Mini Turkey Spring Rolls with Duo of Sauces

I wanted to try something new by using ground turkey and I still have been obsessed with making finger food/appetizers/amuse bouche/canapés. I have a lot of dumpling wrappers and I wasn’t in the mood to make pot-stickers so I decided to make spring rolls!! Because there is a deep fryer in my new apartment. OMG! How cool is that? I no longer need to make an oil bath in a saucepan to fry my things!

[100% organic]

For the Filling

  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, small cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 3 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the carrot and on a mandolin, julienne the carrot, then cut into 1-inch lengths and set aside. Remove the seeds from the bell pepper and cut them into small cubes (small macedoine).

In a sauté pan, heat some oil and sweat the carrots and bell peppers until tender. Season with some salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another sauté pan, heat some oil and sauté the ground turkey, making sure to break apart the clump of ground meat. Add the garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook until almost done and then add in the carrots and bell peppers. Cook until meat is fully cooked and taste for seasoning and adjust.

Let the filling sit on a strainer to allow all the excess juices and oils to flow through, then cool on a sheet tray. The filling should not have too much moisture because that will make the spring rolls soggy.

*This can be made 1-2 days in advance and stored in a quart container.

For the Duo of Sauces

  • One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • Sriracha
  • Peanut sauce
  • 1 TBS powdered sugar

Before mixing the coconut milk with the sauces, bring it to a simmer and stir in powdered sugar. Mix half of the coconut milk with sriracha and the other half with the peanut sauce.

For the Spring Rolls

  • Filling from above
  • 1 granny smith apple, tiny dice
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • Oil for frying

Mix the apple into the filling and wrap the wonton wrappers into spring rolls using a teaspoon of the filling for each wrapper. Set aside on a dusted surface or on plastic wrap. You may use water or egg wash to close the wrappers. You may freeze these as well before frying.

When the oil reaches 375°F, fry spring rolls for 2-3 minutes, just so that it’s golden brown and hot in the center. Serve with the sauces.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

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Braised Artichoke Heart & Lobster Fennel Salad with Caponata, Basil Oil and Vinaigrette

I really like the presentation of this dish in level 6 garde manger. But I don’t like rushing the presentation of this plate because I’m such a perfectionist. I mean, the plate is a cold appetizer; why can’t we make it ahead of time and add the lobster and the arugula garnish at the pickup?

*School has been out of chervil (since last Saturday, WTF) so I had to garnish it with the top of an arugula leaf.

There’s caponata under the lobster too.

Remy’s Ratatouille

Ever since my mandolin arrived in the mail, I’ve been dying to use it and to make something spectacular. One of my really good friends came into town last week and he loves the movie Ratatouille.

Ok, since the movie is a “movie” and it’s Pixar, their ratatouille is PERFECT. See the bottom stack of sliced vegetables, that’s not possible!!!! How can sliced veggies sit on their sides??? Remy’s sauce is also prettier than mine because I don’t have the luxury of having fresh herbs like chervil and tarragon at my disposal. I’m one person at home. What am I supposed to do with the extra herbs??? But I’m still happy with what I came out with and my friend loved it!

******UPDATE SEPTEMBER 10, 2012, I FOUND OUT THE SECRET
about how to plate it as a perfect circle!!!!!******

[100% organic]

For the Sauce

  • One 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Sprigs of thyme
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Water, as needed

In a pan, film a thin coating of olive oil on medium-low heat. Sweat the onions until translucent. There should be no coloration. Then add in the garlic and continue sweating for 30 seconds. Add in the crushed tomatoes and water to thin out the tomatoes. Don’t add too much water or else it will take forever to reduce. Add in the herbs and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Season and taste at the end. Strain through a coarse sieve and put into a clean saucepan. Keep pan warm.

For the Veggies

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1 Chinese/graffiti eggplant
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • Thyme sprigs, as needed
  • Basil leaves
  • Chives, for garnish
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Using a mandolin, slice zucchini and yellow squash to 1.5mm-2mm in thickness. Slice eggplant a little thicker than the zucchini and yellow squash. Peel off the skin to the tomatoes and slice them 2mm-2.5mm in thickness. Set sliced vegetables aside.

To assemble: in a round baking dish, ladle sauce on the bottom and in alternating colors/vegetables, arrange sliced vegetables lying down, over-lapping each other. Sprinkle chopped bell peppers in the center and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Ladle more sauce over everything and place some herbs (thyme sprigs and basil leaves) on top and then bake in oven for 20-30 minutes.

To plate: using a 2-in ring mold, carefully place stacked veggies in the ring mold and top with some sauce, along with the bell peppers. Garnish with chive sprig.

Mussels in Thai Red Curry Sauce

I always cook mussels the basic Italian way; with garlic, shallots, white wine, and parsley. But when I had a plate of mussels during brunch, one day, it was with a thick Thai green curry. It was a bit thick so I made mine thinner. At the supermarket, I bought both red and green. I’ll make the green one another day.

Ideally, you want to use Thai basil but I couldn’t find them at Whole Foods today.

