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How To Make Taiwanese Street Food
Jul 18th, 2018 by
A bowl of udon noodles with carrots and cucumber.

You can add chopped cucumber, raw carrots or even shredded chicken to this dish.

Cold Taiwanese sesame noodles with peanut sauce is a favorite street food there. I know because I got a subscription to Universal Yums for my birthday. Each month, I get a box of snacks from a different country along with a fact book about the country. This month’s booklet included this recipe, which is quick and very easy to make. And it tastes perfect on a hot, muggy night in July.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Noodles, close up.Peanut butter (or sesame paste), 1/4 cup
  • Soy sauce, 2 tbsp.
  • Rice wine vinegar, 2 tbsp.
  • Sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp.
  • Garlic, 3 cloves finely minced
  • Ground ginger, 1 1/2 tbsp.
  • Water, warm, about 1/4 cup
  • Asian wheat noodles, like udon or soba
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  • Spicy scallion stick (optional)
  • Cucumber slices (optional)
  • Raw carrot cut into thin matchsticks (optional)
  • Shredded chicken (optional)

What I did:

Combine peanut butter (or sesame paste), soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, and warm water in a bowl. Set aside.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Then drain and rinse under cold water. Mix in optional ingredients and then the sauce and stir well.

 

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Nutella Cookies: Quick and Easy Makes This Recipe Sweet
May 20th, 2018 by

I suggest making a bunch of these in advance because the deep frying goes very quickly.

My friend Antoinette (who is one of the best cooks I know) brought these to my house for a dinner party. They’re so good, it’s hard to stop eating them. And then when she told me how easy and fast they are to make I had to try it. Here’s what you need to do:

Ingredients:

  • Nutella (buy a small jar)
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vegetable oil

Procedure:

Powdered nutella cookies.

Here’s what they look like when they’re done.

Put a dab of Nutella (less than a teaspoon will do) into the middle of a wonton wrapper. Fold the wrapper over so that it creates a triangle. Press down the edges until they stick. (Some other recipes recommend sealing the edges with a beaten egg, but I found this wasn’t necessary).

I suggest making up a bunch of these before you start deep frying because the deep frying goes very quickly.

Nutella cookies frying in a cast iron pan.

It takes only seconds for these to cook.

Heat about an inch or so of vegetable oil over high heat in a good skillet (I used a cast iron skillet). Drop three or four wonton cookies into the oil and cook on each side for about 30 seconds or less (just until light golden brown). Remove cookies to a plate lined with paper towels so the oil can drain.

Put cookies on a platter and sprinkle powdered sugar over both sides. I used a sieve to sprinkle the sugar evenly.

That’s it. These cookies can be made well in advance. The cookies come out crunchy and sweet. And it’s very hard to stop eating them.

One final note: I always believed there were many similarities and/or opportunities to blend Italian cooking with Chinese cooking and this recipe proves it.

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A Long Lost Julia Child Recipe From the Days Before the Internet
Mar 24th, 2018 by

Roulade: The Rolled Souffle

Without this relic, there would be no broccoli roulade recipe for me to share.

A long time ago in a world far away, before there were smartphones, social media, the World Wide Web, and PCs had tiny green screens….That’s right, I’m talking about the 1980s.

During this prehistoric time, I was working at a small-town newspaper and was earning squat and so when I wanted inspiration for something to cook, I’d watch Julia Child on TV and write down the recipe as she made one of her brilliantly crafted, butter-laden treats. I was too cheap to go out and buy one of her cookbooks.

And I’m glad I was because I don’t think this recipe made it into any of her cookbooks. And it’s not online either (until now). This roulade is stuffed with a buttery concoction of broccoli and shallots and is the perfect spring dish to serve at an Easter brunch (which I plan to do).

The green drawing paper I scribbled the recipe on (see photo at right) is faded, stained and ripped, but I was able to decipher it some 30-plus years later. Here is the sacred code:

INGREDIENTS:

  • Butter, one stick, plus 2-3 tablespoons (what did you expect?)
  • Flour, 2/3 cup.
  • Milk, 3 cups
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • White Pepper, several grinds.
  • Nutmeg, a dash (but be careful, more than a few specks will overwhelm the taste).
  • Eggs, 6 large
  • Cream of tarter, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Grated Swiss Cheese, 4 ounces
  • Bread crumbs, enough to sprinkle over jelly roll pan.
  • Fresh broccoli, 2-3 cups
  • Shallots (or scallions), about 2-4 tablespoons chopped.
  • Heavy Cream (a little bit — hey, that’s what she said)
  • You’ll also need a jelly roll pan (a small cookie sheet, about 10″x15″) and some wax paper to line it.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

Julia Child

Julia Child

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Butter a jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet) and line it with wax paper. Then butter the wax paper and flour it (pour flour over the butter and shake off the excess so that the flour covers the wax paper which covers the pan).

