Saturday, June 16, 2018

Crying Tiger

My current favorite dish at any Thai restaurant I go to is Crying Tiger. It's basically Thai Steak served over some Lettuce, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Onion and slices of Steak. I'm eating a lot of Beef these days as I am blood deficient and grass fed Beef is one of the best ways fro me to build blood. I posted a recipe preciously for a Thai Beef Salad and it's really good, but I knew that it was missing something. So I talked to the owner of my favorite neighborhood Thai Restaurant and asked her what I was missing from my recipe. She told me that I needed to add Red Chili Powder and Thai-Style Roasted Rice. My proportion of ingredients was a bit off too. While she didn't give me an exact recipe, I came home and made a much better version so I'm sharing it with you. It was so good!

The dressing has a wonderful bright Lime flavor with less Sugar. And I added the Cilantro and Mint minced to the dressing so the flavors incorporated. I didn't have any dried Bird Chiles, which would probably be too hot for me anyway, so I used Korean Chili Powder instead. If you like it hotter, I would mix that with a hotter Chili, like Cayenne. The Roasted Rice was the only thing that was time consuming. It took a full 10 minutes to get it to brown properly and then I ground it up in a Mortar and Pestle. It has the ability to thicken the dressing slightly and gives a hit of a crunch that is really wonderful.  

I also marinated the Steak - another tip that made it taste so much better.  I bought two small boneless NY Steaks and seasoned them with a combination of Tamari, Brown Sugar, Fish Sauce and OIl.  I broiled them in the oven because I don't have a BBQ, but if you do, the charred flavor of Steak cooked that way would probably taste even better. But I am so happy with this recipe for one of my favorite foods that I can now make easily at home!

Crying Tiger

For the Marinade:

1 pound of good quality Steak (preferably grass fed)
2 Tablespoons Tamari
1 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Oil

Mix together the Tamari, Fish Sauce, Brown Sugar and OIl. Pour into a Plastic Bag that seals and add the Steak. Let marinate for several hours in the refrigerator or overnight. 

When ready to cook the Steak, broil for about 5 minutes per side or pan fry on a cast iron skillet or cook on the BBQ.  Steak should be Medium Rare - Medium.  Let rest and then slice into 1/4 slices.

For the Salad:

1/2 large head of Iceberg Lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
8 Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
1 large Cucumber, peeled, cut in half, dressed and cut into half moons
1/3 - 1/2  cup thinly sliced Red Onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced Green Onion tops

In a serving platter, lay down the Lettuce, and strew the Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Red Onion on top. When the Steak is cool add that on too.

For the Dressing:

1/2 cup fresh Lime Juice (about 5 - 6 medium Limes)
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons minced Cilantro 
2 Tablespoons minced Mint
1 Garlic Clove minced
1/2 teaspoon Korean Chili Powder
Optional:  pinch of Cayenne

Mix together and when ready to serve, add in the Roasted Rice Flour and pour over the Salad and Steak.

For the Roasted Rice:

1/4 cup fat Sweet Rice (Short Grain)

Place Rice in a small frying pan and turn heat to medium low. Stir often for about 10 - 12 minutes or until the Rice is toasted to a light golden brown. Take off heat and let cool. Pour into a Mortar and Pestle or a Spice Grinder and pulverize until it is mostly a powder with some small granules of Rice. 

Five Element Analysis

Beef belongs to the Earth Element and so do the Cucumbers and also the Brown Sugar. The Metal Element is represented by the Red Onion, Garlic and Green Onion as well as the Rice, Mint and Cilantro. The Tamari, Fish Sauce contribute the Water Element and the Lim Juice makes sure the Wood Element is present. Last but not least, the Fire Element shows up in the Korean Chili Powder and the Tomatoes. This then is a perfectly balanced Salad covering all the Elements and their flavors!

