Mock Chicken

I’ve often wondered how mock duck was made. I knew what it was – wheat gluten – but never knew what the process involved. I finally decided to do a little research only to realize that mock duck is basically a dumpling. It’s also very easy to make. I found a recipe on a site called,  Ma Cooks! and used this as the springboard for this recipe.You’ll notice by the garlic, cumin and oregano, that this mock duck is destined for a Latin American theme. In fact, I hope to use it to make green chile enchiladas.

Jeff returned yesterday from a conference in Albuquerque and upon my most pointed request, carried with him five giant tubs of frozen chiles. If you have never used frozen New Mexican chiles before, I highly recommend urging any friend traveling to the Southwest to traffic for you as much as they can carry. The Bueno Foods website will deliver six small containers for $25 dollars plus a $50 dollar delivery fee! I’m sure there are many New Mexican transplants who are willing to pay this exorbitant fee.

Ingredients:

Stock:

  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Mix the gluten, rice flour, salt and water together. Knead briefly until the gluten strands develop. Let the dough rest while you prepare the stock.

Use a stock pot to saute onions in the canola oil until translucent, add garlic and spices. Cook for a minute until the spices and garlic are lightly cooked and giving off aroma.

Add four cups of water to the stock pot and bring to a boil.

Lightly knead the mock duck dough and break into six to eight pieces. Once the stock comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, place the mock duck dough into the water, cover and slowly simmer for about an hour.

Once it is finished, it can be sliced and added to any dish calling for chicken. I would caution you not to use it in really wet dishes as the texture gets a little mushy.

Shanghai (Leftovers) Pancake

IMG_3075

I have the answer to leftovers that are still quite fine, but have overstayed their welcome – turn them into chewy Shanghai pancakes. The other day I made some of my Italian uncle’s favorite “Scarola e Fagioli,” or White Beans and Greens for lunch, but with the abundance of food right now, we had a lot left over. I dind’t actually use escarole, but rather, red stemmed swiss chard. While sitting in the fridge, the swiss chard converted the beans to a feisty shade of pink and the whole dish became a little mushy all around, although still quite tasty. Nevertheless, this leftover concoction of pretty in pinks will not be consumed by the boys in the house, and I cannot possibly eat it all myself. So, I got to thinking, how can I repurpose rather than waste? I could turn the leftovers into little fried croquettes or make a baked torta…or hmmm, how about a savory Asian style pancake topped with the leftover egg roll sauce from yesterday? That’s it!

I found a delicious looking recipe for Scallion Pancakes a couple of weeks ago on a site called, “Lick My Spoon,” and the pictures have been haunting me ever since. This is one of those addicting foods that the human being can’t get out of the brain, but I was deterred as the recipe, with its kneading and waiting, seemed a little too involved for my lazy cooking style. After deciding on savory pancakes, I assumed I would take a shortcut and whip the leftovers into a pancake batter to pour on a griddle, but I found myself instead drawn to the Shanghai manner of a rolled dough cake. I like how the dough is firm when the savories are added. I just couldn’t resist giving it a try, but with some modifications. My shortcuts: I didn’t boil the water, but instead used cold, I shortened the kneading time to only a couple of minutes, and I didn’t let the dough sit. I whipped it up and rolled it out!

IMG_3074

Not only did I top the dough with the leftover Scarola e Fagioli, but I also used up the leftover fennel pesto. I wanted to include onions as well, so I sauteed two of the skinny reds that came from my Foxtail CSA. The picture above shows only the onions.

After you get the leftovers spread evenly across the dough, roll it up like you would a cinnamon roll and then coil it like a snake. For the final roll, I would recommend you roll this bad boy out on a floured pizza board because it is very hard to move once it’s flattened. Place the coil on the board and very gently roll it out until it’s about as big as your biggest frying pan or griddle – perhaps 12 inches or so. Once it’s on the floured pizza board you can gently slide it off into the hot oiled pan. Here’s where you want to look at the illustrations on “Lick My Spoon” – it will be very clear how to roll it out. I let it cook until it was browned on the bottom then flipped it over. It was fantastic with the spicy egg roll sauce from yesterday! Thumbs were up all around the house for this one and unfortunately, we don’t have any leftovers!

IMG_3079

Dough Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup water – perhaps a dribble more to get all the flour incorporated

oil to coat frying pan

Directions: Mix the flour and water together until blended. Turn it out onto a well floured counter and knead for 2 or 3 minutes until the dough is smooth. Follow the directions above for filling, rolling, coiling and re-rolling.

