Lucious Lemongrass/ Recipes, some Kosher

In the theatre production or movie made the major character typically has a side kick, a buddy, a counterpoint or antagonist that is in place to showcase the talent of the lead. Such is the case with lemongrass in the food world.

Lemongrass is a very versatile plant and can be integrated into just about any recipe from appetizers to desserts. This subtle Asian centric plant offers a subtle citrusy lemon-like (hence the name lemongrass) flavor to any and all dishes it’s used in. Never a main ingredient this green onion looking like plant was nearly impossible to find for years anywhere else but in an Asian grocery. These days, however, lemongrass has become mainstream and often available at farm stands and in the produce section of more upscale or urban grocery stores.

When you’re buying lemongrass you should look for firm stalks. The end (where most of the flavor is concentrated) of the stalk should be plump, rounded and pale yellow (almost white) and the upper stalks should be green. Avoid any lemongrass with yellow or browning leaves.

To use lemongrass in marinades, a stir fry, salads, curry or baked item, you will need to trim the top and base of the stalks and then peel off any dry or tough outer layers. You should only use the bottom 4 inches or so.  The lemongrass flavor becomes more intense the longer it’s cooked so if you want a strong lemongrass flavor; add it at the beginning of your cooking. For a lighter more subtle lemongrass flavor, add it at the very end of your cooking. Storing lemongrass is simple.  Keep it whole, uncut and wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to three weeks, or you can freeze it for up to six months.

Lemongrass may be the understudy ingredient in the following recipes but the flavor it brings to the table gives the dish star quality.

SAIGON CHICKEN SALAD

 

1cup chopped fresh cilantro

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons lemongrass stalk, finely chopped

3 large lime leaves, minced or substitute 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel for each lime leaf.

1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt

1 1/4pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves (4 to 5)

5 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam) (or soy sauce)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced jalapeno or Serrano chilies with seeds

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 cups Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into bite sized pieces, blanched

8 ounces tomatoes, seeded and cut into strips

1 cup coarsely grated peeled daikon (Japanese white radish) or trimmed red radishes

1 cup coarsely grated seeded English cucumbers

1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage

1cup coarsely grated carrot

1cup mince celery

1cup fresh cilantro leaves

3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal

1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts

 

In a bowl combine the cilantro, lemon juice, lemongrass, and lime leaves and whisk to combine. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in single layer in a glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken flipping it once to coat evenly. Cover and chill 3 hours. In a heated grill pan cook the chicken (with a tablespoon or two of marinade). Cook 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat, cool and cut into strips. Set aside.

 

In a bowl combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chiles, and garlic. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature; whisk before using.

 

Place the blanched beans in large bowl. Add the tomatoes, daikon, cucumbers, cabbage, carrot, celery leaves, cilantro leaves, green onions, and most of peanuts. Toss to combine. Add the chicken and dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mound salad on large rimmed platter. Sprinkle with remaining peanuts and serve Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe by Kajsa Alger of Street in Los Angeles

 

LEMONGRASS MEATBALLS IN LETTUCE CUPS

 

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken

1lemongrass stalk, bottom 5 inches only, smashed with rolling pin, then minced

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1tablespoon oil

1teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

 

Dipping sauce

1lemongrass stalk, minced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4cup fish sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons grated carrot

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons minced green jalapeno pepper

 

2 tablespoons oil

1head of butter lettuce leaves separated

1small English cucumber, thinly sliced

 

Chill the meat in the freezer while making lemongrass paste. You want it cold, not frozen. In the bowl of a food processor combine the lemongrass, green onion, cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, oil, sugar and pepper. Pulse to combine. Add the meat and pulse to combine but don’t overdo. Make meatballs, about 1 heaping tablespoonful each and place them on a cookie sheet that has side. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours so the flavors can blend. While they are chilling make the dipping sauce.

 

Dipping sauce

Place the minced lemongrass in a bowl. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, cilantro, carrot, sugar, and chile and whisk to combine. Set the mixture aside.

 

In a skillet heat the oil. Add the meatballs and cook, browning on all sides until cooked throughout, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and place on a serving platter along with the lettuce leaves and cucumber. Place the meat balls in a lettuce leaf with cucumbers and drizzle the sauce over the top. Serves 8 to 12 as appetizers

 

Submitted by Candice Morant source unknown (modified)

LEMONGRASS STIR FRY

 

2 large stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (4 cups)

12 asparagus spears cut into 1-inch lengths

1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

3 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 cup mung bean sprouts

Rice, for serving

 

In a mini food processor, finely chop the lemongrass.  In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the lemongrass and shallots and stir fry the shallots are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower, asparagus, carrots and red bell pepper along with 1/2 cup of the water; cover and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup of water, whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Stir in the basil and bean sprouts. Transfer the stir-fried vegetables to bowls and serve with rice.

 

From a recipe by Marcia Kiesel source unknown, modified

 

SPICY THAI SOUP

 

4 lemongrass stalks, bottom two-thirds of tender inner bulbs only, thinly sliced

5-1/4 cloves garlic, chopped

1-1/4 (4 inch) pieces fresh ginger root, chopped

5-1/3 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks

1 pound fresh white mushrooms, quartered

2-3/4 teaspoons red curry paste

1/4 cup fish sauce

2-3/4 (14 ounce) cans coconut milk

1-1/4 red onion, sliced

5/8 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

2-3/4 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

1-1/4 fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced into rings

 

Stir lemon grass, garlic, and ginger together in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain chicken broth and set aside. Discard lemon grass, garlic, and ginger.

