Monday, October 10, 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
|Different varieties of eggplant*|
What seasoned cooks view with admiration and awe, is no doubt a source of anxiety and confusion for those starting out in the kitchen or new to eggplant cookery. To make matters worse, any specific type of eggplant may be called different names depending on where you buy it!
Have no fear!
The key to eggplant is to get the right shape for the recipe that you're making--regardless of color.
This is because those of the same shape tend to have the most similar taste, texture, and cooking methods. There are certainly subtle flavor differences between the varieties, however, a dish will generally turn out fine if you substitute a similar shape--but different size or color--eggplant variety.
Note: an exception is the small, round, green, Thai eggplant. This one is more crisp and has more small, pronounced seeds than the other varieties and is best not substituted.
The following is a home version of Thai Basil Eggplant--a dish you can find in many Thai restaurants. Don't be confused by the name. "Thai" refers to the type of basil used, NOT the type of eggplant. The best eggplants to use for this dish are the long, slender types which are often referred to as Chinese, Filipino, or Japanese eggplants. However, they go by many other names as well.
4. Reduce heat to medium. Stir cornstarch mixture and then stir the mixture into the pan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in Thai basil.
|What a roll cut vegetable looks like (example: roll cut carrot)*|
**Roll-cut means to cut in irregular pieces, generally 1-2 inches in size. This is done by cutting on a bias, rolling the vegetable 90 degrees, and cutting on a bias through the middle of the previous cut. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect. The goal is just to have more edges that if you'd sliced the vegetable because this will make the pieces less likely to stick to the side of the pan while cooking.
|Left=Sweet (aka. Italian) Basil, Right=Thai basil*|
***Thai basil looks similar to the sweet, Italian basil that you see in the grocery store, but you can tell them apart because the stems of Thai basil are purple (or at least partially purple) and the leaves are less shiny and rounded than sweet basil. The flavor of Thai basil also has a slight licorice or anise flavor and is more sharp, pronounced than sweet basil.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
|Udon with Shiitake Mushrooms & Braised Baby Bok Choy|
Cooking notes: The flavor of the noodles is best if you have a very high heat burner to use with wok cooking. I, unfortunately, do not have this at home. To try to achieve a bit of caramelization on the noodles, I preheat a large cast iron skillet instead. Even if you aren't able to caramelize the noodles, this dish is delicious. In the picture, above, I have used the flat, thin, dried udon noodles but the dish is best with the fresh, fat, round noodles.
- If using dried udon noodles, cook in boiling water for 2/3 the amount of time recommended on the package, then drain and run cold water over the noodles to stop the cooking. If using fresh noodles, just untangle noodles with your fingers (do not pre-cook). Set aside.
- Mix together sauce ingredients; set aside.
- In a hot wok or cast iron skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil, shallot and garlic; stir briefly for a couple of seconds being careful not to let them brown. Add cabbage, carrot and mushrooms, stir-frying for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove vegetables from pan and wipe out pan. Return to heat and add remaining tablespoon of oil. When hot add egg (if using) and noodles, stir-frying until heated through. If the noodles begin to stick add another teaspoon or two of oil.
- Add veggies back to the pan along with the sauce and stir-fry over high heat until noodles just start to caramelize or until all ingredients are hot. If using a low-power burner, the noodles may never caramelize, but the dish will still be delicious. Do not cook more than 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately. Great with braised baby bok choy.
- Fill a large bowl with water and soak the whole baby bok choy fully submerged for about half an hour; swish the bok choy vigorously to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. Lift bok choy out of the bowl and into a colander; discard the soaking water.
- Cut the very end of the stem off and then cut bok choy in half through the middle of the stem (the long way) so that all of the leaves remain attached.
- In a Dutch oven or 6-8 liter stock pot*, bring sauce ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add bok choy placing the stem ends directly into the liquid and standing the leaf ends up like flowers. Cover the pot and cook for 7 minutes*.
- Serve immediately while hot.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
|Delicious, Healthy Meals--Courtesy of @ChefInResidency on Instagram|
For more on this, go to Bloomberg News and read "When Your Doctor is Your Chef."