Note: Notice the recipe does not include salt. You will want to include a little salt in whatever sauce you top these with. We used the egg roll sauce with soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, rice wine vinegar, honey or agave nectar and chiles.

Farm Fresh Spring Rolls

 

farm-fresh-spring-rolls

Farm Fresh Spring Rolls


I am doomed! It is Wednesday already and last Thursday’s CSA produce is still running wild in the fridge. When one buys into a CSA, one must remember one has duties to the box. There is to be no skipping meals, no eating out, no going to weddings or birthday parties or amusement parks. It’s all about serving the produce. Fortunately, we have guests coming this evening, so I can whip most of it up into little bites and free the fridge for tomorrow’s new veggie hooligans. What better way to wrangle produce than to swaddle it tightly in spring roll wrappers.

These babies are stuffed first with either udon or rice vermicelli and then loaded with fresh herbs including mint, basil and cilantro. I julienned yellow squash and cucumber and had tons of field greens to fill ’em up. Obviously, the rice paper wrappers and noodles were not CSA items, but the greens, cukes, squash and basil all came from Foxtail Farm. The mint and cilantro are from my garden. How’s that for local?

I have never in my life made spring rolls before, but after watching a couple of YouTube demos, I felt pretty confident. The idea is to wet the wrapper, place all the ingredients in the middle, fold in the sides and then the bottom, so you essentially have an envelope. Then you stuff all the filling down into the envelope and roll it up tightly. It’s remarkably easy and totally worth it. I served these with both a spicy peanut sauce as well as a Spring Roll Vinaigrette.

Farm Fresh Spring Rolls

  • Spring roll wrappers – my package had 15
  • cooked udon, soba or rice noodles
  • salad greens
  • fresh herbs – mint, basil, cilantro
  • julienned vegetables – cucumbers, carrots, yellow squash, peppers, steamed asparagus, bean sprouts, green onions, snap peas. (Anything can be used as long as it is thinly sliced or julienned.)

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/3 cup creamy organic peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce

Directions: Dissolve the brown sugar in the water then mix all ingredients in a food processor.

IMG_3060

Vegetarian Spring Roll Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. Mirin
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. chile garlic sauce
  • dash salt

Spicy Sesame Ginger Sauce

  • 1 tsp. chili flakes
  • 2 tsp. minced ginger
  • 2 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 1/2 lime,  juiced
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts to garnish

Lemon Garlic Ginger Stir Fry

IMG_2280

Lemon Garlic Ginger Stir Fry

Little did we know our eight-year-old (picky eater) boy likes snap peas! He relished in opening them with his fingers and licking out the peas then crunching happily on the pods. You’ll notice this stir fry is pretty saucy – that is per Max’s request. He likes the sauce in Asian dishes, and somehow manages to eat even the messiest things with his fingers! Despite constant reminders and prodding to use his spoon or fork, he managed to down a sizable bowl of this stuff sans utensils!

This stir fry was a little warm for such a hot Minnesota evening, but it has a nice ginger lemon freshness that fits well with summer. I decided not to use my food processor as I normally do, but to instead pull out the mortar and pestle. My thinking was to get the ginger and garlic oils out so the dish would hold a stronger flavor. It seemed to work. I also prepped all the veggies into bowls and made the sauce ahead. I find that stir frying is such a fast process, that it works better if everything is ready to toss into the pan.

IMG_2274

Ingredients:

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. canola oil

broccoli

snap peas

baby bok choi

1 red pepper

5 cloves garlic

1 finger fresh ginger

1/2 lemon juiced

1 serrano chile pepper

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. cornstarch

Step One:

Chop each of the vegetables and set out in individual bowls near the stove.

Step Two:

Chop the garlic, ginger and chile pepper. Then smash the chopped seasonings in a mortar and pestle. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the mixture and stir.

Step Three:

In a lowball glass mix soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, rice wine vinegar, sugar and cornstarch.

