Shrimp Fried Rice

 

Shrimp Fried Rice_2

I’m not a huge fan of Asian foods [and by Asian, I mean far-east Asian]. I’m extremely picky. Not because I’m not adventurous with food, but everyone has different tastes and mine just happens to not be extremely fond of the sauces. I usually have one or two go-to items when I’m stuck in a situation where I have to have Chinese, or Thai, or Japanese food – usually because I’m the minority. And usually, my go-to items are sauce-free or are pretty bland in flavor. Everyone’s entitled to their prerogative and this is mine.

In any case, just because it isn’t my favorite cuisine, doesn’t mean I can’t experiment with it a little bit. I was pleasantly surprised that the finished product tasted like fried rice, but also was something I enjoyed eating. I’m telling you, this is the Asian dish for picky eaters.

Adapted from here

Shrimp Fried Rice

 

Shrimp Fried Rice
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups White Rice, already cooked (that’s 3 cups uncooked rice)
  2. 1 cup Frozen Carrots
  3. 1 cup Frozen Peas
  4. 1 cup Frozen Corn
  5. 3 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  6. 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  7. 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  8. 1 Onion, chopped
  9. 2 eggs
  10. Cooking Spray
  11. Vegetable oil
  12. 2 cups shrimp, tail-off
  13. Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat
  2. Spray the skillet with cooking spray and cook the eggs until cooked through, remove and chop
  3. Add vegetable oil and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent
  4. In a small bowl, mix together sesame oil, ginger and soy sauce and set aside
  5. Add the frozen vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft
  6. Then add the shrimp and cook until they start to curl, another 3-4 minutes
  7. Mix in the rice and chopped egg
  8. Add the sesame oil mix and stir constantly until the rice is coated – add more if needed
  9. Serve warm
Measuring Cups, Optional http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/

Bamiya [Okra Stew]

bamiya_3

I always feel an immense sense of accomplishment when I make Arabic food and it tastes like my mom’s cooking. Likely because Arabic food only tastes good when my mom or tayta make it, in my personal opinion. So when I realized we had some fresh okra hanging out in the fridge, I decided to try a very well known Arabic dish; Bamiya. Bamiya is basically okra stew.

Don’t let the okra deter you. Most people don’t like it because it can get pretty slimy. But if you prepare the okra properly, I promise you a slime-free meal.

As usual, I like to get my taste tester’s thoughts on my food [read as: get my dad and picky brother’s comments on my fabulous cooking]. So I asked dad what he thought – more specifically, who’s bamiya he liked better, mine or mom’s, to which he answered, you’ve put me in a tight spot so I’m going to have to say your mom’s … and yours. Good save dad!

Bamiya

 

Bamiya [Okra Stew]
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs Fresh Okra, washed and caps removed
  2. 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  3. 2 cans Diced Tomatoes
  4. 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  5. 1 lb Lamb Stew Meat, cubed
  6. 2 tablespoons Seven Spice
  7. Salt, to taste
  8. 3 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  9. 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  10. 1 medium Onion, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F
  2. Mix the okra with 1 tablespoon veggie oil [to coat] and place on a large baking sheet
  3. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the okra is lightly browned
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the other tablespoon of veggie oil over medium-high heat
  5. Sauté the garlic and cilantro for 3 minutes
  6. Add the onions and sauté until translucent
  7. Add the lamb meat
  8. Stir in 1 tablespoon seven spice and salt and continue to cook until browned
  9. Add the two cans of diced tomatoes and the okra
  10. Mix together two tablespoons tomato paste with water, to about 3 cups
  11. Pour over the okra
  12. Add second tablespoon seven spice and salt to taste and stir
  13. Bring to a boil them simmer for about an hour
  14. Serve with rice or bread
Measuring Cups, Optional http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

It’s cold. Actually, it’s beyond cold. We were hit with snow early this week and it was terrible. Fairfax County schools, DC schools and the Federal Government all failed to call – at a minimum – a two-hour delay causing mass chaos during the morning commute.

Since Tuesday’s snowfall, the snow hasn’t melted. We’ve been seeing temperatures no warmer than 30 F with mornings at 8 F and afternoons hovering around 25 F. I’ve probably said this at least 10 times on the blog, but I am not a fan of cold weather. If it were up to me, I would hibernate all winter and come back to life when it’s no colder than 60 F, sometime around late March. The layers: sweaters, coats, socks, leggings, gloves, hats, ear muffs; it’s all too much for me. And to top it all off, the days are cut short when the sun sets at 5pm.

That’s not to say I would enjoy eternal summers. Having four seasons is nice, but I’ve already worn my favorite sweaters and boots and coats and I’m ready for warmer seasons.

Back to this grueling week, in terms of weather. I wanted nothing more than to put on my fluffiest sweatpants and sit around a steaming bowl of soup. Enter French Onion Soup. It’s a little time consuming, but completely worth it.

