April 2, 2018

Guacamole

Guacamole is an avocado based dip that was started by 
the Aztecs back in the 16th century. The word guacamole
came from Aztec dialect which translates literally
to avocado sauce.  Makes sense and sounds pretty simple...
just like this home-made guacamole recipe.

If you are making a small bowl of guacamole  for up to 3 people
you can use 2-3 ripe avocados, 
1 small tomato (diced)
a quarter of a small red onion, (diced small)
handful of cilantro stems (chopped- including the stems)
the juice of 2 limes
a pinch of cumin (about 1/2 a teaspoon)
and a pinch of salt  (to your tasting)
and a pinch of sugar (optional; to your liking)



Avocados are meant to be picked in their unripened stage off of their
trees and are to be left on the counter or table to ripen.  Do not put your 
avocados in the frig unless it is ripe and you want it to stop ripening.
Avocados are typically a dark, forest green color and when they start
to ripen they turn a blackish hue AND they are soft to the touch.

To make a basic, easy but super flavorful guacamole all you need to do
is cut your ripened avocado and place it in a bowl.
Dice up the tomatoes into small pieces and throw them on top of the
halved avocado. Dice the red onion into very small pieces--
the smaller the better. Chop the cilantro and add that to the bowl
as well. Lastly, squeeze the juice of the limes and add a pinch of salt.

It's nice to take a fork and stir and fold all the ingredients together.
The sweetness and liquid of the tomato gives a natural sweet flavor
along with the lime juice bringing out some acidity. Onions always
give food more flavor and red  onions being the mildest makes 
for the best onion to choose for guacamole since everything is raw
and the beautiful hue of the purple makes it look attractive as well!




Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 20, 2018

LCF Beef Skewers

Beef Skewers. Yum! You can grill them outdoors, you can use an electric griddle, a stove top griddle or you can broil them in the oven.
Once you add the marinade to the beef -
ideally you want to marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes. (overnight is best)
(Make sure your skewers are soaking in water as well to help prevent them from burning)


RECIPE:
1-1.5 pounds of sirloin tips OR choice of beef
3-4 TBSP of hoisin sauce
2 TBSP of soy sauce
2 TBSP of sesame oil
1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar OR rice vinegar
1 teas of garlic powder OR grate 2 cloves of garlic
1 teas of sugar OR grate a little apple or a pear for natural sweetness
sprinkle sesame seeds (optional)

Take your strips or bite size pieces of beef and skewer them through.
ideally 3-5 pieces are a nice amount.

The temperature you are looking for is about 350-375 degrees.
Grill for about 5-7 minutes on each side OR to your liking of beef!



Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food


February 19, 2018

Miso Soup

Miso soup is made from fermented soy bean paste which is a great source of beneficial bacteria. It is light, flavorful and a great base to use to cultivate by adding a range of ingredients to your liking.


A great base and easy way to make Miso soup is the following recipe:

for 2 people:
~ 2 cups of water
~ 2 TBSP of miso paste
~ 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
~ scallions cut to your liking (ringlets or shredded)
~ tofu cut to cubes
~ seaweed, soaked, chopped and to your liking (when soaked in water - will double in size)

Let it simmer and add tofu at the end.



Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

February 1, 2018

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan noodles is a Chinese noodle dish that traditionally consists
of a spicy chili oil, Sichuan peppers, minced pork and scallions served
over flour based noodles often made of egg.

As I refer to students during classes, once you learn a base or foundation
of a dish, you then can and should cultivate it to make it your own
by adding what you like to it. 
(mainly because you are the one who is going to eat it)

As many dishes migrate to the western hemisphere they adapt more often
than not to Americanized taste-buds and get modified with spice level,
more Americanized veggies or other ingredients.

Did you know the word 'Dan Dan' refers to a carrying pole that was used
by street vendors who would carry baskets over their shoulder hanging from
Dan Dans (poles) and sell them to local people as they passed by?
Now you do!  The literal translation is: "noodles carried on a pole"

We have a themed class titled "Let's Eat Philly"
where we make Philly style soft pretzels, Philly Cheese steak bites
& Chinatown Dan Dan Noodles. Below is a picture of Dan Dan noodles
made with rice noodles and spaghetti style noodles.



