Hot & Sour Soup (from Annette Christiansen, modified from Mon Jin Lau) 1/4 cup tiger lillies (dried lilly flower) 3 large dried black mushrooms 1/3 cup wood ears (dried black fungus) boiling water to cover 1/2 cup bamboo shoots (pre-sliced are easier) 1 cup lean pork (frozen for easier slicing) 1/3 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 tsp Tony Chachere's creole seasoning) 1 teaspoon cornstarch 2 tablespoons olive oil 6 cups beef stock 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1/2 teaspoon ground szechuan pepper chili oil to taste (S&B La Yu, I used a big splash of Lee Kum Kee) 4 tablespoons rice vinegar 4 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water 2 pieces fresh bean curd, cut in small strips 2 beaten eggs 1 tablespoon sesame oil 2 scallions (green onions), cut in 1-inch pieces (optional) Put mushrooms, lillies, and wood ears in stainless steel bowl, cover with boiling water and let soak 3-4 hours or overnight, let pork defrost in refrigerator overnight. Remove stems and woody parts from mushrooms. Finely julienne mushrooms (they may continue to expand), pork, and bamboo shoots and set aside. In a bowl, mix pork with salt and cornstarch. Heat wok or pan to 375 degrees F, lightly drizzle with olive oil and stir fry pork until the color changes. Bring stock to a boil, add mushroom mix, pork, and bamboo shoots. Stir constantly. Add soy sauce, spices, and vinegar. Thicken with dissolved cornstarch, stirring constantly over moderate heat. Add bean curd and bring to a boil. I prepared to this point ahead of time, turned off the heat, and took it out into the garage to refrigerate for the night. About an hour before the party, I brought it back in, and brought the temperature back up to a boil. Turn off heat, add beaten eggs and stir quickly for 30 seconds. Add sesame oil. Turn temperature back up to lowest setting or put in crock pot for serving. Garnish each bowl with scallions. [2007.02.20 -- Made some small updates to my recipe, mostly around how I prepared it a day ahead: -- Chad]
I blame Rennie for this creation. Once upon a time, she posted a message to LiveJournal that ran as follows: I really like cilantro. To me, cilantro tastes like spring. People sometimes ask me what my favorite food is. I don't have anything specific. I like lots of different things! There are definite things I dislike, but I have no real favorite food. (I don't have many favorites in my life, in general. No favorite movie, favorite book, etc. Perhaps that is an indication of my indecisiveness, but I think it just shows that I like variety in my life.) That said however, when I eat at a restaurant, there are certain "food accessories" that will almost invariably cause me to order an entree when I see them listed with its description -- presuming it doesn't also contain something I dislike of course. These include: cilantro capers mushrooms artichokes spinach asiago These aren't really favorite foods, not on their own, but they are certainly flavorful enhancements to a well-prepared meal. If I just see the word "capers" on a menu, for example, I get interested even before I see what they are being put on. Yum. There are probably other items that attract my attention like that too, but that's all that comes to mind currently. This was a dangerous thing to do in the presence of an easily-twisted mind such as my own. The following recipe is what I came up with. -- Gabe Lasagna de Rennie (An experiemental dish based on Rennie's Favorite Things) 9 lasagna noodles, dry Sauce: 28 oz. crushed tomatoes (1 can) 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped fine 1/4 c. capers 2 T. olive oil 1/2 c. asiago, grated Filling: 1 c. artichoke hearts, chopped coarse 1 c. fresh or frozen spinach, chopped small 8 oz. mushrooms (1 can), chopped 1.5 lb. mozerella, grated 1 c. ricotta cheese Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together the tomatoes, cilantro, capers, olive oil, and asiago. Don't worry about cooking this; it's going to bake in the oven and that'll cook it plenty. In a second bowl, toss the artichoke hearts, spinach, and mushrooms. Start with a 13"x9" baking dish; spoon in enough sauce to cover the bottom. Layout three lasagna noodles. (Don't worry about cooking them first; there's plenty of moisture in the sauce -- also, this is going to bake in the oven and that'll cook it plenty.) Sprinkle a third of the veggie mixture on top of the noodles, then a third-of-a-pound of the mozerella followed by a few dabs of ricotta here and there. This makes one layer. Repeat the layering process for two more layers. Finally, add the remainder of the sauce to the top and finish with the last 8 oz. of mozerella. Cover the dish with foil and pop it in the oven. After an hour, remove the foil and return the dish to to oven until the cheese is browned slightly. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving. Capers and mushrooms and aged asiago, Artichokes, spinach, and fresh cut cilantro, In otherwise boring foods give them a zing. These my favorite flavoring things!
Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake (From Margaret's Ex-co-worker's Wife) 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple drain slightly 1 21 oz can cherry pie filling 1 18 oz Pkg yellow cake mix 3/4 cup butter 1/2 cup chopped pecans toasted Spread pineapple on lightly greased 13 x 9 pan. Add cherry filling. Sprinkle cake mix and pecans over evenly. Drizzle with melted butter. Cook at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
Garlic French Bread Makes 2 - 18" loaves Dough: 1.25 c warm water 1 Tb sugar 1 tsp salt 3.5 c bread flour Glaze: 2 Tb water 1/2 tsp salt Garlic cheese filling: 5-6 cloves garlic 2 Tb olive oil 0.5 c Mozerella Cheese, cut into 1/2 by 3 inch strips (optional) Mix together, knead, and let rise until double. Put the garlic through a garlic press and put in a small bowl with the olive oil. Mix the oil and garlic well. Punch down the dough, divide in half. Roll dough out into a 12x18" rectangle. Spread half of the garlic filling across the bottom third of one of the rectangles. (I used a fork to smear it around). Lay out half of the cheese strips on top of the garlic spaced about 1/2 inch apart. (If desired.) Starting on the longest side of the dough, roll up tightly, pressing the seams to seal and tapering each end. Repeat for other half of dough. Put the loaf on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise for 40 minutes. (After 40 mins I put the dough in the fridge overnight.) With a knife, cut 3 diagonal slices across the top half of the loaf. Glaze the top of the loaf with 2 Tb of water and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Bake in an oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes on a pizza/bread stone. = = = = = = = = = = = Make sure you cover the loaves well before putting in the fridge. The unbaked loaves have a strong aroma of garlic for some reason . . .
Bread Pudding From "Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook" (1976) 2 slightly beaten eggs 2-1/4 cups milk 1 tsp. vanilla 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. salt 2 cups 1-inch day-old bread cubes 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup raisins [ 350-degree oven ] Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt; stir in bread cubes. Stir in brown sugar and raisins. Pour mixture into 8x1-3/4-inch round ovenware cake dish. Place pan in larger shallow pan on oven rack; pour hot water into larger pan 1 inch deep. Bake at 350-degrees about 45 minutes or till knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Makes 6 servings.
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
-- Virginia Woolf