Archive for June, 2014

Vibrant Summer Salad Recipes for your Next Picnic

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

It gets hot here in LA, and on a 105 degree day, the last thing I want to do is fire up all my burners, crank my oven, and make my apartment even toastier.  So what do I do? I make a ton of salads. Sure, some of these require a little bit of burner usage, but turning on one burner to boil water for pasta or cook a piece of chicken is nothing compared to throwing together an involved meal. .  Ready to get your summer salads on? Break out your salad bowls and dressing bottles. We’re gonna do this thing!

Bowls of Green Salad Recipe - So Easy

First up, let’s talk about the green salad.  Sure, it’s a great way to eat your veggies, but the humble green salad gets a little boring.? Here are my top 10 tips for spicing up a green salad.

  1. Right before serving, salt your salad. It tempers the bitterness, wakes up the taste buds, and adds texture.
  2. Unless it’s a kale salad, dress at the last minute to avoid wilted, sad greens.  Always use a large bowl to dress salad so the salad is fluffy and crisp, not matted and soggy.
  3. Hand tear your lettuce/greens into managable pieces. Tearing avoids blackened, wilted edges and breaking your greens up means you’ll get a little something extra in every bite.
  4. Got extra fresh herbs wilting in your fridge? Add them to your salad for unexpectedly flavorful greens.
  5. Add something crunchy. A variety of textures makes a salad feel more satisfying. Consider adding croutons, nuts, carrots, crushed tortilla chips or wonton strips. Let your imagination run wild. I like pretzels instead of croutons.
  6. Add some protein (but cut it small.)  Add cooked chicken, shrimp, tofu, steak, fish, or egg.  But don’t put a whole chicken breast or salmon filet on that salad. Breaking it up means you get a little more with every bite.
  7. Add a hint of sweetness. Most salads benefit from a sweet kick, whether it comes from the dressing or added fruit. I often add a bit of honey to my dressing, but during the summer I just add fresh fruit to the salads. Peaches and arugula are pretty much perfect together, as are blueberries and kale, strawberries and spinach, etc.
  8. Add extras, but not too many. A simple green salad is a great thing, but adding a couple of veggies can really punch it up.  Cut them small so they don’t weigh down the salad and don’t go crazy- 3-5 is more than enough to enhance your salad while still making it feel focused.
  9. Make it a full meal salad by adding whole grain. Barley, quinoa, wheatberries, wild rice and more turn a simple salad into a filling main course. Plus, they all work so well with dressing.
  10. Add brightness – A squeeze of citrus, whether it’s lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange, really makes the flavors in a simple salad pop. Whisk citrus juice into dressing or just sprinkle it over your dressed salad. How to Make a Beautiful, Balanced Green Salad

Inspired?  Good. Now whip out that salad bowl, harness the power of summer produce, and make something delicious happen.

Want an even heartier salad? Consider a pasta salad. Growing up, I always considered pasta salads weird, overly-mayoed side dishes for potlucks and barbecues. I avoided them at all costs. But you know what? They don’t need to be mayo heavy or even pasta heavy to be an excellent summer side dish.  Here’s my absolute favorite of all the pasta salad recipes I’ve got: A simple caprese pasta salad. With all the ripe tomatoes gracing farmers markets and supermarkets this time of year, it’s the perfect time to make this salad.

Pasta Salad Recipe for Summer

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta, cooked (I like shells best. Whole wheat is fine.)
  • 1 pint container boccocini (small mozzarella balls) or 1 large ball mozzarella cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 lb fresh, ripe tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces, or cherry tomatoes sliced in half.
  • 1 large bunch basil, leaves sliced.
  • 1/3 c Olive oil
  • 2/3 c Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black pepper

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of your large salad bowl, add the tomatoes and a healthy pinch of salt. Let sit while you make the dressing.
  2. In a jar or bottle, combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic.  Shake well to combine, then add half of the dressing to the tomatoes.
  3. Add the mozzarella to the mix and toss to combine.  At this point, you can go ahead with the salad or let this mixture marinate for up to 1 day.
  4. When ready to serve, toss pasta and sliced basil with the  tomatoes and mozzarella.  Add salt, pepper, and extra dressing as needed.
  5. Magic – you’ve got a fresh, light summer pasta salad that’s picnic perfect.  Sometimes I add steamed peas, roasted peppers, olives or capers to this salad. Sometimes I don’t.
  6. If you’ve got extra dressing, try it on a green salad. this is a killer basic balsamic vinaigrette. You’ll love it, I promise.

