Scallion and Steak Rice Cakes

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Chinese cooking is usually very simple to make with the key ingredients on hand and is cooked in just minutes in a very hot wok. We don’t eat very much beef in our home, but this dish is one that brings me back to my childhood. Several versions of this has been kept in our rotation of regular dishes whether it be scallions and beef with flat rice noodles, over rice, or in this case, with rice cakes. It just takes minutes to prepare and the outcome tastes like Chinese takeout.

I like using rice cakes when I’m feeling extra hungry. They’re more dense and filling than flat rice noodles, and I just really enjoy its bouncy chewy texture! You can find these in the refrigerator section of any Asian market. Sometimes it can also be found fresh wrapped in flat trays – I’ve seen this at my local Korean market.

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Anyways, let’s get started cause I’m getting hungry and can’t wait much longer. Good thing the cooking time is under 10 minutes! Have everything already prepared.

Scallion and Beef Rice Cakes
Servings: 4

About 1 lb. sirloin steak, sliced. Don’t use anymore than 1 lb or you’ll have ALOT of beef.
2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. canola oil + more for cooking.
6 scallions, cut into 2-3 inch pieces.
1 half in slice of ginger
1 lb rice cakes (I used the flat oval shaped rice cakes)
2 Tsp. shaoxing wine

Sauce:
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sambal olek, optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Put your thinly sliced steak in a medium sized bowl and add the low sodium soy sauce, corn starch and canola oil. Mix and massage soy sauce, corn starch, and oil into the beef using your fingers or a spoon. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

2. In a separate small bowl, add the ingredients for the sauce and stiry. Set aside.

3. In a wok or a large thick frying pan over high heat, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and heat until the oil is hot. Add the beef and cook until the beef just turns brown, about 1 minute, and set aside in a bowl.

4. Now add the slice of ginger and scallions. Toss and stir in the pan for about a minute.

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5. Quickly add the rice cakes and stir fry for another minute. Add the shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok or pan. Cover with a lid and cooke for about 1 minute. The rice cakes should now be pliable and is starting to get soft.

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6. Add the beef and stir to evenly mix the beef in with the rice cakes. Pour the sauce into the wok or pan and stir fry until all of the rice cakes are covered with sauce. If the rice cakes aren’t chewy at this point, cook for a bit longer until they are.

7. Lastly, find that piece of ginger and remove it! Nobody enjoys biting into a whole piece of ginger!

Serve immediately!

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Chicken Adobo

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Have I mentioned how much I love chicken? I can pull a Bubba from Forest Gump if you were to ask me what my favorite chicken dish is… chicken nuggets, chicken stir-fry, orange chicken, chicken adobo, chicken ice cream.. Ok, I’ve gone too far. And I think I’ve just about told you my age by referencing the movie Forest Gump. Nevermind that. What’s most important is this chicken adobo.

I’ve had many chicken adobos in my lifetime and quickly found out how simple it is to make. I can count the number of ingredients it takes on one hand, if my hand had 6 fingers. All that’s needed is vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorn, and chicken. Now, chicken adobo is slightly sweet and tangy and 100% of the time, the end result is some tender ass chicken. It’s basically chicken that’s been stewed/braised in all of those ingredients listed and in it’s own tasty juices until the chicken is cooked through. Authentic chicken adobo is made with cane vinegar (the brand I’ve seen is Datu Puti) versus white distilled vinegar, but if you don’t have cane vinegar at home, white distilled vinegar is perfectly fine. It’ll just be a little tangier. Chicken adobo is one of those dishes you play with to suit your taste.

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So…not that this recipe is spot on authentic, but I add one ingredient that totally throws the authenticity of this recipe right into the dumpster. ONIONS! Guys… in my household, we LOVE cooked onions that have absorbed all of the flavors the party in the pot can offer. The sweetness from the onions also replaces the sugar a lot of recipes ask for. Trust me, my fellow chicken connoisseurs. Tender braised chicken and onions packed with flavor on top of rice is the fricking best. I must say no more.

 

Chicken Adobo
Servings: 6

2 Tbsp. oil of your choice
12 chicken drumsticks
1 C. light soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4 small bay leaves
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1 medium sized onion sliced
3/4 C. vinegar

1. In a large heavy duty pan, heat oil of medium high heat.
2. When the oil is heated, brown the chicken drumsticks flipping them every few minutes until all sides are browned.
3. While the chicken is browning, add the soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black peppercorns in a medium bowl and mix together.
4. When the chicken drumsticks are browned, sprinkle the slices onions inbetween the chicken pieces and let them find their way to the bottom of the pan. Let the onions cook down in the chicken fat and cook until their translucent.
5. Pour the sauce into the pan making sure every piece of chicken is sitting in the sauce.
6. Next, pour the vinegar over everything. MOST IMPORTANT STEP: DON’T mix or stir the chicken in the sauce. After pouring the vinegar in, let the sauce come up to a boil before mixing the contents of the pan. If you mix the sauce it comes to a boil, the dish comes out more sour.
7. Simmer for 30-45 minutes until chicken is cooked and tender.
8. Enjoy over rice.

