Posts Tagged ‘dinner ideas’



I’ve been trying to make our meals a bit more interesting so everytime I go to the market I purchase an ingredient I don’t always have in the pantry.  Lately it has been Asian products which lead to egg rolls, stir-fries, dumplings, and so on.  Some fillings for egg rolls are pre-cooked and you could certainly give this mix a quick stir-fry, but I think it is fine to have some crunchy vegetables in the fried roll.  Steve just likes to doctor his up with spicy mustard, but I like a pungent dipping sauce.

½ pound shredded cooked chicken meat
5 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut, on the bias, into thin strips
1 large carrot, peeled, trimmed, and cut into thin strips about 1¼ inches long
Handful of snow peas, trimmed and cut, on the bias, into thin strips
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 package egg roll wrappers
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1½ tablespoons cold water
2 to 4 cups oil for deep-frying

Combine the chicken with the mushrooms, carrot, and snow peas in a medium mixing bowl, tossing to combine.
Stir the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and orange juice together in a small bowl.  When blended, add to the chicken mixture, tossing to coat.
Working with one piece at a time, lay an egg roll wrapper out on a clean, flat work surface so that one corner is facing you.  Place about 1 ½ tablespoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper, pushing it out slightly without getting near the edge.  
Using your fingertip, spread a bit of the cornstarch mixture around the 3 edges not facing you.  Fold the point of the edge facing you up and over the filling and then fold the 2 opposite sides in and over; then, roll up the wrapper to totally enclose the filling.
When you have made the number of egg rolls you want to fry, preheat the oil to 360°F on a candy thermometer.
Using a slotted spatula, carefully transfer the egg rolls, a few at a time, into the hot oil.  Deep-fry for about 4 minutes or until golden brown.
Using tongs, transfer the egg rolls to a double layer of paper towel to drain.
Serve hot with Spicy Dipping Sauce.
Spicy Dipping Sauce
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce 
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Vietnamese fish sauce
3 scallions with some green part, trimmed and cut, crosswise, into thin circles
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
½ hot green chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced or to taste

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, orange and lime juices, sesame oil, and fish sauce in a small mixing bowl.  Stir in the scallions, garlic, and chile.
Serve with egg rolls or dumplings.




Dipping Sauce_3641


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Just in case you are tired of the same old toss green salad, here is something that will add some zing to your dinner table. I shaved a bunch of radishes (which were unusually crisp and pungent) over a container of daikon radish sprouts. I tossed the mix with a dressing made with sesame oil, lemon and orange juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and pickled ginger. A sprightly mix that highlighted an otherwise ordinary dinner. It is a salad I will return to often.

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We have been so busy with the promotion of An American Family Cooks that our meals have been a little haphazard – a pizza here, rice and beans (from our favorite Flor de Mayo on Amsterdam Avenue) there, a throw-together sandwich at the end of a long day have been too frequently on the table.  I promised Steve a quiet, indulgent, sit-down dinner and since fall had officially arrived with a bit of a chill in the air, it seemed time to get back to work in the kitchen.
Here’s what I put together.  Mashed sweet potatoes (mashed with a bit of butter and a touch of honey), sautéed spinach and mushrooms, and deliciously sweet Nantucket Bay scallops.  For the scallops, I placed about ½ cup of diced pancetta in a nonstick frying pan and cooked it until all of the fat had rendered out and I had a pan full of little crispy nuggets.  I scooped the nuggets from the pan and left a bit of the fat in.  I added the scallops which I had tossed in Wondra flour and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Gave them a quick flip around the pan to color slightly and set.  Removed them from the pan and added a little white wine and lemon juice.  Brought it to a boil and then whisked in a little pat of butter.  When slightly thick, I returned the pancetta to the pan and instantly had a lovely sauce for the plate.  We sat down to a quiet, indulgent dinner with a chilled bottle of Sancerre to quaff.  A lovely fall dinner, indeed.

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