Ginger-Sesame Tofu Summer Rolls

These make a delicious appetizer, especially for large gatherings! They are not hard to put together, once you get a rhythm going. These can be prepared ahead and stored in the fridge up to one week. I have included two dipping sauce recipes below, but you can get creative with the dip for sure! If you come up with your own dip, please share in the comments!

Ginger-Sesame Tofu Summer Rolls
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Yields 16 large rolls

14oz. firm or extra firm tofu
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp minced ginger, fresh
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 1/2oz. vermicelli rice noodles
16 large round rice paper wrappers
20 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped coarsely
1 cup fresh mint leaves, if desired
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, if desired
4 green onions, cut into 4-inch-long strips

Stand the tofu on its side and slice into 4 even pieces. Lay each thin rectangle flat on your cutting board, and cut each into 4 thin strips. Pat dry with paper towel.

Combine soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and sesame oil in a large shallow dish. Lay tofu in mixture and let marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Flip if needed to ensure even marinating.

Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. When oil is hot, add tofu strips (gently shake off as much marinade as you can first) and frying about 1 to 2 minutes per side until crispy. Return cooked tofu to platter and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add vermicelli rice noodles, and cook 8 to 10 minutes until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.

Line up tofu, noodles, lettuce, mint, cilantro, and green onions. Soften rice wraps one at a time in a bowl of warm water. Layer noodles, tofu, mint, cilantro, green onions, and lettuce close to one side of wrap. Fold over edge and start to roll; fold in short sides, and roll tightly to the end. Set aside, and repeat. Note: the wraps will stick together if you put them side by side- leave some space while the wraps dry to avoid this. 

Serve with dipping sauces, either whole or cut into 4 bite-sized pieces per roll.

 

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp chilli-garlic sauce
6 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 to 6 tbsp hot water

Combine garlic, sugar, and chilli-garlic sauce into paste; add fish sauce and lime juice and whisk while adding hot water 1 tbsp at a time until sugar dissolves and desired consistency is reached. Serve with rolls above. (Can be stored in fridge for up to 1 week.)

 

Pineapple-Lime Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup drained canned pineapple chunks, plus 1/4 cup of the juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chilli-garlic sauce

Combine ingredients in blender until smooth. Serve with rolls above. (Can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days.)

 

Original recipe found here.

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Seared Sea Scallops with Saffron Cream Sauce

I found this on Pinterest (username kitchentales, feel free to follow me!) and we were very pleased with how well this one turned out. I modified it a touch (took away the wine/deglazing) because we were at the cabin and had limited resources. This makes a great appetizer, especially for a nice dinner or a party. Enjoy!

Seared Sea Scallops with Saffron Cream Sauce
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

12 large sea scallops, cleaned
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
pinch saffron threads or powder*
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry, and season with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add scallops gently to pan. Sear on each side approx. 2 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove from heat.
Add wine to frying pan and deglaze. Reduce temperature to medium-low and reduce wine to 1/4 cup. Add butter and cream; once combined, add saffron. Return scallops to pan, and turn to coat in sauce. Transfer to serving dish, and spoon sauce over. Any extra sauce can be set in a dish on the side for dipping.
sea scallops saffron

Best of Bridge Caesar Salad Recipe (including dressing)

During our #2014CarrCulinaryAdventures week, my Dad mentioned that he really wanted to try making a Caesar salad that he remembers seeing the cook make at the restaurant he worked at when he was 14. Mostly he remembers them rubbing the garlic clove around the bowl and cracking a raw egg over the lettuce. After an unsuccessful night spent searching for a similar recipe online, I finally went to Facebook and sent out the message that I was looking for a good recipe for Caesar salad dressing. I got back 3 replies relatively quickly, all recommending the Caesar salad recipe from Best of Bridge. So Janelle (amazing friend that she is) sent me pictures of the pages from the cookbook, and I am never buying store-bought Caesar dressing again! This recipe is so delicious!!! Dad and I decided we do still like the store-bought croutons because we just can’t quite get them that crispy at home without hours of work, but I did make the croutons in this recipe when we first had the salad this week and they did turn out really well. Hope you enjoy! This one seems to be a recipe loads of people keep handy.

