Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kai Salad

This is my adaptation of a salad made by one of my dearest friends. 

If you've been reading me for any length of time, you know I don't do exact recipes or like to measure. So here's my rough recipe for this super tasty, savory sweet salad:

Two hearts of romaine or one 6 oz carton spring mix or a blend of your favorite greens
2 cups cubed chicken thereabouts (optional- my friend's version was vegetarian)
1 tub crumbled feta (I use Aldi's)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 red pear or Macintosh apple, cubed
3 Tbs sliced red or sweet onion
2/3 cup pecans (or walnuts if you prefer)

My friend just whisked an olive oil, garlic and vinegar and herb dressing together. I like to use my immersion blender to make an emulsion. It's up to you.

1/4 cup vinegar of your choice
A couple of squeezes lemon juice
3Tbs minced sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
Oregano or favorite herbs
A few grinds black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
I usually blend the above until smooth, then pour a slow stream of olive oil as I continue to blend. I don't really measure the oil, but the amount of total dressing is about 3/4 cup. 

Mix salad and dressing before serving. If you don't mind wilted greens, this salad still tastes good a day later. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inside the Jarrahdale pumpkin

This blue pumpkin has already been made into a huge pot of soup and two 9x13 pumpkin pies!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yummy plummy noodles

So, in order to get this blog back up and running, I've devised a new strategy-- mobile blogging from all the pictures I've taken over the last year... All those photos that I took thinking "I should post this on Moody Foodie," but didn't.  So, here we go:

I must say, the first time I made these Doong Ji Korean noodles, I thought they were a bust. For one thing, I wasn't in the mood for their cold slithery texture. Plus, I had over cooked them, allowing them to congeal into a cold slithery blob. 

Ok so why on earth would I blog about said slithery noodles? A couple of months ago, in the heat of a Kentucky August, I tried them again (this time following the directions.) And they were delightfully refreshing in all their slipperiness. The plum flavored cold broth is really different, but so good on a sultry evening. I topped mine with a hard boiled egg and veggies for a satisfying summer dinner.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Can I resurrect this blog?

So. It seems this blog has been completely defunct for more than a year... I don't have a good excuse. But as a way to make amends, I offer up a snapshot of my new favorite healthy ramen in all it's quirky Kor-English  glory :)

This particular variety has a unique bright red but mild soup base that oddly reminds me of kind of a tomatoey-paprikash with a touch of tandoori spice. So, not very Asian tasting, but quite tasty. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Between-trip refrigerator clean-out

Salsa Peanut Sauce Chicken Salad

After coming home from our Florida vacation and before heading off to Chicago, I was on a mission to make the most of the ingredients languishing on my counter, in my herb pots and in the refrigerator.

I remember a former co-worker of mine mentioning that her mom made a sauce by mixing peanut butter and salsa together. It sounded gross, she admitted, but it was really good. I think I went home that night and tried to mix the two together and it was gross. Well, in a moment of clarity, many years later, I realized that said co-worker's mom must have cooked the two ingredients down into a more homogenized sauce.

There's a dish at my favorite Thai restaurant (Thai Garden in Hoffman Estates, IL) called "Popeye's Chicken," and the sauce that is slathered over the chicken and fresh spinach leaves is somewhat similar to this. Intensely peanutty, but also spiked with tomato and sweetness, the finished sauce seems surprisingly polished considering the lowly leftovers used to create it.

Mellow Mushroom Pizza- Panama City Beach

The huz ordered this pizza, as I was staying back at the condo with a sick and sleeping baby. All that to say I don't know the proper names of these two flavors. I believe the slices in the foreground were Mellow Mushrooms' vision of Thai-style toppings. The base was a sweeeet curry sauce with chicken. Those are some outrageously perky chunks of cucumber and a smattering of parmesan over roma tomatoes. I thought the cucumbers were, forgive my pun, cumbersome, but overall, I thought sweet and spice pizza worked. If I were in charge of the universe, I would have sliced an English cucumber paper thin, briefly marinated them in vinegar-sugar-water and sprinkled the whole slice with mint, basil and/or corriander.

The background slices are some sort of Mediterranean melange of chicken, feta, olives, red pepper and chives. It wasn't as flavorful as what you'd think the sum of several flavorful ingredients ought to be, but not bad.  Mellow Mushroom's crust is thick and toothsome, without the oil coating that many pizzerias use. Taken in isolation, I liked the the dense doughy chew, but I think Mediterranean pizzas are best on thin crust.

Oishi Thai - Panama City Beach

Because we vacationed with our good friends, Joe and I got a date night at Oishi Thai. This sunny little restaurant was off the touristy path, but packed full of patrons. Most tables seemed to be filled with empty nesters, but a large contingency of Asians filled two pushed-together tables, which I took to be a good sign.

After researching all that Panama City Beach had to offer, I wanted to eat at Oishi because they serve two of my favorite cuisines: Thai and Japanese. Their sushi, as you can see, is gorgeous. I love the way this spider roll looks like a fairy castle set in an asparagus forest and surrounded by a moat of eel sauce. That made my meal. It was quite tasty, though I could have done with much less eel sauce. In fact, I would have been fine without it. But that's because, as I've said in a previous post, I like my seafood to be dressed sparingly so its delicate sweetness can come through.

Who doesn't love crisp soft-shell crab legs and nutty pencil-thin asparagus? Probably only those who haven't tried them!

