Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

super crispy panko tempura

I fried up zucchini, portobello mushrooms, onion, and shishito peppers (not pictured).

tempura + panko = best of both

I was making Japanese curry (a recipe I never gotten around to posting). It’s a thick curry sauce served over rice usually with fried foods, more specifically panko breaded fried foods (like potato croquettes and shrimp). I fried up some spare veggies I had in the fridge.

I was trying to think of a way to get a super crispy light but crunchy coating. Then it hit me, instead of coating the veggies in egg then breading it, I was going to dip them in a thin tempura batter then coat them in panko. What I got was a study coating that did not turn soggy. (It’s important that the tempura batter is thin like heavy cream consistency, and NOT pancake batter.) I also didn’t lose most of the breading when it hit the hot oil (as I often get with an egg dip). The onion rings turned out especially well, the crispy exterior didn’t fall off with the first bite nor were the onions limp/overcooked.

I used a store bought tempura mix, it’s a huge time saver and I’ve never made it as good from scratch. Do check the ingredients, go for ones with the least amount of addictives and look for panko made without hydrogenated fats.

-Lina

October 9, 2010 at 12:01 am 1 comment

tomatoes are in…

The first big haul.

The tomatoes are coming in fast, while there’s only three peppers out there now. They are so sweet I can just eat these tomatoes like fruit (yes they are fruit). Also great with a little olive oil, salt, black pepper, and basil.

When I plucked the purple pepper last week, it didn’t developed seeds yet. So maybe I was a little impatient, tho after plucking it started producing more buds. The pepper was very fruity, a little tart but not bitter in any way. I made a pasta salad with the first harvest.

First harvest

Pasta salad with herb infused oil

  • 2 1/2 cups fusilli pasta (cooked to desired texture in salted water)
  • 1 small onion (sliced thinly and rinsed)
  • 1 small bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • small bunch of basil (torn)
  • small bunch of thyme (or a few sprigs of rosemary)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1/3 (to 1/2) cup olive oil
  • 1 large lemon (zested then juiced)
  • small can of kippered herring or tuna or sardines (optional, you can also add cooked lentils or beans instead)
  • salt and black pepper

Heat up the olive oil over medium low heat with the thyme (either tied and remove later or strip the leaves into the oil), the basil torn into small pieces, and the crushed garlic. Simmer for a few minutes till it starts to smell fragrant and before the garlic turns dark . Put the pasta and everything into a large bowl, pour the oil and lemon juice (and zest) on top, toss together then salt and pepper to taste.

-Lina

July 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm 1 comment

Sweet potato latkas

sweetpotatolatkas some edges got a little too dark, watch the oil temps

Sweet potatoes are something I’ve been experimenting with recently. In general I don’t like really sweet vegetables (yams, pumpkin, squash, carrots, parsnips, etc.) But they (sweet potatoes, and the other veggies) are very good for you, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In the coming days I will post more on sweet potatoes.

Latkas are potato pancakes that can be made in different ways. They can be served plain or topped with almost anything; apple sauce, sour cream, or just ketchup (personal fav).

  • 1 medium/large sweet potato*
  • 1 small/medium onion*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp  pepper
  • oil for frying

* the ratio is about 3:1 of sweet potato to onion

Peel then shred sweet potato and onion, mix together with the rest of the ingredients. Heat up a heavy bottom pan (I prefer cast iron) with 1/4 – 1/2 inch of oil on medium high. I used grape seed oil, it has a very high smoking point, great for frying. Scoop mixture into pan (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup per portion), try to spread out mixture to about 4 inch in diameter, it should be a thin layer. When edges turn golden brown (3mins?), flip and cook until bottom is browned. Drain on paper towels. Add more oil in pan when needed. They should be crispy on the edges and tender inside. You can also keep them warm in the over while frying up more.

I think used half the mixture (made about 8) and then refrigerated the rest to use the next day.

lina-sm -L

July 22, 2009 at 5:04 am Leave a comment

sugarsnap peas from the garden

I had planted them late August in a small pot (a square foot) and crossed my fingers. I knew that peas grew best in cooler temps, in the last 2 weeks it really came into bloom and I haven’t even been watering it much since the start of October. While the bottom looks like some shriveled leaves and vines, the top is lush. I was so excited when I spotted a pod from my window, I rushed out to take a picture.

And my rosemary plant is huge.

-Lina

October 21, 2008 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

Tomato salad from the garden

This year I decided to grow tomatoes (to save money, organic tomatoes are like luxury items), but I didn’t get around to it till late June. After some research on the web, I got an early variety; ‘First Lady’ that only takes 66 days to yield fruit. I bought 4 plants, and place 2 in the ‘Tomato Success Kit’ and the other 2 in a window box type planter. The ones in the Tomato Success Kit grew huge. I didn’t expect much from the other planter but it grew pretty large (but less than half the size of the other ones) with many tomatoes.

Some finally ripened early last week when the temps came down from the 90s. My first batch was about a pound and a half. I sliced them up with some basil from the garden, olive oil, black pepper and fleur de sel. It’s my favorite thing to do with these tomatoes. I made salsa a few days later with new tomatoes, which was very tasty but it can’t beat the basil-olive oil-pepper-fleur de sel experience.

Next year I’m going to grow red bell peppers. At $6.99/lb for organic at Whole Foods, I haven’t had any red bell peppers in over a year.

-Lina

August 23, 2008 at 6:32 am 6 comments

Warming winter squash

pan squash
My favorite squashes are Kabocha, a Japanese squash (with a thin skin that I can easily cut thru and leave on) and Butternut squash (if it’s the pre-peeled/pre-cut packaged kind). And my favorite way to cook squash is to roast them in the oven till they get crisp and caramelized.
orangethyme11.jpg

Cumin Roasted Squash with Orange and Thyme

  • 1/2 Kabocha squash or 1.5lb of Butternut squash
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of whole cumin seeds or ½ tsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coarse fresh ground pepper
  • 1 orange, juiced and zest
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp of dried thyme

Preheat oven to 425°.
Cut squash into one and a half inch pieces.
Pour oil into a large cast iron pan or roasting pan.
Add in squash and mix in pan till they are coated in oil.
Then sprinkle on salt and spices, mix thoroughly.
Place in oven for about 20-25mins, turn them every 10min with tongs or flip them with spatula.
Zest the orange, and then juice it.
Mix zest and thyme in the orange juice.
Put the hot squash and juice into serving bowl, stir to incorporate.

    You can skip the orange juice as a dressing altogether. The roasted squash on its own is already perfect, a sweet interior with a savory crisp exterior.

    orange squash

     lina-sm.gif L

    February 12, 2008 at 10:26 am 5 comments


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