Archive for VEGETABLES

Ahi Tuna Poki Salad

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This is a new twist on Ahi Tuna Poki. Marinate good quality cubes of ahi tuna in my Japanese Vinaigrette dressing and serve with your favorite salad greens and diced cucumbers.

It’s oh-so-good, trust me.  🙂

You can find my Japanese Vinaigrette recipe here.

Give it a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

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Ahi Tuna Poki Salad
 
A new take on Ahi Tuna Poki that's served in my tangy and slightly sweet dressing with your favorite salad vegetables
Author:
Recipe type: Seafood, Salad
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • Lettuce leaves (I like hearts of Romaine), as much as you like
  • ½ cup diced cucumbers
  • ½ cup diced red onions
  • ½ cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup diced ahi tuna
  • ½ cup Japanese Vinaigrette
Optional:
  • Red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Make my Japanese Vinaigrette as directed in my recipe (see the link above).
  2. Marinate the ahi tuna in the vinaigrette for 10-15 minutes. Pour the tuna and dressing over the salad greens and other vegetables. Sprinkle red pepper flakes over the salad (optional).
Serve and enjoy!

 

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Ramen Noodle Salad

Ramen noodle salad has been around for years. I love this dish because you can make endless varieties of it based on your favorite ingredients.

Make it for your next potluck, or serve it as a side dish for your next meal.

My complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Ramen Noodle Salad

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I start with the basic ramen noodles and almonds.  Toast them in the oven for a few minutes to bring out the flavorful almond oils and to get the noodles nicely browned.

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I don’t like to use pre-packaged coleslaw mix in this salad, mainly because most of the time I buy the mixes, it already smells bad, indicating spoilage.  I buy a whole head of cabbage and slice it myself, saving the potential for food waste and sending good money down the drain.

On the other hand, I buy pre-sliced carrots.  I’ve never bought a bag of bad/spoiled pre-sliced carrots.  The pre-packaged kind saves oodles of time in the kitchen.

Place all of the salad vegetables in a large mixing bowl; mix in the toasted noodles and almonds.

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You can buy a ready-made Asian vinaigrette for this salad, but a homemade dressing takes no time at all, and you can control the quality of ingredients.  See my full recipe below for my version of this sweet and tangy dressing that makes use of the ramen noodle seasoning packets.  If you want to cut back on the sodium, use half, just one, or none of the seasoning packets.  The dressing will still pack a whole heck of a lot of flavor without them.

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Pour the dressing into the bowl; use a pair of tongs to toss it all together.  Serve and enjoy!

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Ramen Noodle Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A crunchy salad with ramen noodles and a sweet and savory dressing
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 4 packages ramen noodles
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 cups julienned carrots
  • 3 stalks green onions, sliced
Optional:
  • 2 cups mandarin orange slices
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup shelled and steamed edamame
  • 1 cup crumbled bacon
Dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup sesame oil
  • ⅔ cup good quality honey
  • ⅔ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 Ramen seasoning packets (from the ramen noodles used in the salad)
Instructions
Toast the noodles and almonds:
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Break the noodles apart while still in the original packaging. Place the broken noodles on a large rimmed baking pan. Set the ramen noodle seasoning packets aside (to be used for the dressing).
  3. Add the sliced almonds to the pan. Mix the almonds and noodles together.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven and let it cool. Place in a large mixing bowl.
Prepare the salad:
  1. Slice the cabbage thinly, as if to make coleslaw. Place into the large mixing bowl with the noodles and almonds.
  2. Add the carrots and greens onions to the bowl.
  3. Add any other optional salad ingredients.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the noodle and cabbage mixture. Toss to combine all the ingredients.
Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

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Thai Beef Salad

This popular Thai beef salad can serve as an appetizer or a meal.  It’s quick and easy to prepare so you can have it on your table in just a few minutes.  Toss your favorite salad greens together then add thinly sliced grilled beef and a drizzle of my delicious Thai-style dressing for a perfect side salad, quick lunch or light dinner meal.

My complete recipe is located at the bottom of this post.  Give it a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Thai Beef Salad

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Prepare the salad dressing.  Place all of the dressing ingredients into a small mixing cup, whisking together until you dissolve the sugar.  Set aside.

Next, grill your favorite cut of beef.  I like to use flank steak.  It only takes a few minutes to cook this cut of meat to what I consider perfection — slightly pink on the inside.  You can fire up the grill for this, but I usually use a grill pan and cook it on top of the stove over medium heat.  Season both sides of the meat with some salt and pepper.  Sprinkle some oil in the hot pan then cook the meat for 10 minutes on each side.  Once you place the meat onto the grill pan, LEAVE IT ALONE to cook.  Do not stab or poke at it.  The only time your utensils touch the meat is when you flip it.

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See how nicely browned it got? 🙂

Don’t worry about the sides not being browned.