Recipe & Ingredients:

noodles:
your choice of rice, linguine, spaghetti, egg noodle, green noodle

protein:
~ traditionally ground pork (1/4 lb per person)
~but ground chicken is ok if you don't eat pork
* optional - also adding some pork belly or bacon is an added extra.
.....did someone say bacon!?!

veggies:
~ scallions chopped small or shredded with the 'herb shredder'
~ some type of green is always good whether it be the
    traditional mustard greens,   or other options: bok choy, yu choy,
    broccoli rabe stems, kale, spinach etc..

sauce:
1 TBSP of red pepper paste
1 TBSP of sesame paste (can be miso, or tahini, or soy bean paste)
2 garlic gloves minced or grated fine
1/4 cup of stock (your choice, chicken, veggie, beef)
2 TBSP of soy sauce
1 TBSP of sugar (or grate some apple or pear for natural sugar)
1 TBSP of sesame oil (any oil if you don't have sesame)

Directions: 
1. have your noodles already boiled
2. brown the protein (saute the meat)
3. add all the sauce ingredients except for the stock
4. toss in the veggies (if you are using)
5. toss in the noodles
6. add the stock little by little to help liquefy the sauce to your preference
7. add into your favorite noodle bowl and garnish with scallions
   (sesame seeds and or peanuts are sometimes a nice added bonus)



Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon



January 31, 2018

Low Country Boil

Fill a large pot of water so that about 2 inches of the bottom of the pot
is filled with warm-hot water. Add a cap full or about 5 TBSP of old bay right
into the pot.  Here is a suggestion of what items to out into your pot. I say
suggestions because it's really what your group likes. Typically it's going to
be seafood, sausage and root veggie friendly.  Once your pot starts to boil,
add your ingredients from heartiest to least heartiest.
eg: add the potatoes and carrots first, then mussels, crabs along with
other items with shrimp being last, when the shrimp changes color -
you know it's time to roll out that brown paper or even newspaper.
It's going to be about 30 minutes but it depends on how much you are low boiling.

Here's a list of starters: (again, it's your group's preference)
1 lb of beef sausage
2 onions cut in half for flavor
1-2 lbs of shrimp, with shell on for best flavor (yes, you peel them at the table)
1-2 pounds of baby potatoes cut in half or in quarters
1 lb (1 bag) of baby carrots
1-2 bell peppers for flavor
1 corn on the cob per person
    (cut in half or thirds for easier eating and quicker cooking)
1-2 lbs of mussels
1-2 lbs of clams
desired amount of crabs
3-4 lemons cut in half for the acidity and flavor
mini hot dogs to make it a little more kid friendly

Here are some pictures of different low country boils I've done.










































Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon




Wonton Egg Drop Soup

Wontons are often described as irregular dumplings.
Here is a recipe to make wonton soup Or egg drop soup OR
you can go all out and make wonton egg drop soup together in one!



Stock/broth:
2 carrots cut in half or whole
3-4 celery stock cut in half
1 medium onion cut in half
1-2 cinnamon sticks
3 TBSP of soy sauce OR 1-2 teaspoon of salt (your desired amount of salt)
2 garlic cloves cut in half OR (1 teaspoon) of garlic powder
1 TBSP of sesame oil
let it come to a low boil and then turn the heat down on a medium simmer 
to add the wontons, eggs or both!

(be sure to take out all of the items that help create the light flavorful broth
before gently dropping the wontons and adding the egg towards the end.
The carrots, celery and all above ingredients are to just create the broth
and are meant to be taken out by a strainer, or ladle, large spoon or tongs etc...)

Wontons:
half pound of ground pork OR chicken
1/2 bunch of cilantro cut into 1/2 inch pieces OR chopped fine (to your liking)
pinch of salt OR drizzle of soy sauce to coat the ground protein
2 garlic gloves minced or chopped fine
1 TBSP of hoisin sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 TBSP of rice vinegar 

Egg drop portion:
take 2 eggs, crack them, whisk and add 3-4 TBSP of water
drizzle over a fork right into the stock to get long ribbons of egg
(it will cook instantly)

Scallions are a nice way to garnish at the end, right into your bowl




Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon




Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad is a crunchy, crisp, briny, delicious slaw salad
made from shredded green papaya, tomatoes, carrot and acidic seasonings.























Traditionally, you will see many recipes that have green beans
and dried shrimp. Over the years of teaching cooking classes,
people have commented that they don't care for the dried shrimp powder
or whole dried shrimp along with raw green or string beans
so I simply took those out, left the fish sauce (made from anchovies)
in there for the earthy brininess and have never turned back. 
Here is LCF's simplified Papaya Salad recipe:

1 whole GREEN papaya shredded
   (it will be green on the outside and not soft, you want it to be unripe,
   the mature ones will be soft & have the coral color inside)
2 limes (the juice of) - squeeze it by hand or your desired gadget
3 TBSP of sugar (or grate some apple or pear for natural sweetness)
   (sugar is optional)
1 TBSP of fish sauce (any fish sauce brand is ok, don't substitute oyster sauce)
2 cloves of garlic minced or chopped fine OR garlic powder (sprinkle desired amount)
1 TBSP of vinegar
1 medium ripe tomato or heirloom tomatoes for color
   (cut into strips or diced)
1 handful or desired amount of peanuts whole OR crushed (it's to your liking)
1 carrot shredded

Mix all together by bare hand OR with an easy throw away glove
for easy clean up. Ideally you want to let it infuse/marinade for at least
40 minutes for the flavors to have the utmost best mixed in flavor but
right away is going to be ok....  if you must.  :)


Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon