Chinese Broccoli {Gai Lan} with Oyster Sauce

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

We went CRAY.

Four days with the Fam Bam celebrating Tết, my adorable niece Kaelani’s first trip to Southern Cali, and our monthly Sunday Family Dinner.

Yup…it was crazy and also delicious.

But really, that’s how my family (both immediate and HUGE extended) have always celebrated with each other. Through the process of cooking, eating and sharing our specialty dishes – we reminisce on old memories, loved ones who are no longer with us and just laugh…A LOT.

And since I indulged a bit much during the festivities, it’s time to add a bit more greens and light proteins back into the daily regiment. Gai Lan with Oyster Sauce is a quick and satisfying way to get those dark greens in and can be done in just a few minutes. Gai Lan is also known as Chinese Broccoli and incidentally, is eaten during the Lunar New Year for luck.

And although it has nothing to do with gai lan, you better believe I had to include pics of our little Kaelani Simone. WE’RE SMITTEN!  <3

Kaelani

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Chinese Broccoli {Gai Lan} with Oyster Sauce
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon minced ginger
1 pound Chinese broccoli, washed and trimmed
½ cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 15 seconds. Add in the broccoli and cook for 1 minute before pouring in the vegetable stock. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender. Transfer the broccoli to a plate.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the liquids from the wok with the oyster sauce, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Drizzle the sauce over the broccoli and serve warm.

Indonesian Corn Fritters with Tamarind Chili Sauce

Indonesian Corn Fritters

The Oscars are tomorrow night and I have to admit, I just LOVE them. The glitz, the glam–I can’t help but be swept away in the spirit of the Old Hollywood Glam.

Sure, I haven’t watched all of the top nominated films but the event is the perfect excuse for a fun
“girls night in” filled with lots of cocktails and delish little bites. A  charcuterie board and other finger foods are the perfect accompaniment to a night of gorgeous gowns while my gal pals and I catch up on latest celebrity gossip.

Indonesian Corn Fritters

For my most recent contribution to the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I wanted to make something easy to whip together while unique enough to impress your Oscar going friends. These Indonesian style Corn Fritters are the exact thing and are spiced with South East Asian flavors like Thai chilies, Kaffir lime leaves and turmeric. With just barely enough “batter” to hold the kernels together, the sweet corn definitely is the star especially when dunked into a mixture of Tamarind Chili Sauce and Sriracha.

Indonesian Corn Fritters

Since it is the Academy Awards, I’d recommend serving them with a bright, refreshing cocktail like a Paloma or Blood Orange Margarita– though a chilled glass of champagne would be fab as well.

Much thanks to our friends at Safest Choice™ and to learn more about them and their pasteurization process to eliminate salmonella, please click here.

Enjoy Oscar Night!
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Indonesian Corn Fritters with Tamarind Chili Sauce
Makes approximately 16 fritters

Ingredients:

Sauce:
3 tablespoons tamarind juice concentrate
1½ tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon warm water
½ tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 Thai bird chile, minced finely
1 teaspoon Sambal chili paste

Fritters:
2 large fresh whole corn cobs (about 3 heaping cups of corn kernels)
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 scallions, chopped (more for garnish)
2-3 Thai bird chilies, minced (depending on your heat preference)
4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves (more for garnish)
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large Safest Choice™ pasteurized eggs, beaten
¼ cup rice flour
vegetable oil
sea salt
lime wedges
Sriracha sauce

Prepare the sauce. In a bowl, whisk together all the items and refrigerate until serving.

Stand one ear of corn vertically on a cutting board or in a large bowl. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut down the sides of the corn to remove the kernels. Repeat with the remaining ear of corn.

In a large bowl, mix the first 13 ingredients together. Stir in the beaten eggs and rice flour until just combined. The batter will be minimal and just barely hold the corn and aromatics together.

Take a large cast iron skillet or other heavy bottom pan and pour in oil until it reaches about ½ – ¾ inch up the side of the pan. Allow the oil to come up to medium heat. Carefully place large spoonfuls of the corn mixture in the skillet – avoid having the fritters touch each other. Fry the fritters for about 2 minutes on each side until they reach a deep, golden color. Take caution while frying as the corn kernels may splatter a bit during the frying process. I like to place an inexpensive mesh splatter screen over the skillet while frying. Once done, remove the fritters from the oil and briefly drain on paper towel lined plates. Sprinkle each fritter with a few pinches of sea salt while they’re still warm and garnish with additional chopped scallions and cilantro.

