Diversity in Cooking
Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Cooking tasty food each day is a real challenge. Whether it is for 250 like I do, or for two or twelve like most of you do. My audience wants good tasting food and diversity. I also need the diversity to keep my work interesting. I never make the same meal twice in a month. I'm always looking for new ideas while holding on to good old ones.
Here are some of my newest finds, as well as some old ones rejuvenated, and yes, even something blue.
Lemon Couscous Salad with Spinach, Scallions and Dill
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less, but requires additional unattended time. The best time to use it is when you have some leftover couscous from a meal; suddenly you have a great salad.
- 2 1/4 cups water
- a 10-oz. box couscous (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 tbsps. fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 small bunch spinach, coarse stems discarded and leaves washed thoroughly, spun dry, and shredded fine (about 2 cups)
- 3 large scallions, sliced thin
- 3 tbsps. finely chopped fresh dill, or to taste
In a saucepan bring water to a boil and stir in couscous and salt. Remove pan from heat and let couscous stand, cover 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Stir in lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste and cool couscous completely. Stir in spinach, scallions, and dill and chilll salad, covered, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Makes 6 servings.
Mrs. Stacey Kalla's Walnut Green Beans
- 1 pkg. Frozen green beans
- 1 scant cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts (lightly toasted optional)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsps. lemon juice
- 3 tbsps. red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced and crushed
- 1 tsp. salt
- black pepper to taste
Put beans in boiling water until bright green, not mushy. Drain and add cilantro. Mix the following ingredients together: walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Add to green beans. Mix well before serving.
Everyday Velvet Chicken
This recipe is an instant success - easy to make, loved by all.
Velvet chicken is a dish in which the texture of the chicken is broken down by scraping and pounding the raw chicken meat until it is paste. This chicken paste is then bound together with a mixture of egg whites and sometimes starch. The "remade" chicken has a new and interesting light texture prized by Chinese gourmets. Velvet chicken, however, is so delicious that it is worth enjoying even in this time-saving everyday version.
- 2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsps. cornstarch
- 1 1/4 tsps. salt
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp. dry sherry
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 3 tbsps. vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 3 scallions, minced
Slice chicken breasts very thinly crosswise, then cut into thin strips about 1 1/2 in. long. In a medium bowl, toss chicken strips with egg whites, 1 tbsp. of cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp. salt until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. I have used whole eggs in order not to waste anything.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer. In 1/2-cup batches, poach chicken until white and opaque, about 3 minutes per batch. With a slotted spoon, transfer poached chicken pieces to a plate.
In a small bowl, combine remaining 2 tsps. cornstarch, chicken broth, sherry, soy sauce, remaining 3/4 tsp. salt, and pepper. Set sauce aside. I will use any wine I have available.
Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add ginger and then add chicken pieces. Toss to mix. Pour in reserved sauce and stir-fry 2 minutes, or until sauce boils and thickens. Add chopped scallions and toss to blend. Remove from heat and serve.
Powdered ginger will work. Once I used candied ginger.
Taken from: 365 Ways to Make Chinese Food
Asian-Style Noodle Salad
A great use for leftover pasta.
- 8 ozs. Spaghetti, broken in half
- 4 tsps. oriental sesame oil
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1/2 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup matchstick-size strips, peeled jicama - I used zucchini in place
- 1 cup (packed) spinach leaves (about 1 oz.), thinly sliced
- 3 tbsps. thick teriyaki marinade (make your own marinade)
- 3 tbsps. any vinegar - rice vinegar is recommended
- 2 tbsps. sugar
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain; rince with cold water and drain well. Place spaghetti in large bowl; add 1 tsp. sesame oil and toss to blend. Add carrot, bell pepper, jicama and spinach to bowl.
Whisk next 4 ingredients and remaining 3 tsps. sesame oil in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Add dressing to salad and toss to combine.
Divide salad among bowls and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Chocolate Mousse Pie
- 6 eggs (separated)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 200 gr. Chocolate
- 200 gr. Margarine
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add sugar slowly. Melt chocolate and margarine. Beat egg yolks until glossy in color. Add the chocolate and margarine. Fold in egg whites. Divide the mousse in half. Pour half in two small pie pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes. When cool, pour the rest of the mousse in the pans and freeze. Take the pie out of the freezer a short time before serving. Cut with a wet knife and serve.
Blueberry Smoothie (DAIRY! DON'T SERVE WITH ABOVE RECIPES)
- 1 ripe medium banana
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup crushed ice
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
Makes 1 large serving.
Nutritional information: Calories - 281 kcal, Total Fat - 1.3 gr., Saturated Fat - .4 gr.