Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flaming Shrooms

Mikuni in Sacramento has the most amazing appetizer: Flaming Shrooms.  This is my home-cooked  version.  It's a first attempt, so I'm open to suggestions on how to improve it.  The original ones have crab in them too which would be awesome, but I didn't have any.  If you have crab around or you want to go get it by all means throw it in.  I also think it would be better if I covered the whole thing in panko and fried them, but these are a bit healthier.   I ate 5 of them in a flash, and I would definitely make them again.

-8 mushrooms
-oil (I used House of Tsang 'Wok Oil' but you can use whatever)

For the Filling:
-1/3 cup cream cheese
-1/8 cup jalepeños
-1 clove garlic
-a little bit of lemon juice
-a little bit of the juice from the jalepeños
-1/4 cup panko

1. Preheat oven to 375º
2. Get out a cookie sheet and grease it lightly.
4. Pull the stems out of the shrooms.
5. Stuff them with the cream cheese mix.
6. Top them with panko.
7. Stick the shrooms on the cookie sheet and drizzle some oil on top of each shroom.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

For the sauce:
-2 tablespoons each of tempura and oyster sauce (or whatever asian sauce you have around)
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1 cup chicken or veggie broth
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 tsp corn starch dissolved in a small amount of water, more if you need

1. Put all the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch into a pot and bring them to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. When the sauce is boiling, and the corn starch mix gradually until the sauce reaches it's desired thickness.  Use more than a tsp if you need, but don't forget to dissolve it in water first.  You can also add more soy sauce, stock, or sugar depending on how you like it.
3. When the shrooms are done, pull them out of the oven, drizzle with warm sauce and serve.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Asian Rose/Malabar Cafe

514 Front St, Santa Cruz CA

The Asian Rose restaurant is a wonderful find. It doesn't look spectacular from the outside. It's not ugly or anything, but it doesn't jump out at you. Although I have driven by it many times, I had never been there before last week, when a friend suggested it. It's all vegetarian food. We were able to get a combination lunch of four different vegetarian curries, as well as yummy warm spinach salad for under $20. The curries were creative and fresh, including everything from beets to plantains. My favorite was the spinach yam curry. Pure guilt-free delight. If you are in Santa Cruz, check out this sweet little spot.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Chevys Cookbook

Oh yeah baby. This is the real deal in Tex-Mex. Chevys may be a chain but it never fails to satisfy.  The  Fresh Mex Cookbook is truly unique.   Some of my favorite recipes in the book include the Carnitas (made with Pepsi!), Parmesan Crusted Dungeness Crab Quesadillas, and the basic Salsa Chicken filling for anything from tacos to enchiladas.  If you dig Mexican food as much as I do, you should check this cookbook out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Easy Pozole

Pozole cannot get any easier than this:

-2 ancho chilies, dried
-2 or 3 gloves of garlic, depending on how you like it
-1/2 onion (I love onion! You can use less)
-1 or 2 tomatoes (optional)
-1 can of white hominy
-Leftover meat that you can shred (pork or chicken work best)
-Salt, paprika and oregano to taste
-Olive oil or veggie oil

1. Cut open ancho chilies and use gloves to take out the seeds. You can use spicier chilies if you want, but I like 'em mild. Stick them in a pot of hot water (enough to cover) and simmer them until their soft.
2. While you're waiting for the chilies to soften, chop up some garlic, onions and tomatoes. Tomatoes don't come in traditional pozole but I think they are a good addition.
3. Heat up some veggie oil in a pot and sautee the onions and garlic.
4. Add a few pinches of oregano, salt, and paprika.
5. Throw in a few cans of broth (chicken, veggie, or whatever.)
6. Take a can of white hominy and the tomatoes, and stick them into pot with the broth.
7. By now, your chilies should be almost done. Toss the chilies (with the water they were cooked in) into a blender. Then toss that blended mix into the pot with the broth. Let that whole mix of goodies simmer for about twenty minutes.
8. Now shred your leftover chicken or pork (I used carnitas from last night) and put that in the pot, or leave it vegetarian. Let the pot simmer for a few minutes and you're done, unless you want to toppings. I used raw onions, but you can use shredded cabbage, radishes, cilantro, parsley, sour cream or whatever you want.