Asian Black Bean Chicken with Tofu….

Let me start by saying, that you dont have to use tofu in this dish. It’s perfectly delicious without it.

Are you wrinkling your nose at the mere mention of the word tofu?  If you haven’t tried it, I hope that you give it a chance. It really has no real flavor by itself. Some people are weirded out by the consistency. I always go for the medium or soft kind. It’s not slimy or mushy. The consistency is kinda like biting into jello. Tofu is very good for you.  But aside from the healthy factor, there are so many things you can do with it. It absorbs any juices or flavorings of whatever you add it too. I grew up eating it. My mother would slice it up chilled, sprinkle it with grated fresh ginger and sprinkle it with soy sauce. M-mmmmm. You can get it at almost any Japanese restaurant, as a side dish.

I’ve used tofu in meatloaf, potstickers, meatballs, soups…so many things.  But I love it in stir fry dishes. This black bean sauce chicken dish goes great with the tofu. The tofu absorbs the sauce and it is delicious.

Trust me and don’t fear the tofu!! You will like it, I’m sure.

As for the black bean sauce. It’s a fermented, salty and tangy black bean sauce. It’s quite pungent and delicious with stir fry dishes. You can find this at any Asian market and even in your local grocery store. This is what makes this dish. It’s quite salty, but so tasty.

   



Asian Black Bean Chicken and Tofu

serves 3

4 chicken thighs, bone removed and cut in pieces
1/4 cup black bean sauce (there are several different brands, found in the Asian section of store)
1  Tblsp soy sauce
1  Tblsp chili paste
1  small onion, sliced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
feel free to add bell peppers, mushrooms or other veggies
1 package of soft or medium Tofu. Drain the liquid. (I use the House Foods brand. Found in the produce section of grocery stores. Also available at all Asian markets.)

In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken pieces, garlic and onion slices. Also add other veggies if you want. Toss around until the chicken is cooked through. Add the black bean sauce and the soy sauce. Toss and taste. If you feel it needs more black bean sauce, add a wee bit more.
Cut the tofu in large cubes and very gently stir it into the chicken mixture. Once everything is heated through, remove from heat and serve with rice.

 

Creamy Mushroom Soup….

Soup weather! It has been a bit chilly here lately. B-rrrrr. Ugg boot weather. Yesssssss!

Oh how I love a good hot soup when it’s cold outside. Now, I would never think of opening a can of cream of mushroom soup and eating it as is. I like cooking with canned soups. I have no problem with that. But I like to eat homemade soup. This is a good one. Nothing fancy….simple and easy to make.

This soup has such an intense mushroom flavor, which I love. It’s creamy and delicious. I would love to try it with some shitake mushrooms sometime. YUM! This soup is so good just plain, I ate some of it with egg noodles and some with rice. Over rice, it was just tooooooo good. But then again, anything with rice is good to me! Oh, and I also enjoyed dipping my buttered toast in the soup. M-m-m-mmmmm.

I hope you will try this. Experiment with different mushrooms! Enjoy.

 

Creamy Mushroom Soup

1 pound fresh mushrooms (I used baby Portobello), chopped
2  1/2 cups chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock)
1  garlic clove, minced very fine
1/2 cup minced onion
1  1/2 cup heavy cream
3  Tblsp flour (4 if you like a thicker soup)
salt and pepper to taste (I went heavy on the black pepper)
3  tblsp butter

In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in the butter. Add the flour and mix until mushrooms appear coated. Pour in the stock and heat for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper.  Stir in the cream. Simmer until hot, for about 15 minutes. Do not boil. Eat.

Slow Cooker Asian Shredded Pork….

Whenever I go to Hawaii, the first thing that I want to eat is the Kalua Pig/pork. I love it so much. Traditionally, a whole pig  is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked slowly in a pit that is dug in the ground. It’s so good and has such a smoky flavor. I love shredded pork and I just do my version, which is in the crock pot. Yep, it’s delicious and so moist.

I love this shredded pork. This is perfect for some lettuce wraps, which is really good. But I love it on top of some hot rice. It’s delicious, especially when you spoon some of the juices on top and the rice absorbs that juice. M-mmmmm.

This is an easy dish and you won’t be disappointed. I usually use a pork roast for this….like a pork shoulder or pork butt. Oh, and it should be a little on the fatty side. I have also used the boneless country short ribs. They are thick and a little fatty. Either works great, but using a roast will obviously take a little longer.

You’re going to love this. I just know it!!

Asian Shredded Pork 

4 pound Pork shoulder roast or country pork ribs
2 cloves of fresh garlic, halved
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 Tblsp liquid smoke (optional….it’s just as good without)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup water

Place the pork in a crock pot. Throw in the garlic, ginger, liquid smoke and soy sauce. Add the water. Sprinkle in the black pepper. Cook on low for about 6 hours, or high for about 4-5 hours. Be sure to test it after about 3 hours to make sure its not already cooked. Using a fork, you should be able to shred it easily. Remember, if you are using the country pork ribs, the cooking time will be less.

Serve over some hot cooked rice. Oh, and a fried egg on the side is good too! YUM!!!

Chocolate Donut Balls…….

Who doesn’t like donuts? I love a good soft, chewy, yeasty donut. But I also love a good cake donut. These amazing little, pop in your mouth donuts are so yummy. If you like a good cake donut, you will love these. I experimented with several recipes and this is the best. They go great with a hot cup of coffee. I like them with chocolate glaze and this glaze here, is thick and rich. If you want something a bit lighter, the donut balls are great tossed with powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

I just use a mini muffin pan to make these, but if you have a donut pan, that’s great too.

I have to warn you….these are addicting and you won’t be able to have just one. They are just so good.

Chocolate Donut Balls

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2  TBLSP butter, melted

In a mixing bowl using the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add in the eggs, milk, vanilla and butter. Beat for a full 2 minutes at medium speed. Spray a mini muffin pan with baking spray. Fill each little cup about half full.

Bake at 325 for 7-9 minutes. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Drizzle glaze on them, or toss them with powdered sugar and cocoa:

Cocoa/Sugar – 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa and 3/4 cup powdered sugar.

Glaze –
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 TBLSP +/- hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla

In small bowl, pour the hot water over the butter. Mix in the rest of the stuff, until smooth. Spoon over donuts or dip each donut in the glaze. It will set up. EAT!!!

Almond Roca Shortbread Cookies…..

If you are looking for a really good cookie to take to that Christmas cookie party, here is a fabulous one!

It’s super easy too. Everyone buys those pink cans of almond roca around the holidays. I think everyone pretty much gets one as a gift too, right? Well, put them to good use and make these cookies. Yum.

Now, I will admit that I put a little too much almond roca in my dough. It made for a beautiful dough, but the cookies came out of the oven a bit messy. But once they cooled……..OHHHHHHHH so good. It is a great holiday cookie and would make great gifts.

Almond Roca Cookies

8 tablespoons of unsalted butter softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 or 8 almond roca candies, crushed

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Add in flour and salt just until a dough forms. If it’s too crumbly, add 2 teaspoons of water so it comes together. Gently stir in the almond roca bits.
Press and flatten the dough into a disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for 1 hour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out your shapes with cookie cutters. I used a round cutter. You could also just cut the dough into strips.
Place the cookies 1  1/2″ apart on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven. If the roca has made the cookies spread a bit, just gently re-form the cookie with a knife or spatula. Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. When storing, be sure to use a layer of wax paper between layers.