Saturday, June 7, 2014

Gourmet Asian Dinner

On June 7th, Alisha and Rachel hosted with an Asian Themed Dinner.  They did an amazing job.  The decor was perfect for the theme and really created an authentic feel.  

The invites...

The art on the walls complemented the table setting perfectly.  I loved the simpleness and square-ness of it all.  

Everything fit together so neatly at each place setting.  The origami birds were a fun touch too!

The menu for the evening...

Appetizers were Fish Sauce Wings,  Momo and some beautiful and delicious Vietnamese Salad Rolls. 

A Frozen Strawberry Drink prepared us for the soup and salad course.

Thai Chicken Soup & Coconut Carrot Soup

A Creamy Thai Noodle Salad. We loved this it was cold and had a little kick to it.  Yum!

For the main course they served:  Ants Climbing a Tree, Chengdu Pork with Oyster Mushrooms, Dry Fried Green Beans, Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy and Sticky Rice.  It was so fun to try some new and unique flavors.

Dessert was a delicious Mango Sticky Rice and Mochi.  Love, love, loved the rice!

Our Hosts: Alisha and Rachel

The Gourmet Girls

Our take home for the evening was this mint plant potted in a takeout container and a set of wooden chopsticks.  

Thank you Alisha and Rachel for a great night!


Small Egg roll Wrappers
Napa Cabbage Leaves (for bamboo steamer)

1 lb. lean ground lamb or chicken
(Note that beef is not eaten in Nepal, the world's only Hindu Kingdom)
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon timur (Szechwan pepper)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh red chilies, minced
Salt to taste

In a large bowl combine all filling ingredients. Mix well, adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow all ingredients to impart their unique flavors. This also improves the consistency of the filling.
Hold wrapper on one palm, put one tablespoon of filling mixture and with the other hand bring all edges together to the center, making the pleats. Pinch and twist the pleats to ensure the absolute closure of the stuffed dumpling. This holds the key to good tasting, juicy dumplings. Heat up a bamboo steamer, cover the steamer rack well with napa cabbage leaves. This is critical because it will prevent dumplings from sticking. Arrange uncooked MOMOs in the steamer. Close the lid, and allow steaming until the dumplings are cooked through, about 10-15 min. Take the dumplings off the steamer, and immediately serve.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

1 lb London Broil (or top round steak), sliced into thin strips
1 TBSP dry onion powder
½ TBSP dark soy sauce
½ TBSP hoisin sauce
marinate overnight

Coat meat in grapeseed oil.
In a skillet, cook meat in sesame oil.
Cool meat, prepare fillings for rolls.

jicima, cut in thin sticks
bean sprouts
mint leaves, sliced thin
lettuce, sliced thin
grated carrots
cucumbers, cut in thin sticks
meat slices

Combine all fillings in the middle of a rice paper*

*dip both sides of rice paper in a plate of lukewarm water before filling and wrapping the rolls.

Serve with sauce (recipe below)

½ cup water
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ cup hoisin sauce

Frozen Strawberry Drink
serves 4

3 cups ice
1 pound strawberries, trimmed
¾ cup Mojito Mixer
½ cup white grape juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Divide evenly between 4 glasses. Garnish with sliced strawberry/mint leaf.

Coconut Carrot Soup
serves 8   (16 half-size portions for gourmet club)
2 tablespoon Natural Grapeseed Oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 pound carrots, peeled, chopped
4 cups Vegetable Bouillon Soup Base,
prepared according to package directions
(2) 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup Sweet & Spicy Thai Chili Sauce,
plus more for serving if desired
Cilantro for garnish
Heat the Natural Grapeseed Oil in a large stock pot over medium
heat. Add the onion and carrots; saute until onions are translucent.
Add the prepared Vegetable Bouillon Soup Base, coconut milk,
and Sweet & Spicy Thai Chili Sauce. Cover and cook until carrots
are tender, about 30 minutes. Puree soup with an emersion
blender or blender. Serve with more Sweet & Spicy Thai Chili
Sauce and cilantro.
Calories 300; Fat 24g; Saturated Fat 18g; Carbohydrates 22g;
Fiber 4g; Protein 4g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 490mg

