Category Archives: Lunch

Classic Corn Chowder

This is a simple yet hearty soup. We made a small batch just enough for the two of us for lunch during this funky quarantine time, and it’s really delicious and satisfying.

Here is the recipe we used that serves 2-4, depending if you’re having it as a main or side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 2 slices of bacon or ham
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons of flour
  • 2 medium size boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (we used canned ones because it is what we have)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • Dash of paprika
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderately low heat. Add diced bacon or ham, stir till it’s cooked through. Add  onion, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour till it’s evenly mixed with the vegetables. Stir in the potatoes, 1 cups of the corn, the bay leaf, broth, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

 

Step 2

In a blender or food processor, puree the remaining 1 cups corn with the milk. Stir the puree into the soup along with the black pepper. Simmer until the soup thickens slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. sprinkle in the paprika. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, if using.

Classic Cheese Fondue

Ingredients

FOR THE FONDUE:

1/3 pound firm alpine-style cheese — such as gruyere
1/3 pound fontina
1/3 pound gouda
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup dry white wine — such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 clove garlic — minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

ASSORTED FONDUE DIPPERS:

Boiled baby new potatoes in their skins — quartered if large
Lightly steamed broccoli florets (wait till the water is boiling before putting in the florets to steam, steam for 5 minutes)
Lightly steamed cauliflower florets
Lightly steamed asparagus
Button mushrooms (clean and wipe day, roast in 350F for 12 minutes)
Cherry tomatoes
Sliced firm apples — such as Granny Smith
Cooked sliced hot sausage
Cubed French, sourdough, and/or pumpernickel bread

Instructions

Grate all of the cheeses. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses with the cornstarch, tossing thoroughly to coat all pieces.
In a stove-safe fondue pot or large heavy saucepan, bring the wine, garlic, and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the cheeses to the simmering liquid a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, mustard, and nutmeg.
Arrange an assortment of bite-size dipping foods on a platter. If necessary, carefully pour the fondue into a fondue pot. Serve with fondue forks or wooden skewers. Dip and enjoy!

Chinese Dumpling Soup

Remember the delicious Homemade Chinese Dumplings we made!? We were so excited about our final product that we cooked them TWO separate ways in one meal. First, we pan-fried the dumplings to make delicious pot-stickers. And second, rather than boiling them and eating them straight, we cooked them in a home-made broth and made a dumpling soup. The  crisp Fall weather is here so it’s about the right time to for some soup dishes. Don’t underestimate this clear broth base, the ginger in this soup brings an additional layer of warming sensations and it is unexpectedly flavorful and comforting. And believe it or not, it’s probably pretty good for you too!

Chinese Dumpling Soup

Serves 2 / prep and cook time: 20 min

Ingredients:

  • 12 Chinese dumplings (frozen ones will work, too!)
  • 4 cups chicken or mushroom broth
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into match sticks
  • 3 spring onions, cut into 2-inches pieces, both white and green parts
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin strips (We used a mixture of fresh and dried shiitake mushrooms)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tb Chinese cooking wine or sake
  • 1 tb white wine vinegar (or Chinese dark vinegar if you have it)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

Put the chicken broth, ginger, mushroom, soy sauce, cooking wine, vinegar and sesame oil into a soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the spring onions and adjust the heat so the broth simmers, about 10 to 15 minutes. Slowly add the dumplings into the broth, give a little stir so the dumplings don’t stick together. Cook for about 3 minutes. When the dumplings float up to the surface, cook for another 6 minutes. They are done when the skin in translucent. Divide among warm bowls and serve.

We made 6 dumpling per serving as a side dish but you’re more than welcome to add more dumplings and turn it into a main dish. We also were running low on vegetables when we made it, but this broth goes well with almost all vegetables, such as napa cabbage, broccoli, spinach, snow peas…. you name it. Throw in some greens right before you drop in the dumplings, it’ll only make the soup healthier, and of course, better tasting!!!

Homemade Chinese Dumplings And Potstickers

Just another beautiful Sunday afternoon and we are sitting in the apartment with nothing planned… such a luxury to have some relaxing time like this after a busy week of work. We randomly watched a video clip my mother sent me, a video introducing traditional Chinese food and the making of some famous dishes. As we watch them make all the doughy delicacies with all different kinds of fillings, we started to crave something similar. We want to make some dough, too!! We didn’t even finish the clip before we decided to take the challenge and make some Chinese dumplings for dinner, from scratch!

I remember making dumplings with my aunties and grandma in Taiwan when I was still a little kid. The adults would prepare the meat filling and dough wrappers and I would help filling, pinching and, of course, eating! It was easy, fun, and satisfying!

Well, nobody is around to prepare the fillings and wrappers for me but I crave for that old experience, so I am stepping up to recreate this fun and delicious recipe. Base on some memories and some research, this is our Eat.F.G. recipe.

