Taste Tease

I know it’s been a little while since I’ve done a post. I just started a new job and have been training all week! Plus, I don’t have regular internet access anymore. Once I get my new work schedule sorted out, I’ll be posting regularly again.

I just wanted to share a few snapshots of some of the meals Dan and I have made recently. I’ll be posting recipes (and hopefully better pictures) in the near future, so stay tuned!

We’ve been making Pierogi by the boatload! So good. SO good. IMG_20160131_221732674

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We’ve also made Texas Chili with smoked peppers. SPICY but delicious!IMG_20160131_221741591

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Here’s a picture of the best Chicken Bacon Cheddar Jalapeno Ranch Burger I’ve ever had. We used chicken thighs instead of white meat and we ate it with an awesome creamy coleslaw. IMG_20160204_214205444

Last but not least, Dan bought Ahi tuna steaks again and made me this gourmet salad! (He ate a tuna burger that looked fantastic.) IMG_20160206_011443311

Keep an eye out for recipes and another Taste the World post soon!

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Taste the World – South Korea

So uh….we jumped ahead in our journey. Because, well, Dan was craving Korean short ribs. I’m pretty sure Korean short ribs are at the top of Dan’s “Favorite Meals” list so I was more than willing to skip half the alphabet in order to make him happy.Capture2
Along with the ribs we also made spicy Korean kidney beans aaaand kimchi!! Oh. My. Word. I think I’m in love. Fresh kimchi is possibly the best thing ever. I’ll definitely be making it again, and soon.
All of the dishes were pretty easy to make, albeit somewhat time-consuming. Although the recipe looks complicated, the kimchi was much easier than I expected. We followed this video and recipe from Maangchi – a talented Korean chef who was very enjoyable to watch. I can’t wait to see what other videos she’s put together!
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Once again, our photography skills are lacking nonexistent. Hang in there! Some day we’ll figure this out.
Speaking of pictures, you may notice a hot dog in one of them. Dan and I will put anything and everything on a hot dog, and if it’s spicy or pickled – so much the better.  Naturally, we had to make a kimchi dog. Totally worth how stuffed we were after eating so much food. I’ll write a post in the near future focusing on hot dogs and all of the crazy and delicious combinations we’ve discovered!
I’m not entirely sure how authentic the spicy kidney beans are to traditional Korean cuisine. Regardless – they were a tasty, easy side dish.
There are so many Korean dishes that we still want to try – we’ll most likely post at least once more about South Korea. We’ll also do a post about North Korean cuisine. Although the dishes and flavors are very similar between the two countries, I’ve read that North Korean dishes are generally less spicy and often utilize seafood, broths, and noodles. Capture4
For those of you in the know – what is the one Korean dish we HAVE to try?
 

Korean Short Ribs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients
  • 5 lbs Korean style beef short ribs
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed (alternative sweetener and 1 T molasses can also be used)
  • 1 c soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 c rice vinegar
  • 1 medium onion – finely diced
  • 1/4 c fresh minced garlic
  • 1-2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 2 T toasted Sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs Thai basil – minced
  • 6 Serrano peppers – minced, optional
  • 3-4 green onions – thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Let it sit until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add short ribs and marinade to a large zip lock bag (remove most of the air before sealing).
  3. Turn bag over a few times to coat ribs evenly with marinade.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. When you are ready to cook the ribs, preheat a grill or a cast iron pan to high heat.
  6. Drain off excess marinade.
  7. Cook ribs 3-4 minutes on each side, turning once.
  8. Garnish with sliced green onions.

Enjoy!

Notes:

  1. When looking for short ribs – try to buy the thinnest, widest, and leanest ribs available. (The ribs will still have some fat, which is good, but many of the ribs for sale have excessive amounts.)
  2. Serrano peppers are optional, the longer the ribs marinade – the spicier they will be.

 

For our beans we used a Soyaki marinade I found at Trader Joe’s. This replaced the sugar, soy sauce, water, and some of the ginger and garlic.

Spicy Korean Kidney Beans

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 standard size can red kidney beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 T ketchup
  • 3 T brown sugar (alternative sweetener and a dollop of molasses could also be used)
  • 3 T soy sauce or Braggs Aminos
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-2 T garlic – minced
  • 1 T fresh ginger – minced
  • 1-2 green onions – thinly sliced, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat.
  3. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly.