Easy healthy salad recipes

There you have it, folks – a couple of picture perfect summertime salads that’ll remind you why vegetables are so delicious, just in time for those 4th of July barbecues and cookouts. Check back next week for a fruit salad that’ll become your go-to weeknight dessert. Seriously, fresh fruit tossed with mint and raspberry sauce. Could it get any more summery?  Let me know in the comments -what’s your favorite salad? We may re-post the recipe!

Colorful Summer Fruit Salad

 

Korean Recipes: How to Make Korean Barbecue Steak and More!

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Last week we mentioned that we were looking for awesome Father’s Day ideas and decided  that one of the best ways to honor the amazing dads in our life is to cook an amazing meal.  Steak for Father’s Day is pretty standard, so we figured we’d spice things up a little and make a really killer Korean barbecue recipe. The brilliance of this marinade is that it works on anything – you can marinate chicken, beef, short ribs, pork, and even extra-firm tofu in this mixture, grill it, and you end up with culinary magic!

Korean Barbecue Beef on an Acacia plateKeep reading. Not only are we talking how to make the best Korean Barbecue Marinade, we’ll also talk about some other dishes to complement this killer steak, so you can cook your dad (or whoever) an awesome meal! From cocktails and appetizers to dessert, we’ve got you taken care of.  Added bonus: With a little planning ahead (marinate your protein overnight) this is a really quick, easy dish to cook. You can make it as a quick weeknight dinner recipe or as a special occasion meal.  Let’s get cooking!

A few ingredients. Learn how to make korean barbecue

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup fresh guava or pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger root, grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2-3 lbs protein of your choice, sliced 1/2 inch thick (steak, extra-firm tofu, shrimp, pork loin, short ribs, chicken breast)

Ingredients for Korean Barbecue Layout

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients except for protein in a jar or a bowl and shake/mix well to combine. I used a Kilner jar and it worked like a charm.
  2. Pour marinade over the protein of your choice. I spread mine out on a serving tray for pictures, but a bowl works too.
  3. Massage with your hands to combine.
  4. Cover and set aside for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat a grill to medium high heat. A pre-heated grill is your best friend if you want a nice char and rich flavor.
  6. Grill ingredients for 3 minutes per side.
  7. Remove from grill and serve.

Marinade in Jar Pour that marinade

Ingredients 1 Meatporn closeup

It’s honestly that simple. Nothing to it.  The only hard part is figuring out what else to serve, because meat alone doesn’t make up a meal.  I’m sure your dad told you to eat your veggies.  Here’s our suggested menu, if you want a fancy, multi-course meal. If you want it simple, you could always go the way we did and just serve kimchi, rice and meat, along with a nice green salad, or you can take it that extra step and make a highly fabulous Korean-inspired feast!

Cocktail: We Love this plum-basil cocktail from Saveur.  The ingredients aren’t traditionally Korean by any stretch, but the fruity, herbaceous flavors of the drink really work beautifully with our menu.

Soup: Traditional at New Years, this Korean Rice Cake Soup recipe from The Kitchn is a delicious, warming vegetarian soup filled with rice cakes, herbs, and a hint of seaweed. SO comforting. If rice cake isn’t your thing, consider their Korean noodle soup recipe. Also vegetarian, also delightful!

If it’s a little warm for soup, consider this awesome salad in its place: Spicy Bean Sprout Salad from Beyond Kimchee, an amazing blog with a focus on Korean food. Bookmark it. Read it. Love it.

It’s pretty traditional to serve Kimchi with Korean Barbecue and (humblebrag alert) our Kimchi recipe is excellent. Give it a shot. You may like it. Also, check out our Kimchi Kit.

Let’s move on to Dessert. Coffee and donuts are a pretty perfect pairing. We figured that tea and donuts would be equally good, and this pairing of a warm cinnamon tea (recipe from Aeri’s Kitchen) with sweet potato rice donuts (also from Beyond Kimchee) is the best way to end a meal. Soothing, comforting, and damn delicious!

Marinating MeatWhether you’re thinking about making a steak for Father’s day, looking for an epic menu, or just trying to figure out what to make for dinner tomorrow night, we hope this menu helped. I know we’re excited to have it again this Sunday, June 15 for Father’s Day!

One last thing – To all the dads out there, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY (yes, we’re yelling it!)   You rock. Thank you.

 

Homemade Kimchi Recipe – How to Use a Fermenting Crock!

