Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftover Hawaiian Style - Turkey "Jook"

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and a yum yum meal. I think it is a "tradition" to have leftover. As we would make sandwiches, turkey casserole on the mainland, those of us from the Islands have our special tradition with Turkey leftover, we make "Jook"!

"Jook" 粥 in Chinese or "Juk" in Korean both mean rice porridge, or sometimes referred as congee. Each family has their own special recipe of making Jook. It is simply boiled rice in a lot of water or stock to make a rice soup. 

As many would do after the big dinner, I took the roasted turkey carcass and boil it down to make a thick stock. There is not really a recipe. I just put break down the carcass, put in the vegetable leftover that I used to roast the turkey into a big pot. Cover with water and let it cook low for a few hours. Remove all the bones and vegetable, strain the stock and store in a few containers (2 cups each is my prefernce) and freeze it. I keep the base stock simple so that I can use the stock for both Asian as well as Western dishes.

This a very simple recipe. Another way to enjoy turkey leftover... especially on those cold winter night.. (It's 34 outside and rainning) 

Turkey Jook with Lettuce and roasted seaweed

1/3 cup rice, washed, raised and drained
2 cups turkey stock
2 cups water 
1 cup bite size leftover turkey meat
2 cup shredded romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Sesame oil
Salt and better to taste
Optional: Korean roasted seasoned seaweed. You can also get the sheet version of roasted seaweed at Trader Joe (it's in the snack section by the popcorn), cut it into strips or tear in up in smaller pieces
Toasted sesame seeds
Place rice in a medium size pot
Add water and stock
Bring to a boil, lower heat to med low. Cover and let the porridge cook for about an hour. Check and stir every now and then to make sure the rice is sticking to the bottom.
The porridge is ready when the rice "flower", starts to disintergrate.
Add turkey meat, stir and let it cook for about 10 mins. Check seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste.
Place 1 cup of lettuce in each large soup bowl.
Laddle hot boiling soup into each bowl
Sprinkle with green onion

Top with a handful of roasted seaweed. (I love seaweed, if you are not sure, start with less). The porridge is wonderful without the topping.
Drizzle a little of sesame
And a sprinkle of toasted sesame seed
To eat: mix everything together... Now, this is comfort food to me...
Made 3 cups, 2 dinner serving.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hmmm stuffing.... it's Holidays season

I was not a big fan of stuffing or dressing (as the English would call it). English dressing that my family made was very heavy and rich. It was mainly sausage meat and breadcrumbs.  It was also cooked inside the bird.  I didn't care for it much when I was growing up. When I lived in Hawai'i, I would have turkey with rice and mac salad, and tried to avoid stuffing most of the time. I also not crazy about stuffing in the bird, it was too rich for me. One Christmas looong time ago, I went from Hawai'i to Boston at Christmas to visit my friend Matt. Christmas was magically at the Mattus's house. Grand mama Mattus would make some of the most amazing cookies and pies, many interesting Lithuanian dishes and I discovered what good stuffing should be like. Her cooking changed me from a dressing hater to someone who look forward to the holiday tradition. Since she taught me how to make stuffing, this will always be her recipe.

Through the years, I did some changes to her recipe.She would have cut up pieces of  boiled gizzard and meat from the neck, an egg and 2 sticks of butter in the stuffing.  Here secret ingredient is the Bell seasoning, that's one ingredient that I will never change.  I have more vegetable in this version. I also cup the vegetable a bit bigger,  so that there is some texture when it is cooked down. If you want a little sweetness, you can add an apple and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. The recipe can easily be vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
I am using the stuffing for a Roast turkey bread roulette today.

Grand mama Mattus's Yum Yum Stuffing
1 medium size onion, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 cloves of garlic, finally chopped
1 shallot, chopped.
3 stalks of celery. Cleaned and trimmed. cut into 1/2" pieces
1 6oz package of mushroom, cleaned and sliced.
3-5 green onion, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
4 tbsp ghee or butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp Bell seasoning
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
6 cups day-old or any old bread,  cubed to make up 6 cups.
In a large saucepan, melt 4 tbsp ghee till hot. This may seem to be a lot of oil, but you will need it for the bread.
Saute onion, shallot and garlic till carmeralized.
Add celery and thyme, cook til vegetable slightly soften about 2-3 mins.
Add Bell seasoning, stir well
Mix in mushroom
Then green onion
Add 1/2 cup of white wine.
Pour in 2 cups of chicken stock
Bring to a boil
Fold in bread cubes and mix well. You may need to add more stock if the mixture seem dry. It depends on the bread you are using. I was making some cucumber sandwiches for a baby shower last weekend and I saved the crust.  My stuffing was actually a bit too moist today, I have to add more bread.
 Reduce heat to medium low, let the stuffing cook for 4-5 mins to blend in the flavors.
It's ready to use. I would usually transfer the mixture to a buttered casserole, drizzle with some dripping from the turkey. Cover bake for additional 30 mins.
Make about 4 cups of stuffing.

I used it in a turkey breast roulette this evening...


