A Culinary Journal

A Culinary Journal

Classically trained NYC chef...turned California mom

Recent Posts

Matchstick Vegetable Stir-Fry, For All The Veggie Lovers Out There

Matchstick Vegetable Stir-Fry, For All The Veggie Lovers Out There

Vegetable stir-fry is one if the easiest vegetable sides dishes out there.  By mixing different vegetable flavors and textures, you undoubtedly get a more interesting side dish.  What I also love about a good vegetable stir-fry is that almost any vegetable can work, so it is super easy to adapt to the likes and dislikes of various family members or dinner guests. Traditional stir frying is a Chinese cooking technique in which ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok.  The technique began in China and eventually made its way to us.  I remember when stir-fry became popular when I was a kid: my mom came home with a wok with every intention of whipping up delicious “stir-fry” dinners for me and my sister.  I recall at least one attempt at that; but in New York City, cooking with woks on high heat quickly sets off smoke detectors, thus putting an end to my mother’s stir-fry dreams.

vegetable stir-fry

 It is thought that wok frying began sometime during the Han Dynasty around 206 B.C. but was originally used for drying grain.  It was not until later, during the Ming Dynasty, that people began using woks to cook food in hot oil.  The wok itself would not become widely used until well into the 20th century, since the cost of oil was too high for most families.

vegetable stir-fry

In the world of stir-fry, there are two classic types of techniques: “chao” and “bao“.  Both of these theses use high heat, but chao involves incorporating liquid, which results in softer cooked food.  Bao involves no liquid, which tends to result in crispier items.  The chao technique is more similar to sautéing; high heat, first oil, then ingredients are added in order based on how much coking time is required, typically proteins first followed by vegetables.  In contrast, bao technique involves high heat with continual tossing.  Although I don’t use a wok for this recipe, my method is more similar to the chao stir-fry method.  When stir-frying vegetables, I like to make the vegetables thin and as similarly sized as possible, so that everything can be added at the same time and cook more or less equally.

vegetable stir-fry

 While I am generally a big vegetable fan, anything can get boring eventually.  Stir-frys are a fantastic way to mix it up and also help introduce newer vegetables into your diet. For this vegetable stir-fry, I went with readily available vegetables that my boys like.  But don’t limit yourself, there tons of great options out there to consider.  So go ahead and be creative.

Matchstick Vegetable Stir-Fry

January 14, 2018
: 4-6
: 45 min
: 15 min
: 1 hr
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Vegetables:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 2 cups jicama, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 2 cups snap peas, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Directions
  • Step 1 Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and when hot, but not smoking, add the carrots and sauté until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the onions and cook an additional 3 minutes to soften.
  • Step 2 Add the green beans, jicama, snap peas, the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil and the water. Cook for about 5-6 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, salt and a some black pepper and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Step 3 Off the heat stir in the parsley. Adjust the seasoning needed.

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The Federation Is A Serious And Incredibly Memorable Drink

The Federation Is A Serious And Incredibly Memorable Drink

Smooth and refined deliciousness. The Sazerac, credited as being one of the first true cocktails, is a New Orleans take on a traditional rye cocktail. The Federation puts a further spin on the Sazerac.  The combination of Anejo tequila instead of rye mixed with creme de cacao leads to a sweeter, richer, cocktail with a more distinct, yet subtle, chocolatey flavor.

For those who are unfamiliar with the types of tequila, there are two broad categories: 100% blue agave, and Tequila Mixto (mixed) which contains a minimum of 51% Blue Agave and 49% from other sugars, most commonly cane sugar.  The additional ingredients within Mixto tequila are caramel coloring, oak extract flavoring, glycerin and sugar based syrup.  Whenever possible, you want to look for tequila that is made with 100% blue agave.  The categories are further divided into the following five types: (1) Tequila Silver (Blanco, White, Platinum), (2) Tequila Gold (Javon, Oro), (3) Tequila Silver, which includes the first stage of “rested/aged” tequila ranging from 2 months to 11 months, (4) Tequila Anejo (extra aged), aged at least one year in smaller barrels (which darkens the tequila), and (5) Tequila Extra Anos (ultra aged) a new classification for tequila aged more than three years also in smaller barrels. If you are still interested in reading more about tequila generally, click here to check out some of the best tequilas in the world, there are many.  The Federation is a memorable drink and a nice change of pace from a margarita, if you do not know what else to do with tequila.  I stumbled upon this rather unknown cocktail in a “must try tequila drinks” section of an article I read awhile back, and boy am I glad I tried it.  This recipe calls for Tequila Anejo, but you can try another type if you like.  This cocktail is smooth going down and it guaranteed to warm you up even on the coldest nights.

The Federation

January 12, 2018
: 1
: 5 min
: 5 min
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • Pernod (or another Absinthe), for rinsing the glass
  • 2 ounces Anejo Tequila
  • 1/2 ounce Creme de Cacao
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange peel, for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Use a rocks glass and rinse lightly with Pernod. Discard liquid. Add a few pieces of ice to the glass.
  • Step 2 Add the tequila, Creme de Cacao and bitters. Gently stir.
  • Step 3 Garnish with an orange peel.

