Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spicy Tahini Noodles

I may have mentioned before that the Hubs doesn't like peanut butter. Much to my eternal dismay. I mean seriously, how did I find and marry the one person in the world who hates peanut butter? Anyway, I recently discovered tahini. Thanks to this fantastic recipe on Half Baked Harvest, I was able to get my peanut butter fix but when the Hubs asked, I could honestly say, "No! This isn't peanut butter, it's tahini!" See! Sneaky. So, tahini is basically a butter made from sesame seeds. It is a lot looser than peanut butter, and there's definitely a big sesame flavor, which I love. These noodles were so good the night we made them. And then the next day they were even better! I also added chicken to the noodles to make it a bit more of a complete meal. You could add any veggies you want as well. I love having a recipe that is so versatile and customizable (and did I mention, delish?)!

1 pound linguine or other egg noodle pasta, (I used angel hair)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (optional)
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1/2 cup tahini
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup hot chili oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
4 cups mung bean sprouts
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
8 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)

Start by making your pasta. When it's cooked, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil, tahini, soy sauce, hot chili oil, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. The whisk helps break up the tahini. (Oh, by the way, make sure you stir your tahini really well before adding it. It has a tendency to separate.) Set that aside. Heat your skillet or wok over high heat, and add the last tablespoon of sesame oil. Toss in the ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. It'll cook really quickly so be prepared with the next step which is to add the carrots, bean sprouts, and mushrooms. We didn't have any bean sprouts but I'm sure they would have been good. Cook those veggies about 3-4 minutes so they are a little tender but still have some crisp to them. Add the noodles and toss to combine (this is harder than it sounds since the noodles are very averse to the situation). Remove from the heat and add the sauce. Once everything is evenly covered, add the green onions and basil. Serve topped with some crushed peanuts if you like. We didn't. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Golden Graham Cupcakes

Back in February we had our 24th Iron Chef Competition! I can't believe we've been doing it for several years now. Friends have come and gone, but picking some interesting ingredients have remained! Jen hosted this last iron chef, and she chose cereal as the "secret" ingredient. I have to say I was sincerely worried about this ingredient. I did some perusing of recipes and for the most part I could only find dessert options. But, the girls pulled through and came up with some interesting and delicious recipes for the savory courses.

I opted for the sweet course. I figured it would be fun to find a dessert recipe using cereal. It was fun, but definitely difficult. There were a LOT of options, and it was tough deciding on one. Ultimately, I decided on these Golden Graham Cupcakes. Primarily, because my co-workers seriously loved them. But, then again they're easy to please!

I didn't win this particular iron chef, but I thought the recipe definitely hit the nail on the head with the concept! And, it was pretty darn tasty, too! If you're interested in giving this recipe a try; please click here and you will be routed to Your Cup of Cake. Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tropical Mango Ceviche

Last summer I visited a restaurant in Washington, DC called Oyamel. It's owned by Chef Jose Andres, and I highly, highly recommend you check it out. While I was there, I had the table-side guacamole, Tamal Verde, and Ceviche con Citricos. Lord, everything was so freaking good. I had never tried Ceviche before, but I realized I've been missing out. It was DELICIOUS!! I loved the hint of spice from the habanero. And, the juiciness of the pineapple. It was so good that I went searching for a similar recipe. I came across this one from Rick Bayless, and I decided to give it a try tonight. Wow! It's pretty damn good. Maybe not Oyamel quality, but certainly close. The recipe doesn't call for pineapple, but I added some to it, anyway. I'm glad I did. I love the hint of sweetness and juiciness that pineapple gives when you bite into it. I halved the recipe, and I still have plenty for lunch tomorrow! If you like Ceviche then you should definitely give this recipe a try! You won't be disappointed!!

1pound “sashimi-quality” skinless meaty ocean fish fillet (halibut, mahi mahi, or bass all work well), cut into ½ inch cubes
1/2cup fresh lime juice
1/2cup fresh orange juice
1small red onion, sliced very thin
1fresh habanero, stemmed and seeds removed, finely diced
2cups (about 12 ounces) cubed mango (we love the honey manila mangos that come from Mexico, usually starting in mid March)

1 cup pineapple (optional)1smallavocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin, diced
About 1/3cup chopped cilantro, plus more whole leaves for garnish

Take out a glass bowl and add the lime and orange juice. Add the chopped habanero and chopped fish. I used Chilean Sea Bass from Whole Foods. Cover and place in the fridge. If you like your fish medium-rare then let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. If you want the fish fully cooked then let sit for 3-4 hours. Once the fish has finished cooking you can either keep the juices and add in the mangoes, pineapples, avocado, and onions. Or, you can drain the juice for a drier ceviche. Garnish with the cilantro, and serve by itself or with tortilla chips. Enjoy!