25th August 2008

    Thai Chicken Burgers

    Thai Chicken Burgers

    This chicken burger recipe comes from Fitness Food. Ground chicken is mixed with breadcrumbs, cilantro, chili sauce, and spices, and formed into burger-size patties. It’s served with ribbons of cucumber and carrot, and a sweet cilantro-vinegar sauce.

    Chris says:

    I got bit by the time-bug on this recipe, too!

    Lisa says:

    What do you mean?

    Chris says:

    They would have been done 30 minutes earlier if I had remembered the “refrigerate” step.

    Lisa says:

    At least we had that beet salad to snack on!

    Chris says:

    True… anyway, I like these. Though I think next time I’ll form them a little thinner so they cook more quickly.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah these are monsters! What’s this sauce all about?

    Chris says:

    It’s just a sweet cilantro sauce to go on top… it was supposed to also have peanuts in it, but we were out.

    Lisa says:

    Other than being so giant, I like these burgers. Although now I’m really full. And…

    Chris says:

    …yeah?

    Lisa says:

    I know that when one of us cooks, the other does the dishes, but… how the heck did you use so many dishes tonight?

    Chris says:

    Hey!

    Lisa says:

    Just sayin’. I’m getting dishpan hands over here.

    Thai Chicken Burgers
    1 lb chicken breast
    1 cup breadcrumbs
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 large handful cilantro, chopped, plus extra
    3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
    1 tsp ground coriander
    3 green onions, finely chopped
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 tbsp white vinegar
    2 tbsp finely chopped peanuts
    1 carrot
    1 cucumber
    lettuce
    tomato

    Cut the chicken into 1″-2″ cubes and place in a food processor, and pulse until minced. Remove to a bowl, and mix with the breadcrumbs, garlic, cilantro, chili sauce, ground coriander, and green onions. Mix together with your hands and form into four patties. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
    To make the dressing, put the sugar, vinegar, and 3 tbsp water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Cool and stir in the peanuts and extra cilantro.
    Peel strips of carrots and cucumber into ribbons.
    Heat a grill or grillpan and spray with oil. Cook the burgers for 4+ minutes on each side, or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached. Serve on hamburger buns with the dressing, lettuce, tomato, carrot, and cucumber.

    4 Servings.

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    posted in Fitness Food, Main Dishes, Thai | 15 Comments

    25th August 2008

    Beet & Avocado Salad, and on planning ahead

    Beet & Avocado Salad

    Lisa attended a Super Foods class tonight, and I was inspired to create a quick side-dish featuring one… beets! The dish, from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, sounded super easy to make, and it was — roasted beets are sliced along with avocado, and spooned over the top is a lemon vinaigrette with tarragon and red onion. Perfect — and should only take about 15-20 minutes, right? Right! Unfortunately, I totally zoned the fact that, um, yeah: I’d have to roast the beets first. Gah! That’s like an hour just for that step! So there went my relaxing, look-how-quick-this-was side dish. Oh well, the good news was that Lisa wasn’t going to arrive until late anyway, so I was able to finish up dinner just a few minutes after she walked in the door. Note to self: Think through recipes before deciding when to start!

    Lisa says:

    That class made me so hungry — a few hours talking about nothing but food!

    Chris says:

    Well, you can start on this now…

    Lisa says:

    Hey, did you know beets were a super food?

    Chris says:

    I knew they were a super-delicious food…

    Lisa says:

    I heart this dish… and… for once, I don’t think these beets taste like dirt!

    Chris says:

    Hooray for CSA beets. This is a great combo… the avocado is perfect. Just a little firmer than one I’d pick if I was making guacamole.

    Lisa says:

    Mmmm-hmmmm… this is excellent.

    Beet and Avocado Salad
    3-4 medium beets
    1 very large avocado
    1 small red onion, minced
    1/3 cup light olive oil
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    pinch dried tarragon
    salt and freshly ground pepper

    Set the oven to 400 degrees and wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Place the beets on a cooking sheet and into the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until a knife pressed into a beet gives little resistance. (The beets may cook at different rates). Remove and set aside.
    To make the vinaigrette, place the olive oil, lemon juice, and a tablespoon of warm water into a blender and pulse until emulsified. Pour into a bowl with the minced onions and tarragon.
    When the beets are cool, peel and slice them. Pit, peel, and slice the avocado. Arrange the beet and avocado slices in alternating layers in a dish. Whisk again the vinaigrette and spoon over the beets and avocados. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Salads and Light Soups, Sides | 3 Comments

    19th August 2008

    Fee, Fi, Faux Pho

    Pho rilz? No.

    Sometimes you know a recipe’s just not going to be anywhere near authentic, not going to be nearly as good as you could get in a restaurant, but could still suffice for a quick weeknight meal. This is one of those recipes, from the cookbook How to Eat Supper. Should you really expect a full-flavored broth — the essence of pho! — in a 20 minute cooking-time recipe? No. If you haven’t yet experienced pho, this might stand on its own as an interesting soup recipe, but if you try to compare it to the real thing, it falls short. But hey — it was good enough to warm our bellies on this chilly evening.

    Chris says:

    What the pho? This just makes me want real pho, not faux pho.

    Lisa says:

    What if you just think of it as a noodle soup with slices of beef in it?

    Chris says:

    Okay — in that case, it’s not bad. But the broth could still be more flavorful. You can definitely taste the broiled veggies, and they’re good, but I really need to try to disconnect the pho association.