Serve the fritters warm with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, Sriracha and tamarind chili sauce.

 

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*DISCLOSURE: As a brand ambassador for the Safest Choice™ Darling Dozen, I was compensated for the creation of this recipe and post. However, as always, all opinions are my own.*

“You Know Whose” Copycat Asian Garlic Noodles

Garlic Noodles

You know who I’m talking about right?

The one who I probably shouldn’t name.

No, not Volde–DOH!  Man…that was a close one!

Oh to heck with it…… I’m talking about the An family. You know…the gatekeepers of the Thanh Long, Crustacean, ANQI (and more!) Dynasty!

Garlic Noodles

Oh how I love their butter dripping, garlic staggering roasted Dungeness crab and noodles. Many places have developed their own riff off of Mama An’s famed crab and noodles (including yours truly) but I’ll always have a soft spot for the old nostalgic and original Thanh Long in the Outer Sunset of SF. It’s where my seester first brought the family over 20+ years ago when the restaurant looked like a small mom and pop joint with mismatched plates and peeled painted walls.

Aromatic garlic perfumed the small restaurant with the constant sounds of cracking crab. But a lot has changed since then…..a boom of high-end sister restaurants and the creation of an empire.

But one thing remains the same…..those DAMN GARLIC NOODLES!!!!!!!!!!

Buttery, garlicky, decadent…..SOOO GOOD!

Garlic Noodles

So good that although I’ve posted my knock off recipe nearly 4 years ago, I believe they deserve a re-post. Especially with better pictures! Ugh…I cringe at how bad those earlier photos were.

These garlic noodles are so darn easy to make and are the PERFECT accompaniment to seafood—particularly shellfish. But like I said before, you cannot skip out on the magic ingredient – Maggi Seasoning Sauce. Don’t let anyone else lie to you…there’s really no substitute. It’s a couple of bucks and can be found in any Asian grocery store. It lasts a gazillion years so just pick up a bottle and keep it in your cupboard. Just trust me on this.

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I whipped up these noodles the other week to accompany a quick Asian-style shrimp scampi. The meal was pretty much a BUTTER FEST so obviously it was a hit. But if you want to go vegetarian, sear up some tofu and throw them on a mound of these noodles. You’ll love them just the same.

Now back to trying to scheme–I mean “build” my own empire……

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“You Know Whose” Copycat Asian Garlic Noodles
Serves Approximately 4

Ingredients:

1 pound chow mein noodles (fresh if possible)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Maggi Seasoning
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 scallion, chopped
2-3 pinches toasted sesame seeds

Cook the chow mein noodles according to the direction on the package. Drain the noodles, reserving a few tablespoons of the starchy water.

In a wok or large sauté pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until aromatic but not browned, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, sugar and Maggi. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the wok from the heat and quickly toss the noodles into the mixture. Sprinkle in the black pepper and cheese. Toss the noodles ensuring that it is thoroughly covered. You may add a tablespoon of the pasta water as needed to loosen the pasta.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes + Last Minute Thanksgiving Ideas

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes

 

Goodlawd…..do I love me some potatoes. And in fact, my last meal that I request could possibly be a mountain of Mickey D french fries that is then washed down with a lovely bottle of vino.

I’m so classy.

 

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes

So naturally, I’m obsessed with these easy, crispy, oven-roasted herb potatoes.  They can be prepped in under 5 minutes and since they’re roasted in a hot cast iron skillet, they are wonderfully crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

These little beauties are quite versatile as well. Perfect side dish for a brunch….low maintenance for a weeknight dinner….and fantastically delish to adorn your table for any special occasion/holiday – like Turkey Day!

 

Crispy Oven Roasted Herb Potatoes

And if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to figure out what to make for Thursday. But worry not peeps, here are some great ideas if you’re stumped.

First off… Cocktails of course!

