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Archive for July, 2012

When we returned from Disneyland recently, Rice Kernel went on a dinner strike for several nights.  Nothing could please his palate and he barely had an appetite.  One day, he asked for lamb.  Not convinced he’d eat it (he typically only manages a few bites when we prepare it) I chose a simple recipe for tender tri-tip.  A big hit, this is a recipe that’s perfect for entertaining as well.  Leftovers are delicious in sandwich or taco form.

Burgundy- and Pepperscorn-Marinated Tri-Tip

Ingredients

1 tri-tip roast, approximately 2-2 1/2 pounds (or steak)
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup oil
1 cup Burgundy or dry red wine
4 tablespoons catsup
4 tablespoons molasses

Directions

  1. In small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.  Marinated for at least 2 hours, or overnight. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry. Discard the marinade. Place the tri-tip, fat side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes, then begin checking the internal temperature.  Remove the roast at 115 degrees F to 120 degrees F for rare, 120 degrees F to 125 degrees F for medium-rare.

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I was addicted to creamy, crusty roasted potatoes before this recipe came along.  But sweet onions and a touch of decadent truffle oil have truly elevated this homey side.  Just in time for Rice Kernel’s new appreciation for roasted potatoes. 

Roasted New Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Truffle Oil Recipe, adapted slightly from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

1 pound small, new potatoes, scrubbed, quartered
1 large yellow onion, peeled, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, sliced 1 inch thick
3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Several shakes of white truffle oil, about 1/2 teaspoon
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Put onions, carrots and potatoes in a sturdy roasting pan. Pour olive oil over them and toss well to coat. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes and onions. Spread the potatoes out so they are in a single layer in the pan. Place in oven. Cook for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned and cooked through.
  2. Place potatoes and onions in a serving dish. Sprinkle well with truffle oil. Toss to coat.

Serves 4.

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With a crispy exterior and fluffy, moist center, these are irresistable – and slightly healthier – sweet treats.  You could certainly use a donut pan, but I find muffin tins far easier and the large centers far fluffier than their flatter donut counterparts.  I am unashamed in saying I reserved the excess cinnamon sugar topping to dip each bite of muffin into….

Note: These do become dense within 2 days, so consume quickly.  Which shouldn’t be a problem!  Also, if you plan to cinnamon-sugar coat them, do so right before serving.  Otherwise the coating will become wet with time.  The easiest thing to do is have a container or bag of the cinnamon sugar on hand.  I won’t tell if you double dip.

Baked Cake Donuts

3/4 cup sugar
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed + 3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes)
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
3/4 cup hemp milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can replace 1/2 cup with whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter, melted (for sugared donuts)
1/2 cup super fine sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup jelly (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat sugar and flax egg together until creamy and light-colored. Add oil, milk, and vanilla and mix well. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Slowly add flour mixture into flax egg mixture until well combined. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. These would also work great in miniature muffin tins with a reduced cooking time of 8-10 minutes. Do not overcook.

For powdered donuts: While donuts are still warm to the touch, remove from tins and immediately roll the crust with powdered sugar, until it is well coated. Dust the tops with sugar as well.

For sugared donuts: Using a pastry brush, coat each donut with a thin layer of melted Earth Balance. Roll each buttered donut in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

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Shrimp Diavolo

For summer’s bounty of tomatoes…. kicked up with a subtle touch of heat. 

Shrimp Diavolo

Ingredients

2 pounds Roma tomatoes (or 28 ounces canned tomatoes with their juices)
1 large onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 – 2 pounds shrimp (I used tiger) 
1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine

Directions

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and cut a shallow “x” through the skin of the non-core end of each tomato with a sharp knife. Working in batches, gently lower the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, until the skin begins to peel away from the cuts you made. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside until they are cool enough to touch.
  2. Peel and then roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside. Pour the olive oil in a shallow, heavy saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until fragrant and softened, but not browned. Add the chili flakes (start with half if you’re not sure about the heat – you can add more later) and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Add the tomatoes and any juices, along with a few generous pinches of salt and stir through. Stir in the onion.  Raise the heat to medium and let the tomatoes come to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 2 to 3 hours, until the tomatoes have completely broken down, adding water as needed to keep the sauce from drying out. When the sauce is ready, taste for salt and add more necessary. Cover and set aside.
  4. In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Season shrimp lighty with salt and pepper. Cook until shrimp just turn pink.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until still quite al dente. Reserving about half a cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta in a large colander and set it aside.
  6. Turn the heat to medium underneath the pan with the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and some of the pasta water, using tongs to toss the pasta in the sauce. When the pasta is well-coated in the sauce and warm, add in the shrimp.  Serve hot. 

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One of my favorite meats as a child was braised five spice beef.  It wasn’t often my mother prepared the dish, but one I always devoured.  Rice Kernel took awhile warming up to to the dish – mostly because the cartilege and connective tissue in the cut of meat are diffucult for little mouths to chew.  Whie this recipe isn’t authentic due to the addition or red wine, the extra ingredient adds a depth and earthiness that I much prefer.  Tonight, the beef is sliced thin and tossed with linguine, sauteed red cabbage, carmelized onions, sliced carrots and a handful of green onion and cilantro.  I’ve seasoned it simply with soy sauce, salt, pepper and seasame oil to taste.

Five Spice Beef, from Ming Tsai

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed peppers
8 thin slices fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds beef shank
1 cup soy sauce
4 cups red wine
1 tablespoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon salt
3 pieces star anise
Dash cinnamon powder
1 large piece rock candy or a few teaspoons of honey (1-inch cube)

Directions

  1. Prepare a large non-stick stock-pot coated with oil over high heat. Add the crushed pepper, ginger, and garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Place the beef in the stock-pot and cook, covered about 4 minutes on each side. Add the soy sauce, red wine, five spice powder, salt, star anise, cinnamon, and rock candy and bring the mixture to a boil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours turning the shank every 20 minutes. Remove the shank from the pot and let cool before slicing.

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