Category: Main Dish

Fat Tuesday mantra “Suck head; pinch tail!”

Bliss!

 

Grow grow grow!!!!

Okay, so do you want the good news or the bad news first?  Let me start gently, then.  The good news is that it’s crawfish season again and it will be available for Mardi Gras!  The bad news is that this year is starting out like last year with small crawfish due to the cold weather, according to the Town Talk, a Louisianna based news publication.  This is a bubble buster for those of us living in Texas/Louisianna who’ve waited patiently to enjoy this seasonal delicacy.  Blame it on global warming but the weather is one of the major factors in getting them to plump up!  Once the weather starts to warm up, then you’ll be seeing some decent sized crawfish.  So, enjoy the festivities and the OTHER  food offered before Lent starts such as shrimp po’boys, king cake (good luck!!), pancakes (Shrove Tuesday tradition from England), or whatever street fare you find!  

Oh!  And, if you do get to eat crawfish this year, try it with lemon pepper (and beer).  If this is your first attempt to boil them, please don’t forget to purge them of the swamp muck by dunking them in ice water bath for ten minutes or so, then boil. 

Crawfish happens to be Stacy’s favorite, so stay tuned to Hungry-4-More because he may surprise y’all with a Cajun recipe for crawfish boils! 

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Jucy Lucy Made Easy!!!

Williams-Sonoma's Stuffed Hamburger Press

 Williams-Sonoma is selling this inexpensive device for $12, and it’s just perfect for creating the mouthwatering Jucy Lucy!  Doing them by hand can be a little tricky but this little burger press will help you estimate how much beef to add.   The press will seal the two meat patties together so that none of the ingredients tumble out, and that’s a plus if you’ve ever tried making Jucy Lucy’s yourself.  For me, it’s a plus to have round burgers instead of flying saucers of all shapes and sizes!!!  Flying saucer burgers didn’t have a good seal, and so, had devastating endings on the grill.

While you’re creating the perfect JL burger, check out Chef Stacy’s Jucy Lucy recipe!  Believe me when I say that anyone who has had Stacy’s JL burger considered it the best burger they’ve ever eaten.  Give it a try and let us know how you like it!

Texas Style Jucy Lucy

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Healthy Oils turn into Trans Fats If You…

Oil and Candy Thermometer

…bake or fry with them at a temperature BEYOND their burning point (or smoke point).  Use a instant read thermometer specially made for oil temperatures that can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  Below are roughly the burning point temps for some commonly used oils. 

BURNING POINT OF COOKING OILS 

OILS 

225°

Flaxseed, unrefinedSafflower, unrefined

350°

ButterCoconut

356° F – 370°

Vegetable Shortening 

361° F – 401°

Lard 

375°

Olive 

440°

Peanut 

450°

Corn 

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Aromatic Essentials

There is something special about walking into someone’s home and relishing the aroma of garlic and onions sauteing in a pan in a kitchen nearby. Garlic and onions as well as bell peppers and celery are commonly used in recipes as a sort of backbone to magically transform food into mouthwatering dishes. It is inconceivable to think you could complete cuisines such as Cajun, Indian, Mexican or African without these essential aromatics!

If you’re one of the very few who don’t cook with these gems, then consider some interesting health facts that you might not have heard of before.

  • Garlic

Nursing mothers will be happy to hear that this marvel will help their babies nurse longer and drink more breast milk. According to researchers, the trick is for mom to consume garlic two hours prior to feeding time when the aroma is strongest in the breast milk which will be much more enticing to baby. (Tricks of the Trade, Vol. I from Midwifery Today).  You can make a great peanut sauce with garlic and enjoy some healthy Vietnamese spring rolls for lunch!

  • Onion

It is well documented in medical science that onions share cancer fighting properties with garlic and bell peppers, as well as various antiseptic properties. Some websites even re-post this unsourceable statement about onions: “Egyptians numbered over 8000 onion-alleviated ailments.” Whether or not this is a historical exaggeration, there was plenty of evidence left behind by the ancient Egyptians that illustrate how much the onion was highly regarded in their cuisine and health.  Try an enchilada recipe  for a healthy dose of onion goodness!

