Jack is Cooking Tofu with Cashew Nuts

Well Hello Internet!

Today i have a Thai recipe to share.  You may recall seeing this at your local Thai establishment as Chicken with Cashew Nuts.  Its pretty good with chicken, but i find it much easier to keep Tofu in my fridge, as it has quite a longer shelf life.  It’s a pretty good substitute if you fry it up first.  Feel free to use chicken if you want for the original version.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it the tofu way:

Half a Block of Tofu (cubed, and fried until golden and crispy)
2 tbspns of Cashew nuts (lightly fried)
1/2 an onion (sliced in moon slivers)
2-3 dried red chillies
2 cloves garlic
cherry tomatoes  (optional)

spring onion (optional garnish)

for the sauce:
1 tbspn oyster sauce
1/2 tbspn soy sauce
1/2 tbspn fish sauce
1/2 tbspn ketchup
1/2 tbspn chilli sauce
a couple of drops black soy sauce
1/2 tspn sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1.  heat some oil in a pan, and add the garlic and red chillies.  When the garlic begins to brown a little add in the tofu.  (if you are going to use chicken, this is when to add the raw chicken,  cook it until it is cooked  90% through)

2.  add the onions, cherry tomatoes, and cashews

Onions, Tofu and Cashew Nuts
3. while the onions are cooking, mix all the sauce ingredients together:

Sauce

4.  Add the sauce to the pan, with a little water.  Stir and fry to mix together.

Veggies, Sauced

5. Serve with Rice, and garnish with green onions if you have them!

Tofu and Cashew Nuts with Rice

And That’s it!  a super easy thai dish to make, with very little ingredients.

mmmm mmmm delicious

Jack is Cooking Hurricane Curry

Well Hello Internet!

Last night as Hurricane Irene bore down upon new york city, we hunkered down and made some curry!  It was the perfect thing to eat while eagerly waiting for the storm.

Otherwise known as a Navratan Korma, this was my own twist on a delicious creamy vegetable curry.
as always with my curry recipes i will divide the spices into groups depending on when they need to be added.  This particular curry has lots of separate steps to take in order to prepare your mis-en-place, but otherwise the actual steps taken are quite simple.

Heres what you will need:

Spice Group A:
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

Spice Group B
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon asafetida
1/2 teaspoon salt

The Rest of the Ingredients:
1 potato cut into 1 cm cubes
2 large carrots sliced
1/2 cup green peas
1 large head of broccoli (with as much stalk as you can get) cubed

1/2 lb paneer (cubed)
2 tomatoes (cubed)
1 onion (grated)
2 cloves of garlic (finely grated)
1.5 inches of ginger (finely grated)
1 can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons ghee
olive oil.

The Preparation:

1.  Prepare your spice bowls.
2. Cut all vegetables to equal sized pieces and parboil them.  these will be cooked more later, so don’t overdo it now.  strain and set aside in a colander.
3. Cube the tomatoes, grate the onion, grate the ginger and the garlic.
4. Heat the ghee and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan.  fry the paneer until it is golden brown on all sides.   pour the paneer with ghee and all over the vegetables in the colander.  While its still hot sprinkle some garam masala over them and toss.

Boiled Veggies and Paneer sprinkled with Garam Masala

Now that everything is prepared we can get onto the cooking of the actual curry.

1.  In a medium sized pot, heat some olive oil, and add in Spice Group A.  fry for about 30 seconds, and then add in the onions.  fry these together for about 4-5 minutes.  Add the Ginger and the Garlic, and fry for 30 more seconds.
2.  throw in Spice Group B and fry together for about a minute.  add the chopped tomatoes, and fry for 3-4 more minutes:
Spices and Tomatoes

3.  Add the vegetables and paneer, and toss until they are all nice and coated in the spice-tomato mixture.

4.  Add the can of coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are just tender.
simmering curry
Serve with rice, and sprinkle a little cilantro on top for added effect! 
and that’s about it!  you can make this during a hurricane no problem, as long as your gas stays on…. or you can make it any other day and its just as good!
mmmm mmmm delicious!

Jack is Cooking Mattar Batata… Or something Similar

Well Hello Internet!

as part of my continuing experimentation in learning to cook indian food, i made a tomato based curry with potatoes and green beans.  The Recipe i started with called it Mattar Batata, and was made with potatoes and green peas (Green Peas are called Mattar).  However i didn’t have any green peas, and instead i had beans.  So the name Mattar Batata is not really correct and this should really be called something else, probably with the name Aloo in it (Aloo is potatoes).

Anyhow its very easy to make.

Heres what i used in my made up curry based off of Mattar Batata.  As with my other recipes for indian food i will divide the spices into groups, for when they need to be added to the mix.

3 Tbspns Olive Oil

(GROUP A)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dried red chillies (broken)
1/2 teaspoon asafetida

1 lb Potatoes (cut into one inch cubes)
2 Carrots (diced)
1/2 an onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (diced)

(GROUP B)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sugar

A Handful of green beans (put your two hands together and however many beans fit in there.  thats how many you need!! )

1 tomato (finely diced)
1 80z can crushed tomatoes

So first!

Organize your Spices into two bowls, and have them ready.

Heat up the oil in a medium sized pot, and add in Spice Group A:

SPICE GROUP A

 Cook for about 10 seconds, and then add in the onions, garlic, and carrots.  stir and cook until the onions are a little wilted, and then add the potatoes.  fry the potatoes until they start going brown.  don’t worry if they are sticking, let them stick.  This will add to the flavor!

