Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Spring Rolls

Try’em throughout Asia

These fried favorites originate from China as part of the traditional Dim Sum roster of “little dishes.”  So spring rolls have a lengthy history.  Look for variant renditions throughout Asia and Southeast Asia.  Historically, this food item is a staple during China’s annual Spring Festival, which is how they garnered their name.  The main components include a thin wrap, usually made from rice flour, that’s stuffed with meat or seafood.  Then the stuffed rolls are traditionally deep fried or pan-fried to a golden-brown crisp.  The weight of the wrap also varies from one region to another.  The Mixed Stew likes to serve these with a sweet chili dipping sauce.    

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Pork Spring Rolls

Crispy Asian Tidbits

Stuffing and then rolling these requires a delicate hand and some patience.  Yes, we encourage you to try making these.  Plus the frying part is always fun.

What you will need:

1 cutting board
1 large mixing bowl
1 metal pair of tongs
1 small bowl, for egg wash
1 wooden spoon
1 large fry pan
1 metal baking pan w/ wire rack
1 metal baking sheet
1 small spoon
Wax paper
1 ½ - 2 lbs ground pork
3 to 4 medium-sized carrots, diced small
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 ½ cups cooking oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped small
1 large pepper, seeded and finely chopped (We used a poblano.)
1 (19 oz.) can bamboo shoots, finely chopped
1 (15. Oz) can quail eggs, minced
1 (8 oz.) pack spring roll pastry (50 sheets), frozen
1 egg, beaten
Dash of soy sauce to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Meat filling

Heat pan at medium-high heat.  Add canola oil, onion, and garlic.  Sautee until onion turn translucent.  Pour in ground pork and let meat brown.   Crumble with wooden spoon.  Toss well.  Pour in carrots, bamboo shoots, pepper, and quail egg.  Add soy sauce and stir well.  Let ingredients cook for another 10 minutes until veggies are tender.  Remove pan from stove.  Ingredients must reach room temperature before stuffing pastry wraps.

Stuffing spring rolls

Move pastry sheets from freezer to fridge and allow them to defrost overnight for prep the next day.  Layout cutting board and cover with wax paper.  Have meat filling on hand with small spoon.  Place one leaf of pastry wrap on paper.  Carefully stuff and roll each wrap with 1 to 2 spoons of meat filling.  Slather on some egg wash while rolling to seal the spring roll.  Repeat process until you run out of meat stuffing.  The finished rolls should look like logs that can be stacked and lined up with each other.  You may choose to freeze spring rolls at this point to fry later.

Frying spring rolls

Set fry pan over medium-high heat.  Pour in cooking oil.  Let oil heat up to 350 degrees.  Gently place and drop spring rolls into pan.  Fry 5 to 8 rolls at a time depending on the size of the rolls for 8 minutes until crispy.  Rolls should turn a golden-brown color.  Pull out rolls and set on wire rack over baking pan.  Let them for at least 5 minutes before serving.                 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday’s Side Dish: Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom Snack Size Vanilla Ice Cream Cones

Healthy Cream Cones in a Pinch

They’ve got everything their larger counterparts have and then some in regards to watching waistlines.  Blue Bunny brand name Sweet Freedom Snack Size Vanilla Ice Cream Cones come made with low-fat vanilla ice cream.  Blue Bunny also neglects to add sugar but their recipe uses Splenda instead.  You’’ll bite into cream cones, which are covered in a chocolate dip and studded with peanuts.  Each box contains 6 cones that are 110 calories each.  So, if you need the taste but not the caloric count then we recommend this product.  Expect to pay $4.99 and up so shop around for the best price.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Alternative Ingredients for Veggie Potato Salad

Ease off on the carbs while spicing it up

Remember that you can use sweet potato or – better yet—cauliflower instead of regular starch-ridden potatoes to decrease the calorie content in each serving of this salad.  Meanwhile, you can add raisins or chopped cranberries to add some tangy sweetness.  Substitute the light mayonnaise with non-fat ranch dressing or non-fat blue cheese dressing for more robust flavor.  Lastly, we recommend adding non-traditional ingredients, such as chopped kimchi, curry powder, or even some wasabi. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Veggie Potato Salad

A potato salad w/ veggie nutrition

This potato salad is a neat way to insert a hefty serving of fresh veggies into your kids’ meals.  We also like the light mayo option, which ensures less fat calories per mouthful.  The creamy light mayonnaise makes for a rich and smooth dressing for this yummy salad of tubers.  This dish may also be thought of as a cross between a broccoli salad and potato salad.  The carrots provide a crunchy bite that’s loaded with vitamin A.    

