Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Asian Onions - The Perfect Garnish for Protein

This week a strange little plant caught my eye that looked like a cross between a garlic and a green onion. When I asked the farmer what it was, she simply said it was an Asian Onion. When I asked what to do with it, she told me to chop it up and put it on top of a steak or fish. So, I decided to heed her directions. Although I was a little weary of putting raw onion on my fish, I gave it a try. Oh my, was I wrong and the farmer right! Asian onions on top of Red Snapper is delicious. The flavor of the onion is mild and I now see why it is the perfect garnish for any protein (it dresses up your meal too). Definitely give it a try.

Fresh Garlic

Garlic, as you may have noticed, is one of my favorite foods that I always have on hand. This garlic I purchased was straight from the soil, still covered in dirt and roots attached, and it scared me a little. However, let me tell you, it is amazing! If you can, make sure to purchased garlic from the farmers. There is no comparison. And don't be afraid if it is a little purple or red in color, it is all the same.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Asparagus - Korean Style

Again, asparagus is not an unusual veggie for Californians, but like strawberries, you may not know that they are in high season in spring. This time of year when you purchase asparagus at a farmers market, most likely it has been picked that morning. Honestly, there is nothing better than fresh asparagus. Likewise, there are very few things better than Korean BBQ, therefore here is a recipe that combines both asparagus and the BBQ. Bon Appetit (the best cooking magazine out there) inspired me to make this rice bowl dish, however, here is my recipe acquired from a Korean friend. Sorry, there are no step-by-step pictures this time:

Korean Rice Bowl with Asparagus, BBQ Steak, and Eggs
serves 6

2 bunches asparagus
2 pounds carne asada
6 eggs
3 cups dry jasmine rice
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup sugar
4 green onions, thinly slices whites and greens
3 cloves minced garlic
3 teaspoon sesame seed oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons grape seed or vegetable oil

1. In a liquid measuring cup mix soy sauce, sugar, thinly sliced green onions, minced garlic, 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil and pepper, let sit until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over carne asada in a plastic bag and vacuum seal (meaning suck as much air out of the bag as possible before closing) and let marinade for at least 4 hours in fridge.
2. Once meat is marinaded, make jasmine rice according to directions on packaging.
3. Rinse asparagus and chop into quarts, peeling any tough ends off of asparagus bottoms. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add asparagus to skillet and cook7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked transfer to bowl and drizzle 2 teaspoon sesame seed oil over asparagus and sprinkle a mixture of salt, chili powder and cayenne pepper over asparagus to taste. Cover asparagus with foil and save remaining salt mixture.
4. In the same skillet cook carne asada 1-2 minutes on each side. Once all meat cooked, cut into strips and cover with foil.
5. Again in the same pan add remaining oil and cook eggs sunny-side-up, leaving the yolks runny.
6. Prepare 6 bowls with 3/4 to a cup of rice and add asparagus and steak to each bowl evenly, then place an egg on top. Serve warm with salt mixture for people to sprinkle on egg and sriracha, and ENJOY!

Strawberry Season- Take Advantage of the Bounty

Although strawberries are not an unusual produce item, I would like to point out that late spring seems to be the best time to eat these berries. Not only are the less expensive, but they are also so much better this time of year! James and I made crepes with our strawberries from the Downtown Los Angeles Farmers' Market. So simple, but it just feels fancy when you eat them:

Basic Crepes (for your strawberries)
serves 6-8

2 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla (never use fake vanilla - it is made from petroleum...yuck)

In a blender combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla and oil. Process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brush with oil. Pour 1/4 cup of crepe batter into pan, tilting to completely coat the surface of the pan. Cook 2 to 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm topped with fresh local strawberries and powder sugar and ENJOY!

Long Beach Southeast Farmers' Market = Amazing

Today I had the pleasure of hanging with my cous' Jessica and her friends at the Long Beach Southeast Farmers' Market and I was quite impressed. I know that I always rave about the Hollywood Farmers' Market (which I still love), but this tent town was a breath of fresh air. It was nice to be right next to the harbor and the farmers were so friendly, not to say that the farmers are never friendly...it was just that they were more laid back I guess. If you are a citizen of Long Beach, definitely reserve time on your Sundays for this event. Recipes to follow soon, because I finally found some different produce to dive into.

Click here for more info on the Long Beach Southeast Farmers' Market.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bok Choy & Fresh Ginger

I love using fresh ginger and bok choy, however I realized that many of you may not know be familiar with these Eastern ingredients. Bok choy is just another leafy green plant that taste great is soups and stir fry and ginger is a delicious spice that people claim has healing powers, which are even stronger when eaten fresh. Below is a favorite recipe I made up for bok choy and fresh ginger. It takes a while to make, but it is worth it if you are in the mood for something super health:

Vegetables in Ginger Garlic Sauce with Baked Tofu
4 servings

1 block extra firm organic tofu
3 heads of bok choy
1 1/2 cups snap peas
4 baby carrots
5 garlic cloves
3-4 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2-3 tablespoons rice vinegar (to taste)
1 cup vegetable broth
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Drain tofu block and wrap in a clean towel, press between two cutting boards for at least 15 minutes.

Rinse bok choy, snap peas, and carrots. Remove bottoms of bok choy and then chop finely, leaves and all, set aside. Remove strings on the sides of snap peas by pinching off the tip of one side and pulling sting off. Set snap peas aside. Peel carrots and finely slice, set aside. Peel and mince one of the garlic cloves, set aside.

Peel and mince 4 remaining garlic cloves. Peel ginger and slice into pieces big enough pick out.

In a small sauce pan heat 1/2 tablespoon grape seed oil and add 4 minced garlic cloves and ginger for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is soft. Add vegetable both and rice vinegar and bring to a boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water until dissolved.

Add to small sauce pan and cook for 2 minutes until broth thickens. Taste and add salt if needed, set aside.

Unwrap tofu and cut into thick rectangular pieces. Toss in a bowl with 1/2 tablespoons grape seed oil, garlic powder, and salt/pepper to taste. Lay tofu on a cookie sheet and bake in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.

While tofu is baking, heat oil in a large wok over medium heat, add 1 minced garlic clove and carrots. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Next, add snap peas and bok choy, cook 10 minutes or until bok choy soft.

While vegetables are cooking, remove tofu from over. Tofu should look puffy if done.

Pour ginger garlic sauce into wok, stir and cook together for 2 minutes. Serve over a bed of rice with 2-3 pieces of baked tofu and ENJOY!

Baby Yellow Squash - Simple Dish

Growing up I was never a squash fan, however I have been discovering more and more different squashes more suitable for my taste, such as the summertime baby yellow squash. Not only are these things cute, they are also good to eat raw with dip or cooked. Below is a simple and easy way to cook baby yellow squash. Use this recipe for a healthy side dish.

Simple Baby Yellow Squash
Serves 2-3, a great side dish

10-15 Baby Yellow Squash, halved
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and pat dry squash. Cut squash into halves.

Peel and slice garlic.

In medium pan heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add squash and sauté for 10-15 minutes until tender (if you like it more crisp, just cook less). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm and ENJOY!