 

Best of Bridge Caesar Salad Recipe (including dressing)
Prep time: 10 minutes
“Cook” time: 1-2 minutes
Serves 6 to 8 as a starter salad

2 medium to large heads romaine lettuce
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup french bread cubes, approx. 1/2″
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 anchovies, drained and chopped
1 egg
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
juice of half a lemon (approx. 1 1/2 tbsp)

Prepare lettuce by washing, removed any wilted leaves, and either dry using salad spinner or pat dry with paper towel. Set aside in fridge to dry completely. (Lettuce needs to be dry for dressing to stick.)

Several hours before serving, mince half of the garlic and put into the olive oil. Place in a container with a tight-fitting lid, and let sit in fridge for minimum 1 hour.

Take 2 tbsp of the garlic-oil mixture, and heat in frying pan over medium heat. Add cubes of bread and toast until golden brown on all sides. Set aside.

Add salt, pepper, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovies to the remaining garlic-oil mixture and shake to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When you are ready to dress and serve the salad, bring a pot of water to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and gently lower 1 egg into water for 1 to 2 minutes. (This is called “coddling an egg”.) Remove egg from water and set aside to cool.

Just before serving, rub the other half of the garlic clove around the inside edges of the serving bowl. (Using a wooden bowl is recommended if you have one.) Discard the garlic. Cut out coarse ribs from lettuce leaves, and break into bite-size pieces into prepared serving bowl. Shake dressing and pour over lettuce. Sprinkle lettuce with parmesan and toss salad until all leaves are evenly coated with dressing and cheese. Break egg over centre of salad, and pour lemon juice over egg. Toss well. Add the croutons and toss quickly. Serve immediately.

Ceaser Salad with homemade dressing and croutons

Ceaser Salad with homemade dressing and croutons

 

This recipe comes from The Best of Bridge cookbook series – I’m not sure which book(s) it can be found in. 

Chicken-Avocado Egg Rolls

I was bored yesterday and started flipping through my most trusted cookbooks to find something to make for dinner. I stumbled upon this recipe in my Guy Fieri cookbook, and decided to make this appetizer into dinner! It turned out so well, I know I am going to make these next time I have people over! If you want to go vegetarian, just leave out the chicken. So delicious, I hope you guys enjoy!

Chicken-Avocado Egg Rolls
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes per batch
Makes 15 egg rolls

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (smaller than bite-sized pieces)
1/2 cup finely minced red onion
1/4 cup finely minced red bell pepper
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp (6 cloves) minced garlic
1/4 cup sliced bamboo shoots
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup soy sauce
salt & pepper
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
Canola or vegetable oil
15 egg roll wrappers*
2 avocados, cut into slices
1 egg, scrambled
Sweet Chili sauce for dipping

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat – add onions and bell pepper and saute until soft. Add ginger, garlic, bamboo shoots, celery, and chicken; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in soy sauce, season to taste, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, and chicken mixture. Lay an egg wrapper on your work surface with one corner pointed towards you. Place 1/3 cup of filling on the egg wrapper, centred on the bottom half of the egg wrapper. Lay 2 avocado slices on top. Fold bottom corner of egg wrapper over filling, fold in two side corners. Brush top corner with egg wash, and roll egg wrapper closed. Seal edge with more egg wash if needed. Set aside, and repeat until all egg wrappers are filled.

Meanwhile, heat canola or vegetable oil in a small pot over medium heat. (I used a pot that was big enough to fit 3 wrappers at a time.) When oil is hot, carefully add wrappers to oil, and fry until dark golden brown. Set to cool on cooling rack (place cooling rack over cookie sheet for easy clean-up!) Cook egg rolls in batches so as to not over-crowd the pot. (If you have a deep fryer, have fun! I’m not sure how well these would work in the new deep fryers that use only 1 tbsp of oil, but if you use one of those to make this recipe please let me know how it turns out!)

Serve warm with sweet chili sauce for dipping, and enjoy!

chicken-avocado egg rolls

 

Original recipe from Guy Fieri Food, pg 86.