[100% organic, mussels wild]

  • 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed & debearded
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch ginger, minced
  • 4 oz. red curry paste
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • ½ cup dashi broth
  • One 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • ½ cup Thai basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

In a large pan, coat the bottom of it with olive oil on low-medium heat. Sweat the onions and bell peppers. Then stir in the minced garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Add the curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, and mix well to coat vegetables completely. Shake the can of coconut milk before opening and pour into the pan with the dashi broth and basil leaves. Increase heat to medium, and bring the curry to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Add mussels to pan and cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes, until mussels are fully opened. Adjust seasoning with salt. Turn off heat and discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour lime juice over mussels. Serve with toasted bread to soak up all the yummy curry sauce.

Quick Ratatouille

One of the best things that I’ve learned how to make in culinary school is ratatouille. But making Niçoise-Style Ratatouille takes too long, there’s so much more technique, ingredients, and steps to do. This quick version takes less prep and cooking time because the knife cut is smaller.

This recipe makes three ring molds like the picture below.

[100% organic]

  • ½ onion, very finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into tiny squares
  • 1 eggplant, cut into tiny squares
  • 1 zucchini, cut into tiny squares
  • Bouquet garni
  • EVOO, as needed
  • 3 basil leaves
  • Canola oil
  • Salt

Boil the tomatoes for 15 seconds in boiling water to remove the skin. Place in cold water with ice to stop the cooking process. Remove the skin with a pairing knife, cut the tomato in half (length-wise), then remove the seeds. Reserve those for later, and then finely chop the flesh. Strain the seeds and save the juice.

Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let it disgorge while continuing with the recipe.

In a hot pan, add 1 TBS EVOO and sauté the red peppers. Season with salt and drain in a strainer. Repeat for zucchini and eggplant. Before sautéing the eggplant, squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

As the three vegetables are straining, heat 2 TBS EVOO in a pan. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes, until translucent, on low heat. Add in the minced garlic, cook until aromatic. Turn up the heat to medium and add the finely chopped tomatoes, season. Cook for a few minutes and then add in the remaining vegetables, along with the bouquet garni and strained tomato juices.

Cover with parchment paper and simmer gently for 30 minutes until all the moisture has evaporated. Adjust for seasoning.

Fry the basil leaves in canola oil. Place on paper towels and garnish when finish plating in ring molds.

Serve with baguette slices.

*Adapted from the French Culinary Institute.

Fusilli with Roasted Bell Peppers & Shrimp

You can easily make this dish vegetarian/vegan if you skip the shrimp and cheese. I wasn’t going to add shrimp but you know me, I love shrimp and I eat it with everything!

This makes two lunch portions or one large lunch portion.

[100% organic, sustainable farmed shrimp]

  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • ½ orange bell pepper
  • 16 shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 2 TBS ground ginger
  • 1½ cups fusilli
  • 2 TBS parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp parmesan, freshly grated
  • EVOO, as needed
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove all the ribs and seeds to the bell peppers. Place bell peppers in a deep baking tray and drizzle olive oil over the tops of the peppers. Do not season. Bake for 20-30 minutes but do not allow bell peppers to burn. Once peppers are ready, remove from pan and chop into small squares. Reserve the olive oil.

Sprinkle shrimp with ground ginger and salt for 15 minutes. Sauté shrimp with some of the reserved olive oil. Add a little water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Boil the fusilli in salted water and add a few drops of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 1 minute short of al dente, remove from heat and drain (pasta should still be quite firm) and keep warm.

In the remaining olive oil, sauté the cut bell peppers. Season and taste. Then add in the pasta and the shrimp. Sprinkle in the cheese and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle the parsley at the very end. Serve in warm bowls.

Atlantic Cod Ceviche with Tomato, Bell Pepper & Cilantro

This is also on my menu project. I was going to make it with sea bass but I couldn’t afford the price at Whole Foods yesterday for wild sea bass, at $32/lb!! So I used Atlantic cod and it still tastes phenomenal! I could drink the marinade liquid! It’s not sour at all with all the citric acid.

[100% organic, wild cod]

  • 1 lb Atlantic cod fillets, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 3 red chili peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 large shallots, finely diced
  • 12 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 12 limes
  • 4 lemons
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped into small squares
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup microgreens, save some for garnish
  • Salt & pepper

Place the raw fish pieces in a glass dish and sprinkle generously with salt. Cover with red chili peppers, crushed garlic, ¼ cup chopped cilantro, lime juice from 8 limes, and lemon juice from 2 lemons. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and chill, let the fish cook itself in the lime and lemon juice for at least 4 hours. *Note: fish should be completely covered by juices.

Place the shallots in a bowl and cover with warm water and a large pinch of salt. Let it rest for 10 minutes, drain and rinse well.

Once the fish is “cooked” in the juice, rinse it well and remove the chilis, garlic, and cilantro.

Combine the fish with the shallots, microgreens, tomatoes, bell peppers, remaining cilantro, lime juice from the remaining 4 limes, lemon juice from the remaining 2 lemons, and a generous splash of olive oil in a large non-reactive bowl, mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve on cold plates and top with microgreens.