Wish Upon A Dish

August 3, 2015

Hawaiian Fried Rice ♥ THE dish worth making rice for

I get so excited when a dish I create gets rav reviews and it's even sweeter when the reviewer had the nerve to turn his nose up when he heard the ingredients.

He thinks I am not aware that he always asks what's in it befire he takes a mouthful.
Now I turn that around to "take a bite and see if you can guess".
HA!! Take that!!

The man went back for seconds and thirds. The beauty of this dish is the amount of substitutions that can be used but I have to insist that those subs be of the same food group.

Like, for instance, the Hawaiian chicken should be another Asian flavored chicken. The salty Spam, a ham steak.
Peas and carrots can come out of the freezer in a box.

The only rules are in the technique. There is an order to which the foods enter the pan and the time needed to let the pan do it's work.
I am not a snob to shortcuts as long as you do not mess with the 5 food senses.
You want salty, bitter, sweet, sour and umami in this dish or it will taste like leftovers thrown into a big skillet.

You my think this is such a dish but only one ingredient was in another meal and that was this chicken (which on it's own was excellent and the inspiration for this).
I made the rice a few days ahead so that it had time to dry out, but leftover Chinese take-out rice will also work. If you are Diabetic you should take the time to make converted rice, the best rice (besides Basmati) for diabetics.

If you have never eaten Spam, this is the perfect dish for your first time. It really tastes like a canned ham and there is no spice for the kids to crinkle their noses at.

Let's get cooking.....

Hawaiian Fried Rice
makes 6-8 servings

* 3/4 cup rice, cooked in 1 1/2 cups salted water, day old best
* 1 small container Spam, 1/4-inch dice (sub: ham steak)
* 1 cup chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie is fine but Teriyaki even better)
* 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
* 1 cup red onion, diced
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1 can chopped water chestnuts (about 3/4 cup)
* 1/2 cup pineapple bits
* 1 cup scallions, green parts sliced
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup peas
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

* 1/3 cup shoya (good quality soy sauce)
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
* 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

* 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional but not mandatory)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Drop a piece of Spam into the oil and when it starts to sizzle, carefully drop in the remaining Spam. Stir to coat in the vegetable oil and then let it sit, over medium heat until the meat crusts (about 5 minutes). Stir and repeat.
2. Add the onions and cook another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the carrots. Lower the heat and cook until the carrots wilt.
3. Remove the Spam mixture to a bowl, add a teaspoon of more oil and add the eggs to the pan, swirling to the edges. Cook until the bottom sets and flip the egg into a rough omelet. Cook another minute and remove to a dish. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces.
4. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, up the heat to high and add the rice, stirring to coat. When the rice starts to obtain color, add the water chestnuts, pineapple, peas, chopped chicken, green onions, eggs and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly so the rice does not stick.
5. Add the pork mixture back to the skillet and stir to heat through.
6. Pour the sauce over the rice and stir to evenly coat the rice mixture.
7. Remove to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the cilantro or more chopped green onions (I used chives from my garden).

You could add diced red peppers if you have them and if I had a fresh jalapeno, I would have added that. A little spice would have been nice.

July 21, 2015

Zucchini Fritters ♥ Fresh From the Garden - Recipe ReDux Challenge July 2015

It is not easy to make a good zucchini fritter. I like them crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, with flavor and spice and ones that leave no oil on your fingers when you pick them up to dip.

When the Recipe ReDux challenge for this month was to cook with the bounty of summer produce, I immediately thought of fritters.

Since I actually grew zucchini that got large enough for enough fritters for two, that was what I made.
One of the the hardest things to do when using a vegetable loaded with water is to not use too much binder. I prefer not to taste crackers (or any filling for that matter).

I found this recipe years ago that I think is the perfect batter for fritters. I had no original source written on the index card but it has stood the test of time.

Zucchini Fritters
makes about 10-3" fritters

* 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or AP flour
* 1/4 cup cornmeal
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives or scallions
* 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup buttermilk
* 2 large eggs
* 3 small zucchini or 1 large (seeds removed)
* 1/4 cup canola oil

Grate zucchini and salt. Place in strainer for 30 minutes. Squeeze in a dry, clean kitchen towel to remove all excess moisture.
In large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients except canola oil and blend well. Let sit for 15 minutes. Should be as thick as a cake batter.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil.
Using a 1/4 cup, scoop batter into skillet.
Cook 4 minutes on each side and add to a sheet pan in a 200F oven while you make the rest.

Serve with sour cream, ranch dressing, applesauce and even salsa. Recently I discovered wasabi cream and use it on everything. It goes exceptionally well with foods that tend to be on the bland side.

July 12, 2015

Veal Meatballs with Tuna Aioli (Vitello Tonnato Pulpetta) ♥ Bumble Bee Seafoods "The Benefits of Seafood" #Sponsored Recipe Contest

I'm beginning to see a pattern in the two recipes I created for this Recipe ReDux and Bumble Bee Seafood's sponsored contest. Both are based on famous Italian dishes that I put my creative touches too.

Vitello Tonnato is made with leftover roasted sliced veal which lays under a flavorful aioli made with canned tuna.

Our challenge was to educate our readers about the benefits of adding more tuna to their diet.
I find that what my Mom made me growing up is foods that I still eat today and Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna in Water was the only tuna in our pantry.
I took this approach based on studies that today's kids need eye candy to entice them to eat a good-for-you food. 
What child wouldn't get a kick out of a large meatball with a sauce made from tuna in a can?

Adding a good sprinkle of grated cheese to the top and you have a sure thing.

"I received free samples from Bumble Bee Seafoods that are mentioned in this post. By posting this
recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Bumble Bee Seafoods and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

There are so many reasons for eating canned tuna and if you are not a child but expecting one.
Pregnant women need to consume an average of 3-4 servings of canned albacore tuna packed in water per week to get the maximum benefit for her child's optimum IQ by age 9.
Now, I didn't know that and gladly pass this important information to you.

Bumble Bee's Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water contains the highest level of Omega 3 fats in canned tuna due to the fact that oil and water don't mix.

Say what!?!?

Say with me here....Omega 3 oils remain in the tuna if it is packed in water. The tuna packed in oil mixes with the beneficial Omega 3 oils and when you drain the can, both the oil and the beneficial Omega 3's go with it into the sink. We can't have that. Omega 3's are instrumental in keeping arteries unclogged and hearts working at peak performance. Another reason to ♥ canned tuna.
Free from Saturated Fat, canned tuna is also an excellent source of protein, Vitamins B6 and B10, Selenium and Niacin.

Good for everyone!!

Let's get cooking.....

Veal Meatball with Tuna Aioli
makes 4 (7oz) meatballs

* 1 pound ground veal
* 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
* 1 large egg, beaten
* 1 medium shallot, minced
* 1 large clove garlic,minced
* Fresh grating of nutmeg
* 2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced
* salt & pepper

Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Divide into quarters and form meatballs. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Tuna Aioli (Tonnato)
* 1 can Bumble Bee Albacore in Water
* 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 4 anchovies, mashed
* 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
* 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* salt & pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients into a processor or blender. Puree until smooth.

To serve: Spoon aioli over meatball, sprinkle grated cheese and parsley over sauce and serve.
Can be eaten room temperature.

Leftover sliced meatballs make excellent sliders, spoon cold aioli over veal and pack into your favorite slider bun.