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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in A belated, but highly practical, birthday present's LiveJournal:

Thursday, April 20th, 2006
5:30 pm
Thai Chicken Pizza
This looks good. Also from allrecipes.

* 1 (12 inch) pre-baked pizza crust
* 1 (7 ounce) jar peanut sauce
* 1/4 cup peanut butter
* 8 ounces cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
* 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
* 1 bunch green onions, chopped
* 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts (optional)
* 1/2 cup shredded carrot (optional)
* 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. In a small bowl, stir together the peanut sauce and peanut butter. Spread over the pizza crust. Arrange strips of chicken on top. Sprinkle on the green onions and cheese.
3. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with bean sprouts, carrot shreds and peanuts, if using. Slice into wedges and serve.
Tuesday, April 18th, 2006
8:32 pm
This looks good, too. (from a cooking post earlier today):
Prep: 3min. Cook: 10-14min. Serves 4.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 5oz. each)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil.

1. Place chicken in a shallow baking dish. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Turn chicken to coat well with seasonings.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade. Add chicken to hot skillet and cook, turning, until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes per side.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in marinade. Cover and cook, turning 2-3 times, until chicken is white but still moist inside, 6-8 minutes.
4:56 pm
Proving that I haven't forgotten this journal....
Ginger Beef, from allrecipes.com

* 2 onions, finely chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
* 5 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried chile pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1 1/4 pounds flank steak, cut into strips
* 1 tablespoon peanut oil
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes, drained
* 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed onion soup
* 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
* 1 quart water

1. In a large bowl, mix onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, dried chile pepper, and salt. Place flank steak in the mixture, and toss to coat. Cover, and place in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat, and stir in onion and steak mixture. Cook and stir until steak is lightly browned. Mix in tomatoes, and cook over high heat about 10 minutes.
3. Mix onion soup into the Dutch oven. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, until meat is tender.
4. Place rice and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Serve the steak mixture over the cooked rice.
Thursday, September 29th, 2005
1:45 am
I've been slacking off...
So here are several recipes:

Oriental spicy and sour soup

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 red bell peppers, julienned
1 bunch green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 pound snow peas
1 pound firm tofu, cubed
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onion; stir-fry about 5 minutes.

2. Add chicken broth, vegetable stock, and soy sauce. Bring to boiling. Lower heat; simmer for about 5 minutes.

3. Stir together vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, cornstarch, water, and sesame oil in a small bowl until smooth. Add to soup with fresh snow peas (if using); cook for about 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

4. Add tofu, frozen snow peas (if using), and water chestnuts. Gently heat through.
from allrecipes.com.

Pineapple fried Rice
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
4 cups water
2 cups white rice
1 tablespoon peanut or walnut oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 (12 ounce) package tofu, diced
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup diced carrots

1. Open can of crushed pineapple and drain juice into a cup.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the liquid from the can of crushed pineapple with 3 cups water, bring to a boil. Add rice. Bring mixture to boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender.

3. In a non-stick wok heat the 1 tablespoon walnut or peanut oil. Add the eggs and cook without stirring, until set. Slide eggs out of the wok to a plate - cut into short, narrow strips. In the same wok, heat the sesame oil and stir fry the tofu with the mushrooms, soy sauce, green onions, and carrots for about 4 minutes. Stir in cooked rice, pineapple, and egg strips. Heat until everything is heated through.
Yet another from allrecipes.com.

Wicked Tofu Garlic (not my title!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower
1/4 cup oyster sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, garlic, and about half of the oyster sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until garlic is lightly browned but not burning. Remove from the skillet to a bowl, and set aside.

2. Add the frozen vegetables to the same skillet and cook vegetables according to package directions, substituting chicken broth for the water, and seasoning with the remaining oyster sauce. When vegetables are cooked, mix the tofu garlic mixture back into the pan, and heat through. Serve plain or over rice.
I have no clue where this recipe came from *g*

This is probably it for the next week, since the laowai is going on vacation. Without me *sighpoutgroan*
Saturday, September 24th, 2005
11:52 pm
Uptown Down-Home Chili
I've been slack here lately, but you're in Hong Kong right now and not cooking, and besides, it's not Tuesday :)

Here's another of Rachel Ray's meals, given to you because of our conversation about you missing Mexican food. If you don't have the chipotle peppers (and the Gouda, which I know you don't have), you'll probably be okay. If the Worchestershire sauce is hard to get, either leave it out or use soy sauce. And I'm really interested in you making this with cheap Chinese beer:)

