Monday, December 28, 2015

Chinese Noodle Soup with Pork Balls and Napa Cabbage

Prepared December, 2015. Pork, beef, and fish balls are popular to serve as appetizers or to add to soups. They are sold frozen in specialty Chinese food outlets, and make it easy to add flavor and protein to a dish. 
1 qt (1 L) water
4 oz (115 g) frozen stuffed pork balls
1 t (5 ml) fish sauce
1 T (15 ml) soy sauce
1 t (5 ml) sugar
1/2 t (2.5 ml) salt
1 t (5 ml) sesame oil
1 t (5 ml) grated fresh ginger root
6 oz (175 g) Napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
3-1/2 oz (100 g) dry Chinese wheat noodles
Bring water, frozen pork balls, and seasonings to a slow boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover, adjust heat to a fast simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Remove the pork balls to a plate to cool briefly. Cut each ball into thick slices, return to the pot, along with the cabbage, and return to a fast simmer. Cook 10 minutes with occasional stirring, and add the dry noodles. Cook five minutes more. Serves four as a first course in a Chinese meal, or two for a hearty meal. Variation: Substitute fish balls for the pork balls.

Hint: Fewer Crumbs When Making Bread Stuffing

DrDaddy's usual method for making bread stuffing for poultry is to arrange the bread slices on a sheet pan, and to toast the bread in a  hot oven (425 degrees F, 220 C) until the top is browned, and then to invert each slice, and return the pan to the oven to brown the other side. When cool, to stack a few slices, cut off the crusts, and then dice the remainder. This method produces copious bread crumbs that are often discarded, which wastes food.

An alternative method that minimizes waste is to trim and dice the bread when it is fresh. Then, place the cubes in a shallow roasting pan, and brown them in a hot oven for five minutes, tossing with tongs or a spoon, and returning to oven to complete baking.

French Dip Beef Sandwiches

Recorded December, 2015. Prepared many times over the years. A Family Favorite. Easy, fast, and satisfying. Trimming the bread leaves more room for filling and reduces calories from carbohydrates.
6 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 t minced garlic
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
Jus (see Recipe)
1 lb loaf artisanal French bread
12 oz thinly-sliced deli roast beef, rewarmed in the jus 
Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil until they are browned, stir in the garlic and salt, and cook a few minutes more. Re-heat the beef slices in the warm jus. Crisp the loaf in moist 350 degree F (180 C) oven for six minutes. Slice the loaf into four sections, and then each section lengthwise. Remove V-shaped pieces from top and bottom and set aside for another purpose. Spoon a quarter of the sauteed mushrooms into the bottom half, pile on a quarter of the warm beef, and top the sandwich. Press down and slice in half on the diagonal. Plate with a bowl of jus for dipping. Variation: Substitute sauteed onions for the mushrooms.

Jus for French Dip Beef Sandwiches

Developed December, 2015. Beef, tomato paste, and mushroom powder all contribute beefy flavor to this jus. A robust sandwich piled high with deli roast beef on crusty French bread makes a quick, satisfying economical meal.
1 oz deli roast beef, finely minced
2 t vegetable oil
1 T tomato paste
1/2 c dry red wine
1/2 t minced garlic

2 c hot water
3 T beef base (Better Than Bouillon™ Reduced Sodium is good)
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 T porcini mushroom powder (purchased online or prepared from dry porcini)

2 T tapioca or corn starch dispersed in 2 T of water
In a two-quart saucepan, heat the oil to a shimmer and add the minced beef. Sauté until well browned. Stir in the tomato paste, and after a minute, add the garlic, and 30 seconds later, stir in the wine. Boil until half the liquid is lost. Stir in the hot water, beef base, sugar, salt and porcini powder. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, with occasional stirring. Stir in the starch suspension, and stir until thickened. Rewarm the beef slices in the hot jus before loading the sandwiches. Serves 4. 
Suggested sides: cabbage salad or freshly pickled onion-cucumber salad.