Monthly Archives: April 2013

Spicy Korean Shrimp

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Mmmm…  Shrimp.  Shrimp is probably my favorite seafood.  It’s so versatile and so easy to cook.  I love it with pasta, in fried rice, in seafood salad, as a topping for salad, grilled, roasted, boiled, in cocktail, you name it, I love it.

I came up with this recipe because my husband love, loves gochujang and I have fallen for gochujaru and I was craving shrimp.  The combination of the two spicy ingredients makes for quite a spicy sauce, so be prepared.  The honey, soy, and sesame oil off set the heat a bit, but it’s still got some serious zip.  If you’re not crazy about a ton of spice, cut both of those ingredients in half and increase the honey and mirin by half.

  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 T. gochujang (korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1 T. gochujaru (korean chili powder)
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. mirin
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 2 scallions, sliced finely
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and then cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 small onion, sliced

In a bowl, combine the kochujang, kochujaru, honey, soy sauce, garlic, scallions, mirin, sesame oil and sesame seeds and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 T. sesame oil and 1 T. vegetable oil until the oil ripples.  Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook until halfway done.  Remove from pan and set aside.

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Add a little more sesame oil and add the mushrooms, zucchini, and onion.  Cook for 4 minutes then add hot pepper mixture.  Cook until veggies are soft.  Add shrimp and finish cooking through.

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Serve with rice, kimchee, and tofu (or any other korean dishes you like).  You could also wrap the shrimp in lettuce and eat as lettuce cups.

Tips:

  • To make it Gluten Free, use GF soy sauce.  The rest is safe!

Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake

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I am super proud of this recipe.  I have been looking for a go-to chocolate bundt cake recipe for a while and have tried lots of different ones, but have not fallen in love with any of them.  So I decided to experiment and create one of my own.  My problem with a lot of bundt cake recipes is that they are often too dry or just not chocolatey enough.  I love using buttermilk in cakes – it keeps it nice and moist yet fluffy.  And I also like what sour cream adds to the texture and taste.  Using straight cocoa powder can sometimes add a slight chalkiness, but the blend of semisweet chocolate chips with the powder adds just the right kind of chocolatey goodness.

The glaze adds another layer of decadence and in my opinion, is truly the “icing on the cake”.  But if you’re not into the extra chocolate, it is super yummy and pretty with a dusting of confectioners sugar.

Cake:

  • 1 C. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 C. sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Glaze:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 C. heavy cream
  • 1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Buter and flour a 10 cup bundt pan and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate chips.  Add cocoa powder, buttermilk and salt.  (*don’t have buttermilk?  Remember my tip — 1 T. vinegar in a 1 C. liquid measuring cup.  Add milk to the 1 C. line.  Let sit for 5 minutes.)  Combine thoroughly.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking soda.  Add half of the liquid mixture, mix until completely blended.  Add remaining and combine.  Add eggs, one at a time and mixing in between, combining thoroughly.  Add sour cream and vanilla and combine until smooth and thick.  Scrape the edges with a spatula to make sure everything is fully incorporated.

Pour into the bundt pan, shake to make even.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cake cool for 15 minutes and invert onto rack.  Cool completely before glazing.

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While cooling, prepare glaze.  Melt chocolate chips in a small pan with butter.  Add cream last and stir to combine until fully incorporated.  Drizzle on cake, allowing to drip down the sides.  Sprinkle walnuts on top, if desired.

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Semolina Bread with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

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There is this bread at a restaurant that I am completely in love with. It’s crusty, nutty, and speckled with juicy golden raisins. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was addicted. So much so that I would find any reason to travel the 20 miles each way to this restaurant just in the hope that this bread would be the gift, the present in my pre-meal bread basket. In truth the meal itself was an afterthought, simply the vehicle for me to get this bread. When I found out that they had bakery locations, I would call ahead to reserve a loaf and still drive the 20+ miles to get it. But it would be a major journey and effort just to get my hands on this delectable morsel.

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I thought of this bread longingly, but found it difficult to make the bread treasure hunt with a toddler in tow. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had a bite of this amazing bread and as I have been experimenting with bread and pastas for this blog, I set my mind to trying to replicate this bread.

I have been able to identify the ingredients that help the bread to be so special. The chewiness and crustiness comes from semolina. Semolina is often used in pasta, but it also works amazingly well in breads and pizza dough. This flour adds such a unique texture that is so distinct to this ingredient – for pasta, it adds a nice bite, for pizza dough, a chewiness and crunch. If you’ve never worked with it before, I recommend experimenting with it. You will love the results. The golden raisins are sweeter and offer a slightly different flavor than your run of the mill raisins. And the walnuts add a nice crunch and texture.

Thanks to Google and a website (www.macheesmo.com), I found a basic semolina bread recipe. I’ve since adapted the recipe to make my version of my favorite bread.

