Friday, June 21, 2013

Scallops in Wood Sorrel Sauce (appetizer serves 2)


My husband and I were weeding again this afternoon and this time I wanted to harvest all of the wood sorrel in our garden.  We collected a handful of this beautiful green clover leaves with yellow flowers. I ate the leaves raw as a child living in Maine.  The leaves have a mild sour taste.  I have never cooked with them before and today I was inspired to make a sauce using the leaves and some capers.  I just wish I had more wood sorrel!  My husband and I thought the sauce tasted great over the scallops. The sour taste did not overpower the scallops.

Scallops in Wood Sorrel Sauce (appetizer serves 2)

Ingredients:

1.25 oz wood sorrel, washed well
1 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil
A pinch of salt
8-10 sea scallops, seared (click on link for more detail)

Method:

1) Sear the scallops as directed from Mini Seared Sea Scallops Salad with a Tropical Sauce.  Remove the scallops from the pan and set them aside.
2) Add the oil and wood sorrel to the pan, and saute for about 1-2 minutes until the leaves are wilted and cooked.
3) Remove the contents and puree in a blender.
4) Strain the pureed contents back onto the pan on low heat.  Add the capers and salt to taste.  Cook about 1-2 minutes.
5) Pour the sauce over the scallops.

father & daughter
rope jumping
*I had a few potatoes left and made mashed potatoes to use them up.  I added the mashed potatoes as a base for my appetizers and they came out pretty tasty.  You can use any of your favorite mashed potatoes recipe for this.  
*I found two interesting links with useful information written on wood sorrel.  If you are interested in foraging for them you may want to visit these sites:  http://www.ediblewildfood.com/wood-sorrel.aspx and http://blog.emergencyoutdoors.com/wild-edible-plants-wood-sorrel-oxalis-acetosella/
*Here is a blog that has excellent photos and information on edible wild plants.  http://the3foragers.blogspot.com/search/label/Edible%20Plant%20Identifications
*My husband and I stopped in Maine on our way back to New Hampshire and met up with my parents, one of my brothers and his family.  We were all out on the drive way showing and teaching my 4 year old niece how to jump rope.  At the end she successfully jumped 5 times in a row with her father.  I was able to capture the joy on her face as she jumped!  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Stir-Fried Dandelion Greens (serves 2 as part of a shared meal)


My husband and I were weeding in our garden and after all the recent rain the dandelions seemed to be doing amazingly well.  We harvested all the dandelion greens from the garden which yielded about 8 ounces.  I was happy that we got to eat this weed for once!  Dandelion greens are very nutritious but can be very bitter for some people.  If you want to take some of the bitterness out just parboil them first and then stir-fry.  In this recipe I did not boil them since I like the bitterness and parboiling will remove most of the nutrients.  Adjust less cooking time if you are going to parboil them prior to stir-frying or cooking.  I like eating a little of the cooked greens with some meat and rice, this helped balance out the bitterness.

Stir-Fried Dandelion Greens (serves 2 as part of a shared meal)


Ingredients:

8 oz young dandelion greens, washed well and drained
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 Tbsp julienned ginger
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp seasame oil
1/2 tsp sugar

Method:

1)  Heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot add the garlic and ginger.  Saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
2) Add the dandelion greens.  Cover the pan for about 2 minutes.  Stir the greens a few times.
3) Uncover and stir until the greens have wilted.  This may take another 3 minutes.  Add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil to the pan if the pan gets too dry.
4) Once the greens have wilted add sugar and oyster sauce.  Cook for another 1 minute.  Add sesame oil, stir and remove the pan or wok from heat.

