Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mussels, Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts en Ginger Licorice Sauce with Black Jasmine Rice

     Aromatic Sweet Root!    
     Licorice Root is also known as Sweet Root.  Even dried Licorice Root tastes sweet when it is bitten into.  The health benefits of Licorice Root are astounding.  Licorice is a traditional spring tonic and it helps to cleanse the body of toxins.  Licorice Root is used in a few savory recipes around the world, but it most often flavors desserts and candies.
     Licorice Root can be found in the wild worldwide, but it is even easier to find at Asian food markets and Chinese herbal pharmacies!  I happened to purchase a bag of dried Licorice Root at a Chinese natural medicine pharmacy in Las Vegas.  The Licorice Root was sliced and dried.  The slices looked very fresh and they were aromatic.
     Many people confuse the flavor of Licorice with the flavor of Star Anise.  Star Anise is often used to enhance the flavor of Licorice Candy.  Star Anise does go well with the flavor of Licorice, but too much Star Anise can overpower the earthy flavor of Licorice.
     Black Jasmine Rice is also called Forbidden Rice and Emperor's Rice.  For many centuries it was known as the forbidden rice, because is was only reserved for emperors.  Black Rice stains a deep purple magenta color and it is aromatic.  Black Rice cooks like wild reed grain rice, because the hull is attached to the grain.  Black Jasmine Rice is a "super grain" that has a high protein content.    
     Black Jasmine Rice: 
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Black Rice requires more water a a longer cooking time than long grain white rice.
     Step 1:  Place 1 3/4 cups of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Add 3/4 cup of black jasmine rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Let the rice simmer and steam for 23 to 25 minutes.
     Keep the forbidden black rice warm on a stove top.
     Mussels, Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts en Ginger Licorice Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 3 cups of water.
     Add 8 thin slices of dried licorice root.  (About 1/5 cup.)
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer the licorice root till the water is infused with the licorice flavor.  (About 20 minutes.)
     Step 3:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the licorice broth, till there is only about 1/2 cup of liquid left in the pan.
     Step 4:  Pour the licorice broth through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Set the broth aside.
     Step 5:  Heat a sauté pan or a mini wok over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 3 thin slices of shallot.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Sauté till the ginger becomes aromatic.
     Step 6:  Add 5 or 6 large whole Blue Mussels.
     Add 2 small water chestnuts that are thin sliced.
     Add 1 thin sliced green onion
     Briefly sauté till the vegetables start to cook.
     Step 7:  Add 3/4 cup of light chicken broth.
     Add the reserved 1/2 cup of licorice broth.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 8:  Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Cover the pan with a lid till the mussels open up.  (Mussels only take 1 or 2 minutes to steam open.)
     Step 9:  Remove the lid.
     Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl.
     Add just enough of the cornstarch slurry while stirring, till the sauce is a thin consistency.
     Step 10:  Add 1/3 cup of trimmed snow peas.
     Bring the sauce back to a gentle boil.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mussels, Snow Peas and Water Chestnuts en Ginger Licorice Sauce with Black Jasmine Rice:
     This recipe describes 1 petite entrée.  
     Use a ring mold to place 1 petite portion of the Black Jasmine Rice on the center of a plate.
     Spoon the sauce, snow peas and water chestnuts on the plate around the rice.
     Arrange the mussels on top of the sauce and vegetables, so they look nice.
     No garnish is necessary!
     The flavor of mussels is a perfect match for the Ginger Licorice Sauce!         

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Cilantro Lime Sunburst Tomato Beef Salad with Sesame Ginger Perilla Snow Pea Salad en Cucumber Tonnelet

     Two Contrasting Salad Flavors On One Plate! 