Chinese Pork Dumplings

Makes about 40 dumplings / prep: about an hour, cook time: 10 min

Ingredients:

For the dumpling wrappers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 lb ground pork (pork is what they use for traditional chinese dumplings, and we like to honor that!)
  • 1/4 head (about 1 pound) of  cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 green onions, minced (both white and green parts)
  • 1 tb fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 3 tb soy sauce
  • 1 tb Chinese rice wine or sake
  • 1 tb toasted sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dipping sauce:

  • 3 tb soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar ( or Chinese black vinegar if you can find it)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2 tsp hot chili oil (optional, but have I mentioned that we like it spicy?!)

Instructions:

To make the dumpling wrappers: put the flour in a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt into the flour. Slowly mix it with your hands, add the remaining water if it gets too dry. Knead the mixture until it forms a soft dough, place the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead nut ill smooth. Set the dough on the side and let it stand for 10 minutes, (perfect time to prep the filling here). Roll the dough into a long baton-like roll and cut it into 40 small pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece to a thin circle, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Flour + Water, pre-kneading!

Roll the dough into a baton-like roll, and cut into small pieces

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into small circles

To make the filling: finely chop the cabbage into very small pieces, sprinkle the 1 tsp salt and mix well to dehydrate the cabbage. Give it a few minutes and then squeeze out the excess water (it should look like the picture below). Combine the cabbage with ground pork, green onion and the rest of the seasoning and mix well.

Fresh cabbage, finely chopped and squeezed!!

Filling with all ingredients mixed in.

To make the dumplings: get a small dish with water. Place about a tablespoonful of filling in the center of a dough circle. Dip your finger in the water and moist the edge of the dough, fold the circle in half, and use index finger and thumb to pinch the edges of the dough on one side of the dumpling into “pleats”, pressing each pleat against the flat side of the dough to seal the dumpling as you go. I usually start from the center to the corner and make about 3 pleats on each side, but any direction would work. Firmly pressed the pleaded side of the of the wrapper against the flat side and make sure the dumpling is completely sealed (we don’t want the dumpling to burst open or have any leakage during cooking). Line up the finished dumplings on a floured surface to prevent them from sticking together.

There are so many ways to cook the dumplings. Most of the time they are either steamed, boiled or  pan fried. Pan fried dumplings are also known as pot stickers, it is definitely the most popular kind. Tonight, we are having dumplings, TWO ways!! For the first kind, we’ve decided to make some pot stickers, and for the second kind, instead of boiling the dumplings in plain water, we are making some Chinese Dumpling Soup as we like to take things to the next level!

To make the pot stickers, drizzle about 1 tb oil in a pan and heat it up. Place the desired amount of dumplings flat-side-down in the pan, turn the heat low and fry the dumplings for about a minute, or until golden brown. Add 1/2 a cup of hot water and cover, let it steam for about 6 minutes or until all water has evaporated. Remove the dumplings, now pot stickers, serve hot with dipping sauce!

Dumplings sitting flat-side-down in the hot pan!

I know it looks very complicated with the long lists of ingredients and instructions, but it really is not hard. The first few dumplings we made looked a bit funny, but they soon started to look better and almost professional as we got into the rhythm.  I must say it is VERY rewarding when we finished and had a whole army of fresh dumplings lined up in front of us.  All we needed to do was to decide which way to cook them so we could eat them all up. The dumplings store very well too if you’er not planning on eating all of them immediately. Just separate the dumplings with wax paper so they don’t stick together in the container and tuck it in the freezer. The dumplings should store up to a month or so.

That’s the project of our Sunday, and I’m pretty proud of our end product. And I am also very happy to announce that after all these years, the experience of making dumpling remains the same: it’s easy, fun and very satisfying!

Tuna Niçoise Tartine at Bouchon Bakery

Tuna Nicoise Tartine

Happy Bastille Day!! What a perfect occasion for some Parian style cuisine. well, actually, we didn’t realize it’s Bastille Day until we walked into Bouchon Bakery.  Bouchon Bakery in Timer Warner Center is definitely one of our favorite restaurants in the city. Whenever we come to Columbus Circle, even though there are many other restaurants in the area, Bouchon Bakery is always our go-to place for a nice and simple sit-down lunch.

As we sat down at the bar, we were presented with the Bastille Day Special Pre-fixe Menu – A three course lunch with dishes like moules au saffron, poulet roti with polenta, and peach melba for 38 dollars, not a bad deal at all. I can’t say we weren’t tempted, but we both went for the Tuna Niçoise Tartine on the regular menu instead. There’s something magical about this Tuna Niçoise here, we (or at least me) can never manage to turn it down. The tartine is basically an open-faced sandwich– with a big generous mountain of tuna salad on a slice of fresh pain de campagne (which is a round French country-style loaf similar to sourdough), topped with thinly sliced radishes, eggs and sprinkles of sweet paprika and fresh chives. The tartine is served with a side of field green salad and baby pickles, just enough to round out a perfect meal. Instead of drowning the tuna in heavy mayonnaise, Bouchon Bakery’s chef, Tomas Keller, blends the tuna with shallots, capers and other herbs for a flavorful mix, and finishes it with Garlic Aioli to give it the sweet and creamy sensation. This is a tuna niçoise sandwich that bursts with flavors, yet nothing overwhelms the freshness tastes of the tuna,  it’s creamy but light,… ahhh…. it’s just extremely satisfying and yet healthy. How I want to give the chef an award for this wonderful creation. Even the bartender told us that this dish has changed  a lot of people’s impression on tuna salad. It is no doubt one of the best sandwiches on our lists.

