Friday, June 19, 2009

Mmmm...Peanut Sauce!

Who doesn't love peanut sauce? (You don't?! Okay, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore. Unless you have a peanut allergy. Then I forgive you.) That creamy, spicy, delicious sauce that you can put on virtually anything. Put a plate of tofu and vegetables in front of a meat-loving guy and he'll probably think you're crazy - put a plate of tofu and vegetables covered in peanut sauce and it's a whole different story. Of course you could also use the sauce over chicken or you know meat of any kind, but that's aside from the point!

So I'm sure many of you already have your own go-to peanut sauce recipe, but this is the one I turn to for a quick, healthy, and frankly just delicious dinner. Put on a pot of rice, stir fry some meat or vegetables and make this peanut sauce - you've got dinner.

First mince 4 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup red onion, and grate 2 tbsp ginger.

You can substitute regular onions, just saute them a little longer so they loose their bite. Or you can leave out the onions all together, just stir vigorously to keep the ginger & garlic from burning.

Tip: I peel and freeze chunks of fresh ginger that way I always have fresh ginger on hand plus it is remarkably easier to grate frozen ginger (trust me: try it!).

Heat 1 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable oil) over medium heat. Add the minced onion, garlic, and grated ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring occasionally to keep the garlic from burning.

Add 2 tbsp rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) and deglaze pan for 1 minute.

Add 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup water, and 1 tbsp fish sauce (or extra soy sauce for vegetarians). Bring to a boil.

Add 1/3 cup peanut butter & whisk gently to combine. The peanut butter will gently melt into the sauce. A personal warning, if you get too excited whisking the peanut butter before its really melted into the sauce, you will end up with splatters all over your stove...not that I would do that on a regular basis or anything.

Now add hot sauce to taste. If the sauce is too thick, add more water to thin it out. Too thin? Add more peanut butter. You've got the hang of it now.

Now enjoy on top of something like this (with meat or tofu added). And pretend there is a nice plated after picture here.

Peanut Sauce

1 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup minced red onion (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce (or extra soy sauce for vegetarians)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup peanut butter
Hot chili sauce (Sriracha, etc.), to taste

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add red onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring (to avoid burning the garlic) until onion is softened. Add rice vinegar & deglaze the pan for 1 minute. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, and water. Bring to a boil. Add peanut butter & whisk gently to combine. Add hot chili sauce to taste (I usually add ~1 tbsp). If the sauce is to thick it can be thinned with additional water at this point. Serve over stir fry or soba noodles.

Mmmmm mmmm!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Enchiladas

I've moved my blog over to To visit this post on my new blog click here.

Today's recipe is another quick fix meal that I turn to quite frequently. These enchiladas are really all about the sauce. I give you a suggestion for the filling, but really, you can use just about anything you like. You can make them vegetarian using black beans, vegetables, & cheese or you can use up just about any leftover meat you have (or cook up some ground beef with some corn mixed in). Feel free to be adventurous! But whatever you do, try this sauce!!

The secret?

All you need are these two ingredients...

Just mix these two together (1 quart roasted red pepper soup with 1-4oz can diced green chilis). If you're doing it for a crowd that likes spicy food, go ahead and use two cans per 1 quart soup. Feel free to use any boxed (or leftover homemade) roasted red pepper soup. They add a subtle sweetness that you don't really notice but really makes these fusion enchiladas shine. Trust me.

This is a great enchilada sauce for kids, too (even picky ones like it!). If you use a "mild diced green chilis" can it won't be at all spicy (they just add a nice flavor) but you could use 1/2 a can if you're worried.

So onto the enchilada making!

(Preheat oven to 400 F. ) As I mentioned before, you can really use any filling, but I heated up leftover stir fried shredded cabbage (with just cumin & salt) and 1-12.5oz can "chunk white chicken." Somehow canned chicken just tastes right in enchiladas. Call me weird - just don't knock it 'til you try it (hey this is supposed to be a fast meal, right?) If you have leftover cooked chicken, that would be delicious shredded in the filling.

Now while you're at it, heat up the roasted red pepper soup (microwave or stovetop). Mix in the can of green chilis.

Wasn't that easy? Now you're ready to assemble. Just spoon some filling into a tortilla and roll it up.

