Saturday, October 25, 2014

Egg Fried Rice

I love making fried rice when I've got any leftovers I need to get rid of quickly.  You can sub pretty much any protein or meat and as long as you've got a few basics in the fridge and pantry, you've got dinner on the table in a few minutes.  I usually keep some lap cheong or peas in the freezer for this. Reid loves Americanized Chinese food, so this is a great compromise for both of us.  I like to make this in my wok, but any large pan would work as well.

Egg Fried Rice
Ingredients

  • 2 c. rice, cooked
  • 1 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. cha siu (Chinese barbeque pork), sliced or lap cheong (Chinese sausage), sliced on the bias*
  • 1/4c. frozen green peas
  • 2 tbs chopped green onion
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt**
  • optional: 1/2 tsp. garlic chili paste
* you can substitute any protein.  I've used leftover shrimp, chicken and/or pork before
**I use my Muoi Tieu Hue (smoked salt and pepper)

Directions

  1. In heated wok or pan over medium-low heat, add 1 tsp of oil and pour in egg.  Cook until scrambled.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Add remaining oil and stir-fry cha siu or lap cheong and scallion for about 2 minutes.  If using lap cheong, add a tsp of water and allow to steam for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to high and add rice, soy sauce and salt, breaking up rice into grains and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  
  4. Stir in cooked egg and serve immediately.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's national veterinary technician week! So give all your pet nurses a hug, because they work hard to help make your dog/cat/horse/goat/cow/snake/guinea pig feel better!  Sometimes as vets, we get busy trying to diagnose crazy illnesses (I diagnosed my SECOND case of Addison's in the past 3 months, what?!) that we don't get to love on your pets.  That's why we have awesome staff who help us provide the TLC your pet needs to feel better, help restrain animals during exams, pull blood, run labwork, and take x-rays.  They work hard, often coming home bruised, bitten, scratched and smelling like who-knows-what, but still manage to come in the next day with a smile on their faces.  

I brought in cookies and pumpkin-ginger snap bites to the office as my little way of saying thanks to all our awesome vet techs.  A few of our vet techs are vegan or vegetarian, so I had a bit of a baking challenge.  Usually, I'd be all about adding 1/2 lb. of butter to make my chocolate chip cookies, but I had to do a little research on substitutes.  You can also make these gluten free by using gluten free flour (Ex, Bob Mill's).  I know most people, including myself, would skip over anything labeled vegan when it comes to desserts, but these came out perfectly chewy in the center and crispy on the edges. They do spread quite a bit, so make sure you space them out well on the baking sheet.  I found all these ingredients at HEB and didn't have to go to any specialty health stores.  Here's the recipe I came up with:

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 c. coconut oil at room temp
  • 1/3 c. applesauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tbs. vanilla
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. plus 1 1/2 tsp. flax seed
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. vegan chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Mini chips)
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together coconut oil, applesauce, salt, sugar, and vanilla.   In a separate large bowl, combine flour, flax seed and baking soda.
  2. Using a rubber spatula, gradually add wet ingredients to dry until grainy dough formed.  Fold in chocolate chips.  
  3. Use a melon baller, scoop dough onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing 1" apart.  Use the back of a flat measuring cup or glass to gently press down each cookie to form a disc shape.  
  4. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container for up to 2 days.

add some icing between two of these, and you've got a cookie sandwich!


Julius says thank you, vet techs!

Spaghetti and Vegetarian "Meat" Sauce

Meatless Monday is here! Reid and I occasionally do a meatless Monday since I like to decrease the amount of meat we eat in a week.  It's kind of insane how much meat we eat as Americans, compared to many other countries.  Since my parents are vegetarian, I'm used to not eating meat when I'm home, but things are a little harder when I'm on my own.  I don't have my moms amazing vegetarian Bun Bo Hue to eat, or any of the other countless creative dishes she makes.  I wanted to do something other than just fried (although the Sirachi Honey Glazed Fried Tofu recipe I made the other week was ah-mah-zing!) or broiled/sauteed tofu, so I picked up some vegetarian Italian sausage.  Definitely does not taste like meat, but it is tasty!
Pairs well with homemade garlic bread.  I made a loaf of the four-ingredient no knead bread yesterday and used some of that for the garlic bread, but any rustic type bread would work.  Just smeared it with some butter, Italian seasoning, and fresh garlic and toasted it up in the toaster oven.

Spaghetti and Vegetarian Meat Sauce
Ingredients

  • Vegetarian Italian sausage
  • 1 tbs fresh basil, sliced
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Tomato sauce
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Directions
  1. Cook spaghetti al dente according to directions and drain.
  2. Add 1 tbs. olive oil to large pan over medium-high heat.  Saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 min.
  3. Cook vegetarian sausage according to directions.
  4. Add tomato sauce, grated Parmesan, and basil.
  5. Combine spaghetti and sauce.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with basil and shredded Parmesan.
Purchased at regular grocery store in produce area
On top of spaghetti! All covered in cheese...