Once the Potatoes are browned add in Spice Group B:

SPICE GROUP B

Stir them together and then add half a cup of water (it won’t cover it completely).  Bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft).  The water will mostly boil off at this point, but some should remain.

At this point you can add in the beans, the tomato, and the crushed tomatoes, and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes – or until the beans are tender, but still a little crunchy (As good beans should be!)
Everything in the Pot

and that’s it!  Serve it with some Rice.

YUMM!

Jack is Cooking Some Kind of Beef Noodles (take II)

Well Hello Internet!

its been a long time.  almost a year since my last post!  don’t worry i’ve still been eating cooking a lot!  but i’ve mainly been playing with old recipes and so didn’t think i should post the same thing twice.  but since i’ve got this here website i figured i should probably start posting on it again!

So One dish that was really awesome that i made a while ago, (and took a picture of!) was this awesome beef noodle soup dish that i found in a magazine (Saveur).  I didn’t exactly make what the recipe in the magazine said, i made my own thing out of it.

So here’s what you’ll need:

1 lb of beef – doesn’t matter what cut, but its nice if it has bones in it.  i used a T-Bone steak, (which i am sorry to say had been in my freezer for too long, and had gotten a bit of Freezer burn on it.  it wouldn’t have been good as a plain steak, but was perfect for this soup)

GROUP A
1/4 cup sake
2 teaspoons mixed pepper corns
2 cloves of garlic (smashed)
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1 pod star anise
1/2 onion
2 dried red chillies
a bunch of ginger (like 2 inches)

GROUP B
1 teaspoon vinegar,
1  teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

GROUP C
fresh spinach
fresh egg noodles – the really thin kind!
a green onion
sesame seeds

So First, cut up the steak into random sized chunks, and throw all the meat and the bones into a pot of water.  bring this to a boil, and then drain the water.  take the beef and the bones and put it back in the pot with everything from the list in Group A.  cover this with water, and bring it back to a boil.  let it simmer for about an hour.

Then! after one hour, remove the beef from this stock and set it aside on a cutting board.  strain the liquid  so that you have a nice broth, and discard all the onions and ginger pieces, and whatever else may have been in the stock.  Cut the Beef into nice bite sized pieces.  you can now get rid of the bones, as their delicious goodness has been transferred into the stock.

Add everything from GROUP B (the soy sauce etc.) into the broth, and add the newly bite sized beef back into the broth.

In a separate pot, cook the noodles for their specified cooking time.  if they are fresh that will only be 2 minutes or so.  remove the noodles, and place them in the serving bowls.  SAVE THE WATER!
then cook (BLANCHE!) the spinach in the water.  remove the spinach from the water and put it into the bowls with the noodles.

Then take a Ladle, and ladle the nice broth over the noodles and spinach, making sure to get the good beef stuff into the bowls too.  garnish it with some Green Onions, and Sesame Seeds, and you have a Delicious Beef Noodle Soup Dish!

Heres what it looked like, PLUS the original picture from the magazine.

mmm mmm delicious!

P.S.   the original recipe which i adapted this from can be found here:
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Hong-Shao-Niu-Rou-Mian-Taiwanese-Beef-Noodle-Soup

Jack is Cooking the Best Damn Pasta Sauce You Ever Ate

Well Hello Internet!
over the weekend i made this super delicious pasta sauce.  i have to say it is probably the best damn pasta sauce i ever ate.  and i say that because i really don’t like plain tomato sauce all that much.  i don’t know why but i find that people spice it wrong and over cook it.  i don’t know why they do this, because tomatoes are awesome!  why all the spices and all the cooking for hours and hours and hours until there is nothing left but tomato paste?!
first off, i have to say that this is most definitely not my recipe.  i saw this made on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations the other day in his episode about techniques.  i did some tweaking here and there but the recipe is essentially from Chef Scott Conant from Scarpetta restaurant.

Heres what you’ll need:
5 ripe plum tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
an onion
a bunch of fresh basil
1 cup of olive oil
pasta
butter
cheese

First i blanched the tomatoes in hot water for like 15 seconds, and removed them immediately.  (i saved the water so i didn’t have to boil more, to cook the pasta in)

after the tomatoes where blanched i skinned them, cut them open and squeezed out the insides into a bowl (save this bowl for if the sauce gets too dry.  then you can add this juicy pulp into the sauce).  i put the remaining part of the tomatoes into a pot with 1 quarter of the olive oil (1/4 cup) and i mashed them with a potato masher until they were pulpy.  i let this simmer for like 30 minutes until it became pretty saucy (mashing from time to time)

in another pot, i put the rest of the olive oil, all the garlic (whole cloves) the onion (chopped up) and maybe 10 fresh leaves of basil, and i let this simmer in the oil for the entire time that the tomato sauce cooked.
when both of these things were done i took a strainer and i strained the oil into the tomato sauce (giving it all the flavor but none of the bits! genius!  this is the most genius part, and what makes it the best damn sauce you ever ate!)  then stir it up real good.
( but wait!  don’t throw out all that delicious onion and garlic and basil!  its good for other stuff!  like a quiche!  which should be in a post very soon!
then in a frying pan i sauteed up some pancetta (this is where i moved on from the scarpetta recipe) 
i spooned some of the sauce into the pan to reduce it in a small amount (instead of letting the sauce sit for like 2 hours:
I then tossed in the pasta  and put a pat of butter in it.  this is the final step in the deliciousness!  it made it all nice and super creamy!  yum!!
I then served it with a grating of gruyere cheese (which is a nice alternative to parmesan), and some more fresh basil on top for colour!
mmmmm mmmmm delicious!!!