Monthly Archives: December 2009
This quick stir fry was filled with a bounty of ant-oxidant fighting vegetables and an inflammation fighting super dose of ginger. You’ll notice the addition of chili flakes. This is an added touch for two of us at our table.
I add oil to a hot pan and quickly saute thick slices of ginger and garlic – this is to flavor the oil. Before the garlic burns, remove from pan, let the ginger go a while longer then remove as well. Then add strips of beef and quickly flash fry to med rare. Remove and set aside. Then saute your vegetables. I used onion, celery and red pepper. When vegetables begin to soften, season to taste, I use a mixture of soy sauce, minced ginger and a splash of rice wine vinegar.
In a separate pot, boil the chow mein noodles and boil as directed. I use the ones that are available fresh in the produce section of your grocery store. Pile noodles into bowls, top with vegetables. I added some shredded Asian greens as a garnish.
I decided to make Cornish Game Hens for our Christmas Eve Dinner. It was just the three of us and each person had 1/2 a hen. I first brined the hens for just over 2 hours. Then I spatchcocked them (open and flatten them out) with some great instructions from an Alton Brown video on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMGRISiKdzs
After brining, I let the skin air dry on a rack in the fridge. Doing this allows the skin to dry so it will be crisp when you cook them. I put them under the broiler with the rack in the middle of the oven. Cooking time was only 35 min including turning onto their backs to brown on the other side for 10 min. I made my sides a bit ahead (butternut squash and pecans, mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing made much better this year with some tips from my sister that we exchanged over email) and let them stay warm while I broiled the hens. Turned out being a lot easier than cooking a big turkey and a lot less heavy coming in and out of the oven that’s for sure. That made this a really good choice for our first Arthritis Kitchen Christmas Eve dinner.
I like to make these cranberry and brie phyllo purses to serve as an appetizer during the holiday season. You prepare them in advance, keep them in the freezer and then pop into the oven for 10 min and serve any time you want. I know these look a lot like my wontons from a few weeks back – I use the same technique. It’s quick and it works well. I’ve experimented with different fillings over the years and always come back to the brie and cranberry.
For easy assembly, the ingredients should be cold. Use cranberries direct from the freezer and pre-chop the brie into small pieces and chill in the freezer on a platter while I prepare the phyllo squares. This makes both the cranberries and the pieces of cheese easy to handle without any mess.
- Lay out 3 sheets of phyllo, brushing melted butter between each layer
- Cut sheets into 20 squares. I find a pizza wheel works great for this
- Put a piece of brie and a cranberry into the center of each square
- Brush melted butter along the edge of each square
- Gather corners together and pinch to stay closed
- Place on cookie sheet and freeze
- When ready to serve – bake at 400 for 10 min or until lightly golden
I’m putting together little bags of Arthritis Kitchen crafts for my staff this Christmas and I’m taking them into the office tomorrow. I made a batch of Union Square’s Bar Nuts. These are so easy to prepare and a nice combination of sweet and savory with fresh rosemary, brown sugar, cayenne and sea salt. I used a mixture of nuts but must say that I do like the pecans the best.
I’m giving each person a portion of these nuts and some of the crystallized ginger I made last weekend.
I got a hold of some fresh turmeric and decided to make a curry. I was curious to see what turmeric in is fresh raw form would be like. I tasted some and found it to be herbaceous with a slight floral quality. It was not hot, but is was spicy in its own way. The pieces I got were small and were similar to ginger root covered in a very thin papery skin. If you are going to be working with fresh turmeric, wear gloves. Trust me on this. I forgot to put mine on when I was peeling them and have yellow stains on my fingers to show for it. I’ve read to expect these to linger for three days! I used my microplane to grate it as I usually do with ginger and garlic. The turmeric is a very vibrant bright orange. When cooked, it gave the typical yellow hues you get when using dried turmeric but not as strong.
We were pleasantly surprised at how flavorful this turned out to be. The fresh turmeric added rich, mild flavors to the dish. I think now that I could have used way more. It was balanced nicely with coconut milk and some pineapple to off set the spicy turmeric and ginger. It was suggested that trying turmeric like this in baking might be a good place to explore next.
Last night in the Arthritis Kitchen we had a warming and satisfying wonton soup. I used a generous amount of fresh ginger in both the filling for the wontons as well as the broth to give this dish a good dose of inflammation fighting power for my rheumatoid arthritis. I buy wonton wrappers from the store and then make my own filling. Wonton wrappers are really easy to work with and while this recipe is time consuming, the results are worth it. Once you get the hang of it, shaping the wontons goes quickly. The recipe for the filling is the one I always use and I vary the add in’s for the soup depending on what I feel like or what I have.
Filling for Wontons
- 1 lb ground pork -chopped
- 2 ounces cooked shrimp or prawns – diced fine
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ginger – grated or very finely minced
- 2 tablespoons green onion – white part, finely minced (save green parts for garnish)
- 3 grinds black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 8 ounce package wonton wrappers
Combine all ingredients for the filling and set aside in fridge for 30 min. Wonton wrappers are very easy to work with and are very forgiving. I lay them out assembly line style and get 12 sheets at a time on my cutting board. There is a light dusting of cornstarch on one side – place that side down on your work surface. Fill with a small amount of filling – about 1/2 tsp. Brush 2 edges with water. I find this is the right amount to get them to hold together without being too sloppy. When working assembly line style, I use a pastry brush to quickly dampen the edges – I do 6 at a time. Gather up all 4 points of the wonton wrapper and push them firmly together in the center to form a seal and gently seal the edges.
Make wontons and lay out on a tray of cookie sheet. Place in freezer for at least 15 minutes. Adding the wontons to the stock when they are frozen helps them hold their shape. You can keep left over wontons in a ziplock bag in the freezer. This made 60 individual wontons. Makes a great quick soup when you have some already made! You can also serve these as a snack. Boil them in water, drain, add soy sauce, green onions of other fresh herb or seasoning of choiceand eat like a pasta. You’d be surprised how satisfying it is and its so easy and quick.
Making the Broth
You will need 6-8 cups of stock. I like to use homemade when I have it. This time I didn’t so I used 1 container each of low sodium beef and chicken stock. You could also us a vegetable stock or even just water seasoned with some ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil as the broth for the soup. I add 4 thick slices of ginger to the broth right away and will remove it before serving. Bring broth to boil. Add in any vegetable you are using. I like bok choy, mostly the white parts, with a small amount of tender green leaves sliced thinly. Add in 1 Tbs soy sauce (optional) and several drops of sesame oil (optional). When stock is boiling, add in frozen wontons. I used 20 for this batch of soup. Cook at a low gentle boil for about 10 min. Wontons will rise to the top as they begin to cook. I used some chopped green onion and thinly sliced carrot as a garnish for both color and texture. The use of fresh ginger in both the broth and the wonton are what I really like about this recipe. It gives you such a warming from the inside feeling. Ginger is so good for your overall health and is an Arthritis Kitchen favorite ingredient for its flavor and anti-inflammatory effects. This of benefit for anyone with any sort of inflammation in the body. Note, to receive the health benefits, use fresh ginger not powdered or dried ginger.