Thai Coconut Soup
serves 6-8 (12-14 half-size portions for gourmet club)
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 TBSP minced jalapeƱo pepper
1 1/2 TBSP fresh minced ginger
(2) 14.5 oz cans chicken broth
(2) 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 packages ramen noodles (discard seasoning packet)
1 1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 TBSP chopped cilantro
1 cup diced cooked chicken
Top with: sliced green onions, lime wedge
Heat medium sized pot to medium-high heat on stove top.
Add olive oil, jalapeno, and ginger.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until jalapeno and ginger are softened and fragrant.  If using ground ginger, add now and stir.  Add chicken broth, coconut milk, and salt and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and add noodles .  Simmer 3-5 minutes, until noodles are softened.  If using mushrooms, add them in the final 2-3 minutes of cooking the noodles.  Add chicken and simmer for about 30 seconds to heat through.  Remove pot from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro.  Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with green onions and lime wedges.  Serve immediately.  
Thai Pasta Salad with Creamy Cilantro Peanut Dressing
* ¼ pound rice vermicelli
* 3 cups finely shredded green cabbage
* 2 cups finely shredded romaine lettuce
* 1 cup shredded carrot
* 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
* ½ cup shelled edamame beans
* 2 cups bean sprouts
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
* 1/3 cup chopped raw peanuts
Cook the whole wheat angel hair pasta until al dente. Combine the pasta, cabbage, lettuce, carrot, red pepper, and edamame in a large bowl. Toss with about 2/3 cup (or as much as you like) Creamy Cilantro Peanut Dressing. On a large platter or individual dishes, plate the salad and top with bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, and peanuts. Serves 4-6.
Creamy Cilantro Peanut Dressing
* 1/2 cup rice vinegar
* 2/3 cup all-natural smooth peanut butter
* 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
* 3/4 cup canola oil
* juice of 1 lime
* 3 tablespoons tamari, or soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
* 2 tablespoon honey
* 1 teaspoon or small piece of dried chipotle pepper (a small piece of canned chipotle in adobe may be substituted)
* 1 ½ cups fresh cilantro leaves (about 1/2 bunch)
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend well. Make sure that it is smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. Makes 1 ¼ cups.
Ants Climbing a Tree
¼ lb. bean thread noodles
1 t. Shaoxing rice wine or medium-dry sherry
¼ lb. ground pork or beef
Peanut oil
3 t. light soy sauce
1 ½ T chili bean paste
1 ⅔ cups chicken stock
½ t. dark soy sauce
3 scallions, green parts only, finely sliced

Soak the noodles in hot water for at least 15 minutes before you begin (drain them just before cooking). Add the Shaoxing rice wine and a couple of generous pinches of salt to the ground meat and mix well.
Season the wok, then add 2 T of oil and heat over a high flame.  Add the ground meat and stir-fry until lightly browned and crispy, with a tsp or so of light soy sauce.  Add the chili bean paste  and stir-fry until the oil is red and fragrant, taking care not to burn it (remove the wok from the heat for a fw moments if it becomes too hot).  Add the stock and the drained noodles and stir well.  Tip in the dark soy sauce for color, and season with light soy sauce and salt to taste.  
When the stock has come to a boil, simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the liquid has mostly evaporated and been absorbed.  Finally, add the scallions, mix well, and transfer to a serving dish.

Dry-Fried Green Beans
10 oz. green beans
Peanut oil
3 oz. ground pork (about 2/3 cup)
2 t. Shaoxing rice wine or medium-dry sherry
2 t. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil
3-6 dried chilies snapped in half, or chili flakes
½ t. Sichuan peppercorns
2 scallions, white parts only
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Fresh ginger, thinly sliced – an amount equivalent to the garlic
Trim ends of the green beans and remove any strings.  Break into short sections.  Heat 2 T of the oil in a wok, add the beans, and stir-fry over medium to medium high heat for about 6 minutes, or until they are tender and their skins are a little puckered. Remove from the wok and set aside.
Heat another 2 T of oil in the wok over high heat, add the pork, and stir-fry  for 30 seconds or until it’s cooked, splashing in the Shaoxing rice wine and the soy sauce as you go.  Add the chilies and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry very briefly until they are fragrant.  Quickly add the garlic, ginger and scallions and stir-fry until they are all fragrant.  Throw in the beans and stir and toss the ingredients together, adding salt and soy sauce to taste.  Serve.