Friday, June 15, 2018

White Beef Ragu Pasta Sauce

I was in the mood for pasta last night but did not want to make a Tomato-based sauce. I had read about a "White Bolognese Sauce" a while ago and have thought about making it but just didn't get around to it. Apparently when it was first published as a recipe in the NY Times, it cause quite a stir with Italians as the only true Bolognese Sauce must have Tomatoes. So, I decided to call it a White Ragu instead and of course, I used my own version of Bolognese Sauce to play with to make this white version. And basically,it includes everything that is usually in a Bolognese Sauce, minus the Tomatoes or course, and I added in some Zucchini because I wanted to up the vegetable quotient. Mushrooms would no doubt be good too, although I didn't have any on hand. I also used a Shallot instead of Onion and Garlic because it melts into the Sauce better. And I finished it with a small amount of Cream to make it unctuous. I'm quite sure this is authentic, but it did turn out to be a delicious gravy-like sauce that I really enjoyed so I'm sharing it with you. I served it with Gluten Free Spaghetti although next time I will probably use a small Pasta like Gluten Free Elbow Macaroni since I just ordered some. I will definitely be making this again because I loved it!

White Beef Ragu Pasta Sauce

1 pound ground Beef
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 Celery Stalks, trimmed and chopped fine
1 large Shallot, minced
1 cup White Wine
1 cup Boiling Water
1 Beef Bouillon Cube
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Whipping Cream

Heat Butter and Olive Oil until the Butter melts. Add in the Carrots, Celery, Shallots and Ground Beef and cook until the Beef is no longer pink. Add in the White Wine, Bay Leaf and Thyme and cook on at a simmer until it is mostly absorbed. Add the Bouillon Cube to the Boiling Water and stir to dissolve. Add into the Broth and Cream and taste for Salt. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes and serve over the pasta over your choice.  Serve with Parmesan Cheese on the side.

Five Element Analysis

Beef belongs to the Earth Element and the Carrots and Zucchini add even more. The Metal Element is represented by the Whipping Cream, Butter, Thyme, Bay Leaf and Shallots. The Wood Element is present in the Celery and Olive Oil. And the Fire Element is represented by the Wine. Only the Water Element is a bit deficient so be sure to serve another dish that brings that Element in. Eggplant would be a good choice as an appetizer - in a dish like Caponata or think about serving dark berries for  dessert.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Gluten Free Banana Coconut Bread

As you probably know by now, if you've been following my blog, that I rarely use recipes from somewhere else as is. The exception is always for baking, because it's a science and exact measurements are pretty important. I had some leftover Coconut Milk from making a Thai Curry and I was looking for something to do with it and iI wanted something sweet. I came across a recipe for Banana Coconut Bread on the Cup4Cup website. It turned out so good that I have to share it. This Banana Bread comes out moist and delicious and the Coconut flavor is subtle and the Coconut Flakes actually gives it more texture. This is now one of my new favorite Banana Bread recipes!

Gluten Free Banana Coconut Bread – from Cup4Cup

1 1/2 cups Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 large mashed ripe Bananas
3/4 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter, melted
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
1 large Egg
1/2 cup Coconut Chips (unsweetened)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a loaf pan. Mix Cup4Cup Flour, Baking Soda and Salt into large bowl. Combine Bananas, Sugar, melted Butter, Coconut Milk and Egg in medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then, fold in the Coconut Flakes. Pour into the buttered loaf pan and bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean - about 55 minutes. 

Five Element Analysis

Banana and Coconut are both Earth Element foods and as a sweet bread, this is clearly primarily an Earth food!  The Egg brings in a bit of the Water Element and the Butter contributes the Metal Element. If you serve it with a cup of Tea or Coffee, you will be adding the Fire Element. Then only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to eat some green vegetables some other time of the day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Samphire Salad

The first time I tried Samphire was when I was walking by the sea when I lived in California. It was early summer and my friend bent down and plucked a piece and told me to eat it. I thought it was ice pant. I was amazed that it was salty and delightfully crunchy! We gathered a bunch of tips and went home and made a lovely salad dressed with Olive Oil and Meyer Lemon Juice. I didn't eat Samphire again for many years until I visited friends in England, where it is much more commonly eaten. Just last week, I found it in my local grocery store going by the name of Sea Beans. I bought a bagful and used it several different ways. My favorite was a salad using the Asian flavors of Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil, Garlic, just a hint of Low Sodium Tamari and a little extra Sugar to balance out it's natural saltiness. I think Samphire tastes better blanched or about 10 seconds to help release a bit of the salt. I found out that it really is a succulent, which is why it is so juicy. It is so delicious that I recommend you try it if you haven't already!

