Friday, October 11, 2019

What To Do With Leftover Rice? Make Moreover Rice Pudding.

True comfort food.
It's rice pudding.

See that rice in there?
 I'd made a big batch of it and I used some of it in my sweet and sour pork
and I had some of it "leftover."  As you know, Rosie doesn't do "leftovers."  Rosie does "moreovers."
As I've explained before, I don't like the word "leftovers."  It has negative connotations to me.  I prefer "moreovers."  I take what's been made already and turn it into something else - something more than what went before. And if that something else involves dessert, even better. 

Today, I'm make moreover rice pudding.
Here's how:

Rosie's Rice Pudding
2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
peel of 1 orange
1 TB vanilla
dried cranberries
toasted pistachios
turbinado sugar

Rosie Note:  As for the skim milk and cream, I always have both on hand, but never have whole milk, so I use a combination of the two to approximate whole milk, erring on the side of fat content.  Technically, 1 oz. cream and 7 oz. skim milk would give you the whole milk, but I'm going with half skim and half cream because I like the combination.

Combine rice, sugar, coconut milk, skim milk, cream, cinnamon sticks, and orange peel in medium sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat and barely simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.  Stir in vanilla.

To serve, add cranberries, pistachios, and a sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

Here are the step-by-steps
for the instruction-impaired:

Sugar, rice, and cinnamon sticks for a nice infusion.
Coconut milk.
Skim and cream.
Orange peel.
And simmer and stir.

 Serve with  nuts and berries.
Maybe some fresh orange zest.

And a sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

Eat warm.
Or cold right out of the container 
while you stand in front of the fridge
with the door wide open.


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sweet And Sour Pork.

I know we have a lot of great restaurants on the Outer Banks,
but sometimes you want Chinese.
Most all of the ChinaMacs we used to have down here
have closed, and I can't say I miss any of them.
So, when I want something "Chinese,"
I have to make it myself.
And it's sad to say that my lily white American ass
can produce a sweet and sour pork
that's far better than anything I've had down here.
Also my egg rolls are superior to any I've had down here, too.
But, I digest...

A couple weeks ago,
I was doing the freezer clean-out
and found 3 pork loins.
I put them on my to-do list.
And today, I'm to-do-ing.
We're having Sweet and Sour Pork.

First, I cut the pork into small bite-sized pieces
and placed them in a marinade
which I covered and refrigerated overnight.
You could marinate for a couple of hours and go from there
if you're short on time.

 1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TB hoisin sauce
2 TB rice vinegar
1 TB mirin
2 TB brown sugar
1 TB sriracha sauce
Mix all ingredients until sugar is dissolved.
Put pork pieces in and stir to coat.
Let marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Next, I gathered my fixin's for stir fry.

Here's what I had on hand for my pork stir fry,
clockwise from top left:
bok choy, chopped
carrots, peeled and artistically sliced
sugar snap peas, stringed
red and green peppers, sliced 
onions, sliced
garlic, minced (not shown)

You don't have to limit yourself to these vegetables
and you don't have to use these vegetables.
Keep your options open.
If you want broccoli, go for it.
I'm down with those little bitty ears of corn too.
Water chestnuts?  Bamboo shoots? Have at it.
Squash?  Zucchini?  Celery?  Help yourself.
The only "rule" is to have the pieces chopped 
basically the same size (bite-sized), so they cook evenly.

NOTE:  Preparation is KEY for stir frying.
Have everything peeled, chopped, sliced, diced,
and ready to fry.
Once you start, there's no turning back.

 I had already cooked a pot of jasmine rice
and I had a sweet and sour sauce ready.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
1 8-oz can pineapple chunks with juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan 
and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve brown sugar.
Slowly pour in a cornstarch slurry -
1 TB cornstarch dissolved in 1 TB water.
Stir until thickened.
Keep warm.

Next, I prepped the pork pieces.
Drain the pork, saving the marinade,
then toss in a mixture of equal parts flour and corn starch,
with some kosher salt thrown in.
Coat evenly.

Now, let's start stir frying.
Heat a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of peanut oil.
You want it about 400°.
Peanut oil is my oil of choice because it's neutral flavored
and it has a high smoke point - perfect for stir fries.