Make the Bechamel Sauce:

In a pan over a low-to-moderate flame melt one stick of butter mixed with 2/3 cup of flour. Cook it until it froths and foams, about 2 minutes without coloring. Take off the heat and let it cool a moment (it should no longer be bubbling). Then add 3 cups of milk and whisk it vigorously. Return it to moderate heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and allow it to boil slowly for about 3 minutes. It should thicken. Once it’s thick, add a teaspoon of salt, several grinds of white pepper and a dash of nutmeg (be careful, more than a few specks will overwhelm the taste).

Divide the bechamel sauce in half. Keep one-half in a pan placed in another pan of hot water to keep it warm.

Make the Souffle Mixture:

Separate the 6 eggs and beat just the yolks into the other half of the bechamel sauce (the half that is not being kept warm in a hot water bath).

Beat the egg whites until foamy. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tarter and a pinch of salt. Continue beating until the egg whites are stiff, but not dry. Fold this into the souffle mixture (the egg yolks and bechamel sauce). Then fold in 4 ounces of grated swiss cheese.

Pour this mixture onto the prepared jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet). Spread it evenly across the pan. And cook it for 15 minutes in the middle level of an oven set to 425 degrees. Take it out of the oven and sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. Let it sit for 5 minutes covered with another sheet of wax paper.

Make the Filling:

Fresh broccoli, a sign of spring.

Fresh broccoli, a sign of spring.

Finely chop up 2-3 cups of fresh broccoli.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter to a frying pan over moderate heat and then cook the chopped shallots (or scallions for about a minute, until they soften. Add the broccoli and a pinch of salt and cook 2-3 minutes. Add a little bit of heavy cream and the remaining bechamel sauce and 2-3 tablespoons of grated swiss cheese. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes and taste.

Put It All Together:

Unpan the souffle (you should be able to tip it out of the jelly roll pan). Spread the filling ontop evenly. And then roll the souffle using the wax paper onto a platter.

You can slice it as is or you can top it with a piperade (a mixture of cooked red and green peppers with onions) or a hollandaise sauce.

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A Quick, Easy, One-Pan, Weeknight Eggplant Delight
Mar 23rd, 2018 by

Turkish Eggplant Casserole: Imam Bayildi

This dish takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare and then another 45 minutes to cook in the oven.

This recipe takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare and then another 45 minutes to cook in the oven.

RECIPE UPDATE (May, 30, 2018): So last night I made this dish by baking the eggplant instead of frying it and it tasted just as delicious. I couldn’t tell the difference, except maybe the meal was a little lighter (which was my goal). I’m sure it definitely had less calories. What I did was brush olive oil on both sides of the slices and then bake them on a cookie sheet in a hot (425 degree) oven, being careful to turn each slice over as it turned brown. I  then assembled the dish according to the recipe below.

This dish is similar to eggplant parmesan but without the cheese and without as much work. It is, however, as delicious as that Italian favorite. And a dash of cinnamon sends it to another world.

I got the recipe from the “Feed Me Phoebe” blog. Phoebe describes herself as a gluten-free chef, obsessed with finding the sweet spot between health and hedonism. And I can attest that this casserole feels very indulgent while you’re eating it.

I changed the original recipe slightly, most notably using a large eggplant rather than 2 medium eggplants, and I found that I needed a little more tomato sauce. The next time I make it, I may try baking the eggplant after brushing the slices with olive oil, as the eggplant slices soaked up a lot of oil during the frying process. But maybe, that’s why it tasted so good.

Here’s the recipe, which can be made using just one cast-iron pan:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant (I don’t salt it as recommended in the original recipe as I believe that makes it more acidic. Instead, be careful to select a very firm eggplant with little or no blemishes. The color should be a deep purple. And then peel it vertically in strips so that it looks like it has thin purple stripes before you slice it into 1/4-inch slices, horizontally (the original recipe suggests slicing it lengthwise).
  • Sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Olive oil. Use a good grade regular frying-style olive oil, not extra-virgin
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • About 18-24 oz of diced tomatoes from a can or box. (The original recipe recommended 14.5 ounces but I found I needed more.)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided in half
What You Need To Do:

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a cast iron skillet (or oven-proof skillet). If you don’t have one, you can use a regular frying pan and then this dish becomes a two-pan meal as you’ll need to bake it all in the end in a small roasting pan or lasagna pan.

Fry eggplant slices over medium heat until golden brown (about 2 minutes on each side) and add more oil as needed so eggplant doesn’t stick or burn. Remove the cooked eggplant to a plate.

Add onion to skillet and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and cinnamon. Cook for one minute more, until fragrant. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the parsley.