Chengdu Pork with Oyster Mushrooms
1 lb. pork
1 lb. oyster mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1-2 t. Sichuan peppercorns
1 t. Shaoxing rice wine
1 t. corn starch
1-2 green onions
Slice pork against the grain in very thin slices, pieces shaped no bigger than a 50-cent piece.  Place in bowl, sprinkle with cornstarch and Shaoxing rice wine and a T or so of water.  Pull apart oyster mushrooms and trim ends. Slice green onions at an angle, very thin. Smash and coarsely chop garlic.
Heat wok over high heat.  Add oil and let oil get very hot.  Add Sichuan peppercorns and fry for about 15 seconds until fragrant.  Add pork, separating the pieces as they cook.  When the pork is mostly cooked, add mushrooms, tossing and stirring.  Add garlic.  When nearly cooked, season with salt to taste.  Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with green onions.

Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy
1 lb. baby bok choy
1-3 cloves garlic
Oyster Sauce
Separate bok choy leaves and trim ends.  Boil a pot of water and blanch for about 15-30 seconds.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Leave in strainer. Heat oil in wok over high heat.  When hot, add garlic and stir-fry for 15 seconds.  Add bok choy and stir-fry for a minute or two. Salt to taste.  Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with a small amount of oyster sauce.

Ike’s Fish-Sauce Wings

(Serves 4–8)
• 8 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• 1/4 cup warm water
• 1/2 cup Vietnamese fish sauce (Ricker recommends Phu Quoc or Three Crabs brand)
• 1/2 cup superfine sugar
• 2 lbs medium-size chicken wings (about 12), split at the joint
•Vegetable oil (for frying)
• 1 cup rice flour
• 1/4 cup tempura batter mix (Ricker recommends Gogi brand)
• 1/4 cup water
• Optional: 1–2 tspnaam phrik khao soi (roasted chile paste, for “spicy wings”)
(1) CHOP garlic finely, sprinkle salt, and chop together for about 15 more seconds.
(2) SCRAPE into a small bowl, add warm water, and let sit for a few minutes.
(3) POUR through a fine sieve set over a bowl, and use the back of a spoon to stir and smoosh garlic against the sieve, reserving leftover garlic.
(4) ADD fish sauce and sugar to bowl and stir until dissolved.
(5) PLACE chicken wings in a separate large bowl, add 1/2 cup of fish sauce mixture (reserve the rest in the refrigerator), and toss well.
(6) COVER and refrigerate wings for at least four hours, or overnight, tossing every hour or so.
(1) HEAT 3/4-inch vegetable oil in a small pan over high heat and add reserved garlic.
(2) REDUCE heat to medium-low, fry until garlic is lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes, and transfer to paper towels to drain (set aside until final cooking stage).
(3) TRANSFER wings from refrigerator to a colander in the sink and let drain for 15 minutes.
(4) STIR together rice flour and tempura mix in a large bowl and toss wings until coated well.
(5) POUR enough oil into a wok or dutch oven to completely submerge the wings, about 2 inches, and bring oil to 325 degrees (measure with a candy thermometer).
(6) FRY wings in two batches, gently knocking them against the bowl before adding to the oil.
(7) COOK each batch until evenly golden brown, about 10–12 minutes, prodding every few minutes.
(8) TRANSFER wings to paper towels to drain.
(1) ADD 1/4 cup water to the reserved fish sauce mixture.
(2) COMBINE 1/4 cup of the water–fish sauce mixture and half the chile paste (if you are using it), bring to a full boil in a nonstick wok, and reduce for about 45 seconds.
(3) ADD half the wings and toss every 15 seconds, until a caramelized glaze coats the wings, about 1 minute.
(4) ADD 1 tbsp of the fried garlic, toss well, and cook about 30 seconds longer.
(5) RINSE and wipe out wok, and repeat with the next batch of wings.
(6) SERVE wings with pickled vegetables, cucumber spears, and herb sprigs.
Mango Sticky RiceCoconut Milk Sticky Rice (Kow Neuw Moon)
2 cups sticky rice
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ripe mangoes, cut into thick slices (see below)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Prepare the 2 cups sticky rice as per our detailed instructions. While sticky rice is steaming, mix together 1.5 cups coconut milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool (for a more fancy preparation, you can strain the coconut milk in a cheesecloth before setting to cool, but this is not necessary). Immediately after sticky rice is cooked, and still hot, put it into the coconut sauce and stir together well. Cover for 1 hour (or less is ok) and let cool.
Mix 1/2 cup coconut milk with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and the tapioca starch. Bring to a boil.
Put the sticky rice and mangoes on a serving dish. Pour the topping sauce over the sticky rice and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!