Meatless miracles from the Middle East
Eating a vegetarian meal isn't just for vegetarians anymore--and it's not just tofu and tempe, either! These days, there are tons of delicious, non-bland alternatives to meat that will keep you full and happy. Take falafel for instance. We did!
We'll make you a dessert you can't refuse
Leave the gun, take the cannoli--it's a no-brainer! But do people know (or like) that dessert they're supposed to be taking? The Giddy Gourmands are here to educate you on this traditional Italian dessert--as well as how to dress it up to make it taste to your liking.
It's really hard not to like Asian-American dishes, especially when bite-sized beauties like pot stickers and wontons can be filled with whatever fillings your heart desires. Combine that with the inherent portion control and you've got a meal worth slaving over!
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
However, if you are familiar with any Asian cuisine, you know about the glory of pot stickers. These small, two-bite dumplings are infinitely customizable, dip-able and, of course, delicious. Plus, put five of them on your plate and you'll be surprised how full you'll be once you've consumed the lot. Made with turkey, pork or beef and spiced any way you want, these fried and steamed dumplings can create a meal that you're proud of (and not regretting later).
As it is with many of the best Asian dishes, however, pot stickers are no walk in the park. The filling itself isn't difficult to make, though everything you put inside must be chopped very finely. No, the chore comes to creating the dumplings, crimping the edges and making sure that the wrapper dough doesn't stick and pull apart. These dumplings are by no means a 30-minute meal, but making them can be fun and seeing the finished product is so fulfilling (in more ways than one).
Beef Pot Stickers
by Chef K and Chef E
Makes 30-40 dumplings
3/4 lb ground lean beef
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup shitake mushroom, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
40 gyoza wrappers
Canola oil (for frying)
In a large bowl, combine beef, egg, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add ginger, garlic, onion, water chestnut, mushroom and pepper. Fry up a tsp of mixture to taste and make adjustments.
Lay gyoza wrappers on wax paper. (Note: You may want to keep a small bowl of all-purpose flour nearby to keep the dough from sticking from surfaces or each other.) Place tsp of mixture into center of gyoza wrapper. Dipping your finger in water, trace around half the wrapper. Fold over and pinch to seal well, especially at bottom corners.
In a large frying pan, fry 5-7 dumplings seam-up in 1 tbsp of oil on medium heat for 30 seconds or until bottoms are golden brown. Then add 1/4 cup water. Immediately turn heat to low, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, until the dumplings look translucent or most of the liquid has evaporated.
Serve up with a small cup of white rice and steamed baby bok choy and enjoy!
Try this recipe with ground pork or turkey and play with your own spice combinations. Try adding cabbage for a veggie twist or Chinese Five Spice for an interesting flavor. Either way, no dumpling would be complete without a delicious dipping sauce that's both sweet and savory!
Gyoza Dipping Sauce
by Chef E
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seed
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce and sugar, whisking well. Add sesame oil, sesame seed, garlic powder and onion powder and mix well. Use as a dipping sauce or pour over dumplings!
Sometimes, your tastebuds demand something so delicious that there's no way it could be good for you. And when it's paired with a lighter, healthier meal, by all means, have at it! That's why we came up with this delicious crab rangoon recipe--crispy, creamy and salty--for your dining pleasure!
Crab and Cream Cheese Rangoons
by Chef E
1 pkg (8 oz.) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 can crab meat, drained OR 4 oz lump crab meat
For best results, use lump crab meat from your grocery store's seafood section. If using canned crab meat, drain it from the can and, using a cheesecloth, wring the crab meat until it is very dry. Wherever you get your crab meat, you must ensure that the meat is dry or else you will not be able to successfully fry your rangoons. (A big thanks to Foodie in Disguise for helping us figure this one out!)
Mix in the crab with the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add white pepper to taste.
Place tsp of mixture into center of wonton wrapper. Turn the wrapper so that the corner faces you and that it looks like a diamond. Dipping your finger into water, trace the bottom two sides of the wonton wrapper and fold the corner upward, sealing the corner and sides 1/8 inch away from the top. Then, fold in the left and right corners, sealing one on top of the other, to form a pastry that looks like an open envelope.
Fry them in oil that is at 350 to 375°F for about a minute or until golden brown. Let them sit on a paper towel to dry. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Sure, these dishes might not be authentic, but if you grew up eating Asian-American food like us, why not enjoy a more gourmet version? And the fillings for both the pot stickers and the crab rangoons are really up to you--go vegetarian for one and turkey and vegetable for the other. Regardless of what you do, their manageable size remains the same, leaving you to fill your belly one tasty bite at a time! (Though, learning how to use chopsticks is a whole other matter!)
