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chicken noodle salad cups – entertain with ease

salad cupsSalad cups are one of my favourite ways to serve as an appetizer.  You can take pretty much any salad recipe and instead of serving it on a plate, shrink the portion to fit onto lettuce, endive spears, Tostitos scoops, mini fillo shells, wonton cups and so on; you get the picture.  December is a party month and that usually means at some point you’ll be entertaining in your home.  It’s a time when entertaining can be a drain on one’s pocketbook and free time or both.  But it doesn’t have to be if one makes a plan and eliminates any last minute running around (wasting time and money).  Continue Reading →

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Asian Inspired Beef Short Ribs

beef short ribsI never knew there were so many braised short rib recipes on the web and it seems a good portion are dedicated to slow cookers.  I eyed a package of two meaty-looking beef short ribs and couldn’t wait to get home and decide how to cook them.  I did not want a typical braise with wine and tomatoes.  Instead, I yearned for something more Asian-infused.  Ribs come in a few styles (English cut, flanken cut, kalbi cut) and the ones I chose resembled the kalbi (traditional Korean cut).   Koreans love their meat.  Continue Reading →

Lamb Chops Asian-Style

 

Rack of Lamb Asian-Style2015 resolutions?  The New Year is the single most important time to reflect on your life and we all naturally do it.  It’s a milestone that continues to remind us of the importance of time. We reflect on our achievements and re-evaluate our future.  As the year progresses, I am constantly re-evaluating mine, making subtle adjustments as I go.  The month of December flies in seeing us indulging, attending Christmas parties, socializing, shopping, all of which can make the first week of January seem rather empty.  Continue Reading →

Asian-style Rice Noodle Beef Salad

Asian Style Rice Noodle Beef Salad by The Culinary ChaseOur Asian experience seems like a lifetime ago but whenever we have a dish that reminds of food from that side of the globe, it almost feels like we’re back there. Almost. I’ve made this Asian-style rice noodle beef salad many times in Hong Kong and Bangkok but last night, as we sat around the table, the aromas from the food immediately made us think of the past.  What’s your favorite food memory?

Serves 4
250g rice vermicelli noodles
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
250g thinly sliced raw beef (tip: freeze beef for an hour and use a mandoline)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
yellow and red cocktail tomatoes, halved
handful of fresh mint leaves
handful of fresh coriander

1. Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes or until softened. Drain.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chili powder until the sugar dissolves.

IMG_17133. In a hot large non-stick pan, flash-fry the strips of beef. You may need to do this in several batches as you want the meat to brown slightly.  Overcrowding the meat will produce steam and a horrible shade of grey. Place browned meat in a large bowl and repeat process until all the meat is cooked.

4. Combine noodles, beef, onion, tomato, mint, coriander and the dressing in a large bowl and toss until combined. Serve salad on plates and drizzle over any remaining dressing in the bottom of the bowl.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
A super easy dish to whip up with amazing punches of flavor. Enjoy!

Miso Tofu Bok Choy

miso tofu bok choy by The Culinary ChaseSometimes I get ahead of myself. I took this photo half a year ago and am just now posting it. Why? Well I love to collect cookbooks, not just any cookbooks, ones that seduce me into buying. Last year I must have been seduced a lot as I think I purchased over 20 cookbooks! My modus operandi is that I’ll try a few recipes from the book and then go on to the next one. The trouble is, I sometimes can’t recall where that recipe came from! I’ve got to come up with a better system!

When I feel Asia calling me (food-wise, that is) and I want a quick fix, I turn to tofu and bok choy. This recipe has all the ingredients that carry me back to the open air kitchens of Hong Kong (aka wet markets).  The familiar sound of propane fiercely firing a gigantic wok brings back a flood of gastronomic delights. One wok but, oh, so many scrumptious dishes churned out for the hungry patrons. And, it was dirt cheap! I think the most amusing part of watching the food being prepared is how these guys (yes, usually it was a man behind the wok and usually with a cigarette precariously hanging out of the corner of his mouth, wearing sleeveless dirty t-shirts – sometimes without) could work so fast and not get burnt by the billowing flame that engulfed their woks.  This style of dining was a form of entertainment for me. The locals would always give me a look as I would be the only Gweilo (Cantonese for foreigner) eating there. It was more of a look of amazement and I would get a smile from the staff and because they were older, little English was spoken. Communication for me back then was a smile, a nod, a few words in Cantonese and it would be reciprocated. Once you get past the untidy, questionable food safety and insurance issues of a wet market, and the plastic table and stools, you won’t be disappointed with the food! Sadly, though, these food stalls in Hong Kong are slowly disappearing to the redevelopment of old districts.

a typical open air food stall in Hong Kong

a typical open air food stall in Hong Kong

Serves 4
adapted from Ripe

4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons red miso paste (available in Asian markets or natural food stores)
5 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
peanut oil
14 oz. block of firm (non-GMO) tofu, pressed dry and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 lbs. bok choy, shredded crosswise, rinsed well and dried with paper towels
black sesame seeds, for garnish

1. Add half the garlic to a mini food processor with miso, ginger, vinegar, and sesame oil. Whiz until emulsified.

2. Set a large wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil and the tofu and stir-fry until the tofu begins to turn golden (5 min.). Sprinkle in the cornstarch and continue to stir-fry until the tofu loses its sheen and becomes a shade darker. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of peanut oil and remaining garlic to the wok. Stir-fry garlic for 30 seconds and then add bok choy. Toss until the leaves wilt and the stalks are crisp-tender (2 min.). Return the tofu to the wok, and add half of the miso dressing. Heat through completely.

4. Garnish with sesame seeds and pass the remaining miso dressing along side. Serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  You can also use baby bok choy, just make sure to rinse well and cut into quarters.  The house will smell amazing!

Radish, Carrot & Edamame Stir-Fry

radish & edamameA stir-fry is a perfect excuse to use up odds and ends in the refrigerator.  I’ve had some carrots laying in the bottom crisper for what seems like a long time and wanted to use them before they reached their expiry date – you know they are near the end when the carrots start to grow whiskers!  I saw this recipe for a stir-fry using an interesting combination of ingredients and felt this is what was needed to rescue the carrots.  Edamame (pronounced eh-dah-MAH-may) is the name for boiled green soybeans.  Boil the edamame in water, drain, salt and serve…plain and simple.  And as for health benefits, this star legume shines!  Rich in vitamin C and B, a great source of fiber along with a natural source of anti-oxidants and protein-rich.  We first got hooked on the green soybean when we lived in Bangkok.  I made a grilled asparagus salad with the green soybeans and loved it.  It’s great dressed up with other ingredients or on its own.

Serves 4 (as a side)
adapted from Fine Cooking

2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice cooking wine)
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
5 medium carrots , peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 lb. radishes (about 2 bunches), trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2/3 cup shelled edamame (thawed, if using frozen)
1 teaspoon  toasted sesame seeds (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the mirin and soy sauce.

radishedamame2Heat a 14-inch wok (or a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet) over high heat. Swirl in the oil. Add the carrots and radishes and stir-fry until the edges begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, and continue to stir-fry until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more. Add the edamame and soy sauce mixture and stir-fry until just heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the sesame seeds and serve.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Cut the veggies similar in size so that they cook at the same time. This stir-fry is super easy to make and so nutritious!  Enjoy!