*I found an interesting reference on dandelion from the University of Maryland Medical Center, Complementary Medicine.  If you are interested in eating dandelion you may want to check out the precautions, possible interactions with some medicine, and discuss with your health care provider first.
*If you are foraging the dandelion in the wilderness make sure you collect them far away from those that have been sprayed by pesticides.
*If you don't have a taste for bitter food then this dish is guaranteed to taste terrible!!  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Spaetzle with Sautéed Shrimp (serves 2)


The shrimp season in New Hampshire was very short this past winter. I was fortunate to purchase a bucket of shrimp from our local fisherman, Mike Anderson of F/V Rimrack.  I cleaned the shrimp, saved some of them in small bags and kept them in my freezer. This evening I decided to make this dish with spaetzle. Despite the shrimp having been frozen for months they tasted extremely fresh. I had a lot of scallion from my garden so I decided to use it in this dish. I served it with steamed tender string beans and chilled white wine.

Earlier this week I was watching my young niece and nephew while my brother and sister-in-law worked. I made spaetzle and added sauteed diced onion, ground chicken, and tomato sauce. They all seemed to enjoy them including the little ones. Here is another dish but with shrimp.

Spaetzle (2 servings)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 C cake flour or all-purpose flour
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
5 1/2 C water (1/2 C for dough mixture, 5 C for boiling dumplings)
1 tsp salt

Method:

1)  In a medium bowl whisk all the dry ingredients (flour and salt) with 1/2 C water.
2) Add egg and mix well until all ingredients are blended.
3) Let the mixture rest for 5-10 minutes.
4) In the meantime heat a large pot with 5 C water (may add a pinch of salt if desire) over high heat until the water boils.
5) Turns heat to medium and use a large pan or colander with large holes (about 1 cm or 3/8-inch in diameter) to place on top of the pot.
6) Take a small amount of dough and force through the holes.
7) When the dumplings float to the top, scoop them out to a clean bowl.
8) Continue this process until all the dough is gone.

*Previously in this blog I made my turmeric spatzle using one egg. I had two eggs left in my refrigerator and decided to add both in this batch. The result makes the spaetzle more tender. Both are equally tasty.
*You may want to use a smaller hole pan or colander since the batter is thinner. 

thank you Paul (the husband) for helping me!
-the consistency of the mixture should be similar to molasses
Sautéed Shrimp

Ingredients:

1/2 lb shrimp, heads and shell removed (thawed if frozen)
1 C chopped scallion
3-4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil (plus 1 Tbsp at the end of cooking)
2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper (more or less according to your taste)

Method:

1) Heat a medium size pan with 2 Tbsp of oil over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add scallion and garlic, saute for about 1-2 minutes.
2) Add the shrimp, stir occasionally about 3 minutes or until the shrimp is just cooked.
3) Add fish sauce, sugar and black pepper. Saute for about 1 minute.
4) Stir in the spaetzle and 1 Tbsp of oil, saute for about 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stir-Fried Red Swiss Chard with Shaved Pork (serves 2 as part of a shared meal)


Red swiss chard is not only pretty with its reddish color but I think it tastes great.  I think it has a taste similar to beet greens. In this dish I used only the leaves.  I chopped up the stems and saved them for another day.

Stir-Fried Red Swiss Chard with Shaved Pork (serves 2 as part of a shared meal)

Ingredients:

1 bunch red swiss chard leaves only (about 12 oz), chopped into 2-inch width
4 oz thinly sliced pork
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp julienned ginger
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp sugar

Method:

1)  Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot add ginger and garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
2) Add 1/2 of the swiss chard, stir and cover the pan or wok for about 1-2 minutes.
3) Once the leaves have wilted down a little add the rest of the swiss chard, stir and cover the pan or wok for another 2 minutes.
4) Uncover and stir.  Once the leaves have wilted completely add the oyster sauce, fish sauce and sugar.  Stir for another 1 minute.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Curried Wings (appetizer serves 2)


I have not made fried chicken wings for a long time.  Tua Y (my maternal aunt) in Minnesota used to make some amazing tasty fried wings simply seasoned in salt and pepper.  Today I decided to make something similar but with cayenne pepper and curry powder.  The cayenne and curry are oil soluble according to my scientific husband so some of the powder will come out into the oil during the frying. If you are interested in more heat you can certainly add more cayenne with the mixture or you can sprinkle it on top of the wings after they are done.  I also intentionally did not make the wings too salty.  If you are interested in adding more salt you can sprinkle more at the end of the cooking process.  I have a small electric fryer that regulates the heat so it made the frying easy and quick.  

