asian versions of minced meat served in lettuce. You will definitely want to try this recipe!

From by the bay, wishing you lovely food memories cupped in  lettuce!

Maryann

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Spicy Asian Minced Beef in Lettuce Cups

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s  cookbook “Forever Summer”

Ingredients

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 red bird’s eye red chili, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound ground sirloin beef

1 tablespoon thai fish sauce ( nam pia)

4 scallions, white and light greens parts only, finely chopped

zest and juice of one lime

4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 head of iceberg or romaine lettuce, leaves separated

Directions

Put the oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and when warm add the finely chopped chillies and garlic cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute another minute.  Add the beef, turn up the heat and, break up the ground beef with a wooden spoon or fork, cook for 3 or 4 minutes till no trace of pink remains. Add the fish sauce and, still stirring, cook till the liquid’s evaporated. Off the heat, stir in the spring onions, zest and juice of the lime and most of the cilantro. Arrange the lettuce leaves on to a platter and fill each lettuce cup with a few spoonfuls of the spicy ground meat mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

Rhubarb Mojito

I love rhubarb and I love mojito’s so what better cocktail than this winning combination of two favorite tastes! A delicious simple syrup made with rhubarb not only infuses the  cocktail with the taste of rhubarb but it creates a beautiful pink hue to the beverage!  You’ll love kicking off your summer with this beverage in hand!

From by the bay wishing you, delicious rhubarb food memories!

Maryann

blog rhubarb mojito

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Ingredients

4 cups fresh chopped rhubarb

lime rind

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

Directions

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, rhubarb and rind. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved and rhubarb has softened. Using a fine mesh sieve to strain. Allow to cool. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator until ready to use. Will keep for one week.

Rhubarb Mojito

Ingredients

3 ounces rhubarb syrup

1 ounce lime juice

1 lime wedge

2 ounces white rum

5 mint leaves

1sprig mint

ice

sparkling water

Directions

Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add rhubarb simple syrup and lime juice, and muddle. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir. Garnish with the remaining mint. Enjoy!

Spring Pea Guacamole from ABC Cucina

This recipe combines some of the best aspects of Spring-  early spring peas and celebrating Cinco de Mayo. I, unfortunately, can’t take credit for this vibrant combination of spring peas and avocados, Chef Jean-George Vongerichten serves this incredible dish at ABC Cocina in New York. He fortunately shared this recipe with Tasting Table and I’m passing it along. The few extra steps to make this guacamole is well worth the extra work, as it rewards in it’s outstanding flavor. Celebrate the season and the holiday this week !

From by the bay, wishing you sweet green pea food memories!

Maryann

blog pea guacamole

Spring Pea Guacamole from ABC Cucina

Recipe adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, ABC Cocina, New York City as seen on Tasting Table

INGREDIENTS

Ice

¾ cup shelled sweet peas

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 medium jalapeño

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 ripe avocados–halved, pitted and peeled

3 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced crosswise

2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest, plus

¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

Pinch sea salt

Tortilla chips, for serving
DIRECTIONS

1. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. To a medium saucepan of boiling water, add the peas and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the whole cilantro leaves and cook just long enough to wilt them, about 5 seconds. Strain both the peas and cilantro into a fine-mesh sieve and plunge the sieve into the ice water to stop the cooking. Once the peas are cool, transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Place the cilantro in a few layers of paper towels and wring dry.

2. To a skillet set over medium-high heat, add the sunflower seeds and toast until fragrant and golden-brown, about 1 minute. Transfer the sunflower seeds to a medium plate. To the skillet, add the whole jalapeño. Cook, using tongs to turn it often, until the jalapeño is charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chile to a small bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 5 minutes. Peel the charred skin from the jalapeño, remove the stem, halve the chile lengthwise and remove the seeds with the tip of a paring knife.

3. To the small bowl insert of a food processor (or using a small capacity food processor), add all but 2 tablespoons of the cooled peas, the blanched cilantro, the charred jalapeño and ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt. Pulse the mixture until it is coarsely chopped, about 20 one-second pulses. Transfer the pea mixture to a medium bowl.

4. To the peas, add the avocados, scallions, lime zest, lime juice and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Mash with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, the remaining peas, the chopped cilantro and the pinch of sea salt. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Spicy Bloody Mary with Pickled Tomatillos

This Spicy Bloody Mary recipe is my light version of one of my favorite drinks. I use low sodium vegetable juice as the base of the drink. Instead of horseradish, I gave my bloody mary it’s heat from fresh slices of jalapeno peppers and hot pepper sauce. This combination makes for a light and refreshing drink. Garnish with olives and pickled tomatillos and enjoy!

From by the bay, wishing you spicy and pickled food memories!

