Monday, May 4, 2009

Mushroom Pork Stir-fry

A friend and I went to Super H Mart over the weekend. It took us almost an hour to get there as I took the wrong exit thinking I was in the right place and we proceeded to drive up and down the wrong road for 20 minutes wondering why we couldn't find the market. Haha. When we finally got there, it was a madhouse as usual with tons of older Asian woman clamoring to grab the best bargains on meat, produce, and seafood. I picked up quite a number of good deals myself including longans (aka dragon's eyes) and enormous tiger shrimp.

Everytime I am at the Asian markets, I pick up something new to try and this time was no exception. On my friend's advice, I bought a small bundle of brown beech shimeji mushrooms for stir-fry. These were prewashed and just had to be stemmed and separated, so they were an easy addition to King Oyster mushrooms, ground pork, and green beans sauteed with oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, and a sprinkling of sugar (I find sugar gives stir-fries a more complex flavor).

Stir-fries always make me feel pretty healthy - lots of veg, minimal meat (about 1/3 of a pound in this batch which made 3 large servings). Not to mention that they are totally delicious over a bowl of steaming hot rice! Yummmm!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BBQ Leftovers

Hmm, I seem to write about using leftovers an awful lot. I guess making bentos naturally lends itself to using leftovers, and being a naturally thrifty person, I never like wasting food anyway. This time, I took leftovers from a small bbq with friends to create three different meals.

sweet potato and sausage hash

First up, I had a plethora of sliced and roasted sweet potatoes, along with a couple grilled chicken sausages. I diced them both, sauteed them with onions (both the normal and green variety - I like onion!), seasoned the whole mess with a bit of chipotle chili powder, and topped it all off with a fried egg over easy. This was a delicious weekend breakfast.

miso chicken stirfry

Next, my friend had brought over a veggie tray that went uneaten. I personally dislike veggie trays as the veg always seems a bit less than fresh. Rather than eat them raw, I tossed the veg into a miso chicken stirfry. I used the celery and carrots from the tray, added frozen broccoli and corn, and sauteed with the chicken plus plenty of garlic, miso paste, oyster sauce, chicken stock, and a couple splashes each of Chinese cooking wine and rice wine vinegar. This tasted fresh and healthy over white rice. I made enough for me and the boyfriend for dinner, plus a bit leftover for my lunch.

tuna pasta salad

That veggie tray also included a handful of cherry tomatoes. I had the odds and ends of a few zucchini leftover from grilling, and I also had a can of Trader Joe's yellowfin tuna in olive oil that I had been meaning to try. I used the olive oil from the tuna to saute the diced zucchini, garlic, and tomato. I mixed that with the tuna, shell pasta, lemon juice, and plenty of fresh parsley for a quick and surprisingly mouthwatering dinner (with plenty leftover for lunch the next day). I definitely recommend the TJ's tuna! The olive oil packed tuna tastes much better than the stuff in water.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rotisserie Chicken Bentos

I posted last week about my chicken chili made of leftovers including some shredded rotisserie chicken. I didn't have any pictures at the time, but I later managed to take a picture of my chicken chili bento, eaten with a few slices of a delicious sunflower seed honey bread.

I had a small serving of shredded chicken leftover which I used for a very simple bento with leftover roasted brussels sprouts and frozen rice. I tossed the chicken with a small splash of soy sauce which helped both flavor and moisten it.

This is just a sampling of the 101 ways to use a rotisserie chicken!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Acorn Squash and Bacon Bread Pudding

I recently found myself with a stale half loaf of very nice bread from the farmer's market. Being the thrifty person I am, I started brainstorming ideas for what to do with it. Freezing and reheating to eat as normal bread was no longer an option since the bread was almost rock hard. I could have ground it up for bread crumbs but I rarely use them and really - half a loaf's worth of bread crumbs?? So my mind turned to savory bread pudding, something I'd never eaten before but for some reason, that's what popped into my head.

I ended up adapting this recipe from Cooking Light, using acorn instead of butternut squash and adding bacon and frozen spinach (the latter counteracts the unhealthiness of the former, right??). I also used only 3 eggs with no additional egg whites, and omitted the nutmeg (have never been very fond of the stuff except in pumpkin pies). I was surprised and pleased with the results - a gorgeous crusty top and a soft custardy interior. The bacon definitely helped as it probably would have been a bit bland otherwise. Yum!

It also made a really nice bento atop a bed of arugula with some juicy tomato slices alongside. I took this to class, extracted the bread pudding and heated it in the microwave, tossed the arugula and tomato with a bit of italian dressing, then put the warm bread pudding back on top to slightly wilt the arugula. It was a totally delicious and gourmet-looking dinner!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chicken Chili

I've mentioned before that I love being able to create something new out of leftovers, and my latest creation was supremely satisfying. I added pantry items to my leftovers for two hearty and delicious servings of chicken chili, all cooked up in less than an hour (most of the time allotted to simmering on the stove). No pictures (ate it too fast) but here's the basic recipe:

3 very ripe tomatoes, diced with juices saved
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can beans (pinto, black, kidney - doesn't matter), rinsed
-- save about 1/2 can liquid
-- mash 1/4 can beans and leave the rest whole
couple handfuls frozen corn
1 cooked chicken thigh or breast, shredded with skin removed
chopped parsley or cilantro
taco seasoning (mixture of cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, and red pepper flakes)
salt and pepper
olive oil

In a large saute pan over medium heat, sweat onions 5 minutes or until translucent and tender. Add green pepper and garlic, cook for another few minutes, then add tomatoes with juice, whole and mashed beans, bean liquid, and corn. Season with taco seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. Lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken and parsley, let warm through, then remove from heat. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream as desired.