Friday, April 12, 2013

Moo Shu Pork and Mandarin Pancakes

Moo Shu Pork with Mandarin Pancakes
I rarely eat out, but when I do my preference is Asian cuisine.  Besides the sodium content for sauce soy they are pretty healthy when it comes to a meal choice.  Their use of veggies and seasoning is definitely something to commend. With this meal there are short cuts for the "ain't nobody got time for that" folks.  You can buy the coleslaw mix with carrots and the already chopped mushroom.  You might even be able to get the meat already sliced from your local Asian market or deli. The time comes with the Mandarin pancakes and you can definitely get these at your local Asian market. Though they are so easy and cheap to make that I prefer to do it myself.

The diversity in Asian cuisine has provided me with awesome dinners. Give it a try you will love this meal :)

 PS: If you don't eat pork that's okay this is great with chicken too.

~ Bien Provecho      

History Lesson: 
Moo shu pork, a dish that most likely originated in the northern region of China, is a common dish in China as well as in American Chinese restaurants. One of the hallmarks of moo shu pork is the way that it is served. The main dish is made of pork, scrambled eggs, sliced mushrooms, and a number of other ingredients for flavor. This main dish is accompanied by small, thin pancakes that resemble miniature tortillas. These pancakes, made of flour, are used to wrap up the moo shu pork. Another accompanying item that is a hallmark of the dish is a small bowl of hoisin sauce, which is used to top the pork once it has been added to the pancakes.

1 pound pork tenderloin (thinly sliced)

1 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)
1 tablespoon Shao-Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Veggies I added:

10oz mushrooms
4 medium carrots (shredded or sliced thinly)
1 small cabbage head (sliced thinly)


4 tablespoons dried cloud ears or wood ears
2 tablespoons dried lily buds
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots
2 green onions
2 slices ginger
2 eggs
6 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
1 teaspoon sesame oil

For instructions on preparations please visit:

Note: I did not use dry mushrooms I used fresh baby bellas.

Serving Sauce 
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon chicken broth

Mandarin Pancakes
Chinese Mandarin pancakes are easy to make and are similar to French crepes. For this recipe I use stir fry oil which has the flavors of ginger, green onion, and garlic already infused in it.

3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
¼ cup ice cold water
2½ tsp stir fry oil

Small rolling pin

To watch a video for instructions click here. Lila Voo does a great job explaining step by step how to make these delicious pancakes! 

Or just read the directions click here.

**Note: I cut my dough in 4 parts not five like Lila says in the video.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Homemade Cheese Pizza

Just so you know I LOVE PIZZA!

Pizza has always reminded me of that awesome Ninja Turtle - Michelangelo. Yes I am definitely a big kid and have all the turtle movies to prove it hehehe. So my love for pizza has been since the 90s (yes I am dating myself whatev's) and living in NYC has allowed me to taste the best pizzas around. There is nothing like a NYC slice!! Well unless you're eating one of mine :) 
As a kid, my mamita (little momma aka grandma) would buy pizza when her blood pressure was at a very good level.  It was her way of celebrating that she was doing well health wise. And so, pizza was always a big to do in our family. Today, instead of buying pizza (though I do once in a while) I make it. If she were alive today I would have definitely made this for her but in her memory I'll make it and enjoy and I hope you will too!

Bien Provecho! 

If you are too busy (it really isn't that hard to make or too much time at all) you can always purchase pizza dough from your local pizzeria or supermarket. 

A Slice of History 

Italy unified in 1861, and King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889. Legend has it that the traveling pair became bored with their steady diet of French haute cuisine and asked for an assortment of pizzas from the city’s Pizzeria Brandi, the successor to Da Pietro pizzeria, founded in 1760. The variety the queen enjoyed most was called pizza mozzarella, a pie topped with the soft white cheese, red tomatoes and green basil. (Perhaps it was no coincidence that her favorite pie featured the colors of the Italian flag.) From then on, the story goes, that particular topping combination was dubbed pizza Margherita.

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F) 
2 teaspoons active dry yeast 
Pinch of sugar or 1/4 teaspoon honey 
 2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
cornmeal or semolina, for sprinkling  

**You will also need: a pizza stone or pan with holes, and pizza cutter** 

As for cheese I used a mixture of: Sargento's Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Italian Mozzarella, Smoked Provolone, Asiago & Romano. This cheese combination was the best I've used so far! Also, I used Napa Valley Bistro - Homemade-Style Marinara Pasta Sauces. You can use your favorite tomato sauce but I find this sauce pretty awesome.