Serve as a side dish or over rice. Garnish with green onions.

Don’t forget to check out Maangchi’s recipe for Kimchi which can be found here: http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/tongbaechu-kimchi

 

Satisfying Salmon and Kale

At this time of year, all I want to do is hibernate and drink copious amounts of creamy coffee. Christmas and New Years are past and the cold has officially set in here in the NW. Instead of embracing the grumpy bear persona – I should be taking brisk walks and eating delicious healthy fats and life-giving leafy greens.

Ha ha! Let’s not get too crazy now. One step at a time. Food first, walk later…maybe.

So the real question is: What’s for dinner? Answer: Baked salmon and wilted kale!                 Stay with me. It tastes better than it sounds.          Bake some salmon. Rip up some greens and add a little flavor. Enjoy! It really is that easy.

Wild salmon and kale are both considered super foods! Together they are full of iron, calcium, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, and vitamins D, B12, B6, B3, K, A, and C. I’m not even mentioning all of the other crazy nutrients salmon and kale contain.

I love salmon because it is just so satisfying and filling. And I love kale because I’m a little weird and I like the strong, deep, green flavor it has. I also like the fact that kale doesn’t disintegrate and get slimy the way spinach does when it’s cooked for longer than a minute.

20151231_175230This dish is so simple it doesn’t really need a recipe, but I’ll give you one anyway. This is a perfect deep S meal if you follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

But first, a few notes from my inner food/health nerd. Some vitamins, including A and K, are fat-soluble – meaning our bodies rely on the presence of fat to properly absorb them. Iron can only be properly absorbed when paired with vitamin C (found in vinegar), and calcium requires vitamin D (found in salmon). When you compare the nutrients found in these two super foods – you find a match made in heaven. You can find links to more detailed explanations at the bottom of the post.

Now the recipe!

Baked Salmon with Wilted Kale

  • Servings: 1+
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • salmon filet
  • fresh kale – 1-2 large leaves per person
  • salted butter
  • vinegar of choice (flavored, rice wine, apple cider, etc.)
  • toasted sesame oil
  • Braggs Aminos or soy sauce

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Place salmon (skin side down) in an oven safe pan and dot generously with butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until the flesh flakes apart easily with a fork. Remove from oven. While salmon is baking, prepare the kale. Begin by washing thoroughly and shaking off excess water. Remove the tough center core from each leaf and cut or rip remaining greens into large bit size pieces. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat and toss in kale pieces. Stir to heat evenly and continue to cook until kale is slightly wilted. A couple of tablespoons of water can be added if necessary to prevent sticking and burning. Pile wilted kale on a plate and drizzle with a few splashes each of vinegar, sesame oil and aminos. Top with a serving of salmon and enjoy!

Reference Links

The Healthiest Way to Eat Kale

Salmon Nutrients

Nutrient Absorption of Spinach (sharing because it’s similar to kale)

Do you have a favorite way to eat salmon or kale? I’d love to find some new ways to enjoy these super foods!

Shirataki Noodle Stir Fry with Over Easy Egg

Dinner last night was easy, fast, cheap and delicious. My favorite kind of meal! This dish is extremely versatile and only requires one key ingredient – Shirataki noodles! Never heard of them? Me either, until I started following the Trim Healthy Mama Plan a few years ago.

Shirataki noodles are pretty much miracle noodles!

  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Grain free
  • Zero carbs
  • Zero fat
  • Zero everything

Sounds to good to be true. Shirataki noodles (also known as Konjac/Yam/Glucomannan noodles) are traditional Japanese noodles made primarily from glucumannan, which is a water soluble fiber. Water soluble fiber =  I know what you’re thinking – zero everything means zero flavor too, right? That is true, but it also means they will take on any flavor you choose to give them!

I see a lot of recipes that recommend using Shirataki noodles in Italian style dishes. I prefer to use them primarily in Asian style dishes, since that’s where they originated. So, dinner last night was an Asian noodle stir fry with an over-easy egg on top! I didn’t have any meat in the fridge and I had very few vegetables – so I improvised! Zucchini, onion, dried seaweed, Shirataki noodles, a few sauces, and an egg. Together – a very cheap and satisfying meal.

The key to enjoying these noodles depends on how you cook them.

