Saturday, September 25, 2010

Creamy Veggie and Shrimp Udon

I'm always looking for new things to do with udon. With a bit of cheese and milk, plus tomato and spinach and basil, add some shrimp and ginger, and you have east-meets-west udon. It may sound strange, but it's a great combination of flavors.

Creamy Veggie and Shrimp Udon

1 bundle udon

1 tablespoons olive oil

½ onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated (I like to freeze ginger, and then grate it on the fine part of a grater; no skin, no ginger hair)

3 shiitake mushrooms, chopped

½ cup spinach, chopped

1/2 cup chopped tomato

1 tablespoon dried basil (If I had fresh, I would have used two tablespoons chopped)

1 cup milk

¼ cup grated parmesan

5 raw shrimp, peeled, chopped

salt and black pepper to taste

Cook udon, drain and rinse.

Brown onion, garlic, and ginger in oil. Add spinach, tomato, shiitakes, basil, and a dash of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the milk and parmesan bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, add shrimp and cook until pink. Add udon and cook until heated through. Serves one hungry person, but easily multiplied for the masses.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Today for lunch, Ali made broccoli grilled cheese... which I opted out of for my delicious BLT: turkey bacon, horseradish cheddar, spinach, and heirloom tomato.

I can't escape a broccoli and cheese temptation, though, so I made broccoli-cheddar soup this evening, and silly me, after tweeting, I got recipe requests from some friends. Enjoy.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup:

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, finely diced

1 stalk celery, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups broccoli (about 4 small heads) cut into very small pieces (you want them to fit on a spoon)

2 cups chicken stock (I used two chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in two cups of hot water)

2 cups milk

1/2 cup flour

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Salt and white pepper

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat, add onions and celery plus a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add garlic, cook for another minute. Add broccoli, cook for one minute, then add the chicken stock and cover. Allow the broth to come to a boil, and cook until the broccoli is soft.

Whisk together flour and milk until combined. Add this mixture to the pot, stirring gently. The soup will thicken (yay starch!) and once it's thick and creamy looking, add the grated cheddar. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with toast.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Asparagus Salad

When I was a junior in high school, our food service program started Taste of Konawaena, an evening food festival of student-cooked dishes, for the public to enjoy. My senior year, I prepared an asparagus salad, and won first prize in appetizer and the people’s choice award. It’s still one of my favorite composed salads. Recipe follows.

Asparagus Salad:

1 pound thin asparagus, tough ends broken off, then cut or snapped into 1 inch pieces (if you want to make it really pretty, you can cut the stalks on a diagonal)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 hard boiled eggs, sliced into circles (or ovals, whatever tickles your fancy)

4 hearts of palm, sliced into circles

Salt and fresh cracked pepper

Pecorino-romano, grated

Combine olive oil and garlic in a saute pan with a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat until the garlic is dancing in the pan and smells cooked, about a minute. If you were to taste it, the garlic would be soft and aromatic, not crispy. Turn the heat on low, add the asparagus pieces and another pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and cook for a few minutes, until the asparagus is bright green and the center of the stalk is no longer bright white. If you were to taste the asparagus, it would be crisp and not stringy. Remove from heat immediately.

Arrange the salad on four plates, with one egg, one heart of palm, and a quarter of the asparagus on each plate. Play with circles and lines and the beautiful asparagus tips, and make it pretty. Scatter a few grinds of black pepper on the top and sprinkle with grated pecorino-romano.

(Feeds four as an salad course, or one hungry Ma’ayan who is craving asparagus, though I only used one egg and two hearts of palm for my single dish)