We walked out of the bakery feeling all nourished and happy, wondering how great if we could get the recipe for this yumminess…..AND, guess what I found in one of my magazine teared pages, THE RECIPE!! It’s unfortunate that name of the magazine was torn off, but i’m glad the recipe was kept untouched. We haven’t had a chance to test it out yet, but here it is…. and we sure will have another post once we get our hands on it..

Tomas Keller’s Tuna Niçoise Tartine

Adapted by Bouchon Bakery

Serves 2 /  Prep time 30 mins; Cooking time 20 mins (plus cooling)

Ingredients

For Sandwich

  • 2   Thick slices pain de campagne (or sourdough if not available)
  • 2   Leaves of butter lettuce
  • 2   Hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced
  • 8   Niçoise olives
  • Finely chopped chives, sweet paprika, extra virgin online oil to serve

Confit Garlic Aioli

  • 3 Garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Canola oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice

For Tuna Salad

  • 2 tsp flat-leave parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chervil (or celery if not available), finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp golden shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp capers, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 oz drained canned tuna in oil

Method:

  1. For confit garlic aïoli, combine garlic and half the olive oil in a small saucepan, cook over low hear until garlic is soft (20-30 minutes). Strain (reserve garlic), combine garlic oil with canola oil and remaining olive oil, set aside. process egg, lemon juice, and reserved garlic in a small food processor until smooth. Add combined oils and process until thick and emulsified. season to taste, adjust consistency with a little water if necessary.
  2. For tuna salad, combine 1/4 cup of garlic aïoli, herbs, shallot, capers and lemon juice in a bowl. Add tuna and mix until just combined, season to taste.
  3. To serve, spread the bread slices with a little garlic aïoli, top each with lettuce leaves, layer with tuna salad, egg and radish slices. Garnish with lives, chives and paprika, drizzle with olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately.
  4. Bon Appétit!!

Spicy Thai Salad

I don’t think I’ve seen this many Thai restaurants before I moved to New York. Walking down 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, you can find almost one (or more) on each block. Of course we have our favorite ones ,(there will be posts about them, too), but on a lazy Sunday like today, we decided to create our own Thai Salad at home instead of eating out.

I remember feeling intimidated by Thai recipes years ago when I first started to cook. Not only because it’s usually a long list of exotic ingredients, some of the items (such as tamarind and galangal), I didn’t even know how to pronounce the names correctly, and they were only available in specialty stores. Although all these foreign herbs and spices are now more common and are definitely easier to find in regular markets, we still decided to go with a more approachable route and only use the ingredients we can find in the neighborhood markets…. We might hold off on some of the unpronounceable exotic ingredients, but we are definitely not holding off on the flavors in any sort.

Spice Thai Salad:

Serves 2/ Prep time: 30 min

For the Salad:

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • Cherry Tomatoes, cut into halves
  • Red Onions, thinly sliced
  • Asian Spiced Roasted Peanuts
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • extra toppings such as cucumbers, carrots, or bean sprouts

For the dressing:

  • 2Tb      Fish Sauce
  • 2Tb.     Lime juice
  • 1 ts.      Soy sauce
  • 1 tb.      Garlic
  • 1 tb.       Ginger
  • 1-2ts.    Sugar
  • 1 ts.       Chili oil (We like it hot!)
  • 1 ts.       Sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 tb.       Green onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Toss all the salad greens, tomatoes and the extra toppings in a big bowl. Loosely chop the peanuts and set aside, so they don’t lose the crunch before we eat it.

Blend all the dressing ingredients (besides green onions) together. I usually use a spice grater and grate the garlic and ginger into a paste, but it’s easy to just throw everything in a food processor to blend it up, too.  Take half of the dressing and marinate the red onions, too. It only takes about 5 minutes, the onions turn translucent and it simply adds an extra punch to the flavor. Throw in the green onions if you’re using it in the remaining dressing. Let it sit for a few minutes for the flavors to settle in.

Now it’s time to put everything together.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it till everything is evenly coated, top it off with with the marinated onions, roasted peanuts, and sprinkle on the cilantro leaves, and that’s your delicious Spicy Thai Salad right there. As flavorful as it is, it’s actually very light and refreshing. It is fulfilling too as a perfect summer salad. For those who wants something heartier, top the salad with some shredded chicken, sliced steak, or grilled tofu for vegetarians to upgrade the salad into a main dish. It doesn’t require anything overly seasoned, there’s already a lot going on in the salad… Easy like that!

The last time we made it, we top it off with some grilled steak, medium rare. And I’m just saying, THAT, is one delicious meal!!!

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