Fuyu Persimmon and Arugula Salad

For 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 cup pecan
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Cayenee pepper
  • 3 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced
  • 1 head of Oak leaf or Frisee lettuce
  • 4 oz Arugula
  • 1 pomegranate (seeds)
  • 3 oz goat cheese

Recipe:

  1. Soak shallots with thyme in vinegar for 30 mins
  2. Blanch pecans in boiling water for 5 mins, drain well. Toss with sugar & Cayenne pepper (to own liking), bake at 375 F for 10 mins or till crunchy
  3. Toss persimmons with shallot dressing, add half of the olive oil
  4. Add in greens and pecans, add in remaining half of the olive oil
  5. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, salt and pepper to taste,  give it a light toss
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: bread, soup, wine, protein …

NOTES: Don’t over do on the olive oil and be gentle with the Cayenne pepper, because it’s heat you are playing with 🙂 Watch carefully when baking the pecans, you want them to be crunchy and not burned. Go light on the goat cheese, break into small pieces. Very eye and palate pleasing salad, loved!

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Filed under salad, Side Dish, Vegetable

Basil Tomato Gratin (light)

For ~6

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped basil leaves
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread, quartered
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Preheat to 450 F
  2. In a food processor, coarsely pulse the bread quarters. Add cheese, garlic and olive oil, pulse to combine.
  3. Spread the bread crumb mix on a oil-coated shallow sheet, bake till sign of browning, 2-3 mins
  4. Place sliced tomatoes in a baking dish, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper, repeat for each layer (2-3 layers)
  5. Bake layered tomatoes for 10 mins, sprinkle on toasted bread crumb, bake for 8-10 more mins
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: wine, soup, protein  …

NOTES: A refreshing transformation of the usually buttery/creamy gratin dish using fresh herb and tomatoes. Original recipe called for way too much bread (proven by the photo)  and too little cheese. Above is the modified version. Pay attention when toasting the bread crumbs because they brown easily.

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Thanksgiving Fest

I cooked a small turkey-less Thanksgiving dinner for my parents, we devoured! 🙂

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Pasta with Pancetta and Corn

For 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound dried or fresh wide pasta
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, plus some to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta
  • 1/2 can of corn, drained or 2 ears of corn
  • 4 dried red chilies, finely chopped or red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiana Reggiano
  • 1/4 pound burrata

Recipe:

  1. Cook pasta in 3-4 quarts of boiling salted water until al dente (firm but not hard), stirring often. Drain (Follow instruction on package)
  2. For the breadcrumbs, place the panko, basil, and salt in a food processor and grind until small. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and pulse until thoroughly mixed
  3. In a non-stick skillet, toast the breadcrumbs till slightly browned and dry, set aside
  4. For the sauce, heat up a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the pancetta until slightly caramelized, roughly 2 minutes. Add corn and chilies, cook for 5-7 minutes on medium heat, stir a little
  5. Turn off the heat and add pasta and cheese to the skillet. Combine well using tongs. Top with a generous dusting of breadcrumbs and several hunks of the burrata cheese
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves
  7. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: wine, salad, melon  …

NOTES: I used pappardelle from Trader Joe’s which was exactly 1/2 lb, this recipe was designed for 2, but the size is truly generous, I think with a small salad, it’s plentiful for 3. With bread and other sides, it would be good for 4. Notice how much corn I had in the plate! Yes, I used one whole can of corn which is equivalent to 3-4 ears of corn. I love corn and also without a salad, I thought I’d gain some fiber from there 😉 The combination of corn, pancetta, red chilies, basil-infused panko and burrata is quite amazing, each mouthful is decisively exciting. Try it! 🙂

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Eggplant Linguine

For 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb linguine
  • 1 large or 3 small eggplants
  • 2 – 3 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 dried chilies
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 – 1 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper
  • thinly sliced sweet basil leaves
  • 10 shrimp (optional)

Recipe:

  1. Slice eggplants to about 1/2 inch thick, cook them in abundant olive oil on low heat till browned and soft on both sides. Sprinkle a little sea salt while cooking and add more oil as necessary. When finished, leave them in a plate to cool
  2. Boil 4 quarts of water in a large pot, salt it when it reach rolling boil (about 4 tsp of salt for 4 quarts of water). Add in the linguine, stir a little and wait for it to reach another rolling boil, cook for additional ~ 7 minutes from there on. Add 1 cup cold water to stop the cooking process and pour into a colander to carefully drain the pasta
  3. In a lightly oiled pan, add in dried chilies and smashed garlic, cook the smashed garlic until brown then discard
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and a little salt, stir occasionally, cook until it becomes sauce-like but not dry, add in slightly cooled pasta
  5. Cut the cooled eggplants into narrow strips, bring them into the saucepan with tomatoes and pasta, add salt, freshly grinded black pepper  and basil, (shrimp, too, prepared separately) toss well
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: white wine, bread, salad …