     Eye catching salad presentations are en vogue these days.  Modern salad presentations require combinations of height, texture, color, design shape and flavors that are presented with dramatic flair.  The element of surprise entertains guests, when a modern salad is served.  
     Today's recipe features two salads served on one plate.  The flavor of each salad tastes good on its own and the separate salad flavors compliment each other.  If the ingredients of the two salads were combined from the start, it would look like an ordinary fancy dinner salad and part of customer dining experience would be abandoned.  By keeping the two salads separated, the dining experience is more entertaining, because this allows a guest to taste two separate flavors and combine the flavors at will.   
     The best way to present two contrasting salads on one plate is to contain one of the salads.  In European cuisine, one salad might possibly be served in a crisp pastry shell cup.  For Asian style cuisine, a hollow vegetable can be used as a container.  Something like a hollow cucumber can be used to contain one salad and the cucumber will be integrated into the salad theme.  When the cucumber is cut open, the salad inside springs to life and the flavors accent the other featured salad on the plate.  
     The French word Tonnelet translates to "a drum shape or cylinder shape."  Tonnelet is a traditional French precision knife cut.  Tonnelet vegetables are usually stuffed or they are used as containment cups for a plated food presentation.  Perfection Tonnelet requires a perfectly round even cylinder shape.  Paisan Tonnelet follows the natural contour of the vegetable. .   
     The cylinder wall of a Tonnelet vegetable should be about 1/4" to 3/8" thick.  The hollow inside of a Tonnelet cylinder can be formed with a paring knife, but the hollow tube is easier to shape with an apple coring tool.  
     Slots or holes can be carved into a Tonnelet vegetable to create an open airy presentation.  This way, the hidden salad that is stuffed in the Tonnelet vegetable can be seen.  An apple coring tool can be used to cut a pattern of holes in a cucumber tonnelet to create a perforated "Swiss Cheese" effect.

     Cucumber Tonnelet:  
     This recipe yields 1 Tonnelet.
     Step 1:  Cut a center section of cucumber that is about 4" long.  
     Peel the cucumber section.
     Step 2:  Use a paring knife or apple coring tool to hollow the cucumber, so it is a tonnelet shape. 
     Use an apple coring tool to cut a few decorative holes in the walls of the cucumber tonnelet.
     Chill the tonnelet cucumber till it is needed.

     Sesame Ginger Perilla Snow Pea Salad:
     This recipe yields 1 petite portion.
     Step 1:  Blanch 5 or 6 large snow peas in salted boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds.
     Remove the blanched snow peas from the hot water and cool them in ice water.
     Cut the snow peas into thin julienne strips.  
     Step 2:  Place the julienne snow peas in a small mixing bowl.
     Add a few very thin julienne slices of carrot.  (The amount of carrot should be about half the amount of the snow peas.)
     Add 1 Vietnamese Perilla Leaf that is chiffonade sliced.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 4:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Chill the salad, till it is needed later in the recipe.

     Cilantro Lime Sunburst Tomato Beef Salad:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Lightly season a 4 ounce piece of Beef Top Sirloin Steak with sea salt and white pepper.
     Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Place the steak in the pan.
     Sear the beef till it browned on all sides and the steak cooked to the finish temperature of your preference.
     Step 2:  Remove the seared beef steak from the pan and place it on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Allow the seared steak to rest and cool to room temperature.
     Bias cut the steak into thin slices.
     Cut the sliced beef into uniform bite size pieces.
     Step 3:  Place the sliced seared steak in a mixing bowl.
     Add 10 yellow sunburst tomatoes that are cut in half. 
     Add 1 thin bias sliced green onion.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves that are chiffonade sliced.  (chiffonade = thin ribbons)
     Step 4:  Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 5:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Set the salad aside.
     Cilantro Lime Sunburst Tomato Beef Salad with Sesame Ginger Perilla Snow Pea Salad en Cucumber Tonnelet:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     Step 1:  Loosely stuff the Sesame Ginger Perilla Snow Pea Salad inside the Tonnelet Cucumber.
     Place the stuffed tonnelet cucumber vertically on the back half of a plate. 
     Garnish the top of the stuffed tonnelet cucumber with a couple of green onion slivers.
     Step 2:  Place the Cilantro Lime Sunburst Tomato Beef Salad on the plate next to the stuffed cucumber.  Try to arrange the salad so some of the beef steak slices are exposed. 
     Step 3:  Garnish the plate around the face of the Cilantro Lime Sunburst Tomato Beef Salad with thin lime slices that are cut in half.
     Place a sprig of cilantro next to the stuffed cucumber and the beef salad.
     This is a nice tasting fusion style summer salad!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Red Fire Devil Ramen Noodles with Shrimp and Pepitas