Layer a little sauce in a 9x13 pan (I used a smaller square pan because I was making just enough for two). Put in the rolled tortillas side by side (usually 6-8 rolled tortillas fit in a 9x13 pan).

Now start pouring the rest of that delicious sauce over all the tortillas. (Since I did this in a smaller square pan, I just used 1/2 of the sauce, but don't be afraid to drench the tortillas)

Sprinkle over some grated cheese. I used cheddar, but mozzarella, gouda, or queso fresco would be delicious!

Now just bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted (now do you see why we heated up all the ingredients beforehand?). If you forgot to heat up the ingredients (or didn't feel like it) you can put in the oven at 350 for about 25 minutes or until bubbling & cheese is melted.



1 quart Roasted Red Pepper Soup
1-4oz can Diced Green Chilis

(your choice!)
2 12-oz cans chicken
3 cups stir fried cabbage w/ cumin & salt

6-8 large tortillas

1 cup shredded cheese

Heat up soup & mix with diced green chilis.
Heat up filling. Spoon filling into tortillas. Place filled tortillas in 9x13 baking dish. Pour over soup. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 F or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Greek Salad

Greetings! I apologize about the lack of blog posts this past week. I'm one day away from being done with finals and its safe to say that I am VERY excited. When it comes to studying organic chemistry or cooking, well I'll just say you can probably guess which I'd rather be doing. The good news for all my readers, however, is that it will soon be summer and therefore I should have more time to update!

Onto today's recipe: Greek Salad. I love ordering the Greek Salad at Pegasus Pizza over on Alki. They have great pizza but in fact, I may go there almost entirely for the salad. It's that good. Thus, last time I was at Pegasus Pizza I tried to pay very close attention to the ingredients so that I could recreate it at home. Suffice to say I think this came pretty close! Overall this dish comes together pretty quickly & definitely hits the spot on a hot summer day when you don't feel like heating up the kitchen. Enjoy!

Let's start with the dressing (this can be done ahead of time & kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or so). Add 3 oz feta, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup buttermilk (or yogurt or sour cream), 1 tbsp mayonnaise, 2 tbsp lemon juice (or white wine vinegar...or the vinegar that the peperoncini jar!) and a pinch of sugar into a food processor.

Now just give it a whirl! If it's too thick, thin it out with a little more buttermilk.

Now add a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper. If desired, you can also add 1 tsp of dried dill & a little salt.

Now taste it! Does is need anything? Feel free to tinker around with it at this point. Once you've tinkered to your heart's content, you can set it aside & prepare all the other salad ingredients.

Now chop up 1/2 green bell pepper and 1/4 red onion VERY THINLY. As in, go get your microplane thin. Or practice your knife skills. Just promise me you won't cut yourself.

You want the onion and bell pepper to almost wilt into the lettuce. It will make all the flavors meld together and be easier to eat.

Oops, I almost forgot! Cut up 1/2 cucumber however you like. I chose large chunks. If you like you can also cut up some tomatoes. I didn't have any. I didn't miss them.

Now, go get a big bowl and fill it up with chopped lettuce. I used about 1/2 a head of iceberg lettuce (somehow iceberg lettuce just belongs in a greek salad) and then a couple handfuls of other lettuce varieties for good measure. Now top it with all those impressive thinly chopped vegetables. Add a small can of chopped olives (or kalamata olives if you want to get fancy!) and the equivelant of 5 chopped peperoncinis (or more!).

The peperoncinis really make this salad sing. (Betcha didn't know a salad could sing.) Plus they make a pretty garnish.

Continuing on the theme of toppings, add 3 oz crumbled feta cheese and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (mine were salted). (you can also add croutons if you feel so inclined)

Now remember that dressing we made? Yep. Pour it all on!

Now just mix it all together & serve. It tastes really good next to a slice of gourmet pizza if you ask me. Or by itself.

Here's the recipe again.....

3 oz feta
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp lemon juice (or vinegar)
pinch of sugar
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tbsp fresh)
salt, to taste

Whirl everything together in a food processor. Adjust to taste & thin with more buttermilk if necessary.

Dressing, see above
1/2 large head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, VERY THINLY sliced
1/4 red onion, VERY THINLY sliced
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 small can chopped olives
6 chopped peperoncinis
3 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
croutons, optional

Mix everything together & serve!

(to make it a more substantial meal by itself, you can add some thinly sliced salami)