Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chop Che (Korean Noodles with Beef)

{also known as Jap Jae or Jap Che}

This tasty, simple noodle dish was last done in ORLA cooking class back in September 2009, when we studied the food of different cultures each week and the course title was "Cooking around the World".
Students have been asking for this one to be done again ever since.
 (Especially Natalie!) 
 It's a big hit.  It's also not very complicated.  And the only ingredient you may have trouble finding is the sweet potato vermicelli.  It is available at any Asian grocery, and can  sometimes be found in the "international" section of a standard grocery store.
These noodles are unique and well worth the search.  Their texture is like no other noodle. A bit like jellyfish! 
And they're gluten-free too. 

Now for your list of ingredients:

1/2 lb glass noodles (sweet potato vermicelli)
1/2 lb sirloin beef, thinly sliced
12 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup mushroom liquid (saved after rehydrating mushrooms)
1 shallot (or onion), halved and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
4 scallions, chopped
3 Tb sesame seeds
1/4 cup cooking oil (canola, safflower, corn, vegetable)

marinade ingredients (for beef):
1/2 cup soy sauce (plus 1/4 cup for adding later)
3 Tb sesame oil (plus 1Tb for adding later)
4 Tb sugar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp black pepper

-bring water to boil in large pot.

-Meanwhile, prepare marinade and add sliced beef. 
Combine and let sit while preparing other ingredients.

-boil noodles for 5 minutes.

-Before straining, save some of the hot cooking water to pour over shiitakes in a bowl. The hot water will rehydrate the mushrooms if you cover them and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

-strain and rinse cooked noodles in cold water. 

-Cut them with clean scissors to make them more manageable for your fork later.  Then set them aside until you've cooked the veggies and meat.

-Saute onions and carrots in 1/4 cup cooking oil over low heat, stirring occasionally but not constantly for about 10 minutes (until soft and slightly brown).

-Meanwhile, strain the mushrooms when rehydrated and save the liquid for later. Slice mushrooms into thin strips and add to cooked onions/carrots.

-Add marinated meat. cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes until just brown. This part goes quickly.  Try not to overcook, or the meat will be tough.

-Add cooked veggies and meat to the noodles in the bowl. Then add scallions, sesame seeds, and freshly ground pepper. 

-Toss and combine ingredients while adding 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1Tb sesame oil, and 1/4 cup of the mushroom liquid. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011


A Valentine's Trifle
Ta-da!  Your beautiful creations!
Building a trifle in a plastic cup, though portable, is not the ideal presentation.  At home you can use some fancy glassware.  Preferably ones with a smaller capacity and wider surface.  Goblets are nice.
if you prefer the classic English trifle presentation (and you have over ten people to feed), you can use the traditional trifle bowl:

However you choose to present yours,  you'll want to start with some cake, custard and fruit.

To make the one we did in class today,
you will need:

  angel-food or sponge cake
-cut into 1 inch square cubes
1 cup strawberry jam
-heated until liquid (pourable) 
2 cups fresh strawberries
-rinsed, stemmed and sliced
1 & 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 cups pudding  
{or make your own custard using this recipe}
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the custard:
-measure sugar and corn starch into a heavy bottom small sauce pan.
-whisk in the yolks and milk.
-stir constantly over medium-high heat to start.  As the mixture warms up, lower the heat a bit so you don't end up scrambling the eggs. 
-keep stirring, always scraping the bottom of the pan. This will take a while to thicken, so be patient.

-Once it has thickened, pour it into a bowl and stir to cool.  After approximately 20 minutes, add the vanilla, refrigerate and it will thicken more as it cools.

Meanwhile, you can be melting the chocolate with which to make your heart decorations.
Place dark chocolate chips in a squirt bottle and heat in a bowl of water placed over a pot of hot water.

And when melted, you can make your heart shapes onto parchment paper and place in the fridge to harden.

Next, place jam in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until pourable.

Whip the cream and powdered sugar with a splash of vanilla, until thick and fluffy.

Cut cake into cubes, and slice the strawberries.

Now, set aside one cup of the whipped cream, and fold the rest into the completely cooled custard.

Time to build the trifle!

Line the bottom with a layer of cake.
Then pour some jam over it.
Next, a thick custard layer.
Place the strawberry slices around the sides.
Fill that in with cake (or extra strawberries, then cake)
More jam.
More custard.
A big dollop of whipped cream on top.
And a beautiful chocolate heart!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crepes, Traditional & Gluten-Free

To get to the crepe recipe we used today in class,
click  HERE.

And for a gluten-free alternative, here is a recipe from the 
New York Times Cookbook for Sri Lankan "hoppers":

1 & 1/2 cups rice flour
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
8 Tbsp water
coconut or vegetable oil for cooking

1. In a large bowl, stir the rice flour, yeast, sugar, salt, coconut milk and 8 tablespoons water. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

2. Stir the batter. It should have the consistency of paint. If needed, add water to thin it. 

3. Place an 8-inch wok or a crepe pan over medium-high heat. Using paper towels or a brush, carefully and lightly swab the surface of the pan with oil; there should be a very thin film.

4.  Using a ladle, pour about 3 tablespoons of batter in the center of the pan, and then quickly tilt and turn the pan so the batter spreads across the surface and up the sides of the pan. The hopper should be as thin as paper on the edges and no thicker than cardboard in the center.

5.  Cover the pan and cook until the hopper is brown around the edges and crisping on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Loosen the hopper using a spatula and flip to cook on other side for 1 to 2 more minutes.