     Extra Super Spicy Hot Ramen!
     I usually have a steady diet of hot chili peppers or hot sauce in my personal food.  In restaurants that I worked in, I had a reputation for cooking personal meals that were so spicy hot, that the other chefs were scared to even ask what I was eating.

     One time in a Mexican seafood restaurant kitchen a waiter was watching me eat a few raw green hot chile peppers.  The waiter asked what kind of peppers I was eating and how hot the chile peppers were.  I responded by telling the waiter that the peppers were Carolina Red Chiles that were unripe and still green.  After telling the waiter that these Carolina Red Chiles were very spicy hot and there was no way that he could handle eating one, the stage was set for a chile pepper eating challenge!
     The waiter said that he would eat one of my home grown chile peppers if the Mexican cooks and myself would all pitch in and wager $10.00!  The Mexican cooks looked at me with straight faces, because $10 is next to nothing, but a bet is a bet.  I told the Mexican cooks to not even bother getting the money out of their pockets to cover the bet, because our side of the wager was a lock!
     Carolina Red Chiles are not commercially marketed.  They are relatively unknown and very little information is written about them.  Carolina Reds are very spicy hot when they are ripe and red colored.  When Carolina Reds are unripe and green, they actually are extra potent and they have a very intense tobacco flavor.  Carolina Reds are long thin peppers that have inverted ends.  The heat from a green colored Carolina Red is far more intense than a habanero pepper, because of the high amount of capsicum oil!  
     Once again, I warned the waiter about how there was no way that he could handle a Carolina Red, even though it was unripe.  What I said only made the waiter angry enough to prove that he could conquer the chile pepper eating challenge!
     The waiter tried to eat the entire green Carolina Red chile pepper at one time, because that was the stipulation of the hot pepper eating wager.  He chewed the hot pepper a few times and tried to swallow the hot pepper, then a really strange look came over his face.  The waiter ran to the kitchen sink and actually tried to force himself to expel the Carolina Red Pepper he just chewed, before he had to endure the long lasting burning sensation.  Unfortunately for us, the waiter succeeded in expelling the hot green Carolina pepper and whatever else he ate for his last few meals.  The sink looked like a catastrophe.
     The Mexican cooks and I did not laugh.  We just winked and kept on working, while the waiter was making loud dry heave sounds with his head in the sink.  Then the chef came out of the office to see what the commotion was.  I asked the big Mexican executive chef to check on the health of the waiter, because he ate one of my chile peppers.
     The Mexican executive chef walked over to the water and started rubbing his hand on the waiter's back, just like the waiter was a little baby.  He asked the waiter over and over if he was okay, in a tone of voice that sounded a daddy talking to a little baby!  The Mexican chef was saying things like "Poor little baby!  Do you want me to find your mommy?  You poor little thing!  Did those bad men give you a hot chile pepper?  Awww ... Poor babeee ... Awww!"   
     The Mexican cooks and I could barely keep straight face at this point, but somehow we managed to keep our cool.  After a chugging down a gallon and a half of cold water and a quart of milk, the waiter was finally able to respond to the chef and he gasped that he was okay.  The sweaty pale looking waiter said that he had eaten a lot of chile peppers during his lifetime, but he had never eaten a chile pepper that had as much fiery spicy heat!  My response to the waiter was, "Where is our money?  You lost the bet!"
     Later after the chile pepper incident was over, the big Mexican executive chef asked me what kind of chili pepper I gave "the little baby girl" waiter.  I told the chef that it was a green unripe Carolina Red Pepper.  He smiled and asked if he could have a few of my green Carolina Peppers to take home, so naturally I said sure!

