Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Crispy Pan-Fried Noodles

Chow mein is great on it's own, but frying the noodles makes it even better!

Liang mian huang or crispy pan fried noodles are noodles that are fried into a crispy disk and topped with a stir fry of meat and vegetables and a nice, flavorful, thick sauce. Mix the noodles, meat, vegetables and sauce at the table. The perfect bite has a bit of noodles that have soaked up the sauce, a bit of noodles that are still crunchy, and a bit of meat and vegetables. It's a fun dish to prepare and to eat!

I'm also submitting this for Presto Pasta Night which is hosted by Once Upon a Feast this week. Check it out to see all the other yummy submissions.


- Yellow noodles (you can find these in any Asian supermarket. You can go with thick or thin, I happened to go with thick)
- Any combination of meat (typical options are chicken, beef and shrimp)
- Cabbage
- Carrots
- Garlic
- Soy sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Water
- Corn starch

- Cook the noodles according to the package directions, drain them and set them aside.
- Slice the meat into bite size pieces. Marinate them in a mixture of corn starch and soy sauce while you prep the other veggies.
- Slice the carrots into thin slices (I like to do it at a bias)
- Chop the cabbage into roughly 1 inch squares
- Mince the garlic
- Mix a few teaspoons of corn starch with a few teaspoons of cold water and set aside.
- Heat about at least 1/2 inch of oil in a pan (you can deep fry the noodles too if you'd like) until placing placing a chopstick into the oil makes it bubble.
- Carefully dump the noodles into the oil and fry until crispy.
- Flip the noodles and fry the other side until crispy.
- Remove the noodles, drain the oil, and set them aside.
- Heat a bit of oil in another pan (or dump most of the oil out of your original pan) and add the meat, some soy sauce, and the garlic. Stir fry it until it's mostly cooked. If you're using shrimp, add the shrimp at the last minute so that it doesn't overcook.
- Add the veggies and oyster sauce. Cook through while keeping everything in the pan moving.
- When everything is done, add more water if you need to (you should have quite a bit of sauce for the noodles to soak up) and the corn starch/water slurry to thicken up the sauce.
- Spoon the meat, veggies and sauce over the noodles and serve while hot.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Miso Soup

Since I already had the miso out, I thought a nice accompaniment to the salmon would be a miso soup. This was also simple, quick and healthy with minimal cleanup. I love meals like this!

- Miso
- Water
- Dashi (pellet-like fish stock base)
- Wakame (dried seaweed - but not the sushi kind)
- Tofu
- Green onions

- Boil some water in a pot.
- Add dashi according to the package directions, stirring to dissolve the pellets.
- Add miso paste to taste.
- Add in the wakame.
- Dice the tofu and gently slide it in.
- Gently stir the soup so that everything is mixed.
- Garnish with a bit of freshly chopped green onions.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Miso-Glazed Salmon

This dish was inspired by my continued effort to eat healthier and eat more fish. I've already reached my "recommended" weight gain for this pregnancy. I'm an over-achiever that way. And since I still have a while to go, I am (sometimes) watching what I eat a bit more carefully. Apparently, it's a good idea to watch what you eat, even if you're not pregnant, but whatever. Plus fish is good for the baby's brain development - grow baby brain, grow! :)

I've always adored miso-glazed fish that you get at restaurants and was surprised to find that it is SUPER easy to make at home. Hardly any prep and minimal clean up, it's so quick and so good for you too. I'm definitely adding it to the regular rotation!

- Salmon
- Miso paste
- Honey
- Soy
- Rice wine vinegar
- Ginger
- Mirin
- Water

- Mix the miso paste, a bit of hot water, honey, soy, rice wine vinegar, grated ginger (I used a microplane grater), and mirin in a bowl to taste. If you're missing any of the ingredients (besides the miso), feel free to substitute. Honey and mirin can be replaced by brown sugar, etc. And honestly, if you're missing any of the other ingredients, it's fine to omit them altogether. The main thing you need is the miso and something sweet.
- Put the mixture in the microwave just long enough so that it thickens up a bit. It shouldn't take long.
- Put the salmon on some foil to make cleanup a cinch.
- Brush half of the glaze onto the salmon and pop it under a broiler for about 15 minutes. Since I was just making this for the two of us, I used our toaster oven instead of the full-sized and it still turned out great.
- After 15 minutes, take the fish out and brush on another layer of glaze and pop it back under the broiler until the fish has cooked through. For me, it took another 15 minutes, but it really depends on how thick your fish is and how strong your broiler is.
- Serve it with brown rice and steamed broccoli and you've got yourself a quick and healthy dinner. And if you have any extra sauce left, drizzle it over the rice and veggies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

My first un-assisted cookie success! I'm sooooo happy!!!!

My entire life, every cookie that I've baked on my own has turned out bad. Usually, the texture is more like a cake than a cookie. And usually, I'm attempting to make chocolate chip cookies.

Well, this time I decided to tackle a different type of cookie, hoping to get better results. Oatmeal raisin is classic, right? But I still wanted my chocolate, so I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies instead. It was a brilliant idea if I do say so myself, haha.