For my entree, I ordered Tofu Kee (?) Krow (?) Ok. I could have totally made that name up. It was something similar to Pad See Ew, but with tofu instead of chicken and a ton of barely cooked veggies instead of broccoli. This dish, which I requested as medium spicy, was loaded with big flecks of freshly ground black pepper. The lingering heat from the black pepper and the refusal of the tiny venue's AC to function, made me remember my 'real' Thai meals in the steamy streets of Bangkok several years ago. I was sweating, but it was a happy sweat.

 Joe's dish... Duck Pad Ped, was equally bright, crunchy and black pepper laden. Let's just say we were both in a happy sweat. This dish was good, but the duck was lightly breaded and fried-- a preparation that seems redundant for such a naturally rich and tender meat.

Overall, we enjoyed our date night. While it wasn't the very best Thai or sushi I've had, it certainly was beautiful to look at.

Finn's Island Style Grill Food Truck

Just cuz it's a food truck doesn't mean this is fast food. Again, Joe and I were beyond starving with two crabby nap-needing children in the back seat. Again, the food took longer than expected. I noticed that in PCB, it seems that well-known customers get served first, even if they breeze in after tourists have been waiting several minutes for their food. Perhaps I'd be more forgiving, since good food should take time, but it was around 2 p.m. and the wait shouldn't have been so long, in my humble opinion.

I ordered the "Finn-tastic Wrap," which was basically an enormous fish taco with lots of romaine toothpicked together in a pleasantly chewy (at first) green tortilla. While I did really like the colors and textures of this meal, I didn't really think the grilled fish was that great. Perhaps it was too spiced up with sauce and I was craving more of a fresh, clean, sweet fish taste. Also, I couldn't finish the green tortilla at the end because my jaw got tired. But that was quite tasty.

Joe got the classic fish tacos. I didn't get to try any, but it appears to contain the same fish I had in my wrap with a crunchy fresh slaw, cilantro, lime, tomatoes and cheese on a corn tortilla.

On a side note, my gold standard for fish tacos is probably all the wonderful varieties we had in Maui back in 2004... or '05? Perhaps I just like my fish to be delicate and subtle. I don't want fish pretending to be red meat.

Liza's - Panama City Beach

The Warm Napoleon Salad-- Eggplant, Tomato, Goat Cheese stacked on spring mix with balsamic vinaigrette. This was very good, but the fact that it took over 30 minutes to carry out diminished the experience. Also, eating out of styrofoam might have had a thing to do with it too. But, with two beached-out children asleep in carseats, eating in wasn't really an option.

Joe's Muffaletta. Italian meats, olive tapenade on foccacia. I think he liked it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mennonite gyros

Homemade pitas just never turn out for me... These were either pocketless and soft or pocketed and rock hard. The "gyro" recipe I followed from my East West Mennonite cookbook was pretty tasty, as was the yogurt sauce and hummus.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Emily's Stuffed Eggplant

Inspired by my February outing to Anatolia Turkish Restaurant in Nashville, I've been making a fair number of eggplant dishes lately. Anytime I see them dip below $1.99 a piece, I snag a few of these purple beauties for stuffed eggplant. My version of the dish is less saucy than Anatolia's. Plus ground turkey or chicken sub in for the cubed lamb and I added some mozzerella to the top to weld it all together.

If you'd like to try it:

1. Halve eggplants and slather in olive oil before placing cut-side down on a large baking sheet. I use a jelly roll pan lined with oiled foil. Bake at 400 degrees until eggplant is extremely tender and skins are a little shrivelled. (Somewhere around 45 minutes)
2. While eggplants are getting soft, saute your favorite vegetables to go inside, such as bell peppers (any color), mushrooms, zucchini, onion and tomato. (Maybe 2 peppers, 1 cup mushroom, 2 zuch, 2 tomatoes, 1/2 onion.)
3. Next, saute a pound of ground turkey or chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, oregano and a dash of cumin. Add fresh chopped onion and garlic and salt to taste. All the seasonings are to taste. You can't really overdo it with any of them except the salt, in my opinion.
4. Blend the tender vegetables with the cooked ground meat in a bowl.
5. Take eggplant out of the oven and flip each half over. Scoop the vegetable and meat mixture over each half and top with a generous sprinkling of shredded mozzerella.
6. Return to oven and cook until cheese has melted or slightly browned.

This recipe makes enough for two or three eggplants-- so four to six servings-- depending on the size of the eggplants and how many veggies you cook and whether you like to have still crisp veggies or completely soft veggies. For this dish, I like everything to be uniformly mushy :) It's the ultimate vegetable-rich comfort food.

Another note: When selecting eggplant, I find it's best to choose slender fruits rather than the seedier bulbous ones. If you do get a lot of seeds, you can scoop some of it out after the first baking and before you stuff them with filling.

Blissful Cupcakes

Stephen was a good helper at Aldi yesterday, so I decided to swing by Blissful Cupcakes on Sixth Street for a little reward. Julie, the owner, had already sold out of my suggested Magic in the Middle cupcakes (inspired by Joe's favorite chocolately-creamcheesy treat growing up), so Stephen had Lemon Drop with Chocolate Frosting.

Rockam had a cookie from my purse.

Mostly, Stephen just licked all the frosting off.

Julie's downtown shop is probably causing Hopkinsville to collectively gain a few hundred pounds. Since she opened four months ago, she's had several days of selling out before closing time. Last week she closed at 3:00 one afternoon after selling 3,000 cupcakes in a day. Her cupcakes sell for $1.50 and feature natural ingredients. For example, she juices real strawberries to go into her strawberry buttercream frosting. I could taste it.