Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

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My Sushi for One dinner

Last week I taught a hand-on sushi class with 20 students in the studio kitchen….

**I have moved! Read the rest of this post at my new home**


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My weekly trip to the organic farm stand. The mango above is one of the best I’ve ever had. Where is it from? Haiti! Who knew? Organic mangoes from Haiti. I had no idea that there are 10 million mango trees in Haiti. I usually am an advocate of eating locally. But I am also an advocate of supporting the small organic farmer.

Oh, the dilemma! Go to the massive mega-supermarket and buy Florida grown mango, bland, fibrous and tastes like diluted bath water? Or beautiful, smooth, creamy, non-fibrous mango from a politically violent country, purchased from a family-owned organic farm stand. Jessica’s Organic Farm grows most of the vegetables they sell, in a huge field about 10 yards from the stand. What they don’t grow themselves they source from reputable organic farms.

The mango went into a mango salsa. Most of the vegetables went into last night dinner on a Raclette grill.The rest of it tonight – dipped in Bagna Cauda – full of garlic and anchovies.

Bagna Cauda is an Italian appetizer, which means, “you ain’t gettin’ any nookie tonight.” Butter, olive oil, garlic and anchovies make up this “hot bath.” Fresh, raw vegetables and bread cubes are dipped into the warm, garlicky lava. This is my favorite way to eat raw vegetables. It makes me feel so incredibly healthy, except for the half cup of butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Oh, those are just the little details. Some versions include heavy cream, but I like it just like this.

I also made The Perfect Loaf of French Bread to go with the B.C.

Bagna Cauda
1/2 cup serves 4 as appetizer or a nice party dip.

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can anchovy fillets
3 garlic cloves
chili flakes (optional)

1. Puree the anchovies and garlic cloves: or, just chop both really finely to make a paste.

2. Heat on low: In saucepan on low heat, add all ingredients. Keep the flame on low so that the butter/oil gets totally infused with the anchovy and garlic. Once the butter melts, just let it continue to sit on the low flame for another 5 minutes.

Serve warm. If you use a fondue pot – double or triple the recipe. The little candle fondue bowl pictured above was purchased for $5 at Marshalls.

Vegetables & Stuff to Dip
Assortment of raw, steamed or roasted vegetables. I used broccoli, french green beans, radishes (all raw). I also had fresh bread and a few sauteed shrimp. Other ideas include: baby carrots, steamed artichoke hearts, red bell pepper slices, asparagus, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, endive.

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Such a simple pairing….eggplant + miso. But I’m still not happy with the results. The miso mixture was way too salty. I’ll share the mistakes I made.

Mistake #1
I made this while on an empty, growling stomach

Mistake #2
I ran out of wine to drink, therefore in a foul mood

Mistake #3
I doubted Master Nobu Matsuhisa‘s recipe

Ahhhh….so you see, I was a bad grasshoppa.

I started trying to get fancy- adding rice wine vinegar and grated ginger. What I should have done was just stick with Nobu’s original recipe for “Nobu Style Saikyo Sweet Miso” instead of wandering off aimlessly on my own.

I should have caught the big glaring clue right in front of me.

If Nobu’s recipe was so incredibly SIMPLE. Then the dish is meant to be SIMPLE.

Now, if I had gotten inspiration from another cook, like, oh…lets say Sandra Lee, and it was simple, then enhancing the recipe would have been a good idea. Because her recipe would have probably started with a can of refried beans.

But come on, why doubt Nobu? Please don’t tell him, ok? I’m sure he’d whack me in the head with a floppy eggplant.

Here’s what I should have done:

Nobu-Style Saikyo Sweet Miso
from his book, Nobu Now

makes 2 cups

3 1/2 fluid ounces Japanese sake
3 1/2 fluid ounces mirin
10 1/2 ounces white miso paste
5 1/4 ounces granulated sugar

1. Put sake and mirin in pot and heat. Bring to boil and allow alcohol to evaporate off.

2. Over medium heat, add the white miso paste, a little at a time. Blend in with a wooden spatula.

3. When you have added all the white miso paste and the mixture is smooth, turn the heat up to high, and add the sugar in two or three lots. Make sure it does not burn.

4. Sitre the mixture until the sugar has compelte dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Stored in refrigerator, it lasts several weeks. This recipe makes enough for this eggplant recipe PLUS you could make this.

If you only want to make enough for the eggplant dish, then I divide the recipe to only yield 1/2 cup.

Do your own math. Still out of wine. Still in foul mood.

Japanese Eggplant with Nobu’s Miso
serves 4 as side dish

4 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise (or 1-2 large globes, cut into 1″ slices – enough for 2 pieces each person)
1/2 cup of Nobu’s miso mix above
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven – broiler on HIGH, rack 6 inches from top

1. Brush eggplant slices with a little canola oil, place on baking sheet. Immediately put in oven and broil for 4-5 minutes, until eggplant soft and the tops are golden. Remove from oven.

2. Spoon miso mixure on the eggplant halves. Use a brush to spread the miso evenly on surface. Return to broiler. Broil 2-3 minutes until the miso is bubbly and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. But watch the oven – timing may vary based on your oven. Don’t burn the eggplant!