      Hot chile peppers are more than just spicy.  They have medicinal properties.  Hot chile peppers fight the effects rheumatism and arthritis.  They also help to prevent ulcers and they are an immune system booster.  Other medicinal effects include analgesic, antibiotic, anti parasitic and anti cancer properties.  The health benefits are many, but the mood elevation from the endorphin rush is what keeps most hot chile pepper heads coming back for more.
     Todays super hot chile pepper ramen noodle recipe is one of my favorites, because it is on the upper end of the Scoville heat range.  The flavor is nice, if you can stand the spicy heat!  

     Red Fire Devil Sauce:
     Extra Spicy Hot!
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/2 cup of shrimp broth.
     Add 1/3 cup of tomato puree.
     Add 1 tablespoon of blended olive oil.
     Step 2:  Add 1 chopped fresh orange habanero pepper.
     Add 1 crushed dried ghost pepper.
     Add 10 dried chile pequin that are crushed.  (Bird Peppers)
     Add 1 crushed dried large chipotle pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of dried ancho chile powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Step 3:  Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Simmer the dried peppers till they are reconstituted.  (About 15 minutes)
     Step 5:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Let the sauce cool to less than 100ºF.
     Use a blender or immersion blender to puree the sauce.
     Step 6:  Place the thin sauce in a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.  The volume should be about 1 cup.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.

     Red Fire Devil Ramen Noodles with Shrimp and Pepitas:
     Extra Spicy Hot!
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Place a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 3 cups of water.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Step 2:  Add 1 portion of ramen noodles.
     Boil till the ramen noodles are halfway cooked.
     Step 3:  Add 3 large peeled and deveined shrimp.
     Boil till the noodles and shrimp are fully cooked.
     Step 4:  Drain the water off of the noodles and shrimp.
     Step 5:  Return the pot of noodles to low heat.
     Add 1 cup of the Red Fire Devil Sauce.
     Add 1 thick sliced plum tomato.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Briefly simmer till the sauce warms.  Stir occasionally.
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use tongs to mound the ramen noodles in the center of a shallow noodle bowl.
     Place the three shrimp around the ramen noodles.
     Place the tomato slices on the noodles.
     Step 7:  Pour the remaining sauce in the pot over the noodles.
     Sprinkle 2 bias sliced green onions over the noodles.
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of  pepitas (toasted calabaza seeds) over the noodles.
     Garnish with a curly parsley sprig.

     This extra spicy hot noodle bowl is meant to please hot chile pepper food fans.  If you cannot take the spicy heat, then by all means, just skip over this fiery hot recipe!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Macadamia Teriyaki Bok Choy

     Tasty Vegetarian Food!
     Small Bok Choy cook quickly and this Chinese cabbage has a very gentle flavor.  Bok Choy are usually just steamed or boiled in broth till they are tender, but they can be stir fried too.
     Semi sweet complex flavors go well with Bok Choy.  Nutty flavors taste good with this cabbage too.  Macadamia Nuts add a nice tropical nut flavor and crunch to today's Bok Choy recipe!

     Japanese Teriyaki Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 ounce.  (Enough for 1 portion of Bok Choy.)
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Add 2 tablespoons of sugar.
     Step 2:  Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin syrup consistency that can glaze a spoon.
     Step 3:  Place the Teriyaki Sauce in a ceramic cup and set it aside.

     Macadamia Teriyaki Bok Choy:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     Bok Choy cooks quickly, so be sure to have all the ingredients ready before starting the stir fry!
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Add 1 thin sliced shallot.
     Add 1 green onion that is cut into bit size pieces.
     Add about 8 thin sliced red bell pepper strips.
     Add 4 small bok choy that are cut lengthwise into halves or quarters.
     Step 2:  Briefly stir fry the ingredients till the bok choy starts to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 3 tablespoons of thick sliced macadamia nuts.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Stir fry till the bok choy starts to wilt.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the wine by half.
     Step 5:  Add the prepared Japanese Teriyaki Sauce.
     Add 1/3 cup of light vegetable broth.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of blended sesame oil.
     Rapidly simmer while occasionally tossing the ingredients together.
     Simmer till the bok choy is tender and the sauce reduces to a thin syrup consistency.  (About 1 minute.)
     Step 6:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Arrange the bok choy in two rows on a plate.
     Spoon the sauce, aromatic vegetables and macadamia nuts over the center of the bok choy.
     Serve with a portion of steamed rice on the side.