Don’t slice the meat right away or all the juices will run out and leave the meat dry.  Once done, remove the meat from the pan and let it rest while you prepare the vegetables for the salad.

imageIt’s time to layer the vegetables. Place the cucumbers at the bottom.  I do it this way so that the salad dressing can start to pickle the cucumbers.

One note about my photos.  As you can see, I’m making individual servings for packed lunches for my husband, daughter and me.

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Add the leafy greens next.  I like using hearts of romaine, but any mixed leafy greens will do.

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I like adding pre-sliced carrots to add some color and crunch.  Pre-sliced carrots cost a little more but it saves a lot of time in the kitchen too.  My older daughter loves to cook, and I’m still quite leery about letting her use a sharp knife to cut thin slivers of carrots. Pre-cut carrots saves me from worrying about her losing some fingers!

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The cilantro leaves get added to the salad next; add as much or as little as you like.  Cilantro is one of those herbs that you either love or hate.  I happen to love it so my salad gets a healthy handful of cilantro. 😉

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Thinly slice the red onions and add them to the salad.  I didn’t have any red onions on hand when I made these, so I added sliced green onions instead.

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The beef rested long enough by now.  Use a sharp knife to cut thin slices of beef, being sure to cut across the grain.
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Add the sliced beef to the top of the salad.

ENJOY!
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Thai Beef Salad
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Fresh salad with a spicy and savory salad dressing. Serve with sliced beef for a complete meal.
Author:
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4
Ingredients
SALAD DRESSING
  • The juice of 2 medium limes
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce (I like the Three Crabs brand)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if the fish sauce is salty enough for you)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 hot chili peppers, diced, optional
SALAD GREENS
  • 1½ pound flank steak
  • Salt and pepper, to season the steak
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for the grill pan
  • 2 English cucumbers, sliced
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 small carrots, julienned
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Any other salad vegetables you like
Instructions
Make the Dressing
  1. Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small mixing bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Grill the Meat
  1. Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Place a grill pan over medium heat. Add the oil to the heated pan then cook the meat for 10 minutes on each side. Once the meat is done, set it aside to rest before slicing. After resting for about 15 minutes, thinly slice the meat against the grain.
Make the Salad
  1. Layer the cucumbers, salad greens, carrots, cilantro, and any other vegetables you like in a small salad bowl or plate.
  2. Add the thinly sliced beef to the top of the salad.
  3. Drizzle some salad dressing over the beef and salad greens.
Serve and enjoy!

 

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Authentic Korean Cabbage Kimchi

My Korean sister-in-law, Min, is an excellent cook.  She’s the one who taught me how to make all my favorite Korean dishes, like Jap Chae, Bulgogi,  Denjang Chigae, Kimchi Chigae, Kim Bap, Kimchi Fried Rice and lots more!

This is Min’s cabbage kimchi recipe.  She makes different kinds of kimchi — cabbage, radish (my personal favorite), and cucumber — and they are all better than the cheap jarred stuff you buy in your grocery store.

It’s a bit labor-intensive, but it’s worth it in the end.  Eat it as a side dish with your favorite meals, or let it ferment a little longer and use it in Kimchi Chigae.  A small note about kimchi fermentation — kimchi stored at room temperature will ferment faster than refrigerated kimchi.  Refrigerated kimchi still ferments, but at a slower rate.

The photos below make it appear that this makes a ton of kimchi.  Once the leaves wilt, however, you’ll end up with enough kimchi to fill a large bowl or jar (like the size of large pickle jars that are sold in wholesale grocery stores such as COSTCO).  There is a Korean store here that sells homemade kimchi in those large jars, but they are so expensive!  It’s so much more economical to make your own at home.

Don’t worry about the quantity this makes.  The great thing about kimchi is that it lasts a long time (just keep it stored in an airtight container)! 😉 Or, you can be a nice friend, family member or neighbor and share some!

Give Min’s recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Authentic Korean Cabbage Kimchi

Ingredients:

Rice Glue:

  • 2 cups sweet rice grains
  • 4 cups water

Cabbage plus brine:

  • 3 large heads nappa cabbage
  • 4 cups coarse sea salt
  • 8 cups water

Kimchi sauce:

  • 4 bunches green onions (about 12-16 stalks), cut into pieces about 1 1/2″ long
  • 1 bunch chives, cut the same size as the green onions (1 1/2″ long)
  • 3- or 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 18 cloves fresh garlic, mashed or very finely minced
  • 6 tablespoons anchovy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons salted shrimp or shrimp sauce
  • 6 cups Korean red pepper flakes

This is what the salted shrimp and anchovy sauce look like:

salted shrimp and anchovy sauce

Directions:

Place the grains of rice in a small bowl. Cover the rice with water (use 2 cups of water; save the other 2 cups for later). Let the rice soak for several minutes while you prepare the cabbage.  Eventually you’ll make a rice paste or glue of sorts with the soaked rice grains.  This is a necessary ingredient to help the kimchi sauce ingredients stick to the cabbage leaves.

sweet rice  sweet rice

Separate and rinse the cabbage leaves.  Remove the core at the bottom of each head of cabbage.  Cut the leaves into pieces about 2″x4″.