I lost my poor meat(ball)

Made great leftovers for lunch

Monday, October 13, 2014

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

There is something about the fall that makes me want to buy every vegetable I see in the grocery or farmer's market and stuff it with some kind of grain/meat/cheese combination.  Once that 70 degree cold-snap happens (yay! Texas!), I'm buying zucchinis, acorn squash, and bell peppers.  I've posted about my chorizo stuffed acorn squash  and my stuffed green peppers, but I keep forgetting to post this recipe I've been putting into rotation lately.  I came across it in Martha Stewart Living (thanks for the subscription, Amy!).  It's pretty tasty and easy for the week night.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
Ingredients
  • 4 zucchinis, halved length-wise
  • 1 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 c. coarse chopped fresh breadcrumbs (or 3/4 c. dried breadcrumbs)
Directions

  1. Using a spoon, scrape seeds and soft flesh from each zucchini half, creating a boat.  Reserve 1/2 c. of flesh/seeds.  Place zucchini boats in a baking dish drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
  2. Heat 1 tbs. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and onions and brown for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, reserved zucchini flesh, salt, and red chili flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in rest of ingredients and divide mixture among zucchini.  Bake  in 350 degree oven until filling firm and zucchini tender, 35-40 min.  


Yay for fall!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Banana Muffins

Sometimes, it's hard being a morning person.  Like on weekends.  As much as I try, I have to get up at around 7 or 8am.  Every once in a while, I can go back to sleep after feeding the animals breakfast and letting them out but for those weekend days where I can't get back to sleep, making a big breakfast keeps me busy while Reid sleeps in.

This morning, I made banana muffins and a mango-strawberry-orange-banana smoothie.  This banana bread recipe came from my mom's recipe box.  It had been clipped out of the Houston Chronicle who knows how long ago.  I've tried a few other recipes (usually when I can't find this one), but always come back to this one.  It's the perfect balance of moist, sweet, and banana-y.  This morning I made them in a cupcake pan instead of a bread pan and I think I prefer it this way.  It doesn't seem to dry out as much, because I didn't have to bake them as long.  The bread would always get a little more crispy around the edges before the center was done.  The butter can be substituted with oil, and I think that's how my mom had made them.  The oil makes it moister, but the butter makes it more flavorful.

Banana Bread Muffins

  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 2 ripe bananas, mushed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325*C.  In a large bowl, beat together baking soda and egg.
  2. Add butter and sugar and whip together.
  3. Stir in bananas, salt, and vanilla.
  4. Slowly add in flour until combined.  Do not over-beat.  Place ~2tbs batter in each cupcake lined muffin tin.
  5. Bake at 325*C for 25-30 minutes.


Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

"Wow! That doesn't taste like Mylanta!" -Reid

Mint chocolate chip ice cream is my favorite classic ice cream flavor, but my husband never shared my love of that Blue Bell mint chocolate chip with it's garish in-your-face-green color and a flavor he associated with heartburn/stomach medication.  I think I've converted him with this recipe.

That deserves making another pint.  And another. And another.  It's now a summertime staple, especially when our mint plant needs some pruning (you can only make so many Mojitos...).  The great thing about using fresh mint in any recipe, especially ice cream, is that it does what extracts can't do: provide that subtle, cool, refreshing feeling that is exactly what you want on a 100 degree Austin August summer day.

Adapted from David Lebowitz's recipe.

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Ingredients:

  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Bring 1 c. of the whipping cream, the whole milk, sugar and salt to a rolling boil in a 2 qt pot.
  2. Take off heat and add mint leaves.  Cover with a lid and allow to steep for at least 1 hr.
  3. After mixture has cooled, strain mint leaves from mixture using a fine mesh sieve.  Use a rubber spatula or clean hands to wring out any of that delicious mint flavor and color from mint leaves before discarding.  
  4. Heat milk mixture back to medium.
  5. Prepare an ice bath and pour remaining cup of cream in a separate glass bowl.
  6. Temper the egg yolks with a few tbs of the warm milk mixture, then pour the egg yolks into the milk mixture.  You don't want to scramble the egg yolks!  Once the mixture hits 170*F on instant-read thermometer, or it coats the back of a spatula, remove from heat.  
  7. Working quickly, mix mixture into cream and cool in ice bath.
  8. Cool in the fridge overnight.  Follow ice cream machine guidelines for churning ice cream.  
  9. My ice cream machine allows me to pour in mix-ins so to add chocolate: Melt chocolate chips in double boiler or microwave 20 seconds at a time.  I pour my melted chocolate directly into my Cuisinart ice cream maker, which creates fine, wispy veins of chocolate.*
  10. Transfer to freezer for at least 2 hours to harden before enjoying.
*Note: I have also added chips directly in with the ice cream.  It's equally delicious.



Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

It has been reaching the 100-110*F temperatures here in Austin.  And you know what that means...time for some frozen delights.  Oh, also, we got an awesome Cuisinart ice cream maker for our wedding so I had to bust that thing out.
Take a look at this bad momma jamba.  Pic courtesy of Google  Images

With fourth of July coming up (haha, oops, published this post a little late!), this would be the perfect dessert to bring to a backyard BBQ.  I found the recipe via a Pinterest post about all these different fun ice cream recipes.  http://www.somethingswanky.com/cinnamon-graham-cracker-ice-cream/

The recipe can be found at this blog, which probably has the prettiest background and font ever.  http://shewearsmanyhats.com/2011/06/blueberry-pie-ice-cream-recipe/
I used canned blueberry pie filling, but if you have the time, you can use homemade too.  I thought about it for a while and had a pint of blueberries to make some, but then got lazy.  Since this was the first time I'd made homemade ice cream, I pretty much just followed the recipe exactly, so no point of re-posting the recipe.
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Blueberry Pie Ice Cream!


Oh, and I also made ice cream sandwiches using leftover graham crackers.   Just spoon some ice cream between graham crackers, wrap in foil, and freeze until re-hardened. My favorite way of eating this, because the graham cracker crumbs are kinda subtle in the ice cream alone.

Reid likes the ice cream sammie's too!