     Macadamia Nuts add an interesting flavor!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lucky Fuzhou Noodles en Dried Shrimp Roasted Nori Dashi with Egg and Shiitake

     Healthy Lucky Noodles!
     Fuzhou Noodles are also known as "Lucky Noodles."  Fuzhou Noodles are made with Lye Water, which changes the texture and color of the noodles.  An interesting slight hint of Lye can be noticed in the flavor of Fuzhou Noodles.
     The original Ramen Noodles were created with a process similar to Fuzhou Noodles.  The original Ramen required water from a lake in Mongolia that contained a high amount of naturally occurring Phosphoric Acid.  The Lye not only bleaches the noodles, the Lye also causes the noodle dough to become quite elastic.  The more elastic the dough is, the thinner the noodles can be made.  Fuzhou Noodles are about as thin as a noodle can be!
     Dried shrimp can be used to make the Dashi Broth for today's recipe.  The broth can be strained or the tiny shrimp can be served with the broth.  Tiny dried shrimp are also known as "Rice Shrimp."  The dried shrimp are slightly larger than a grain of rice.  A broth made with dried shrimp has a deep rich umami flavor.
     Roasted Nori is a dried seaweed product that is commonly used for sushi roll making.  Roasted Nori is sold in paper thin sheets.  A roasted nori sheet that is cut in to thin ribbons can be used as a garnish that creates a unique visual effect.  
     Dried Shrimp & Roasted Nori Dashi Broth with Shiitake:
     This recipe yields about 2 1/4 cups.
     Step 1:  Bring 2 2/3 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped roasted nori seaweed.  (About 1/4 sheet is plenty)
     Add 1/3 cup of tiny dried shrimp.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Step 2:  Boil the dashi broth for 10 minutes.
     Step 3:  Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Discard the shrimp and seaweed.
     Step 4:  Place the sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 thin sliced large shiitake mushroom.
     Add 2 teaspoons of thin soy sauce.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil.
     Simmer till the shiitake mushroom slices become cooked tender.
     Keep the dashi warm over low heat.
     *The finished volume should be about 2 1/4 cups.  Add a splash of water if too much liquid evaporates.
     Fried Egg Topping:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Try not to brown the eggs, so they remain a bright yellow and white color!
     Step 1:  Separate the white and yolk of 1 large egg into separate bowls.
     Whisk the egg white.
     Whisk the egg yolk.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Pour the egg white into the hot pan.
     When the egg white is cooked firm, flip it over to cook the other side.
     Use a spatula to set the fried egg white on a cutting board.
     Step 3:  Repeat the process in Step 2 to cook the egg yolk.
     Set the cooked egg yolk on the cutting board.
     Step 4:  Slice the fried egg white and yolk into thin strips.
     Keep the yellow strips separate from the white strips and place them on a platter.
     Keep the yellow and white egg strips warm on a stove top.
     Lucky Fuzhou Noodles en Dried Shrimp Roasted Nori Dashi with Egg and Shiitake: 
     This recipe yields 1 noodle bowl entrée.
     The Fuzhou noodles are not cooked separately and shocked in ice water for this recipe.  They are simply cooked in the broth for a short time, till they have a firm texture.
     Step 1:  Raise the temperature of the dashi broth to medium high heat.
     Add 1 portion of Fuzhou Noodles.
     *Do not disturb the delicate Fuzhou Noodles while they cook!  Just gently shake the sauce pot once or twice.  It takes only about 30 seconds to cook the thin Fuzhou Noodles. 
     Step 2:  Use tongs or chopsticks to gather the Fuzhou Noodles.
     Mound the Fuzhou Noodles in the center of a shallow soup bowl.
     Step 3:  Use a slotted spoon to place the shiitake slices around the noodles.
     Pour the soup broth around the noodles.
     Float a few cilantro leaves on the soup broth.
     Step 4:  Place the cooked egg yolk strips on one side of the mounded noodles.
     Place the egg white strips on the other side of the noodles.
     Step 5:  Use scissors to cut a few thin strips of Roasted Nori Seaweed Sheet.
     Decoratively place the Nori Strips on the broth around the egg and noodles.
     Step 6:  Place 1 teaspoon of Sriracha Sauce on top of the noodles and eggs.
     Place a few thin bias slices of green onion on the chile sauce.
     This is a healthy Lucky Noodle Bowl!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shrimp and Broccoli with Lobster Sauce