Remove most of the tomato sauce from the pan, leaving only a thin layer (about 1/4 cup) spread evenly over the bottom. Add one layer of the eggplant in the pan over the sauce and then top with more sauce. Continue to add layers of eggplant and sauce, as if you were building a lasagna.

Cover with foil and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes until eggplant is soft and sauce is reduced. Garnish with remaining parsley and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing it.

You can serve it warm or at room temperature.

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Can’t Beet This Vegetarian Dinner
Sep 5th, 2017 by

Root vegetables and eggplant. A healthy, tasty delight.

After work I felt like cooking, so I went shopping and came home and whipped this up in about 90 minutes (I used left over tomato sauce). All of the recipes except for the beet recipe have been posted on Rootsliving. So, I’m posting a link to the beet salad recipe courtesy of Epicurious.

I never liked beets, but now with this recipe, I love them. And they’re good for you too.

Here’s what we ate tonight:

Eggplant Parmesan (follow the recipe here for chicken parm, but omit the sage leaf)

French Peasant Beets

Stuffed Mushrooms with Nepitella Pesto

The combination of these earthy side dishes blended together well. And a glass (or two) of my homemade zinfandel rounded out the meal.

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Sartu di Riso: One of the Best Dishes, Ever
Mar 11th, 2017 by

The cake slipped easily out of the pan without any sticking. Just be sure to butter the Bundt pan well.

There are many recipes on RootsLiving but this one takes the cake. The giant rice cake, stuffed with sausages and meatballs covered in a velvety tomato sauce, has become a RootsLiving favorite.

I first ate it when my sister-in-law, Kathy, made it. It sounds like a heavy dish, but it’s surprisingly light: a giant arancini that has been baked, not fried. It’s an elegant, Italian dish, much like the chef herself, Giada De Laurentis — and of course, my sister-in-law, Kathy (who is Italian by marriage).

I’m glad I read the comments below Giada’s recipe. Several people recommended making twice the amount of tomato sauce and they were correct. This dish needs that much tomato sauce. I also doubled the amount of sausage and ground beef and ended up with too many meatballs (but can one really have too many meatballs?) So here’s the recipe, updated to reflect the double amounts needed to make the sauce and extra batch of meatballs.

(Note: The recipe says it takes about 2 hours, 30 minutes to make, but it took me about 3 hours. There are many steps, but it’s worth it!)

Ingredients:

What to do:

In a large saucepan combine the rice, chicken broth, 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt and the bay leaf. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring once, until the rice is still slightly undercooked but the liquid is absorbed, 8 minutes. Pour the rice into a large bowl and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the cheese and 3 of the eggs until well combined, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casing and break into small, bite-size pieces. Add the sausage to the hot oil and cook until browned, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a medium bowl and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, shallots and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant and the shallots are soft, 1 minute. Add the basil, cheese rind and tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the basil and cheese rind. Add 2 cups of the sauce to the reserved sausage and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, the milk and the remaining 2 eggs with a fork and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to thicken. Stir in the oregano, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the remaining cup of cheese. Using your hands, mix in the beef, until just combined. Heat 1/2-inch of olive oil in a medium straight-sided pan. Scoop 1-tablespoon mounds of the mixture into damp hands and roll into uniform balls. When the oil is hot, fry the balls in 2 batches, turning them as needed with a slotted spoon to brown the balls evenly, about 4 minutes. When golden brown and crispy all around, remove the balls using a slotted spoon to the bowl with the sausage and sauce. Continue with the remaining balls, and then toss to coat evenly in the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using 1 tablespoon of the butter, grease the inside of a Bundt pan or a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven, making sure to coat it very well. Dust the inside of the pan with 3 tablespoons (or more) of the breadcrumbs. Make sure it is evenly coated and there are no bald spots. This is very important to prevent sticking.

Add the peas and diced mozzarella to the meat and sauce, and toss gently to incorporate. Spoon two-thirds of the rice mixture into the prepared bundt pan. Using damp hands, press the rice evenly over the bottom of the pan and 2 1/2-inches up the sides and middle of the pan. Spoon the meat filling into the well of rice and press gently to make sure it is evenly packed. Spoon the remaining rice over the filling and, using damp hands, press the rice evenly over the filling, being sure to press the rice on top into the rice along the edges to seal. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and dot with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter. Bake until lightly browned on top, 45 minutes.

Cool for 15 minutes.

Place a plate large enough to cover the top of the pan over the pan. Using heat-resistant pads or a towel, invert the sartu onto the plate. Carefully lift the pan off of the rice, shaking gently if needed. Warm the remaining sauce and fill the opening in the middle of the molded rice with the sauce to serve.

Find More Recipes in the RootsLiving Recipe Index

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