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First, the nerd bidness. I FINALLY figured out a way to get .mkv files to work on my DVD player, which only matters when I burn copies for my sister, as I tend to watch them on the Xbox 360. I found a tutorial online that was missing some steps o_0 but I got it to work. (For those not following, .mkv files are pretty much bluray. Not officially, but as high quality as you can get.) The program that works is GOTsent, but there are four other programs you have to dl and unzip inside GOTsent to unpackage the language, audio, subtitles, etc. Once you convert the files to .mp4, then ou can use something like ConvertXtoDVD to burn the disc, and Bob's your uncle!

Note: if you don't care about watching files on your computer (or if you have an S video out cable and can hook your 'puter to your HD tv) VLC Media player continues to be the best freeware/do everything program out there. No issues with the Matroska file types at my end.

Now for the food!

Long Beans With Dried Shrimp

(dried shrimp and shrimp paste don't have to be used. The first time I made this, I didn't have them on hand, and the second time I did. It's like two different recipes, but each are delish)

  • 1 bundle long green beans OR 2-4 cups regular green beans
  • 3 Tbsp. very small dried shrimp (available at Asian Markets, either by weight or in packets), OR add 1 extra tsp. shrimp paste to the stir-fry sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot water (only if using dried shrimp)
STIR-FRY SAUCE
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size galangal OR ginger, sliced
  • 2 shallots OR 2 slices cooking onion
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1-2 red chilies, OR 1-2 tsp. red chilli sauce (to taste)
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce


First, measure out 3 Tbsp. dried shrimp. Place it in a cup or small bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of hot water over the shrimp. Allow to soak (soften) while you prepare the other ingredients (do not drain, as you will use the water for cooking). Place all stir-fry sauce ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Process well to form a "paste" (thick sauce). Or simply mince and stir everything together by hand. Set aside. (Note: I didn't have two shallots the first time, so I used a large chunk of onion, as suggested. I should have used a SMALL amount, as it diluted the flavor and made a LOT of sauce. Like, cut a ring the size for frying onion rings, and that would be the right amount.)

Rinse the beans. If using long beans, arrange them so that all the "tails" are parallel - then simply cut them off with a single chop of your knife. (Note: why not use long beans? They're cheaper, more fibrous, and the kids liked how it looked, this massive coil of veggies.) Keeping the long beans aligned together, chop them into 2-3 inch segments. (If using regular green beans, simply cut into bite-size lengths.) Pour a little oil (2-3 Tbsp) into a wok or large frying pan (Note: I used half that amount and it worked out fine)and place over medium to high heat. Add the stir-fry sauce plus the beans. Stir-fry 6-8 minutes, or until beans have softened. Note: Long beans take much longer to cook than regular beans. If using regular beans, only stir-fry for 3-5 minutes. Cooking Tip: Add a little water to the wok/frying pan when it becomes too dry (1-2 Tbsp. at a time - just enough to keep the beans frying nicely).

Add the dried shrimp (if using) plus the soaking water, and continue stir-frying another 2-3 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated. At this point the beans should be fairly soft but still chewy. Remove the wok or frying pan from the heat. Do a taste test: Note: This dish is spicy and quite salty. (I find that it is a little addictive because of this lively combination!) If not salty enough, add 1-2 Tbsp. more fish sauce. If too salty for your taste, add a squeeze of lime juice.

(My kids didn't think this was too spicy, but then, we eat a lot of spicy foods here. Plus, the first time we had it there was too much onion which diluted the chiles and fish sauce flavor.) This is a regular at our house now, it's SO GOOD.



I have LOADS of soba noodles in the pantry I'm trying to use up, and found these next two recipes to work nicely. Plus, they're cool and yummy on a hot day.

Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad Recipe

I used asparagus in this version, but you can use any of your favorite in-season vegetables. This time of year peas, asparagus, and carrots all make great additions to the noodles and peanut sauce.

1 8 ounce package soba noodles
1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed then cut into 1/2-inch segments

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup (brown) rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 cup hot water

1 small bunch of spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup peanuts
12 ounces extra-firm (organic) tofu, cut into small cubes (feel free to heat the tofu in a skillet if you like, but cold is good too)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the soba noodles per package instructions. In the last minute or so of cooking toss in the asparagus. Drain noodles and asparagus, run under cold water for about a minute to stop cooking, and set aside.

Make the peanut dressing by combining the peanut butter, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water - the amount you'll need depends on the original consistency of your peanut butter. I like it the consistency of a thin (non-Greek) yogurt. Taste and season with a bit more salt if needed.

Gently toss the noodles, asparagus, spring onions, peanuts, and tofu with a big splash of the dressing. I reserve a bit of each ingredient to sprinkle on top of the serving platter to make it look nice. Add more dressing a bit at a time, until the salad is dressed to your liking, reserving any extra for another use. Taste, sprinkle with more salt if needed.




Even lazier Asian Peanut Noodles, Haha

Peanut sauce
In a blender/processor, mix 1/3 C chunky peanut butter, 1/2 C soy/tamari sauce, 2 TBSP chile oil, 1/2 C unseasoned rice wine vinegar and 1/4 C packed brown sugar. (This alone is awesome on grilled chicken or shrimp.)

