Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category
FYI- This post was written back in December, but for various reasons never made it onto the blog until now. W is back from her Asia travels, and I’ve been putzing around home, work, and taking care of our little Nugget. Since this was supposed to go up a few months ago and it is almost spring (but still cold as heck from this never ending winter), the drink of Winter 2013 is now the drink of Spring 2014!
Happy Spring! As you dream about the warm weather, how about a nice refreshing drink recipe to help you through this miserably long polar vortex winter? This past winter was a special time for me, finally finishing grad school after a long 2.5 years of work, school, and nothing else. So, in honor of the impending spring season, and my classmate Kate – who also graduated – I present to you DarwinDiscovered’s Drink of the Season, Spring 2014: The Stod-tini! It’s simple, it’s classy, and it’s delicious – so you can spend more quality time with those you care about, and less time worrying about what to drink.
What you’ll need:
- St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
- a Pear-flavored vodka of your choice (or infuse your own, like we did)
- club soda
In our never-ending quest to stock our newly assembled bar (and cart), W and I found ourselves at our local county liquor store one evening perusing the selection of fancily-flavored liquors. We thought, “Pay $25 for a bottle of Absolut Pear Vodka? We have to be able to do it ourselves for cheaper!” And thus, our vodka infusing was borne. (editor’s note: unfortunately, it cost us just about the same amount to infuse the vodka when you consider all the materials, but I (would like to) think our choice of fresh ingredients and vodka make it a better choice)
• Two 1-L bottles of Tito’s – Texas-based sextuple-distilled premium vodka, for our infusing target. Might as well have something smooth, silky, and easy to drink if you are going to make it for yourself. We also like the classic look of the Tito’s bottles, and they were perfect for pouring in our infused vodka back for storage.
• 10-12 Seckel Pears – These are the best for infusing, given their relatively firm flesh, and their small-ish size. I thought that the firmness might enable them to stay a bit more consistent while infusing, rather than turning into a mush. Something like a Bartlett pear may be softer and riper to use, and might turn out sweeter – but we discovered the Seckel was plenty sweet enough.
• 6-8 Gala or Fuji Apples – again, I don’t think it makes too big a deal what variety of apple you use, but I’d stay away from some of the darker flesh types, as the infusing process will add a bit of golden brown color to your vodka already.
• Two 1L Infusing Canisters – these can really be any air-tight container that has a large enough opening to fit your fruit in. We found the glass barrel-looking ones for about ~$7 each at HomeGoods. Air-tight is the only requirement.
• Cheese cloth – for straining the fruit out after your infusing period
Tofu. Shrimp. Fried-ness. What’s not to love? You probably won’t find pipa tofu on your standard Chinese carryout menu (but are you really eating that crap? *puts on judging goggles*). If you’re at a higher end restaurant you might see it on the menu- if not, ask the waiter and they will hopefully know what you’re talking about. Or you could take off your lazy pants and whip this up at home. I made these for a friend that stayed with us for the weekend a while back, and she asked to eat leftovers of this for two meals (in addition to dinner). Yea, they’re pretty tasty.
But first off, the question you’ve all been wondering: what is a ‘pipa’? Good question, friends. A pipa (pronounced PEE -pah) is a traditional Chinese string instrument that looks like so:
Pipa tofu is named after the pipa’s shape, but in reality I think the tofu ends up taking on an oval shape as it gets fried. Maybe that’s just a commentary on my frying abilities.
Basically you gather some ingredients together, mash them all up, form them into little pipa shapes – *cough* oval – and fry. You can deep fry the tofu, and it will taste amazeballs. Or you can opt for the healthier option and pan fry them instead. They’ll still taste amazeballs. Your call.
Serve the pipa tofu on a bed of bok choy or Shanghai bok choy, and accompanying sauce on top.
Ingredients and recipe after the jump.
Let’s talk about comfort food. A piping hot bowl of broth, flavored with fragrant sesame oil and tender loving care. Baby bok choy greens. A satisfied tummy. And wontons…lots of wontons.
Literally translated, ‘wonton’ means ‘swallowing a cloud’. While various Chinese regional cuisines have their separate interpretations of wontons, I’m going to talk about Cantonese wontons today- because that’s what I crave when comfort food-itis pops up. Growing up, I recall skipping around the kitchen, helping (okay, pestering) my mother and grandmother as they folded a batch of wontons. You don’t make a single serving of wontons. Instead, you make as many as you have wrappers for (a typical pack contains around 75) and freeze the remainder. This makes wontons an excellent now and later dish.
Folding wontons requires an itty-bitty learning curve, but goes quickly once you get the hang of it. If you’re with a group of friends or have willing minions, the wontons are folded even quicker. Wonton folding party, anyone?
Recipe after the jump.
Alcohol and seafood. Is there a better combination? Last summer when we were in Cancun, the resort we stayed at served seafood martinis as a late night bar snack. Sounds intriguing, right? Unfortunately, the ‘martini’ I received had zero alcohol and lots of brine. Consider me unimpressed.
Flash forward. We hosted a few friends for dinner recently, and the request was simple: seafood. Lots of it. The failed martini immediately came to mind, and I poked around the Internet searching for something similar (but better). The closest I came were these Seafood Dean martinis by Rachel Ray, but I wasn’t sold. So I went into the kitchen, added a few things here and there, and came up with this. If a Bloody Mary and ceviche engaged in some hardcore baby-making by the ocean, this is their love child. It’s super easy, super tasty, and looks cool. Enjoy! Read More