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Veggie Loaded Potato Salad

Carrots and Broccoli round it out

There’s more color to this potato salad that’s a lighter spin on our original recipe.

What you will need:

1 large bowl w/ lid
1 large wooden spoon
1 large mixing bowl
4 or 5 medium to large potatoes, boiled, peeled, and chopped
3 carrots, diced small
4 hard-boiled eggs, crumbled
2 broccoli crowns, diced small
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Salt to taste
Pinch of black pepper

Preparations and Directions:

Combine potatoes, broccoli, carrots, eggs, mayo, sour cream, pepper, garlic powder, and salt in mixing bowl.  Toss well.  Pour salad into bowl.  Cover with lid.  Place salad in fridge for at least 3 hours.  Serve chilled.       

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday’s Side Dish: Goya Discos

Red, white, and convenient

What makes these so great is that they’re already molded to create the perfect empanadas aka turnovers.  Each (20 oz.) package contains 10 circular-shaped pieces of dough.  This food item, by GOYA, comes in red and white.  We recommend that you fill these with your favorite fillings – pork, chicken, or seafood mixes can go well inside this product.  You can fry them or even bake them.  The Mixed Stew found these at Giant in the Latin American foods section for well under $2.00 so shop around for the best price.        

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Variations on Guam Empanada

Some substitutions in a pinch

The Mixed Stew crew suggests substituting small chunks of boneless chicken breast meat for the drumsticks to lessen the calorie count.  If you’re pressed for time, use canned chicken meat to speed things up a bit.  You can use regular rice instead of cream of rice but remember to account for the large and whole rice grains.  We’ve also had Guam empanadas made with pieces of pork and even crab bits.  Lastly, try baking these babies instead of frying them for healthier empanadas.     

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Guam Empanadas

Hot pocket history

Yes, this is our rendition of Guam’s red-colored empanadas.  These turnover pies, which can come in with an assortment of fillings throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, originated in Spain and Portugal.  Look for these at local “mom and pop” stores and island gas stations in Guam.  Remember that the island was a Spanish colony for over two centuries.  This favorite comes traditionally stuffed with a tasty filling of corn meal, cream of rice, and chicken pieces.  Meanwhile, the chopped onion, garlic, and annatto flavors make for a savory meat pie.  Guamanians love ‘em.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Traditional Guam Empanadas

Meat pies in w/ a blush

Biting into one of these empanadas is a surprising treat.  The Mixed Stew has enjoyed these since childhood and we hope you’ll enjoy them, too.

What you will need:

1 long wooden spoon
1 pair of tongs
1 cutting board
1 metal baking pan with wire rack
1 cast-iron skillet
1 large stock pot w/ lid
1 large baking sheet
Wax paper
1 rolling pin
1 metal fork
2 packs Goya brand discs for empanada (10 per pack) Select the red colored ones.
Meat of 6 chicken drumsticks, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped small
3 tablespoons cooking oil (for filling)
2 ½ cups canola oil (for frying empanadas)
2 cups chicken broth
2 ½ cups water
3 garlic toes, minced
1 to 3 jalapenos, chopped
1 tablespoon achiote/ annatto powder
1 cup corn meal
¾ cup cream of rice
Salt to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Meat filling

Heat stock pot at medium-high heat.  Add oil, onion, jalapenos, and garlic. Stir well.  Let ingredients sautee until onion turns translucent.  Pour in chicken pieces and let pieces cook.  Add salt to taste.  Stir well.  Pour in chicken broth, achiote, and water.  Cover pot with lid.  Lower heat to medium.  Ingredients should reach a slow simmer and cook for 15 minutes. 