10 oz. soba noodles (I use buckwheat)
2/3 C of the peanut sauce above (it keeps for a week and change in the fridge)
4 green onions, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick
1/4 C diced red bell pepper
toasted sesame seeds (garnish)

Cook noodles following package directions, drain and rinse (not too much if using buckwheat sobas, as you'll lose a lot of the nutrients.) In large serving bowl, toss noodles with sauce, peppers, and onions, garnish with sesame seeds. (I like to toss in some grilled chicken or shrimp for more protein - next time we have it I'll try some stir-fried tofu and see how that tastes. My guess? Awesome.)



No-Bake Cookies (or as my family calls them: Poop Cookies. I never said we were high-brow)

In a saucepan combine one stick of butter (I know, I know), 1/2 C milk (fat content doesn't matter, see: butter, one stick) 1 3/4 C sugar (I've reduced the sugar amount from 2 C) and one TBSP of good quality cocoa. Bring to a boil and boil for ONE MINUTE only. Remove from heat.

Stir in: 1/2 C creamy peanut butter (I add 3/4 because I like thicker cookies and more peanutty goodness) 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 1/2 C good quality oats. (I like Irish oats - the steel cut kind? Super chewy and good for you.) Drop spoonfuls onto waxed/parchment paper and allow to set, about 30 minutes.

Dude. These are so good, even though they are tres unattractive. Note: if you use the original amounts listed (2 C sugar, 1/2 C peanut butter) they're the consistency of pralines. Which, that's yummy, but not as healthy, imo. Um, do not make the same mistake as my MiL, who used OVALTINE in place of cocoa. Gleh. Then again, that woman makes "carrot dimes" which may be the most horrid side dish known to man. I digress.




Another way I've used soba noodles: cook them as directed, drain. In a sauce pan simmer: a can of coconut milk, 1 tsp. red or green curry, toss in veggies like red bell peppers and roughly chopped yellow onion. Take off heat and add fresh basil leaves, mung beans, tofu (or chicken or shrimp or pork) and a squirt of chile sauce. Stir the noodles into this and serve. *bites fist* YUM. Me <3 Curry + coconut milk. (I get the Vietnamese style as my local shop that has 4 g fat per serving, instead of the 22 g of fat. The flavor is the same, even if the consistency is thinner. I don't mind that.)


I'm working on fish balls this week, if I can get a recipe that works, I'll post for those interested. (I'm trying to use up my 20 lb. bag of sticky rice.) The idea is to make a variety, freeze them, and have insta-dinner/meal ready to go that's good for us. I'm using dried shrimps and other fishes + veggies. We'll see...

Oooh! Last thing: drizzle Ponzu sauce on either salmon or tilapia, wrap in foil and grill or bake for 15 minutes. Limey-fresh and delicious fish. No butter or oil is needed, so it's a healthy and yummy alternative to pan frying or braising in sauce. SO. GOOD. If you have any lemon grass, toss that in, too, and it's a flavor party in your mouth.


Last but not least, this is on the menu tomorrow. I cannot IMAGINE it not being delicious.

Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust

This recipe will make one 9 or 10-inch tart OR five 4 1/2-inch tarts.

6 perfect, colorful, medium-sized heirloom tomatoes - washed and sliced 1/6-inch thick

1 t. fine-grain sea salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, well chilled + cut into 1/4-inch cubes

4-ounce chunk of good fresh Parmesan, microplane-grated (you should end up with about 2 cups loosely packed grated cheese. Save any leftover grated cheese for sprinkling on the crusts when they come out of the oven.

2 T. ice cold water
2T. best quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup slivered basil

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Prep the tomatoes:
To avoid a soggy crust later on, you need to rid the tomatoes of some of their liquid. Clear a space on your counter and put down a double layer of absorbent paper towels. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the paper towels and sprinkle them with about 1 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt. Top the tomatoes with another layer of paper towels and press gently. Let the tomatoes sit here until you are ready to use them.

Make the tart crust(s):
Place both flours, butter, and Parmesan in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. You are looking for a sandy textured blend, punctuated with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2T of ice water. The dough should stick together when your pinch it between two fingers. Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working towards the sides and up to form a rim. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the tart crust:
Pull the tarts out of the refrigerator and poke each a few times with the tongs of a fork. Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and fill generously with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and slide the tart onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven and very gently peel back and remove the tinfoil containing the pie weights. Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little shredded Parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato liquid). Let cool to room temperature before filling.

Assembling the tart: Just before serving, arrange tomato slices in a concentric pattern inside the tart shell. Drizzle with your best quality extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the slivered basil. Serve at room temperature.



I MEAN ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? How delicious does that sound??? My tomatoes are starting to come in (I have 444s - a hybrid designed for Texas summers and Amish Pastes - meaty, thick, and little water so they are all flavor *drools*) and I'm so looking forward to this. I've got to get more olive oil and real parmesan at the store today. I'll report back on the fantasticness of this. :D


I need more food icons...