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simple lunch in the Fall - Warm quinoa and arugula salad with cranberries and apples

I knew I was in big trouble last month when I didn't want to do any cooking. As things settled in now. I am back to cooking and also I started having meals again.  The weather here in Minneapolis is getting cold. Thanksgiving is actually the first sign of winter will be here soon in this part of the US. I wanted something simple and warm for lunch. I posted my lunch on Facebook a few weeks ago. A few of my friends wanted the recipe. I am a bit late with posting this... Sorry gang!

Warm Quinoa and Arugula Salad with cranberries and apple
1/2 cup of red quinoa, cooked according to the package direction.
2 cups of arugula, washed and cleaned
1 clove of shallot, sliced
1 apple, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries.
1/2 of a lime
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp of Lemon infused olive oil
Olive oil for cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a medium size frying pan till hot. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced shallot. Saute the shallot till translucent.
 Toss in arugula. Cook lightly till the leaves begin to wilt, season with salt and pepper.
 Remove from heat, toss in apple
 Add Cranberries
Squeeze a splash of lime juice and a tbsp of honey over the mixture to taste. I was in a hurry, I would usually mix the lime juice with the honey first before tossing the dressing with the greens
Fold in quinoa.
Drizzle 2 tbsp lemon infused olive oil over the top
Ready to plate!!
Serve 2


Monday, November 21, 2011

A touch of Japanese. Miso glazed roasted winter squash

Remember I had a in home Vegan cooking class last month? This is one of the dish that we made. One of my fellow yogini mentioned that this would be a good alternative to the traditional way of preparing squash. I made this at the class with a beautiful kabocha, Japanese pumpkin. You can also use butternut squash, it's just as good!

Miso glazed roasted Kabocha squash
1 kabocha or butternut squash. Cleaned, peeled, seed removed and cut into ¾” cubes
1/3 cup good red miso paste
¼ cup water
2 tbsp mirin
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 green onion, separate the white and green part and thinly slice each portion.
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Black and white roasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl toss the squash with vegetable oil. Set a side.
In a separate bowl, combine miso paste, mirin and water to form a smooth paste.
Add garlic.Mix well. Set aside.
Add the white part of the green onion to the squash. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper
Pour the reserved miso mixture over the squash. Toss well.
Transfer the squash to a slightly oiled foiled lined roasting pan. Separate the squash into a single layer. (The foil will help clean up a lot easier. Miso tends to stick to the pan and makes clean up a bit more complicated.)
Bake for 25-30 min till the vegetable is tender. Toss with the reminding green onion top.
To serve, plate the squash on a plate or bowl. Garnish with black and white sesame seeds
Serve 4 as a side dish


English Spiced Cranberry for an all American Thanksgiving

It seems to be forever since I posted anything... Life has been crazy, I was busy job hunting. Finally I have a better idea what I would like to do for my work life, I am putting some time back into my cooking.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, the most all American family gather! Ever since I had a family, I made my English Spiced cranberry every year. The house smells so wonderful while it is cooking on the stove. It is the first sign of the Holiday season each year.

I discovered cooking when I was 14 or 15. My parents was separated and my father didn't know how to cook. Our housekeeper had Sundays off and Dad and I were left to fend for ourselves. Since my father had no idea what to do with me. He gave me 1/4 of a watermelon for dinner in the summer... or we had "rubber" chicken, some rotisserie chicken he would pick up. I first learned to cook in Home Ed classes and I did a few experiments on my father on those Sundays. I was also close to my Aunt Kathy, who was married to an Englishman. She learned cooking from reading. I used to her helper after school.

I found the recipe in a cookbook my father gave me on 17th birthday. English had turkey or duck for Christmas. I used to make this for our family Christmas dinner at Aunt Kathy's.  It was modified though the years. Now this is my household traditional that Holidays is not the same without Spiced Cranberry...
(By the way, the photo you see in this posting was tripled since I ususally make a big batch to share with friends.)

English Spiced Cranberry
1 12oz package fresh Cranberry, washed and remove any bad berries.
 1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/4" slice of Ginger, Peeled
1/2 tsp whole clove
1/2 tsp whole allspice
1.5" piece of whole cinnemon
1/2 tsp dried onion peel
3/4 cup sugar
Prepare the spice packet. Combine, ginger, clove, allspice, cinnamon stick and orange peel. You can use a piece of muslin, place the mixture in the middle and tie the corners together to form a spice ball. I am using a tea diffuser here, Just place the mixture into the ball and set aside
Place all the cranberries in a large non-corrosive sauce pan (I am using a dutch oven). Add a cup of vinegar.
Place the spice ball into the berries mixture, hook the chain to the side of the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil over med-high heat
Once you notice the berries starts to burst, lower heat to med low and cover
 Stir occanionally, cook till the berries become saucy, thick and jam like, about 20 mins.

Add sugar and taste. Depending on the berries and your taste, you may need more sugar.
Bring to a boil again and cook for additional 5 min till the mixture is jam like
Remove the spice ball. Spoon into glass jars and store in the fridge. Use within 2 weeks. You can also can the sauce in a water bath or store in the freezer.

Great with poultry or pork. My father actually loves this on toast. I also use it as a topping over a wheel of brie for Holiday parties. It's very festive! You will love the color!