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Posts Tagged ‘baby eggplant’

Stanley’s had these cute little Boston Lettuce heads for sale. The leaves looked perfect to make a wrap with. Then I remembered talking to Yuki about how we haven’t had ginger pork in a while, actually her craving for it. Sometimes I get it. Not often, but this time I did. What better way to put some ginger and pork together than in the buttery leaves of some fresh Boston Lettuce?

Laap is simply a Laotian ground meat dish. I can either be raw or cooked. This one is more of a Southeast Asian flavor instead of a typical laap. I used a handful of parsley chopped (cilantro would have been prefered, but I had to use up my parsley), 7 shiitake caps diced, 1 yellow bell pepper diced, 2 stalks of lemongrass tender innards thinly sliced, juice of 1 lemon (prefer lime but thought lemon would match parsley better), 1/2 inch ginger minced, 3 garlic cloves minced, 6 green onions sliced, 1 head of Boston Lettuce large outer leaves used for wraps while the small inner leaves were chopped up, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of sriracha, and 1.25 pounds of ground pork. I also used 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, but that wasn’t in the picture.

I heated up some vegetable oil and added the lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. I let them sizzle for about a minute and then added the pork. I broke the pork up as it cooked through, that took about 5 minutes. Then I added the shiitake, pepper, and green onion. I let those cooked down for about 3 minutes and then added the fish sauce, soy sauce, and sriracha. After the sauces cooked down for a few minutes I turned off the heat and stirred in the parsley, lemon juice, and sesame oil.  

For side vegetables planned on sauteing some baby eggplant and broccoli with garlic, but for some reason I ended up quartering the eggplant and roasting it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes in sesame oil while steaming the broccoli with ground sesame seeds. I didn’t use the garlic.

The rice I made was Japanese style. Not really the best match, but not bad. In the rice cooker, once I rinsed 2 cups of rice and filled the bowl with the right amount of water I added 1 diced carrot and a few pinches of dried hijiki seaweed. I let it sit for about a half hour before turning the machine on. I made sure to mix the carrots and hijiki in well before serving.

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Monkfish, quite possibly natures ugliest creation (not including Ann Coulter’s morality). However, I’m a firm believer that the uglier the animal, the better it tastes. Monkfish is truly one of the best tasting fish in the sea. Called the poor man’s lobster because of a similar stringy texture it is a much more affordable way to go than lobster. Hence, the name. One thing to keep in mind with monkfish, the tail is covered in a membrane that needs to be removed prior to cooking and eating. It’s easy to do, all you need is a sharp knife. However, let the fishmonger do it for you so your garbage doesn’t stink like rotten fish the next day.

The first thing I did was make the sauce. I took two red bell peppers and grilled them (I guess it’s technically not a roasted red pepper sauce) until the skin was nice and charred. I kept turning them around to make sure the entire pepper got charred. You can do this under a broiler or on the gas stove top if you don’t have a grill. The grill does add a nice smokey element to the peppers though that you don’t get on a range.

Once the skin was good to go I put them in a bowl and covered them in plastic wrap. I let them cool down in their own steam for about a half an hour. This not only allows the peppers to cool down for easier handling, but it helps the skin separate from the flesh. Then, keeping the peppers over the bowl, I rubbed off the skin and discarded it along with the stem. I opened them up and removed the seeds as well. I kept them over the bowl to catch the flavorful juices. Once the flesh was clear of seeds I put them in my small blender and pureed them along with the juice from the bowl.

In a small saucepan I melted 1/2 tablespoon of butter over high heat and poured in about 1/3 cup of white wine. I let that boil until it reduced by half, approx 7 or 8 minutes. Then I poured in about 2/3 cup of cream. Once that started to boil I turned the heat down to med-low to keep the cream from boiling over. I let that reduce by half as well, another 10 minutes or so once it started to boil. After it reduced I poured in the red pepper puree and let that come to a boil. Again, I let it reduce by about half, another 10 minutes. Then I turned off the heat, covered the pan, and let it sit until service.

Thinking about vegetables that go well with red peppers I decided to use a zucchini, two baby eggplants, and an onion. I also cut some rosemary from my backyard and cut up a couple of garlic cloves.

I chopped up the vegetables and tossed them with olive oil and the rosemary in a roasting pan. In a 400 degree oven I let them cook for about 20 minutes. Then, I took them out and added the garlic. I didn’t want to garlic to burn which is why I didn’t include it to start with. I also seasoned with salt and pepper at this point and put everything back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

Then, I took it out again. I had cut the monkfish into 4 portions. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and some paprika. The seasoned fish was laid on top of the veggies and then everything went back into the oven for another 15 minutes.

To serve, I put some white rice on the plate, scooped some of the veggies next to the rice, and laid a piece of fish on top of the veggies. I had re-heated the red pepper sauce and spooned it all over the fish and veggies. Delicious!

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Another Meatless Monday in the books. I had some veggies and tofu I needed to use up so I made a vegetarian version of Mapo Tofu.

I chopped up half of an onion and sautéed it for a few minutes. Then I added a half-inch piece of ginger and two cloves of garlic, both grated. After a few minutes I threw in some green beans that I cut down to smaller pieces. A few more minutes and I added some diced baby eggplant  and some chopped mushrooms.

While that was all sautéing, in a hot skillet I poured in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil and scrambled two eggs. The hot oil cooks the eggs up nice and fluffy. Once they were almost finished I put them on a plate off to the side.

Back to my veggies. I seasoned with salt and a lot of freshly ground Sichuan Peppercorns, that’s what will give it the numbing burn you need with a good Mapo Tofu. Then I added about three tablespoons of water just to deglaze some of the garlic and ginger bits on the bottom of the pan. After that I added three or four tablespoons of soy sauce and a spoonful of Korean Chili Paste, any kind of chili paste will work for the most part.

Once the sauce was nicely mixed I added the scrambled egg making sure it was broken into smaller pieces. Finally, I added a block of diced silken tofu that I had drained the water from. To drain the water I lined a plate with a couple of paper towels, laid the tofu on top, then a couple more paper towels, a cutting board, and then something to weigh it down a little. That sat in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

When the tofu was coated with the sauce and heated through the dish was ready, about 5 more minutes. I simply served it with plain white rice and a cold beer. Oh, right before I served it I threw in some chopped parsley. I did this only because I had some in the fridge and thought it would add a nice freshness to all the spice. It did.

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