Samphire Salad

4 cups Samphire, washed
Hot Water for blanching
1 small Garlic Clove minced
3 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil (I used Safflower)\
1 teaspoon Low Sodium Tamari
1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Place Samphire in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place back in the bowl.  In another bowl, mix together the Vinegar, Sesame Oil, Vegetable Oil, Tamari, Garlic and Sugar. Stir to combine and pour over the Samphire. Toss to coat and serve immediately or refrigerate to serve later.

Five Element Analysis

Samphire, being so salty must somehow belong partially to the Water Element and partially to the Wood Element.  The Tamari and Sesame Oil add more Water and the Vinegar adds more Wood. The Garlic contributes a little bit of the Metal Element and the Sugar in the Seasoned Vinegar and added in bring in a bit of the Earth Element too.  The Fire Element is not present so this would be a good side salad for a meal that has more Metal, Earth and Fire foods. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Clam and Corn Fritters

When I was 10, I went to go and visit my relatives in Virginia. One of the highlights of the trip was fishing in the Shenandoah River. The fish were biting and so easy to catch that my sister caught one with a safety pin!  I was a bit squeamish at seeing them cooked so I ate mostly Hush Puppies at that meal and developed a love of that homely side dish that accompanied the fried fish. 

As the story goes, cooks would use the leftover cornmeal from coating the fish to make them, adding in Buttermilk, Baking Soda and Egg and deep frying them. They were said to have once been thrown by a cook in Louisiana to a howling puppy and that is how they got their name since it shushed him up. 

It's been awhile since I made them and now that I am gluten free, I needed to adapt the recipe. I made them tonight without any Fish and I added Clams, Red Pepper and Green Onion, which I think makes them into Fritters and gives them more color. For the batter, I used a combination of mostly Cornmeal with a bit of Gluten Free Flour to make them more tender and I used the Clam Broth instead of Buttermilk and used Baking Powder instead of Baking Soda because there's nothing acidic in this batter once you take out the Buttermilk. I fried them up and just couldn't stop eating them. I got the thumbs up from my son and daughter in law too. This would be a wonderful appetizer for a party and I am quite sure you could make them ahead and then put them in the oven to warm up.  Sometimes, good old fashioned Southern Cooking is hard to beat!

Clam and Corn Fritters

1 ½ cups Cornmeal
½ cup Gluten Free Flour (Cup4Cup or Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt or Creole Seasoning or Old Bay Seasoning
Pinch of fresh ground Black Pepper
2 cans Chopped Clams
½ cup cooked or frozen Corn Kernels, patted dry with a paper towel
3 - 4 Green Onions, sliced thin
¼ cup diced Red Pepper
1 large Egg, beaten lightly
Oil for Frying

Drain the Clams and reserve the Broth - it should measure a scant 1 cup of Broth. 

Heat oil in on medium high heat a wok or deep fryer to a depth of at least two inches. Put paper towels on a plate for the Fritters.

In a mixing bowl, combine the Cornmeal, the Gluten Free Flour, the Baking Powder, Salt and Pepper. Stir to blend. Then add in the Clams, Corn. Green Onions, Red Pepper, the reserved Clam Broth and Egg. Stir to combine.

Drop by the heaping teaspoonful into hot oil. Stand back and use a splatter guard if you have one as the oil might pop. Cook until golden brown, turn carefully using a spider or slotted spatula and remove when deep golden brown.  Continue until all the batter is used up.  Serve hot with Ketchup, Salsa or Tomato Chutney.