If you’re a little daunted by the idea of making your own bread, don’t be scared. The process itself isn’t difficult, it’s just time consuming. Yeast isn’t frightening, in fact, it smells delicious and homey. When I make bread, my oldest daughter asks to smell the yeast mixture before I add the flour because it’s warm, earthy, and fragrant. Kneading the dough makes me feel useful and productive – anything that takes a little effort is worth it for my family. (And it’s a little bit of a science project… I’ve taught my daughter about yeast and how it’s alive and how honey feeds the yeast, etc.)

I make sure to make a bunch of loaves each time and stick them in my freezer so I don’t have to go through the process too often. Bread is truly a labor of love, but there is nothing comparable to the taste and texture of homemade bread. But it’s so worth it. My daughter will happily chow down my whole wheat bread without a peep, whereas she would perform acrobatics to get out of eating the store bought kind (she even eats the crust!). She’ll put in the effort to eat around the nuts and raisins just to get to the the soft bread in this bread.

— Makes 4 loaves

  • 3 C. warm water (I turn on the faucet and let it run for a minute so it is pretty warm)
  • 3 T. honey
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (stick it in your freezer to extend its shelf life)
  • 4 1/2 C. semolina flour
  • 1 1/2 T. kosher salt
  • 3 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 C. chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 C. golden raisins
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • Olive oil for when the bread rises
  • cornmeal for baking

In a large measuring cup, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Combine thoroughly (I take a spoon and make sure to mush up the yeast so it is full dissolved in the water). Add salt. Pour into a mixing bowl.

With your dough hook on your mixer, ddd semolina flour, one cup at a time and mix. It should look like this:

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Add all-purpose flour and combine well. I scrape down the sides and mix with the spatula to make sure all the flour gets incorporated, then turn the mixer on again to finish the job. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before turning the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for about ten minutes, folding and turning clockwise. You may use 1/2-1 C. additional flour depending. It should feel smooth, and only slightly sticky, but not gummy. Oil the mixing bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning to make sure it’s all coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and put in a warm place to rise until it triples in size (in my bowl, that means it will puff up above the top of the bowl).

Tip: so, if you’re like me, you’re wondering what the heck does this mean? How warm? Where do I find such a place? Here’s a solution: when you start to mix the dough, turn your oven on to warm for 5 min and then turn off. Place the entire mixing bowl, covered with the towel in the oven until it triples in size. For me, it took about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

After it has tripled in size. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Turn oven to warm. Add half the raisins and nuts. Knead for 4 turns. Add remaining nuts and raisins. Knead for another couple of minutes. Turn oven off. Oil the bowl and return dough and coat completely. Cover with the towel and return to oven to rise until it’s doubled (just before it reaches the top of the bowl), about 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out again onto a well floured surface. Cut the dough into quarters. With a rolling pin, roll each out into a rectangle, about 8x12ish. Fold into thirds (or roll) and tuck the ends in. It should look like this:

 

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Dust 2 cookie sheets with cornmeal. Place 2 loaves on each, with plenty of room in between because it rises again slightly. Rest the dough on top of your stove for about 15 minutes so it puffs slightly. Turn oven to 425 degrees. Once the dough puffs, brush with egg wash (one egg mixed with water). With a serrated knife, make 3 cuts into each loaf. Place loaves in the oven, reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it’s golden brown and it sounds hollow if you thump it (flick it with your thumb and index finger).

Let it cool for 20 minutes until you cut it otherwise you will seriously hurt your finger tips and tongue (trust me, I tried it… I even successfully cut it, blew on it and popped it into my mouth. Big mistake.) 🙂

I realize this looks like a long and daunting recipe, but you can do it! Give it a try. There’s nothing like it. And remember, I’m always here for you if you need support or have questions. I am happy to help any aspiring bread maker. 🙂

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Roasted chicken with fresh linguini, basil pesto and tomatoes

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I love pesto.  The nuttiness from the pine nuts and walnuts and the parmesan cheese with the herbaciousness and earthiness from the basil and the slight acidity from the lemon juice (and it also helps the pesto from browning).  The chicken adds some substance to the meal and the tomatoes add freshness, making it a light yet hearty meal.

I created this dish because I am completely addicted to my roasted butterflied chicken, can’t get enough of homemade pasta, and was craving pesto.  If you are in a time crunch, feel free to substitute your favorite pasta and a rotisserie chicken.  The pesto is super fast to make, you’ll be surprised.  And you definitely won’t be disappointed.

Basil Pesto:

  • 3-4 C. fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 C. pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 C. walnuts, toasted
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2/3 C. extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 C. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pulse nuts in food processor until finely chopped.  Add basil, garlic and lemon juice and pulse until coarse.  Slowly stream in olive oil until full incorporated and smooth.  Add salt and pepper, combine.  Add cheese last (otherwise the heat from the blades will melt the cheese and you’ll get a globby mess) and taste for seasoning, adjust as necessary.

  • 1 lb. of your favorite pasta (I used my fresh linguini with semolina recipe)
  • 1 roasted chicken, shredded (I used my roasted, butterflied chicken recipe)
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook pasta as directed, reserve cooking liquid.  Toss pasta with pesto.  Add chicken and tomatoes and combine.  Devour.

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