Earlier today my niece, Ngoc graduated from High School in Rochester, Minnesota. That's Tua Y's grandchild. She immigrated to the United States with her parents 3 years ago from Soctrang. She worked hard the last three years learning English.  She will go to college in the Fall. I am proud of you, Ngoc!!  Keep up the great work!!

Curried Wings (appetizer serves 2)

Ingredients:

12 chicken wings (or about 1 1/2 pound), choose ones that are all natural
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (more if interested)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Oil for deep frying

Method:

1) In a small bowl mix curry powder, cayenne, salt and pepper together.
2) Wash and dry the wings completely with clean paper towels.  Put the wings in a plastic bag large enough to hold them all.  Sprinkle the powder mixture on the wings.  Massage outside the bag with your fingers to get the wings coated well coated with the powder mixture.
3) Preheat the pot with oil over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the wings.  Avoid overcrowding them in the pot.  Decrease heat if the oil gets too hot.  Fry about 6-7 minutes or until the wings are golden brown.  Once done remove the wings and place them on paper to remove some of the oil. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt and cayenne on top of the wings if desired.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Maine Lobster Mini Quiches (makes 24 quiches)

lobster mini quiches
Our friend and neighbor Cindy passed away on Memorial day after a courageous battle with breast cancer.  She was 51 years old.  She loved a good party and lived her life to the fullest.  On June 1st we celebrated her life.  I was one of the lucky people in a large group who got to know her.  She will be missed by all her friends and family.  I made these quiche-pies for the party and people seemed to enjoy them. I think Cindy would have approved these colorful appetizers!

Maine Lobster Mini Quiches  (makes 24 quiches)

Ingredients:

Four 9-inch pie crusts (2 boxes of Phillsbury pie crusts) or make your own, bring the crusts to room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes (or per box instruction)
12 or 24 mini quiche molds
3 medium size cooked Maine lobsters, sliced
6 duck eggs
Goat cheese, optional
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 C diced Vidalia or sweet onion
2 1/2 C chopped garlic chives
4 C sliced baby bella mushrooms
8 oz grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 tsp salt (or to your taste)
1/2 tsp black or white pepper (or to your taste)

Method:

1) Heat oil in a medium size pan over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot add onion and garlic chives, sauté about 1-2 minutes.
2) Add the mushrooms grape tomatoes, sauté about 2 minutes.
3) Stir in salt and pepper and turn off heat.  Set the pan aside.
4) Heat the oven at 450 degrees F.
5) Gently unroll the crust and cut to the size of your quiche mold.  Place the crust in ungreased mold.  Press the crust firmly against the side and bottom.
6) Prick the side and bottom with a fork.  Continue the process for all the crusts.  Take the scrap dough and knead into a ball.  Use a rolling pin and roll it out and continue the process until all the molds are covered with a crust. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown.
7) Remove from the oven and let cool before filling.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees F.
8) Whisk the duck eggs gently in a medium size bowl until blended.
9) Place the lobster meat on the bottom, add the garlic chives and mushrooms mixture, pour the egg mixture on top.  May add goat cheese if desired.
10) Bake the quiches at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until the egg mixture is just cooked.  Remove them from the oven.  Once cooled remove the quiches from the molds.

lobster and shark mini quiches
*Initially I added the lobster meat on top of the quiches but I noticed that the lobster meat gets a bit dried out during the cooking process.  I have only 12 mini quiche molds so I made 2 batches.  It worked out well since I learned that I can hide the lobster meat on the bottom of the quiches.  For the second batch I had a little shark meat left over so I chopped it up and added it to a few quiches.  The combination of shark and lobster meat came out surprisingly tasty!  
*You can make these quiches the day before.  Once they are completely cooled refrigerate them.  You may reheat them in the oven at 300 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until they are warm.
*The duck eggs came from Cracked an Egg Farm in Barrington, NH and the garlic chives came from Meadow's Mirth Farm in Stratham, NH