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
drusplace
Jul. 23rd, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
That tomato recipe sounds DELISH!!!! I've been eating my own version of a caprese salad for DAYS! I can't get enough of fresh tomatoes! Plush I've been growing my own basil this year which just can't be beat!
stoney321
Jul. 23rd, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Doesn't that sound so gooooood?? Mmmm, I love fresh tomatoes, too. I love basil - I always end up with more than I can use, so I make pesto and freeze it. I've been told you can wash and dry and then freeze basil leaves, but I've not tried it. I might this year. Who doesn't want fresh basil all year long? YUM.
drusplace
Jul. 23rd, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
I think I'm going to try drying it out this year. My plant has flourished and I have waaaay too much basil to be eaten before the end of the season. So we'll see how that goes. It would just go to waste anyways, so if it doesn't work then no big deal, but if it DOES work I get fresh basil in JANUARY!!!!
chantal87
Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
Holy shit.
I made a tomato tart this weekend and it was slammin'. Unfortunately I don't have a tomato plants but I did make use of the States Farmers market.

I also made the Ceviche recipe you posted about an age ago.
Needless to say we were eating good last weekend.
stoney321
Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, was there something different you did with your tart? Do tell! I'm getting SO HUNGRY for lunch just thinking of all these recipes.

I'm glad y'all liked the ceviche! We did, too. It's such a good choice on a hot day....
chantal87
Jul. 23rd, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC)
I was a little lazy with the crust. I used a puff pastry.

I pre-baked the pastry for about 15 minutes @ 350.
While that was baking I sliced thin two large tomatoes (one green and one red) and a red onion.
I seasoned the tomatoes and onion with kosher salt, pepper and basil.
When the pastry was done I brushed it with olive oil.
I sprinkled the pastry with shredded romano and parmasian cheese.
I then layered the red onion and the tomatoes. I sprinkled more cheese and fresh basil on top. I returned the tart to the oven and baked for another 15 minutes.
It was incredible.

Tonight is comfort food night. Black eyed peas with rice and grilled chicken.
UMMMFood!!!!!
stoney321
Jul. 23rd, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
THAT SOUNDS DELICIOUS. Om nom nom!! Hooo. I need some of that.

There was an article in the paper about a woman outside of town that makes old school country-fried steak and I want one in my mouth so badly... Mashed taters and green beans and corn on the cob, too. *wants*
moosesal
Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
I have become addicted to hooking up the laptop to the TV. I use VLC to watch pretty much everything. I used to waste the time burning DVDs just so Chris could watch something with me (he refuses to actually watch on the laptop unless we're on a plane or something). Once I finally took the time to figure out how to hook up to the tv and realized that we already had the cables I needed, I wanted to kick myself. :) Of course I still buy DVDs of a lot of stuff, but I love being able to download something I missed and hadn't DVRd and then watch it on the actual TV.
stoney321
Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
If it wasn't for my sister needed assistance with some shows due to their lack of funds/basic cable, I wouldn't bother either.

I looooove being able to download stuff. Speaking of, have you watched "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia?" It's freaking HILARIOUS and wrong, which makes it funnier. I dl'd all three seasons and have been laughing my butt off since. I highly recommend it if you've not seen it yet.
moosesal
Jul. 23rd, 2008 04:29 pm (UTC)
I've seen some, but not all. I've got 1 & 2 dld. It is hilarious.
brunettepet
Jul. 23rd, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
That tart sounds fantastic. I'm off to the farmers market this evening, so heirloom tomatoes here I come! Thank goodness my basil has remained perky in all this heat.

stoney321
Jul. 23rd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Doesn't it sound yummy? Let me know how it turns out! *invites self over for dinner*
ruthless1
Jul. 23rd, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
Alrighty missy - you are making my lunch, made up of triple creme brie, with rice crackers and organic fresh pear seem a bit inaquedate.
Thanks.
Thanks alot.
*stares forlornly at the remains of what was once considered an amazing lunch*
stoney321
Jul. 23rd, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
*shrugs* Your lunch sounds good to me!
windstar
Jul. 23rd, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
So, those tomato tarts sound to die for, and since we have about 1/8 acre of tomatoes coming in right now, I think I might have enough to make some. My question to you is this...I track all of the food I eat at Sparkpeople.com. Is it ok with you for me to enter this recipe in my recipebox and share it, or would you prefer that I enter it and keep it private...I would give you credit if I shared it, but will understand if you don't want me to do so.
stoney321
Jul. 23rd, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
Oooooh, am I jealous of all those tomatoes!! and of course I don't mind! I didn't create the tomato tart recipe, it's one from the Dallas Morning News, so I have no property rights!
windstar
Jul. 23rd, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Ah...but you wouldn't be jealous of our $120.00 a month water bill in the summer months...
a2zmom
Jul. 24th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
These recipes sound awesome. I will definitely be trying them out!

(I just bought some soy sauce from the Asian grocery. What a difference.)
stoney321
Jul. 24th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
(It really makes a difference, huh? And I learned that if you want a lighter soy sauce - both in oomph-flavor and sodium, get Tamari sauce. and there's WHITE soy sauce! Who knew?)

We're having the long beans with dried shrimp again tomorrow, as requested by the kids. It's really good. I hope your family likes them!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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