My recommendation to kick off the festivities – The Spiced Apple Pie

It’s made of apple cider, spiced rum, nutmeg and all other types of goodness that screams the holidays.

 

The Spiced Apple Pie

And if your family/loved ones are anything like mine, you’ll need to keep the Appetizers flowing before the masses get h’angry. So for your safety, make a double batch of these fab Crispy Arancini Stuffed with Mozzarella. They can also be made in advance and frozen until you’re ready to fry them up.

So. Dang. Addicting.

 

Crispy Arancini stuffed with Mozzarella

Next up… Bread time!!! Because in addition to potatoes, bread is my kryptonite.

I’d recommend these Honey Yeast Rolls with Sea Salt. They’re fluffy, slightly sweet and if you happen to have a few leftover (which I doubt!), they make the perfect buns for sliders.

 

Honey Yeast Rolls with Sea Salt

Another bread option would be Potato Rosemary Rolls which are the truth! Potatoes inside of bread?! Total no brainer. And trust me, your casa will smell like HEAVEN while they’re baking.

 

Potato Rosemary Rolls

How about a few Side Dishes?

Now I realize there are some people who don’t fancy mashed potatoes. Nobody I would trust, mind you. But for those folks (and for those who just like plenty of options), this Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower will be a huge hit.

 

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

And just in case your Thanksgiving table wasn’t decadent enough, this Lobster Macaroni and Cheese  not only kicks up a classic but it’ll have your guests giving thanks to YOU!

 

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

 

At some point, you may want some greens. You know, because greens are good for you. And this Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette is not only good for you but will be gobbled up in heartbeat.

 

Asian Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

And now on to the Poultry.

I totally get it. Fixing up an entire turkey can be a bit intimidating. But that’s no reason to totally nix a bird. These little Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter are a perfect alternative. Game hens cut your roasting time down to about an hour and the meat is wonderfully succulent and juicy.

Did I mention there’s bacon in it?

 

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Bacon-Herb Butter

Or you could keep things really simple and opt for a traditional Roast Chicken. Because really, a beautiful roast chicken is bliss.

I almost always default to the grandmaster Thomas Keller’s method. Completely no fuss and I always get perfect results. Crispy skin, juicy meat.

 

Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken

And finally, Dessert.

Sure there’s apple pie, pumpkin pie (BLEH!) and yadda, yadda, yadda. But how about something a little different?

My Pistachio-Orange Blossom Cake would be a great finale to your Thanksgiving feast. The cake is light and gently perfumed with citrus. The crushed pistachio adds to the scent of the cake and it’s all topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

 

Pistachio-Orange Blossom Cake

And because my family is never satisfied with just one dessert, these Pomegranate-Peart Tarts are just the ticket for a low fuss addition to the dessert buffet. Especially since you can cut corners by using pre-packaged puff pastry.

YES, PLEASE!

 

Pomegranate-Pear Tarts

Now, I’m officially starving…. But hopefully this gave you a few ideas to fill your menu for Turkey Day.

And from my tummy to yours – I wish you and your loved ones a wonderfully delicious and comforting Thanksgiving!

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Crispy Oven-Roasted Herb Potatoes

Ingredients:

 

2 pounds small Yukon gold or red potatoes, washed and dried
¼ cup melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher salt
black pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley
1-2 wedges lemon

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats. (If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can use a sheet pan)

Depending on the size of your potatoes, cut them into halves or quarters so that they’re even sized. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss them with the melted butter, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper flakes. Season them well with the kosher salt and black pepper.

Once your oven has reached temperature, carefully take out your cast iron skillet (be careful, it’s hot!). Spread the potatoes into an even layer and place back into the oven. Roast the potatoes for about 30-40 minutes until they’re crisp on the outside and tender on the inside when pierced with a paring knife. Be sure to flip the potatoes a few times during the roasting process to ensure even cooking.

Once done, remove the skillet from the oven. Toss the potatoes with the chopped parsley and squeeze fresh lemon over them. Enjoy!

*For some added zing, whisk in a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard into the melted butter before tossing them into the potatoes for roasting. YUM!*

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Guys… I moved to Việt Nam.

Okay, not really. But I swear, San Diego these past few weeks have been as hot and humid as South East Asia in the dead of Summer!