    Lisa says:

    You certainly look like you’re enjoying your sauces.

    Chris says:

    Pho Shizzle. I’m a meat dipper.

    Lisa says:

    Oh, pho cryin’ out loud… enough with the puns!

    Chris says:

    Okay, fine. In fact, there’s my review of this recipe. Okay/fine. Not spectacular, but I certainly didn’t dislike it.

    Lisa says:

    I agree. Good, not great.

    Chris says:

    Not pho.

    Fee, Fi, Faux Pho
    For the broth:
    1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    3″ piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    6 whole cloves
    1 whole star anise, bruised (or 1/2 tsp anise seed)
    freshly ground black pepper
    4 14-oz cans chicken broth
    2 tbsp sugar
    2 tsp fish sauce

    For the soup:
    6 oz rice noodles
    6 oz top round steak, sliced paper-thin (place in freezer for 30 minutes before slicing to make this easier)

    To Garnish:
    cilantro
    thai basil
    jalapenos, sliced
    bean sprouts
    lime, quartered
    hoisin sauce
    sriracha, or other hot sauce

    Place an oven rack 4-6 inches under the broiler and preheat. On a large piece of doubled-over foil, scatter the vegetables and spices from the broth ingredients (onion through black pepper) and broil for five minutes, flipping once, until the onion begins to char and the spices are fragrant. Remove from the oven and place everything in a large pot.
    Add the broth, sugar, and fish sauce and bring to a low boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. While the broth simmers, prepare the rice noodles by soaking them in warm water for 10-15 minutes, or until almost tender. (They’ll lose a little more firmness when the soup gets added.) Drain and divide the noodles between two very large soup bowls. Place the garnish ingredients on a plate and set at the table.
    When ready to serve, divide the (raw) beef between the two soup bowls. Ladle the low-boil broth into the bowls (this will cook the meat pretty much instantly). Top each bowl with your preferred garnishes.

    2 Servings

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    posted in How to Eat Supper, Main Dishes, Vietnamese | 1 Comment

    3rd August 2008

    Tacos de Carnitas

    Tacos Carnitas

    Wow. Just, wow. I’ve been meaning to make carnitas tacos for at least a year now, and can’t believe how wonderfully they turned out. I started with a recipe from Elise’s site and made some modifications based on some of the comments, and changed the toppings to suit our tastes. Moist, spicy, fall-apart pork, crisped up in the oven and placed in a tortilla with homemade pico de gallo, crunchy cabbage, and sweet-tangy pickled red onions. This might be my favorite dish we’ve made this year.

    Chris says:

    Wow; do you smell that kitchen?

    Lisa says:

    The kitchen? Try the whole house! I’ve been drooling for the last three hours!

    Chris says:

    This is awesome — and amazingly simple for the results. It’s somewhat time-consuming, but most of it is unattended. The most complicated part was carving up the pork and trimming off most of the fat!

    Lisa says:

    Seriously? That rules — I think this is one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. Home-cooked or at a restaurant.

    Chris says:

    Everything works so well together: the savory pork, the freshness of the pico, and the tartness of the onions… I love it.

    Lisa says:

    You go ahead and keep talking about how good it is — I’m going to shut up and eat.

    Chris says:

    Actually, I think I’ll join you.

    Tacos de Carnitas
    4 lbs boneless pork butt (shoulder), cut into large cubes (remove as much fat as possible)
    1 quart beef broth
    2 cups chunky salsa, medium-hot

    corn tortillas
    pico de gallo (diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeƱo, and lime juice)
    pickled red onions (recipe below)
    cabbage, shredded
    creme fraiche (or sour cream)

    In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine pork, broth, and salsa. Add water to completely cover the meat, if needed. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 3 to 4 hours, until meat pulls apart easily.
    Remove the meat from the liquid in the pot, set aside, and shred. (I use “shred” lightly, the pork will be so tender that just pressing it with the back of a fork will make it fall apart.) Pour the liquid through a colander to filter out solids, then return a third of the liquid to the saucepan. Heat over high heat for 12-15 minutes until it reduces to a gravy-like consistency. Add the reduced liquid to the pork and mix thoroughly.
    Turn on the broiler in your oven. Place the shredded pork in a shallow layer in a roasting pan, or a wire rack over a cookie sheet, on the bottom rack of the oven. Broil for 5-7 minutes, until pork starts to crisp up. Use a spatula to flip the pork, and broil for an additional 5-7 minutes until crisp.
    Serve the carnitas in warm corn tortillas with homemade pico de gallo, marinated red onions, and shredded cabbage. Drizzle with a little creme fraiche.

    6-8 Servings

    Pickled Red Onions
    1 red onion, cut into 1-4″ half-rings
    rice wine vinegar (about 1 cup)
    1/2 tsp sugar
    orange juice
    oregano
    peppercorns
    coriander seeds

    Blanch the red onions in boiling water for 15 seconds, then drain, rinse, and pat dry. Dissolve the sugar into the rice wine vinegar. Place onions in a shallow dish, then add rice wine vinegar to just about cover the onions. Add about 1/4 cup of orange juice (enough to totally cover), the oregano, a few peppercorns, and a few coriander seeds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. These will keep for about a week in the fridge.

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    posted in Main Dishes, Mexican | 14 Comments


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