Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Curried Shrimp

Spice it right

The Mixed Stew crew was looking for a spicy alternative for seasoning and spicing up shrimp while creating this dish. Pungent curry powder and rich coconut milk combine and enhance the seafood and veggie flavors in this tasty entree. Here’s our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 fry pan with lid
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1-2lbs raw shrimp, peeled and shelled
3 garlic cloves, diced small
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 broccoli crowns, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and to taste

Cooking and Preparation:

Heat pan on medium-high heat. Pour in oil. Throw in garlic, salt, and onion. Stir well and sauté ingredients until onion turns translucent. Next, pour in shrimp, curry powder, and pepper flakes. Stir well, lower heat to medium, and cover pan with lid. Let shrimp cook for 8-12 minutes. Add bell pepper, broccoli, and coconut milk. Mix well and return lid. Let ingredients reach a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

A triple dip

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to hardcover helpers. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

The Mixed Stew crew likes hunting through cookbooks for a good recipe or three. We recommend The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook for classic and traditional American recipes. This book is a great kitchen bible.

Eat Shrink & Be Merry has fun ideas for parents that wanna get the kids involved in cooking. Choose from quirky recipes, such as Glad Thai Dings, Ooh-la-la-sagna!, and Loaf Potion #9. This book can cause hunger and make you laugh at the same time.

Do you like fine cheeses? The World Cheese Book is something you might love cutting into with info on over 700 types of cheeses.

Note: If you order via the links above, The Mixed Stew creators will get a tiny referral fee.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Salad Noodles

Another use for a versatile product
Choose among variety of widths for egg noodles to make a yummy salad that’s just as good as any macaroni or fine Italian pasta made from semolina. Combine with ingredients, such as diced pimento, mayo, chopped carrot, and minced parsley. And you could also mix in diced cucumber and canned tuna. Also, add this ingredient to your soup and most stir-fry recipes instead of the more expensive selections on store shelves.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Egg Noodles

Curly favorites to enjoy

Look for packages of “Egg Noodles” in most grocery stores. Don’t be fooled by their lack of a better name since they’re mostly made of the same ingredients in Linguini, Penne, and Farfalle. You’ll find packages of “Egg Noodles” next to or below the usual Italian macaroni and semolina pasta products. These curly and stringy noodles come in wide, medium, and fine. The Mixed Stew crew found a big 1lb bag at Giant for less than a $1.00, which is very easy on anyone’s budget. We also suggest buying and substituting these noodles for making Italian inspired pasta dishes and soups.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: Beef Stroganoff Background

Beef in cream sauce and all that jazz
This may very well be the first Mixed Stew dish with a Russian pedigree behind it. Beef Stroganoff usually consists of slices of beef or ground beef that have been sautéed, seasoned, and cooked in a sour cream-based sauce. The yummy additions of mushrooms and onion also lend much flavor to this entrée. Several urban legends exist regarding how this dish was invented. One popular story says that Count Pavel Stroganov, a member of nineteenth-century aristocracy, first served this dish in his home in St. Petersburg, Russia. Historians have discovered a cookbook from 1871 that lists a recipe. The dish has caught on throughout the world with different renditions taking hold in many countries. The Brazilian recipe features heavy cream and tomatoes while Stroganoff appears in the Nordic region with sausage instead of beef. Some people prefer serving this dish on rice while others like it on a bed of noodles. And yesterday, we showed you a twist using chicken.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Garlic Chicken Stroganoff

A twist to a beefy standard

We like this reinterpretation of Beef Stroganoff. Again, we’ve chosen to use dark meat from the chicken’s thigh portion for flavor and juiciness. Plain yogurt works as a healthier alternative to fat laden cream or sour cream. The al dente and curly egg noodles can be a hit with the kids.
Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 fry pan or skillet with lid
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
½ yellow onion, diced
1lb curly egg noodles, cooked until al dente
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoon tarragon, sliced
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 chicken thighs, deboned and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking and Preparation:

Heat pan on medium-high heat. Add oil. Toss in garlic, salt, pepper and onion. Stir well. Sautee until onion turns translucent. Distribute pieces of chicken meat in pan and cover. Let chicken cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until brown. Next, add chicken broth, mushrooms, yogurt, and nutmeg. Mix well. Cover and when liquid starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. Let ingredients in pan simmer for at least 20 more minutes. Finally, add tarragon and serve immediately with egg noodles.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Soul Boat: Catonsville, Md.