Heat vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; Stir in chicken; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until combined. Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk; return to a simmer and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes. Skim off any excess oil and fat that rises to the top and discard. Stir red onion into the chicken mixture; cook and stir until onion softens, about 5 minutes. move from heat and add about 1/2 the cilantro. Serve with plates of cilantro, lime wedges, and fresh sliced jalapenos. Serves 8.

 

Modified from about.com

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Oddles of Noodles /some non kosher recipes

When my son discovered that the money train AKA his parents credit card had left when he entered grad school he quickly discovered the joys of pasta, or more specifically, ramen noodles. Left to his own devices (and given his limited time to spend in the kitchen) this staple in his pantry would have been the entree of choice. I convinced him, though a little culinary magic, a few simple recipes and a $50 gift card to Kroger have to try a few different types of noodles to kick up his menu variety.

Created in China (not Italy as most people believe) noodles were an integral part of the Chinese diet from as early as 200 B.C There are several kinds of noodles in Chinese cuisine, mien noodles (egg), rice noodles, wheat noodles and bean noodles. In northernChina, wheat noodle are eaten more regularly than rice or rice noodles. Rice noodles are considered a southern Chinese staple. I told my son that while there were nice inexpensive “Americanized” alternatives to the Asian noodles (lets not forgetJapanhere) that the originals were actually tastier and more interesting.

The first noodle I introduced him to was the Soba noodle. A Soba noodle is made with wheat flour and buckwheat. It’s high in fiber and has a nutty full bodied flavor. The higher the buckwheat content the more expensive the noodle. Soba noodles are typically served in soups or with a plain with a dipping sauce. Less expensive alternative: whole wheat spaghetti or linguini.

He already knew about Ramen but for the uninformed, Ramen are thin and skinny curly dried egg noodles that are typically sold in an instant soup form. There is usually a packet of flavored instant soup powder in the package. My son has eaten it for years and has added veggies and left over chicken or turkey. There isn’t really a less expensive alternative as they are cheap cheap cheap but regular spaghetti noodles are pretty close.
Rice noodles are round or flat, thin and slightly translucent white noodles made from rice flour and water. They kinda have zero flavor of their own (just a great squishy texture) and they pair with just about any strong meat of fish flavor. You can substitute vermicelli, linguine, or fettuccine but it’s not really a close match.

Bean thread, cellophane or mung bean noodles are very thin noodles that are semi-transparent noodles made from the starch of mung beans. Bean threads become very slippery when cooked. Their subtle flavor is the perfect complement to any meat or fish dish. I would suggest rice noodles or vermicelli as a substitute but they are sort of a one of a kind noodle.

For most the tried and true method of cooking noodles is to boil the and then add them to the other ingredients, pour sauce over them or add ingredients to the pot they were cooked in. I really don’t have much to add to that for my column other than don’t over cook them and read the instructions on the package.

If possible try and buy fresh noodles as opposed to the dried variety. Fresh noodles should be soft but not limp, sticky, or brittle. Fresh will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. Dried noodles can be kept until just about the next ice age in a cool, dry, dark place.

One final “noodle note” those ‘chow mein’ found in most Chinese restaurants are an American invention so if you’re looking for “authentic” pass the up and get yourself the real stuff.

SLEEPING DRAGON NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 carrots julienned

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 radishes julienned

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

4 packages ramen egg noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons black or toasted sesame seeds

 

In a large salad bowl combine the sesame oil, hot sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add the green onions, carrot, celery and radishes. Toss to combine and top with sesame seeds before serving. Serves 8.

 

SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY

 

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 egg whites

1/3 to 1/2 lb shelled shrimp (raw) cut in half

3/4 lb noodles (any kind will work but I like soba noodle with this)

salt

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

In a bowl mix the cornstarch and ginger with the egg white and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Heat the 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a skillet. Add the green onion, and shrimp and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, wine and sugar and mix to combine. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and mix to combine. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and just before you’re finished add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly and serve. Serves then add the sesame seed oil just before serving. Serves 2 to 4

 

Modified from a recipe submitted by Carlie Smyth Chicago IL

HOT AND SPICEY PORTABELLA AND EDAMAME WITH NOODLES
For sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Wasabi paste (this is hot, you can use less)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
10 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
8 cups shredded Napa cabbage
6 green onions, thinly sliced
8 to 9 ounces soba
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

 

In a bowl combine the water, soy sauce, Wasabi and brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set the sauce aside.  Heat the oil in skillet then add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the portabellas and saute, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat and add cabbage and 2/3’s of the green onions (save a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

 

While cabbage is cooking, cook the soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until the noodles are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and edamame in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the noodles and edamame in a large bowl and add the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

 

BOTH SIDES BROWNED NOODLES

Kind of like a noodle pancake

1 pound fresh or dried egg noodles

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (or more if needed)

 