I'll make you the real version someday.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommended: McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning) a palm full
1/2 pound baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/4 pound shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped, with their juices or 1 generous palm full ground chipotle chili powder, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon ground cumin, half a palm full
1 bottle imported beer (recommended: Stella Artois (...imported just 'cause we're Uptown and that's all they drink here.)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock (8-ounce box)
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
8-ounce piece smoked Gouda, shredded
1 small white onion, finely chopped

Heat a deep, large skillet or a pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and the meat. Season it with grill seasoning and sear it up, browning and crumbling it, for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate and return pot to stove. Reduce heat to medium- high and add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add the mushrooms and begin to brown them before adding the other veggies. After 2 or 3 minutes the mushrooms will begin to shirk and soften. Push the mushrooms off to one side of the pot and add all the remaining veggies to the opposite side of the pot surface. Once the onions, celery, peppers and garlic have been working for a few minutes as well, mix the veggies with the mushrooms. Add the meat back, season with Worcestershire sauce, chipotle in adobo or chipotle powder and cumin. Add in beer to deglaze the pot, scraping up all the pan drippings. Reduce the beer by half, about 2 minutes. Add the black beans, tomatoes, stock and thyme to chili and simmer 10 minutes for flavors to combine. Taste to adjust seasonings. Top bowls of the chili with shredded smoked Gouda and finely chopped raw onions.

PS--make me a list of light-in-weight-but-hard-to-get things (especially foodstuffs) so I can mail them to you...
Saturday, September 17th, 2005
5:10 pm
spinach chick pea curry
"A quick delicious Indian-style curry with spinach, chick peas, onions, and/or whatever veggies you have. I have added cauliflower, potatoes, and sweet potatoes to this recipe in the past. All were very good. Serve with nan, pita or rice if desired." Original recipe yield: 4 servings.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn
1 tablespoon curry paste
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo (chickpeas!) beans, drained and rinsed
1 (12 ounce) package firm tofu, cubed
1 bunch fresh spinach, stems removed
1 teaspoon dried basil or to taste

1. In a large wok or skillet heat oil over medium heat; saute onions until translucent. Stir in creamed corn and curry paste. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. As you stir, add salt, pepper and garlic.

2. Stir in garbanzo beans and gently fold in tofu. Add spinach and cover. When spinach is tender, remove from heat and stir in basil.

From Allrecipes.com.
5:05 pm
Tofu and Veggies in peanut sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
5 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 pound firm tofu, cubed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
ground cayenne pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Saute broccoli, red bell pepper, mushrooms and tofu for 5 minutes.

2. In a small bowl combine peanut butter, hot water, vinegar, soy sauce, molasses and cayenne pepper. Pour over vegetables and tofu. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender crisp.

Also from Allrecipes.com.
Wednesday, September 14th, 2005
11:13 am
Hoisin Pork with Garlic noodles
We haven't discussed pork...this can easily be substituted for with chicken, beef, or Tofu (though I ask that you avoid beef...does China have mad cow?)

9 oz/250 g dried thick Chinese egg noodles, or Chinese whole meal egg noodles
1 lb/450 g pork fillet, thinly sliced*
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp peanut or corn oil
4 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp bottled hoisin sauce
2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
2-ish tbsp garlic flavored corn oil
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish

1. Boil the noodles for 3 minutes, until soft (alternatively, cook according to package directions). Drain well, rinse in cold water to stop them cooking, drain again, and set aside.

2. meanwhile, sprinkle the pork slices with sugar and use your hands to toss together. Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers (not smokes!). Add the pork and stir-fry about 3 minutes, until the pork is cooked through and no longer pink. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork from the wok and keep warm. Add both vinegars to the wok and boil until they are reduced to about five tablespoons. Pour in the hoisin sauce and the scallions and let bubble until reduced by half. Re-add the pork and stir together. Remove mixture (including all sauce!) from wok.

3. Heat the garlic flavored oil in the wok until oil shimmers. Add the garlic slices and stir for 30 seconds, then remove and set aside. Add the noodles to wok, stir until heated. Divide the noodles among four plates, top with pork and onion mixture, sprinkle with cooked garlic slice and cilantro.

