Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Ingredients:
6 Rock Lobster Tails, shelled, meat cut in large chunks
1 lb Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
1/2 cup Butter
2-3 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
6-8 cloves Garlic, sliced thin
2/3 cup Vermouth
Juice of 2 Lemons
2 cups Broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Salt
2 cups Water (for steaming)

Directions

  • Bring the water to boil and place the Broccoli in a Steamer.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt, and drizzle the Olive Oil over them.
  • Close and steam for 3-5 minutes or until the Broccoli begins to turn bright Green. Set to the Side.
  • Pat the Shrimp and Lobster meat dry, and sprinkle the rest of the Salt, as well as the Cayenne Pepper on all sides of the meat.
  • Melt the Butter in a large skillet, and when the bubbles die down, carefully add the Shrimp and Lobster.
  • Cook thoroughly in the Butter on all sides, about 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring often.
  • Carefully remove the Lobster and Shrimp to a bowl, leaving the Butter in the skillet. If there are small remnants of Lobster, that is ok.
  • Add the Garlic, Vermouth, and Lemon to the Butter. Be careful in case the flame rises.
  • Cook stirring for about 6 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Toss in the Lobster, Shrimp, and Broccoli.
  • Heat for another 3 minutes, tossing well.
  • Serve as is, or over Pasta or Rice.

Makes 4 Servings, 6 if you use over Pasta or Rice.

NOTES: I love this type of buttery, velvety, lemony, goodness of a dish. I would love to know from where in the world it really came from. In America, we tend to say it is an Italian dish, but so much of our Italian dishes are really in the “spirit of Italy”. In England, Scampi is a bar food made from a Prawn that is battered and fried–nothing like the dish we think of. The name Scampi is Italian in origin, though it refers not to the method of cooking, but rather to a lobster-like curved (ref. scampo) crustacean. The American version of Scampi uses Shrimp, though one often can find “Chicken Scampi”, suggesting that in America, we’ve lost the meaning of the word and use it to refer to the method of cooking it in a garlicky, lemony, butter and wine sauce. Nothing new there.

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Sesame-Crusted Chicken with Bok Choy Salad

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with Bok Choy Salad</span>

Ingredients
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, cut in strips
1-2 cups All-Purpose Flour (for dredging)
1 Egg, beaten (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Water (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Honey (for dredging)
1 cup Sesame Seeds (for dredging)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning the Chicken
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 cups Baby Spinach
2 cups Bok Choy 白菜, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Onion, diced
1 cup Broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup Snow Peas
1 Asian  Nashi Pear ナシ, diced
Water for steaming
1/2-1 cup Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Directions:

  • Prepare pot of water and steamer for steaming/
  • Steam the Broccoli for 2 minutes, just until the color of the Broccoli turns bright green. You do not want to cook it, just steam it to make it tender and colorful. Remove and run through cold water, set to the side.
  • Set up dredging stations: 1 tray with Flour; 1 tray with Egg, Water, and Honey; and one tray for Sesame Seeds. Do not put all the Sesame Seeds in the tray, as you can always add more, but after you’ve dredged, can’t use the left overs.
  • Pat the chicken slices dry with a paper towel, and season with Salt and Pepper.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the Flour on both sides; then the Egg mixture on both sides; and finally the Sesame Seeds. Set to the side.
  • Turn the Oven on to 200F, and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over the pan. Set to the side.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet, and brown the Chicken pieces on both sides. Place the Chicken pieces on the cooling rack, and then in the Oven to keep warm.
  • Build the Salad (make the dressing now if you have not yet done so as well). You can do this as one big bowl, or in individual bowls–it is up to you.
  • Start with a bed of Spinach.
  • Top with the all the ingredients. You may choose to do this artistically–I like to use the Snow Peas as a frame around the side of the dish. It is completely up to you.
  • Remove the Chicken from the Oven, and slice into 1″ pieces across the strips of Chicken. Place on the top of the Salad.
  • The Salad is ready to serve. You may dress it now, or leave it on the side.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: This salad can serve as a side dish, but also as a main course salad. Though it has “East Asian” flare to it, I would not necessarily call it an Asian salad… maybe East Asian inspired salad with the Bok Choy (白菜), with the Sesame Ginger Dressing are the most Asian aspect of the salad. Some folks may want to add Ramen-style noodles on top. Not a fan of them, I just can’t bring myself to add them to the recipe. So if you do that, please don’t tell me. Thanks.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
16 oz uncooked Pasta (Rotini or Penne)
Water for Boiling and Steaming
Iced Water in a large bowl for Shocking the Broccoli
1 Tbsp Salt for Boiling
1 tsp Olive Oil for Boiling
2 cups Broccoli Spears, cut into small pieces
2 cups Pesto, room temperature
1 cup Black Olives, chopped
2 cups marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained, quartered
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Romano, grated

