Gochujang-glazed eggplant

Posted October 7, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Vegetables/potatoes/rice, Vegetarian

Gochujang is the national hot sauce of Korea. It is spicy, yes, but not super-spicy, and it has lots of flavor. It’s become so popular that you can often find it in the supermarket. It makes a great glaze for eggplant. You want the long, dark-skinned, Asian eggplant for this, although our common globe eggplant would work too.

3 large Asian eggplant, about 1 lb or a bit less
2 TB gochugang
1 TB soy sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 small or 2 large garlic cloves
Vegetable oil, about 1/3 c
4-6 scallions

Rinse but do not peel the eggplant. Cut off the stem end and then crossways into 3 equal pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthwise and then in half again to give you 4 wedge-shaped pieces (12 total). Toss in a colander with 1 tsp salt and let sit for at least 30 min.

Put the garlic thru a press. Mix the garlic, gochujang, soy, and sugar in a small bowl.

Cut the scallions, whites and most of the greens, into 3-4 ” lengths. Cut each piece lengthwise once or twice to get slivers. Set a few lengths of green aside for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. It’s hot enough when a small shred of scallion starts sizzling in a few seconds. Add the scallion white and fry, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the green parts and continue frying, stirring, until all is browned. Remove to a paper towel on a plate (chopsticks are great for this task).

Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels–do not rinse. Heat oil again over medium-high and add the eggplant cut side down. Cook until starting to brown, then cook for a few more minutes until starting to soften. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the gochujang mixture. Cook while stirring and flipping the eggplant until the sauce is bubbling, reduced, and just starting to caramelize. Remove to a platter, scatter the fried scallions on top followed by the reserved garnish. Can be served warm, at room temp (my fave), or right out of the fridge.

Note: If your skillet is not large enough to hold all the eggplant in one layer, fry it in two batches then combine in the pan and proceed with the saucing.

Gamja salad (Korean potato salad)

Posted October 7, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Sides, Vegetarian

Tags:

You would never guess that this is Korean from the ingredients, but it is a regular part of banchan, the small snacks served with meals at Korean restaurants. Korean or not, it is a nice variation on potato salad that would not be out of place at a 4th of July picnic alongside ribs and burgers. It’s traditionally served in mounds created with an ice cream scoop, but that’s not necessary of course.

1 large russet potato
1 English (Kirby) cucumber
1/2 medium red onion
1 medium carrot
1 large egg
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp rice vinegar
salt and black pepper

Halve the cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1/4 inch cubes.

Finely chop the onion into pieces about the size of a raw lentil.

Cut the carrot into thin strips with a peeler.

Peel the potato and cut into 2 inch chunks.

Mix the cuke and onion with 1 tsp salt and set aside. Cook the potato in boiling water until soft. Hard boil the egg. Drain and cool the potato, cool and peel the egg.

Chop the egg roughly and put in a medium bowl. Add the potato. Mash together with a fork or, even better, a pastry blender. You do not want it perfectly smooth, some small lumps should remain.

A handful at a time, squeeze the cuke-onion mixture to remove excess water, then add to the bowl. Add the carrot shreds, mayo, sugar, vinegar, and a few grindings of pepper. Mix to blend and taste for salt, adding if needed.

Pierogis with sauerkraut or cheese

Posted September 3, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Miscellaneous, Sides

Tags:

If you are trying to limit carbs and/or fat, read no further. These little guys are irresistible and you always have room for one more! Because the dough in this recipe is made with sour cream instead of water or milk, it is extra rich and tasty. They freeze beautifully, too. I give the sauerkraut recipe first and the cheese variation follows.

For the dough:

  • 2-1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Add the remaining ingredients and, using the dough hook, mix on low for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms. If it seems too dry or wet, add small bits of milk or flour as needed. Turn out onto a floured countertop and knead by hand to form a smooth ball. Cover and let sit while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 lb fresh sauerkraut or one 15oz can of sauerkraut
  • 2 russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1 TB butter
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks. Cook in simmering water until completely cooked, then drain and return to the pan. Add the butter and mash with a hand masher or use a ricer.

While the potatoes cook, drain the kraut and put in a bowl of fresh water. Swish around and drain again. Repeat the rinsing and draining one more time. A handful at a time, squeeze out extra moisture. Put on a cutting board and take a few cuts thru it with a knife (to avoid long strands). Add to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Correct seasoning.

For cheese and potato filling: Replace the kraut with 1-1/2 c sharp cheddar cut into small cubes. Be sure the potatoes are fully cooled before adding the cheese.

Assembly: Roll the dough out 1/8 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tin can to cut 3 inch circles. Place 1 TB filling in the center of each circle and fold over, pressing the edges to seal. Set on a wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Form excess dough into a ball and roll out again to cut more circles.

To freeze, set the baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered. When the pierogi are frozen solid, transfer to a zipper bag for storage.

Cooking: Drop pierogi (fresh or frozen) into gently boiling water, being careful not to crowd them. Cook for 5 minutes (6 if frozen) and remove to a plate to drain. Using a nonstick pan, saute over medium heat in a bit of butter and oil until the bottom is lightly browned, then flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately.