  • Bell Pepper

According to scientists, a serious depletion of vitamin A occurs in smokers due to a carcinogen found in cigarettes. Foods rich in vitamin A, such as bell peppers and chili peppers, can protect smokers from developing emphysema or lung inflammation. Also, the high vitamin C content in bell peppers have also been seen by researchers to protect people from developing cataracts and from crippling rheumatoid arthritis. (World’s Healthiest Foods)  A good way to enjoy this aromatic is in salads or a sausage wrap this summer!

  • Celery

Celery contains a high amount of a natural steroid called androstenone, which increases pheromone levels in men when they sweat. Co-authors Dr. Judy Garman, Dr. Walter Gaman and Dr. Mark Anderson call celery “vegetable Viagra” in their new book called “Stay Young: Ten Proven Steps to Ultimate Health.”  So, get yourself some stalks of celery and peanut butter (or hummus) as a snack or in stuffing with a nice cut of pork for the ladies.

Without a doubt, there is more to these essential aromatic foods than meets the eye. There are other aromatics that are worth mentioning and exploring such as shallots, ginger, herbs, spices, peppers and others.  All have unique properties to enrich your life and, most especially, your palate.  So, cook more at home and be in control of your health!

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Spring Roll Party

A great way to spend an afternoon with friends and family is to invite them over for a culinary adventure!  I asked two of my friends, Gene and Hong, to walk me through Vietnamese spring roll making, and they both agreed to educate and share their experience with me.      

 To save money and time, Gene, Hong and I decided to share the task and cost of preparing some things at home the day before doing the spring rolls.  I boiled two pounds of shrimp, Gene BBQ’d a pork loin, and Hong brought some fried tofu from a local vendor.  Here’s how Gene and I prepared our stuff…     

 Gene’s BBQ’d Pork Loin     

  1. In a ziploc bag add ground black pepper, garlic powder and a squirt of Sriracha hot chili sauce.
  2. Add loin to mix and shake it up
  3. Marinade for1 hour
  4. Grill, sear and smoke the loin
  5. Add BBQ sauce at the end

Yvette’s Shrimp Boil      

  1. Thaw a 2 lb bag of frozen shrimp, devained and shelled
  2. Boil water and add shrimp with shell on
  3. Scoop the shrimp out when they float to the top (small strainer helps)
  4. Let them cool and then peel off the shell

(I could have put some Cajun spices to the boil but I didn’t think of it)     

On the day we planned to make these spring rolls, we first went to an Asian supermarket, and for me this was the intimidating part!  Most staff are willing to help but the easiest way is if you have an Asian friend to take you on a small tour. (Thanks, Hong!)  This author was surprised to discover fresh and inexpensive herbs there!   Compare prices at your local Asian market vs. regular grocery store and be amazed!  

Here’s how we did all the prep work the day of of spring rolling…     

 Peanut Sauce Prep     

  1. Saute 4-5 shallot cloves, chopped
  2. Once the shallots are caramelized, throw in 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  3. 1 cup of hoison
  4. 1/3 of a jar of peanut butter
  5. 1 cup of water (or as much as desired in thickness)
  6. Dash of rooster sauce or Tabasco sauce to taste

Rice Noodle Prep      

  1.  Boil the rice noodles or bun (pronounced like boon) for about 5-8 minutes for a softer noodle
  2. Separate the noodles in small clumps in a large strainer for easier pickin’s
  3. Rinse the bun two times in cold water

Herb Prep      

  1. Wash the curly lettuce twice
  2.  Soak and wash twice the cilantro (Ngo), Thai basil (Que), mint (Kanh Gioi), lemon herb (Rau ram). thin leeks (He).  For a spicier mix add spearmint (Hung Cay) or peppermint (Hung Hui).

 Okay!  Let’s put all these things together!!!  

 
For a recipe on crispy spring rolls, check out my article on Associated Content.  
 
 

           Introduction to Asian Cuisine with Dorothy Huang
If you were ever frustrated about how your attempts at Asian cooking turn out, it’s possible you might be tempted to give up and just order in.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2972480/introduction_to_asian_cuisine_with.html?cat=22     

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