  1. Rinse
  2. Boil
  3. Dry roast

These three steps are important. When you open a package of Shirataki noodles, they have a strong fishy smell. This smell will disappear in the rinsing/boiling process.

Nearly any kind of meat or vegetable can be added to this dish. Be creative! Just cut everything small and consider cooking the meat separately and adding it at the end. I think a fried egg is a nice addition (and it was my only protein), but you can choose to use a different protein source instead.

As written – this recipe is an S if you are following the THM plan.

*Shameless advertisement warning* I used my boyfriend’s Chili Garlic Lime Hot Sauce for this recipe!

Here’s my recipe for Asian noodle stir fry – Enjoy!konjacnoodleswithfriedegg

Shirataki Noodle Stir Fry with Over Easy Egg

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1(70z) package Shirataki Noodles
  • 1 medium zucchini – diced small
  • 1/2 onion – diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger – minced
  • Braggs Aminos or soy sauce
  • butter or coconut oil for frying
  • toasted sesame oil
  • Asian style hot sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (optional) 1 Tbsp dried seaweed – soaked

Instructions

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
  2. Rinse Shirataki noodles in a colander under cold water for at least 1 full minute.
  3. Add noodles to boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  4. While noodles are boiling, preheat a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat (do not add any oil or fat).
  5. Drain noodles well and add to frying pan. Dry roast for several minutes  until noodles are visibly dry and “squeak” when  stirred.
  6. Move noodles aside so there is space in the middle of the pan. Add a few tablespoons of butter or coconut oil to the center of the pan.
  7. Add diced onions and ginger and saute for a few minutes, until the color starts to change.
  8. Add a few more teaspoons of oil if needed and add the diced zucchini. Continue to saute and then stir to combine all ingredients.
  9. Add several splashes of Braggs Aminos and hot sauce and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  10. Drain seaweed and add to pan. Stir to combine and remove pan from heat.

To fry an over easy egg:

  1. Preheat a small frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add a small amount of butter or coconut oil and melt.
  3. Crack an egg gently into the pan and cook until the egg whites are opaque and the egg moves freely in the pan.
  4. Carefully flip the egg over and remove from the heat.

Serve stir fry with a drizzle of sesame oil and a few extra drops of hot sauce. Top with the fried egg. Enjoy!

 

Bragging Rights & Chicken Curry Salad

I need to brag a little bit.

Recently I made all of the judge food for our Regional speech and debate tournament (about 120 people, 3 meals a day, 4 days). I had some excellent helpers! (See picture.) I couldn’t have done it without them.

Now the part that I’m bragging about is this… One day for lunch I made four salads. Southwest Quinoa, Chicken Penne Thyme, Greek Orzo and Chicken Curry. Everyone LOVED them! Everyone. I’ve received e-mails saying how great the salads were! (Everyone except some guy who wanted some meat. Beef to be exact. Chicken wasn’t cutting it!)

I love it when I can make people so happy that they won’t stop talking about it.

I thought I would share one of the salad recipes with you!

Chicken Curry Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Salad:

  • 4 cups diced chicken
  • 1 granny smith apple – diced small
  • 2 cups celery – chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup red onion – finely diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Optional – sliced grapes or chopped walnuts

 

Instructions

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste, taste, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (It should be bold in flavor and taste slightly stronger than you want the salad to taste.)
  2. Add salad ingredients and combine well.
  3. Taste again and adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve as a sandwich or wrap filling or an it’s own. Enjoy!

 

Dinner with the girls…

My family has scattered to the four corners of the earth. Well – more like the 2.5 corners of the earth. My brother got on a plane to Korea last week and most of my family moved to the middle of Washington on Sunday. It has been a tiring and emotional couple of weeks. I hate saying goodbye, however temporarily or short term. Thankfully two of my sisters are staying on this side of the state, and my best friend Ayla is sticking around for a little while.

One of our goals for the summer is to make dinner together once a week. It will be a challenge because we all have pretty different schedules – but we’ve already succeeded once! Last night we had the welcome addition of the youngest member of Hannah’s host family join us…

For dinner I made fresh gluten-free, corn-free pasta! Ayla actually did all of the hard work, she rolled it all out while I worked on the sauces. Gluten-free dough is much more delicate then regular dough but as long as you pay attention and work a little slower – there shouldn’t be any problems. The nice thing about it is even if it does fall apart you can just squish it back together and start over!

