San Francisco Shrimp

San Francisco Shrimp

We’ve been on a shrimp kick again. Only this time, we’re eating more than just the sriracha shrimp. J bookmarked this recipe on a wonderful recipe finding site, Big Oven. So far almost every thing we’ve made from the site has been delicious. While at first glance this dish may seem time and labor intensive, it isn’t. The key to making it a weeknight meal is to have the ingredients ready to go.

Ingredients:
2 pounds jumbo shrimp shelled
5 stalks scallions finely chopped (more works too!)
8 cloves garlic, minced
5 slices ginger root finely chopped (we grated it, it was easier)
2-3 pods dried red chile peppers crushed (in a pinch you can use red pepper flakes)
Sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 Tbsp cooking sherry (this is a bit salty in my opinion, we usually use regular sherry)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt (if using cooking sherry, omit this!)
4 tablespoons cooking oil (you might need more or less depending on the oil you use. We found with sesame oil, it absorbs fast, but tastes the best!)
cornstarch about 2/3 of a cup should be enough

Directions:
Put the cornstarch in a zip top gallon sized bag. Dry the shrimp with paper towels and put into the cornstarch bag. Shake. Pour about an inch of cooking oil in the bottom of a wok. Deep fry shrimp in batches until pink and slightly golden. Remove shrimp to a separate plate covered in paper towels. Ladle a bit of oil from the wok to a non-stick skillet. Heat and add scallions, garlic, ginger, and chile pepper mix in the oil until fragrant, about one minute. Pour sauce ingredients into the skillet, stir until bubbly. Return shrimp into the skillet, mix well. Serve over a bed of rice.

My Opinion:
This dish is perfect for a hot summer night. It’s delicious and sweet and spicy and a touch sour. We’ve added a diced onion into the scallion mixture and it was wonderful. We’ve added broccoli into the sauce and it was fantastic. This might just be in my top five favorite meals. So good!

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Green Chili Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Green Chili Chicken macaroni and cheese

In case you missed it, we love macaroni and cheese and have graduated from the blue box to homemade amazingly delicious recipes. While we love, love, love our original recipe, every now and then we want something a little different. Not to mention, some of our favorite San Antonio memories involve sitting at a table at Silo and sharing the amazing green chili and orzo macaroni and cheese with friends. J found this Serious Eats recipe, which with a few modifications is really close.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (we used fat-free because it’s what our local HyVee had)
2 eggs
2 bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total) (we used boneless skinless because it’s what we had on hand)
Kosher salt
Half pound dry elbow macaroni (Or the whole box like us)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces grated American cheese (or your favorite mild cheese, we like Monterrey jack cheese)
8 ounces grated pepperjack cheese
1 (3.5 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 cup homemade or store-bought salsa verde (in a pinch you can use the Texas Two-Step green chili stew)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
6 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:
Combine cornstarch, evaporated milk, and eggs in a small bowl and whisk until homogenous. Set aside.

 

Season chicken with salt. Place chicken breasts in a large Dutch oven or stockpot and cover with water by 4 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes after a boil is achieved. Using tongs, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.



Return water to high heat until boiling and add pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. While pasta is cooking, pull chicken meat into bite-sized shreds and set aside, discarding bones (which is why we used boneless, skinless in the first place.) 
When pasta is cooked, return to low heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Add evaporated milk/egg mixture and cheese. Stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped chilies, salsa verde shredded chicken, cilantro, and scallions.

Green Chili mac and cheese

We baked this for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven to let it set.

My opinion:
This is now my second favorite macaroni and cheese recipe ever. Plus, it freezes well.

Hot and sour soup

homemade hot and sour soup

J grew up eating the decadent hot and sour soup at King Doh, authentic Peking and Szechuan cuisine. After several years of trial and error, we finally found a recipe that is really close to the original. To celebrate the Chinese New Year last night, we made a big pot.

Ingredients:
2 quarts chicken stock
2 ounces dried black mushrooms (we had trouble finding these and had the must success using fresh shiitake mushrooms)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red chili paste (in a pinch, we combined Thai chili oil, Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce to make a paste)
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 small can water chestnuts (you can buy them already sliced)
1 small can straw mushrooms
18 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed
three small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sesame oil
green onion, chopped (to garnish)

Directions:
If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in water according to package directions. Heat oil in wok or large pot. When the oil is hot, add ginger, chile paste and chicken, cook for about two-minute. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms, cook for about a minute. In a bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar and pour into wok. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (don’t rush this. The simmering is what seals in the hot and sour flavors). Add tofu and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water and add to soup and cook until thickened (this will make the soup cloudy and thick, but don’t add too much cornstarch or it will gelatinize . Stir soup in one direction to get current going then add beaten egg, it will look feathery. Stir the soup brining the contents from the bottom to the top> Garnish soup with green onion and serve.

My Opinion:
Make sue you leave the soup on low for seconds. The second bowl is always better than the first. The only thing we might add in the future is some shrimp or an onion. The soup is even better the next day!

Here’s a photo of the King Doh version.
King Doh Hot and Sour Soup

Mongolian Beef

The secret behind good Mongolian Beef is apparently a super heated wok to caramelize the beef. While we can’t recreate a super heated wok, J came very close to mimicking the flavors modifying this recipe from Big Oven using brown sugar.

Ingredients:
lbs Flank Steak cut into strips
1/3 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
1 bunch Green onion, sliced

Sauce
1 tbs Vegetable oil
1 tbs Ginger, minced
3 tbs Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Brown sugar

Directions:
Put cut up steak into a plastic bag along with corn starch. Shake well to coat and let sit for 10 minutes. In small sauce pan, heat 1 Tbs of oil until hot. Add red pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic. Saute briefly making sure not to burn. Pour in soy sauce and water, then add brown sugar. Boil sauce for 2-3 minutes to thicken slightly. Remove from heat. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in wok or large skillet. When oil is hot, add beef and stir fry until brown and cooked through. Add sauce and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Do not leave in pan too long or the sauce will thicken from the corn starch.

My opinion:
This rivals the best  restaurant prepared Mongolian Beef. Fair warning, though, if you do have left overs, the cornstarch will make the gravy congeal in the container. It’s still tasty the next day, just with thicker sauce.

Chinese Pepper Steak

Our culinary tour through Asia continues with this dish. Easy enough for a weeknight meal, there was more than enough left for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:
1 lb Flank steak diagonally cut (we used flat iron steak because the local grocery was out of flank)
For the marinade:
1/4 cup Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Dry sherry
1 teaspoon Sugar
2 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/4 cup Water
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons Ginger root peeled, grated (we used a little more)
2 Scallions chopped
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 large Onion, cut into squares
2 Green peppers, cut into squares (we used a red one we had on hand and needed to eat)

Directions:
Marinate steak for at least 15 minutes, longer is better.  Add oil to hot wok. Stir  fry garlic, ginger and scallions for 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon to reserve the marinade, remove half of the meat and stir fry for 3 minutes.  Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining steak. In the same wok, add oil and stir fry the onion and green peppers for 2 minutes.  Push vegetables to sides of wok.  Add marinade to center of wok and stir until thickened and bubbly. Blend in  vegetables, add steak and heat thoroughly (about 5 minutes).

My opinion:
The right blend of savory and sweet, this dish is lovely with a side of jasmine rice.

Modified from this recipe on Big Oven.