I’m MELTING!!!

And turning on the oven or kitchen burners has been the last thing I’ve wanted to do. But a girl has got to eat and the lighter and easier the dish–the better!

Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad

Quick and light bites like this Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad is the perfect remedy to combat the heat. Soba (buckwheat) noodles tossed with fresh veggies in a bright and acidic ponzu sauce is easy to make and doesn’t leave you feeling like gazillion pounds.

I opted for a vegetarian take but if you miss the meat, throw in such grilled chicken or shrimp and you’ll be a happy camper.

Now excuse me as I pass out in front of the air conditioner.

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Vegetarian Soba Noodle Salad
Serves 2

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons prepared ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons canola oil (or other light flavored oil)
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon sambal paste
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic
kosher salt
black pepper

6 ounces dried soba noodles
1 heaping cup sweet peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup blanched edamame beans
1 cup blanched asparagus tips
1 cup sweet grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers (or other small cucumbers of your preference)
¼ cup sliced scallions
1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with additional kosher salt and black pepper as needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles for 3-4 minutes or accordingly to package instructions. Drain the soba in a colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake off excess water and transfer to a bowl. Add all the vegetables to the noodles, except the scallions. Add several spoons of the vinaigrette over the noodles and vegetables and toss well. Add additional vinaigrette as needed for everything to be lightly coated.  Divide the contents between two serving dishes. Top each plate with scallions, sesame seeds and enjoy!

Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad

Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad

Dear Summer,

Please don’t ever leave.

I love how you bring the bright, radiant sun out to warm us.

I love how you encourage me to wear flip flops every day (even to work).

And I love how you bring out the incredible sweetness and intense flavor to stone fruits. It makes me want to eat them all the time! Nectarines, peaches, plums, pluots….oh, the endless possibilities!

Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad

And Summer, you also inspire me to eat light and fresh dishes. So I decided to take your hint and threw some delectable stone fruits into some greens. A salad filled with all types of mixed greens to give that peppery verdant flavor, a needed savory element with the thin prosciutto slices, a salty & nutty profile from the parmesan cheese and much needed texture from the chopped pistachio nuts.

I don’t even bother with a vinaigrette. Instead, I opt for a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice for acidity and a drizzle of EVOO for that needed richness.

Divine.

So Autumn, please push the snooze button a few more times to allow my Summer to stay a bit longer.

xoxo.

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Stone Fruit & Prosciutto Salad
Serves 1

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed greens (arugula, romaine, baby spinach, etc)
¼ cup sliced peaches
¼ cup sliced nectarines
¼ cup sliced plums or pluots
2 thin slices prosciutto, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon roughly chopped pistachio nuts
1 ounces parmesan cheese shavings
juice of 1 lemon wedge
1 tablespoon quality extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches kosher salt
2 pinches coarse black pepper

Plate the first seven items on a serving dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over the plate, followed by the drizzling of olive oil. Season with the kosher salt and black pepper. Enjoy!

Cobb Salad – Taste the Rainbow

Cobb Salad

I made a Rainbow.

Well….a huge salad that looked like a Rainbow.

Cobb Salad

And the thing is….I wasn’t intending to write about it but after I assembled everything, I said to myself:

“Damn. That is a good-looking bowl o’ goodness.”

Cobb Salad

So here it is.

My Cobb Salad.

Nothing crazy, nothing shocking but darn delicious. And like all great Foodies and Nutritionists will tell ya –each meal should cover the Rainbow.

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Cobb Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Salad
5 cups roughly chopped Romaine lettuce
1 cup arugula leaves
1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1 small avocado, diced
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (I like to use orange and yellow peppers)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cup diced grilled chicken
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
3 crispy bacon strips, roughly chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients of the vinaigrette. Taste and add more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. (I also like to add the ingredients into a mason jar and shake it up–it’s a wonderful alternative to emulsify the vinaigrette but it serves as the perfect storage vessel for the remaining dressing.)

In a large bowl, add the Romaine lettuce and arugula. Add enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens. Toss to evenly cover and plate between two bowls.

Divide the remaining ingredients between the two bowls. Serve additional vinaigrette alongside each bowl. Enjoy!