Category: Appetizer

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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Sausage Wraps

During college football season, a Saturday afternoon backyard barbeque or grill session is almost a given. One of the dishes I love to cook in these situations is sausage wraps. Sausage wraps are very easy and always a hit.

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Julianne bell peppers and onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium to large bell peppers. I prefer to use 1 each of green, red, yellow and orange.
  • 1 medium to large onion. I prefer to use 1/2 of a white and 1/2 of a red.
  • 1 Anaheim pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • Spray butter
  • 10 – 12 Sausages. I prefer to use Italian Hot, Mild or Sweet
  • 10 – 12 Flour Tortillas. I prefer a specialty tortilla made local called a Southwestern Tortilla.
  • Dijon mustard

Directions:

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Veggies after being spiced and tossed

Julianne the bell peppers and Anaheim pepper; Anaheim julianned slices should be cut in half. Slice onion in to 3/8 inch rounds, cut each round in half, remove any odd shaped pieces. Add bell and Anaheim peppers and onions into a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into small cubes. Add salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, garlic powder, cumin, worcestershire sauce and chopped butter. Mix thoroughly.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees. Add one half of the vegetables each to a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap. To a second piece of aluminum foil, add the first bundle but flip such that the unfolded side is up. Place on grill such that folded side of outer bundle is face down. Grill 20 minutes then flip and grill an additional 20 minutes.

Sausage should be cooked for 30 minutes, flipping sides every 5 minutes.

Spray tortillas with butter and place on grill 1 minute both sides.

Ready to wrap and eat

Ready to wrap and eat

Serve sausage on top of tortilla, adding vegetables to taste. Top with Dijon mustard.

This dish could also be made vegetarian by simply omitting the sausage and piling on the vegetables.

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Traditional Carpaccio

A very simple dish to make, usually served as an appetizer. Carpaccio was invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice. The dish was named Carpaccio by Giuseppe Cipriani, the bar’s former owner, in reference to the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio. Though the original was served with a mustard sauce, the following is the more traditional modern day version.

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

4 oz Beef Tenderloin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Capers
1/2 to 1 oz Shaved Parmesan cheese
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Prep:

Carpaccio

Carpaccio

Remove any fat. Slice the beef as thinly as possible 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. You maybe able to have your butcher to slice it for you. Place piece of the beef between two clear wrap sheets. Pound the beef with a flat kitchen hammer (tenderizer) until they are paper thin. If slicing the beef yourself, it is advised to partially freeze the tenderloin, 2 hours in the fridge should be enough. This will make cutting thin slices easier.

Directions:

When meat is prepared. Arrange the slices on a chilled plate. Now drizzle olive oil over the beef, spread the capers across the beef. Salt and pepper to taste. Finally spread the shaved Parmesan over the beef.

Warning:

Eating raw beef can be dangerous. Always get your beef from a reputable source and choose a high quality Prime or Choice, maybe Select.

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Stacys Intense Ceviche

Fresh Ingredients
Fresh Ingredients

Ceviche is one of the easiest appetizers to make. Take some seafood, throw it in some citric juices, and wait. That’s it. The acid in the citric juice actually cooks the seafood. Below, is the way I make ceviche for a party, it’s SIC.

Ingredients

1 Poblano Pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ squares
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ squares
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ squares
1 Orange Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ squares
1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ squares
1 cup Red Onion, cut into 1″ squares
2 Large Jalapenos, seeded and cut into 1″ squares
4 Garlic coves, minced
2 cups Mango, peeled and cut into large 3/4″ to 1″ cubes
1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. Bay Scallops
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Pepper
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 cup Fresh Lime juice
1 cup Fresh Lemon juice
1 1/2 cup Fresh Orange juice
1/2 cup Rum

Directions:

Put everything into a gallon sized Ziploc storage bag. Close Ziploc and shake to fully mix ingredients. Remove air from Ziploc. Place Ziploc in bowl. Marinade in refrigerator  for 18-24 hours.

Use:

Stacys Intense Cheviche
Stacys Intense Ceviche

Strain juice from ingredients. It is often useful to save the juice for repackaging. Spoon ingredients in to Martini glasses and serve with a toothpick.

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Baba Ganoush

Also spelled Baba Ghanoush, Baba Gnush, Babaganoush, among others. A great grazing dish for parties or appetizer.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds (2 to 3 small) firm eggplant
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon
1 lime
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
3 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup pine nuts,
2 bags pita crisps

Prep:

Roast pine nuts at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Juice lemon and lime.

Directions:

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

Use fork to thinly prick eggplant. Bake eggplant at 450 degrees until inside is soft, approximately 20 minutes. Cut eggplant in half length-wise. Remove pulp from skin and discard skin. Add pulp to food processor and mix until creamy. Add salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, juice, parsley, and tahini to the eggplant and mix thoroughly. Salt to taste. Plate the mixture in a 2-3 cup bowl. Hand mix the pine nuts in to the mixture. Place bowl on a serving dish and surround with pita crisp.

Use:

Though Baba Ganoush could be made as a side dish or entree, it is more common as an appetizer or dip. Make guest aware that it contains nuts as some people may be allergic.

Variants:

Other types of chips may be substituted for the pita crisp.

Notes:

The three ingredients that are the most difficult to find are the pine nuts, tahini and pita crisp. If you can by the pine nuts in bulk. They are rather expensive and there is no reason to get more than the required amount. The tahini will be found in or near the spices or in a Greek/Mediterranean area of the grocery store. The pita crisp will be found in chip section or rarely with the crackers.

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