Saturday, January 28, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Usually we use Chinese New Year as an excuse to order in our favorite Chinese items, but this year after receiving our first issue of Sunset Magazine (thanks Mom and Dad,) I was determined to make some of the enticing recipes they featured this month. I'm so glad I did because they were just as appetizing as they looked in the pictures!

Out of the many recipes to choose from I chose: Brussels Sprouts and Shiitake Lo Mein and Chili Shrimp.
Brussels Sprouts and Shiitake Lo Mein
(Slightly varied from Sunset Magazine)

Neither one of us had ever tried brussels sprouts, so I was a little nervous about how this dish would turn out. We were both pleasantly surprised! They basically just took the place of cabbage which is in many lo mein dishes. The hubby gave it a thumbs up and asked to have it again sometime soon.

1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
4 oz.  Udon noodles (used already cook, just needed to be heated)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced
1 TB minced garlic
1/2 t. each white pepper (milder than black pepper,) sugar, and kosher salt
1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 c. mung bean sprouts, rinsed
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
soy sauce

1. Put mushrooms in a heat proof bowl. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Ladle 2 cups water over mushrooms and let sit until very soft, 15-20 minutes.

2. Heat 2 tsp. oil in wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add brussels sprouts and onion and cook 3 minutes. Drain mushrooms and squeeze out any excess liquid, then add to wok. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften and brussels sprouts are bright green, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in seasonings and broth and cook until most liquid is gone, about 3 minutes.

3. Add remaining 2 TB. oil and the noodles, tossing to coat, and cook until hot, about 2 minutes. Add bean sprouts and cook until war,. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with green onions. Serve with soy sauce.

Chili Shrimp
(slightly varied from Sunset Magazine)

We love anything spicy and WARNING.....this is very spicy!!!!
I put ours in the middle of brown rice.

1/4 c. vegannaise (of course you could use regular mayo)
1 TB. Asian Garlic Chili Sauce with Chili Flakes
1 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 lb. peeled, deveined large shrimp (26-30 per lb.)
1 TB vegetable oil
3 TB mild honey
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 serrano chiles, sliced
1/4 c. puffed rice cereal
1/2 t. red chili flakes

1. Mix vegannaise, chili sauce, and soy sauce in a bowl; set aside.

2. Preheat broiler with rack about 5 in. from heat. Coat shrimp and lay evenly on a broiler pan. Broil until pink and firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 

3. Drizzle shrimp with honey and sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Arrange shrimp evenly on a serving plate. Sprinkle with chile slices, puffed rice, and chile flakes. Serve immediately with sauce on the side.

Think we will be replacing our tradition of ordering from our local favorite with making new recipes at home instead. What are your traditions for celebrating Chinese New Year?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I guess it is a good thing I didn't resolve to post more often for New Years because I would already have failed! I'm trying to take the time to bake, but life keeps getting in the way. Don't you hate when that happens?

One of my favorite traditions is to go to Barnes and Noble the day after Christmas and get all my calendars for 50% off! As my husband states, "I plan to make plans." So it really shouldn't surprise anyone that I have two calenders in our house, one on my computer, one on my phone, and one at school (on top of my plan book,) that are all synced. This year I chose a Martha Stewart Cupcakes calendar for the kitchen, in hopes that I will at least make the cupcake of the month each month. 

January's recipe was Spiced Cupcakes with Citrus Glaze! The original recipe says it will make 48 minis, but I decided to make regular ones instead since I was putting them in "birthday boxes." Two of my awesome teammates celebrated birthdays this week! I am so blessed to be able to work with them and they definitely deserved to have a special treat!

Spiced Cupcakes with Citrus Glaze
(slightly varied from Martha Stewart)
For the cupcakes

1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. all-purpse flour
1 1/2 t. coarse salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1 c. packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c. whole milk

For the glaze

3 ish TB. orange juice
1 3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
food coloring (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tin. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour in three additions, alternating with two additions of milk.
3. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown at edges and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 20 mins. Let cakes cool in pan about 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Make glaze by whisking together confectioners' sugar and orange juice until smooth. I added 1 TB at a time until desired thickness. Add 1 to 2 drops of food coloring if coloring glaze.

 I loved the idea of coloring glaze; however, I didn't realize how it effected the consistency until it was too late. It was pretty watery and either soaked into the cake or puddled on the plate:
Be sure to add a tad more sugar if you add food coloring!
Happy Birthday Jennie and Lisa!

Today's Playlist:
Blackout- Breathe Carolina
Lights (Bassnectar Remix)- Ellie Goulding
Good Feeling- Flo Rida
We Found Love- Rihanna