Saturday, October 11, 2014

When in Asia

Hello from the Philippines! Looks like I'm having a luxurious time if you're following my Instagram feed, right? Fact of the matter is, it's a weird trip. I have a team of vendors that I work with here in Manila for my job. I'm down here meeting them face to face, getting to know my team, and working on fixing some things. My team works at night though so they can match US hours to support our operations. That means, I'm also working at night. I go in around 9pm and leave around 6am. 

It's so weird! I eat dinner for breakfast when I wake up, lunch around 3am, and breakfast for dinner at the hotel buffet when I get back the the hotel. The hotel buffet is pretty much the most amazing thing ever. My bridesmaid dress might be a little snug next weekend.

Anyways, I made a really delicious Ramen Stir Fry right before I left for my trip, and figured it was a good time to post the recipe. I got some serious inspiration from Momofuku's Ginger Scallion Sauce on It's really simple and so delicious. It will seem like you're making a lot of sauce, but you're really not. Trust me. Make this one.

Stir Fried Ramen Noodles with Ginger Scallion Sauce
makes 2 servings

for the sauce
1 cup scallions (greens and whites chopped)
1/4 cup fresh ginger (peeled, minced or grated)
1/4 cup grapeseed or veg. oil
1 tsp soy sauce (low sodium)
1/2 tsp Sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

for the noodles and toppings
1 block ramen noodles
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (cubed)
1 lb boy choy (remove bottom so leaves are loose)
1/3 lb mushrooms (any kind, quartered if cremini or button)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp fresh ginger (peeled, minced or grated)
grapeseed oil
crushed red pepper flakes

First make the sauce. Whisk all ingredients together and let sit for 20 minutes while everything else cooks. 

Next cook the toppings. In a wok or deep saute pan, heat some grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Drop in 1/2 the ginger, garlic, chicken and salt. Cook chicken for about 8 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add some more grapeseed oil lower heat to medium. Add remaining ginger and garlic and add mushrooms. If the mushrooms soak up too much oil and pan starts to burn, add some chicken stock to keep it moist. Cook mushrooms for 5 minutes and add a dash of salt. Add bok choy to pan with 2 tbsp of the ginger scallion dressing. Cook until bok choy is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook ramen noodles in boiling water until cooked through. Drain and add noodles to pan still over medium heat. Add all but about 3 tbsp of the Ginger Scallion Sauce to the noodles and toss together for about 1 minute over the heat. 

Serve noodles with veggie and chicken mixture on top. Top whole dish with some extra sauce.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Sunday Chicken

Sometimes Sundays just call for some serious lounging around the house. Some football, snacks and PJs if it's the fall. My family and I just started our first fantasy league so this is the first year I'm actually paying attention to the NFL. Doesn't help that the Gamecocks are looking all 2005 on us. So, here's to Sundays, football and some pretty fall weather ahead.

Sunday Chicken Roast
makes 4 servings

for the chicken:
1 3-4 lb. whole chicken
3 shallots (thinly sliced)
5 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 lemon (thinly sliced)
4 tbsp unsalted butter (at room temp)
2 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and ground pepper
2-3 sprigs rosemary
2-3 sprigs thyme

for the veggies:
3 red potatoes (quartered)
3 large carrots (cut into 1 in. cubes)
3 stalks celery (cut into 1 in. cubes)
1 yellow onion (peeled and quartered
10 cloves garlic (smashed) 
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup dry white wine
2-3 sprigs rosemary
2-3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon (halved)
salt and pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove chicken from fridge about 20 minutes prior to cooking. Rise and thoroughly pat dry. Coat entire chicken generously in salt and pepper. Get all crevices, including inside the chicken.

Get out your Dutch oven or whatever you would normally put a roast in. Add 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic slices and a dash of salt and pepper. Let cook until shallots and garlic are soft but not browning at all, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a small mixing bowl. Add soft butter and mix until you have a creamy butter mixture.

Carefully create a gap between the skin and meat on all parts of chicken. With your fingers, rub the butter mixture in between the skin and meat of the chicken on breasts, thighs and drumsticks where you can. Next, add slices of lemon in between the skin and meat all over the bird. The whole thing should be slathered in butter, oil and lemon by now.

Tuck some rosemary and thyme in the cavity and the bird is ready.

In the Dutch oven, add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, white wine, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss everything to combine. Squeeze lemon halves over everything and toss the lemon halves into the chicken cavity.