Garnish with thinly sliced green onions (adds great color and texture)

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Best Dressed Salad

If my Salad was going to an Oscar Party (or any other red-carpet event), this is what she would wear.   Slimming, sophisticated, beautiful lines, not-too-much-cleavage, subtle yet elegant.

Right by my house is an organic produce stand called Jessica’s Organic Farm.  They are only open Fridays and Saturdays, but they grow and sell some of the freshest organic produce I have ever tasted.  Last week, I came home with a head of lettuce 12″ wide, sweet & silky mangos, zucchini , sugar snap peas and bright red cherry tomatoes.  I cut the zucchini into spaghetti-like strands…isn’t it beautiful?

Best Dressed Salad

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Baby Eggplant

Look what I found at the market yesterday! These were so darn cute, about 4 inches in length – I just had to take some of these bright, shiny baby aubergines home with me. Eggplant season generally starts in June, but one of the perks of living in Florida is that we get produce a little earlier in season due to the warmer weather.

The babies were practically begging to be roasted as an appetizer. I just so happened to have a jar of Sicilian Caponata, which is a relish of chopped eggplant, tomatoes, capers and olives, all magically blended into a sauce perfect for pastas, quick bruschetta, or even eating straight out of the jar (me, guilty).

Roasted baby eggplant

I simply sliced the baby eggplants in half lengthwise, put them on a roasting pan, drizzled olive oil and in the oven at 375 degrees. 10 minutes later, I checked on them. Perfect timing! I then brushed a little more olive oil on top and set the broiler on high for 2 minutes to get a little more carmelization on the top. Serve a quick sprinkling of sea salt, a spoonful of Caponata, chopped parsley and freshly grated Pecorino Romano.

The eggplant is dreamy, delicate and sweet. One bite and the velvety flesh just melts into your mouth. Since they haven’t matured, they do not have any of the bitterness that the adult variety contains. No need to salt to extract the bitter compounds.

These babies were just the perfect size for a finger food. Their indigo skins looked so perfect on a white platter! Can you imagine serving these cute things wearing the perfect hostess apron?! (HUSBAND click on this link)

Roasted baby eggplant

You don’t have Caponata? Try these toppings:

-Pesto sauce with chopped parsley, roasted pinenuts and shaved parmesan

-Chunky marinara sauce with chopped basil

-Slices of roasted bell peppers and good olives

-Diced tomatoes with a garlicy Tzaziki sauce. Top with chopped, fresh dill

-Crispy fried basil leaves (deep fry the leaves)

-Whipped mashed potato mixed with curry powder

Do you have any other topping suggestions?

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Gai Lan

I’ve moved!!! Come see the recipe over at my new website, www.steamykitchen.com.

Thank you!

xoxo, Jaden

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Crispy Potato Chips

Making your own potato chips is so incredibly easy. There are 2 pieces of equipment that you should have:

1) Mandoline

2) Deep Fryer (or) you could use a big heavy pot & thermometer

Read my review of the Pampered Chef Mandoline on the Wellfed Network.

The biggest secret to making light as air potato chips is to soak the potato chips in water to wash away the excess starch. You can even soak them overnight. Usually, I’ll soak for 30 minutes. If you don’t have the time, then place all the potato slices in a big bowl of water and rub gently to wash each slice. Drain the potato slices super dry, as water + oil = flying splatter = burnt spot on arm and face. (oops)

If you have any left over, and thats a big if….they’ll last another day. Don’t cover them tightly, which causes them to get soggy. I usually just them in the bowl and drape a towel over them. In the morning before my kids get up, I tiptoe into the kitchen…they make a great breakfast for me. (hey, I dip in ketchup to get my serving of vegetables!)

My favorite dip is a Cumin-Sweet Smoked Paprika Aioli that I got from Florida Trend Magazine’s Top New Restaurant Martini’s & Tapas where I teach cooking classes at.

Instead of making aioli fresh from eggs, I cheat and use store bought mayo. Two unlikely spice combinations of Cumin and Sweet Smoked Paprika just go together but you just don’t know why, kinda like Travis and Shannon.

light as air potato chips

Light as Air Potato Chips with Sweet Smoky Paprika & Cumin Aioli

wow, thats too long for me. How about:

Kick-Ass Chips & Dip


1 large russet potato for every 2 people

oil for deep frying


1. Using mandoline set at 1/16th inch, slice potatoes. Put all slices in a big bowl of water. Let sit for 20 minutes – 24 hours.

2. Heat fryer to 375. Drain as much water as you can from the potato slices. Use paper towels to absorb any additional water on the surface. Place a batch of potato slices into the fryer (batch size really depends on big your fryer or pot is – just make sure that the slices do not stick to each other and all are under the oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on a baking sheet with rack. While chips are hot, season with salt.

Dip (Sweet Smoky Paprika & Cumin Aioli)

1 cup good mayonnaise

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked sweet paprika

1 large garlic cloved, minced with garlic press

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper

Combine all of the above. If have the time, I recommend that you can make your own aioli. But, if you’re like me and crave potato chips and MUST HAVE THEM NOW, store bought mayo will do.

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