Next, gradually stir in cream of rice and corn meal.  The broth should thicken into a porridge-like consistency.  Mix well.  Return lid and let filling cook for another 10 minutes on medium-low heat.  Be careful not to burn filling to bottom of pot by occasionally stirring.  Remove finished filling from stove and let contents cool to room temperature before stuffing empanadas.     

Stuffing Empanadas

Pull Goya discs packages out from freezer the night before.  Place them in the fridge overnight to defrost.  Take packages out of fridge about ½ hour before it’s time to stuff empanadas.  Prepare a clean cutting board, wax paper, and rolling pin for handling dough.  Line the bottom of metal baking sheet with wax paper. 

Handle discs of dough with wax paper since they’re fragile.  You may roll dough into larger (in diameter) discs to make even bigger turnovers.  Place each discs between two leaves of wax paper then press and roll dough from the center of the discs to the outer edge until content with the larger size. 

Spoon chicken filling onto ½ of each disc then fold over the other half of the circle to form a turnover.  Press dough edges together with metal fork.  This seals and forms the empanada.  Repeat process until 20 empanadas are completed.  Let empanadas rest on baking sheet (lined with wax paper) for at least 20 minutes before frying.  You may choose to freeze empanadas at this point in time to fry at a later date.

Frying Empanadas

Heat cast-iron skillet filled on medium-high heat.  Pour in canola oil and let it heat to 350 degrees.  The oil needs to be hot!  Carefully place 3 or 4 turnovers (depending on size) in skillet.  Let the empanadas fry on each side until golden crust forms.  Place crispy empanadas on wire rack over baking pan.  Let them rest for at least 10 minutes.  Repeat process until all turnovers have been fried.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Lighter Sausage –N- Creamed Gravy

Flavor that’s dietary conscious

If you need to cut the fat, the Mixed Stew crew suggests using chicken or turkey sausages instead of pork or beef.  Coincidentally, venison sausages may be a leaner bet, on the hips, but they’re still considered red meat.  Try reducing the meat to veggie ratio by creating real creamed meat gravy.  Also, add more bite by including other fresh veggies, such as carrots, bell peppers, or even green beans. Finally, remember that you can find low-sodium cream of chicken that’s better for hypertension.     

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Sausage with Creamed Gravy

A British/ American amalgam

The Mixed Stew crew, again, stresses the simplicity in making this week’s dish.  Grilled meat sausages lend their flavors to the zucchini, onion, and peppers to make a well-rounded goulash with extra oomph.  Yes, The Mixed Stew was inspired--just a little-- by that American comfort food fave – Sausage Gravy w/ Biscuits.  Meanwhile, this week's recipe amounts to a slight twist on that British staple—Bangers and Mash.  We recommend that you try it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Grilled Sausage w/ Creamed Gravy

Making sausages a real meal, again

You’ll like this as a simple but hefty supper for the family. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large fry pan w/ lid
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 yellow onion, chopped small
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 zucchini, cut into cubes
1 (11 oz.) can cream of chicken
6 meat sausages – such as bratwurst  (The Mixed Stew used Cerdito pork sausage by Sausage Craft.)
 1 and 1/2 cup water
1 jalapeno, julienned sliced

Cooking and Directions:

Heat pan at medium-high heat.  Pour in ½ cup water.  Place uncooked sausages in pan. Let water reach a constant simmer and cover w/ lid.  Lower heat to medium.  Let sausages cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  Water should evaporate. Turn links occasionally.  Allow sausages to grill and fry once water dries up.  Remove finished fried sausages from pan.  Set aside.

Throw down onion, garlic, and jalapeno peppers in pan w/ sausage drippings.  Let ingredients sautee until onion turn translucent.  Next, pour in zucchini and let them sautee until tender.  Pour in cream of chicken from can along with an equal amount of water.  Stir well.  Let chicken gravy heat through until it simmers.  Serve immediately with rice or mashed potatoes.