July 25, 2004

Chicken with Shiitake

Braised Chicken with Shiitakes and Snap Peas
from Blue Ginger by Ming Tsai

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
8 chicken thighs
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger root finely chopped
4 scallions white and green parts sliced 1/8 inch thick and reserved separately
2 cups shiitake mushrooms (caps) cut in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup chicken stock

In a medium baking dish, combine the sesame oil, oyster sauce, and cornstarch and mix. Add the chicken, turn to coat, and allow to marinate, covered, about 30 minutes.

Fill in a bowl with cold water and add ice. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the snap peas to the boiling water, and cook until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer the peas to the bowl. When cold, drain and set aside.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with the salt and ground pepper. Heat a large work over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic, ginger, and the white parts of the scallions and stir-fry until fragrant and lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and shiitakes and saute, turning as necessary, until both are brown, about 8 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Add the reserved peas, stir until heated through, about 2 minutes, and correct the seasonings. Divide among 4 plates, garnish with the cracked peppercorns and green scallions, and serve.

Notes: Finally posted after Julia asked about it last night. This is the one with which I made myself a touch ill the week before last. I think I've determined that since I was using just an ordinary skillet and Ming's directions call for a wok that what probably happened is I didn't cook the chicken quite enough. So, next time I'm either going to use the wok or up both the quantity of chicken stock and the cooking time. After all, it's hard to overcook chicken when braising. All the same, at least it tasted good, even if I had to pay for it later.

Posted by Jennifer at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)
July 14, 2004

Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops

Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops with Yogurt Sauce
Gourmet (January 2000)

For yogurt sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

For chops
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (1/2-inch-thick) shoulder lamb chops
1 tablespoon water

Make sauce:
Drain yogurt in a sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth at room temperature 20 minutes. Stir together with garlic, mint, and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare chops while yogurt drains:
Stir together lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and 2 tablespoons oil in a shallow baking dish. Add lamb chops, turning to coat, and marinate 20 minutes. Remove lamb from marinade, reserving marinade, and season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute chops in 2 batches, without crowding, about 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer to plates. Boil reserved marinade in skillet with water 1 minute and pour over chops.

Serve chops with yogurt sauce.

Yogurt sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serves 4.

Notes: A fairly simple recipe and easy to make. Nice for summer when one doesn't want to spend too much time over the stove. Not complex or challenging in taste either.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:28 PM | Comments (1)
July 11, 2004

Boston: Choe's Cafe

Located near the BU West Campus area at 957 Commonwealth Ave, this restaurant was chosen based on comments made on Chowhounds and its proximity to the Paradise Club where the Dresden Dolls were playing on Friday. I've actually only eaten at one other Korean Restaurant, so it was interesting to see the differences. The menu at Choe's definitely had a greater variety of Korean food, with a wide selection of Bibimbap and other spicy entrees. I don't know the names in Korean for the dishes eaten. (I really need to learn to write that down when we order.) Michael's could best be described as stir-fried squid with vegetables and noodles (it might have been o-jinga bok-kum). I had a sample and the squid was very nicely done and the sauce quite spicy. For myself, I ordered a version of bibimbap which substituted barbecued sea eel for the usual beef. I very much enjoyed it. The place itself was comfortable and very casual in its decor. Servings were generous and the prices reasonable. If we're out that way for another show in the future, we're very likely to try out more at Choe's (though there are also a couple good Thai places nearby).

Bibimbap means (roughly) "to stir together (bibim) with rice (bap)." The best kinds are served in a hot stone pot (dolsot) and usually contain handfuls of different marinated vegetables, a handful of beef (or in some cases tofu or raw fish), some shredded lettuce, and a barely cooked egg. The fun part is when you mix it all together with the kochujang (hot pepper sauce) that's served on the side. It makes a great crackling sound and the food stays hot all the way through the meal. At the end, you can enjoy the rice crust that has formed on the bottom of the bowl.

Most bibimbap is Chonju style. Chonju is about 240km south of Seoul, in a rich agricultural area that provides plenty of vegetables for toppings. As many as 30 ingredients might appear in a Chonju bibimbap. The city is regarded as the cuisine capital of South Korea, and bibimbap one of its most popular dishes. It is thought to have first appeared in the 1800's, traditionally eaten after rites honouring departed ancestors. While bibimbap itself has many ingredients, it is sometimes also served with many side dishes.

And here's a thread on my favorite cooking forum about making this great stuff at home. Guess I need to figure out where I can get those stone bowls...

Posted by Jennifer at 4:49 PM | Comments (0)
July 2, 2004

Risotto with Spicy Sausage

Risotto with Spicy Sausage
Bon Appetit (March 1999)

1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/4 cups medium-grain white rice (such as blue rose)
4 to 5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Saute sausage, onion and garlic in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until onion is tender, breaking up sausage with spoon, about 8 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 4 cups broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Continue to simmer until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, adding more broth 1/4 cup at a time and stirring frequently, about 6 minutes longer. Mix in 1/4 cup cheese and 1/4 cup parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer risotto to large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parsley. Pass remaining 1 cup cheese separately.

Serves 8 as a first-course or side, 4 as main dish.

Notes: I made a half-recipe of this and instead of using just spicy sausage, got a half-spicy, half-sweet mix and served this as a main dish for two. This was, amazingly, the first time I've ever made risotto (not counting assisting Deb on this last Christmas Eve). So, I was quite pleased with how it turned out - creamy and quite tasty.

Posted by Jennifer at 5:44 PM | Comments (1)