 

Adapted from Food Network 

French Onion Soup_2

 

 

French Onion Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 stick unsalted butter
  2. 4 Large Onions, sliced into long pieces
  3. 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  4. 2 Bay Leaves
  5. 2 Thyme Sprigs
  6. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  7. 1 cup Sherry or dry Red Cooking Wine
  8. 3 tablespoons Flour
  9. 2 Quarts Low Sodium Beef Broth
  10. 1 French Baguette, sliced
  11. 1/2 pound grated Gruyere Cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat
  2. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes
  3. Remove the Bay leaf and thyme sprigs
  4. Add the wine and bring to a boil
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 10 minutes
  6. Sprinkle the onions with flour and stir until coated
  7. Cook on medium-low for 10 minutes
  8. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil
  9. Then simmer for 10 minutes. Keep warm until you're ready to serve
  10. In the meantime, place the baguette slices on a baking tray and cover with the Gruyere
  11. Broil on high until melted, bubbly and golden brown
  12. Pour the soup into the bowls and place the bread on top
Measuring Cups, Optional http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/

Hazelnut Biscotti

Hazelnut Biscotti_2

For as long as I can remember, biscuits for breakfast were a common occurrence in our house. It was never unusual to see cookies served with coffee and tea, and sometimes, even a piece of cake. The cookies, or biscuits, were always referred to as قرشله‎ pronounced “orshelleh.” Some look similar to biscotti, and others just look like rectangular pieces of hardened bread.

I’ve seen my dad and grandma dunk the قرشله into their tea – similar to how some of us like to dunk our cookies in cold milk. The thing about these biscuits is that usually they’re unsweetened. Some are flavored with anise seeds and sesame seeds and they’re really good on their own. I prefer them with Arabic coffee, myself. We don’t keep them around as often, but my grandma always keeps a stash in her pantry.

 

Adapted from Betty Crocker

Hazelnut Biscotti_3

Hazelnut Biscotti Recipe
Serves 25
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  2. 1 cup Sugar
  3. ½ cup Salted Butter, softened
  4. 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  5. 2 Eggs
  6. 3 ½ cups Flour
  7. 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  8. ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Place the hazelnuts in a baking pan and roast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract with an electric mixer
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder and baking soda using the mixer
  5. Then add the hazelnuts and beat until the hazelnuts are distributed
  6. On a floured surface, knead the dough until it holds together tightly (about 2-3 minutes)
  7. Divide the dough into two halves and shape into long rectangles with rounded edges
  8. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes (the middle should still be soft)
  9. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into ½ inch slices
  10. Place the slices cut-side-down on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes until browned and hardened
  11. Serve with coffee or tea
Measuring Cups, Optional http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/

Rueben Sandwich

Reuben_2

When I was in grad school, up at Syracuse University, my mom came to visit a handful of times. She helped me move in, she cheered me on at graduation and she helped me move out. Each one of her visits were not complete without a lunch trip to Faegan’s, a family owned Irish pub at the corner of the University’s Marshall Square. Why? Because the first time we went there, mom ordered the Reuben and fell in love with the sandwich. To this day—6 years later—she’s still talking about the Reuben at Feagan’s. For anyone who’s visiting Syracuse and wants to try it out, yes, it’s still on the menu.

So Saturday morning rolls around, and during our weekend morning coffee and catch-up sessions which convene in no other location than mom’s room, we discuss how I need to start varying my blog recipes to include more lunch and dinner items, because it’s becoming clear that breakfast is my current obsession. We got to thinking about sandwiches and mom suggested I recreate my own version of a Reuben. It turned out pretty good, if I should say so myself.

 

Rueben Sandwich
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 oz Sliced Corned Beef
  2. 3 Swiss Cheese Slices
  3. 2 tablespoons Sauerkraut
  4. 2 Slices Rye Bread
  5. 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, softened
  6. 2 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing
Instructions
  1. Spread 1 tablespoon Thousand Island dressing on one side of one of the slices of rye bread
  2. Top with 1 tablespoon sauerkraut, followed by the slices of corned beef
  3. Top the corned beef slices with the remaining sauerkraut and lay the cheese slices on top
  4. Spread the remaining Thousand Island dressing on the second slice of bread and place it, dressing-side-down on the other ingredients
  5. Heat a Panini grill [or if you don’t have one, you can use a skillet]
  6. Spread the butter on both sides on the sandwich and place in the Panini grill
  7. Cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted [if using a skillet, cook on both sides until the cheese is melted and the bread is a light brown color—about 4 minutes on each side]
  8. Serve warm
Measuring Cups, Optional http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/
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Cinnamon Sugar French Toast

Classic French Toast

I was never one for French Toast. Something about the sogginess of the bread doesn’t settle well with me. I went through a short phase where I’d make crispy French Toast and that was a hit with my brothers for a while, but I haven’t experimented with it again.

Not until this past weekend, when in one of my on-a-whim moments I decided I wanted to make breakfast for everyone at home. I asked my brother if he’d be around and he made a very specific request for French Toast. I scoffed, started poaching my eggs – a post for another day—and then against my better judgment, decided to whip him up a stack toast.

It took me 5 minutes to remember how exactly French Toast was made. And then it was cake from there. This time though, instead of plain soggy bread, I added cinnamon and sugar—and it made all the difference. i bring you French Toast even I would eat… and that’s saying a lot.

 

Cinnamon Sugar French Toast
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Egg
  2. 1 Cup Milk
  3. 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  4. 1 tablespoon Sugar
  5. ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  6. Cooking Spray
  7. 4-6 Slices American Bread
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet or flat pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray
  2. In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg
  3. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs and milk, then add the sugar mixture and whisk until mixed well
  4. Dip the bread into the mixture on both sides, making sure to fully coat
  5. Place the bread in the skillet and cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes, or browned. Best if only flipped once
  6. Serve with syrup or powdered sugar and fresh fruit
Measuring Cups, Optional http://www.measuringcupsoptional.com/

 

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