This seems really, really complicated. First, the two different types of vinegar are unnecessary, probably. I'd just use rice oil. Second, you can probably save time by putting the noodles to boil while the sauce is reducing the first time. It might require extra hands, but it means that the noodles will finish cooking about when the meal is done, and you won't have to re-add them to the pan. This will cut down significantly on the garlicky flavor of the noodles, though. To fix this, I'd just mix the browned garlic (and oil) with the noodles before adding the meat mixture. Oh, and if you use pre-minced garlic, it'll probably be much less of a hassle. Lastly, be careful with the garlic--if you cook it too long and it gets all brown, it'll be bitter in flavor.

Serves four. From Noodles.

This recipe seems somewhat overly complicated to me; I don't know why...

*For really thin slices of pork that cook quickly, wrap the fillet in plastic rap and pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes before you slice it. This also works with beef and lamb.
Sunday, September 11th, 2005
11:17 pm
Saturday, September 10th, 2005
11:01 pm
Thai Pineapple Chicken Curry
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 quart water
1/4 cup red curry paste
2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup pineapple chunks, drained

1. Bring rice and water to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 25 minutes.

2. In a bowl, whisk together curry paste and 1 can coconut milk. Transfer to a wok, and mix in remaining coconut milk, chicken, fish sauce, sugar, and bamboo shoots. Bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear.

3. Mix the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion into the wok. Continue cooking 10 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and peppers are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in pineapple. Serve over the cooked rice.

From Allrecipes.com.

You know, I really need to try some of these. This and the Monk's soup sound really tastey. Have you tried any of them yet, Ben?

Also, is China on the metric system? Should I be sending you measurements in Grams? Do you even have a measuring cup?

On another note, I'm having a hard time finding vegetarian meals, probably just because I don't know where to look. I'll look harder for next time, kay? Until then, I imagine this will work equally well with firm tofu, especially if frozen and thawed before use.

(p.s. this makes about 6 servings. and I don't like bell peppers)
Wednesday, September 7th, 2005
3:12 pm
Black bean stoup
this one oughtta look familiar to you...

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 sprig fresh bay leaves or 1 large dried bay leaf
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 ribs celery with greens, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
Salt and pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons hot sauce, divided
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes with peppers and onions or, stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 to 3 scallions, chopped

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add EVOO to hot pot then bay leaves, jalapeno, garlic, celery and onions. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, then add red peppers and continue to cook. Drain 2 cans of beans and add them. With remaining can, pour the juice and half the beans into the pot. Use a fork to mash up the beans remaining in the can. Stir the mashed beans into the pot and season with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and 2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce. Add stock and tomatoes to the stoup and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes over low heat.

In a small bowl, mix together sour cream and scallions and reserve for topping the stoup. Ladle up black bean soup and top with sour cream mixture.

If you haven't figured out, this is the recipe for the "soup" we've shared numerous times, and used the filling for to make burritos while watching Yakitate. As a matter of fact, I'm eating some right now in the form of "bean fried rice" (which is part of what inspired me to have this as the next recipe).

Please note that I've never used coriander, cumin, or a bay leaf, mainly because I've never seen the recipe written down before (was just operating off memory). I also thought the addition of tomatoes was my idea (and hot sauce yours), but alas, no. I also wanted to point out that I use beef stock instead of chicken because I think it give a better flavor. You can also use vegetable stock/broth. Oh, and you may recall that sour cream and guacamole went really well with this, too. The link to Rachel Ray below has an additional aspect to the meal, in the form of sandwiches which are probably yummy, but pretty unnecessary.

Lastly, this makes a lot of soup. Just warning you...I can eat off one recipe's worth for a week, easy...even longer if I mix in rice :)

From Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals. Enjoy!
Sunday, September 4th, 2005
1:54 pm
Monk's soup
4 cups veggie stock (Broth can be used instead, but will have a more subtle taste)
1 stalk lemon grass, center part only, finely chopped (I think you can buy this as a dried spice; I'll add it to the care package I'm gathering if you have trouble finding it)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste*
pinch of dried red pepper flakes, to taste (you'll probably want more)
5 oz thin green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Juice of half a lime
9 ounces of firm tofu, drained and cut into small cubes
2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
2 ounces enoki mushrooms, hard end of the stalks cut off
14 ounces fresh udon noodles

1. Put the veggie stock in a large pan with the lemon grass, tamarind paste, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil, stirring until the tamarind dissolves. Lower the heat and add the green beans and let simmer for 6 minutes. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice. Taste, then add more sugar, lime juice, and/or red pepper to give the balance of sweet, sour, and heat you like.