In a large stock pot, add enough water to cover the noodles and bring the water to a boil. Add the noodles, stirring to separate. Cook until the noodles almost done, tender, but still firm. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Place the noodles back into the pot and add the sesame oil and toss to coat. In a frying pan or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over a high heat. Add the noodles. Spread the noodles out to the edges of the pan, and then let them cook, without stirring, until they are browned on the bottom (6 to 8 minutes). Flip over and brown the other side. You can do this by placing a plate over the top of the pan, flipping the noodles out onto it and then sliding them back into the pan. You may need to add a little more oil to keep them from sticking. Cook on the second side until crispy,4 to 5more minutes. Remove the fried noodle pancake to a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve with stir fried vegetables or grilled meat. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Submitted byTony Easteron River GroveIL

 

WARM GINGER AND PEANUT NOODLE SALAD

 

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound uncooked angle hair pasta or linguini

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

1/3 to 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1 cup thin strips red or yellow bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

 

In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, Wasabi and garlic. Whisk to combine and set aside. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When the noodles are al dente (still a little crunchy) turn off the heat and add the carrot and snow peas. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes then drain, saving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the drained pasta and noodles to the salad dressing in the salad bowl. Toss to coat. Add the bell pepper, water chestnuts and onions. Toss to coat. Add the pasta water and toss to coat. Sprinkle the honey roasted peanuts on top and serve warm. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

SPICY CASHEW NOODLE SALAD

 

8 oz dried linguini, spaghetti, or soba noodles

2 cups broccoli florets cut small

1/4 pound pea pods, sliced in 1/3’s

1 carrot, peeled, julienned

1/2 red onion chopped fine

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, sliced

1 large tomato seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, julienned

1 cup toasted cashews

 

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain again and then set it aside. Steam the broccoli, pea pods, and carrots for about 2 minutes, making sure they are still crisp. Rinse them in cold water and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a frying pan, add onion, ginger and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until just soft. Add the green onions, tomato and red pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl combine the lime juice, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce. Add the sauteed onion mixture to the sauce and mix to combine. Add the noodles and steamed vegetables to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Great at room temperature or served cold. Before serving sprinkle the pine nuts on the top. Serves 6.

 

SALSA SHRIMP AND NOODLE SOUP

 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and divined

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups water

2 packages shrimp flavored Ramen Noodles (use 1 packet of seasoning)

2 cups salsa

1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

1 can corn

1 green onion thinly sliced

 

In a medium bowl combine the lemon juice chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Mix to combine and add the shrimp. Toss to coat and let sit for 1/2 hour. In a large sauce pan bring water to boil, stir in 1 ramen flavor packet, break the ramen noodles into pieces and add them to the saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp, salsa, beans, corn, and green onion and then reduce the soup to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Serves 4.

 

Submitted by Lenore Hentz Trenton NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND NOODLE STIR FRY

 

3 oz. pkg. oriental or shrimp flavor ramen noodle soup mix

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lb. sea scallops cut in half

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

 

Cook and drain ramen noodles as directed on the package and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok or large skillet. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the scallops and stir-fry until they are white and firm. Add the ramen seasoning packet, soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and hot sauce and stir into scallop mixture. Stir in the cooked noodles. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until everything is hot throughout. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Modified from about.com

Oodles of Noodles

When my son discovered that the money train AKA his parents credit card had left when he entered grad school he quickly discovered the joys of pasta, or more specifically, ramen noodles. Left to his own devices (and given his limited time to spend in the kitchen) this staple in his pantry would have been the entree of choice. I convinced him, though a little culinary magic, a few simple recipes and a $50 gift card to Kroger have to try a few different types of noodles to kick up his menu variety.

Created in China (not Italy as most people believe) noodles were an integral part of the Chinese diet from as early as 200 B.C There are several kinds of noodles in Chinese cuisine, mien noodles (egg), rice noodles, wheat noodles and bean noodles. In northern China,
wheat noodle are eaten more regularly than rice or rice noodles. Rice noodles are considered a southern Chinese staple. I told my son that while there were nice inexpensive “Americanized” alternatives to the Asian noodles (lets not forget Japan here) that the originals were actually tastier and more interesting.

The first noodle I introduced him to was the Soba noodle. A Soba noodle is made with wheat flour and buckwheat. It’s high in fiber and has a nutty full bodied flavor. The higher the buckwheat content the more expensive the noodle. Soba noodles are typically served in soups or with a plain with a dipping sauce. Less expensive alternative: whole wheat spaghetti or linguini.

He already knew about Ramen but for the uninformed, Ramen are thin and skinny curly dried egg noodles that are typically sold in an instant soup form. There is usually a packet of flavored instant soup powder in the package. My son has eaten it for years and has added veggies and left over chicken or turkey. There isn’t really a less expensive alternative as they are cheap cheap cheap but regular spaghetti noodles are pretty close.

Rice noodles are round or flat, thin and slightly translucent white noodles made from rice flour and water. They kinda have zero flavor of their own (just a great squishy texture) and they pair with just about any strong meat of fish flavor. You can substitute vermicelli, linguine, or fettuccine but it’s not really a close match.

