Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lazy with Asian Flair

A and I have been more busy than lazy, really. I think we have had one weekend at home together in a few months. Between small trips and A's grad school, it's been non-stop moving around! I can't complain too much since I like having somewhere to go. However, it has made me that much more tired during the week, which means less cooking. I have been making a lot of quick and simple dinners that are also light for the summer heat. Since I don't indulge my Asian side too much, I try to experiment with the most basic of Asian ingredients. The recipe calls for toasted sesame seed oil and kimchi- both staples in the Korean household. Kimchi can be an acquired taste if you're not used to it, but I've been eating it since I was a child. I love it! The tangy and spicy cabbage just adds a nice kick to an Asian dish, especially this very simple one.

This one has been a recent favorite go-to of mine since it takes no more than a handful of ingredients and ten minutes to prepare. It is my favorite form of comfort food- noodles, veggies, and kimchi. As usual, I pieced together several recipes so I can't take full credit for the dish. The picture is a bit sloppy due to hunger and my old clunker of a camera.

Sesame Noodles

The measurements will vary on how much you make. I am going to base it on 1 serving, since I usually just make a small bowl for me.

1 serving of udon noodles (dried or fresh), the amount would be about 1 1/2 in. in diameter if dried
2 cups frozen Asian stir fry veggies (I like the one with edamame.)
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 tbsp good soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped kimchi

Cook udon noodles until chewy all the way through. At the same time, stir fry veggies with just a little olive oil and water to be sure they heat and cook. You don't want mushy, watery, or oily veggies. Once both are done, mix noodles, veggies, sesame seed oil, soy sauce, and kimchi all together in a bowl. You can add as much soy sauce and sesame seed oil as you want if you need a stronger flavor. I usually like it pretty light. See! Easy and so very good!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Simply Tomatoes

Just a quick post today. I had leftover grape tomatoes and wanted to do something a little different with them. I normally just throw them raw into a salad since they're sweet all alone. However, this time I sauteed them in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil and a couple pinches of dried oregano and sea salt. What a great combination! Add them to salads, pastas, or just have them as a side dish.

Grape Tomatoes with Oregano

a cup or two of grape tomatoes
couple turns of extra virgin olive oil
pinch or two of sea salt
a few pinches of dried oregano

Saute grape tomatoes in a pan with the rest of the ingredients over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. You know they're done when the tomatoes just start to soften and blister.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

First Attempt

I've been having weird cravings lately- crunchwraps from Taco Bell, turkey burger with extra pickles, gummy bears, and Indian food. No, I'm not pregnant, but you'd think it by the strange combination of things I've wanted to eat. I did eat a crunchwrap over the weekend (check!), which I know doesn't follow my buy real and organic food diet. Whatever, life is too short anyway. The Indian food I attempted to fix on my own. I've been wanting to dabble in making more Asian and Indian dishes since that is an area of cooking I have not really explored. A and I love Indian food and sadly we can't get very good Indian food in Florida like we could in Boston. (We had our very first date at an Indian restaurant!) So to remedy this and not spend money going out all the time, I attempted to make Chicken Tikka Masala. I say "attempted" because it was a mish mash of four different recipes and it didn't taste like restaurant quality. The picture isn't a good representation since it tasted much better than the way it looks in the picture. I wanted to take a picture of it "plated" but forgot in my hunger. Enjoy! It's worth trying with shrimp, tofu, or veggies too!

Tikka Masala- style Chicken

For the marinade:

4 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 cup yogurt (low fat or Greek-style work best)
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ginger (freshly grated or powder)
1 tsp turmeric
a few good pinches of salt and pepper

Mix all the spices into the yogurt. In a large ziplock bag, mix the chicken and the yogurt marinade. Let it marinade in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours (overnight if possible). When ready to cook the chicken. place in a baking dish (discarding any left over marinade) and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through. You can also cook it out on the grill too!

For the sauce:

1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2/3 small can (4 oz) of tomato paste
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cayenne
1 pinch cumin
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup of whipping cream
2-3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

Over medium heat, brown the onion using butter and olive oil. Add in the minced garlic toward the end to brown, making sure it doesn't burn. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste. Once it is thoroughly mixed and starting to heat through, add lemon juice, garam masala, ginger, cayenne, and cumin. Cook at medium low heat for 15-20 minutes. Add in the whipping cream and chicken. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle fresh cilantro right before serving. Goes great with brown or basmati rice.