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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Cherry Frangipane Galette

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I know it’s a little late to be posting about cherries.. “C’mon Cheryl. It’s just about pumpkin season now.” I sort of misplaced my memory card while switching cameras and couldn’t get a hold of the pictures I took when this tart was actually made.

This tart was put together on one of those days where I felt like baking something, but was lazy AF. I didn’t feel like leaving the house to buy anything so I just opened up the refrigerator to see what I had to work with.  Half a bag of cherries, a lemon, butter, and a shit load of almonds.

I tend to make any excuse to make a dessert with Dorie Greenspan’s frangipane from her French Pear Tart recipe, cause it’s just that good and so darn easy. I ended up making a dough and the frangipane and by the time I got to the cherries, I already wanted to stick them back into the fridge and leave them there. Well, something came over me and I actually stood there pitting every single cherry then sprinkling some sugar over them. Then wah-lah. The finished product was a rustic cherry galette that not only was easy enough to make by a lazy person, but was crisp on the outside and not too sweet on the inside.

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Frangipane
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s French Pear Tart

6 Tbsp. Unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 C. Granulated sugar
3/4 C. Almond flour
2 tsp. All purspose flour
1 tsp. Corn starch
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 egg
2 tsp. Rum

In a food processor, combine butter and sugar until smooth. Add the almond flour, flour, corn starch and salt and pulse until combined. Add egg and run and pulse until well combined.

Remove from food processor into a covered bowl. Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

Dough
Adapted from Food52
1 C. Unsalted butter, cubed
2 Tbsp. Granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/4 C. Ice water

2 Tbsp. Melted butter
Sugar

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Add the cubed pieces of butter and incorporate into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or the back of a knife, until crumbs the size of peas start to form. Slowly add water and mix until the dough becomes one big ball. Cut the dough in half and saran wrap each separately. Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

ASSEMBLY:

Put cherries into a large bowl and add the sugar and lemon zest. Let sit for about 15 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 400F.

When you’re ready to use the dough, prepare your surface with a light dusting of flour. Lay the dough on the flour and roll into a circle until about 1/4 inch thick. The circle doesn’t have to be perfect.

Spoon half the frangipane onto the center of the circle and spread the frangipane into a thin layer, leaving about 2 inches of the dough edge free.

Drain the cherries from the juice and place the cherries on top of the frangipane.

Fold the edges of the dough inward, creating something that looks like a pizza crust.

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Brush on the melted butter onto the crust and sprinkle on the sugar.

Brush melted butter over the “crust” and sprinkle with sugar. Place the galette onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you have a tart pan, place the galette into the tart pan prior to placing it onto the cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. When the galette is done baking, let the galette set on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring it onto a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into it.

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Serve cold or my favorite, warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. YUM!

Green Onion Pancakes

A popular snack in Chinese cuisine is green onion pancake. They can be found in sit-down Chinese restaurants, dim sum places, on the streets of Taiwan, and even in the freezer aisle at your local Asian supermarket! I must admit that the frozen ones are delicious, sometimes even better than poorly handmade fresh ones I’ve had in the past. During the last year of my San Jose college days, I would snack on the store bought frozen onion pancakes during midterms and finals weeks. It was the quickest most tastiest thing to hold me up until my next real meal. Usually I’m very sharing with my food, but I was never in a giving mood with these things! Whenever I noticed a couple missing, I’d hunt my housemates down and give them the evil eye. Don’t judge me. To me, these little disks of carbs made me so happy! All I had to do was pull one out from the freezer and pan-fry it until both sides were golden brown. Within moments, I’d be starving no more!

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These can also be made ahead of time then heated in a well oiled pan when ready to eat. They’re chewy and flakey on the inside and crispy on the outside. They also cost almost nothing to make! Just a little bit of your precious time..

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Green Onion Pancakes

1 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. + 2 Tbsp. warm water
1 C. sliced green onions
2 Tbsp. canola oil
salt

In a medium bowl, add flour and water then mix with fingers just until combined. Cover with a damp towel and set aside for 30 minutes.

Set the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough a couple of times until it’s easier to handle. Roll into a foot-long log then separate into 6 even-sized pieces.

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Keeping your surface lightly floured at all times, take each piece and roll out into thin disks. Brush on a thin layer of oil, lightly sprinkle salt, and generously add the green onions on top of each disk. Roll on side of the disk to the opposite side, into a log.

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Turn the log so it’s vertical and roll the log from bottom to top.

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Turn the dough on it’s side so a spiral appears on the top. Roll it back out into a flat disk. Set aside.

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Repeat for the rest of the dough. Stack each disk on top of each other, separating each one with a sheet of parchment paper.

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Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet. When the oil is heated, place an onion pancake into the pan and fry until the bottom is golden brown (about 3 minutes). Flip and fry until golden brown. Serve immediately.

If you want to store some in the freezer, simply place the raw onion pancakes into a freezer safe ziplock bag, making sure each pancake is separated from each other with a piece of parchment paper. When you’re ready to eat, simply pan-fry them like above. No need to defrost!