Thursday, December 31, 2015

Scallion Pancakes

I love scallion pancakes. It is an unhealthy relationship and NONE of the Chinese restaurants by me make them!! It is quite the tragedy. So, I decided that for New Years I wanted to make Wonton Soup and Scallion Pies! 

These are very few and simple ingredients, but I won't lie, these are a labor of love here and did take about an hour and a half to make, rest, and cook. But it was worth it!! 

Light, not greasy, scallion-y, and probably $2 to make eight good sized pancakes! One of these babies would run you at least $4.95 in the restaurant!! 

I was making breakfast pancakes in the oven and doing dishes while the dough was resting, so it was very productive!

A similar recipe are my Mexican tortillas!

Happy New Year!!!!!

Scallion Pancakes
Adapted from The Kitchn (check out the site for pictures for each step!)
makes 8 pancakes, serves 12 once you cut into wedges?

2 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup boiling water)
Oil such as vegetable, sesame, or shortening
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup, about 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped (scallions = green onions)
High smoke point oil for the pan, such as vegetable, canola, or peanut oil

Mix and knead the flour and water until it forms a smooth dough. This will take about 5 minutes by hand (or less by mixer). Coat this ball of dough lightly in sesame oil and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

Split the dough into 4 equal parts. **Don't skip this step** Lightly oil your rolling surface (I used olive oil) and roll out one part of the dough. Roll until it is a thin rectangle at least 12 x 9 inches. (think thin enough to see the grain of your counter tops)

Lightly brush the top of the dough with more sesame oil (if you think its needed), then sprinkle it evenly with chopped scallions and kosher salt (about 1/2 to 1 tsp per rectangle).

Starting from the long end, roll the dough up tightly - jelly roll style, creating one long snake of rolled-up dough. Cut in half.

Take one of these halves and coil into a round dough bundle (like kindergarten arts and crafts pottery). Let it rest while you repeat this process with the rest of the dough.

Roll a coiled dough bundle into a flat, smooth, round pancake. Stack between layers of saran wrap.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, and oil it with a drizzle of canola, vegetable, or peanut oil (I used olive oil since that is what I have in my house). When the pan is hot, add one pancake. It should sizzle, but not burn. Cook for 2 minutes on one side or until golden brown. Flip and cook another 2 minutes. Repeat for remaining dough coils.

Cut the pancake into wedges with a pair of kitchen scissors, and serve immediately with soy sauce or another dipping sauce.
Make-Ahead Tip: If you would like to make a few pancakes but save the rest for later, you can save the dough in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just make sure the dough is oiled and well-covered. You can also roll out individual pancakes and stack them between well-oiled layers of wax paper.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Stove Top Beef Stew

Brrrr it was cold today! I really was craving some beef stew! In our house the beef stew is very basic and heavy on the meat, potatoes, and carrots.

I had planned on making it in the slow cooker but errands (including the grocery store where I was getting dinner ingredients) took longer than expected. So I cobbled together several recipes to make some beef stew on the stove!

I wish I had grabbed some bread for this because then the meal would have been perfect!

Do I prefer my stove top beef stew or my slow cooker beef stew? The stove top beef stew was very rich because it had added butter and the potatoes/carrots were on the crunchier side - but that could have been because I was rushing to get dinner on the table! The easier version is easily the slow cooker but if you have the time then making it on the stove is a great option!

Stove Top Beef Stew
adapted from Food NetworkOnce Upon a Chef, and Delish
serves 6-8

Olive oil for searing
1/2 cup flour
2-3 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 small onions, cut into sixths (or blitzed in the food processor)
3 tsp garlic powder
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups cold water
2 cups chicken or beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 lbs medium red potatoes, quartered
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 bag frozen peas
salt & pepper

Heat a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/4-inch deep. Spread flour out on a plate. Season half the beef generously with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour. Shake off the excess flour, and add to the pan. Saute the meat, uncovered, stirring only occasionally, until well-browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted wooden spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef.

In the same pot with the beef grease and such, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Return the beef to the pot and add the red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, water and broth, and bring to a boil. Cover and set to low. Stew the meat until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. I stirred mine about every 15 minutes to keep it from sticking but I also struggle with the temperature of my stove.

Add the potatoes and carrots and bring back to a simmer. Stew, uncovered, on top of the stove, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and the beef and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among bowls and serve immediately.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Copy Cat Chex Mix

I love salty savory snacks and chex mix always hits the spot!! But... I don't want all the funky ingredients and lets be real, I pick around the stuff I want to eat. So here is a recipe that you can make with ONLY the tasty bits you want to eat! 

To sum it up, 16(ish) cups of stuff (cereals, pretzels, chips, cheerios, cheese its, bagel crisps, nuts, etc) and then coat it all in the seasoned butter mixture. Bake for 1 hour and stir every 15 minutes!

The only changes I'd make next time? I'd add a little more seasoning and make sure you mix it all up well so the things are coated nicely!! I've updated the amounts below! Enjoy!!

Copy Cat Chex Mix
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

5 cups corn chex
4 cups wheat chex
2 cups pretzels
1 cup honey-nut cheerios
2 cups cheese its
1 cup almonds
1 1/2 cups peanuts

¾ cup butter, melted
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, a little goes a long way!)

1. Preheat oven  275F
2. In a large roasting pan, stir together the cereals, pretzels and nuts.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Drizzle evenly over the cereal mixture and, using clean hands, toss to combine, making sure that the mixture is evenly moistened.
4. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Once cool, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.