For instructions on how to make see link below:
The Bread Bible was an awesome buy! You can purchase a copy on eBay for around 17-18 bucks with free shipping.  

PS: I made this all by hand no machine necessary!  

You can also add toppings to your liking!
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter and stir in Worcestershire, hot sauce and tomato sauce. Add chicken to sauce and coat. 

BBQ Chicken Pizza
10 ounces cooked and shredded chicken breasts
2 tablespoons bbq sauce
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 cup gouda cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 small red onion, sliced into rings
2 tablespoons cilantro

Coat chicken with 2 tablespoons of BBQ, set in refrigerator.  Spread the 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce over the surface of the dough. Spread cheese over the sauce. Spread chicken over the cheese.  Place the onion rings over the chicken pieces.

This is what left overs look like the next day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Italian Greens and beans

As per usual, Friday or Saturday nights get reserved for my family away from home dinner parties. And one night my bud Gaylla made this amazing dish. So with some of her guidance and my awesome researching skills I found a recipe that was spot on.

What I did different: I used kale, peeled the tomato and did 1 can of cannellini beans (drained and washed). In addition to sprinkling some freshly grated parm cheese on top before serving.

Any dark leafy green vegetable will work. I chose kale in the following recipe, but escarole, endive and spinach work well too.

*If vegetarian, you can omit the hot sausage with just red pepper flakes for spice, oyster mushrooms and vegetable stock.*

History Lesson:
This nourishing and inexpensive dish to prepare was made popular by Italian immigrants more than a century ago. The key ingredients, white cannellini beans and dark greens, such as escarole or kale, are a loaded balance of protein and vitamins. Dark leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, E, K, C, Iron and dietary fiber, while the beans provide the protein along with more fiber and iron.

How to peel a tomato:  Bring enough water to cover tomato to a boil. Let boil for 1 min. Place tomato in a  ice water bath or in the faucet under cold water until it is cooled to the touch to peel.

Italian Greens and Beans
Italian Greens and beans (Meneste)
 Makes 4-6 servings 1 cup per serving
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb hot Italian sausage (optional)
1-2 heads escarole, cleaned and rinsed
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock (or more, if you prefer this dish soupy)
1 15oz can cannellini beans, wash
freshly grated parm 

For directions click link below:

I paired it with my homemade Mountain White bread. I melted the butter on a skillet then placed 4 slices of bread; coat with butter on both sides. Let it toast. Though you can definitely eat this with a homemade corn bread.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Meatballs in Gravy

Do you recall those TV dinners with the so called steak in gravy, mash potatoes, corn and a brownie cake (I use to like those as a kid-so not good for you!), well this is 10 times better with the same concept. These meatballs can be made ahead and then cooked the next day. PS: They are GREAT leftovers!!

Here is the recipe I followed, in addition making a flour paste - 1/2 cup of water and 1tbsp 1/2 of flour
Meatballs in gravy
Family Meatballs - This recipe can easily serve 4-6 people 

History Lesson: 
Swedish meatballs do, in fact, have roots in Sweden. When Swedish immigrants settled in the Midwest region of the U.S., they continued to make köttbullar (meatballs), which were eventually enjoyed by other citizens. Today, there are a number of variations of Swedish meatballs on the market and in American recipe books, but they all share Swedish roots.

For more information on other foods:

Semolina Flour Egg Noodles
Normally Swedish meatballs are served either with Mash Potatoes and or buttered noodles.   I decided to make an egg noodle with Semolina Flour. However, left overs will be over homemade mash potatoes!

Egg Noodles
1 cup semolina flour or all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs

Here is a step by step guide in making these delicious egg noodles: Homemade Egg Noodles

Semolina flour can be found in most grocery stores and specialty shops. You can always order online at King Arthur Semolina flour 3lb.