Maryann

blog bloody mary tomatillo

Spicy Bloody Mary with Pickled Tomatillos

Makes 3 to 4 drinks

Ingredients

16 ounces low sodium tomato or vegetable juice

4 ounces good quality vodka

1/2 teaspoon red hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce ( I like to use bourbon barrel aged)

2 jalapeno peppers sliced

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

juice of 1 lemon

pickled tomatillos and green olives

Directions

Combine all ingredients except tomatillos and olives in a pitcher. Mix well. Pour into glasses filled with ice. Garnish with picked tomatillos and green olives.

Recipe for pickled tomatillos below.

blog pickle tomatillo

Pickled Tomatillos

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 peeled garlic clove
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 jalapeno
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, cored, washed, and into quarters or eighths depending on size

Directions

Heat vinegar, sugar, salt, and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan until simmering. Put garlic clove, jalapeno and cumin seed into 1 widemouthed pt. jars. Fill jars with tomatillos, pushing down to pack. Pour hot brine over tomatillos to fill each jar to the top. Seal with lids. Chill to develop flavor, at least 1 day and up to 1 month.

Easy Cheese Danish

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My mother’s favorite breakfast treat is cheese danish. She can brutal in her commentary on cheese danish from various bakeries, so it was with some trepidation that I tried this recipe one Sunday morning, especially since this recipe uses frozen puff pastry.  I used a little Greek yogurt in my cheese mixture as a tribute to my mother’s greek heritage. Maybe it was the greek yogurt that won my mother over, but she loved her cheese danish and that it the ultimate testament! Wow your family this weekend with this easy recipe!

From by the bay, wishing you easy food memories!

Maryann

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Easy Cheese Danish

Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1⁄4 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus additional for dusting
2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons greek yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 (2 sheet) box frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg (beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl use a fork and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolks, yogurt, vanilla, salt, and orange zest and mix until just combined.
Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry on the parchment sheet  roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Try not to cut the parchment sheet.  Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Then fold the other two corners in, until you have a square again. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.
Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Dust the danish with confectioner’s sugar. Serve warm.

Dill Veal Stew with Peas and Carrots

Enjoy the early days of Spring with this bright stew using veal with dill, peas and carrots. It’s the perfect dish using early spring vegetables from your garden or market!

From by the bay, wishing you dill filled spring memories!

Maryann

blog veal carrot pea stew

Dill Veal Stew with Peas and Carrots

Adapted from Silver Palate
Serves 6
Ingredients:
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
3 pounds boneless veal shoulder or shank, in 1-inch cubes
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 scant teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus additional to taste
1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus additional to taste
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
3 cups peeled carrots, sliced diagonally (1/8 thick)
3 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
5 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
3 to 4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream or yogurt

optional: 2 cups frozen baby peas

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter in a heavy oven-proof casserole over medium-low heat. Add the veal and cook, turning frequently, without browning.
3. Stir 3 tablespoons flour, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl, and sprinkle over the veal. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. The flour and veal should not brown.
4. Add the carrots, onions, 3 tablespoons of the dill, and enough stock just to cover the meat and vegetables. Raise the heat to medium, bring to a boil, cover, and bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours.
5. Remove the stew from the oven and pour it through a strainer placed over a bowl. Reserve the solids and liquid separately.
6. Return the casserole to medium heat and melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in it. Sprinkle in the remaining 5 tablespoons flour and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes.
7. Whisk the reserved cooking liquid slowly into the butter and flour mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.
8. Whisk in the cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons dill, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Return the veal and vegetables plus the frozen baby peas to the casserole and simmer together to heat through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a deep serving dish and serve at once.

Hot Cross Buns

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Thinking about the week ahead, I decided to research making hot cross buns. This recipe by Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), was the one I decided I liked the best. I never much cared for the hot cross buns in the bakeries, much of that dislike was around the bun being too sweet and some bakeries would use dried fruit I didn’t like and occasionally it was candied. It definitely put me off hot cross buns, This recipes has an easy technique for making a yeast dough, a nice amount of spices and Ree suggested dried fruit like raisins and cranberries. The resulting bun is terrific and really changes not only my point of view about these Easter treat, but my whole family!

The traditions around hot cross buns are wonderful. In the United States, hot cross buns are part of the tradition for both Good Friday and Easter, while in Great Britain they are primarily  Good Friday tradition. Some myths about hot cross buns are if you hang one in your kitchen evil spirits will stay away, if on good Friday you make them sharing them will cement your friendships, the bun can keep ships from sinking and a bun made on Good Friday will never get moldy. That’s a lot from a small little mount of dough!

From by the bay, wishing you little bun food memories!

Maryann

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Hot Cross Buns

Recipe by Ree Drummond, Pioneeer Woman April 1, 2010

Buns
2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup (additional) Flour
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Spices: Cardamom, Nutmeg, Allspice (optional)
1/2 cup Raisins
GLAZE
1 whole Egg White
Splash Of Milk
Icing
1 whole Egg White
Powdered Sugar
Splash Of Milk

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INSTRUCTIONS
BUNS

Combine 2 cups milk, canola oil, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot–about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. Mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.