I used an oatmeal raisin recipe from Smitten Kitchen but substituted chocolate chips for raisins. It turned out soft and chewy and wonderful. Maybe I can tackle regular chocolate chip cookies next!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup of light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour (I used bread flour because that's all I had in the house, and it still turned out well)
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
- 3/4 cup of chocolate chips

- Cream the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla together in a bowl.
- Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt to the butter/sugar mixture.
- Fold in the oatmeal and chocolate chips.
- Scoop the cookies onto a lined cookie sheet, giving them plenty of space to spread, and stick them in the fridge (or freezer if you're impatient) until they're cool.
- Bake them in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. I found that they actually need more like 15 because they started off cold. Basically, you want the edges to be slightly brown and the middle to be slightly undercooked.
- Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Dip them in some cold milk and indulge!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Garlic Steamed Scallops

This is a dish that I had in Hong Kong and Singapore and I absolutely adored it. There are these restaurants with live seafood. You go up to the tanks, pick what you want and tell them how you want it prepared. This is a picture of the tanks at one of the restaurants on Lamma Island in Hong Kong. So fresh and delicious!

My favorite dish to order at these types of restaurants was the garlic steamed scallops. Humongous fresh scallops, steamed with garlic and glass noodles. Yum, yum, YUM!

I'm not sure what else they put in because as I tried to recreate it, it just wasn't quite the same. If you've ever had this dish, please help me out and let me know what I'm missing. I'm dying to recreate it properly.

In the meantime, here is what I did...

- Sea scallops
- Glass noodles
- Garlic
- Scallions
- Sea salt
- Oil (I used sesame, but I suggest using olive oil or butter instead)

- Soak the glass noodles in hot water until soft. They should be pretty much cooked since they won't be steaming for long.
- Finely dice/crush the garlic.
- Lay down a bed of the noodles, then the scallop, then a generous dollop of garlic and a bit of chopped scallions.
- Sprinkle sea salt on top and drizzle a bit of oil on top. I used sesame oil, but the flavor was way too strong. I'm thinking maybe olive oil or butter would be better.
- Place it in a steamer for about 5-10 minutes or until the scallop is cooked (be careful not to over cook them).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spicy Eggplant

Eggplants are so pretty raw, but after you cook them, they're one of the most unappetizing looking foods out there. And using a phone to take the picture because my camera was out of batteries and I couldn't find the charger doesn't help matters either. But it's the flavor that's more important, right? And with this dish, the flavor was definitely there!

- Eggplants (I like using the thinner Japanese style ones)

- Ground meat (pork or turkey)
- Enoki mushrooms (totally optional, but I love the texture of these mushrooms)
- Garlic

- Chili sauce

Soy sauce

- Oil


- Slice the eggplant into wedges about 2-3 inches long. The thinner you cut them, the faster they'll cook.

- Finely chop the garlic.

- Heat some oil in a pan or wok.
- Add the garlic and stir it for a few seconds until it's fragrant.

- Add the ground meat and some soy.
- Cook the meat, breaking it up as you go and then remove it from the pan and set it aside.
- To cook the eggplant, you can either deep fry it (faster, crispier, tastier and prettier, but not as healthy) or "boil" it.

- To deep fry, heat a lot of oil in the wok, toss the eggplant in (you may want to do this in batches to keep the oil hot) and keep the eggplant moving until it's cooked through.

- To "boil" it, just add the eggplant to the wok with some soy sauce and water. Keep the stirring the eggplant until it's cooked through, adding more water as necessary.

- Add the meat back in with the eggplant, add chili sauce and the enoki mushrooms and stir until everything is well combined and the mushrooms are cooked. It shouldn't take very long at all.
- Serve it over a bed of rice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fish Tacos

Fish is good for you, so I bought a bag of frozen tilapia in an effort to "be healthier". HA! We'll see how long that lasts :)

We made fish tacos with the tilapia and it was super tasty. If this is what all "healthier" food tastes like, I think I can definitely keep this up!

- Tilapia or other mild flavored fish
- Salt
- Pepper
- Chili powder
- Tortillas (corn is more traditional, but all we had was flour, which worked out great too)
- Garnish
- Cabbage
- Black beans
- Diced tomatoes
- Diced avocado
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce/salsa (we like Tapitio)
- Lime

- Season the fish with salt, pepper and chili powder.
- Pan fry the fish with a tiny bit of oil until cooked through.
- Place the fish along with the garnishes of your choice on a tortilla.
- Fold it over and enjoy it guilt-free!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Carrot Bread

I've been getting tired of cereal for breakfast every morning, so when I saw my friend make zucchini bread, I asked her for the recipe. It looked like the perfect solution to my breakfast boredom.

Along with the recipe, she mentioned how next time she wanted to try carrots, and since I already had carrots in my fridge, I went with carrots. She also gave me notes on 3 separate attempts she did using different amounts of different kinds of sugar and her opinions on its effects. She said 1 cup of white sugar was too sweet. 3/4 cups of brown sugar wasn't sweet enough and 3/4 cup of white sugar was still a bit too sweet. Using this info, I decided on 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar and thought it was a good level of sweetness. You can tweak it however you like.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
(the original calls for 1 cup of sugar instead of the mixture of white and brown sugar)
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup walnuts (I forgot these)

- Stir the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder together and set aside.
- Mix the sugar, brown sugar, carrots and egg in a separate bowl.
- Add the lemon zest and oil to the carrot mixture.
- Slowly mix in the flour mixture until evenly mixed.
- Fold in the walnuts.
- Grease a 8x4x2 loaf pan and pour the batter in.
- Cook in a 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes than transfer it to a rack to finish cooling.