Bean thread, cellophane or mung bean noodles are very thin noodles that are semi-transparent noodles made from the starch of mung beans. Bean threads become very slippery when cooked. Their subtle flavor is the perfect complement to any meat or fish dish. I would suggest rice noodles or vermicelli as a substitute but they are sort of a one of a kind noodle.

For most the tried and true method of cooking noodles is to boil the and then add them to the other ingredients, pour sauce over them or add ingredients to the pot they were cooked in. I really don’t have much to add to that for my column other than don’t over cook them and read the instructions on the package.

If possible try and buy fresh noodles as opposed to the dried variety. Fresh noodles should be soft but not limp, sticky, or brittle. Fresh will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator and for 1 month in the freezer. Dried noodles can be kept until just about the next ice age in a cool, dry, dark place.

One final “noodle note” those ‘chow mein’ found in most Chinese restaurants are an American invention so if you’re looking for “authentic” pass the up and get yourself the real stuff. For those of you that don’t eat shell fish you can always substitute chicken or fish.

SLEEPING DRAGON NOODLE SALAD

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 carrots julienned

1/4 cup chopped celery

4 radishes julienned

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

4 packages ramen egg noodles, cooked, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons black or toasted sesame seeds

 

In a large
salad bowl combine the sesame oil, hot sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar,
sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the noodles and toss to
coat. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add the green onions, carrot,
celery and radishes. Toss to combine and top with sesame seeds before serving.
Serves 8.

 

SHRIMP NOODLE STIR FRY

2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 egg whites

1/3 to 1/2 lb shelled shrimp (raw) cut in half

3/4 lb noodles (any kind will work but I like soba noodle with this)

salt

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 to 4 green onions cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon white wine

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

In a bowl mix the cornstarch and ginger with the egg white and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Heat the 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a skillet. Add the green onion, and shrimp and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, wine and sugar and mix to combine. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and mix to combine. Continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes and just before you’re finished add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, cook
for 30 seconds, stirring constantly and serve. Serves then add the sesame seed oil just before serving. Serves 2 to 4

Modified from a recipe submitted by Carlie Smyth Chicago IL

 

HOT AND SPICEY PORTABELLA AND EDAMAME WITH NOODLES

For sauce

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons Wasabi paste (this is hot, you can use less)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

10 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces

8 cups shredded Napa cabbage

6 green onions, thinly sliced

8 to 9 ounces soba

1 cup frozen shelled edamame

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

 

In a bowl combine the water, soy sauce, Wasabi and brown sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set the sauce aside.  Heat the
oil in skillet then add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the portabellas and saute, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat and add cabbage and 2/3’s of the green onions (save a tablespoon for garnish) and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce and simmer 2 minutes.

 

While cabbage is cooking, cook the soba and edamame together in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until the noodles are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and edamame in a colander and rinse with cool water. Place the noodles and edamame in a large bowl and add the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

 

BOTH SIDES BROWNED NOODLES

Kind of like a noodle pancake

1 pound fresh or dried egg noodles

2 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (or more if needed)

In a large stock pot, add enough water to cover the noodles and bring the water to a boil. Add the noodles, stirring to separate. Cook until the noodles almost done, tender, but still firm. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Place the noodles back into the pot and add the sesame oil and toss to coat. In a frying pan or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over a high heat. Add the noodles. Spread the noodles out to the edges of the pan, and then let them cook, without stirring, until they are browned on the bottom (6 to 8 minutes). Flip over and brown the other side. You can do this by placing a plate over the top of the pan, flipping the noodles out onto it and then sliding them back into the pan. You may need to add a little more oil to keep them from sticking. Cook on the second side until crispy, 4 to 5 more minutes. Remove the fried noodle pancake to a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve with stir fried vegetables or grilled meat. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Submitted byTony Easteron River GroveIL

WARM GINGER AND PEANUT NOODLE SALAD

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon wasabi

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound uncooked angle hair pasta or linguini

1 1/2 cups shredded carrot

1/3 to 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

1 cup thin strips red or yellow bell pepper

3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 to 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts

 

In a large
bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil,
Wasabi and garlic. Whisk to combine and set aside. Cook the pasta according to
the directions on the box. When the noodles are al dente (still a little
crunchy) turn off the heat and add the carrot and snow peas. Let the mixture
sit for 2 minutes then drain, saving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the drained
pasta and noodles to the salad dressing in the salad bowl. Toss to coat. Add
the bell pepper, water chestnuts and onions. Toss to coat. Add the pasta water
and toss to coat. Sprinkle the honey roasted peanuts on top and serve warm.
Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

SPICY CASHEW NOODLE SALAD

8 oz dried linguini, spaghetti, or soba noodles

2 cups broccoli florets cut small

1/4 pound pea pods, sliced in 1/3’s

1 carrot, peeled, julienned

1/2 red onion chopped fine

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3 green onions, sliced

1 large tomato seeded and chopped

1/2 cup red pepper, julienned

1 cup toasted cashews

 

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain again and then set it
aside. Steam the broccoli, pea pods, and carrots for about 2 minutes, making
sure they are still crisp. Rinse them in cold water and set them aside. Heat 1
tablespoon of the sesame oil in a frying pan, add onion, ginger and garlic and
saute for 2 to 3 minutes until just soft. Add the green onions, tomato and red
pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl combine the lime
juice, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce. Add the sauteed onion
mixture to the sauce and mix to combine. Add the noodles and steamed vegetables
to the sauce. Toss to coat the pasta. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before
serving. Great at room temperature or served cold. Before serving sprinkle the
pine nuts on the top. Serves 6.