Add 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir till combined.

Combine 1/4 cup sugar with cinnamon and whatever other spices you want to use.

Lightly flour surface. Press to slightly flatten dough. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten again so the dough is “plain” again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used. (You won’t use all the sugar/cinnamon mixture.)

Pinch off ping pong or golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes…an hour-plus is better.

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PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 degrees

GLAZE

Mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll.

Bake for 20 minutes, give or take, or until tops of buns have turned nice and golden brown.

Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

ICING

Mix 1 egg white with enough powdered sugar for icing to be very thick. Splash in milk as needed for consistency.

Add icing to a small Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Make icing crosses on each roll, making sure they’re completely cooled first.

hot cross bun 6

Luck of the Irish Soda Bread

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Although I’m not Irish, I have always enjoyed eating Irish Soda Bread.  St. Patrick’s Day is the unofficial start of Spring. After a long winter, you start to see the signs of spring. The crocus start peeking out of the ground, there is a big outdoor parade with lots of green the official color of spring and then there is Irish Soda Bread. I had some Irish good luck when my mother’s close friend Nancy, shared her family recipe with me. I find this bread pretty easy to make and quite forgiving in the preparation. Ready to celebrate Spring with some of your own good luck?

From by the bay wishing you some good luck food memories of your own!

Maryann

blog irish soda bread

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups flour, plus a tablespoon to mix with currants

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup currants

1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, caraway seeds and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk and egg together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 blog shamrock

Shrimp and Grits Northern Style with Pickled Celery

A recipe to delight – the creamiest of grits, topped with sweet succulent shrimp tossed among red pepper and onion slices with some heat from the butter and to cut through that richness some pickled celery.  Inspired by one of the best meals in Nashville and adapted by this northern girl , who can’t find okra so easily out of season but celery is a good fill in and using some sriracha for heat since it’s a condiment of the moment to add the right amount of heat to the dish. Enjoy.

From by the bay, wishing you a shrimp and grits food memory!

Maryann

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Spicy Pickled Celery

Food 52 by vrunka • March 13, 2012

1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
8 large celery stalks, peeled and cut into pieces (see note)

Directions

Bring the vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and add garlic, mustard seed, peppercorns, chili flakes. Place the celery pieces in a large bowl (preferably glass or ceramic) and pour the vinegar mixture over it. Stir to combine spices. Make sure all the pieces are submerged in the brine. Allow to cool completely (at least a couple hours) before serving. If you would like to make longer stalks into pickles, you can cut them to the length of the tallest wide-mouthed Mason jar you have. Stand them upright in the jar and pour the brine over them. Cover tightly. As the pickles cool, you may have to shake the jar (carefully!) to distribute the spices and brine

blog shrimp and grits pick

Shrimp and Grits Northern Style with Pickled Celery

Adapted from Nashville Chef’s Table by Stephanie Stewart-Howard recipe from Sunset Grill

Serves 6

Ingredients

For Grits

  • 1/2 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 quart heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grts
  • 1/4 pound shredded white cheddar cheese

For the flavored butter

  • 1 pound butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sriracha sauce ( or tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

For the shrimp

  • 1 1/2 pound of shrimp
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil to saute

Directions

To make the grits

Heat all the ingredients except the grits and cheese in a pan on the stove. Turn the heat to low and then add the grits. Stir frequently until soft, about 30 minutes, then add the cheese.

To make the hot butter

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly.

To prepare the shrimp and assemble dish

In large saute pan, heat the oil and add the bell peppers and onions. Saute until starts to soften. Add shrimp and cook 1/2 way, add the butter and continue to cook until shrimp is done. The shrimp should be pink and no longer translucent. Serve over grits and garnish with pickled celery.

Rye Waffles with Caramelized Apple

I’ve been exploring using rye flour in my cooking. I love the hardy deep taste of rye. Besides the delicious rich taste here are a few things you probably didn’t know about rye:

  1. Rye increases your fullness feeling
  2. Rye may suppress weight gain
  3. Rye balances blood sugar
  4. Rye is rich in fiber

I made these rye waffles mixing both rye and white flour together. The added flavor comes from using sour cream in the waffle batter. This is a yummy breakfast.

From by the bay, wishing you delicious rye food memories!

Maryann

 

blog rye waffle

Rye Waffles

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup rye flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
  • spray vegetable oil

Directions

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add milk, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix well. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, spray waffle iron with vegetable spray and preheat waffle iron. Add 1/2 cup of batter for each waffle. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown. Serve with caramelized apples and or syrup. Yield: 8 waffles.

Caramelized Apples

Ingredients

4 Jonagold Apples (or any other good cooking apple, such as Braeburn or Granny Smith)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions

Peel and core apples, then slice thinly. Toss apple slices with sugar until thoroughly coated. Melt butter in a saucepan, add apples and cook over medium-high heat until very soft and tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Serve caramelized apples over top of waffles.