Cultured butter

Posted August 22, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Uncategorized

Butter is surprisingly easy to make at home, and even better–you can make cultured butter with its richer and more interesting taste. This is nothing more than butter made from cream that has been allowed to ferment a bit.

  • 4 c heavy or whipping cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
  • 1/2 c plain whole milk yogurt.
  • Kosher salt (optional)

Thoroughly mix the cream and yogurt, cover loosely, and let sit on the counter for 24-46 hours. It will thicken a bit and taste a bit tangy. Put in the fridge for an hour or two to chill down to 55-60 degrees.

Put cream mixture in a food processor. Zap it until it “breaks” — this can take as little as 2 minutes or as many as 6. When it breaks it will be very obvious–the mixture will quickly go from looking sort of like whipped cream to a bunch of small yellow globs floating in a pale liquid (that’s the buttermilk). Pour into a strainer lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and let drain.

Have some ice water ready. Transfer the ball of butter to a bowl and add 1/2 c ice water. Mush the butter around with your fingers to wash out remaining buttermilk. Pour off the liquid and repeat 2-3 times until the liquid runs clear. If you want salted butter, knead in 1/2 tsp salt. That’s it– you have butter. You can use wax paper to roll it into one or more logs, press it into small ramekins, etc. Keeps refrigerated for a couple of weeks and can be frozen.

Note: You can save the buttermilk and use it for all sorts of things. Apparently pigs love it. On a more realistic note, use it in baking, add to cream soups, etc. Be aware that this traditional buttermilk is not the same as the cultured buttermilk sold in markets and the two cannot be used interchangeably.

Tomato galette

Posted August 14, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s the peak of tomato season as I write this, and as an avowed tomato lover I am always looking for creative ways to use them. This galette is relatively simple and is a delicious and elegant addition to a summery dinner or alone as a light lunch. I think it’s best served warm–not hot–or at room temperature.

  • Your favorite homemade pie crust. If you make enough for a 2-crust pie, you will use only half and the rest can be frozen. Or, use store-bought.
  • 1-1/2 lb ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium)
  • 1-1/2 c grated or crumbled cheese (cheddar, feta, gouda, asiago, etc.)
  • 1/3 c pesto (see note below)
  • 2 large or 4 small cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 TB snipped chives or thinly slivered basil

Note: If you don’t have pesto, you can finely mince 1/2 c fresh basil leaves and mix with olive oil and a pinch of salt to make a paste.

Make the dough and let sit in the fridge while completing the other steps.

Heat oven to 400 degrees with rack in middle position.

Slice the tomatoes 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle with 1/2 TB salt. Let sit in a colander to drain for at least 20 min. Spread out on a double layer of paper towels and put another double layer on top, pressing down lightly with your hand. Let sit while you roll out the dough. Getting the excess moisture out prevents a soggy galette.

Put the dough on a piece of parchment paper and roll to a 14 inch circle. Trim the edge if needed–it does not have to be perfectly smooth. Trim excess parchment.

Spread the pesto over the dough, leaving 1-1/2 inches clear around the edge. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the pesto followed by half the tomatoes, half the garlic, and a grinding of pepper. Repeat.

Fold the bare edges of the dough up and over the filling. Slide the assembly onto a baking sheet and brush the edges with egg. Bake, rotating the baking sheet half a turn at 30 min. Start checking at 50 min. It is done when the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling in places.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with chives or basil, and let cool for about 10 min before transferring to a rack. Remove parchment.

Chicken wings Korean or Buffalo style

Posted July 21, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Poultry, Starters

Fried chicken wings are immensely popular and the Korean and Buffalo styles perhaps top the list. This is a way to get tasty and crispy wings without the hassle and mess of deep frying.

Wings, as many as desired
Kosher salt
Sugar
Neutral oil (canola, peanut, avocado, etc.)
Flour

If not already done, separate the wings and discard the tips. Put in a bowl and cover with water in which you have dissolved 1/4 c kosher salt and 1/4 c sugar per quart. Refrigerate for an hour or two then drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees using the convection setting if available. Put the rack toward the top of the oven.

Put the wings in a dry bowl and toss with enough oil to coat. Add some flour and toss to coat. Arrange the wings, not touching, on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes then broil until the wings are sizzling and browned. They are perfectly fine served at this point, but for extra crispness turn the wings and broil for another couple of minutes. Remove wings to a bowl and proceed as follows.

For Korean style

Gochujang (Korean hot sauce)
Sriracha
White toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Thinly sliced scallions (optional)

Mix equal parts for gochujang and sriracha to mix with wings to coat. Put on serving platter and top with optional sesame seeds and/or scallions. Pass extra gochujang/sriracha sauce at the table.

For Buffalo style

According to history, or perhaps legend, buffalo wings were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The story goes that a favorite item on the menu was a fried chicken sandwich, but one evening the cook discovered that the supplier had brought a box of wings instead of breasts. Not wanting to disappoint customers, the cook came up with this now-famous recipe.

Frank’s or similar hot sauce (Texas Pete, for example, but not Tabasco)
Melted butter
Blue cheese dressing
Celery sticks

Toss the wings with the hot sauce and butter then serve with the dressing and celery on the side. Some people sub ranch dressing, but as best I can determine the original calls for blue cheese.