 

SALSA SHRIMP AND NOODLE SOUP

1 lb shrimp, peeled and divined

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups water

2 packages  flavored Ramen Noodles (use 1 packet of seasoning)

2 cups salsa

1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained

1 can corn

1 green onion thinly sliced

 

In a medium bowl combine the lemon juice chili powder, cumin, and pepper. Mix to combine
and add the shrimp. Toss to coat and let sit for 1/2 hour. In a large sauce pan
bring water to boil, stir in 1 ramen flavor packet, break the ramen noodles
into pieces and add them to the saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil cook for 1
minute. Add shrimp, salsa, beans, corn, and green onion and then reduce the
soup to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink.
Serves 4.

 

Submitted by Lenore Hentz Trenton NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND NOODLE STIR FRY

3 oz. pkg. oriental or shrimp flavor ramen noodle soup mix

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 red onion chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 lb. sea scallops cut in half or talapia cut into pieces

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cook and drain ramen noodles as directed on the package and set them aside. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in wok or large skillet. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the scallops and stir-fry until they are white and firm. Add the ramen seasoning packet, soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and hot sauce and stir into scallop mixture. Stir in the cooked noodles. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until everything is hot throughout. Serves 4 to 6.

Modified from about.com

 

 

Deliciously Simple Steak (Beef) Salads

            Every now and then (at least 2 days a week) I want EASY for dinner. No I am not talking about the swing by the favorite kosher take out place or fresh from the freezer kind of easy. I’m talking about the how I can make it in less than 20 minutes and still feel like I’m serving something nutritious and delicious and not selling my culinary soul to expediency kind of easy. Since I always have salad stuff on hand I know that adding a protein like beef or chicken or fish to the mix is the best way to round out the “quickie” meal. While chicken is usually the meat of choice I have been using more and more beef.

            Beef? Did she say beef?  Hasn’t beef been a food non gratis for the past couple of years? Why would she say beef?

            Relax, I promise not to steer you wrong (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun) Beef, in moderation, is actually very good for you. Beef today is much leaner than in the past due to advances in breeding, cattle feed and the way supermarkets prepare it. Yes, beef contains fat, including saturated fat, and cholesterol, but we all need some fat in our diets. What most people don’t know is that lean, and the key word here lean, beef has eight times more vitamin B12, six times more zinc and three times more iron than a skinless chicken breast. Chicken has its good points but it’s time to add just a little more variety to our meals.

            The following salads all combine fun combinations of beef, greens and or pasta as well as amazing dressing that will have your family asking you to do beef and easy more often.

NOTE; While I use the generic term steak in most recipes know that I am referring to any cut of beef that can be grilled or broiled and does not need to be extensively marinated to make it tender.

NOTE: You can always substitute bison steak for beef steak if you want an even leaner cut of meat.

 

TEX MEX TACO SALAD
This Tex-Mex version of a chef’s salad is really a meal all by itself.

1 lb ground beef
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups water
2-3 cups tortilla chips
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno peppers, sliced
1 cup dressing*

Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup salsa

Make the dressing: In a bowl combine the mayonnaise and salsa. Mix to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a skillet saute the beef and garlic together until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the flour, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Add the water and simmer uncovered over low heat until the mixture has thickened, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, arrange the tortilla chips on a large serving platter or Individual plates and place the lettuce on top.  Add the beef mixture followed by the onion, tomato, avocado, black olives and jalapeno peppers. Serve the dressing on the side.  Serves 4 to 6.

ASIAN BEEF SALAD

1 lb. steak

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon lime, juice

2 tablespoon Hoisin sauce

4 teaspoon minced ginger, root

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Asian chili paste

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

8 cup torn red leaf lettuce

2 cup snow peas

1 sweet red pepper, thinly, sliced

1/2 small English cucumber

1 cup beans, sprouts

1 tablespoon balsamic or rice wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoon olive oil

Place steak in large shallow dish. In a bowl combine the soy sauce, lime juice, hoisin sauce, ginger, sherry, garlic, chili paste and sesame oil. Whisk to combine and then pour the mixture over the meat, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but you can do this before work in the morning and it will be ready to go when you get home. When ready to prepare the salad place lettuce in large salad bowl. In saucepan of boiling water, cook snow peas for 2 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain and chill under cold running water; drain again and pat dry. Add the snow peas to salad bowl. Add the red pepper. Slice cucumber in half lengthwise; slice thinly crosswise and add to bowl. Add bean sprouts. Reserving the marinade, place the steak on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, 6 inches from heat, turning once, for about 10 minutes or until medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and tent it with foil; let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring reserved marinade to boil; boil gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vinegar and sugar; gradually whisk in olive oil. Let dressing cool slightly. Slice meat diagonally across the grain into thin slices; add to the salad bowl. Pour the dressing over top; toss gently to coat lightly and serve. Serves 4

THAI BEEF SALAD

Just a hint of peanut flavor combined with the chilies makes this salad really special.
 