There’s no dining room at this fairly new carryout establishment. Soul Boat specializes in Southern food that’s not for anyone that’s watching their diets. We sampled the Oxtail w/ Gravy ($10.50), Fried Chicken (Mixed Pieces $6.95), and Seafood Combo Special ($7.75). The combo special comes with fried shrimp and fried scallops. The fried cat fish ($7.95) and fried lake trout ($7.50) also caught our eyes. Customers’ platters come with corn bread and a choice of two sides, such as mac-n-cheese, lima beans, candy yam, and collard greens. Interested in lighter fare? Order half a pound of seasoned steamed shrimp for $6.50. You can also order several of their seafood selections as sandwiches for less than $6.95. Meanwhile, servings of the Manhattan Clam Chowder and New England Clam Chowder run for $4.25.

Soul Boat
5748 Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville, MD 21228
(410) 719-8888

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Brazo de Mercedes

A luscious dessert roll
This luxurious Filipino dessert is not overrated. The Spanish name Brazo de Mercedes translates into arm of Mary. You will need 8 to 10 eggs to make this dish from scratch but we cheated by purchasing the mass produced version by Goldilocks. The dessert consists of a rolled meringue that’s filled with rich egg crème custard. The sponge-like shell of sweet meringue melts in your mouth and contrasts with the rich and dense yellow egg custard in the middle. Cream of tartar keeps the meringue from collapsing while condensed milk lends more richness and a lot of sugary sweetness to the golden custard. Look for yellow boxes of premade rolls in your local Filipino foods mart.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Sukang Tuba

A sweet and tangy palm vinegarThis special vinegar is made from fermenting coconut trees’ sap and floral nectar. Filipino commercial producers have learned to collect the rich liquid in a system that’s been used for generations. While we were growing up, our grandfather used bamboo cylinders to collect coconut tree sap. The freshly harvested liquid has a very sweet essence and taste.

Producers of sukang tuba use rubber cylinders to collect the tree sap. Each cylinder is affixed to the tree just under leaves. The farmers (also skilled tree climbers) must slice into the floral stem of the tree and the valuable sap seeps out and into the cylinders, which must be emptied every day.

A typical coconut tree produces about 1 liter of tuba aka sweet coconut sap on a daily basis. The collected liquid is stored away in vats for fermenting until the liquid is ripened into vinegar and ready for bottling. Look for a cloudy appearance and brownish tint in mature sukang tuba and expect a slightly sweet smell and taste. You may find this vinegar in a Filipino foods mart or Asian grocery stores.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: Filipino Bistek Background

An ethnic serving of beef
You’ll find this flavorful dish on the menu at authentic Filipino restaurants or you can find it served for lunch and dinner by traditional Filipino families. Filipino bistek evolved in the Philippines from when that country was ruled by the Spain; in fact, there’s a similarly named “Latino Bistec,” which is a different dish that’s popular in Latin American cuisine. This dish is just one of the national dishes of the Philippines. The recipe has an Asian twist with the inclusion of soy sauce in the list of ingredients. Always look for the sautéed onion rings over well cooked and marinated pieces of steak that are hallmark characteristics of this yummy dish.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Filipino Bistek

Simple saute that satisfies

Simplicity is what makes this dish yummy and delicious. The tangy flavors of vinegar and sweet sautéed onion enhance the flavors of thinly sliced grilled beef. Not much goes into preparing this Filipino favorite but expect a lot of taste in every serving of Bistek. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized bowl
1 fry pan or cast-iron skillet
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 serving plate
1lb thinly cut beef steak
1 large onion, cut into rings
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup coconut sap vinegar (Sukang Tuba Vinegar) or regular cider vinegar
¼ cup dark soy sauce
4 teaspoons kalamansi juice or lime juice
Pinch of black pepper

