Sunday, June 23, 2013

Soba Noodle Stir-Fry

I've made this with a huge array of veggies; it's a great way to use whatever is in the box this week!   Sometimes, we make it with chicken, sometimes not.  I've also served it over a bed of lettuce; the sauce from the stir fry acts like a salad dressing and the cold lettuce with the warm stir fry creates a pleasant contrast.  There are no quantities indicated for the ingredients because it's infinitely flexible--use what you have and however much you want of it.  Makes delicious leftovers too! 

Soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
a mix of vegetables, such as snow peas, radishes, onions, scallions, mushrooms, carrots, bok choy,
        broccoli, etc.  Leave snow peas whole, julienne other vegetables or dice
garlic or garlic scapes, chopped
chicken breast, cubed (optional)
neutral flavored cooking oil (such as canola)
toasted sesame oil (a little goes a long way)
soy sauce
hoisin sauce
sesame seeds
salad greens (optional)

1.  In a bowl, mix equal parts hoisin sauce and soy sauce.  Whisk to dissolve the hoisin sauce.  A stir fry for a family of four usual takes about 2 Tbsp of each.   

2.  Heat neutral oil in a large skillet or wok.  If using the chicken, cook, unseasoned, in the oil until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.

3.  Cook the vegetables in the neutral oil.  Add them in reverse order of cooking time (radishes and carrots take longer to cook, snow peas only take a few minutes).  The idea is to have all the veggies cooked through at the same time.

4.  About two minutes before the veggies are finished cooking, add the garlic or garlic scapes.  Cook until fragrant, about a minute.  Add the sesame oil and a generous helping of sesame seeds to coat the vegetables.  Add the cooked chicken, if using, and the soba noodles.     

5.  Stir in the hoisin and soy sauce mix.  Be sure that everything is thoroughly coated by the sauce.  If it's not thoroughly coated, add a little more of both sauces.

6.  Serve as it is or over a bed of salad greens.

Quinoa Potato Salad

This riff on a potato salad made a wonderful summer meal.  Made without mayonnaise, it would easily transport to a potluck and is delicious warm, at room temperature, and cold.  It improves with a few days in the fridge as the vinaigrette soaks into the potatoes, making it ideal for leftovers!

8 medium yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut in large cubes
1/2 c cooked, unseasoned quinoa
3 garlic scapes, chopped (you can substitute a mix of scallions and garlic when scapes aren't in  
1/2 cup peas
2 Tbps chopped fresh mint
white wine vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water.  Boil under tender, approximately 20 minutes.  Drain the water.

2.  While the potatoes are boiling, saute the garlic scapes in a generous amount of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the peas and cook just a moment more until tender.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Stir in white wine vinegar to taste to make a warm vinaigrette.  Stir in the mint and the quinoa.  Stir in the potatoes, coating generously with the quinoa-soaked vinaigrette.       

Citrus-Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Maple-Braised Root Vegetables

I whipped this up for a quick date night one evening.  It looks super fancy, but is remarkably easy and only takes about 30 minutes start to finish, including cooking time!

2 Cornish Game Hens, spatchcocked
medley of root vegetables (I used beets, radishes, Harukei turnips, and carrots),
     cut into similar-sized pieces
handful of microgreens
2 Tbps citrus marmalade
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
white wine vinegar
olive oil for cooking
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Generously salt and pepper the hens top and bottom.  Preheat the oven to 400.  In a large skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil.  Sear the hens, skin side down, until browned.  Turn them over and sear the underside.  Glaze the hens with the marmalade and place them in the oven to finish cooking.  Hens are fully cooked when the thighs register 165F.  When finished, remove from the oven, baste with the pan juices, and allow to rest about 10 minutes.

2.  While the hens are cooking, place the root vegetables in a small sauce pan and barely cover with olive oil.  Gently poach the vegetables over medium heat until tender.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in maple syrup.  Cook a minute more to combine the syrup with the oil.  When serving, scoop veggies out with a slotted spoon; they will be coated in just enough oil/maple glaze. 

3.  Make a vinaigrette with the white wine vinegar, a bit of the marmalade, and olive oil.  Salt and pepper the microgreens.  Dress with the vinaigrette.

4.  To plate, place the root veggies in the middle of the plate, top with the hen (you can remove the legs to make it look better and plate them separately) and top with the microgreen salad.  Enjoy!