Place the chicken on the vegetables, breast side up. Cover with a lid and let cook for 45 minutes. Remove lid and let cook for another 30-45 minutes, basting every 7ish minutes.

Remove chicken from Dutch oven to a cutting board or serving plate with veggies surrounding the bird. Wait about 10 minutes before cutting into the chicken.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Vegas Bachelorette Party + Asian Lettuce Wrap Tacos

My BFF is getting married next month and we're headed to Vegas next weekend for her bachy! Get ready Vegas, here we come. I'm so excited. But, I'm also trying to be my fittest self when I'll be lounging around the pool all day in a bikini. So, that means I'll be what I like to call "de-puffing". That means low carbs and not a lotta dairy until we go. It'll be good practice for when my wedding festivities come around next year!

So without further adieu, here is a carb friendly and dairy free lunch or dinner idea. It's a really great recipe!

Asian Lettuce Wrap Tacos
makes 4 lettuce wrap tacos

1 tbsp fresh ginger (minced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 shallot (diced)
1/4 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground beef (85/15)
10 shishito peppers (stem removed, diced)
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 ponzu
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil (any neutral tasting oil)
4 leaves butter lettuce or green cabbage
1 green onion (diced)

for the sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ponzu
1/4 tsp mirin
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds or 1 drop toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp green onion (diced) 

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat with sesame and vegetable oil. Add ginger, garlic and shallot and let saute for 5 minutes. Add pork, beef, shishito peppers, crushed red pepper flakes, a dash of salt and pepper. Let cook for about 3 minutes, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon.

Add soy sauce, ponzu and mirin and let finish cooking for 5 minutes, until meat is cooked through. Remove from heat. 

As filling is cooking, mix together the sauce. Combine soy sauce, ponzu, mirin, sriracha, toasted sesame seeds and green onion together.

Build the taco. Add a scoop of meat, drizzle sauce over meat and sprinkle with some fresh green onions. Wrap it up and good luck. You'll make a mess but it's worth it. Yum!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wedding Planning and Italian Wedding Soup with Roasted Garlic

It's been almost 6 months that I've been engaged, and only have 11 months until the wedding. Time sure does fly! I'm in full wedding planning mode, and can't really say it's the most fun yet. It's all about booking people and places.

Okay, it's not all work. I found my dress, which I love so much. We did a food tasting and found our caterer. It's fun to try free food. And we're doing our engagement pictures on Friday. Yikes. I'm also planning a fun little surprise for my bridesmaids, which they'll all find out about soon!

Are you thinking I'm nuts for doing all this stuff a year out? Ya, I think so too. But all the other brides out there are booking everything up a year in advance! Gotta do what ya gotta do. 

So, in honor of all the fun and not-so-fun wedding planning, here's a recipe for Italian Wedding Soup.

Italian Wedding Soup with Roasted Garlic
makes 6-8 bowls

for the meatballs
1/2 lb ground beef
5 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 - 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or hard Gouda
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 egg
2 tbsp cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

for the soup
1 yellow onion (diced)
1 head garlic
3 carrots (peeled and diced)
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups Swiss chard (stem removed, rough chop)
1 cup Orzo (uncooked)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
salt and pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp olive oil

Get the oven cranked up to 400 degrees. Take the head of garlic and cut 1/4 inch of the top off, just enough to expose the cloves. Pop into a foil wrapper and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap it up leaving a little vent in the top. Add foil packed to the oven and let roast for 40 minutes. Remove and set aside.

As the garlic roasts, get the meatballs going. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Adjust bread crumbs depending on how liquidy or thick the mixture is. Mix with hands, only until ingredients are combined. Don't squeeze the meat, it will make for tough meatballs.

Form into Brussels sprout sized meatballs. About half the size of a golf ball. Add meatballs to a foil lined baking sheet and pop in oven for 10 minutes. That's all. They are small so it doesn't take much time at all. Take out and let sit on the stove top until ready to drop into the soup

When you get the meatballs in the oven, get the soup going. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and let cook down for about 7 minutes. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the paper and add to pot. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and let cook for 5 minutes. 

Add broth, water and 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes. 

Add orzo and bring soup back to a slow boil. Let orzo cook for about 6 minutes, until cooked. Add in Swiss chard and meatballs. Let cook for about 3 minutes, until chard has wilted.

Serve with freshly grated cheese.

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