Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cooking Simple Recipes With Great Flavors

All of the recipes below were made for a party we had on Saturday night. Everything was cooked for an appetizer and cut into small, bite size pieces.  

The great thing was that all of the recipes were really easy to make and with the exception of marinating the lamb meat in the recipe below, every one of the recipes came together in under 30 minutes.
Bon Appetit!
The dipping sauce is delicious with these ribs and they went just as fast as I could refill the plate.

Vietnamese-Style Lamb Riblets with Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce
For the marinade

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. fish sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil
2 Tbs. packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1-1/2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbs. whole coriander seed, toasted and coarsely ground
1 tsp. chile sauce, such as sambal oelek or sriracha
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 lb. lamb breast riblets (also called Denver-style ribs)
For the dipping sauce

2 Tbs. fish sauce
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 medium clove garlic, minced
Marinate the riblets
Put all of the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Put the riblets in a gallon-size freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and massage the riblets to evenly distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 8 and up to 24 hours, turning the bag occasionally to redistribute the marinade.

Cook the riblets
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Remove the riblets from the marinade, scraping any excess seasonings back into the bag (reserve the marinade). Arrange the riblets bone side down on a flat roasting rack in a roasting pan or on a heavy-duty baking sheet. Roast, basting with the reserved marinade every 20 minutes for the first hour, until the meat is very tender and can be easily pierced with a knife, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Make the dipping sauce
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Position an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiling element and heat the broiler on high. Arrange the riblets cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until browned and sizzling on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn with tongs and brown the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with the dipping sauce and plenty of napkins.

This is a take on the Banh Mi sandwich, which has become one of the most popular street foods ever.
What gives it that great taste? Liverwurst and a pile of delicious rotisserie chicken or pork.
1carrot, peeled
1/2 lb daikon, peeled
½ cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1tablespoon sugar
1(24-inch) soft baguette
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1tablespoon Asian fish sauce
½ teaspoon soy sauce
¼ lb liverwurst
2 fresh jalapeños, thinly sliced
½ sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch rings
¾ cup packed cilantro sprigs
2 cooked chicken breasts or pork from the rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced
Lettuce leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Shred daikon and carrot in a food processor fitted with medium shredding disk. Stir together vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss with shredded vegetables. Let slaw stand, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat baguette on rack in oven until crusty, about 5 minutes. Cut off and discard round ends, then split baguette.
Mix together oil, fish sauce, and soy sauce and brush on cut sides of bread. Spread liverwurst on bottom layer of bread and top with chiles, onion, and cilantro.
Drain slaw in a colander.
Arrange chicken or pork, slaw, and lettuce on cilantro. Spread top layer of bread with mayonnaise and cut sandwich crosswise into fourths.
I love Naan and always go to a good Middle Eastern Bakery to buy it fresh where they take it out of the oven with huge, oversized paddles.
This was much like a middle eastern pizza and easy again with the rotisserie chicken and lots of great, fresh vegetables.
The Tsatsiki made for a delicious topping and I would try this recipe again with beef or even leftover turkey.
Chicken Gyros with Tsatsiki
2 Kirby cucumbers, divided
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (3/4 pounds)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano
1 rounded teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 (12-ounces) package naan bread (four 8-inch pieces)
1/2 roast chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded (about 2 1/4 cups), and carcass reserved for stock
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
Peel and grate 1 cucumber, then squeeze it with your hands to remove excess water. Stir together with yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, one third of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make tsatsiki.
Cut remaining cucumber into 1/4-inch pieces and stir together with tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make salsa.
Gently simmer oil, oregano, rosemary, remaining garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small heavy saucepan, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss chicken with 3 tablespoons garlic oil and brush one side of bread with remainder.
Heat bread, oiled side up, in a 4-sided sheet pan, covered with foil, 3 to 4 inches from broiler 3 minutes. Uncover and broil, rotating bread for even coloring, until golden in spots, about 2 minutes.
Spread some of tsatsiki on warm bread and top with chicken and some of lettuce and salsa. Serve remaining lettuce, salsa, and tsatsiki on the side.
Tilapia is one of my favorite fish. Although this recipe calls for frying in a little oil, I soak the fish in buttermilk for a few hours and lightly flour before I fry them.
The walnut butter was a really delicious addition and everyone loved it with the fresh flavors of the fish.
I could absolutely put this recipe on my weekly menu roll.
Tilapia With Walnut Butter
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Dash tabasco
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 (6-oz each) boneless tilapia fish filets

Put the butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the butter begins to take on a light-brown color and gets a nutty aroma. Add the walnuts and cook for one minute. Pour in the lemon juice, turn up to high heat, and bring to a boil. Add dash of tobacco. Turn off the heat, and add the tarragon, salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste; reserve.

Season the fish filets with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Sauté the fish in the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until done.
Serve hot with the butter sauce spooned over.