1 pound steak
scant oil for frying
bag of fancy salad greens
4 green onions, finely sliced on the diagonal

For the dressing
3 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated root ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoon oil
2 red or green chillies, sliced into rings and deseeded
1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint leaves
 

English cucumber for garnish

Lime juice for garnish

Pepper for garnish

Heat a film of oil in a small frying pan and fry the fillet for 4–5 minutes each side until it is well browned on the outside and medium rare in the middle. Cook for slightly longer if you prefer it well done. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Place the salad greens in a salad bowl and set it aside. To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake well. Slice the beef into thin strips and place them in a bowl, pour half of the dressing over the meat. Toss to coat and set aside. Pour the rest of the dressing over the salad greens and toss to coat. Arrange the salad on 4 individual plates. Lay the strips of beef on top of the greens and sprinkle the sliced green onions over the top. Serve with a cucumber ribbon salad made by slicing a cucumber lengthways with a potato peeler into long, wide strips.  Drizzle with a little extra lime juice, salt and black pepper. Serves 3 to 4

BEEF SALAD WITH POTATO CRISPS

1 medium potato

Nonstick spray coating

Garlic salt, onion salt, or salt

3 tablespoons apricot preserves; or orange marmalade

2 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or cider vinegar

1 tablespoon water

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 cups torn mixed greens

6 ounces sliced cooked beef cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 1 cup) (you can use deli meat)

2 medium carrots, cut into julienne strips (1 cup), or 1 cup jicama cut into julienne strips

2   green onions, sliced (1/4 cup), or 2 tablespoons chopped onion

 For potato crisps: Preheat oven to 450. Cut potato into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick coating. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on baking sheet and lightly sprinkle them with garlic salt, onion salt or salt. Bake in a 450 for 20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from baking sheet. Cool 10 minutes. For the dressing: in a small mixing bowl stir together the apricot preserves or orange marmalade, oil, vinegar, water; and pepper. Mix to combine and let stand at room temperature at least 20 minutes.

 Divide mixed greens evenly among 2 individual plates. Arrange the slices of beef on the plates on top of the greens and then decorate with the potato crisps, carrot or jicama strips, and onion. Stir the dressing and drizzle it over the salads. Makes 2 servings. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

GINGER BEEF SALAD

Beef and slaw combination is really different and really crunchy

Dressing:

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

pepper, to taste

Salad:

8 ounces rare cooked steak or roast beef, thinly sliced

4 ounces cooked/drained vermicelli or spaghetti pasta, broken into 3″ pieces,

1 cup pea pods, halved

1 cup shredded cabbage, red

1/2 cup carrot slices, sliced very thin

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 can (8oz) water chestnuts, sliced, drained

In a bowl combine the oil, cider vinegar, sugar, grated ginger and pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside. In a salad bowl combine the Combine the steak pasta, pea pods, cabbage, carrots, green onions and water chestnuts. Pour the dressing over salad and toss lightly. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
Serves 4.

SHELL PASTA AND BEEF SALAD

1 pound Orzo, Small Shells or other small pasta shape, uncooked

2 cups roast beef from the deli, cubed

3 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup finely chopped green onion

2 tablespoons minced fresh mint (optional)

3 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon black pepper

Salt to taste  

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain again. In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, beef, tomatoes, zucchini, parsley, onion and mint. In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients; whisk well. Toss dressing with pasta mixture. Salt to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 8

Keeping The Planet Green One Bean At A Time

Green is the color of the day. Green planet, green energy and most of all green vegetables. We all know you gotta have green vegetables in your diet every day, it’s the law (mom’s law). Most green vegetables are great as stand alone side dishes. The green bean, however, seems to stand head and shoulders (as if they had them) above the rest. In fact, with green beans you can add just one or two ingredients and have a fantastic side or main dish.

Commonly referred to as the string beans, these bright green and crunchy veggies are available at your local market throughout the year; they are in season from late summer through fall when they are at their best and the least expensive. Green beans vary in size they average about four inches in length. Green beans are low in calories (just 43 calories in a whole cup) and green beans are also a great source of vitamin C, A and K, foliate, iron and manganese. (Yum, just can’t get enough of that magnesium)

Look for beans that have smooth feel and have a vibrant emerald green color, and that are free from brown spots or bruises. They should have a firm texture and ‘snap’ when broken. You should store your unwashed fresh beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Stored this way they should keep for about a week.

Lots of recipes call for blanching beans before using them. Easy to do. Heat a pot of water to a boil, adding a teaspoon of salt per quart of water (salt will help preserve the green color of the beans in addition to seasoning them). For a crisper texture, figure a cooking time of about 2 minutes from the time the boil resumes after you add the green beans. Drain them immediately and then submerge them in cold water to stop the cooking.

Fresh green beans are always best but frozen green beans will work just fine for the following recipes if you can’t get the fresh. In my opinion, however, you should never, ever use canned green beans except as a last resort, unless the world is coming to an end and there is no other alternative, but, even then, I’d think about it.

