Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stir-fry Sauce

Melissa requested this recipe. Either she didn't remember that I made stir-fry all the time, or she didn't like mine, but here it is.

Stir 2 Tablespoons cornstarch into 1 Cup cold water in medium bowl. Stir 1 tsp. bouillion granules (chicken for chicken stir-fry, beef for beef stir-fry, your choice for pork stir-fry) into 1 Cup hot water in measuring cup. Let it dissolve while you add 2-4 Tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or grate fresh if you use that), and a shake or two of pepper to cornstarch mixture. Add bouillion and hot water. Pour over stir-fry a few minutes before the meat and veggies are done cooking and cook til thick.

Fried Rice

I heart Chinese food, but I don't heart paying for it.  When I was a newlywed I decided I wanted to make some authentic Chinese food, so I called my brother-in-law (who went on a Chinese-speaking mission) and asked for a recipe for fried rice.  His response began, "Fried rice is just that: fried rice."  Thank you, sir.  His "recipe" consisted of "sometimes adding" bla bla bla and adding such and such "to taste."  I don't like recipes like that.  I need specifics and lots of them. 

Last week I decided I have eaten enough fried rice to know what it should taste like, so I put some things together and it turned out perfectly!  Here is my specific recipe for fried rice:

2 cups cooked white rice (preferrably cold)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 green onions, diced
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, and corn)
1 T soy sauce
1 egg
1-2 T oil

Heat oil in large skillet or wok (enough to cover the bottom).  Add green onions and garlic and saute just until fragrant.  Add rice and stir until rice has a brown coating.  Add frozen veggies and soy sauce, stirring constantly.  When vegetables are no longer frozen, add the egg.  Continue to stir until the egg is cooked. 

Add diced ham with egg and you have Ham Fried Rice.
Add cocktail shrimp after the egg and you have Shrimp Fried Rice.

Speaking of Chinese food, does anyone have a good recipe for stir fry sauce?  I always just buy a seasoning packet, but I'm sure there's a better way.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hazelnut Tea Cookies

Remember a few months ago when I said I would post this recipe if the cookies were any good? They were fantastic. We ate them until they were gone and we were happy. Here's the recipe:

2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. table salt

2 sticks butter, softened

1 c. powdered sugar, plus additional for coating

1 T. vanilla extract

1 3/4 c. hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until aerated and evenly combined: set aside.

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until whipped and light, about 2 more minutes.

Add half of the nuts and mix until evenly incorporated and nuts are broken up, about 1 minute. Add flour and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in remaining nuts.

Shape dough into 1 Tablespoon balls and place on baking sheets, spaced at least 1 inch apart. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until underside of cookies are brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on baking sheets.

Place some powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Once the cookies have cooled, roll them in powdered sugar until just coated and tap off the excess. Let cool completely and recoat in powdered sugar, tapping off excess sugar, before serving.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

All-Day Stew

Makenzie has been begging me for this recipe. I had to resort to it for a busy Sunday dinner in December, but it tasted fabulous - probably because I used the holiday china. Or that we were really hungry. Actually, I use this often and love it because I can get it going in the morning and it's ready by dinner time.
All-Day Stew (from the Whiteley cookbook)
2 lbs. stew meat (cut into small chunks)
1 small onion, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 c. celery, chopped
5 large potatoes, cut into chunks
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 c. water
1 c. beef broth
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can cut green beans
Combine all the ingredients except the beans in a crock-pot and cook on med. setting for 7-8 hours. Add the beans 1/2 hour before serving.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ham & Bean Soup

Have you ever realized you have a tradition and you didn't know it? This morning Brian called his mother to ask for the recipe for Ham & Bean Soup. We make it at least once a year - usually around the holidays because that's when we have a ham bone. The call to Brian's Mom is part of our ritual. First we look for the hand written recipe in the pockets of all my cookbook covers and in the random accordion files of recipes I've collected. (We found some coupons from 1999 in one file folder. Just missed those deals...) No matter where you're from, this soup makes you feel like you've gone home. Ahhhhh! And it's so simple.

1 lb. navy beans

6 peppercorns (if you're Brian, put in 7 and forget you did - fun for the whole family!)

1 onion, diced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. salt

1 ham bone (and any leftover meat still on the bone)


Soak beans 6 to 8 hours in two quarts of cold water.


Bring beans to a boil in two quarts of water. Boil one minute. Remove from heat and let the beans sit in the water for 45 minutes. (Whichever method you choose, do not drain the beans. DO NOT SEEK THE TREASURE. Hahahaha!)

Add bay leaf, peppercorns, and ham bone to beans and simmer on low heat, covered, for three and a half hours. Remove ham bone(s), bay leaf, and peppercorns. Add onion and any meat from the ham bone. Simmer on low, covered, for another half hour.