kung pao tofu and shrimp

mood: contumelious
listening to: animals as leaders :: tempting time/the price of everything and the value of nothing

i've always loved kung pao chicken... i mean who doesn't. i've tried kung pao beef and pork before, but it just didn't compare. pf changs introduced me to kung pao scallops which are amazing, but i wanted to see if there was a way to infuse something different that i hadn't seen before. i decided to try working with tofu as i've done some stuff with it before, but it's never quite come out the way that i've wanted. the same can be said for shrimp, but one thing that i saw in the store that i've never used before was bok choy. i have to say that i'm a fan and going to finding some more uses for it in the future.

2 bok choy, stem cut off and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, long slices
1 orange bell pepper, long slices
1/2 medium onion, long slices
4 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp of fresh ginger, minced
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 small can of water chestnuts
4 tbsp of cilantro, diced
pinch of fennel
handful of peanuts
3 tbsp of canola oil
sriracha sauce
2 tbsp white cooking wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with water
extra firm tofu, 1 in. cubes
cooked/peeled shrimp, tails removed

Kung Pao Sauce:
3 tbsp white cooking wine
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with water
3 tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp of garlic chili paste

Marinade Preparation:
- mix cooking wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch/water mixture together
- put tofu and shrimp in a medium size bowl and coat with marinade
- mix all items, cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes

Kung Pao Sauce Preparation:
- mix cooking wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, brown sugar, chili paste and cornstarch/water mixture together and set aside.

Main Dish Preparation:
- preheat oven to 350°
- cut bottom stem off bok choy and rinse under water
- remove tofu from bowl with slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet
- place tofu into oven for 10-12 minutes
- remove shrimp and put into a pan and cook on medium-low heat
- in a large wok, heat canola oil and fennel seed on medium
- add in garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds
- add in peppers, onions, bok choy, water chestnuts and cilantro and cook for a few minutes
- pour in kung pao sauce and peanuts and then add in baked tofu (which should be slightly browned) and shrimp and mix together
- cook and mix for another 5 minutes
- add salt for taste and serve with brown rice


black bean and guacamole sandwich

mood: redolent
listening to: orbital :: never/wonky

this is a really simple and healthy dish to make. i was looking around for something different and found this recipe online, but they referred to this as 'torta' which doesn't really make sense as this preparation uses a baguette and the majority of places say that a torta is a circular bread that is not similar to bread. anyhoo, enough of this breadology 101. this recipe takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish and can be used as a simple snack or as part of a meal. this dish can be served warm or cold and i, of course, added in some of my own ingredients to jazz it up.

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/8 cup of salsa
1 serrano pepper, diced
i tsp of ground cumin
1/4 cup of minced cilantro
3 gloves of garlic, minced

1/4 small onion, diced
1 avocado, pitted
1 lime, cut in half and juiced
1 baguette, cut in quarters
2 cups of shredded cabbage

- first, canned black beans contain a lot of sodium, so to reduce this, run the beans under water.
- in a medium size bowl, mash the black beans, salsa, pepper, cumin and garlic together.
- in a separate bowl, mash the avocado, lime juice, cilantro and onion together.
- remove the soft bread from the bread pieces.
- if you choose, you can warm up the black bean mixture or you can spread it directly on one side of the bread. spread the guacamole mixture on the other side.
- lay some of the shredded cabbage on top and put the sandwich together and enjoy.

the ingredients in the recipe are enough for 4 sandwiches.


aloo gobi

mood: chimerical
listening to: high on fire :: serums of liao/fertile green

happy 2012! i just noticed that that's what i lead off my last posting with, so i guess i'm doing better than last year! i finally feel comfortable posting this dish which i've been working on in some form or another for the past few months. for all of you who keep asking for some indian recipes, i'm obliging once again and i'll say that this is the first of many that will be appearing here, cause i finally feel comfortable cooking my heritage food. this is a simple healthy dish and is full on vegetarian, which is pretty standard for the majority of dishes from my parent's home state.

3 tbsp canola oil
2 pinches of asafoetida
1 pinch of mustard seeds
1 pinch of cumin seeds
1 small onion, diced
2 thai chilis, sliced
1/2 tsp of ginger paste
2 tsps of ground coriander
1/2 tsp of chili powder

2 pinches of paprika
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of garam masala
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 tsp of garlic paste
salt (seasoned to taste)

- in large pot, heat 3 tbsp of canola oil on medium-high. add in mustard and cumin seed and asafoetida and heat until seeds begin to pop.
- stir in onion and heat until slightly brown.
- reduce heat to medium and add in thai chilis and ginger paste and fry for 1 minute.
- add in paprika, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, cayenne pepper and ground coriander and stir till you can smell the aroma.
- add in potatoes, stir and then cover for 5-10 minutes.
- add in cauliflower and salt and cover for another 15 minutes.
- continue to stir until slightly brown and potatoes and cauliflower is tender.

serve with rice and naan or tortilla.