November 30, 2010

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

Why do people peel ginger with spoons?  I think it's a little weird because you don't actually peel as efficiently as you could with a "Y" peeler. You end up just digging mini pocket holes into the ginger instead of nice smooth edges. The most effective way, is to square off the ginger with your knife and then peel downwards as you would peel an apple.

I have always enjoyed this dressing when eating out at Asian restaurants. You know the kind - they serve you plain lettuce with maybe a cucumber or two in a little wooden bowl and it has this amazing, punch of flavor. Well, that full flavor comes from the ginger. 

I decided to recreate it at home, and after searching a minute on google - I came up with my own creation, based on the same ingredients. I must say that the end result is so refreshing and is really all that a plain crunchy iceburg lettuce needs.
Look at that awesome color!

3-4 inches of ginger ( peeled and minced)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small carrots, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup honey

Mince the ginger, carrot and garlic in food processor. Then add everything else and mix until well combined. This dressing has a bit of a liquidy/pulpy consistency, which is what you want - and it is really delicious against the crunch of iceburg lettuce.

November 21, 2010

Arroz Con Pollo ( Chicken & Rice )

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother never wanted to be called grandma - ('abuela' in Spanish) - she thought it made her sound old. So, I have always called her 'Mamy Lucy'. She is seriously the best grandmother one could ask for. She has always been there and I find it ironic that she gave me this chicken and rice recipe because she started out as a terrible cook!

This is my homage to her, with a little twist of my own. (pine nuts and chick peas). It truly is delicious and is also a one pot meal. Well, almost.

2 chicken breasts
salt & pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chile powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup canned chick peas, drained
1/2 cup frozen green peas
Goya - 'alcaparrado' ( or green olives with pimentos and capers in brine) - chopped

-Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then place in small sauce pan with water. Add the rest of the seasonings and simmer slowly.

-Meanwhile, saute the chopped onions with olive oil in a shallow pan (with a lid) Add rice, and coat with oil and onions. Toast the rice in oil for a few minutes and then add a few spoons of the water from the simmering chicken. Add 2 cups of h20 from the faucet and bring the rice up to a boil and then simmer, covered until the water is absorbed.

-Once chicken is opaque - remove from the water and set aside to cool. Next, take two forks (or your clean fingers) and shred the chicken to desired size. Add to rice and fold in alcaparrado, chick peas, green peas and toasted pine nuts. Cook for a few minutes more to warm through and test for seasoning. Enjoy!

November 8, 2010

Quick Banana Bread

Do you ever get a sudden urge to make something? I don't often, but tonight after work, I felt like making banana bread. Random - I know - but it's so easy and makes a great grab and go breakfast.

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 T vanilla
1 T baking soda
2 bananas, mashed
pinch of salt

Cream eggs, butter and sugar. Add mashed bananas and sift dry ingredients. Incorporate all together and pour into sprayed loaf pan. Bake at 350 F until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

November 1, 2010

Zucchini Muffins with Golden Raisins

I am sure I have said this before somewhere along my blog - I'm not much of a baker. I love that with cooking, you can be free to do - well...anything you want. You have freedom to express yourself through food without too many restrictions. You might have heard this before: Baking is a science and cooking is an art. I agree with that to a certain extent (although I think some baking can be art) but at the end of the day, if you are baking and you don't measure properly - there is a chance that your product will not come out as planned. [re: disaster]

While I like to improvise and just "dance" around my kitchen while cooking, sometimes I need to tip toe my way around the sweet stuff. [re: measure out ingredients to an exact "T"]

This recipe comes courtesy of my chef mentor, Matt Ries. (You've always been there...thank you!) I changed them up a bit because I only had whole wheat flour (plusI feel less guilty about eating a veggie filled muffin that doesn't have bleached, white flour!) I may add some type of nut next time for some crunch.

These muffins have great warm spices and the sour cream really makes these moist. I especially like that when you slice them in half, you see the beautiful little strands of zucchini and golden raisins throughout -- not to mention they are delicious with your morning cup of Joe. Enjoy!

Zucchini Muffins

1 1/2 c cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs
1/2 c sour cream
3/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c golden raisins
2 c grated zucchini (washed and unpeeled)

1. Preheat your oven to 350F
2. Shred zucchini and reserve in a bowl. In a separate bowl, sift all dry ingredients. In a large bowl, add eggs, brown sugar and sour cream. Whisk until combined.
3. Add zucchini to this mixture and add raisins. Mix well and then add dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
4. Spray muffins pans and fill 3/4 full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack and then enjoy a little piece of (not soooo bad for you) heaven.