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

So a few weeks ago we were experimenting with recipes for Father’s Day. Because really, nothing says “I love you” like a home-cooked meal. Except maybe cake. Cake’s pretty good at saying I love you.  Anyway, we were deep into some recipe development and came across a Korean Barbecue marinade that we quickly became obsessed with (check back next week and we’ll share!)  What goes with Korean Barbecue? Kimchi. What is Kimchi? An awesome fermented cabbage/radish condiment.  What do we sell? Fermenting crocks. BOOM! An idea was born, and suddenly we’re testing out kimchi recipes and a DIY kimchi set to go with it!

Learn how to make homemade kimchi

Our Fermenting crocks are full at the moment (sauerkraut and kombucha) so we pulled out a pickle pot and got to work.  And you know what? For this recipe, a pickle pot is pretty much perfect. The lid is heavy enough that not much of the kimchi’s uniquely funky odor can escape, and the pickle pot is just the right size for this batch.  So get ready – you won’t need a lot of supplies, aside from the ingredients to make truly great kimchi. I promise. If you want to make it super easy, check out our DIY kimchi kit. It has all everything you need – except the ingredients!

Making Kimchi in a clay fermenting crock

Special Equipment

See? Just four things.  Of course, the ingredient list is a hair more involved.  You can find all these ingredients in an Asian market, or most of them in a well-stocked grocery store. If you can’t find that Korean red pepper, consider grinding some moderately hot dried red peppers yourself, or use a little less cayenne pepper. The other weird ingredient on the list is the optional dried shrimp. We find them in the Latin section of our regular grocery store, as well as in our local Asian market.  When you open that dried shrimp, keep in mind. It’s kinda pungent.  We weren’t the hugest fan, but Marlow the cat LOVED it. In fact, we caught her trying to go through our bags for more!

Feed me, minions Cats love dried shrimp. Do you?

Ingredients

  • 1 (2-pound) napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • About 12 cups cold water, plus more as needed
  • 8 ounces daikon radish, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 medium scallions, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces, use whole thing
  • 1/3 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried salted shrimp, minced (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar

As you see, there are quite a few ingredients in Kimchi.  You can actually quadruple the amount of daikon, eliminate the cabbage and make a really awesome all radish kimchi, which has an awesomely crisp texture to pair with the spicy-pungent flavor.  So let’s get into the instructions – they’re shockingly easy, so don’t be intimidated.

Making Kimchi from Scratch

Instructions:

  1. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces, discarding the root end.
  2. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and toss with your hands until the cabbage is coated. Salting cabbage for kimchi sauerkraut recipe
  3. Add enough cold water to just cover making sure the cabbage is submerged.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap or a baking sheet and let sit at room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
  5. Place a colander in the sink, drain the cabbage, and rinse with cold water. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
  6. Combine all remaining ingredients in large bowl.making kimchi wooden bowl
  7.  Add Cabbage and toss with your hands until everything is combined.
  8. Transfer mixture into pickle pot or fermenting crock with lid, packing tightly.
  9. Let sit in cool dark place, for at least 48 hours, opening occasionally to release gases.
  10. Let ferment for at least 5 days before using.
  11. Refrigerate and eat within a month or pack tightly into Kilner jars and process in boiling water for 25 minutes. Use within 6 months.

Homemade Kimchi in Kilner Jars

I didn’t end up canning my Kimchi this time around. I know I can eat it all in less than a month, so I figured, why waste time. But if you’re looking for a fun, super-flavorful condiment to punch up your pantry, considering making and canning your kimchi. Your tastebuds won’t forget it.

Kimchi Serving Suggestions:

Traditionally, Kimchi is served as part of a collection of banchan or tiny plates served alongside a Korean meal, especially at a Korean Restaurant.  Of course eating your Kimchi with some rice and Korean Barbecue (or other Korean food)  is SO not your only option. Check out some other ideas below. For even MORE ideas, check out this Chowhound discussion!

  • Kimchi Fried rice. Great way to use up leftovers, flavor rice, and make yourself one really rib sticking meal. To gild the lily, put an egg on it!
  • Kimchi Omelet.  Kimchi is awesome with scrambled eggs. A kimchi omelet or kimchi scramble make for a really good breakfast when you’re feeling. . . um. . . like you were out too late last night.
  • Add Kimchi to salad for a flavorful punch.  I particularly like it mixed into a salad with cabbage, green onions, steamed peas, and cucumbers.
  • Toss into a basic chicken broth or even ramen.  It’s an easy way to pimp your cup of noodles.
  • It’s Fermented cabbage – treat it like sauerkraut and put it on a hot dog.

Make your Own Kimchi and how to use it


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