Sunday, August 28, 2011

Korean Vegetable Pancakes (Pajeon)

Korean Vegetable Pancakes (Pajeon)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Yields 4 pancakes (8 to 9 inches in diameter)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
1 1/2 cups water (may need a little more)
5 scallions (green tops cut into 3-inch lengths, then julienned. White ends thinly sliced.
20 chive blades, thinly sliced (or 5 more scallions thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1 small yellow or green summer squash, trimmed and julienned
Additional canola oil for frying the pancakes
For the dipping sauce (recipe is easily doubled):
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice or white vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot pepper oil (or 1/4 teaspoon Asian hot sauce)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Mix all together in a small bowl and set aside while making the pancakes.
For the pancakes:
Place the flour in a medium bowl. In a small bowl mix the beaten eggs and  water. Add the egg/water mixture, along with the 1 tablespoon oil, blend thoroughly until a smooth batter is formed. Stir in the scallion greens, the sliced scallions, chives, carrots, and squash.
Heat the oil in a 8 to 9 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Ladle about 1/4 of the batter, spreading over bottom of pan to make an even disc. Reduce heat to medium and cook until bottom of pancake is browned (about 3 to 4 minutes), flip and cook the other side for another couple of minutes.  Repeat with the remaining batter. As you remove pancakes from the pan you may drain on paper towels if necessary, keep warm in warm oven until all are cooked. (Or you may allow them to cool and serve at room temperature.)  To serve cut each pancake (pizza style) into 6 to 8 wedges, serve with the bowl of dipping sauce.

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman, New York Times

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Daeji Bulgogi (Korean-Style Grilled Pork)

Daeji Bulgogi (Korean-Style Grilled Pork)
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari

Marinated and cooked on the grill, these thin slices of pork tenderloin are irresistible.  You can serve them with steamed rice, or wrapped in a lettuce leaf.  Traditionally kimchi and pickled vegetables are served along with this dish.
1 pound pork tenderloin, (remove any silver skin)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mirin or sherry (not cooking sherry)
2 tablespoons gochujang*
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (Asian style)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon dry red pepper flakes (more or less depending upon the degree of heat you enjoy)  I use about 1/4 teaspoon.
2 to 3 green onions, both green and white parts, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
For serving: 
Leaf lettuce of your choice
Pickled vegetables**
•For easier slicing, put the raw pork tenderloin in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour. In the meantime in a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, mirin (or sherry), gochujang, sesame oil,  grated ginger root, pepper flakes and green onion. Stir to combine.
•Slice the pork into thin slices (approximately 1/8-inch).  The most effective way of marinating is in a plastic zipper-style freezer bag. Place the sliced pork and onions in the plastic bag, then pour the marinade in.  Massage bag gently to distribute the marinade on all of the meat. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or up to 24 hours.
•When ready to grill the meat, take the bag from the refrigerator and set aside while you light a charcoal grill.  When the charcoal is ready, clean and oil the grill grate. Place the slices of meat on the grill in a single layer, grill quickly (about a minute per side.) Serve immediately; tuck a few slices of meat in the lettuce leaf along with some kimchi and pickled vegetables, if desired.
* One of the key ingredients in the marinade is gochujan (fermented hot red pepper paste), which provides a majority of the flavor. Available in well stocked Asian grocery stores, it's worth searching out if you want to make bulgogi.  If, like me, you cannot find it locally you can order it through as I did:
It comes in different levels of 'heat' ~ I purchased level 3 (medium hot), and found it to be very palatable). I don't like to feel as if my mouth is on fire, and this one tastes just right to me. (If you would like the dish to have more spice, increase the amount of red pepper flakes.)
** Easy recipe for Quick Asian-style pickled vegetables can be found HERE at the Whole Foods recipe site.

