Tag Archives: side dish

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.

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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.

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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.

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Enjoy and have a fantastic day!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Final Installment to the Martin Yan Trilogy – Mango Beef Recipe

It’s time to wrap up my tales of Martin Yan with one more recipe.  The reason for Martin Yan’s trip to Reno, NV was to demonstrate the amazing GE Monogram 48” Professional Range (I want, I want, I want).  Since this is not my area of expertise, I will defer to my sister where she breaks down the magical-ness of this stove on her blog.

Below is a video of Martin Yan putting together the Mango Beef dish.  The flavor combination of this meal was fantastic!!  You’ll notice many of the same ingredients are used as in the Kung Pao Chicken dish, but trust me; this recipe yields a much different flavor.  One of the beautiful things about cooking is that you can invoke many different tastes by making small tweaks to the same types of ingredients.

In the video, Chef Yan put a little bit of Bicardi Rum into the stir-fry.  I think it was mostly for show.  He wanted to demonstrate just how hot the pan was to show how Chinese food is cooked at high temp for short amounts of time.  I’ve never added rum to any of my stir-fry dishes, but I gotta say, it tasted pretty good matched up with the mango, beef and hoisin sauce.

I hope you enjoy this dish.  The difficulty in Chinese cooking is doing all the prep work.  Once your meat and veggies are all cut up, the cooking itself takes hardly any time.  Again, my ingredient amounts below are a guesstimate to what went in this dish.  As you saw in the video, nothing was carefully measured.  Over time and as you start feeling more confident in the kitchen; you’ll also adapt this style of cooking.  Mostly because it’s easier, and there are fewer dishes to wash if you don’t bother measuring everything.

Ingredients:
½ lb flank steak
2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp fresh garlic
1 tbsp cooking sherry
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ green bell pepper (diced)
½ red bell pepper (diced)
½ jalapeno (diced, seeds removed)
½ white or yellow onion (diced)
1 cup mango (diced)
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 Tbsp Rum (optional)
Soy sauce
Canola oil
Chicken broth
Cornstarch dissolved in chicken broth (for sauce)

In Chinese cooking, you must have all your ingredients prepped before starting to cook; otherwise, you can’t keep up because it cooks so fast.

Directions:  In a bowl, mix diced beef with tablespoon of cornstarch, cooking sherry and soy sauce.  Allow meat to marinate as you cut up all the other veggies.  Once all the veggies are prepped it’s time to put the dish together.  Heat pan on medium-high heat, once hot, add the cooking oil.   Put in the beef, garlic and ginger and allow it to sear and seal in juices before tossing it.  Next add the veggies; allow it all to cook.  Then add mango.  Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce, chicken broth and cornstarch dissolved in chicken broth to make the sauce.  Stir and serve immediately.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe.  Have a wonderful week!

Cucumber Noodle Salad

Often times, I crave pasta at lunch.  I don’t know what it is about twirling noodles on a fork that I find so appealing.  But since I try to be sensible about what I eat, I know that a daily dose of pasta probably isn’t the best choice to be making for the waist line.

I was sitting at work one day, pondering the possibilities of lunch, when the only thing on my mind was pasta… pasta… and pasta.  UGH!  There has to be a way I can combat this pasta craving with a healthier substitute.  (LIGHT BULB)

A few weeks back, I had encountered this handy little tool at William’s Sonoma.  It is a julienne peeler.  Hmm… well that could enable me to make noodles out of nearly any veggie.  An idea was hatched… I will try my hand at making cucumber noodle salad.

Ingredients:
2 English cucumbers
½ red onion
salt
¼ C rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more depending on desired spiciness)
¼ c water
toasted sesame seeds

Directions:  Peel English cucumber lengthwise to create long “noodles”.  Continue around the cucumber until you’ve reached the core, do not peel the seeded portion. (I just save the middle of my cucumber and cut it into slices for a snack).  In a bowl, salt the cucumber noodles to help extract the water.  If you have time, allow this to sit refrigerated for up to an hour.  (I gave myself about 15 minutes, and my “noodles” were a little soggy, but still eatable).

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While cucumber noodles are refrigerating, thinly slice the onion.  Shoestring slices are preferable to match the noodle consistency of the cucumber.  Blanch sliced onions (this step is optional, I don’t like an overly strong onion flavor because it literally gives me a headache when I eat it, I’ve found that if I just shock them with some boiling water, then drain that the flavor is more palatable).

Mix together ingredients for dressing: rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, sugar and water.  Once cucumber noodles are done “draining” combine it with red onion and dressing.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve.

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