Amazing Thanksgiving Recipes...

VEGAN TURKEY   Are you a vegetarian that’s tired of using Tofurkey and don’t have the skills to make a fake turkey of your own?  The GARDIN, in my opinion, is the best option out there for veggie turkey.  Overall, this is the best way to do turkey because it’s pretty fast, it tastes good, and it’s an all-inclusive veggie product. For our meal we glazed it with honey (1/4 cup), soy sauce (2 teaspoons), lemon juice of a lemon, and orange zest of an orange.  Cook it until it reduces by half. We plated it over a thinly sliced potato and steamed carrots and green beans. For the gravy, we used the packet sauce and cooked it in the pot where we made the glaze.  We added and handful of wild mushrooms (add your favorite), and heated until mushrooms were cooked.      HOLIDAY TRIO Inspired by an article on Thanksgiving, we wanted to ensure that this year’s holiday meal had more fresh foods, healthier portions, and non-traditional components that included our Mexican and Korean backgrounds.  We made three dishes: Mock Chicken Wings in a Saffron-Pomegranate Glaze with a Mole Sauce and Jicama Kimchi on a homemade tortilla chip Mock Chicken Wings in a spicy Korean Barbecue Glaze with fresh Mexican Chayote Squash and radish Mock Turkey in a Honey-Lemon Glaze with traditional Wild Mushroom Gravy on a fried potato and steamed carrots and green beans Mole Growing up, Mole was one of my favorite mexican dishes.  It’s dark color, and earthy taste somehow reminds me of the Harvest Season.  I thought that pomegranate was a good fruit to use in a glaze for several reasons.  First, it reminded me of my childhood days when we used to eat them from my Aunt’s backyard tree.  Secondly, it...

Kimchi Fried Rice

It’s a great way to use leftover rice, frozen veggies and kimchi that’s “on the verge” — too old or too strong to be used as a fresh ingredient.  It wasn’t until Kimmy Shin, CAMPUS Chaplain at Michigan Tech University, reintroduced me to this great dish that I began to really like it and want to make it. One of my favorite parts about this dish, also called: bokumbap, is that it reminds me of a childhood favorite dish from back in the day.  Sometimes, my mom worked overtime and didn’t come home until late at night.  I’d grab some leftover mexican rice from the weekend, throw it in the microwave, fry an egg, and mix it all together in a dish with avocado.  It was rich and savory and I enjoyed eating it so much! We don’t eat eggs at home much.  However, whenever we get some for whatever reason, I like to save at least one to make this dish.  This time, instead of using mexican rice, I fry up some kimchi — a type of pickled korean cabbage, throw in some frozen veggies, add old rice, and cook everything over high heat to add a little crunch to the rice and caramelization to the veggies and kimchi.  It’s not the healthiest dish in the world, but I think it’s one of the best tasting!  For vegans, if you take away the egg, you still have a good fried rice...

Quinoa & Ratatouille...

I am training for an upcoming 100 mile bike tour organized by my friend David called Tour de Witt.  Our rides in preparation for the event range from 1.5 to 3+ hours of cycling per ride.  As you can imagine, we have a lot of good quality time to discuss the issues of life, like: the health benefits of Quinoa.  Second only to potatoes, this complete protein was among the most important parts of the diet for the Incas of South America who held the crop to be sacred.  Vegans love this food because, among other things, it’s high in calcium.  The fact that it is also gluten-free makes it one of the most flexible foods to cook with. Especially in Peru, quinoa is used frequently and in a variety of ways.  Some use it to make flan, a famous spanish dessert custard usually drenched in caramel. More common uses include salads, stews, and even soups.  An easy way to incorporate quinoa into a meal is by substituting it for rice. Ratatouille is one of my favorite French dishes.  I had it when I went on a trip to Switzerland with my son Manu.  Usually, these roasted veggies are served as a side dish, but we had it as a meal served inside a perfectly made crepe.  Traditionally, the mix of ingredients include tomatoes as number one, along with garlic, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, oregano, basil, and perhaps other herbs.  In Suisse, the chef also included mushrooms which brought the dish to a whole new level.  Every chef has his/her own opinion on how to correctly make this dish: vegetables should cooked separately so that their individual tastes don’t lose their integrity; they should be cooked together; some should be cooked together to...