Cooking and Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix well and let ingredients marinade for 30 minutes. Heat fry pan on medium-high heat. Pour in cooking oil. Sautee onion rings in hot oil until almost translucent. Remove cooked onion rings from heat and set aside. Next, add marinated steak to hot pan and grill for 8 to 10 minutes on both sides until nicely browned. Remove cooked steak and set on serving plate. Add marinade liquid to pan and reduce while deglazing the bottom of the pan. Pour reduced sauce on steak and arrange onion rings on top of the beef. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Field Trip

Fatburger: Elkridge, Md.

The Mixed Stew crew happily sat down at this burger joint for yummy fries and burgers on several occasions. Fatburger gives customers more than a few options when they order burgers and fries. The Mixed Stew crew likes ordering the “Fat Deal ($8.99).” The deal comes with a fat burger (5.3 oz.), French fries, and a medium soda. Add bacon, chili, a fried egg, or cheese at $.99 each. The fried egg adds an extra comfort food touch. We've had same at other places but it’s not a regular feature. The Mixed Stew crew wishes more burger joints had the fried egg as a regular option. Wanna bigger burger and more beef in every bite? Fatburger also offers the King Burger (8 oz.), Double King Burger (16 oz.), and the Triple King Burger (24 oz.). Meanwhile, patrons can select French fries that come in skinny or fat size. The fat French fries remind us of potato wedges. Burgers are made to order, so everything tastes fresh. Your burger will not feel or taste like it’s been sitting under a heating lamp for some time. If you’re not in the mood for burgers or beef, look for the chicken sandwich deal or hot dogs.

6630H Marie Curie Dr
Elkridge/Columbia, MD 21075
(410) 312-3100

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Sloppy Joe Variations

Breakfast and brunch interpretations
You’re bound to have leftovers with a pot full of sloppy joe. What can you do with this meaty dish if you wanna change? The Mixed Stew suggests serving sloppy joe in a fluffy omelet for a hearty breakfast. Go ahead and pile on some shredded cheese for a melted cheese kick in every spoonful. Another option is switching out the hamburger buns with warm biscuits and poached eggs for a different version of Eggs Benedict. You can also do the reverse and just add a fried egg to your regular sloppy joe on a bun to make it a breakfast sandwich. Also, try adding sautéed potatoes to leftover sloppy joe to for a sweeter rendition of beef hash for breakfast.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Brown Sugar

A sweet ingredient to add

We usually use brown sugar to make glazes or add in baking recipes. What distinguishes brown sugar from white sugar is the presence of molasses. Basically, a step or two in the process of making white sugar is excluded and the molasses remains in the sugar, which also gives a brown color to this food item. Conversely, some companies do the reverse and deliberately add molasses to white sugar in order to create a more uniform and smoother brown sugar that dissolves easier in recipes. All brown sugar is a blend of refined sugar and molasses. Look for light to dark varieties of brown sugar. Oh, and yes, darker colored brown sugar contains more molasses than lighter brown sugar. Most of the brown sugar on the market is derived from sugar beets and sugar cane.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: History of Sloppy Joe

A classic American sandwich

There’s nothing quite like it. A sloppy joe sandwich or just “sloppy joe” has been a favorite among American families for generations. Several stories abound regarding the origin of this food item, which usually consists of cooked ground beef that’s seasoned with onion, garlic, tomato sauce and other sweet sauces. One story asserts that Floyd Angell of Iowa invented a loose meat sandwich (with no sauce) in the mid 1920s. Ketchup and other spices were added on to Floyd Angell’s sandwiches. The usual tomato seasoned sauce gradually evolved later. Meanwhile, the Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida is famous for the semisweet tomato seasoned sandwiches. Still others simply believe that the sandwiches grew in popularity during war times as a way to stretch meals on a few dimes. Today, look for many different variations and meat recipes for this yummy sandwich. One new trend is making sloppy joes with chicken or other main ingredients besides ground beef. Remember that recipes also may vary from one region to another.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Sloppy Joes