GRILLED GREEN BEAN AND EGGPLANT SALAD
2 to 3 Japanese eggplants
1 1/2 lb fresh green beans, blanched
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large red bell peppers, julienned
2 to 3 cups mixed salad greens
3 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Slice eggplants into rounds 1/4″ thick. In a large bowl toss with green beans with the 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. Grill the eggplant slices (on a grill or grill pan) 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently. In a large salad bowl, toss together bell peppers, greens, onions, olive oil, lemon juice 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain the green beans and then arrange grilled eggplant and green beans on top of the salad. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8
SHANGHAI STIR FRY GREEN BEANS
 
1 lb fresh green beans, blanched
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over moderate heat. Remove when seeds begin to pop. In a bowl combine the sugar, rice wine vinegar, white pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and whisk to combine.

Put a wok on very high heat. When very hot, add oil, salt and then the beans and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the oil mixture and stir-fry for another minute. Add sesame seeds and blend well. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

 DILLED GREEN BEAN AND PASTA SALAD

dressing:
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper

salad:

5 oz (2 cups) rotini or bow tie pasta
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup cut 1″ fresh green beans
1/2 cup red bell pepper strips
4 green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
4 to 6 oz cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese (1/2 to 2/3 cup)

In a jar, combine the vinegar, olive oil, dill, salt mustard and pepper and shake well. Cook pasta in 3 quarts boiling water to desired doneness, adding carrots and green beans during the last 2 to 4 minutes or pasta cooking time. Drain. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to cool rapidly. In a large serving bowl, combine cooled pasta mixture and the peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and mozzarella. Mix to combine. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently, cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour for the flavors to combine. Serves 4 to 6.

GARLIC GREEN BEAN AND RICE PILAF
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups brown rice
8 large garlic cloves, pressed
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup yellow crookneck squash, cubed
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoon soy sauce

Heat oil heavy large skillet over low heat. Add onion; saute until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add rice and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add 3 cups water and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and cook until rice is tender and almost all liquid is absorbed, about 35 minutes; do not stir. Uncover skillet and place green beans, squash, broccoli, corn and carrot evenly over surface of rice. Cover and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in red bell pepper and sesame seeds. Mix in soy sauce. Toss to coat. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

TROPICAL GREEN BEANS
 
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned, cut and dried
1 small onion, cut into rings
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 to 5 stalks hearts of palm, cut into 1/2″ rings
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Brush a large baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Put green beans, onion, and garlic in dish, drizzle with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring beans at least 3 times. When tender, remove beans from oven and transfer to bowl. Immediately drizzle with vinegar. Add the hearts of palm, tomatoes, pine nits and pepper to taste and toss. Serves 4.

DILLED GREEN BEANS AND NEW POTATOES
 
1 lb small new potatoes, quartered
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed, broken into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic

In medium saucepan, bring about 2 cups water to a boil. Add potatoes and green beans; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 9-11 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, dill, salt, pepper olive oil and garlic and blend well. Drain vegetables; rinse with cold water to cool slightly. Place the veggiesf in serving bowl. Add sour cream mixture, toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings.

GREEN BEANS AND PEPPERS

1 lb green beans, cooked
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced in strips
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

zest of 1 orange
salt and pepper

Melt butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add cooked green beans, peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring, until peppers are crisp tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add orange rind, salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8.

GREEK GREEN BEANS AND TOMATOES

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths, blanched
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped or thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomato
1 tablespoon tomato puree (optional)
salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, for garnish

Bring the veggie stock to a boil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and simmer, covered, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and optional tomato puree and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add the green beans and simmer until tender and some of the sauce is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 6 to 8

BALSAMIC PEPPERS AND GREEN BEANS

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed, blanched
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
grated Parmesan cheese
In a small frying pan over medium heat, saute red bell pepper in olive oil until tender. Add garlic, partially cooked green beans, white wine, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Heat until beans are warmed. Transfer to a serving platter, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8

BARBEQUE GREEN BEANS

2 to 4 slices bacon

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 to 5 cups fresh green beans

1 to 2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 cup prepared hickory barbeque sauce
Preheat oven to 325. Cook bacon until crisp in a heavy skillet. Remove the bacon but don’t drain the pan. Cool the bacon on paper towels then crumble and set aside. Sauté onion and garlic in the bacon drippings for about 3 minutes (they still should be crispy but starting to wilt). Lightly grease a 3 quart casserole dish. In the dish combine the green beans, bacon, onions, garlic, season salt and barbeque sauce. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

It’s So Good It’s Soy Sauce

As an experiment a foodie friend suggested that I replace the salt I used in some of my recipes with a splash of soy sauce. “Soy sauce” I reply in a tone meant to convey interest while simultaneously rolling my eyes to convey skepticism, “ok, I’ll try that”. To my surprise and delight, substituting soy sauce for salt was a wonderful suggestion and really adding flavor and body to many of the recipes. I tried it with seafood, meat, vegetables, salad dressings even a few pasta sauces. The result of my experiment: A fresh, well balanced flavor without overwhelming other flavors in a dish. Cream sauces had a slightly nuttier flavor and tomato sauce seemed to be less acidic. While I can, absolutely recommend soy sauce as a change of pace, I still prefer to use it is in Oriental/Asian dishes specifically, stir fry sauces.

