September 30, 2013

Orange Beef

Orange Beef.  One of my favorite. It's a Chinese-American dish that is of Hunan origin.
I love all things citrus. lemons, limes, tangerines, grapefruit and of course oranges.

Have you ever added a slice or 2 of an orange wedge to your coffee?
Hot or iced ... it's brings a great hint of orange flavor to your coffee....
ok, sorry I got side tracked with coffee...
where were we- ah, orange beef.

Because the beef gets deep fried- you want a cut of beef that doesn't 
have too much fat in it. If it has too much fat attached- it will get soggy quicker
and not stay as crispy- the way you want for this specific dish. 
(You can use flank or sirloin - 2 common cuts any supermarket will have)

Once you slice your beef into strips 
(if it's hard to slice- it's often 1 of 2 things, your knife needs sharpening or the beef needs 
to be firmer and an easy way to do that is tho place it in the freezer for a few minutes
to firm it up)  ---you want to coat your beef slices with corn starch. Lay them on a 
cookie rack and the trick to this is to place it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. 
The longer the better-- it will allow the cornstarch to stick better and having the 
beef firm will fry it better helping with the crispness.

This is orange beef so you want some orange peels or orange zest. I like it with the 
colorful strands of orange zest peel.  You can simply just peel a few pieces otherwise.

This is the beef after it has been deep fried. Once it's on a paper towel to catch 
the excess oil from  deep frying- you can add a sprinkle of salt on the beef 
(preferably when it's still hot)

Make your sauce and set it aside so it's ready to pour in after sauteing the wanted veggies.

Saute half of the orange peels/zest with one jalapeno pepper in a frying/saute pan
with a drizzle of oil (veggie, corn, canola, peanut or grape seed)
(This is not a plate- it's actually a new ceramic coated frying pan)
You want to add in the green veggies next and once those are sauteed to your liking--
add the sauce and let it simmer (about 7 minutes)
( I used broccoli and green beans- simply broccoli because it's not a sweet green
veggie and the sauce for this dish is sweeter than not and the green beans
because I simply had them on hand.

Lastly, add your sauce to the veggies and as it simmers- add in your equal parts 
of corn starch and warm water mixture to thicken up the sauce. 
(If you use cold water- the sauce will break apart and lose the thickness very quickly 
and if you use hot water- it will literally cook the cornstarch making it lumpy)  
Once your sauce has thickened- turn your stove off and add the fried beef.  
This dish along with any stir-fry dish is best with a side of rice.

Tossing the orange zest on top along with a little chopped scallions give the dish a nice
garnish... if you're into that. :)    I suppose you could add a sprinkle of sesame seeds
if you really wanted especially since this sauce has a little sesame oil in it.

The recipe is as follows: 
1.5 pounds of any beef that has a low fat content. (sirloin or flank works well)
3 TBSP soy sauce
6 TBSP of cornstarch
1 large orange or 2 medium ones (clean skin for zesting)
3 TBSP molasses
1 TBSP rice vinegar
1.5 tsp sesame oil
1 jalapeno sliced thin on a diagonal (seeds taken out if you don't want super spicy)
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes OR 2 tsp of Korean red pepper powder flakes
2 scallions (optional- chopped for garnish)
sprinkle of sesame seeds (optional for garnish)

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food
In Home Cooking Classes Philadelphia        Birthday gift present activity cooking class

September 27, 2013

Pierogies - the Polish Dumpling

Dumplings, dumplings and MORE dumplings!

I love dumplings. We do many traditional Asian and Asian Fusion style
dumplings in our classes but we also do some modernized ones along with
non Asian dumplings as well.

Pierogies can easily be made at home using the same wrappers for
the typical Asian style dumplings. They are a little on the thin side but because
I always have dumpling wrappers on hand--- and what's better than double duty...
actually in this case maybe 16th-duty... we have 16 different types of
dumplings as of 2 weeks ago.

Here are a few just to give you an idea--
shrimp and pork,   pork and ginger,   chicken and chives,   buffalo chicken with bacon,
tofu with vermicelli,  tofu and kimchi,  kimchi and chives,  apple and banana,
shrimp and lobster,   veggie samosa,  beef and veggie,  veggie,

For these really easy home-made pierogies-
I took one potato, diced it up and boiled it in salt water. (1 teaspoon of water)
while the potato was boiling away- I diced up one small onion and sauteed it
with a drizzle of soy sauce (you can use a sprinkle of salt instead of
the soy sauce if you prefer) (soy sauce is soy beans that are fermented in lots
and lots of salt)  Once the potatoes are soft (if you take a fork and it pierces
very easily- they are ready to mash!) Mix the onions and potatoes with any other
herb you'd like- if you'd like.
Add the filling and fold the wrappers in half by gluing the sides together 
in egg white wash.

When you have a few done- turn your saute pan on with a drizzle of
oil (corn, canola, peanut , veggie or grape seed) and fry them.
You will most likely have to fry them in a few batches if you decide to make
the whole mix.  The best way to eat these home-made pierogies
is to drizzle (if your sauce is in a squeeze bottle) or dip in BBQ sauce.
I really like Kraft BBQ sauce... but use whatever kind you like of course!

pictures- pre BBQ sauce. 

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

September 26, 2013

I was in a local paper today.... pretty cool.
This certainly doesn't happen to me everyday...

below is the link for the article!