A luscious way to eat ground meat

Yes, we have cravings for this rustic and homey dish every once in a while. Sloppy Joe is also great for kids. The trick is to pour on the meat and sauce, so that the sandwich is overstuffed. It’s okay to make a mess with this American favorite. Here’s our recipe:

What you will need:

1 large stock pot with lid
1 wooden spoon
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 ½ -3 lbs ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons oregano, dried
1 large bell pepper, diced small
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
3 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste

Cooking and Preparation:

Heat stock pot on medium-high heat. Add cooking oil. Next, throw in onion, garlic, bell pepper, oregano, pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Stir ingredients. Let onion sweat until translucent. Add ground beef. Cover with lid and let beef cook until brown. Mix well and add tomatoes, salt, ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar. Stir well and cover with lid. When mixture starts to bubble, lower heat to medium-low. The pot should then simmer for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Serve on fresh hamburger buns.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surfing

A Valentine’s Day rip current

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere and Internet. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

It’s not too early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day. Eating Well features ideas for your Valentine’s Day menu.

There’s nothing like a movie that can set the tone for a romantic occasion. “Valentine’s Day” has an exciting cast that includes Queen Latifah, Jennifer Garner, Kathy Bates, Jamie Foxx, and Ashton Kutcher. You can also give the DVD as a present.

In need of a lovely drink? Here’s 17 drinks from Cosmopolitan that will add flavor and quench your thirst during the romantic night.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday’s Side Dish: Veggie Cheddar Cheese Dip

A creamy base for a healthy snack

We’ll take dipping veggies instead of potato chips any day. This cheese dip contains chives, jalapenos, and walnuts. The hot pepper adds a spicy kick while nuts provide an unexpected flavor and crunch in every bite. Here is our recipe:

What you need:

1 medium-sized bowl
Plastic wrap
1 wooden spoon
food processor
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 garlic clove
½ cup walnuts, crushed
2 cups fresh yogurt
3 jalapeno peppers, sliced
3 teaspoons paprika powder
3 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
Pinch of salt

Preparation and Directions:

Combine cheddar cheese, yogurt, jalapenos, chives, paprika, and garlic in food processor. Blend and process until smooth (making sure that the garlic clove dissolves into the yogurt and cheese). Pour mixture into bowl. Add crushed walnuts and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with fresh veggies.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Handling Hot Peppers

A little caution to avoid some heat

The Mixed Stew crew has cooked with hot peppers in the kitchen since we first learned to cook. Our parents would warn us as children not to eat the pepper pieces in any dish, such as kelaguen, but still we grew up having a hankering for the hot kick. Remember that capsaicin contained in the peppers causes the heat. Also, recall that capsaicin has been proven to speed up the metabolism. What’s our advice to avoid a reaction? Some cooks may want to wear kitchen gloves or rubber gloves while handling and chopping hot peppers. A clean plastic sandwich bag might work too. If you don’t have gloves, it’s a good idea to take extra time to lather and wash your hands with soap and water IMMEDIATELY after handling the potent product. The last thing you want to do is to inadvertently rub your eyes or touch your face with hands that have even just a little residue and oil from handling hot peppers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday’s Cupful: Red Pepper Flakes

Shake, shake, shake ... shake some heat
You’ll find loaded shakers of this ingredient near the grated parmesan cheese on the dining tables of in many Italian eateries and pizza establishments. Whole red peppers are dried and crushed to make this food item. Patrons can sprinkle a little for a hit or a lot for a kick on their hot pasta or slices of pizza. Folks can find hot pepper flakes in the spice aisle of most major grocery stores. However, did you know that a variation of this particular food item is also popular in Korean cuisine? Korean cooks add hot pepper flakes to fermented kimchi. Large packages of maewoon gochu gaaroo (very hot pepper flakes) and deol maewoon gochu gaaroo (mild hot pepper flakes) are available at Hmart and other Asian food grocery stores.