2. Stir in the tofu and scallions and continue simmering for just 1-2 minutes longer, or until green beans are tender, but still with a bit of bite, and the tofu is warm. Add the enoki mushrooms. Pour boiling water over the udon noodles to separate them, then divide them between 4 large bowls. Divide the soup between the bowls (the heat of the soup will warm the noodles)

Makes 4 servings.

Enoki mushrooms are from Japan. They have long then stems with tiny caps on top, and a less earth flavor than many other mushrooms. They're here to add a slightly crunch flavor to the soup, but can probably be substituted for other mushrooms or even just something crunchy.

* tamarind paste is used to add a sour flavor. another recipe I found suggests that you can just use lime juice if you can't find any, but as this recipe already has lime juice in it, you can probably just omit it without any problems.

This recipe comes from Noodles. Enjoy!
Saturday, September 3rd, 2005
9:06 pm
Green Curry Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1.5 lbs total or so)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened cocount milk
8 ounces fresh small green beans, trimmed (2 cups)
2 tablespoons fish souch
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
2 cups hot cooked rice

1. Cut chicken into bite-size strips. In a large nonstick wok or skillet cook and stir half of the chicken in 1 tablespoon of hot oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes or until no longer pink. Removed chicken from wok. Cook remaining chiken; remove from wok.

2. Add curry paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to wok (note: more curry paste equals more heat in the dish. vary according to persnal preference). Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Carefully add coconut milk, stirring to blend. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

3. Add green beans and fish sauce to coconut milk mixture in wok. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add chicken; simmer for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in Basil. Serve with hot cooked rice.

This should take about 30 minutes to cook, plus maybe 20 minutes in prep, and the recipe should produce about 4 sevings (at 573 cal per serving).

From America's Ethnic Cuisines.

let me know how "appropriate" this recipe is (re: ingredients, cooking skill, etc.). I'm quite sure this can be adapted for tofu with little problem. I'd say choose firm or extra firm (not silken firm or extra firm) and simply substitute it for the chicken.
Friday, September 2nd, 2005
1:46 am
Fried Tofu with Bok Choy over rice

1.5 cups unbleached flour
2 tbsp garlic pwder
20-30 basil leaves, minced
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp salt

12 oz. firm tofu, frozen and thawed, cut into 3/4" cubes
1 lb. bok choy, cleaned, with the stem cut into 1/2" pieces and the leaves roughly cut into bit-sized pieces
1 cup soymilk
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili paste
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil
1 cup dry jasmine rice
2.5 cups water

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot. When it's ready, add the rice, stir once, and lower the temperate to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the rice has absorbed all the water, about 15 minutes.

Mix together the ingredients to bread the tofu. Once they are well mixed, dunk each piece of tofu in the soymilk and roll in the breading, then dunk it and bread it again. Set aside. This will take some time. While you're doing this, heat up enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a small skillet in at least 1" of oil. Do this over medium-high heat. It should be hot enough that the oil is slightly smoking. To test the temperature of the oil, drop a small amount of the breading in it. If it fries in a few seconds, it's good.

When all the tofu is breaded, gently place the pieces in the oil. Let them cook a few minutes, turn, and let cook several more minutes until tofu is crisp and golden brown. Do this in several batches if necessary. Place the tofu on a plate with paper towels on it to absorb the excess oil.

Heat the olive oil in a large stir-fry pan over high. When it is hot, add the boy choy stalks. Stir-fry these for five to seven minutes, until they begin to get soft. Lower the heat to medium, then add in the leaves and garlic. Cook for two to three more minutes. Add in the soy sauce, chili paste and spice to fit your tastes. Stir-fry for a minute, then add in the tofu and stir-fry for another minute. Serve hot over the rice.
1:06 am
Okay, Ben. Here it is. It's your responsibility to, you know, try the recipes every once in a while and report back to me on which ones you liked, which ones you didn't, which ones were just right, which ones need a little bit of tweaking and how so, and all that.

It's my job (and intent) to make sure that you're able to feed yourself. Not that I doubt it, I mean, but you know waht I mean. I think.

Now, links:

woks_of_asia (this one will probably be good!)
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