SOCIAL MEDIA

February 12, 2020

Spaghetti and Salami, Dominican-style





Ingredients:

1 small red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup chopped mixed olives
8 oz your favorite hard salami, sliced into roughly 1/4 inch half-moons
28 oz diced tomatoes
6 oz jarred roasted red pepper, diced
splash of olive brine or vinegar



to serve:
1 lb spaghetti, cooked to package instructions

Directions:
In a large skillet, saute the onion, garlic and olvies in some oil until the onions are transulucent. Add the salami and lightly brown. Add the tomatoes, olive brine/vinegar and peppers and simmer until warmed through and slightly reduced. Add the hot spaghetti to the pan and use tongs to toss. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I was reading a book and in it the characters take a container of spaghetti and salami to Coney Island for the afternoon. I remeber doing nearly the same thing years ago with a friend and I can't believe I haven't made it since.  It's so easy and so delicious! It's the perfect meal to make when you don't have much on hand but still need to make dinner (or lunch). I feel like there is a bit of a divide over whether you make it "wet" or "dry" but I've only had it dry. I strayed a little bit from what I've add by adding in a fire-roasted pepper for some extra flavor (versus leaving them out all together or using fresh) and using the leftover mixed olives I bought from the local Italian store instead of pimento-stuffed green but feel free to use whatever you'd like. So savory and so delish.

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February 05, 2020

Veggie Packed Chicken Lo Mein for Crowd



Ingredients:

for the chicken:
6 chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1 1/2-inch knob ginger, grated
2 big cloves garlic, thinly sliced


sauce:

1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon corn starch (optional)

for the veggies:

1 small onion, sliced into half-moons
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 napa cabbage, sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced into batons (I actually used 8 baby zucchini)
2/3 cup matchstick carrots
1 cup mung bean sprouts
8 ears (fresh) baby corn, halved lengthwise
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup snow peas


20 oz dried lo mein noodles

Directions:

THE NIGHT BEFORE (or at least 8 hrs) you want to make the lo mein, place all of the chicken ingredients in a marinating container or resealable bag. Refrigerate.

When you want to make the lo mein. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the noodles. Whisk together the sauce ingredients, set aside.

Add the chicken and the marinade to a large, high walled skillet and saute until the chicken is cooked. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan the chicken was in. Saute until the onions were softened. Add the remaining vegetables. Saute until the vegetables start to cook. Add about half of the sauce. Cover for 5 minutes or until the cabbage is well-wilted. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package instructions, drain. Uncover the vegetables and saute until tender. Remove the vegetables to a very large bowl and cover to keep warm.

Return the chicken to the pan and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in the noodles and remaining sauce. If it looks dry, add a drizzle of any (or all) of the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch) Toss until well combined. Add the chicken and noodles to the vegetable bowl. Use tongs to toss and evenly distribute all ingredients. Serve immediately.

Yield: about 6-8 servings


My thoughts:
There are a few things to keep in mind about this recipe. One, it is really, really delicious! Two, it is a fair amount of work for a dish that (three) is almost certainly cheaper to buy at your local American-Chinese takeout place.

That said, it is totally worth making (at least once) because it is very tasty and I always think it's fun to make homemade versions of my favorite takeout dishes. You can really customize it with whatever vegetables you like in lo mein. I lucked out and found some mung beans and a mix of "baby" vegetables (snow peas, baby zucchini, and baby corn) marked down for quick sale when I went to pick up some snow peas so I used that instead of a whole large zucchini and added in baby corn which was really cute and added some crunch. I also cheated and picked up a bag of matchstick carrots so I didn't have to cut them up. Another trick is to spiralize the carrots and/or zucchini and then cut the "noodles" into 2-inch pieces. So much is going on right now, I've been trying to give myself a break and use some prepped vegetables like the carrots when it isn't much more expensive and the results would be the same as me doing it myself. Is that self care? 

The results were amazing--all of my favorite lo mein vegetables and super flavorful marinated chicken thighs--and super filling! It made a ton. Way, way more than two people needed, even with lunch the next day so halve this recipe for save it for a day when you are feeding a crowd. All of the lo mein noodles I can find at any store are 10 oz a bag which is a little small for 4 servings as a main (read: only) dish but doubling it leaves you with a huge amount of food. Not a bad problem to have when it is is this good! 




February 01, 2020

Coconut Toffee Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies



Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup toffee bits
12 oz mini bittersweet chocolate chips


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a stand or electric hand mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a very thick dough forms.


Fold in the chips, coconut and toffee.

Form cookies by dropping 1 heaping tablespoon of dough two inches apart (I like this cookie scoop that holds 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough).


Flatten slightly then bake until light brown on the bottom, about 12-13 minutes.

Slide them out on the parchment paper onto a wire rack and allow them to cool 1-2 minutes on the parchment or Silpat on the wire rack before removing the parchment/Silpat and allowing them to cool directly on the wire rack.



Cool completely before storing in air-tight containers.


Yield: around 4 dozen cookies. Recipe can be halved.
My thoughts:
These cookies were a bit of an experiment. I had a bunch of mini chocolate chips leftover from making black bottom cupcakes, coconut from making the vegan coconut lime bundt cake over the holidays and a bit toffee leftover from way back in October when I made the roasted pumpkin Rice Krispies treats. I have such a lack of storage space in my house, the thoguht of getting rid of some of these bags sitting around all in one baked good was great. I also wanted to make a cookie that I thought might be able to be frozen once baked because I knew I was going to see my parents but not until a couple days after I thought the cookies might be getting stale. I know a common idea is to freeze the dough but I don't have room in my freezer for a cookie sheet of scooped dough but I did have room for  a bag of already baked. If they didn't thaw well, oh well. It was worth a shot.

I have never made chocolate chip cookies with tiny chips before. Years ago, it was a struggle to find mini chips to make my family's black bottoms but in more recent years, they have been readily available year-round. I wasn't going to waste the few precious bags I had for black bottom cupcakes on cookies when full-sized chips would do! As it turns out, I rather liked them in cookies! Literally every bite, every tiny nibble had chocolate in it. The toffee added a bit of chew and caramel flavor and the coconut was, well, coconut-y. I, unfortunately, wasn't able to use up the whole bag of coconut and have cookies that were scoopable so if you know any recipes that use only about half a bag of coconut or less, throw them my way. 

As it turned out, the baked cookies froze and defrosted just fine. My parents swooned over them and it was a nice treat for them before my mom went and had her second brain surgery for her cancer. 





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