Monthly Archives: June 2013

Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

It’s a gloomy day today in NYC, so I’m taking advantage of being inside by writing up this yummy recipe for baby bok choy with cashews.  This is a really simple, healthy recipe that’s great as a side dish.

Bok Choy is essentially a Chinese cabbage.  There are a few varieties of bok choy, but I tend to gravitate towards buying the baby bok choy.  Like most leafy greens, you want to make sure you do a very good job washing this prior to cooking it.  The layers of leaves make for good hiding spots for bugs and dirt.BokChoy1

When preparing this dish, I usually break the outer leaves off and wash each individually (I know; tedious) and then leave the center as a piece of it’s own.  Depending on the time of year, the baby bok choy can even vary in side.  If your outer leaves seem too big and inconsistent with the cooking size you’re going for, just chop them into large pieces (that’s what I did in this recipe).

I love how quick this dish comes together.  After prepping the ingredients, cook time takes no time at all.  I hope you enjoy this…. If you master this side dish, you’re only a pot of white rice with steamed Chinese Sausage and Pork Wontons away from what my family considers traditional Chinese dinner.

Ingredients:
10 Baby Bok Choy
2 garlic cloves chopped
3-4 green onions chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. canola oil
¼ C cashews chopped

Directions:  In a large pan (or wok) heat on med to med-high heat.  Add canola oil; allow to warm then add green onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

BokChoy2

Next, add in the cashews, and cook for another minute.  Add cleaned baby bok choy, soy sauce and sesame oil; stir then cover with lid.  Covering the pan will help the bok choy wilt and steam.  Keep a close eye on and it make sure to stir it a few times.

BokChoy3

BokChoy4

BokChoy5

Once bok choy has achieved desired doneness (I like it wilted, but with a crunch when you bite it; not mushy) remove from heat.  Top with reserved chopped cashews and serve.

BokChoy6

Enjoy and have a fantastic day!

Pork Wontons

I’ve been on quite the heath food blogging kick lately, and I think it’s time I that take it back a notch and prove I am still human and that I love fried food.  I try to stay away from deep fried food at home as much as possible, but there are just some foods that are better cooked using this method than any other.  For these pork wontons, I’m sure you could brush them slightly with oil and bake them, but I’ve never personally tried it that way.wontons3

The wontons I make are unlike most wontons you’ll find in restaurants.  First difference, I hand make them and they’re not a product conveniently purchased nearly cooked and just to be thrown in the deep fryer for a few seconds like you’d find at most restaurants.  Second, I fold mine differently than the traditional wonton.  I’m not sure if there is a perfect way to fold a wonton, but this is how my grandpa did it, so that’s how I do it.

I have strayed from the family recipe before and used ground chicken because someone I knew couldn’t eat pork, and they turned out just as good.  When I substituted the chicken I used a little bit of Panko breadcrumbs to help the wonton mixture retain moisture.  I liked it so much, that I’ve now incorporated that into my pork wontons as well.  It’s not a necessity in this recipe, but I think it makes them a little fluffier and not so dense in the middle.

Ingredients:
1 package round wonton wrappers (or gyoza wrappers)
½ lb ground pork
¼ c green onion (chopped fine)
1 can water chestnuts (chopped fine)
1 egg (beaten)
¼ c breadcrumbs (unseasoned)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp white pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
Water or a 2nd beaten egg for sealing wontons

Directions:  Preheat frying oil at 375 degrees in fryer.  In a bowl, combine green onion, water chestnuts, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil.  Mix together.  Then add the pork and fold in.  *I like to get all my flavors together, then add the meat, if you mix the meat too long it can sometimes get tough.  Once meat mixture is combined you can assemble the wontons.  Place a small spoon full in the center of the wrapper and then seal the wonton by coating the edge with water or beaten egg.  Press the edges of the wonton together well, do not allow air into the wonton.

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s smart to have a cookie sheet prepared with parchment paper and plastic wrap on reserve to cover the made wontons.  If they dry out too much they can crack which then makes a mess when you deep fry.

Wontons1

After you’ve assembled all the wontons, fry them just prior to serving.  In the fryer be sure to fry both sides, and when they are golden brown you know they’re fully cooked.

wontons5

wontons4

wonton2

Enjoy!  If someone has baked wontons, please share your experience with me because I’d like to know how they turn out.  Also, the Green Onion Condiment I made goes EXCELLENT with these wontons.

Have a great week!

Wontons6

Roasted Broccoli

Yep, that’s right! I’m bringing you yet another roasted veggie with today’s blog post.

One of my favorite veggies is broccoli.  A great source of fiber and high in vitamins, see here for nutrition facts.  This is a great way to salvage some broccoli if it’s been sitting in your fridge too long.  It works wells with brand new, fresh broccoli as well.  It takes very little time to prep and not long cook time either.  This can be an easy side dish or snack when you’re running a little short on time.

This flavor combination is oddly addicting.  I’m sure this season combination would also be good on roasted cauliflower or brussel sprouts.

