Monthly Archives: May 2013

Green Onion Condiment

Hiya Everyone!  Well, today I’ve got a quick and easy recipe for you that may or may not blow your mind.  I know… the name is lame-o, but I did not know what else to name it.  In my family, we literally refer to it as “the green onion stuff.”  Since it’s essentially a condiment to add as a topper to different proteins and tasty nibbles like egg rolls, I gave it the ever-so-appropriate title of “Green Onion Condiment.”  Sometimes I lack imagination…GreenOnion3

This recipe is really easy – three ingredients.  Be warned, if you decide to double or even triple this recipe, the ratio of ingredients may not necessarily be the same.  The onion can double, triple and so on, but I caution you to use your best judgment in increasing the salt and oil ratios.  You’d probably be safe keeping the onion to salt ratio consistent, but there is no need to double and triple the oil.  A little oil can go a long way and this condiment isn’t meant to be overly oily.

Ingredients:
8 green onions (thinly sliced)
1 tsp salt
2 T canola or vegetable oil

I do not recommend substituting extra virgin olive oil or regular olive oil in this recipe.  These oils have different smoking points than canola and vegetable.  I cannot guaranty the results if you make an oil substitute.

Directions:
Thinly slice green onion.  Heat oil in a pan/pot until smoking.  (Yes, until it is smoking, that’s when you know it’s hot enough.  If not hot enough, you won’t get a flash cook on the onions.  You’ll just have greasy onions.)  Add salt to onion.  When oil is smoking, immediately pour it on the onion and mix.

Ta-da!  All done.  Fast. Easy. Flavorful.  Did I just make a new acronym?  FEF.  Move over Rachel Ray.

While this is something we usually only eat on Chinese food, I’m sure it’d be a yummy topping to many other things.

GreenOnion

What can you think of that this would be a great topping for?

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Chili-Garlic Almond Crusted Green Beans

It’s baaaaaacccckkk.  Ever since the Almond Flour Debacle a couple months ago, I’ve been keeping this little treasure in my freezer for just the right moment.  I had hoped an unsuspecting houseguest would inadvertently find it in my freezer while going to get some ice, but no such luck.AlmondFlour7

So, what does one do with homemade almond paste?  I really didn’t know.  The consistency was thicker and not as creamy as peanut butter.  It was really only by mistake that my sister and I made it in the first place.  The positive side of it all is that it packs a strong flavor.

I ultimately decided on trying what I called, “Almond Crusted Green Beans”.  This recipe was cooked up somewhere in the back of my brain, totally experimental and I was unsure even as I was cooking it if it would be worthy of sharing with you all.  I’m happy to report it turned out well enough to be worthy of bloggy-world.  But I will admit – the name is misleading.  The paste does not form a crust. I thought it would, but it really stays mostly moist and does not crisp up, but it appears to look like a crust and naming it “Almond Crusted” was better than “Sloppy Almond Paste.”  Oh the power of using the right words….

I make this confession because if anybody does try this recipe they will realize that it doesn’t get crunchy or crusty at all.  But it tastes good and that’s all that matters.

Ingredients:
3-4 T of Almond paste (I used half of what was in my baggie, this measurement is an estimation)
2-3 tsp of chili garlic paste
½ lb fresh green beans (cut into 2-3 inch pieces)
1 T canola oil
Chicken broth

**Wash and dry the green beans thoroughly.  The method of cooking used is called “dry fry.”  Any water on the bean-beans will cause your oil to spit and may result in injury aka burns**

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Directions:  Combine the chili garlic paste with the almond paste; set aside.  Heat a non-stick pan on the stove on high heat.  You know the pan is hot enough when you flick a bead of water on it and it evaporates immediately.  Add canola oil, it should heat quickly.  Add in clean, dry green beans and start stir-frying.  Keep them moving allowing the outside skin to blister and cook.  Once the beans look cooked, remove them from the pan.  Put the pan back on the heat (you can turn it down to a med to med-high) and add the paste.  I let the paste toast a bit.  I added back in the green beans and started tossing.  To thin the paste and make it more “sauce like” I slowly added chicken broth.  I would guesstimate 1/3 cup of broth was used.  Once the paste covers the green beans evenly you’re done.

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Some variations I considered in cooking this dish… you can blanch the green beans prior to stir-fry, but I caution you doing this with the frying method because of the water-oil no-no.  It’s hard to completely dry blanched veggies.

I hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think.

Garlic Breadcrumb Pasta

Breadcrumb3Taking a break from my posting about salads run and loading you all up with a seriously carbed-out dinner option.  Maybe you’re training for an endurance race where loading up on the carbs is part of your preparation.  That would be the good excuse for eating this pasta.  Me, however, I am not training for anything…. I just like eating massive amounts of pasta from time to time without any justification.  I just like to eat and this pasta combined some of my all time favorite flavors.

As I’m writing this, I realize I’ve essentially combined all the deliciousness of garlic bread into a sauce for pasta.  I chose long squirrelly noodles because they do a fantastic job at gripping all the yummy sauce.  My original plan was to also add some roasted cauliflower in with this pasta dish, but as I got cooking (making my own breadcrumbs and what not) I lost my gusto to also make roasted cauliflower.

If you don’t go with the making your own breadcrumbs route, this is a fast and easy dinner.  Also very easy to add some veggies and protein to round it out a little better.

Ingredients:
½ package long pasta
2-3 tbsp butter (or butter substitute)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot (thinly sliced)
3 (or more) garlic cloves (thin slice, or fine chop)
White wine or chicken broth (optional)
Parsley (for topping)
Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Breadcrumbs Ingredients:
3-4 slices of any sort of bread
Garlic salt
Olive oil

Directions:
To make breadcrumbs:  Break up pieces of bread into food processor or blender.  Pulse or blend until desired consistency is achived.  In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic salt (as much as desired) and toss.  Bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Keep and eye on it and stir them around so they toast evenly.

For pasta and sauce:  Get a pot of water going for the pasta.  Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, on low heat add butter, olive oil, garlic, and shallot.  This sauce just cooks nice and slow.  The shallot/garlic flavor infuses into the butter and olive oil.  After shallots and garlic soften, I added a bit of white wine to “expand” the sauce.  Using chicken broth is also another option.  You want enough sauce to coat the pasta so use our best judgment.  When pasta is nearly cooked, transfer pasta directly into the sauce to allow it to finish cooking.  Keep some starchy reserved water in case you need to thin your pasta sauce further.  Add breadcrumbs at the very end; toss together and serve.

I also decided to toss in a handful of my almond cornmeal (using this stuff left and right).  It added a nice nutty flavor to the already savory flavors of the sauce.

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I hope you enjoy!!

Buffalo Chicken Salad

One of my favorite indulgences is eating a mess of chicken wings.  I love any excuse to go to a sports bar and guzzle down a nice tall beer with some chicken wings.  The bad side to this is that these tasty little chicken wings are usually deep-fried then smothered with a variety of sauces (Frank’s Red Hot is one of my favs).  Not the healthiest meal out there.

Recently, I’ve seen at several restaurants the Buffalo Chicken Salad option.  This salad is so simple to make, it almost seems silly to buy at a restaurant.  I can justify buying chicken wings because getting the deep fat fryer out to recreate sports bar wings is a little work intensive sometimes.  I hate cleaning up fry oil, plus, when I cook at home I try to eat healthier because I know I can go out and buy calorie laden food.BuffaloChicken2

In my recipe, I decided to use a combo of Panko breadcrumbs and my almond cornmeal from the Almond Flour Debacle post a while back.  The breadcrumb/almond cornmeal combination was amazing.  The salads turned out really well.  This dinner took place at my best friend’s house and she participates in a delivery system of locally delivered produce from Whole Foods, so we used the locally grown lettuce, avocado and tomato in our meal.

I also took a 2nd stab at homemade Ranch dressing.  This version turned out even better than the first.  I used plain Greek yogurt, the same spices from my previous post and thinned the yogurt out with buttermilk this time.  I doubt I will ever buy Ranch dressing again, this version is far superior.

Ingredients:
Chicken tenders (as many as desired)
Panko Breadcrumbs
Almond Cornmeal
Olive Oil
Lettuce
Bleu cheese crumbles
Avocado
Franks Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
1-2 beaten eggs (depending on how many tenders you make)

See previous post for Ranch Dressing recipe.

Directions:

Marinate the chicken tenders in a little bit of the Franks Red Hot Sauce.  Once removed, dredge in beaten eggs then coat in 1:1 mixture of breadcrumbs and almond flour/cornmeal.  In a pan, heat olive oil and cook chicken tenders until golden on each side.  Meanwhile, prepare the lettuce and avocado.  After chicken is cooked, cut into bite size pieces and toss in more Franks Red Hot Sauce.  Assemble salad and enjoy!

Are you tired of salad posts yet?  Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend!

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Grilled Romaine Salad with Bacon & Bleu Cheese

Sometimes eating a salad just sounds so boring.  Boring salads suck.  They do nothing to stimulate the taste buds and it feels like you’re just wasting your time crunching away on something that brings no joy.  With each bite you think “ugh, when is this going to be over?? I’d rather eat ice cream…”Romaine4

It’s my personal mission to never eat boring salads.  A pile of greens without ingenuity or creativity (in my humble opinion) is just a waste of time and calories.

That being said, loading a salad up with too many other delicious accouterments doesn’t do one any good either.  It’s best to try to balance good food with also being healthy.  Remember, everything in moderation.  Yes – I know I coupled this salad with three seemingly “unhealthy” flavors.  Bacon.  Bleu cheese.  Ranch dressing.  However, you can see from the pictures, the idea is to not smother the heart in these toppings; just a light addition of them to add overall flavor.

This salad is meant as a side dish and is not considered a main course salad.  Couple this with a protein like steak, lamb, chicken, fish or shrimp and you have a nice low carb/high protein dinner or lunch.

Ingredients:
3 Romaine Hearts (halved)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
½ lb bacon
Bleu cheese crumbles

Homemade Ranch:
1 C Sour cream
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dill
½ tsp parsley
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Directions:  Cut the romaine hearts lengthwise in half.  Drizzle with olive oil and then salt and pepper.  Place face down on a grill until hearts become very slightly wilted and charred.  Mix ingredients together for the homemade Ranch dressing.  Fry up bacon bits in a pan.  Top charred romaine hearts with Ranch, bacon bits and bleu cheese crumbles.

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Have fun grilling your salad!!

Mofongo con Camarones

To wrap up Dominican week, I’m going to share with you another mouth-watering dish that I find myself craving regularly now that I’ve tried it.  Mofongo.  Such a simple meal, but this dish (when prepared properly) can pack a delicious punch.

Mofongo from Bachata Breeze - Orlando, FL

Mofongo from Bachata Breeze – Orlando, FL

A couple months ago, I went to Orlando, FL and to a Dominican restaurant there called Bachata Breeze.  This is where Mofongo and I first met and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  The beauty of Dominican food is that it’s fairly simple in preparation.  The downside to it is that most dishes (at least the ones I’ve been introduced to thus far) are a little on the fatty/heavy side.  But hey – everything in moderation, right?  No reason one can’t enjoy Mofongo from time to time.

Now, I should take a step back to acknowledge that these dishes I’ve shared with you aren’t solely credited to the Dominican culture.  Different websites and individuals will tell you that these are Puerto Rican dishes.  I’m not sure where Mofongo originates, but I present them as Dominican because a Dominican person introduced me to them, and I’ve eaten them in Dominican places.  That’s the way fate had it planned for me.  I’m sure if a Puerto Rican person had introduced me to them and I ate them in a Puerto Rican restaurant, I’d be writing to you about “Puerto Rico” themed week.  But truly, it’s difficult to discern where these dishes hail from because the two cuisines from the close islands are very similar.

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For the first time in the history of Like Write on Rice, I will not be sharing this recipe with you.  Why?  Well, because I wasn’t happy with it after I attempted it the first time.  It was eatable, but not sharing worthy.   I will continue to attempt this dish and adapt the ingredients to try to achieve a version I’m proud to share.  Until then, I will leave you with pictures of what it looks like so you can drool and hopefully crave it as well.

Cindy's Mofongo Attempt

Cindy’s Mofongo Attempt

If you find yourself in a Latin restaurant where Mofongo is on the menu, I strongly encourage you to order it.  As far as I know, there are no Caribbean Latin restaurants in Reno.

Well, that wraps up my knowledge of Dominican/Caribbean food. I hope you enjoyed some of the things I shared with you. If you have any Caribbean/Latin dishes you’ve really devoured and enjoyed, please share them with me. I’m always looking for another food/culture/adventure to embark on.

Mangu – A Traditional Dominican Breakfast

One of the foods I wasn’t afraid to try while in the D.R. was Mangu.  Both places we stayed at served this food daily at breakfast.   This “mashed-potato” like food is a staple in the Dominican diet.  Most commonly served for breakfast, this hearty meal can keep you full for hours.  It’s most commonly served with Dominican sausage, queso frito (fried cheese) and eggs on top.

You won’t find me recommending this as a healthy food alternative because there is not really much healthy about it at all.  The Mangu itself isn’t so bad, but when you add the FRIED sausage, FRIED cheese, and FRIED eggs… things are starting to get a little heavy on the fat side.  One morning while in the DR I ate the full blown traditional breakfast and I immediately needed a nap.

That being said, this shouldn’t deter you from ever trying it.  It’s quite delicious. (How could it not be; Fried+Fried+Fried= Deliciousness.)  I think if you made the Mangu with poached eggs on top, omitted the sausage and fried cheese, this would be a healthy enough breakfast.

If you have a mortar and pestle, I suggest using it. I do not own one so I used our mashed potato utensil and a bowl.  It still got the job done.

Mangu Recipe:
2 unripe plantains (peeled and quartered into 2-3 in pieces, see photos)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil or butter (margarine)
salt
½ onion fried

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Directions:
In a large pot of water, boil plantains for approximately 20 minutes until they are cooked.  Reserve 1 cup of the plantain water.  Transfer plantain pieces to a bowl, and begin mashing plantains (just as if you were making mashed potatoes).   Add in the olive oil and reserved water until desired consistency is achieved.

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In a skillet, add some olive oil and fry the onion.  Top the finished Mangu with onion.

Since I did not have access to queso frito or Dominican sausage in Reno, NV.  I opted to cook up some linguica and attempted to fry a random Latin cheese (it worked, but it’s not as good as the queso frito – the cheese that was meant to be fried).

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I hope you enjoy.  Be honest – who has eaten such a rich breakfast before it called for immediate nap time?