International Cuisine: Chinese Main Dishes

We love to order take-out every once in awhile. These recipes made me realize that I should make Chinese at home more often!

SZECHWAN SHRIMP
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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4 Tb. water
2 Tb. ketchup
1 Tb. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tb. peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 c. sliced green onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces peeled, deviened shrimp with tails

In a bowl, stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper, and ground ginger. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in green onions and garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in shrimp, and toss to coat with oil. Stir in sauce. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thickened and shrimp is fully cooked – about 5-7 minutes.

ASIAN BEEF with PEA PODS
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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3 Tb. soy sauce
2 Tb. rice wine vinegar
1 Tb. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tb. peanut oil
2 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. beef round steak, cut into thin strips
8 oz. pea pods

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the steak and stir-fry for 2 min. or until evenly browned. Add the snow peas and stir-fry for an additional 3 min. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce is thick. Serve immediately.

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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1 (16 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained (juice reserved)
2 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 3/4 c. water
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 c. distilled white vinegar
2 drops orange food color
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes
2 1/4 c. self-rising flour
2 Tb. vegetable oil
2 Tb. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 egg
2 c. water
1 quart vegetable or canola oil for frying

In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, vinegar, reserved pineapple juice, and orange food coloring. Heat to boiling. Turn off heat. Combine 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; slowly stir into saucepan. Continue stirring until mixture thickens.

Combine flour, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt, white pepper, and egg. Add 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 cups water gradually to make a thick batter. Stir to blend thoroughly. Add chicken pieces, and stir until chicken is well coated.

Heat oil in skillet, fryer or wok to 360 degrees F. Fry chicken pieces in hot oil until golden. Remove chicken, and drain on paper towels.

When ready to serve, layer green peppers, pineapple chunks, and cooked chicken pieces on a platter. Pour hot sweet and sour sauce over top. Serve with steamed rice if desired.

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Market Fresh: Chinese Vegetables

We decided that we would do several posts in preparation for the Chinese New Year! So this week will be an international focus on Chinese food with Friday switching to Valentine’s Day for two. We hope you enjoy!

Today, I’m going to share a few recipes for vegetarian and vegetable-focused Chinese dishes. We invited guests over to enjoy our Chinese feast and this Vegetable Lo-Mein was a huge hit!

VEGETABLE LO-MEIN
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6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tb. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil 
1 Tb. sesame seeds 
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock 
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. hot chili oil
2 Tb. dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 pound linguini
1 c. bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 scallions, sliced diagonally (white and green parts)

Combine the garlic, ginger, oil, sesame seeds, peanut butter, soy sauce, stock, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Stir well to fully combine.

Cook the linguine as directed until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, place it in a large bowl, and while still warm, toss with 3/4 of the sauce. Add the sprouts, red and yellow bell peppers, and scallions; toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature. The remaining sauce may be added, as needed, to moisten the pasta.

CHINESE BROCCOLI
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
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2 bunches broccoli, cut into florets
2 Tb. white sugar
1 Tb. cornstarch
2 Tb. soy sauce
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 Tb. sesame oil
3 Tb. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sesame seeds (opt.)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook uncovered until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, ginger, and garlic together in a small saucepan over medium heat until thickened and no longer cloudy, 4 to 6 minutes. Toss the broccoli in the sauce, pour into serving dish, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired, and serve.

EGG ROLLS
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1/2 lb. pork sausage
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded
1/4 head of napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 c. carrot, shredded
1/2 c. bean sprouts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb. Hoisen Sauce
2 Tb. Smooth Peanut butter
1 package Egg Roll wrappers

Brown sausage. Add vegetables and garlic and saute until slightly cooked but still crunchy. Add sauce and peanut butter. Divide mixture into egg roll wrappers – about 2 Tb./wrapper.

To Roll: Place filling lengthwise towards end closest to you. Fold sides in and slowly roll. Seal edge with water.

Fry in a deep fryer until golden brown or bake in oven at 400 for about 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with Sweet & Sour and enjoy!

Market Fresh: Eggs

We could really spend weeks on this topic, but this week, we will be featuring dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs.

Fresh eggs are one of my absolute favorite things to get at the farmer’s market. They are delicious and just by the color of the yolk, you can see how nutrient-rich they are. Knowing the grower’s and knowing how the chickens are raised ensures a wonderful quality of eggs.

Egg Salad is a great way use eggs. It’s easy and makes a beautiful sandwich!

EGG SALAD
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6 hard-boiled eggs
1 Tb. onion, finely minced
2 Tb. dill relish
2 Tb. Mayonnaise
1 tsp. pickle juice (just get some from the relish jar)
1 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
dash cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Dice the egg. Add onion and they rest of the ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich filling (butter bread and add lettuce if desired).

This egg dish is great for a quick meal any time of the day! You can use whatever vegetables and ingredients you have on hand – be creative!


OVEN OMELET
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1/2 lb. sausage
2 Tb. butter
1 1/2 c. shredded potato (I used frozen shredded hashbrowns)
1 bell pepper (I used orange which was so good & sweet)
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
8 lg. eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a 10-12 inch oven-safe skillet (cast iron or any other oven safe skillet) over med.-high heat, brown sausage and drain. Saute sausage, potatoes, pepper,  and onion in 2 Tb. butter until tender. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, salt, & pepper in a separate bowl. Turn off heat. Spread vegetable & meat mixture evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle half of the cheese over it. Pour eggs  mixture evenly over the skillet. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until completely set. Cut in wedges and serve hot. Makes 4-5 servings.