In Home Cooking Class Philadelphia        Birthday gift present activity cooking class
In Home Cooking Class Philadelphia        Birthday gift present activity cooking class

September 24, 2013

Breaded Zucchini with 2 easy sauces

Sometimes I like to take veggies and saute fry them.
The day after a Food Festival- I spent hours cleaning up and seeing some extra
zucchini in the refrigerator made me think of a snack my mom used to and still
cooks from time to time.  Fried zucchini.

Simply take one zucchini and after rinsing it, pat it try with a paper towel
and cut the zucchini into round slices. Not too thick but not too skinny either.

I decided to make half with Italian breadcrumbs mixed with Panko....

and the other half with a flour mixture. Both types were first dipped in a bowl with
2 beaten eggs. I dipped the zucchini slices in egg then the flour and then the egg again 
and then the flour again. I dip it twice simply to make sure there is a coating on it.

I did the same thing for bread crumb ones as well.  I turned on a saute pan
on medium-high (too high will burn them quickly and too low of heat will make them soft)
and added a little grape seed oil (any frying oil can be uses--- corn, canola, peanut, veggie)

I also made 2 super easy dipping sauces as well.

The first sauce is simply siracha mayo and that'w literally what goes in it.
Start with 3 TBSP of mayo and a squeeze of siracha sauce to your liking.

The 2nd sauce is just as easy-- use 2-3 TBSP of mayo, 1 TBSP of ranch salad dressing
and a squeeze of wasabi-- again- to your liking.

These were the bread crumb ones.....

and these were the flour ones.
It was an enjoyable snack after a long day of cleaning.

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

September 3, 2013

Hearty Asian Fusion Veggie Quesadilla

When you take an ingredient or technique from one country or region
and fuse or bond it together --- you simply have something "fusion"

I took some veggies and sauteed them together adding teriyaki sauce
which is Japanese (Asian) and made it into a quesadilla which originated from
central Mexico.

In this SUPER easy Asian Fusion quesadilla:
there is --- 1 carrot,
about 3-4 crowns of broccoli,
5-6 stems of asparagus  ('sharpie' size),
a small zucchini,
a medium red or any kind of onion
some cheese (any kind that you favor)(shredded makes it easier)
and 2, 4 or 6 (basically an even amount for a top and bottom) tortilla shell

Add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute your veggies. Adding the onions and stems of the broccoli first is a good start because the longer that onions cook they will taste sweeter and extra delicious.

Once the onions have been sweating in the pan for about 5-7 minutes---
add the broccoli, asparagus and stir those all around for about a minute or 2.
Lastly add your shredded carrots and zucchini in last simply because it's the most delicate of all the veggies for this quesadilla and you don't want them to be overcooked, soft and mushy.

Stir in some teriyaki sauce.  (Teriyaki recipe)
and place all your veggies on a quesadilla shell on a large pan or cookie sheet depending on if you want to bake this off or toast it on the stove.

Add your cheese (I used provolone and shredded cheddar for this one)
Once the cheese is on top of the veggies-- add the 2nd tortilla shell.
I used a saute pan than has groves so it makes the marks and toasts them right in the pan on the stove.

Once the cheese has melted (you can tell when the top layer is stuck to the veggies/cheese)
simply flip it over or take it out of the oven.

You can use a pizza cutter to slice the quesadillas or a large sharp knife.

These quesadillas are super tasty, hearty and healthy. 
It's best when you spread a little sour cream on them!
Non-veggie lovers will even love this one!

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food

September 2, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dumplings! (w/bacon)

Take 2 things you enjoy and fuse them together!
I enjoy lots of different foods but being Korean... Asian food come into
play quite often. So many dishes end up being Asian Fusion.
Not to mix that up with Pan-Asian which is.... for those who might mix them up-
for example- a Pan-Asian restaurant would serve foods from many different Asian
countries or regions whereas Asian Fusion or any fusion for that matter
is when you take a technique or ingredient that is known for a certain region
and mix/fuse them together.

ie: Chicken Teriyaki Burrito Wrap

Just like the way Rachel Ray is a self-pronounced queen of burgers...
I am pretty close when it comes to dumplings.
Here are my Buffalo Chicken Dumplings. Take a chicken breast and boil it on medium heat
just so it's almost done (maybe 80-90% done).  Rinse it with cold water and then
pull it apart with your fingers. Have a few strips of bacon cooked and cut up into small pieces
as well and set the bacon aside to add to the Buffalo chicken dumpling mix.

Take about 3-4 scallions, chop them up and throw them into the bowl of shredded chicken.
Take a pan to your stove and melt about a tablespoon of butter and add a heavy drizzle
of Frank's Hot Sauce. Once the butter melts, add a drizzle of Agave or any type of sweetener.

Once the Buffalo sauce has started to bubble in your pan, turn the stove off and
add the chicken and scallions to your pan of hot Buffalo sauce. 
I add a little bit of Panko bread crumbs to make the filling a little bit thicker 
so the sauce doesn't drizzle out the sides when I fold the dumplings. 
The chicken that you boiled to "almost done" will finish up cooking in the hot, hot sauce. 
(The reason I say cook it 80-90% is so that the chicken doesn't get over cooked and dry out). 
Now, is the time you would add the already cooked and cut bacon.


Once the dumplings have been folded, you can pan or deep fry them. I recommend
deep frying these.  These dumplings are REALLY good with chilled Ranch Dressing.
(A taste test has been done with Ranch vs. Blue Cheese)

Since these dumplings are deep fried, maybe eat the dumplings with a side salad.
Balance the frying with something a little healthier...?  Is that girl reasoning?

Nonetheless, I am pretty sure you will enjoy these dumplings if you enjoy Buffalo sauce.

Zestfully, Let's Cultivate Food