1.19.2013

Kimchi Pajeon 2: Bite Sized

Kimchi Pancakes with a soy based sauce
Ever since I received a Korean cookbook this Christmas I have been a bit obsessed with making things like Bibimbap, Japche, and Pajeon. I am always looking for new ways to make my dollar stretch and to preserve food for the week. I made Korean Pancakes earlier however after talking to my Korean friends I got a better recipe and thanks to the idea from Tiny Food Party, I made them bite sized! Easy to make for a large group of people or to freeze for later.

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons rice flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon corn oil (vegetable oil will work too)
1/2 cup kimchi minced or sliced scallions (approx. I always add more)
2 eggs
1 tsp cayenne (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix above ingredients until smooth and there are no lumps.
2. Oil a large skillet and heat until hot but not burning the oil.
3. Take a small ladle or large spoon and put approx 2 tbls of the batter in the pan flattening with the back of the ladle/spoon in a circle motion to make a small pancake. Repeat, you should be able to get 4 or 5 in the pan.
4. Cook until the tops of the pancakes are no longer shiny and the bottom is brown. Flip and cook for another 10-20 seconds. Repeat.
5. Serve warm with a dipping sauce or freeze for later.

1.08.2013

Pasta Olio e Aglio and Shrimp Scampi

Christmas Eve dinner: Scampi, roasted broccoli and rosemary bread
Now that the holidays are over and all life has turned somewhat back to normal, I am able to post my family's favorite holiday meals. Christmas eve dinner in most Italian families mean that no meat is served and for us that means HEAVY on the garlic. Olio e Aglio pasta has been a tradition in my mom's family but my grandfather hated it. Called the dish the worst 'next to nothing' he ever ate. Mom decided to add the shrimp scampi in hopes of making a more substantial dish.

The pasta portion is so easy and tasty I would recommend making any time of the year as I often do. I add red pepper flakes to spice it up but that is not necessary. The scampi needs to marinate for at least an hour before going under the broiler so that it can absorb all the garlic and pepper goodness. This dish is extremely easy to put together and only requires a little patience in getting the water to boil.

Pasta Olio e Aglio

Pasta finished
Ingredients:

1 lb of angel hair pasta
LOTS of salt
5-8 cloves of garlic chopped small
1/3 cup olive oil approx. or enough to cover the garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup of reserved salted pasta water

Directions:

Garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes
1. In a small fry pan add garlic, oil and pepper flakes and heat on med-low heat until the garlic starts to turn a light brown. once finished tun the heat down to a simmer.
2. While the oil and garlic are cooking bring about 4 qts of heavily salted water to a rapid boil and add the pasta. Cook until just done.
3. Take a mug and reserve one cup of pasta water. Then drain the pasta and put back in the pot.
4. Take the completed garlic mixture and add it to the pasta with 1/4 of the reserved pasta water and toss. If the pasta is still too sticky add a bit more pasta water but you most likely won't use it all.
5. Place the shrimp scampi on top and serve.

Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients:

1 lb of raw, peeled shrimp
1/4 cup of olive oil
5 cloves of garlic minced
salt
pepper
red pepper flakes
2 tbls Italian breadcrumbs

Directions

1. Peel shrimp and place in bag with garlic, oil, pepper, salt and red pepper flakes. Marinate for at least one hour.
Finished Scampi
2. Put broiler on high and adjust rack. Prepare cookie sheet with foil and non stick spray then spread shrimp on the sheet.
3. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the shrimp then place the sheet under the broiler for 5 min. Check and if it needs more time then only a min more.
4. Remove and add to the pasta. Serve!

Spaghetti and Meatballs with a easy homemade Marinara Sauce


Spaghetti and meatballs with caprese salad and a good piece of ciabatta bread
Who doesn't love a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Well, actually if you are a vegetarian then I guess it wouldn't be your cup of tea. In one of our classic skype cooking dates, Stacy and I decided that we were going to make some the quintessential Italian dish. Most people like to buy their meatballs in the store already made so that it will be a quick dinner with little hassle  if you have the time, patience and a good bottle of wine, I say experiment and make your own, you won't regret it!

In every Italian family there are different ways to make meatballs so the recipe can be adjusted to your tastes and desired consistency. I loosely borrowed from Lidia's Favorite Recipes book but had to adjust spices and such. I also believe in making your own sauce instead of heating up the jar sauces because it takes the same amount of time but adds more flavor and personality to your dishes. Don't be fooled, this sauce is easy and delicious!

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

Marinara Sauce with Meatballs!
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbls olive oil
1 to 2 medium onions diced
3-5 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbls rosemary
1 tbls thyme
1 tbls basil
1 tbls oregano
salt
pepper

Directions:

1. In a medium sauce pan heat the oil on medium heat then add the onions to the pan, stir, add some salt and pepper and let it cook for approx. 2 min.
2. Add the garlic and stir for 1 min then reduce heat to medium low, cover and let the onions sweat till translucent.
3. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, increase the heat to bring the tomatoes to a boil. Once boiling cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 15-20 min.
4. Add the spices and a little bit more salt and pepper, cover and let simmer for another 5-10 min.
5. Once ready turn off the heat and either add your pasta or let it sit until you need it.

*I always add the spices in the last 10-15 min of cooking a sauce because if you add them before they will get lost in the sauce and there will be no additional flavor. This is something my mother taught me and her sauces were always the best and not just according to her family!

Making Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground beef has no more than 80 % lean. You want the fat it will help hold the meatballs together!
1 c Italian breadcrumbs
1/2  cup parmasean cheese
2 eggs beaten
4-5 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbls dried parsley
1 tsp of salt
fresh ground pepper
all purpose flour for dredging

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare large cookie sheet with sides with foil and spray lightly with non stick spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl crumble beef then sprinkle in bread crumbs, parmasean cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, eggs and garlic. Mix with hands lightly until combined. Be careful to not over mix or the meat will become tough.
Dredging through flour

3. Take meat mixture and roll lightly into 1 1/2 inch balls. Dredge through the flour then set on prepared cookie sheet and repeat.
4. Once all the meat is gone place the sheet in the oven for 15-20 min until the outside is a nice golden brown, turning them halfway through. Start to boil the water for your pasta here.
before going into the oven
5.  To finish the meatballs add them to your prepared and heated up sauce. Cover the sauce and let them cook for another 10-20 min. Take a meatball out and cut it open to ensure there is no pink inside. This would be the time to cook your pasta.
6. Once they have cooked, turn off heat and add some of the sauce to the prepared pasta.


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