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Bucatini Pasta With Shredded Broccoli, Crispy Bacon And Lemon

Bucatini Pasta With Shredded Broccoli, Crispy Bacon And Lemon

Pasta is an incredible thing.  I love that there are a million ways to make the same type of pasta taste quite different.  I could eat pasta every day.  I could live in Italy and eat homemade pasta for every meal.  But neither of those options is reasonable.  When I have pasta, it’s almost a treat, meaning I like it to be worth it.  I’m always looking for a delicious way to make pasta worth it: tasty and not overly difficult (as pasta is often a great quick meal option).  This pasta dish is a simple recipe packed with vegetables, making this particular “treat” both nutritious and pretty.

This is bucatini with shredded broccoli, crispy bacon and lemon.  Bucatini, also known as “perciatelli,” is a thin straw-like pasta with a hole that runs through the center.  The name “bucatini” comes from the Italian work “buco” which simply means “hole”.  Bucatini is made from durum wheat flour and water and is common in Italy, in particularly in Rome–which is where I first had it years ago.  You do not need to be Italian to know that the shape and size of pasta can influence the taste of a dish.   But bucatini is a variety that works well with a number of different sauces, and it is substantial enough to hold up even with the addition of a protein.  Because bucatini is a slightly stronger pasta, it can easily handle the broccoli and bacon flavors and I think still comes through as a great, not too heavy pasta dish.bucatini pasta with shredded broccoli

In this recipe, I use broccoli, which is a favorite vegetable for my family, in an almost pesto-style way.  I use a box grater to grate the raw broccoli which, like cauliflower rice, can cut down on cooking time substantially.  I add similar pesto flavoring agents like fresh Asiago cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and parsley as well as a hint of lemon juice and lemon zest to keep this dish tasting light and fresh.  In all honestly, I could stop right there as these are some of my favorite flavors.  But I have kids.  So, as a nod to them, I added some crispy bacon and used a bit of the bacon oil to flavor this dish even more.

bucatini pasta with shredded broccoli

Bucatini Pasta With Shredded Broccoli, Crispy Bacon And Lemon

January 10, 2018
: 4
: 20 min
: 10 min
: 30 min
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 slices thick cut Sunday bacon
  • 12 ounces bucatini pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups grated broccoli florets
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup Asiago cheese, finely grated
Directions
  • Step 1 Cook the bacon until crispy and reserve the fat. Set aside.
  • Step 2 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Add the pasta and cook per the package instructions. Drain the pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Step 3 Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the reserved bacon fat and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, but not smoking, add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Step 4 Add the grated broccoli to the onion mixture. Add the salt, pepper and pine nuts and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Step 5 Remove from the heat and add the cooked pasta. Toss gently to coat. Add the parsley, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and cook for a few minutes longer to blend.
  • Step 6 Add the Asiago cheese and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Mix well to incorporate and serve hot.

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Matchstick Vegetable Stir-Fry, For All The Veggie Lovers Out There

Matchstick Vegetable Stir-Fry, For All The Veggie Lovers Out There

Vegetable stir-fry is one if the easiest vegetable sides dishes out there.  By mixing different vegetable flavors and textures, you undoubtedly get a more interesting side dish.  What I also love about a good vegetable stir-fry is that almost any vegetable can work, so it is super easy to adapt to the likes and dislikes of various family members or dinner guests. Traditional stir frying is a Chinese cooking technique in which ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok.  The technique began in China and eventually made its way to us.  I remember when stir-fry became popular when I was a kid: my mom came home with a wok with every intention of whipping up delicious “stir-fry” dinners for me and my sister.  I recall at least one attempt at that; but in New York City, cooking with woks on high heat quickly sets off smoke detectors, thus putting an end to my mother’s stir-fry dreams.

vegetable stir-fry

 It is thought that wok frying began sometime during the Han Dynasty around 206 B.C. but was originally used for drying grain.  It was not until later, during the Ming Dynasty, that people began using woks to cook food in hot oil.  The wok itself would not become widely used until well into the 20th century, since the cost of oil was too high for most families.

vegetable stir-fry

In the world of stir-fry, there are two classic types of techniques: “chao” and “bao“.  Both of these theses use high heat, but chao involves incorporating liquid, which results in softer cooked food.  Bao involves no liquid, which tends to result in crispier items.  The chao technique is more similar to sautéing; high heat, first oil, then ingredients are added in order based on how much coking time is required, typically proteins first followed by vegetables.  In contrast, bao technique involves high heat with continual tossing.  Although I don’t use a wok for this recipe, my method is more similar to the chao stir-fry method.  When stir-frying vegetables, I like to make the vegetables thin and as similarly sized as possible, so that everything can be added at the same time and cook more or less equally.

vegetable stir-fry

 While I am generally a big vegetable fan, anything can get boring eventually.  Stir-frys are a fantastic way to mix it up and also help introduce newer vegetables into your diet. For this vegetable stir-fry, I went with readily available vegetables that my boys like.  But don’t limit yourself, there tons of great options out there to consider.  So go ahead and be creative.

Matchstick Vegetable Stir-Fry

January 14, 2018
: 4-6
: 45 min
: 15 min
: 1 hr
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Vegetables:
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 2 cups jicama, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 2 cups snap peas, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Directions
  • Step 1 Place a large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and when hot, but not smoking, add the carrots and sauté until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the onions and cook an additional 3 minutes to soften.
  • Step 2 Add the green beans, jicama, snap peas, the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil and the water. Cook for about 5-6 minutes to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, salt and a some black pepper and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Step 3 Off the heat stir in the parsley. Adjust the seasoning needed.

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