Sopes

Sopes are traditional Mexican patties made with masa — the same ground maize that tamales and corn tortillas are made of.  The patties are typically fried and thereafter have their sides pinched to allow the sopes to be filled with a variety of toppings that include: beans (or beef/chicken), lettuce, tomatoes, onions, salsa, and other ingredients.  Although fried, sopes are different from tostadas.  Tostadas are crispy and fragile; sopes are thicker and crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.  They are also designed to withstand more substantial fillings or even liquids. There are many variations to this dish, depending on what region of Mexico you visit.  Some sopes are small and thick, others are wide and thinner.  The toppings are as diverse as the thickness and even the shapes.  Some variations called Huaraches are shaped like the Mexican sandal they are named after.  Others include ingredients as wild as grasshoppers!  Some people fill them with pinto beans and others use black beans.  Some skip out on the beans or meat and will fill them with veggies.  The many variations in this dish make it fun to play with. Sopes con Chapulines (Grasshoppers) More traditional Sopes con Carne (beef) The extremely large sopes of Oaxaca (Wa-Ha’-Ka) Sopes are an easy dish to make and an easy dish to modify and modernize. One way of mixing things up can include adding one or two ingredients into the masa to give it a new twist: like corn or poblano peppers.  You can also drown the sopes in a sauce after cooking them to make Sopes Ahogados or Drunken Sopes.  For healthier versions of this dish, you can bake the masa instead of frying it. For our CAMPUS Black Tie Event 2012, Justin and...

Bibimbap

 In 2011, it was #40 on CNN’s World’s 50 most delicious foods readers’ poll.  If you enjoy this dish –which literally means bibim (mixed) bap (rice) — you have Korea to thank.  When I visited a Korean church in New York several years back, someone told me that the dish originated as a poor man’s dish — people mixing everything that they had and eating it with rice before it spoiled.  Other’s have different — and perhaps more legit — histories.  I really don’t care — the dish is one of my favorites. I think that traditional dishes typically have a wide variety of veggies, including cucumbers, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, and lettuce, as well as beef.  Some serve it with steamed rice while others get it served in a hot stone bowl (called: dolsot bibimbap).  Sometimes the dish is topped with a fried or raw egg.  All typically mix everything with red chili sauce.  One of my favorite things about this dish is that there are so many variations, meaning that it’s hard to go wrong when trying to make it. Many restaurants — even somewhat higher end ones — are introducing this dish to their menus creatively.  I’ve heard of some who make this dish using non-korean ingredients and sauces.  I think that this is a brilliant idea. At home, we’ve made it with jasmine rice and with mexican (long grain) rice.  We’ve also used beans and avocado as ingredients or cream sauces instead of the chili sauce.  Rice is an ingredient that is like a blank canvass waiting for us to experiment.  I say that we should take it up on its offer!  In this post I’m including two ways of doing this dish: the first is using what I think are...

Posole 2.0

Posole (or Pozole) is a traditional Mexican stew or soup.  It’s a typical dish in various states, including Jalisco, the place where my father was born.  The key ingredients that make this dish are hominy — a type of maize kernel that is also known as grits (when it is mushed), chili peppers, and meat — usually pork or chicken. Some traditions say that, long ago, the Aztecs would only eat this dish on special occasions and would use the meat of sacrificed human beings until cannibalism was banned.  Although the traditions may be wacky, the dish has been a favorite since I was a young boy. When I became vegetarian, this was among one of the easiest dishes to transfer over — word has it that there are several vegetarian and vegan substitutes.  And there should be, it’s an easy dish to make. Typically, here’s how the dish looks: It’s normally topped with cabbage or lettuce, radishes, and a hint of lime.  When we ate it at home, we also included tostadas for an added crunch. My version of Posole is designed to be more of an appetizer.  Using agar-agar, I gelatinized the broth to make it look like a spaghetti noodle.  The “noodle” tastes exactly like the broth.  After cooking the Posole in the traditional way, I made a homemade chip, placed a spoonful of hominy and FriChik cooked in the Posole broth, cut a small and thin slice of lime, and plated it.  If the lime rind is thin enough, it adds necessary punch to the one-bite appetizer. I’m proud of my presentation and originality on this one.  And I’m happy that after many attempts to cook with this technique, I can finally say that I have created an original...