Directions:

  • Cook the Pasta in a large pot wit the Salt and Olive Oil. You want al dente. When you reach al dente, quickly drain and run cold water through the Pasta.
  • In a second pot, steam the Broccoli spears till bright green (about 4 minutes), drain and shock with ice-cold water.
  • Combine all ingredients except the Romano in a large bowl. Mix Well.
  • Sprinkle the top with the grated Romano.

NOTES: This is one of the simplest Pasta Salads you’ll ever make. I always make my own Pesto, since it is cheaper and yields more flavor than most store bought Pestos–that and some of the jarred kind is nasty-oily and looks like it was made from reconstituted dried herbs rather than fresh Basil. You can modify the ingredients based on your tastes for the Salad. Some folks may add fresh Tomatoes instead of the Sun-Dried, or cut up Mozzarella in cubes. Really, it is all up to you.

General Tso’s Chicken – 左宗棠雞

Ingredients:
3 lb Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless, cut in bite-size chunks
1 cup & 2 Tbsp Corn Starch, divided
1-3 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Shaoxing Rice Wine 绍兴酒
1/2 cup and 1 tsp Soy Sauce, divided
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
4 cloves Garlic, slivered
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
8-12 Dried Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers 天津辣椒
2 Scallions, cut in pieces
4 cups Broccoli, cut in bite size pieces
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 1 Lemon

1 1/2-2 cups Brown Rice
3-4 cups Water (or more)

Directions:

  • Cook the Brown Rice according to the directions on the bag and set aside
  • In a seal-able plastic bag, combine 1 cup Corn Starch and the Cayenne Pepper, mixing well.
  • Pat the Chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, and add to the bag. Seal and shake, coating the chicken in the powder.
  • Bring a wok to high heat and add 1/2 of the Vegetable Oil.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag and saute in the oil until browned on all sides.
  • Drain the chicken on paper towels.
  • Blanch or Steam the Broccoli spears and set to the side.
  • In a glass, whisk together the Rice Wine and remaining Cornstarch.
  • Heat the wok again, and add the Rice Wine/Corn Starch mixture, 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, the Honey, Chicken Broth, Ginger, slivered Garlic, and Crushed Red Pepper, mixing well.
  • Heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
  • Add the Scallions, Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers, and Chicken and coat well.
  • Pour the Mixture into a serving dish.
  • In another sealed bag, combine the remaining Soy Sauce, minced Garlic, and Lemon Juice.
  • add the Broccoli Spears and mix well.
  • Garnish the Chicken with the Broccoli or serve in a separate dish.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: So I was inspired to make this dish because of a very awful version that I ordered in from the local take-away. This version should be more flavorful, slightly spicier, and not as unhealthy as the heavy batter, deep-fried kind.

General Tso’s Chicken is believed to have been created in New York City in the 1970s as an attempt to introduce the spicier Hunan cuisine to what was generally Cantonese cuisine in the city. There are two chefs who are attributed as possible inventors of this dish, Chef Peng Jia of Peng’s Restaurant formerly of E 44th St and Chef T. T. Wong of the Shun Lee Palace restaurants. I have also found claims of invention by a chef in Taiwan about the same time. As far as I can tell, the Peng Jia seems to be the most widely accepted, though no one seems to know for sure.

