Monthly Archives: July 2013

Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Cashews

Cashew_Chicken1 (1 of 1)Here’s another stir-fry dish that’s delicious and quick to prepare. You can substitute the raw cashews with unsalted, ready-roasted cashews, but I prefer the wonderfully sweet and nutty flavors they take on when dry-roasting yourself (you can also deep-fry raw cashews in a bit of canola or peanut oil, which is what they do in Thailand). You can also substitute the dried Thai chilies with fresh ones, but I believe this dish is traditionally prepared with dried chilies. I really like this dish, and I hope you’ll try it too!

1/2 cup raw whole cashews
3 – 5 dried Thai chilies, slit lengthwise on one side with a sharp knife, seeds removed and chilies cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp chicken stock
1 1/4 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp canola oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 1/4 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
1 small onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
2 scallions, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces (both pale and dark green parts)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Heat a small cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cashews and dry-roast until lightly browned, but not burnt. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Whisk together the fish sauce, oyster sauce, stock and sugar in a small bowl, then set aside.Cashew_Chicken2 (1 of 1)

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chilies and stir-fry for one minute. Remove chilies with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-high. Add the garlic and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Turn heat back up to high and add the chicken, stir-frying for 4 minutes.

Add the red bell pepper, carrot, onion and sauce mixture to the chicken. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cashews, chilies, scallions and white ground pepper. Season to taste with a bit more fish sauce and sugar, if necessary. Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and garnish with cilantro leaves.

Serves 4.

Malaysian Lamb Curry with Cilantro and Mint

Malaysian_Lamb_Curry2 (1 of 1)I’m on a bit of a lamb kick at the moment, so I tried this very interesting Malaysian lamb dish last night. Malaysian cuisine is influenced by cuisines from around the world, but it is particularly influenced by its Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic groups. This dish is a delicious Malaysian spin on Indian Lamb Korma. The unique balance of spices and herbs, and the use of ghee are what make this dish! I hope you’ll try it!

2 inches (1 oz) fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 – 3 red Thai chilies, seeded and minced
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 lbs boneless lamb leg, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
2 medium onions, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/2 tsp sugar
6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Handful fresh mint leaves, chopped

In a small food processor (or mortar and pestle), grind ginger, garlic and chilies to a fine paste. Stir in the garam masala, ground coriander, cumin and turmeric.

In a medium bowl, combine the lamb cubes and the garlic mixture well, ensuring that every Malaysian_Lamb_Curry1 (1 of 1)cube is coated. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for one hour.

Heat ghee in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sugar, and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and lamb with its marinade. Brown the lamb, stirring for 4 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until meat is tender, about 1 hour. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper. Serve over steamed jasmine rice. Garnish each serving with the chopped peanuts, cilantro and mint.

Serves 4.

Grilled Lamb-Beef Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

Lamb-Beef_Burgers1 (1 of 1)Who knew I liked lamb! I sure didn’t growing up. I’ve learned to really like it over the years, however, especially in Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines. This dish is a perfect example of my style of lamb, which with the herbs, spices, garlic and tzatziki, is delicious. I hope you’ll try it!

1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 lb ground sirloin
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
4 tsp chopped fresh mint
4 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garamasala
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely grated or minced

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
1/4 tsp salt

1 loaf ciabatta bread
Sliced red onions
Lettuce

For the burgers, add the first 10 ingredients (lamb through garlic) to a large bowl. Combine well.Lamb-Beef_Burgers2 (1 of 1) Remove meat mixture from bowl and divide equally into 4 portions. Shape each into square, 3 to 4-inch patties. Set aside.

For the tzatziki sauce, combine the next 6 ingredients (yogurt through salt) in a medium bowl, mixing well. Cover and place in refrigerator.

Slice ciabatta loaf horizontally down middle, then slice crosswise into 4 pieces, so that you end up with 4 tops and 4 bottoms.

Prepare grill.

Place burgers on hot grill; cover and cook about 4 minutes on each side (flipping only once). Place ciabatta buns face-side down on grill, cooking until browned (about 1 minute).

Assemble burgers on the buns, topping each with a spoonful tzatziki. Serve with lettuce and red onions.

Serves 4.

Grilled Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Grilled_Port_and_Pineapple_Tacos1 (1 of 1)There’s nothing better than grilling outdoors when it’s hot, humid and buggy, as it’s been here the past several days. Here’s a great taco recipe for that perfect back yard picnic, featuring marinated, grilled pork and pineapple. For this outdoor recipe, you’ll need to plan a bit ahead, as the pork needs to marinate overnight. It’s well worth it, because the pork turns out very tender and flavorful, and the grilled pineapple adds a nice sweetness. I hope you’ll try it!

1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 dried red chili peppers (such as pasilla), stem and seeds removed
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup white vinegar
4 garlic cloves, very finely shredded or minced
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch slices
16 6-inch corn tortillas, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
Sour cream (optional)
Lime wedges
Hot pepper sauce (such as chipotle-flavored Tabasco sauce)

Place chili peppers in a medium bowl;  cover with boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes, until soft. Drain and set aside.

In a food processor, add the chili peppers, one of the pineapple slices, orange juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, cumin and cloves. Process until smooth.

Arrange pork slices in a 3-quart baking dish. Spread chili pepper mixture evenly over the pork, ensuring that every slice is completely covered. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook the meat, prepare the grill. Remove the pork from the marinade (discarding marinade).

Place the pork slices on the grill, cover and cook for 7 minutes (turning once in between).Grilled_Pork_and_Pineapple_Tacos2 (1 of 1) Remove pork and place pineapple slices on the grill. Cover and cook 7 minutes (turning once in between). If there’s room, also place the tortilla packet on the grill (the tortillas cook 7 minutes, as well).

Cut the pork and pineapple into small chunks, then combine in a large bowl. Fill the warm tortillas with the pork/pineapple mixture. Garnish with the green onions, cilantro, diced red bell pepper and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with lime wedges and chili pepper sauce.

Serves 8 to 10.

Braised Tuna Steaks in a Red Wine-Caper Sauce

Braised_Tuna_Steaks1 (1 of 1)This is a delightful Mediterranean tuna dish. The tuna steaks are seared, then braised in a very nice red wine-caper sauce with olives, tomatoes, garlic, onions and raisins, providing for delicate, slightly sweet/slightly sour flavors. I hope you’ll try it!

3 lbs tuna steaks, cut into 4-inch pieces
2 quarts cold water
2 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated or minced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 lbs ripe tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 lb Spanish green olives, pitted and halved
4 oz (3/4 cup) golden raisins
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Crusty bread

Combine the cold water and 2 Tbsp salt in a large bowl. Stir until salt is dissolved. Place the tuna braised_tuna1-1-of-1pieces in the water, and let stand for 1/2 an hour. Rinse under cold water, and dry with paper towels.

Heat olive oil in a large, shallow sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the tuna pieces and sear on all sides. Remove from pan and let stand on a plate.

Turn heat to low. Add the garlic and onions;  saute for about 5 minutes, just until soft.

Add 1 tsp salt, capers, olives, raisins and wine. Turn heat up to high, partially cover and cook for 4 minutes. Add the vinegar.

Reduce heat to low. Add tuna to the sauce, partially cover and braise for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 1 hour. Season to taste with additional salt. Serve with toasted crusty bread slices.

Serves 6.