Feastin’

You know you’re getting old when you have less urges to go out and party the night away.  My friends and I have decided that we’re getting old.  In the past year, we’ve been having a lot of cooking nights instead of going out for drinks and waking up thinking, “what happened last night??”  Partying and drinking at clubs and lounges is fun, but something about staying in and getting everyone involved then sitting down together makes it much more fulfilling.  Sometimes, even the guys help out!

Throughout my first year in college, my friend Wyatt and I would cook something and trade with each other every weekend.  This saved us from having to eat our own food every day of the week.  It’s always nice to eat someone else’s cooking once in a while.  Since I was so busy with school, I’d usually try to make something really quick for myself.  Having food in the refrigerator from Wyatt was always a life saver for those nights when I REALLY didn’t feel like cooking.  It also gave us the opportunity to challenge ourselves in making something new. 

This past week, we decided to prepare a meal together for a few of our closest friends.  On the menu that night was spinach salad with parmesan croutons and avocado, curry pumpkin soup (in a previous post), mashed potatoes with chives, and beef wellington.  For dessert, we had chewy pecan praline chocolate bars (Please excuse the poor quality of the photos.  I couldn’t get any good lighting).

Spinach Salad:

(all ingredients can be found at Trader Joe’s)

1 lb baby spinach
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
6 sticks of parmesan cheese crackers
1 ripe avocado
a few slices of prosciutto
champagne vineagrette

Slice prosciutto into tiny pieces and throw into a hot pan with a teaspoon of oil.  When it’s brown and crispy, take the prosciutto out and drain on a paper towel. 

In the mean time, grate the cheese and crack the crackers into bite size pieces.  Cut avocado in half, remove the pit, then slice the avocado into thin slices.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach and dressing.  Put as much dressing as you’d like.  Throw in the crackers, cheese, avocado, and prosciutto.  Toss lightly

Mashed Potatoes:

4 starchy potatoes (do not use waxy potatoes)
3/4 C. sour cream
4 Tbsp. butter
salt
1 bunch of chives (cut into very small pieces)
5 slices of prosciutto

Prepare a large pot of water for boiling.  Remove skins from potatoes and cut them into 2″ cubes.  When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and boil until they slide off of a fork when a fork is stabbed into them.

While the potatoes are boiling, cut the prosciutto and pan fry them until crisp.

Drain the potatoes and bring the pot of potatoes back onto the stove.  Add a pinch of salt, butter,and sourcream and start mashing the potatoes with a potato masher until the desired consistency.  Add the chives and prosciutto and mix or you can top each serving with a sprinkle of chives and the prosciutto

Beef Wellington

2 lb. piece of filet mignon
about 2lbs of button mushrooms
1 shallot
pinch of thyme
sea salt
pepper
mustard
proscuitto
1 sheet of puff pastry

Prepare a large skillet with a drizzle of oil.  Sprinkle filet mignon with salt and pepper and place on the hot skillet.  Sear all sides of the meat.  When all of the sides are browned, place the meat on a plate and set aside.

Preheat oven for 450 degrees F.

Place shallot, thyme, salt, and pepper into a food processor and pulse until the mushrooms pieces are extremely small.  Cook the mushroom mixture in a pan until almost all of the moisture is gone.  n the meantime, smear the meat with a thin layer of mustard.

Layer prosciutto into a large thin sheet, large enough to wrap around the filet mignon.  Smear the mushroom mixture onto the prosciutto then place the filet mignon on one side of the prosciutto and wrap it tightly.  Seal this with seran wrap and set aside.

Take the sheet of puff pastry and roll out slightly.  Take the serap wrap off of the meat and place the meat onto one side of the puff pastry.  Wrap the puff pastry around the meat and place onto a pan with a small rack and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Let Mr. Wellington rest for a bit before cutting so the juices can settle otherwise he may fall apart and the meat will become dry.  Isn’t he beautifuullll……?

Look at the juicyness!

Now time for the sweets!

Sit around the table with a nice glass of red wine and enjoy the company from your loved ones. I must admit, we did a good job.. it was deeeelish!