Pepper Lobster Tomato Bisque

This is a recipe that comes to us from my father, who is a great cook and loves to experiment in the kitchen. He took my Tomato Basil Bisque, and adjusted it to come up with this creation! As soon as I can get my hands on some good lobster (in my very land-locked city) I will be making this myself. Enjoy!

Pepper Lobster Tomato Bisque
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2-4

1 cup cooked lobster meat, about 1 small lobster
1/3 cup dry sherry or Amaretto (needs to be sweet or introduces bitter taste)
¼ cup butter
¼ cup diced white onion
2 gloves garlic
2 cups diced tomatoes
¼ cup cream cheese
¼ cup diced chives
2 cups milk or cream
3 tablespoons flour
1 hot pepper (habañero for me)
dash of soya sauce
salt and pepper to taste
seasoned salt to taste

Boil lobster in furiously boiling water for 4 minutes, take out and allow to cool.  Cut back and belly of tail with poultry shears, peel off shell and tough skin, dice into 1/2 inch cubes and combine in a small bowl with Amaretto or sweet liquor of your choice; set aside.

In a medium pot over low heat, melt butter. Cook garlic and white onion until they start to brown. Add in tomato and soya sauce simmer 10 minutes until mixture is soft. Add in Lobster marinade but hold back lobster meat, and add cream cheese. Mash with a potato masher or whip with a Braun hand held blender. Add chives and whole hot pepper. Simmer until liquid is reduced and tomato sauce is thick.

Whisk salt, pepper, flour and milk, and then add to tomato sauce mixture. Bring to a boil or until sauces thickens. Fish out the hot pepper (should be soft and mushy, but still whole, for added zip, squeeze pepper against side of pot using stir spoon to get out more oil and juices, but fish out the pepper body with the seeds still inside). Add in lobster and simmer to get heat even. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with Parsley garnish.

Slow-cooker Honey Chicken Wings

Yet another recipe from Ricardo Slow Cooker Favorites, and it is delicious! This would be great to make for game day, and so easy! Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Honey Chicken Wings
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 3 hrs on low (1.5 hrs on high)
Serves 4 to 6

3lb chicken wings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup chili sauce (I used Thai Sweet Chili Garlic)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp hot pepper sauce (or to taste; I used Sambal Oelek)

Depending on how your wings come prepared in the store, you might have to cut each wing into 3 pieces at the joint. I suggest looking up a video on YouTube, as I struggled to find the sweet spot to cut them myself.

In slow cooker, combine garlic, honey, chili sauce, chili powder, Dijon mustard, and hot pepper sauce. Add chicken wings and toss to coat. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours (or high for 1.5 hours).

When wings are finished in slow cooker, turn on oven to broil. Transfer chicken wings to baking sheet and baste with juices. Broil for approx. 5-10 minutes per side until golden and crispy.

Alternatively you can toss them on a pre-heated grill for a few minutes each side to crisp them up.

Don’t forget the wet naps, and enjoy!

Simple Shrimp Scampi

I needed something quick and easy for dinner last night, and I did not feel like pulling any meat out of the freezer and waiting for it to defrost. So instead I looked up some simple shrimp recipes online, as shrimp defrosts and cooks quickly. I found this gem, and it was very simple, yet very delicious! Enjoy!

Simple Shrimp Scampi
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves 2 to 4

1lb large tiger prawns, shelled (tail on or off as your preference)
1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice (enough to cover the shrimp in a bowl or bag for marinating)
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
ground black pepper to taste (approx. 1-2 tsp)
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (approx. 1-2 tsp)

Mix together lemon juice, parsley, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Pour into large bowl or bag for marinating, add prawns. Marinate in fridge for 30 minutes.

For BBQ: prep BBQ skewers, and preheat grill. Remove prawns from marinade, put on skewers, and grill until pink and cooked through.

For pan-frying: Preheat skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Add shrimp and some of the marinade, fry until pink and cooked through.

Serve as appetizer, or with rice and grilled vegetables for dinner. Also makes great topping for salad.

Original found here.