I hope you enjoy!
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde

Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings
This is substantial enough to be served as a main dish, but also makes a wonderful side dish with something from the grill. Feel free to substitute the Gruyere with Jarlsberg or another cheese that melts well.
Salsa Verde: (this is tasty on grilled chicken or fish, too.)
1 teaspoon fresh (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) oregano or marjoram.
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint (optional)
1 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
1 anchovy (it won't make the sauce taste 'fishy', it just adds a lovely layer of flavor)
1 Tablespoon capers, drained (rinse them and drain if they are packed in salt)
1 fresh lemon
freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds summer squash (all one type, or a mix)
1 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (dried will not work well)
3 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cups sliced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon thyme leaves (or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 chile, seeded and finely chopped (jalapeno, serrano, or New Mexico)
1 cup grated Gruyere Cheese, or any good melting cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
First make the salsa verde: I use a mortar and pestle to make this, but you can use a food processor if you prefer. Pound the garlic and anchovy, then add the herbs and pound them with a couple of tablespoons of the oil into a thick paste. Add capers and lightly crush, stir in the remaining oil, a few grinds of freshly ground pepper and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, add more lemon juice if desired. (I always add more)
To assemble the gratin:  
•Heat oven to 400˚F. Slice the squash into 1/4-inch slices. Toss slices in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes (this will release some of the water from the squash)

•Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Place the butter in the hot pan and swirl around; allow butter to cook for a few minutes until it is nicely browned and smells nutty. Pour the brown butter (including the brown bits from the bottom of the butter pan) over the bread crumbs, toss with a fork or silicone spatula to coat the crumbs evenly with the butter. Set aside to cool.
•Drain the squash and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add the shallots, thyme, minced garlic, chile, 1/2 of the salsa verde and some freshly ground black pepper. Toss ingredients to combine, add the grated cheese and half of the butter-coated bread crumbs. Toss again and taste for seasoning (the garlic will be pungent at this point, but mellows out as the gratin bakes.)
•Place the squash mixture in a 9x9-inch (or equivalent) gratin dish, (or divide mixture evenly into 4 individual gratin dishes.) Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the top. Bake large gratin for 35 to 40 minutes, the individual gratins for 15 to 20 minutes (or so, until squash is just tender, cheese is bubbling, and bread crumb topping is nicely golden brown.) Tent with foil if crumbs begin browning too quickly. Remove from oven, allow to sit for a couple of minutes, then enjoy!
Any extra salsa verde can be passed at the table to drizzle over the gratin, it also makes a delightful sauce, spooned over grilled chicken or fish.

Recipe adapted from "Sunday Suppers at Lucques" by Susan Goin.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pea Pod Salad with Radishes, Basil and Ricotta Salata

Pea Pod Salad with Radishes, Basil and Ricotta Salata
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
4 servings
This salad is best served shortly before serving so the basil stays bright and pea pods and radishes crisp.

3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 1/4 cups (approximately) fresh pea pods
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup basil leaves, torn (more or less to taste)

1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of kosher salt, or more to taste
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, and coarse salt, to taste.

First make the dressing: Using the flat side of a knife make a  paste of the salt and garlic, place in a small bowl and add balsamic vinegar and lemon juice; stir well to combine thoroughly. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking or stirring constantly, add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the pea pods, radish slices together in a large bowl. Just before serving drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the ricotta salata and basil leaves over, and toss again gently. Serve right away.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tomato Slabs Roasted with Pesto and Parmesan

Tomato Slabs Roasted with Pesto and Parmesan Cheese
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari 

Makes about 6 servings (recipe can be reduced, or multiplied easily)
2 to 2 1/2 pounds large red tomatoes

  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pesto, homemade, or your favorite store bought
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Romano, or Mozzarella)

Position oven rack in middle of oven, and preheat the oven to 425˚ (F) 
Core the tomatoes and slice them horizontally (through the equator) into 1/2 inch-thick slices. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with baking parchment for easy clean up. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano, a light sprinkling of salt, and generous grinds of freshly ground black pepper.
Bake the tomatoes for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven, spread each slice with a layer of pesto, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Return the tomatoes to the oven and continue baking for 5 to 7 minutes, until the Parmesan is melted. With a flat metal spatula arrange the tomatoes on a serving platter. May be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from "The Barefoot Contessa" by Ina Garten.

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