Archive for April, 2009

Asian Lettuce Wraps

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When it’s warm and sunny outside, all I want to do is go out and play the whole day.  Which means I want to do as little cooking as possible.  I also want to save money by eating at home.  The solution? Asian lettuce wraps.  They make a satisfying, yet light lunch/dinner.  This inspiration came from several SF Bay Area restaurants serving this dish in various ways.  I’m not a big fan of the Cheesecake Factory, but their version was probably the best one I’ve tried.  My recipe does not contain a dipping sauce since I felt there were already a lot of flavors in the dish that the sauce would overpower.  I’ve also added just a few of my favorite vegetables to this recipe.  Feel free to substitute any other varieties of vegetables you would prefer.  For instance, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, and mustard greens (instead of leaf lettuce) would be a nice variation of this recipe.  The key is to just have fun with it by experimenting.  

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

3 large leaf lettuces

Handful of carrot sticks

1 medium zucchini (cut into same size sticks as carrots)

1/2 medium yellow onion (1/4 inch thick slices)

1 1/2 cups of sliced shitake mushrooms

2 tbsp Soy Sauce

1 1/2 tsp Hoisin Sauce

1/2 lean ground pork

Black Pepper

 

Directions:

Cook ground pork until dark brown over high heat.  Add 1 tbsp soy sauce and cook for another minute.  Place cooked ground pork to the side into a dish.  Using same skillet (on high heat), add vegetable oil and sliced onion.  Cook until it starts to turn brown.  Add zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots until tender.  Add remaining soy sauce at the last minute and cook only for another minute.  Important to add soy sauce at the last minute.  The sodium will draw out excess moisture from vegetables and would make the stir-fry watery.  Add freshly ground black pepper.  

How to assemble the wrap:

Smear 1/2 tsp of hoisin sauce onto one large lettuce leaf.  Add 1 tsbp of ground pork.  Then top off with one large spoonful of cooked vegetables.  Roll lettuce leaf over to create a wrap.  Repeat with remaining lettuce leaves.  

Bon Appetit!

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April 25, 2009 at 10:36 PM 1 comment

Strawberry Breakfast Parfait

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Now that Spring has officially arrived, I’ve been wanting to cut down on some calories in order to get in shape for the summer. Not only do I want to slash the fat, but I want to really reduce my sugar intake. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth when it comes to candies and decadent desserts, but I love fruit.  And certain fruits contain a lot of sugar, such as apples and mangos.  Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries are lower in sugar, and packed with antioxidants compared to other fruits.  

I love my warm, comforting breakfast sandwiches and Malt-O-Meals on mornings when its cold and snowy outside, but now that it’s getting warmer, I’m craving something more refreshing and light.  This has to be one of my favorite quick recipes for Spring/Summer.

Ingredients:

1 cup non-fat plain yogurt (opt out of vanilla flavor due to high sugar content)

2 tsp honey

1/2 cup granola of your choice

1 1/2 cup strawberries (sliced)

 

Directions:

In a large cup or glass,  layer all ingredients in any order as you please, but only use half measurements for each layer.  It’s that easy!  Enjoy!

April 18, 2009 at 11:27 PM 1 comment

Singapore Curry Noodles

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Everyone knows that the key to man’s heart is through his stomach.  So I decided to make my friend, Tom one of my all time favorite comfort foods:  a special Singapore noodle dish for his 30th birthday.  It was raining out and didn’t have many ingredients in the pantry and fridge to work with except for a bag of frozen shrimp, a can of bamboo shoots, a bag of frozen peas, and a carton of eggs.  The best part about making stir fry noodles is that there is so much room to improvise.  I had  originally planned on making this dish with shrimp, shredded celery and carrots with mushrooms, but time was limited.  I had to make do.  It turned out to be a hit amongst friends and family (although my noodles should have been a little more al dente).  

Ingredients:

1 pack of rice vermecilli noodles (thickness is personal preference)

3 tbsp Singapore Curry Powder (or regular curry powder will suffice as substitution)

2 large eggs beaten

1 cup of frozen green peas

1 can of bamboo shoots (drained)

1/2 lb halved shrimp (40+/- count)

1/2 yellow onion (thinly sliced)

3 tbsp vegetable oil

5 tbsp fish sauce

 

Directions:

Bring water to a boil and once noodles are al dente, rinse thoroughly in cold water to prevent from sticking.  Pour 1 tbsp of oil in large non-stick skillet.  Add eggs once pan is hot.  Scramble until well done (not runny).  Then set aside into a bowl once cooked all the way through.  Using the same pan, add another tbsp of oil and sliced onion.  Cook over high heat until well browned.  Then add shrimp, frozen peas, and bamboo shoots.  Stir for a couple of minutes on high heat or until the shrimp are cooked all the way through.  Then add noodles, remaining tbsp of oil, scrambled egg, fish sauce, and Singapore curry powder.  Use tongs to toss/stir noodles efficiently.  Cook over high heat for 5 minutes.  Serve warm and garnish with basil.

April 12, 2009 at 12:53 AM 1 comment

Asian Pasta Salad

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Just like everyone, I’m always looking for new and inspiring ways to jazz up my lunch for the work week.  There are so many salads and sandwiches one can eat until you are blue in the face.  There are two things I look forward to in an overall satifying lunch: flavor and texture.  I wanted something fresh and crispy, yet full of life that encapsulates aromatic flavors seeped into every bite.  I wanted to make something different…something McDonald’s, the cafeteria, nor the deli can offer.  Then, all of a sudden, I was sparked with the idea of making an Asian themed salad!  I started to jot down the key components for what would be an ideal Asian pasta salad.  It turned out to be incredibly easy and the best part?  It does not need re-heating.

This recipe, would in turn, make a great dish for a picnic outing with friends or perhaps a day at the beach.  

Dressing ingredients: 

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp hoisin sauce

 

Other ingredients:

1/2 box any veriety of spaghetti pasta

1/4 lb snow peas

1 cup shredded carrots

 

Directions:

Bring pasta to a boil with salted water.  In the meantime, cut snow peas length wise into strips and shred carrots.  Set aside in a bowl.  Whisk all dressing ingredients together.  Once the pasta is al dente, drain with cold running water.  This helps the noodles to cool down quickly and not stick to one another after drained.  After the dressing has been well incorporated, add to pasta along with carrots, and snow peas into a large mixing bowl.  Toss together by using tongs.  Ready to eat immediately and best at room temperature.  

Options:

Can be topped with crushed toasted peanuts or sesame seeds. Also, great when coupled with grilled chicken or salmon. 

Other veggie substitutes can be: asparagus spears, sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, sprouts, or shredded napa cabbage. Chopped cilantro or basil would be a great garnishment as well.

April 4, 2009 at 11:29 PM 5 comments


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