The carrots take longest, so they went in first,
for about 60-75 seconds.
Learn how to do the pan flip thing
where you shove the pan forward, give it a little flip back,
tossing the ingredients,
then letting them fall back in place.
No utensils needed.  Just a strong wrist and some coordination.

Then I dropped in the bok choy and the pea pods.
Keep flipping for about 30 seconds.
And then the onions and peppers and garlic.
Keep doing that pan toss to heat the ingredients evenly.

Finally, the cashews went in.
Total time was about 2 minutes.

Lastly, I poured in the marinade and brought it to a simmer.
Pour vegetables and sauce into a bowl and keep warm.
Give the pan a sweep with paper towels to clean it out
and pour in a film of peanut oil
Heat the oil to around 375° 
and place the pork cubes in.
Fry in batches.
Do not crowd the pan.
Brown and remove.

Plate rice, then vegetables and pork,
and pour the sweet and sour sauce over top.

I love the colors in a stir fry.
Everything is pretty.
And the vegetables are crisp!


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Rosie Makes Roasted Red Pepper Soup.

With the Outer Banks weather hovering in the mid- to low-seventies,
it's time for soup!
Since my peppers are maturing and turning red now,
I'm taking advantage of those sweet, ripe peppers
and making a roasted red pepper soup with Italian sausage.

Now, about those red peppers.

The bell pepper plants (Capsicum annuum) in my garden are now producing the best and sweetest peppers of their growing season – the mature, fully ripened red peppers.  All peppers, whether sweet or hot, start out green, and then they go through the spectrum of colors and flavors, from the grassy and slightly bitter green pepper, to yellow then orange, gradually sweetening, and finally to the nutrient-rich, mellow, and almost fruity, red pepper.  By staying on the plant longer, the red pepper has had time to develop additional flavor characteristics and nutritional qualities, making it an excellent source of antioxidants, beta carotene, Vitamin C, and fiber.  Longer vine-time, while making the red pepper sweeter than its predecessors, also makes it more expensive, due to the required use of extra resources demanded by the longer harvest.  All this is moot if you’re growing your own, in which case, good things come to those who wait.

I’m taking the fully mature red peppers and charring them over an open flame which concentrates the sugars, making them even sweeter, and then showcasing them in a smoky, velvety, roasted red pepper soup.  It’s perfect for this time of year.

 First, let's get the peppers roasted,
then I'll give you the "recipe."

It helps to slice the peppers.

Keep turning to roast evenly.
Skin side to flame.

You want to blacken the skin.
If you don't have an open flame,
blacken the peppers under your broiler.

When the peppers are blackened,
immediately immerse in ice water.

Use your fingers to rub off the blackened skin.

Place on cutting board and slice out ribs and remove seeds.

And your peppers are ready.

Here's what I threw together for a nice, hearty fall soup.

Rosie's Roasted Red Pepper Soup
2 red peppers, roasted and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 oz. or so hot Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 TB olive oil
1 TB unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 heaping TB flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup cream
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
fresh thyme

Cook the sausage until browned, drain, and hold for later.
Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat
 until butter is foamy.
Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add chopped, roasted red peppers and garlic
and sauté for a minute.
Add in flour and cook for another minute
to cook out the raw taste.
Slowly pour in stock, stirring.
Bring to simmer and thicken a bit.
Immersion blend the mixture.
If you don't have an immersion blender,
pour 1/2 cup at a time into a blender/processor
and blend/process away until smooth.
(Don't pour the entire amount in the blender at once,
else you'll have a hot mess.  Literally.)
Stir in the cream and heat through.
Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowls and add crumbled sausage and fresh thyme.

The amounts I give are merely guidelines.
Use as much sausage as you like.
The more, the better.

Cook the sausage until nicely browned.

Drain it and save it.

Chop the onion and peppers.

Sauté the onions in oil and butter for a couple of minutes.

Add in the red pepper and ...
... the minced garlic.

Cook, stirring.
Medium heat.

Add the flour.
Stir and cook it to get out the raw taste.

Slowly add in the stock, stirring, to thicken.

Add in some cream.

Immersion blend.
And season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

I happened to have some lovely parmesan/garlic knots
I'd already made.
Heat 'em up.
Butter and toast 'em.
However you want 'em. 
They're great for dipping, dunking, and sopping up every last drop.
And here's how to make them:  Bread Knots.

They went perfectly with the soup.