Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Win a Copy of Maryland's Chesapeake!

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Vietnamese Noodles and Pork

I mentioned the blog The Woks of Life a few weeks ago. I am so in love with their food photography - it makes everything look absolutely mouth-watering. So of course I want to try every recipe. The latest one I tried was for a Vietnamese noodle salad with pork, bún thịt nướng. I've eaten this dish in Vietnamese restaurants, and what was most striking to me about it was that the pork had a lovely caramelized sweetness to it. The Woks' recipe didn't include sugar in the pork marinade, so I added some. It really makes a difference.

Nuoc cham doesn't always involve garlic, and the three cloves indicated in the original recipe seemed excessive, so I put it in the meat marinade instead. Which actually makes more sense. And it gets cooked eventually, so that makes for less garlic-breath.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork (adapted from The Woks of Life)

For the nuoc cham:
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha
½ cup cold water

For the pork chops:
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon cornstarch
4 boneless pork chops
Vegetable oil

To serve:
6 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package directions
1 small cucumber, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
A large handful of snow peas, blanched and cut into lengthwise strips
½ cup cilantro, mint, and thai basil leaves, roughly torn

To make nuoc cham: Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

To make pork chops: In a zip top bag, make the pork chop marinade by adding the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, and wine. Marinate the pork chops for at least 20 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Sear the pork chops on both sides until cooked through. Set the pork chops aside to rest.

To serve: Add the noodles, cucumber, carrot, and snow peas to a bowl. Top with the pork chops and herbs, and serve with the nuoc cham.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Flashback Friday - Kitchen of India

Kitchen of India has pretty good food. The service, however, has always been casual at best. Haven't been in a while, so perhaps that has improved?

--Kathy

This post was originally published on October 19, 2011.
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Kitchen of India

Most Indian restaurants in the area serve extremely rich, cream-laden food that we find ourselves craving only once or twice a year. After a disappointing meal with abysmal service at India Palace in Cockeysville, and a worse one at Café Spice when it was still in Towson, we pretty much swore off dining in Indian restaurants altogether. For a few years, we got our Indian fix via delivery from the little joint just south of Northern Parkway that started out as Yeti, morphed into B'More and is now Mikie's. But this week we ventured out to try Kitchen of India, at my brother's suggestion.

Located on Joppa Road near Perring Parkway, Kitchen of India is in the space once occupied by the Nepali/Indian Mount Everest. The new restaurant features pretty much all of the typical dishes, but also has a few Bangladeshi offerings. And goat, which I can't say I've seen on any menus here in Baltimore before. It seemed like a good choice for a rainy Wednesday night dinner.

After perusing the menu, we decided we wanted to sample their tandoori dishes, and rather than ordering the "mixed tandoori platter" appetizer, I requested the "tandoori mixed grill" entrée which offered chicken tikka, shrimp, fish, seekh kabab, & tandoori chicken. I even made sure to order it by number in case the waitress didn't understand. Unfortunately, I also said, "we'd like it served first, as an appetizer." Apparently all she heard was "tandoori appetizer" and that's what we got - a meagre selection of dry chicken pieces, a few chunks of nicely spiced seekh kabab, and a few dry shrimp among a plethora of lightly cooked green bell pepper and onion. Feh.

My brother went for his usual chicken tikka masala, his gauge for restaurant quality much like Mr Minx's usual kung pao chicken order in a Chinese restaurant. In other words - if they like this particular dish, they're likely to enjoy others, should they venture to try something completely different.

That's a pretty good way to describe Kitchen of India's tikka masala - completely different. Used to a rich tomato-tinged cream sauce, we were all pleasantly surprised to receive a dish of chicken chunks sauced in what tasted, to me, suspiciously of pumpkin. Regardless of what comprised the sauce, the flavors were quite nice, with a bit of heat.

Mr Minx tried the goat curry and received a dish of tender chunks of goat meat bathed in a sauce redolent of cloves.