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Pork often gets a bum rap because of other famously fatty pig products, such as bacon or baby back ribs, but the inner soft, stringy texture and outer crispiness of the carnitas are due to the fat melting away. Carnitas are by no means the leanest of the meats, but if they're made right, there is no reason to shy away from that dreamy texture and that lovely flavor--especially when it's so easy to make!
Unlike marinated steak or chicken, marinated pork that has been cooked in a way to be crunchy on the outside yet tender on the inside--all the while remaining completely pull-able and pluck-able--might seem complicated to cook up. However, all it takes is a bit of ingenuity in the marinade department and a movie to watch while you wait for the slow-cooked goodness to ensue.
Island Carnitas Tacos
by Chef E, Chef K and Chef S
4 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin or rump roast
1 can (13.66 oz) Thai Kitchen lite coconut milk
1 container (17 oz) Vita Coco water (coconut water)
1/4 cup lime juice
2 bottles of Carona Extra
1 onion, chopped into large chunks
1 to 2 tsp medium red chile powder
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine coconut milk and coconut water, mix well. In a large, deep lasagna pan, add coconut mixture, Corona, lime juice, onion, salt and spices. (Note: For smaller ovens, try using multiple smaller lasagna pans.) Mix well. Add meat, trying to keep the pieces separate if you are using multiple pieces. The liquid should come up to at least 1/2 the height of the meat--if not, feel free to spoon some liquid over the top. Cover the pans with foil, sealing it well around the edges, and place in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Meat should be tender enough to be pulled apart by a fork. Drain liquid from the pan, but leave onions. At this stage, you may want to add additional dry rub spices on the outside of the pork--perhaps more salt, chili, black pepper--depending on how you want your final product to taste. Next, using forks, pull apart the meat into smaller chunks, but not too small of pieces. spread them out across the bottom of the pan. Put back into the oven uncovered for another 20-30 minutes depending on how crispy you want them. (Note: Keep an eye on them at this stage so that they don't get too crispy!)
Serve them on soft corn tortillas with diced onions and cilantro for a street-style taco, or quickly fry up some strips of onion and red bell pepper with salt and pepper for a fajita-style taco!
Sweet Bean and Jicama Salad
by Chef E
2 can pinto beans
2 can black beans
1/4 of a jicama root, diced
1/2 cup green onion, diced
1/2 tomato, diced
1 cup corn
handful of chopped cilantro
medium red chili powder
Empty pinto beans into colander and rinse gently. Lay beans out evenly over paper towel and cover with another paper towel. Repeat with black beans. Leave to dry for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine jicama, corn, tomato, onion, cilantro, salt and spices to taste. Add beans. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar (sparingly). Mix gently and enjoy!
On warm summer days, tacos are a great way to eat a light, relatively healthy, flavorful meal, especially with a nice cerveza or a limeade to cleanse your palate. Paired with a veggie salad full of fiber, you've got a yummy plate that's sure to leave you feeling full and as happy as a pig in...well, you know.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
And in an decade when the personalization of homes, cars, smart-phones and internet profiles is commonplace, it's only natural that we apply this "what suits me?" attitude to our food. Cupcakes are some of the most customizable foods, and, presuming you like cake, delicious mini statements of who we are. Because we are no longer limited by chocolate and vanilla, the unlimited flavor combinations can be unique to our person as our DNA. John Doe likes Cookies 'n' Cream. Jane Doe likes vanilla bean and lemon.
Although the gourmet cupcake is known better from the TV shows and cupcakeries that tout it, the average chef can have his or her own fun with the bite-sized dessert. We'll be the first to admit that places like Sprinkles or The Perfect Circle Cupcakery, both So-Cal favorites (and winners of "Cupcake Wars"), seem to do these things better than three wannabe chefs with a foodie blog, but we made some funky concoctions that we loved! (And we think you might like them, too!)
1 cup beet puree (from canned beets)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp greek yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
But if you're anything like us here at The Giddy Gourmands (who are natives to the fish-filled state of Southern California), you love to open the hatch and let those gooey, oceanic pearls slide down your gullet--and face a challenge head on. And, truthfully, there are ways of getting around those aforementioned obstacles: Canned lump crab is far less stressful to open, as are fresh oysters in the jar. Now, we aren't suggesting that you put cans and jars on ice instead of legs and shells, but for gumbo--yeah, you heard us--it works like a charm!