     Chinese American Style!
     Chinese Lobster Sauce has no lobster in the recipe.  The word "Lobster" has more to do with being a description of how the sauce looks.  The bits of egg look like tiny bits of lobster.  In China, lobster sauce is made a little bit differently than in Chinese American restaurants.  Both versions taste great!
     Lobster Sauce recipes can vary greatly.  Some are made with chicken broth, while others are made with shrimp broth.  Some are made with chicken broth that is enriched with shrimp paste.  Some references state that Fermented Black Beans are necessary for making Lobster Sauce, but I have had Lobster Sauce at over a dozen Chinese American Restaurants and there were no Fermented Black Beans in the sauce at all.
     Basically, Chinese American Lobster Sauce is like a thick Egg Drop Soup that has some extra egg to give the sauce the appearance of being loaded with lobster.  The flavor tastes mellow and savory like lobster, especially when shrimp broth is used.  Considering the taste, Lobster Sauce definitely was designed for shellfish, but it also tastes nice with chicken or vegetable entrées.  
     Shrimp with Lobster Sauce is an entrée that is offered on nearly every Chinese American restaurant menu.  It is a standard menu item because it truly is such a great tasting entrée!  Snow Peas are usually the top pick for garnishing Shrimp with Lobster Sauce, but broccoli is a common addition too.
     Shrimp and Broccoli with Lobster Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Be sure to prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time, before starting to cook this fast moving recipe!  Keep the ingredients separate and set them aside. 
     Step 1:  Peel and devein 10 to 12 large shrimp (16/20 count per pound).
     Remove the tails and cut the shrimp so they are butterflied open.
     Step 2:  Cut 3/4 cup of bite size broccoli florets.
     Cut 1/4 cup of short onion strips.
     Thin bias slice 2 green onions.
     Set the vegetables aside.
     Step 3:  Heat 1 3/4 cups of light chicken broth over medium/low heat in a sauce pot.
     Keep the broth hot, till it is needed for the recipe.
     Step 4:  Place 2 ounces of dry rice wine (Sake) in a small bowl.
     Add 1 ounce of water.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of shrimp paste.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 2 pinches of white pepper and sea salt.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed Szechuan Pepper.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn starch.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Set the wine mixture aside.
     Step 5:  Separate the whites and yolks of 2 large eggs.  (Save the egg yolks for another recipe.)
     Place the 2 egg whites in a small bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of cold water.
     Whisk the water and egg whites together.
     Set the egg white mixture aside.
     Step 6:  Heat a wide sauté pan or wok over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 chopped garlic clove.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced ginger.
     Briefly stir fry for a few seconds till the garlic and ginger become aromatic.
     Step 7:  Add the prepared onion.
     Add the shrimp.
     Add the prepared broccoli.
     Add the prepared green onions.
     Quickly stir fry toss and the ingredients, till the shrimp are halfway cooked.
     Step 8:  Stir the prepared wine mixture before adding it to the pan.
     Add the prepared hot chicken broth.
     Quickly bring the sauce to a boil, while stirring occasionally.
     Allow the sauce to thicken to a medium thin consistency.
     Step 9:  Reduce the temperature to medium/medium low heat.
     Push the vegetables and shrimp to one side of the pan, so the sauce is exposed.
     Stream the prepared egg white mixture across the surface of the simmering sauce.
     When the egg whites turn an opaque white color, use a spoon or spatula to break up the egg white streaks a little bit.  The sauce should resemble small white pieces of lobster.
     Step 10:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use a spoon to place the shrimp and vegetables on a shallow dish.
     Pour the sauce over the shrimp and vegetables.
     No garnish is necessary!
     Serve with a bowl of steamed white rice on the side.