No need to keep building anticipation… here you go!

Ingredients:RoastBroc1
1 lb. broccoli florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Spicy Blend
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves garlic (fresh, finely chopped)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450.  Toss broccoli florets with spices and garlic.  Lay out evenly on a cookie sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper to make clean up easier.) Roast for 8-10 minutes and serve.

RoastBroc3

RoastBroc2

Too easy… what other veggies does this make you want to roast?

Avocado Chicken Salad

It seems like spring just flew by us and Reno decided it was summer over the course of two days.  You gotta love that summer time heat.  To me it means backyard BBQs, going to the lake and spending lots of time in the sunshine (don’t forget the SPF).

Can you believe half of 2013 has already passed us by??  Have you been diligent in keeping up with that New Year’s resolution to be bikini ready by the time summer arrives?  Mentally – I wanted to.  Physically- well that’s another story…  Since I haven’t really had the time to work out, I just try to remember to eat as healthy as I can, and control that portion size.

One of my first posts for Like Write on Rice was Arepas de Venezuela.  The reason I bring this up is because the Avocado Chicken Salad is derived from a common filling Venezuelans like to stuff their arepas with.  La Renia Pepiada is often what this filling is called (in case you ever find yourself in a Venezuelan restaurant).  I’ve altered the recipe just slightly to make it healthier. AvocadoChicken2

One last tid-bit I’d like to express with you is my distaste of canned chicken.  Sure – it’s easy and convenient.  For me, I just can’t seem to get myself to like it.  So, in this recipe feel free to substitute canned chicken.  I like poaching my own chicken and shredding it.  It tastes fresher to me.

To poach chicken (breasts, tenders or any chicken part really) bring a pot of water to boiling.  You can season the chicken ahead of time if you wish, but I usually poach is plain if I’m adding it to another dish.  When the water is boiling throw in your chicken (frozen or fresh).  Turn the heat down to where it no longer comes to a rolling boil.  You want the water to slightly swirl, but absolutely not boiling.  Let the chicken sit in there until it is cooked through.  Time varies based on size and fresh or frozen.

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Tenders (poached, shredded)
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion (like relish)
2-3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/3-1/4 C plain Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp lime juice
½ an avocado (cubed)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions: Combine chicken, onion, cilantro, lime juice, Greek yogurt.  Add avocado last and fold in.  Serve and enjoy!

AvocadoChicken1

Another nice substitute/addition to make to this salad is celery.  You can replace the onion with celery if you don’t like onions.  Or add it in as an additional source of crunchiness.

What do you think?  Will you be making this for lunch, dinner or a snack this week?

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce

If you haven’t noticed by now, I really like grilling vegetables (see Grilled Sweet Bell Peppers and Grilled Romaine Salad with Bacon and Bleu Cheese).  I think I’m drawn to doing this because roasting and grilling gives veggies another dimension of flavor you can’t achieve in other cooking methods.  It also is a low fat way to give your veggie more flavors.  With very little seasoning (if any at all) you can transform a bland vegetable into a vegetable with slightly more flavor.

I’ve always been a fan of eating artichokes.  I know some people have never even picked one up at the grocery store because they wouldn’t know how to go about cooking it or eating it.   Hopefully if you’re an artichoke virgin, this blog post helps alleviate some of those fears about artichokes.

First things first – prepping the artichoke:

Artichoke1

Each leaf on the artichoke has a little thorn at the tip of it, which makes them undesirable to handle.  Before steaming the artichoke, these spiky tips should be removed.  I use a serrated knife to cut off the tops of the artichokes.  I recommend a serrated knife as opposed to a regular knife because the leaves are rather tough when raw, and the serration help cut through the leaves easier.  I also trim up the stem at this point.  My only motivation behind it is so that it fits in the pot easier when I steam them.  Next, you should use a pair a scissors to remove the remaining spiky tips around the rest of the artichoke.

Once that is completed, place them in a pot with some water and steam them anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  The artichoke is ready when you can easily pierce the stem with a fork.

Artichoke2

Grilling the artichokes:
I started doing this about a year ago, and now that I’ve tried it, it’s my preferred method of cooking.  The ‘chokes are ready after being steamed, but I like taking it one step further and grilling them.

To do this, cut the ‘chokes in half and remove the heart.  Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and make sure the flat surface of the ‘choke is covered (the part that will be touching the grill).  Put them on a grill with medium to medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes.  This part is to your own preference on how grilled/charred you like them.

Artichoke3 Artichoke5

Traditionally, artichokes are served with some sort of dipping sauce.  Usually it’s a mayonnaise or aioli of some sort, or melted butter.  I wanted to change it up and make a healthier dipping sauce with flavors that compliment the artichoke well.

Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce:
Plain Greek Yogurt
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp dill
salt & pepper

Mix the ingredients above to desired consistency.  The lemon juice is meant to add flavor as well as thin the yogurt a bit so it’s not so thick and easier to dip into.

Artichoke6

 

There you have it, I hope you enjoy.  What other veggies do you like grilling?