Saturday, March 08, 2008

Review of this weeks Menu

Everything went well. Yay! Nothing was ugh! The Broiled fish with Ginger butter was dead easy (and recipe is exactly as the title says) - the grated ginger in the melted butter giving a nice bit of zing to the mild tilapia. Sprinkling a bit of cilantro on top giving it a nice touch of color. I did add a can of black beans to the Chili-sauced Crock Chicken legs since it didn't quite fill up my crock-pot, and it worked out well, making it more of a chili and going well with the rice that I served it over. It definitely filled us up! And the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. The Manhattan Clam Chowder was tasty as always - It was hard saving a serving for my MiL - but I did. :) And the Beef stew was also tasty as always - it's hard to screw that up. Tonight is Ground Beef Gyro's - a new recipe for us. And then I shouldn't have to cook for a few days since we'll be eating leftovers for a bit. I will be doing a bit of "re-cooking" of the Mary's Hoisin Chicken, though.

We had the Mary's Hoisin Chicken last night. I threw it in the freezer after making it, taking it out to thaw before hand. (BTW the recipe can be found all over the net if you Google it.) We have plenty leftover since there's just the two of us. I did make one small change after tasting it after it cooked. Ok, well technically two- one before cooking also. I used bone-in thighs, since the original called for boneless since I didn't feel like de-boning the thighs - not a big deal and I also feel like it:
#1: gives more taste to the sauce
#2: keeps the meat from over cooking a bit better since it takes a bit longer to cook
#3: Gives the sauce a bit more body also
I also added a tablespoon of Asian chili-garlic sauce after it cooked because I wanted a bit of spiciness too it. But then again, we don't have kids to worry about. I also think a bit of peanut butter would be good in it too. Either way it was very good, and man noises were heard as it was eaten. :)

As I said there was plenty leftover and I plan to use those leftovers to make one of our favorites: Steamed Chinese Buns. These are the perfect way to use any leftover Chinese food - even better if you have just a little bit left - which we actually have more than a little bit, but that's ok. Anything, and I really do mean anything works well in these. I made these a lot of times when we were eating vegan since it was hard finding vegan pre-made dumplings and we had leftover homemade vegan Chinese food. It was great using fake TVP and BBQ sauce too. The original recipe comes from "The All-New Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook: 101 Brand-New, Irresistible, Foolproof Recipes for Family and Friends" by Tom Lacalamita

Basic Chinese Bun Dough

Believe it or not, bread does have a place in Chinese cooking, especially steamed breads, like savory filled buns. Besides being delicious and highly addictive, Chinese steamed buns are quick and easy to prepare when using the bread machine to make the dough. To save even more time, the fills are made from take-out dishes from your local Chinese take-out restaurant. And left-over steamed buns can be froze and then reheated in the microwave oven.

1 cup water
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp finely chopped chives or scallion greens
3 cups bread flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
For Filled Bun: 1 pound of meat or vegetables in 1/4 cup of sauce

All ingredients must be at room temperature. Liquid ingredients should be approximately 80 degrees F. Add ingredients in the order specified in your bread machine owner's manual.

Select manual/dough.

At the end of the cycle let the dough rest 5 minutes, then proceed with any recipes for the Chinese steamed buns.

Basic Buns: Remove meat or vegetables from sauce, reserving sauce and chop meat or vegetables into very small pieces in a food processor. Combine with 1/4 cup of the reserved sauce.

Roll bun dough on a lightly floured surface into a long cylinder, 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut into 16 pieces. With your fingers, flatten one piece of the dough at a time into a 3-inch round. The edges should be thinner with a puffy 1-inch center.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in center of dough, and gather edges together, pressing to seal. Twist gathered edges together, pressing to seal. Twist gathered edges to prevent them from opening. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Place buns gathered side down, 1 inch apart, on bamboo or metal steamer trays lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place, 15 minutes.

To steam buns, place bamboo steamer trays over a pan or wok of boiling water, or place metal steamers into a large, covered pot of boiling water. Steam buns over high heat 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed and springy to the touch. If you are steaming a few tiers at a time, rotate steamer trays midway through. Transfer steamed buns to a platter and serve right away.

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