     A light savory entrée!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Miyeok Guk

     Korean Seaweed Beef Soup!  
     Miyeok Guk is a traditional Korean soup that tastes much richer than what the ingredients would suggest.  A simple Miyeok Guk recipe needs no extra ingredients to be great tasting.  There is some kind of food chemistry involved when beef is cooked with seaweed, that creates a very rich flavor.  Seaweed seems to react with beef like no other meat.
     Miyeok Guk is renowned for its medicinal qualities.  Miyeok Guk increases mental awareness, memory and clarity.  In fact, many Korean college students rely on Miyeok Guk during final exam time.  Iodine from seaweed rids the body of heavy metal toxins and Iodine is effective for fighting cancer.  Miyeok Guk also naturally increases female fertility and it is a great source of micronutrients during pregnancy.  The minerals, electrolytes and Iodine that are contained in seaweed combine with high proteins to create one of the most nutritious medicinal soups that there is.
     The Korean technique of quickly sautéing the beef, then marinating the beef in the pot with soy sauce by means of rapid reduction, will dramatically increase the flavor.  Just adding soy sauce to the broth will not produce the same effect.
     Just like with many Korean recipes, a fair amount of sesame oil is used.  The better the sesame oil, the better the soup will taste.  Pure sesame oil that is not blended is best for today's recipe.
     Wakame Seaweed is needed for today's recipe.  The best choice is Salt Packed Dried Wakame.  The Salt Packed Dried Wakame actually is still alive.  The long thin rope strands of Wakame are still soft after being salt packed, just like seaweed that is partially dried from sunlight along the edge of the surf.  All it takes is water to bring it back to life.
     The sea salt needs to be rinsed off, then the Wakame is soaked in water till it is reconstituted.  A strand of dried Wakame that is a couple feet long will reconstitute to its original size of over four feet long after soaking.  For an individual portion, 1 or 2 tablespoons of Salt Packed Dried Wakame will reconstitute to nearly 1 cup in volume.

     Miyeok Guk:
     This recipe yields 1 large portion of soup.  (2 1/2 cups)
     Step 1:  Cut a strand of Salt Packed Dried Wakame Seaweed that equals the volume of about 2 tablespoons.
     Rinse the salt off of the Wakame under cold running water.
     Soak the Wakame seaweed in a container of water, till it becomes its original size.
     Cut the reconstituted Wakame Seaweed into wide strips.  (About 1 cup of reconstituted Wakame strips are needed.)
     Step 2:  Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 2 chopped garlic cloves.
     Briefly sauté for a few seconds, till the garlic becomes aromatic.
     Step 3:  Add 4 1/2 ounces of lean Beef Top Round that is cut into thin wide ribbon shapes.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
     Briefly sauté for a few seconds.  (The beef should only be cooked rare at this point.)
     Step 4:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the beef marinates and the soy sauce clings to the beef.
     Step 5:  Add 1 cup of rich beef broth.
     Add 2 cups of light vegetable broth.
     Add the reserved prepared Wakame Seaweed strips.
     Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the soup to a boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer the soup for 20 minutes, so the beef is tender and the flavors meld.
     Step 7:  Pour the soup in a large soup bowl.
     Serve with sticky rice on the side.

     Feeling good, alert and healthy in a short time is the benefit of eating this great Korean soup!