 Discovered in China more than 2,500 years ago, soy sauce is thought to be one of the world’s oldest condiments. It is a cornerstone of many Asian cuisines especially sauces. Soy sauce is never the main ingredient of any sauce, rather it’s the one ingredient that binds the others together to make the unique characteristics of the individual ingredients come together to “pop”.

 There are two types of natural soy sauce available (I say stay away from the synthetic stuff, I don’t think it tastes anywhere as good as the real stuff) to the inquiring cooking, light and dark soy sauce.

 Soy sauce is made from soybeans that are mixed with roasted grain (usually wheat, rice, or barley) and fermented for several months. Once the process is completed the mixture is strained and bottled. Dark soy is aged longer than light soy and has a darker color and thicker texture. Light soy is lighter in color and surprisingly has a saltier flavor. Light soy sauce is best used in stir fry cooking, as the darker color and stronger flavor of dark soy sauce can overwhelm the taste of light flavored ingredients. Dark soy is typically used in red meat dishes and is good for marinating. Some say that tamari sauce, a type of soy sauce made without wheat and using a different fermentation process is too sweet to be substituted for soy sauce. Not so, in my opinion. I do use it when I’m cooking a lighter fish or vegetable dish.

 The possibilities were endless and so are the recipes. The following recipes are a laundry list of classic sauces that can be use with your favorite vegetables, meats or seafood as well as a few recipes just for fun.

 STIR FRY SAUCE

1 1/ 2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/ 2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/ 2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/ 2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/ 8 teaspoon Tabasco
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1/ 4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/ 2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 1/ 2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon rice wine or sherry

In a small sauce pan heat the sesame oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry 15-30 second over medium heat. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Bring just to a boil, stirring. In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in the wine and then whisk the mixture into the sauce. Heat until sauce thickens and reaches a full boil. Simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside. Stir fry your choices of meat or poultry till almost done, add the veggies, cook to heat throughout and then add the sauce. Cook just to heat and serve. Makes approx. 1 cup sauce. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

EFFORTLESS SZECHWAN SAUCE

Lots of ingredients but simple to make

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1cup chicken broth
3 whole anise stars (optional)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoon water

Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the ginger and garlic and saute 1minute until softened but not browned. In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture. Add them to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove star anise. Whisk in the corn starch mixture and let boil 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more Tabasco if desired. Makes

ORANGE STIR FRY SAUCE

2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup tamari sauce
2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoon Chinese sesame oil
2 tablespoon cornstarch

In a bowl combine the orange juice, tamari sauce, ginger, garlic, honey and sesame oil. Place the cornstarch into a bowl; whisk the liquid mixture into it. Set
aside, but keep the whisk handy, as you will need to whisk the sauce again
just before you pour it into the saute. Add this sauce to a wok, full of vegetables about 2/3 of the way through cooking. Make sure you stir your veggies so that the sauce coats them. Cook until the veggies are done and the sauce starts to thicken and then serve. Makes 1 cup.

GARLIC GINGER STIR FRY SAUCE

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoon cornstarch
pinch of ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 to 2 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoon sherry or white wine

In a bowl mix all the ingredients together and set it aside. After stir-frying veggies or tofu or meat/seafood reduce the heat and add sauce. Stir for about 2 more minutes and then serve immediately. Makes 1/2 cup. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

BASIC BROWN SAUCE

3/4 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce, plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a saucepan combine all the ingredients, whisk together and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Serve with stir fry vegetables or meat. Makes 3/4 cup.

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a bowl combine water and cornstarch, mix and set aside. In a small saucepan combine the pineapple juice, sugar, vinegar, ketchup and soy sauce. Stir over low heat until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

PEANUT SAUCE

1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Warm the chicken broth in a small saucepan and keep warm on low heat. Process the peanut butter, garlic cloves, cilantro and sugar in a blender or food processor. Slowly add the warmed chicken broth and process again. Remove from the blender and stir in the soy sauce, and the chili powder to taste. Serve peanut sauce with satay and salads, or as an appetizer dip. Makes 1 cup. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

KOREAN SESAME DIPPING SAUCE

This sauce can be served cold or room temperature for dipping and is great warm poured over steamed vegetables

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 scallion, finely chopped
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar in a small bowl. In a small, heavy, dry skillet over medium heat, add the sesame seeds and stir until they darken a bit. Remove and crush seeds. Add to soy mixture with sugar and scallions. Makes 1/2 cup. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
 
STIR FRY GREEN BEANS WITH PEANUTS

3 tablespoons peanut oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely chopped

1 pound green beans, trimmed

4 green onions, sliced

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

  Cut beans into one-inch slices. Heat peanut oil in wok until it just begins to smoke. Toss in garlic and ginger root. Add beans and onions and stir-fry for two minutes. Add wine, peanuts and sugar, and continue to stir-fry until the wine has evaporated. Add the soy sauce just before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

CHINESE TOMATO SPINACH SAUCE WITH BEEF

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes, undrained, cut up
2 cups shredded fresh spinach
1 pound stir fry beef in thin strips

In a bowl combine the cornstarch, soy sauce and sherry. Whisk to combine and add pieces of beef. Toss to coat. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add beef mixture and stir fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes and spinach. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes and serve. Serves 3 to 4.