Asparagus risotto

Posted July 18, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Sides, Vegetables/potatoes/rice, Vegetarian

Tags: , ,

This requires constant attention but the results are worth it! It makes a luxurious side dish for many poultry and meat dishes–or just on it’s own! It is vegetarian if you use vegetable stock.

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1 lb asparagus, thin spears (~1/2 inch) preferred
2 c arborio or carnaroli rice (do not wash)
¼ c finely chopped shallots or onion
3 c (about) meat, chicken, or vegetable stock
3 TB butter, divided
2 TB vegetable oil
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Trim an inch or so off the butt end of the asparagus—this part is often fibrous. Cut the remaining stems into 3 pieces and set the tips aside.

Bring 3 c of salted water to a boil. Add the stem pieces, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tips. When done to your liking, drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

Add stock to the asparagus liquid to make a total of 6 c. Put in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

In a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, put 1 TB of butter and the oil. Put over medium heat and sauté the shallots for a couple of minutes—they should not brown. Add the rice and stir to coat. Continue to stir for a minute or two and then start adding the stock, about 1/2 c at a time. Stir continuously until the liquid is almost gone. Add another ½ c of stock and continue in this manner until you have used all the liquid. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and some pepper. Check for salt and add some if needed, which you probably won’t. Add the asparagus, cover and let sit for a few minutes. Ready to serve!

Beer batter for frying fish

Posted July 1, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Miscellaneous, Seafood

Tags: , ,

I was trying for the traditional English “fish ‘n’ chips” style here. Can be used with any firm, white-fleshed fish such as cod, haddock, mahi, etc. This will coat 2 to 2-1/2 lbs of fish. Great for fried onion rings, too.

1 c flour
¼ c cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
½ TB salt
½ tsp black pepper
Optional seasoning (see below)
1 egg
1 bottle of beer, no need to use something fancy

Seasoning ideas (use one):

  • 1 TB Old Bay seasoning (my favorite)
  • 1 TB paprika
  • ½ TB garlic powder
  • ½ TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard

Thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients. Stir in the egg. Add about ¾ of the beer and whisk to get a smooth, thin batter. Add more beer or flour as needed to get the right consistency, like thin pancake batter. Let sit for 20 min before coating the fish. Dip the fish, let excess drip off, then drop the fish into your 365o oil. Fry until golden brown all over, then remove to a rack to drain. Serve as soon as possible.

Spicy coleslaw

Posted July 1, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Salads, Sides, Vegetarian

Tags: , ,

Quick and easy, goes well with Mexican and similar food. Tastes best if allowed to sit for an hour or two before serving.

½ head fresh cabbage thinly shredded (about 4 c)
2-4 canned pickled jalapeño peppers depending on spice level desired
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1-2 TB juice from the pickled peppers

Toss the cabbage with the S&P. Stem and seed the peppers and chop coarsely. Add to the cabbage along with the pepper juice and toss to combine.

Zucchini with anchovy sauce

Posted July 1, 2020 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Pasta, Vegetables/potatoes/rice

Tags: , ,

Don’t let the mention of anchovies scare you off. The small amount in this recipe adds a wonderful depth and umami flavor to the sauce. Serve on long pasta, spaghetti is ideal.

4-6 small zucchini or yellow summer squash, 6-8 inches long
4 flat anchovy fillets, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled, 1 clove minced, 2 cloves sliced into thirds
½ c olive oil
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes, or canned whole tomatoes cut up, with juice
1 pound spaghetti
Parmesan or Romano cheese

Serves 4

Cut the stem off the squash and then cut each crosswise into 3 pieces. Stand each piece on end and make 2 vertical cuts to give you 4 wedges. Put into a colander, sprinkle with 2 tsp salt, and mix. Set aside for at least an hour.

Put minced garlic in a 2 qt saucepan with 3 TB of the oil. Heat over medium until the garlic is sizzling, then remove from heat. Let the pan cool down to almost room temperature. Put back on the burner at its lowest setting, add the anchovies, and stir/mash with a wooden spoon until the anchovies are reduced to a paste. Add the tomatoes/juice, a few grindings of pepper, and bring to a gentle simmer. Let simmer, partly covered, for 20-30 min until slightly reduced. The sauce may be done ahead of time. Correct salt if needed.

Put a large pan of water on the stove to heat (for the pasta).

While the sauce is cooking, quickly rinse the squash to remove excess salt, drain, and spread on paper towels. Pat with more towels to remove excess moisture. Heat (medium heat) the remaining oil in a non-stick skillet large enough to hold the squash in 1 layer (or use 2 skillets if necessary). Add the sliced garlic and sizzle until browned, a few minutes. Remove and discard the garlic–the idea is to flavor the oil. Add the squash and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly browned and crisp-tender. Turn off heat and leave squash in pan (but don’t let it overcook).

Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. If necessary, reheat the sauce. Put the pasta in the pan with the sauce and mix well. To serve, put ¼ of the pasta on each plate and top with ¼ of the zucchini. Serve with freshly grated cheese.


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