Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oven fries

I made these a while ago, but I must document this fantastic recipe.
I love french fries, but we all know they are so unhealthy.  Now that I discovered that baking up yams and potatoes at a high heat can make equally delicious "fries", I'm glad I can enjoy a healthier alternative.

First, you thinly slice the yams and potatoes.  Then toss them in in olive oil, sea salt, onion salt, and black pepper.  Bake in oven for 475 F for 30 mins or until desired crispiness.  It should be very crispy and tasty!

Of course, you can also use entirely yams or entirely potatoes!

Cinnamon Chicken Drumsticks

Ok.. I know this might sound weird (possibly even gross), but chicken seasoned with cinnamon actually tastes really good!!
It gives the chicken a uniquely sweet flavor.
I really recommend trying it out before passing any judgments!
This dish was actually inspired by a Persian dish my sister once made .

I like chicken drumsticks the best, so I always make this dish with drumsticks. But I'm sure you can do this with other parts of the chicken too.
Its so fast and simple:  I sprinkle cinnamon and kosher salt under the chicken skin, and put the skin back in place.  Placed the drumsticks on a baking sheet, and baked at 415 degrees for about 35 minutes.  It came out salt, sweet, crunchy on the outside, and perfectly moist on the inside.

This  is my go-to dish when I am rushed whipping up a meal.  ( I got home from work at 8:00pm today, and I was eating dinner by 8:45pm, because I made this dish.  What a life saver!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Steamed Dungeness Crabs. My fav

Last week, after I went back to my hometown to dye my mom's hair, on our way back home, we stopped by El Monte Superstore to pick up some dungeness crabs.  I like going there since their groceries is always very affordable (this is also the store where I bought the bamboo for my bamboo chicken dish).

We always get our dungeness crabs from El Monte Superstore since its way cheaper than Ranch99, or any other American place.
Sadly, when we got there, the price of crabs was $7.99 per pound!
I have gotten it for $3.99 a pound in the past from that store, but unfortunately, the prices have gone up (must be because it's not crab season?).
Oh well, we still really enjoy eating steamed crab, so it will be worth it anyways.

Once we got home, with 2 crabs in tow, I busted out my handy dandy 3 tiered steamer (but I only used 2 tiers) and steamed up those sucks.  It takes probably 15 minutes, from start to finish.

The crab's natural flavor is quite delicious that I don't need any salt or butter or lemon.  Plain is the best.

Baked (not microwaved) potatoes

I love potatoes in almost any form.  One of my more favorite forms is the baked potato -- its natural flavor is so tasty, and all I need a little butter and salt and I am in a happy mood.  I also love that it goes well with most dishes.

A few weeks ago, I had my sister over for steaks (we made some rib eye on the ourdoor grill), and I also made a tossed salad.  I needed to quickly think of a side dish to go with the steak.  Why... of course easy-peasy baked potato would go well with the dish.  Like I always say, I'm a meat and potatoes kind of girl.

When I am not cooking for guests, I don't mind eating potatoes cooked in the microwave.  Its fast (4 mins in the microwave) and still tastes great, but it does not have the wonderfully crispy potato skin that baked potatoes have.  Also, the potato meat is not as flaky and fluffy the way baked potatoes are.

(btw, don't let anyone tell you that you can make "baked" potato in the microwave.  They don't know what they are talking about.  You can make "microwaved" potatoes in the microwave, but you can only make "baked" potato in the oven.  You need the dry heat of the oven to get the crispy skin).

How I make baked potatoes is really simple.  Scrub all the dirt off the potatoes, poke it several times with a fork, then drizzle olive oil and kosher salt all over the potato.  I baked for 1 hour on 350, placed directly on a sheet of foil on the oven rack.  (If you are making more than 4 potatoes, then it will take about 1 hour 15 minutes).
Comes out perfect every time!

I enjoy a teeny bit of butter melted inside, and that's it.  The salt, I get from the kosher salt rubbed on the skin (prior to baking).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bamboo Chicken

Jeff loved this dish, and I even inspired my friend to make her own version of this too.

I love bamboo but I rarely eat it since I don't go asian shopping often.  And when I do, bamboo isn't exactly on my mind when I shop, I am usually shopping for staples such as green veggies, fresh fruits, and meats.
However, during my recent visit to the Asian store (to buy dungeness crabs), the bamboo was placed in the front of the store... and I also happened to be really hungry when I was shopping, so I had to buy some!

To make the dish, I first thinly sliced some chicken (I use dark meat, but you can use white), and marinated it a little soy sauce, mixed with some tapioca starch to soften the meat up (gives it the gooey texture you find in a lot of asian dishes). 
I used canned bamboo rather than fresh bamboo since it's WAY cheaper, and sliced up the bamboo into smaller pieces.  In a skillet, added a little oil and cooked the chicken until it was almost cooked then added in the bamboo.  The bamboo can be consumed as is, so you are really merely heating it up on the stove, rather than cooking it.  Add in some oyster sauce to give it the sweet flavor and xiaoxing cooking wine for an additional layer of flavor (this is optional).

The dish was light and tasty.  The dish can also be substituted with beef, pork, or tofu.

Soy braised pork and sauteed bok choy

Soy braised pork in the slow cooker is one of my favorite slow cooker meals.  Enjoy the pork ladled over a bowl of rice.  Mmm.  I love asian food.

I picked up some "pork for stew" from the super market, which are end pieces of pork sold cheaply.  You can also use shoulder pork blades cut into chunks for this dish as well.

Added to the slow cooker: 3 pounds of cubed pork, soy sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, sliced ginger, some salt and pepper.  I also added in some dried seaweed to add in some additional flavor.  Slow cook on Low for 8-9 hours.

 It comes out delicious and perfect every time.

Don't forget to have some vegetables with your meal everyday.
To have some quick Asian veggies to go with your Asian pork, cut up and wash up some small bok choy.  Separate the stems from the leaves because stems take longer to cook.
heat up a skillet, add in olive oil and minced garlic.  Add the stems in and saute until its somewhat tender.  Add in the bok choy leaves and a sprinkle of kosher salt until wilted.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

Yes! it's another slow cooker dish!
This time, it's a side dish: scalloped potatoes.

Typically, scalloped potatoes are made in the oven, where it comes out bubbly and crunchy at the top.  Although I prefer that over the slow cooker version, where there is no crunchy bubbliness, but on a work night... convenience wins.  :)

I sliced up about 3 pounds of potatoes, with the skin still on.  I did it manually since I don't own a mandolin slicer, and personally, those things creep me out.  Usually, the recipe calls for cream of mushroom soup, but I *hate* cream of mushroom soup.  I found this thing called "cream of chicken" soup at the store.  Never heard of it, but willing to try it, so I threw that with the potatoes.  Added cream (I use half & half, which has less fat than cream), salt, and several handfuls of cheese. 

Set the slow cooker on high for 6 hours. I used a timer to shut off my slow cooker at the 6 hour mark, since I would am not home to turn it off).
The potatoes came out warm, creamy, and cheesy.  Who wouldn't enjoy that.  =)
Unfortunately, I made too much (I recommend 1 pound next time, not 3 pounds), and I ended up having to toss some. =(