The Perfect Mash Potatoes with Meatballs in Gravy
Though I must say that I definitely preferred my Meatballs in gravy with a side of the Perfect Mash Potatoes!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ricotta Gnocchi/Gnocchi di Ricotta

Homemade Ricotta

This week I decided to finally make Ricotta.  I've been thinking about making this cheese for months but was too afraid to even try (so not like me).  My imagination ran wild thinking of a nasty tasteless mess. But boy o boy was I wrong. Of course I had to do my research to find the best recipe (looking at several recipes shows consistency of what works and what is best) 

I followed this recipe with some changes: Rich homemade ricotta

3 cups 2% Milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp of white vinegar
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 colander
several pieces of cheese cloth
Wood spoon 

1. Add milks and salt to non reactive pan - used an enamel or stainless steel pot
2. Heat milk on medium-low until it reaches 190 degrees (use a candy/frying thermometer); making sure to stir occasionally. 
3. Once it reaches temperature remove from and add the vinegar; stir slowly for 30 secs then let it sit for 5 mins without disturbing.
4. Pour over a colander with cheese cloth and let sit for 2 hours to drain and firm.

If you are feeling adventurist you can use the whey of your ricotta to make bread - replace your water for bread with the whey.  

Once my Ricotta was done I was totally not prepared.  Since it is so fresh without all the added preservatives (things I can't even pronounce), I would have to eat all this deliciousness within 3-4 days. So my research began again! I saw recipes for cookies, pancakes, and lasagna.  I wasn't in the mood for any of those until finally it hit me, I should make Ricotta Gnocchi!

History Lesson: 
Gnocchi, translate to lumps.  Gnocchi are eaten as a first course, alternatives to soups or pasta. The common accompaniments of gnocchi include melted butter with sage, pesto, and various sauces.

They say Gnocchi was originated in the Middle East and introduced by the Romans to the Italians.

Here is a  great video on Youtube that help guide me make these delicious lumps lol BuonaPappa - Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi recipe

Ricotta Gnocchi - Buona Pappa Recipe

1 lb ricotta (2 cups)
1 cup Parmesan - freshly grated (buy the good stuff)
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp minced sage (optional)

Gnocchi Sauce - Buona Pappa Recipe
6 tbsp butter - I used unsalted
a pinch of salt
2 tsp fresh sage (minced)
2 tsp fresh thyme (minced)
2 tsp lemon zest - 1 whole lemon

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

If you like it, I’ll blog it!

On Sunday night after my usual dinner post on Facebook I posed this question to friends and family: “If I started a recipe blog would you follow? 50 likes I’ll consider and 100 likes I’ll do it.” At first I knew that I could reach the 50 likes since I have dedicated friends who always enjoyed my many food posts (even when they mention I’m killing them). But my 50 likes suddenly became only 41 left, only 25 left, 20, 14, 10; I was getting eager to get to 100 likes. With each count down post, friends kept like-ing; telling me: “what will be your first post and you better figure out a name…” So finally here we are, after 103 likes later, I’m writing my first post about FOOD!

Suddenly considering a recipe blog is no longer an option. My Facebook friends and family it just got real. Welcome to my blog – “Bien Provecho.”  Here I will post foods that I've either learned from friends,family and/or my searches on the internet.

Curry chicken is an all-time favorite at our home. This dish was introduced to me by my good friend Keisha. My visual learner self, watched as she crafted this meal in a matter of minutes. She didn’t give me any measurements but with time I have been able to determine how much is just right. This dish can be eaten with rice or naan or both. PS: You can use low fat coconut milk as well!

Bien Provecho!

Curry Chicken

1 lb Chicken Breast or thigh – cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb Shrimp uncooked (optional)
2 small or 1 medium Potato
2 Carrots
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
1 red pepper (if you don’t have red that’s okay)
½ - 1 tsp Adobo
2 minced garlic
2 T fresh Parsley; 1 T if using dry
1 Can Coconut Milk
3 T Curry powder
1/8 Cumin
1/4 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes (you can add more depends how hot you like it)
Olive Oil

1. Season chicken with garlic, adobo, crushed red pepper, and parsley. Slice onions, peppers, and carrots
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place the onions, peppers, and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Peel and dice potatoes – put to the side
4. Once chicken is cooked all the way through add the coconut milk, potatoes, curry, and cumin. Reduce heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes. When potatoes look close to done add the shrimp. Allow to simmer over medium heat until shrimp are pink. Serve with rice or Naan or both!!

For Naan recipe click here: Naan Recipe and make sure to add the garlic!!