When it comes to fish on the West Coast, we're all about filets, sushi and snow crab legs on a mountain of ice; dishes like gumbo aren't exactly found on every menu. However, with its rich tomato base, the "Holy Trinity"--onions, bell peppers and celery--and everyone's favorite wild card, okra, gumbo is a great equalizer for all of those strong fishy flavors. Also, did we mention it smells pretty tasty? With a pot of the Giddy Gumbo bubbling on your stove for an hour or two, your house is guaranteed to smell as if it's got a chef (or three) living in it!
by Chef E, Chef K and Chef S
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions. Once they are golden brown (approx. 10 minutes), add in flour, mixing well between tablespoons. Add tomato puree and chicken broth, whisking until smooth. Add garlic. Add (to taste) salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne and thyme.
Add shrimp, crab meat (picked over for shell and cartilage) and sliced okra. Reduce heat and simmer until okra is tender (approx. 20 minutes). Then, add oysters, cooking until oysters are plump. (Note: Depending on your preferences and how large your oysters are, you may want to cut them up before adding them.)
Leave gumbo on low heat until you are ready to serve. Then, trim parsley and sprinkle filé powder over the top, stirring in before serving. (Note: Filé powder might be hard to find at your local grocery store, so while it may be a typical gumbo spice, you may find yourself omitting it like we had to.)
Serve over some white rice and enjoy!
When we sat down, ready to dig into the steaming seafood stew in front of us, we had to wonder if there was something missing. How about something to slather with butter? How about something to dip into our freshly made gumbo? We wanted a muffin, but not just any muffin! We're talking about the South! So we baked up a batch of cornbread muffins with a honey molasses glaze!
Honey-Molasses Cornbread Muffins
By Chef E and Chef K
Yields 14-16 muffins
Saturday, June 11, 2011
And while beef may be "what's for dinner" most of the time, what ever happened to turkey burgers? These delicious white-meat, condiment-carrying alternatives haven't been in style for years it seems. Where are they now? Merely on the menu for those people trying to watch their figures? Are they dryly crumbling off in the "Lite Eats" section somewhere, tasteless and alone, without a bun to embrace them?
Well, The Giddy Gourmands say "No more!" Turkey burgers have gotten a bad rap for being the dry and tasteless "diet" version of America's signature food, but it doesn't have to be that way. Turkey has the unique ability of being a blank canvas of flavor, and although it may be a tad temperamental, that fowl can create a burger that tastes anything but. All it takes is some creativity and a few spices (okay, and a few adjustments for locking in moisture) and you'll get a delicious, juicy burger just waiting for you to gobble it up.
|"I've got class and taste!"|
by Chef E and Chef K
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 portobello mushroom, diced
1 crimini mushroom, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp white pepper
Combine turkey and eggs in a bowl. Mix well. Add in onion, garlic, mushrooms, salt, paprika, cayenne, and white pepper. Mix well.
Form turkey mixture into patties about 2 inches in diameter. If you're not going directly to the grill, placing the patties on a platter in the fridge will stiffen them up, making it easier to retain their shape.
When grilling the burgers, grill at a lower temperature (between 250° and 300°F) for best moisture results. Before serving turkey burgers, always check to ensure they are well done.
Congrats! You've got a burger. But what do you put on it? You can't ruin that gourmet turkey burger with Heinz 57! So what are you going to put on that spicy sucker? How about some gourmet ketchup to cool things down?
by Chef E
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
3/4 cup (approx.) water
2 tsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
In a small bowl, add tomato paste. Slowly, add water, stirring periodically. (Note: Depending on how thick you want your ketchup to be, you may want to adjust the amount of water.) Add vinegar. Add salt, brown sugar and onion powder. Garnish as desired!
Burgers and ketchup may be delicious, but some may contest that it doesn't make a meal. Well, on a hot summer day, with a spicy burger, what sounds better than some sweet, cool cole slaw? If you said "Nothing," you belong at our house!
Sweet 'n' Salty Cole Slaw
by Chef E
1 1/2 (16 ounce) packages cole slaw mix
2 tbsp onion, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
Combine mayonnaise and milk in a medium bowl until smooth. Add vinegar and lemon juice. Add sugar and pepper (to taste). (Note: Don't worry if your dressing seems too thick. As the cabbage absorbs the dressing, it releases water, thinning it out.)
In a large bowl, combine the onion and cole slaw mix. Add the dressing and toss. Place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Want to mix it up a bit? Instead of using your off-the-shelf cole slaw mix, try chopping up a head of cabbage, two carrots and two small zucchinis into strings to get a nice veggie slaw.
Top all that off with your favorite crisp soft drink or brew and you've got yourself a great summer treat to enjoy on the patio. (We sure did!) In fact, we'll leave you to it! Who are we to keep you from biting into that beautiful bird?