 

NOTES: READ manufacturer’s instruction on how to cook the pasta, time might vary. I don’t know if it was the Trader Joe’s linguine, or I followed instruction this time :P, but the linguine came out just perfect, with the right amount of chewiness. Be extra careful when cooking the eggplant in hot oil, I burned one of my fingertips… 😦 If you decide to add some shrimps, stir fry them  separately with some garlic and sea salt, then mix them with the pasta at the very end. Watch out for the color of the shrimp, when it loses its transparency, turn off the heat right away, it will continue to cook a little longer in the pan, you do not want your shrimps to be overdone. It was a very good meal …. 🙂 O and yeah… I forgot to add basil leaves… after going through the trouble of getting a basil plant, next time!!!!

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Thai Basil Clams

For 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb live Manila Clams
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small bunch of Thai Basil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Thai chilies (thinly sliced)
  • 2.5 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tbsp nam prig pow (optional)

Clean the clams:

  1. Select undamaged clams that are unopened, keep them in a cool place, unwrapped, so they can breathe
  2. Right before cooking, soak the clams in rice water or water with added salt or water with added cornmeal for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  3. Take the clams out and thoroughly scrub the shells of the clam
  4. Rinse lightly underneath the running water

Recipe:

  1. Heat up the oil in a wok on high, add in thin strips of Thai peppers and smashed or coarsely chopped garlic
  2. Add cleaned clams in right away and stir until all clams are opened
  3. Add in fish sauce, sugar and nam prig pow (if available), mix them well with the clams
  4. Add Thai basil leaves, stir quickly and remove from heat
  5. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions: rice, spirits, buns …

NOTES: I didn’t find nam prig pow at 99 Ranch, but perhaps it was just under the name “roasted chili paste”… and I was single-mindedly looking for “nam prig pow” only… It was nevertheless very delicious!! I should have bought at least 2 lb of the clams… The Thai chilies were pretty powerful, my lips are still ‘hot’ because of them, and I only used four small ones!! Don’t stir the clams for too long after adding the Thai basil leaves, and eat  them while they are hot…. :), so good!!

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Filed under appetizer, Chinese, Main Dish, Seafood, Side Dish

Miso Cod with Spinach Banchan

For 3-4

Ingredients:

Miso Cod

  • 1 lb Black Cod fillets (3-4 pieces)
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 4 tbsp miso paste
  • 3 tbsp honey

Recipe:

  1. Make marinade inside a glass container using all ingredients but the fish
  2. Pat the fish fillets dry and put them inside the marinade container, refrigerate for 24 hr
  3. Preheat oven to 400F
  4. Lightly Grill fish fillets till brown on both sides
  5. Bake for ~ 15 mins
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Spinach Banchan

  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp toasted white sesame
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • a pinch of salt

Recipe:

  1. Boil the water with 1tsp salt
  2. When it starts to boil, put the clean spinach in there immediately and turn off the heat, let it sauna for 2-3 mins
  3. Take the spinach out, drain water and wash under cold water for about 1-2 mins, gently squeeze out the excess water
  4. Chop the spinach a few times and put it in a mixing bowl
  5. Mix with sesame oil, sesame seed, finely chopped garlic and a pinch of salt to taste
  6. Bon appétit! ;)

Serving suggestions:  bread, rice, sake …

NOTES: Very easy to make and very taste-buds pleasing! 😀 Can be pricey if you choose to get quality black cod, but you may use regular cod fillets. White miso paste was recommended, but I only had the dark one at home, so that was used instead. Additionally, I chose honey over sugar, so feel free to use sugar if honey is not available at hand. Baking time depends on the thickness of the fish fillets, thus, it can range from 10 to 15 mins. Also, remember to remove dead leaves and roots before making the spinach side dish, it’s important to toast the sesame and pay attention to how much salt you add in there. Finely chopped scallions can also be added … ENJOY!!

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Filed under Main Dish, Seafood, Side Dish, Vegetable