Hello? Is there anyone still out there?
I’m back from my blogging hiatus and ready to get cooking once again. The Husby was working for an extended period of time in Seattle and the Fruitaholic and I joined him on the last week of his trip. While I had access to a small kitchen, it’s just not the same as being in the familiarity of my own kitchen. We ate the majority of our meals out and now that we’re back home, I’m itching for some good ol’ fashioned home cooking.
I first came across shishito peppers at Girl & The Goat, Top Chef season 4 winner Stephanie Izard’s restaurant. I’ve had the pleasure of dining there twice now (with full intentions of returning again and again and again once I can get a table!!) and without question ordered these little bad boys each time. It’s an incredibly simple dish that packs a ton of flavor. So when I saw a pint at the farmer’s market (from the same stand Steph does, no less), they started calling my name. A huge grin spread across my face from cheek to cheek as I placed them into my bag (after paying for them, of course) and returned back home with a skip in my step.
I don’t have Stephanie’s recipe and it has been months since we last dined at The Goat, so I improvised. And while my peppers don’t even hold a candle to Stephanie’s, I have to admit they were pretty damn good and will definitely be made again and again and again. And I don’t even have to book a table months in advance to enjoy them.
Pan Fried Shishito Peppers – inspired by Girl & The Goat
- Shishito Peppers (the pint I bought yielded about 20 peppers)
- 2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- Kosher Salt
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the peppers and, stirring occasionally, cook until they begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and salt and continue to cook until the peppers blister, about another 3 minutes or so. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with additional salt.
For my Valentine’s Dinner that didn’t happen, I threw together this super easy, delicious side of creamy parmesan mushrooms. To be honest, it was a last minute addition since I had a container of mushrooms that needed to be used and my plate seemed kind of empty without a side dish. It fit perfectly with the steakhouse theme and with only 5 ingredients, it was really simple to make.
Creamy Parmesan Mushrooms – created by me without the use of a recipe.
- 1 Container Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 Cup Half and Half
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes.
Add half and half, parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and turns golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
It sounds fancy, but it’s really incredibly easy. I’m pretty new to the world of tofu. I mean, I’ve eaten it many many times before but have never really cooked with it. I’ve tried to a few times in the past but it never turns out the way it does when ordering it at a restaurant.
But I really do like tofu, so I decided that I needed to learn how to prepare it on my own and actually have it turn out into something other than a big mushy mess. When you buy a block of tofu at the store, it comes packed in water. Turns out, the most important thing about preparing tofu is to get rid of the excess water.
This can be easily done by slicing or cubing your tofu and pressing it between paper towels and placing a heavy pan on top. If you’re pan-frying your tofu, you can also freeze it and the excess moisture will melt away with the heat (thanks for the tip, Erin!).
When I stumbled across the recipe for Hazelnut Crusted Sweet Chili Tofu, I knew it would be right up my alley. I dreamed of the crispy exterior with a creamy inside, and that’s exactly what I ended up with. I made this as a snack, but it can transition into a main course by serving alongside some sushi rice and snow peas.
Hazelnut Crusted Sweet Chili Tofu – from Como Water
- 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
- 1/4 Cup Flour
- 1/3 Cup Hazelnuts (or your nut of choice), ground or finely chopped
- Store-Bought Sweet Chili Sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
- Canola oil, for frying
Remove tofu from package and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Place a few paper towels on a plate and add a layer of tofu. Cover with another layer of paper towels, followed by more tofu and more paper towels until all of the tofu is layered and covered. Place a heavy pan on top of the tofu layers and let sit for about an hour.
Combine flour and hazelnuts in a shallow bowl. Brush the tofu slices with sweet chili sauce, then dredge through the hazelnut/flour mixture on both sides.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Without moving the tofu from where you set it in the pan, let fry for 3 minutes, then flip and fry for another 3 minutes until tofu is golden brown. Remove tofu from skillet and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all tofu is cooked. Serve with sweet chili sauce for dipping.
A different take on your average potato skins, these versatile little bites are great as an appetizer for a cocktail party or as a side to your Valentine’s Day dinner.
Roasted Sweet Potato Coins with Pancetta and Chives – a The Jey of Cooking original (although I’m sure I’m not the first to execute this idea)
- 2 Sweet Potatoes
- 6 Clementines, juiced (or other citrus juice equivalent to about 1 cup)
- 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
- 2 Slices Pancetta
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Sour Cream
- 4-5 Chives, snipped
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut sweet potatoes into thick rounds. Toss with clementine juice and brown sugar.
Transfer potato coins to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for one hour, flipping once halfway through.
Meanwhile, cook the pancetta over medium low heat until cooked. Crumble and set aside.
Remove potatoes from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
Put sour cream into a piping bag with a decorative tip (or a plastic baggie with a corner snipped. Pipe onto coins and top with pancetta and chives.