General Tso’s Chicken is named after Zuo Zongtang (左宗棠, 1812–1885), a Qing Dynasty general from Hunan Provence. I cannot find any reason or rational as to why the dish is named after him. Another source suggests that the name is really a mis-translation. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo states in her book The Chinese Kitchen that the dish originates from a simple Hunan chicken dish, and that the reference to “Zongtang” in “Zuo Zongtang chicken” was not a reference to Zuo Zongtang’s given name, but rather a reference to the homonym zōngtáng 宗堂, meaning “ancestral meeting hall”. As one who is completely ignorant to Chinese languages, I’ll have to take her word for it. Also regionally, in the US, there are various spellings of used…Gua, Tsao, Tsa, Cua, Zuo, etc… reflecting how poorly we Americans transliterate Chinese.

Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:Vegan VariationVegetarian
1 handful of Fettuccine (could use Farfalle, Penne, or Spaghetti)
1 cup Zucchini, cut into half-rounds
1 cup Broccoli cut into small florets
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Peas (frozen is best)
1 cup yellow Bell Pepper, diced
1 cup Tomato, diced
1 cup fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup fresh Basil, chopped fine
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated or shaved
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste (and Salt for water)

Directions:

  • Fill a pot with water 3/4 the way full, and add 1 Tbsp Salt. Bring to a boil.
  • When boiling, add the Pasta and cook until al dente, draining and leaving un-rinsed in the colander.
  • In a skillet, add some of the oil, the garlic, Peppers, Zucchini, and Broccoli. Saute until tender, being sure to stir and not burn the Garlic, about 3-5 minutes.
  • In a serving bowl, place the herbs and Parmesan cheese.
  • Add the Pasta and mix the herbs and Parmesan Cheese using the Olive Oil to lubricate.
  • Add the Peppers, Zucchini, and Broccoli mix as well as the Tomatoes to the pasta and mix well.

NOTE: Some people prefer to julienne their vegetables when using long pasta like fettuccine or spaghetti, but I don’t. I think the chunks of vegetables is more natural. Not all Pasta Primavera’s are the same. The American versions tend to add cream, making an almost Alfredo sauce. This style was developed in New York in the 1970s, inspired by dishes similar to that above.

Variations:
The vegetables one uses is up to taste. You can use Carrots, Asparagus, Eggplant, Yellow Squash–your tastes are the limit. To be true Primavera, though an emphasis on Spring and early Summer vegetables should be observed…though I won’t tell if you don’t.

American Style:
Add 1/c cup Cream to the Oil and Garlic in the pan

With Chicken/Shrimp:
Add 1 cup sauteed Chicken or Shrimp (think bite size pieces)

V›Ɣ – Leave out the Parmesan Cheese.

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:Vegan Vegetarian Variation
5 cups Broccoli (Florets only)
1/2 cup Raisins (mixed colors if you want)
1/2 cup Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1/4 cup Red Onion, chopped
1 cup Peas (thawed frozen is ok)
1/2 cup Almond Slivers, toasted
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Dressing:
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Honey

Directions:

  • In a small bowl combine Dressing ingredients and whisk together until all ingredients incorporated.
  • In a large bowl, combine Broccoli and Dressing. Make sure all pieces of Broccoli is covered.
  • Now add the Peas, Almonds, Onions, Raisins, and Bacon. Mix the ingredients well so that pieces of each are spread throughout the Salad.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

NOTES: Clean the florets and chop into bite size pieces (try to keep the florets intact as best you can). Some people like adding a cup of shredded Sharp Cheddar, but I don’t, as I think it weighs down the salad.

Variations:
Don’t like Mayonnaise, or want something healthier? Try Greek-Style Yogurt instead. (Variation for my friend Alia)
M›Ṽ: Instead of Bacon, either omit or use Bac-Os ® (a Soy product).
Ṽ›Ɣ: Not only use Bacos instead of Bacon, but use a vegan vinaigrette