I'm a big okra fan so couldn't pass up the bhindi masala, a dry fry of okra with browned onions. It had a rich, buttery flavor and was smashing with basmati rice.

With our meal we had cups of tea - what must have been the world's strongest chai. It was practically espresso. The black tea flavor was much more prominent than were the spices, and while rich with cream, the drink needed several sugars to cut the tannin. When we were finished eating, the waitress removed Mr Minx's half-full cup by mistake, leaving my brother's empty one behind. I suggested he ask for a fresh cup, but he demurred. I secretly think he was relieved he didn't have to finish the first one.

So...Kitchen of India is a mixed bag. The goat, okra, and chicken entrées were all quite good, as was the accompanying basmati rice and the naan we ordered. The service was a little shaky though. Not only did the order get mixed up and the tea removed early, but also the check was placed on the table while my brother was still eating. But...what we ate was interesting enough that we'd go back for more.

Kitchen of India
1842 E Joppa Rd
Parkville, MD 21234
www.kitchenofindiaus.com
(410) 663-6880

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Crispy Glazed Tofu Bibimbap

Yes, yes, another recipe using that yummy Makrut lime leaf-infused maple syrup from Runamok. I can't help it - it's good stuff, and it gives a balancing sweetness to foods without adding any processed sugar. We've been trying to cut back on the white stuff this month, and maple syrup has really come in handy to curb our sugar cravings.

And it's also another crispy tofu recipe. It's getting so I don't even want to eat soft tofu anymore, because the crispy stuff is just so. damn. good. Seriously. (I know you don't believe me. Just try it.)

Crispy Glazed Tofu Bibimbap

1 14-oz box firm or extra firm tofu
Corn starch
Salt
Vegetable oil for frying
1 teaspoon gochujang
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Runamok Maple Makrut Lime leaf-infused maple syrup
Steamed rice
Slivered carrots
Cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into half moons
Sugar snap peas or snow peas, steamed
Soft-boiled eggs (optional, see recipe below)
Sesame oil
Chopped scallions

Remove the tofu from its carton and pat dry. Wrap in a double thickness of paper towels and place on a plate. Put another plate upside-down on top, then weight with a jar or can. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, changing the towels once or twice.

After the tofu has been pressed for several hours, remove the last application of wet towels and pat the tofu dry. Cut the block in thirds widthwise to make three approximately 5" square x 1/2" high slices. Cut each square in half to make 6 rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally to form 12 triangles.

Put several tablespoons of corn starch in a plastic zip top bag and add a big pinch of salt. Shake to combine. Add tofu pieces, one at a time, and coat with cornstarch. Pat off excess cornstarch and place each triangle on a dry plate.
Pour two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and heat until a drop of water hisses and spits. Add the tofu in one layer. Cook until lightly browned on bottom, 3-4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the pieces (some will want to stick together - turn them together if that's the case, you can separate them later). Cook another 3-4 minutes. Flip again to get bottoms browner, then repeat. At the end of 15 or so minutes, your tofu should be nicely browned on both sides. Remove pieces to a paper towel-liked plate to drain.

In a small bowl, combine the gochujang, soy, and maple syrup. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze over one side of the tofu pieces, making sure to coat them thoroughly.

To serve: Place some steamed rice in a bowl. Top with pieces of tofu, carrots, cucumbers, peas, and halved eggs (if using). Drizzle with a bit of sesame oil, garnish with chopped scallion, and serve.

Soft-Boiled Eggs

2 large eggs

Put enough water in a saucepot to cover eggs plus a little more. (But don't add the eggs yet!) Bring the water to a rolling boil, then gently add the eggs using a slotted spoon or spider. Set your timer for 7 minutes.

While eggs are cooking, put cold water and some ice cubes in a bowl. When time is up, immediately remove the eggs from the pot of boiling water to the ice bath. Leave the eggs in the ice bath for several minutes, until well chilled.

Gently peel eggs. Cut in half and use as garnish. The whites should be solid, and the yolks runny.

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