Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Linguine with garlic infused breadcrumbs

If you are in the mood for a carb fest, this is the perfect dish. It's a great way to use up left over artisanal bread and pretty much make a delicious meal out of nothing. The bread is toasted in olive oil (do not skimp on the oil), and infused with garlic, fennel, and red chili. The fennel is subtle and gives this dish the grown up touch. I have adapted this recipe from David Tanis' book One Good Dish. Serve it with some roasted vegetables to feel you are eating healthy!

Linguine with garlic infused breadcrumbs

2 1/2 cups bread crumbs from stale artisinal bread (use the food processor to get large crumbs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon coarsely crushed fennel seeds
scant 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous grinds of fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
6 oz whole wheat linguni
A chunk of Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for grating
Good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the crumbs and let them fry gently and slowly take on color, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. When they are golden and crisp, add the minced garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a minute or so. Season the crumbs with scant 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and about 30 grinds of fresh black pepper. Finally add the dried red chili pepper and remove from the heat and keep aside.

2.  Cook the pasta in boiling well-salted water as per the instructions on the box. Drain and toss the pasta with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and garnish with grated pecorino romano cheese. Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese with the pasta before eating.

Serves 2 with a side of roasted vegetables

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mung Bean Sprouts Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Mung bean sprouts are very healthy and very quick to make in warm weather as they sprout very easily. I sprout a cup of dried beans every other week and use it in different recipes. My favorites being salads, raita and crepes.This salad combines roasted sweet potatoes or jewel yams with some smoky cumin, a hint of spice from the dried chili flakes, crisp fried ginger, a dash of citrus and some fresh coriander leaves to accentuate that citrus note. We ate it as a first course but could very well be  a lunch bowl in itself.

Mung Bean Sprouts Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1 cup chopped)
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon peeled and slivered fresh ginger
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the cubed sweet potato with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cumin powder, chili flakes and salt. Spread them out evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the middle rack of a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes flipping them in between so that the sweet potatoes are soft and golden.
  2. Heat a small pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry the ginger slivers till they are golden.
  3. Toss the roasted sweet potatoes with the sprouted mung beans, fried ginger and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Finally add the chopped cilantro leaves and toss lightly.
Serves 2 as a first course.

Note; Wiki How shows you how to sprout mung beans step by step. However, in step 6, I drain and leave the moist beans in the soaking dish covered with cling wrap in a warm place for 12 to 18 hours depending on how much you want the beans sprouted. This method works well for me.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tofu with black bean garlic sauce

The star of this recipe is the black bean garlic sauce created by chef Ming Tsai of the famous Blue Ginger restaurant. This sauce is really easy and very flavorful. This recipe makes more than you need, but it can be refrigerated for two weeks and you can use it with other proteins or to flavor noodles as well. If you don't have time to make this sauce, and use the Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce. However, the flavor will not be the same. Tofu picks up the flavor of the sauce really well

You can use a tofu press to remove the excess water from the tofu, which will help it to absorb flavors better. The bland tofu is a good medium to showcase the intense black bean sauce. The sugar snap peas are sweet and crunchy and the red peppers add a touch of color as well as some sweetness and additional crunch to the dish.

Tofu with Black bean garlic sauce

1 14 oz block of firm tofu
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch thin pieces
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
3 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce - recipe below
2 tablespoons canola oil
  1. Press the tofu to remove the excess water. Cut into 2 inch long fingers.
  2. Heat a 12 inch saute pan 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add the tofu pieces in a single layer and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes till the tofu gets brown on one side. Flip and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more so that it browns on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon canola oil to the pan and add the sugar snap peas and cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tofu and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the black bean garlic sauce depending on how much sauce you want in your dish. Toss well and cook till the sugar snap peas are cooked but still have a bite.
  4. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Serves 3 as a main course

Black Bean Garlic sauce by Ming Tsai
1 cup grape seed oil or canola oil
1/3 cup fermented black beans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 bunches of scallions, white and green parts, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon sambal oelek or hot red pepper sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the beans, garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until the mixture has softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the sambal oelek and wine, decrease the heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is reduced by three quarters, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and purée it at high speed while adding the remaining 3/4 cup of oil. Stir the purée back into the remaining mixture and cool completely. Use or store. Lasts 2 weeks, refrigerated.