Generously salt the cabbage leaves with the coarse sea salt.  Pour the water over the salted cabbage leaves.  Soak the leaves in the brine for about 30 minutes until the leaves wilt.  After the leaves have wilted, drain out all of the water.  Place the cabbage in a large strainer basket and rinse thoroughly.

salt the cabbage  cabbage brine

Now, let’s get back to making the rice glue.  Place the rice and water into a blender.  Min uses a VitaMix, but you can use any blender.  Here’s a tip: if your blender can grind ice (for slushy drinks), then it can probably grind rice with no issues.

You will need to add about 2 more cups of water to the blender.

soaked rice  rice and water

Grind the rice-water mixture until you get a smooth consistency.  Pour the rice mixture back into the bowl.

grind the rice  rice puree

Microwave the rice mixture for 2 minutes on High.  Set it aside to cool.  The rice paste will thicken slightly as it cools.

cook the rice  cook rice

Place the onions, chives, garlic and ginger into the bowl of drained and rinsed cabbage leaves.

add onions chives garlic ginger

Sprinkle the ground pepper flakes into the bowl.

pepper

Add the anchovy sauce and salted shrimp paste.

anchovy sauce  shrimp paste

Min also adds some ajinomoto (MSG), but this is optional.  If you choose to add it, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons into the bowl.

ajinomoto

Add the cooled rice paste to the bowl.

add the rice paste

Now this is important:  Put on a pair of CLEAN plastic gloves.  Don’t even think about using the same gloves you use to wash dishes with!  Buy a new pair or better yet, buy a box of disposable cooking gloves.  You are going to mix this by hand and you don’t want to get any hot pepper on your hands (trust me).  Mix it thoroughly, ensuring each piece of cabbage is covered with the kimchi sauce.

mix  mix

Place the kimchi into a resealable container.  Let the kimchi ferment for at least a day and a half before serving.  Remember, kimchi ferments faster at room temperature than if refrigerated.  The longer the fermentation time, the more sour the kimchi becomes.  I like my kimchi on the sour side, so I let mine ferment for about a week before eating.

This will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

ENJOY!

finished product

 

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Spinach with Coconut Milk

This is a classic Chamorro dish that is a staple on most fiesta menus.

The traditional dish is called Gollai Hågun Suni, made with taro leaves rather than spinach.  I still remember watching my mom make this dish the traditional way.  She’d use a machete to cut a huge stack of taro leaves growing in our back yard.  After rinsing each leaf, mom would stack then roll them up, cigar-like, then cut the leaves into thin ribbons.  Mom then placed the taro leaves into a large pot filled with some water,  cooking them long and over low heat so that the leaves can cook down and tenderize before adding freshly pounded orange ginger or turmeric (we used a hammer back in the day to pulverize the ginger root), freshly squeezed coconut milk, the juice of lemons picked from mom’s tree, and diced hot peppers from the plants growing by the door to the outside kitchen.

In this day and age, convenience (and making necessary substitutions due to not having traditional ingredients readily available) dictates using spinach leaves rather than traditional taro in this recipe.  I buy frozen spinach that’s cooked and chopped — it saves so much time.  Just defrost and drain the spinach leaves, add the rest of the ingredients, heat, and serve!  What normally takes several hours if prepared the old Chamorro way now takes minutes.

Give my recipe a try.  It’s a great addition to your Chamorro fiesta menu. 🙂

Spinach with Coconut Milk

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Ingredients:

  • 3 (10-oz.) packages frozen, cooked, and chopped spinach
  • 3 cans coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, more or less, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder (you can use fresh onions, just saute them until the onions are softened)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon powder (or use freshly squeezed lemon juice), more or less, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper paste or diced hot peppers, optional (add more or less, to taste)

Directions:

1. Place the frozen spinach in a colander (then place the colander inside a larger bowl) to thaw the spinach and allow any water to drain. After the spinach is completely thawed, squeeze the spinach to get rid of as much water as you can. Place the fully drained/squeezed spinach into a medium-sized pot.

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2.  Add the coconut milk, turmeric, salt, onion powder, lemon powder, and hot pepper to the pot. Stir to combine the ingredients.

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3. Cook the spinach over low heat, just until heated through. Do NOT bring the mixture to a boil or the coconut milk will start to separate.

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4. Taste and add adjust the amount of salt, lemon power or juice, and hot pepper to your liking.  Serve and ENJOY!

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