Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spicy Cabbage and Noodle Stir Fry

Yes, it’s time for cookies. But until I can carve out some time (and get some decent photographs), I’ll have to talk about other things I’m eating. There have been some more really good muffins that I’ll post later, and I hope to dive into the butter-and-sugar food group for some more treats before January brings austerity calorie legislation, but a particular stir fry supper is worth spending some time on right now.

Of course, stir fry is just about right for busy nights, and there have been a few of those around here lately, but the real reason I like to make one this time of year is to star in a dinner-and-a movie night with A Christmas Story. You can eat anything you want – candy, cookies, turkey or ham or prime rib dinners – with any other Christmas movie, but you’ve got to have Chinese food with A Christmas Story!

This satisfying vegetable-based dish is quick and easy, especially if you have a food processor to shred the vegetables. I like to use the slicing blade on my Cuisinart to shred cabbage and the shredding blade for the carrots. I kept this pretty simple and used what I happened to have on hand. You could use or add other vegetables, such as bok choi or daikon radishes or scallions, but I really recommend starting with a good quantity of cabbage.

The sauce for this stir fry is spicy, and I love it that way. I used Sriracha for the bulk of the zing, with some Thai sweet chile sauce (which I adore). All those need to carry them in sauce form is some soy sauce (I used tamari) and an acid (I loved lime juice here). The combination of this spicy sauce with cabbage cooked over high heat and noodles is almost addictive, leading you to munch more and more and more, leaving no room for cookies, cocoa, or eggnog. Proceed with caution.

I added some beaten eggs to this dish for some protein. You could add some cooked chicken, beef, shrimp, pork or if you want it vegan, use tofu, seitan or finely chopped peanuts or cashews. I suppose you could even serve the cooked vegetables over rice instead of tossed with noodles. I really loved the way this whole dish came together, though. I liked this so much, in fact, that I may be watching A Christmas Story several times this year, just to have more excuses to make it!

Spicy Cabbage and Noodle Stir Fry
I cooked the scrambled eggs in the same wok as everything else here, but you could cook the eggs in another pan and add them to the pan just before the sauce.

¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot chile sauce
2 tablespoon Thai sweet chile sauce
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ medium green cabbage, shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
2 celery stalk, thinly sliced
3 large eggs, beaten
8 ounces cooked fettuccine noodles or wide rice noodles

1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, Sriracha, and sweet chile sauce. Stir to combine. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet. When very hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring constantly until softened and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook and stir 30 seconds.

3. Add the cabbage, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring often, until the cabbage is wilted and tender-crisp.

4. Push the vegetables to one side of the wok, leaving a space to cook the eggs directly on the pan surface. Add the eggs. Cook eggs, stirring frequently, until soft curds form (like scrambled eggs). Mix the cooked eggs in with the vegetables.

5. Add the noodles and mix in with the vegetables (a pair of tongs works well for this). Pour in the soy sauce mixture and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and serve.

Makes about 4 servings.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yeasted Belgian Waffles

Pardon my phrasing, but what the hell happened to November?!? I mean, I’m planning pumpkin and root vegetable recipes, and I turn around and it’s gone! Now it’s time for December’s holiday treats and there’s nary a cookie in the house! What’s to be done?

Well, I could go on about the epic-ness of recent culinary shortfalls, but that’s not what these pages are for. Right now, these pages are for waffles. Fluffy yeasted Belgian waffles made from batter you can mix up the night before so breakfast can be produced without delay!

I got a Belgian waffle maker long enough ago that I don’t remember when it was, but then I had to sift through my hefty collection of mostly unorganized recipes to find the particular magazine clippings I had saved for years. These held a recipe for yeasted Belgian waffles, which sounded so interesting that I actually remembered them for, yes, literally years.

And these are good waffles. Just a basic flavored with a reasonably fluffy texture and a bit of yeasty aroma. The head notes printed with the original recipe insisted that the waffles would be sweet and therefore would not need to be served with maple syrup. Um, no. Not gonna happen. I simply reduced the sugar to make room in the sweetness palette for that oh-so-necessary syrup.

As tasty as these waffles are, however, I think their most appealing quality is their ability to be made ahead. The batter is mixed up the night before and the yeast allowed to work its magic in the refrigerator. If you have lots of time before breakfast or brunch, or if you want to serve Belgian waffles for supper, you can let the batter sit at room temperature for a couple of hours instead. For myself, I like to have things ready to go for a lazy weekend breakfast, perhaps as fuel for a day of holiday baking. Let’s just hope that has a chance of happening!

Overnight Yeasted Belgian Waffles
Adapted from Cooking Pleasures magazine

½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup warm water (about 110 F), divided
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 ¼-ounce package)
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup warm milk (about 110 F)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Melt the butter. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, mix the warm water and yeast. Let stand 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.

4. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add to the water-yeast mixture. Whisk in the melted butter. Whisk in the remaining water, and milk. Whisk in the sugar and beat until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract.

5. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until the mixture is smooth. Cover with a towel and refrigerate overnight (or let stand at room temperature until the batter doubles in size).

6. When ready to make waffles, preheat oven to 250 F to hold finished waffles and keep them warm. Preheat a Belgian-style waffle iron. Spray the heated iron with cooking spray. Pour about ½ cup batter onto the iron. Bake according to manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the finished waffles in the oven to keep them warm. Serve with butter and maple syrup (of course).

Makes 5-6 Belgian waffles.

Other recipes like this one: Orange Millet Waffles, Pumpkin Waffles

One year ago: Sweet Pumpkin Dip