Sunday, April 02, 2006

April menu: Asian-inspired brunch

Ginger Salmon

20 oz. salmon fillets (about), cut into serving-size pieces
2 green onions
1 T fresh ginger root, grated
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 T light soya sauce
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp lemon rind, grated
1 tsp sugar
1 T sesame oil

Arrange raw salmon in one layer in an oven-proof dish. Pour remaining ingredients over top. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for one hour. (The marinade partially cooks the salmon, so don't exceed this time by too much.) Bake in a 425 degree oven until the salmon is done---about 15 minutes. Cool and store in the remaining juices. Serve cold.

Fragrant Beef

2.5 pounds (about) boneless beef chuck, shoulder or shin
2 cups water
1 tsp star anise
3 T dry sherry
3 T soya sauce
3 slices fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, halved
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Combine all in a large pot. You can marinate the meat or cook it immediately. Bring it to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, turning the meat at least once during cooking. Slice the meat and return it to the marinade. Chill. To serve, shake the marinade off the meat and arrange on a platter.

Rice Noodles

Buy the wide rice noodles that are cooked by sitting in hot water for a short period. Rinse the cooked noodles with hot water and drain well; then add to a frying pan in which you have fried some onion wedges in dark sesame oil and stir to coat the noodles completely with the oil. Optionally, you can also add:

- tiny slices of ginger about 1/4 the size of a match stick
- cooked shrimp
- strips of red and yellow sweet pepper
- eggs beaten with chives and salt and then cooked in a thin layer in a frying pan and cut into strips
- a topping of fresh coriander and chopped peanuts

Sweet & Sour Zucchini

4 lb zucchini
1/2 cup olive oil (about)
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 T sugar

Slice zucchini into rounds 1/4" thick (which is quite thin). Put a little oil in a heavy frying pan; add one layer of zucchini with none of the pieces touching. Cook over medium-high heat until dark brown blisters form on the zucchini; turn the pieces and cook until the other side blisters. The zucchini should be dense and chewy. Repeat with rest of zucchini. As the zucchini is done, place in a serving bowl in layers. On each layer sprinkle a little of the oregano. Mix the red wine, garlic and sugar and boil for 3 minutes; pour over the zucchini. Chill.

Baby Bok choy

Wash baby bok choy well and chop into bite-sized pieces. Separate the leaves from the rest. Put some sesame oil in a frying pan. Add the bottoms of the bok choy and cook, stirring rapidly, for a minute or two. Add the leaves and cook another minute. Salt to taste. Serve hot.

Fruit Salad with Coconut Gelatin

Cantaloupe and blueberries (or other assorted fruit)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
4 cardamom pods: hulls removed, seeds crushed
2 T sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 package unflavored gelatin (about 1T)

Reserve 1/4 cup of cold milk. In the rest of the milk, mix the coconut, cardamom, sugar and almond flavoring. Bring to a boil (you can do this in the microwave), cover and let sit at least 15 minutes. Heat to the boiling point again, and then strain through a coffee filter, or through a strainer lined with a paper towel.

Pour the gelatin into the 1/4 cup cold milk and let it sit at least 5 minutes. Mix the dissolved gelatin with the very hot strained milk and stir for one minute. Pour into ice cube trays and chill in the refrigerator.

To serve, put the fruit in a serving bowl and upturn the jelled coconut cubes over the fruit. (The cubes break apart easily so should not be stirred.)

Indian Almond Fudge

3/4 cup sugar
5 T water
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
pinch of saffron
6 whole cardamom pods

Boil sugar and water to the soft ball stage, 240 degrees. Lower heat and add almonds. Add butter, a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. Add saffron and taste: you may want to add more, depending on the strength of your saffron. Spoon into a shallow buttered dish. Crush the cardamoms and discard the hulls. Press the crushed seeds into the top of the mixture. Chill. Cut into diamond shapes.


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