Leftover Recipe

HIS: Leftovers are one of the best things about Thanksgiving.  Most of the time, leftovers can just be leftovers, heated up or not. And a cold turkey sandwich with a dab of cranberry sauce can be nice at midnight, or anytime over the Thanksgiving weekend.  But rather than eating the same things all over again or maybe it’s just more so a culinary challenge to ourselves, it’s our tradition to try to come up with creative ways to make the leftovers into something different.  And given that I’ve spent the past two Thanksgivings with the GF’s family, I was under some pressure to come up with something good to impress.

The nicer slabs of turkey are always saved for that second meal or a sandwich, but what are you going to do with that carcass and the scrappy bits of meat that aren’t sandwich-worthy? Soup comes to mind. A hearty minestrone wouldn’t go amiss, with white beans and chard, perhaps. Or you might rustle up a little turkey risotto.  But what I came up with was a soup that is something a bit lighter yet still packed with flavors – a pallet refresher from the previous night’s overindulgence.  I made it two years ago and it became such a crowd pleaser and that I decided to make it again this year but with a Mexican/Latin American twist.  Though it’s not quite 100% authentic, but it’s nonetheless a tasty version of the Sopa de Lima.

STEP ONE: To make this, it’s quite simple actually.  Simmer a pot of Turkey broth (use the meatiest carcass parts) with your favorite vegetables – carrots, celery, yellow onions and etc.  For the best flavors, throw in a few more halves of onions to get that aromatic rich taste.  Season the broth with teaspoons of sea salt, white pepper and red peppers to give it a kick.  And if you are like me and like leafy greens in your soups, give the Napa Cabbage a try.  It is the best in absorbing the essence of the soup, punching in the best flavors when biting into it.

Vegetables are essential to an aromatic rich Turkey broth

STEP TWO: Ensemble dices of avacado in your serving bowl then ladle in the turkey vegetable broth.  Top it off with some minced scallions and a light squeeze of lime juice.

Avacado then the broth

For presentation, pile some fried tortilla strips and cilantro at the center and pile high (rule of thumb, for presentation, always build up).  And voila!, you now have an aromatic and tasty bowl of turkey sopa de lima ready to serve.  Now, sit back and enjoy.

Sunday Night Dinner

HIS: We have a great group of friends and one of the things that we do fairly regularly is getting together on Sunday nights for dinner.  Usually, I like to man the kitchen for the main course while others chip in to prep the apps, salads, desserts and etc.  It’s a fun way to wrap up the weekend and gear up for the week ahead.

And as mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve made a dish called Tofu & Shrimp several times during these dinners. It is a very traditional and easy to make Chinese dish that is healthy and delicious. So if you are interested in trying, here’s the recipe that I stole from my mom.  The picture below shows the completed dish.

- Tofu & Shrimp - the finished product

Ingredients: 2 boxes of SOFT tofu; 1 shallot; 3 cloves of garlic; 1 bowl of frozen petit peas (or any other chopped vegetables); fresh basil or basil grinds; 1lb of shrimp (raw & no shell); corn starch; salt & pepper; red chili flakes or jalepeno; 4 table spoons of olive oil.

- the ingredients

Step 1 Prep: Mince or chop the shallot and garlic into a mixture then set aside.  Take the tofu out of the box, and with a large knife, slice the tofu into cubes (suggestion: slice it in half horizontally first, then cut vertically like a tick tack toe board).

Rinse and clean the shrimp, then mix it in a bowl with 2 to 3 teaspoon full of corn starch.  Mix evenly.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 table spoons of corn starch with water.  Whip until the mixture is even.  Set aside for later.

- slicing the tofu

Step 2 Pre-cooking the Shrimp: Warm your pan or wok with high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the pan is heated, add the shrimp.  Sprinkle couple pinches of salt, pepper and red chili flakes for flavoring.  Once the shrimp turn pink/orange, it’s ready (it doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this moment, the pre-cooking should only take 1-2 minutes tops).  Empty the shrimp into a bowl or plate then set it aside for later.

- sauteing

Step 3: Using that same pan or wok, add the garlic and shallot mixture with 3 table spoons of olive oil.  Sauteed the spice mix under max heat for 20-30 seconds.  Add the peas or vegetables of your choice.  Saute for another 20 seconds.

- shallot & garlic mince mix and peas

Add the basil, jalapeno, tofu and the half-cooked shrimp at once.  Gentle mix and saute them together.  Sprinkle in salt, pepper for flavoring.  This step should be last about 30-45 seconds under max heat.

- now mix in the shrimp

- mix in the basil, jalapeno & tofu

Mix in 1/4 cup of water and bring the entire mixture to a boil.  Let it boil for 15-20 seconds then slowly add in the corn starch water mix from earlier.  Turn off the burner, taste for flavoring and mix slowly.  The sauce should thicken.

- mix in the corn starch & water mix to thicken the sauce

You’ve done it, the dish is complete.  Empty into a serving dish and It’s now READY TO SERVE!

- it's now ready to serve!!!

Questions or suggestion?  I would love hear your feedback!!!!

All Hail the Kale

HER:  Yes, I live in Los Angeles.  Yes, I drive a Prius with my yoga mat in the trunk.  Yes, I smile at Marcia Cross at my local Whole Foods as she stands in line for her daily juice.  I get it.  I’m exposed to every healthy diet out there – vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten-free, etc. etc. In turn, I’ve developed some healthy habits and hopefully, through this post – you will learn a little secret…healthy food isn’t bland, boring, or dry – it can actually be delicious.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite green vegetables: my good friend, kale.  Say hello, be nice, stop scrunching up your nose with that disgusted look (I can see you).  I’m telling you, this kale salad will open your eyes to a world you never knew.  You will love this salad; you will crave this salad.  And if you don’t, you can sue me for the net worth of this blog.

Necessary sidekicks

Ingredients:  head of kale, green onions, lemon, avocado, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (***love this product – replaces dressing, soy sauce, etc.***), Wheat Germ, whatever colorful veggies your little heart desires (here there is red pepper, yellow heirloom tomato, cucumber), hemp seed (optional but adds protein and a nutty flavor)

Chop up the kale in a large bowl and add other veggies.  Toss with wheat germ (about a tablespoon or two), amino acids, and juice from the lemon.  Friends let me tell you what: amino acid + lemon juice = fantastically amazing.

Toss, Toss, Toss

Top with dill & serve.  Eat bowl after bowl.

Not only will this taste amazing, but you will feel amazing.  Let’s be honest – kale is pretty much a superstar when it comes to vegetables.  Take it in, give it a little massage, and eat it up.  It won’t bite – I promise.

When you start to refer to kale as a person, you are certifiably one of the crazy’s in LA making your clothes out of tree bark.  Congratulations, you’ve arrived.