Step Four:

Kick everyone out of the kitchen so you don’t overcook the veggies! Heat a large skillet or wok and add the sesame and canola oil. By the way, I never actually measure the oil going into the pan, so please use as much oil as you deem necessary for a nice coating. Toss in the broccoli and stir until it begins to turn bright green. This just takes a minute or two. Then add the bok choi and mix into broccoli. Then toss in peppers and peas. Mix the veggies for a half minute or so. Now, move the veggies away from a small spot of the bottom of the pan so you can do a quick saute of the garlic ginger concoction. Once these are in the pan, keep them moving as you do not want the garlic to burn. Once you smell the fragrance released, mix everything in the pan together and add the other 1/4 cup of water. You can add more if you want a more saucy stirfry. Your heat should be on high and the water should very quickly come to a boil around the edges of the pan. Once you see the water boil, add your sauce and mix well. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Swiss Chard, Baby Bok Choi and Broccoli Curry

IMG_2188Foxtail Farm Veggies – CSA Box Number One

http://foxtailcsa.com/

IMG_2192

It started to rain today! Yeah!!! That means our CSA boxes will be wonderful here in Minnesota this week and the next! We started off this spring with a drought, and lots of farmers and gardeners were worried, but when it rains like it did today, there’s hope! The only bad thing is that the farmers may have to deal with unfavorable work conditions as they pick and pack our lovely boxes. Let it be known that these boxes are highly appreciated!

My original idea for meal number three out of the CSA box would be a stir fry, but because of the rain, I opted for a Thai Curry instead. I love the warmth of soups with vegetables and that just seemed more appropriate on this foggy dreary day. It was also little humid today and I didn’t want to run the oven, so I decided to fry the tofu rather than bake it. The veggy curry and fried tofu made an amazingly delicious meal and there is just enough left over for a little reminder lunch tomorrow!

Spicy Tofu

Ingredients:

Extra Firm Tofu cubed- I used Wild Wood Organic Super Firm

Canola oil – enough for about 1/16 inch in pan

2 cloves garlic

1 inch fresh ginger

1 tsp. garlic chile paste

1 tsp. soy sauce

Directions:

Chop garlic and ginger in the food processor. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Toss in garlic and ginger for just enough time to turn fragrant, but not begin to crisp. You need to watch it carefully and stir carefully. I try to keep the garlic and ginger in a tidy pile, so when it is fragrant I can easily scoop it out. Scoop it out and set it aside in a bowl. It will later be mixed with the tofu. Keep your oil at a medium heat and toss in the cubed tofu. Let it brown up for a few minutes then turn to brown the other sides. The frying takes a few minutes and you do need to keep an eye on it. Continue to turn the tofu every few minutes so that each cube is lightly browned. When it is finished scoop the tofu out and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss in the lightly sauteed garlic and ginger as well as the chile paste and soy sauce. Mix carefully to evenly coat the tofu.

Vegetable Curry

Ingredients:

1 Tbs canola oil

1 small head broccoli

10 stalks swiss chard

4 baby bok choi diagonal cut

2 cloves garlic minced

1 inch fresh ginger minced

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup soy milk

2 Tbs. Thai green curry paste

soy sauce to taste

Directions: You should have all the ingredients for this dish ready to go as timing is very important. You don’t want to overcook the vegetables. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil and add garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant then add chopped swiss chard. Mix and let cook a few minutes until the leaves are wilted and bright green. Add the bok Choi and broccoli and stir in. Add white wine and let simmer briefly. Stir in coconut milk, soy milk and soy sauce. Finally, put in the green curry paste making sure it gets incorporated into the liquid. Serve immediately over rice. Enjoy!

Spicy Fried Tofu

IMG_2192

Spicy Fried Tofu Recipe

Ingredients:

Extra Firm Tofu cubed- I used Wild Wood Organic Super Firm

Canola oil – enough for about 1/16 inch in pan

2 cloves garlic

1 inch fresh ginger

1 tsp. garlic chile paste

1 tsp. soy sauce

Directions:

Chop garlic and ginger in the food processor. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Toss in garlic and ginger for just enough time to turn fragrant, but not begin to crisp. You need to watch it carefully and stir carefully. I try to keep the garlic and ginger in a tidy pile, so when it is fragrant I can easily scoop it out. Scoop it out and set it aside in a bowl. It will later be mixed with the tofu. Keep your oil at a medium heat and toss in the cubed tofu. Let it brown up for a few minutes then turn to brown the other sides. The frying takes a few minutes and you do need to keep an eye on it. Continue to turn the tofu every few minutes so that each cube is lightly browned. When it is finished scoop the tofu out and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss in the lightly sauteed garlic and ginger as well as the chile paste and soy sauce. Mix carefully to evenly coat the tofu.