Five Element Analysis

As a fried food, these Fritters already have some of the Fire Element and the Red Pepper adds even more. The Cornmeal and Corn bring in the Earth Element. The Metal Element is found in the Gluten Free Flour, which is mostly made of Rice and the Green Onions contribute too. The Water Element is found in the Clams and Clam Broth, making this a balanced little snack!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Aunt Elma's Chicken Tarragon with GF Dumplings

Ny Aunt Elma came to visit when I was a teenager and she made this stew one night and I instantly fell in love with the flavor of Tarragon. I thought that was kind of funny since it tastes a bit like Licorice, which I didn't really like. But somehow, Tarragon intrigued me. My father absolutely adored this stew and he asked me to make it many time over the years. Luckily, I had helped her make it and I still remember being so surprised to see that it was really easy to make and required very few ingredients. At that time, she served it with Mashed Potatoes and since then I have been known to serve it with Rice or even Noodles, but my absolute favorite way to serve it is with Dumplings. Since going Gluten Free, I thought Dumplings were never going to be the same, but I was astonished to find Cup4Cup Flour, as it mimics the texture of Wheat Flour really well. These turn out puff and tender and delicious. So, nowadays, I'm sure you could use other Gluten Free Flour blends as well. I make Aunt Elma's Chicken Tarragon with Dumplings on a regular basis. It's comfort food at it's best!

Aunt Elma's Chicken Tarragon

6 boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large Onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons Oil
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
2 teaspoons dried Tarragon
3 cups Chicken Broth
1/3 cup frozen Peas
pinch of Black Pepper

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan. Add in the Onions and cook until the Onions soften.  Then add in the Chicken pieces and sprinkle with Seasoned Salt and Tarragon. Cook until one side of the Chicken is opaque and turn over and cook the other side. Pour in the Chicken Broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and turn heat to medium. Add in the frozen Peas and Pepper and bring back to a boil. Then add in the Dumplings.

For the GF Dumplings

1 cup Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour Gluten Free
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter, cut into small pieces
1 large Egg, beaten
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 teaspoon Vinegar

In a mixing bowl, stir together the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt. Add in the Butter and mix together with your fingers until the Butter forms little nodules and is incorporated into the flour. Add in the Egg, Milk and Vinegar, stir to combine.
Drop by the teaspoonful into the broth. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. 

Five Element Analysis

Chicken belongs to the Wood Element. The Peas bring in even more.The Onions contribute the Earth Element since they cook a long time as does the Tapioca Starch in the Flour Mix. The Flour Mix mostly contains Rice Flour, which is part of the Metal Element and the Tarragon and Milk bring in even more. The Water Element is represented by the Egg in the Dumplings. The Fire Element is missing except for the bit of Pepper and the Water and Earth Elements could also use some support. So I served this dish with a Lettuce and Tomato (Fire Element) and Cucumber (Earth Element) Salad sprinkled with Sunflower Seeds (Water Element) to create a Five Element meal.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Red Quinoa Salad with Italian Flavors

While teaching in England, I made dinner most nights rather than go out to eat and I always kept in mind that I wanted to cook things that would also be good for lunch the next day. The one dish that stood out to me was the Quinoa Salad I made with Sun Dried Tomato, Parsley and Green Onion tops. It had a light Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil Dressing and it was even more delicious the next day!  It's easy to make and I think it would be the perfect dish to bring to a potluck. I'm going to be making this dish again and again.

Red Quinoa Salad with Italian Flavors

1 cup Red Quinoa
1 1/2 cups of Water
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup of minced Sun Dried Tomatoes (packed in oil and drained)
1 cup of Parsley leaves, washed and minced
1/2 cup Green Onion tops, sliced thin
3/4 cup toasted Pine Nuts, 1/4 cup reserved for serving
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Rinse Quinoa and drain. Then add to a small pot and add the 1 1/2 cups of Water and 1/2 teaspoon of Salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes.

In a serving bowl, add the Sun Dried Tomatoes, Parsley, Green Onion, 1/2 cup of the Pine Nuts and the Quinoa. In a small bowl, mix together the Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt and Sugar. Pour over and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Pine Nuts and serve. Can be refrigerated and served the next day.

Five Element Analysis

Quinoa as a seed belongs to the Water Element and Pine Nuts add even more. Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil both bring in the Wood Element. The Sun Dried Tomatoes contribute the Fire Element and the Parsley and Green Onions are part of the Metal Element. Only a hint of the Earth Element is present so be sure to serve this with an Earthy meat like Beef or with another dish, like Squash or a sweet dessert to create a balanced Five Element meal.