The recipe I used for this pasta is an adaptation of a recipe from the Gluten-Free Girl – Shauna Ahern.

Note: When working with gluten-free flours and adjusting recipes, it is important to use weight instead of volume to measure them. That is why I have the weight of each flour in this recipe. I also used only guar gum instead of a combination of guar and xanthan gum because xanthan gum is a byproduct of corn.

Homemade Gluten Free Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1.25oz amaranth flour
  • 1.25oz millet flour
  • 2.125oz potato starch
  • 2.5oz quinoa flour
  • 3 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk together in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, make a well in center and pour in the whisked eggs and egg yolks.
  3. Stir all ingredients together with a fork until mostly combined.
  4. Using your hands, knead remaining dry ingredients into the dough until it is completely incorporated. (You will know the dough is complete when it feels kind of like play-dough.)
  5. After making the dough – tear the dough into golf ball sized pieces, flatten with your hands and dust with a little millet or quinoa flour to limit the stickiness.
  6. Use either a pasta maker or a rolling pin to roll the dough into thin sheets. Roll each piece as thin as you can before it starts to tear.
  7. After rolling the dough out, use either a knife (or a pizza cutter) or the fettuccine setting on the pasta machine to cut each piece into ribbons of pasta.
  8. Toss the cut pasta with a little flour so that it won’t stick together when you are ready to cook it. Always cook pasta in a large pot with plenty of salted boiling water. You want the pasta to be able to roll around freely and not stick to itself. Salt the water until it tastes like sea water. That gives your pasta extra flavor! This pasta is done cooking very quickly so you want to check it after it’s been cooking for just a few minutes. You don’t want it to be over cooked because it will just turn to mush. When done, drain it and add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking.

To top the pasta I made two different sauces. The red sauce was made with canned grape tomatoes, tomato paste, sauteed garlic and onions, white wine, spinach, diced zucchini and sea salt. Delish 🙂 I also made a seafood sauce that used two cans each of Trader Joes crab and shrimp (including the juices), lots of butter with sauteed garlic, onions, leeks and mushrooms, as well as white wine and sea salt. At the very end I added half a pint of heavy cream and kept it on the heat just long enough to get hot.

Even Hannah liked this sauce and she doesn’t like seafood! We also sauteed some asparagus in butter and salt and ate that on the side.

All in all it was a great evening, especially because we were able to Skype with the family and get a tour of the new house!

I wonder what we’re having for dinner next week?

Savory Gluten-Free Rolls

In the oven RIGHT NOW are some yummy gluten-free rolls! I never thought I would be putting the words “yummy” and “gluten-free” in the same sentence – but I’m pretty sure I’ve only had bad gluten-free bread in the past. I’m a believer now! These rolls have sold me – and they are sooo easy to make.

Savory Gluten-Free Rolls

  • Servings: 1 dozen rolls
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c warm water (almost as warm as you can stand to hold your finger in for about 20 seconds)
  • 1 tsp granulated sweetener
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one package)
  • 3 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp  raw apple cider vinegar (any other plain vinegar works in a pinch)
  • 1 c sorghum flour
  • 1/2 c brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c teff flour
  • 1/2 c arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh garlic
  • 2-3 Tbsp Italian seasoning or 1 Tbsp each basil and oregano

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Oil a 12-cup muffin tin. Find a warm place to proof the rolls (the oven set at about 200 works, as does a food dehydrator set at the same temp.)
  3. Stir the warm water, sugar and yeast together in a small bowl. Set aside while you mix together the dry ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (leaving out the chopped garlic). Whisk together to completely combine.
  5. To the small bowl with the liquids – add the agave syrup, olive oil, and vinegar. Stir well to combine.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and quickly whisk together. Continue to whisk to get rid of any lumps and keep whisking until the batter thickens and becomes smooth.
  7. Quickly add the chopped garlic and stir until just combined. (Work quickly after all the ingredients have been added together, otherwise you might loose the little air bubbles that are being created by the baking soda and the vinegar.)
  8. Spoon mixture into the oiled muffin tin. Set in a warm place to rise for about 20 minutes.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes (or until the tops are golden brown). Remove from oven.
  10. Allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before removing from pan (a knife may need to be run around the edge of each roll to loosen.)

Enjoy with butter, soup, or salad; or make each roll into a little mini sandwich!

Let me know what you think of these rolls! I just love them.