Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Easy Peanut Sauce

Easy Peanut Sauce

As we're getting ready for our big move to Chicago (we're under the 2 week mark!), we've been trying to use up the things we have left in our kitchen.  This weekend, it was a big package of rice noodles from H Mart.  We had tons leftover in the fridge so when my usual Monday morning routine rolled around (aka I have 6 minutes before I need to leave for work, what can I take for lunch?), I threw together a quick peanut sauce to put on top of the noodles.

It's absolutely wonderful! It's nutty, creamy, and just a little bit spicy.  I love how quickly it can be thrown together. It's great over rice noodles, but would make a great marinade for chicken skewers on the grill as well.  We always seem to have these ingredients in the house which makes for an easy meal any time.  The recipe below is for one serving of pasta, but you can increase it to fit your needs! I really just throw the ingredients together, so these measurements are approximate, anyways.

Easy Peanut Sauce

Easy Peanut Sauce

1-2 tbsp all natural creamy peanut butter (make your own!)
1-1.5 tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tsp soy sauce

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl with a small whisk or fork. If you want it to be hot, heat on the stove in a small saucepan over medium low heat until melted completely.
2. Serve over rice noodles or cooked chicken.

Monday, July 2, 2012

An American Meal

Pork chops ala Monkey Scientist

We had the BEST dinner the other night.  Everything worked so well together, I just had to share it with you as a whole plate.  It's a perfectly American meal for the week of the 4th of July!

The meat of the meal (pun intended) was what I lovingly refer to as "Pork Chop ala Monkey Scientist".  I'm not totally sure of every step he makes to prepare it, but I know it involves maple syrup (my favorite), cayenne pepper, and a quick pan sear on a grill pan coated with olive oil from the Misto.  It's juicy and delicious - one of his specialties these days!

Peach apple sauce

Next, what would pork chops be without apple sauce?  The Monkey Scientist told me about an amazing peach apple sauce that his mom buys, so I did my best to replicate it.  He told me I was very successful! Apple sauce is one of the easiest things to make from scratch, it just takes a little time and patience.  I was glad he suggested adding peaches because they added a perfect bit of summer flair to my go-to recipe.  My recipe is below and it's a yelleBELLYboo original, based on the applesauce knowledge passed down by my Nanny Paula (although it isn't nearly as good as hers) and my own preferences (maple. it's always maple) .

Lavender cornbread

A week before we made this meal, we'd gone to the grocery store when we were both starving.  As we stumbled down the baking aisle, somehow a box of Jiffy cornbread mix ended up in our basket.  We decided it would go great with this meal, but I had to spice it up a bit.  I added a tablespoon or two of lavender, but otherwise followed the box instructions.  I think it added a nice flowery touch that elevated the cornbread nicely.

Finally, sticking with our southern theme, we made some beautiful swiss chard.  I don't usually cook swiss chard, but I couldn't resist its rainbow stems!  I used techniques I often use for kale or spinach and I think it came out wonderfully.  It added just a little bit of Asian flavor to our otherwise very-Americana meal.  I loved how it rounded out our plate.  The recipe below is another yelleBELLYboo original - I was feeling quite inventive this night!

If you're looking for a nice dinner to throw together, this one was so easy and yummy.  It was our favorite meal we've had in a long time!

Swiss chard

Peach Applesauce

2 lbs Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup raw or white sugar (more or less depending how sweet you like it)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water

1. Add all of the ingredients to a large pan and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the apples and peaches are easily crushed with the back of a spoon.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Crush the apples and peaches with the back of a spoon until you have a chunky applesauce.  If you like your applesauce smoother, you can blend with an immersion blender or in the food processor.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Swiss Chard with Goat Cheese and Almonds

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili oil (can omit)
1 bunch Swiss chard
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup slivered almond (I used honey roasted)
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

1. Heat the sesame and chili oils in a medium to large skillet with high sides over medium heat.
2. Wash and dry the Swiss chard and roughly chop.  Add to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook down until wilted and soft.
3. Remove from heat and place in a serving dish.  Add the almonds and goat cheese and toss to mix.  Serve immediately.