Sweet Vinegar Peanuts

2 C raw peanuts

Syrup
1/2 C chopped cilantro
1 tsp chopped mint leaves
6 Tbsp Chinese Black Vinegar (you can substitute with Balsamic Vinegar)
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange the peanuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until they are golden brown, probably about 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, mine did take about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Set aside

To prepare the syrup, combine the cilantro, mint, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and sesame seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is syrupy and reduced by half, about 7 minutes or longer.

Pour the syrup over the peanuts and stir to coat evenly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Perkedel Jagung (Bakwan Jadung – Indonesian Corn Fritters)

500 gr sweet corn kernels
6 oz shrimps cleaned, deveined and finely minced
80 gr rice flour
1 large egg beaten
1 tsp salt
1 Thai chili
Oil for deep-frying

AROMATICS:
2 shallots peeled
2 garlic peeled
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese celery leaves

Place 1/2 of the corn in a food processor along with the shrimp, shallots and garlic and pulse few times until finely chopped.

Mix the chopped corn mixtures along with the other half of the corn kernels, eggs, chili, celery leaves, flour, salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil for frying. Lower the heat to medium and then drop one or two spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You may want to fry one first and then taste to see if you need to add more salt (as you can’t taste the “raw” mixture) and adjust by adding more salt if needed before frying more.

You can try to use egg rings if you have some to help hold the round shape, but you really don’t have to. If you use them, fill the ring with the corn mixture and then use the back of the spoon to kinda smooth it out to make sure there’s no “hole” so your bakwan jagung won’t fall apart later. Once the fritter is golden brown at the bottom, you can remove the ring and flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.

Continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with any of your favorite sweet chili sauce or just eat them as is.

Green Beans and Bean Threads

1 lb green beans trimmed both ends and remove tough fibers, cut into 2-inch sections
2 oz minced lean pork or any meat you like I used left over sausages
2 bundles of bean thread noodles/vermicelli noodles soak in cold water to let it soften and then cut into shorter pieces
1 Tbsp chopped spring onion
3 Tbsp of canola oil

MARINADE:
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Salt to season
1 cup water
Dash of sesame oil

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and quickly submerge into ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp of canola oil and stir fry the minced pork and use the spatula to break up the meat, toss in chopped spring onion, add dark soy sauce, salt and water. Lastly add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the vermicelli and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat to reduce the gravy if you prefer. Lastly drizzle with some sesame oil.

Note on soaking vermicelli: If you want the vermicelli to further soak up the flavors and sauce of the dish you are cooking it in, soak it in cold water. If you are not cooking it in a sauce, soak it in warm water instead to allow it to swell more before cooking.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

TO PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE:
2 Tbsp of Korean gochujang sauce/ spicy bean paste
2 Tbsp of soy sauce
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
1- inch of ginger peeled and finely minced
1 Tbsp of sesame oil
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken thighs thinly sliced
2 Tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil
2 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
2 Tbsp of sesame seeds
2 stalks green onions thinly sliced diagonally
1 small cucumber thinly sliced diagonallyj
Bibb Lettuce

Place the first five ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Pour the sauce into a large ziplock bag. Place the sliced chicken inside the bag. Push the air out and seal the bag. Kinda give it a massage motion to mix the chicken and the sauce. Place it in the refrigerator. If you want to make this in a hurry, you still need to at least give it an hour to marinade.

Preheat the cooking oil in a large skillet. Tip in the garlic and stir fry for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken in (reserve the marinade juice). Stir fry until the chicken started to brown nicely. Pour in the marinade sauce and let it boil a bit and then lower the heat and let the sauce thickened a bit. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

ASSEMBLING:
Place about 1-2 Tbsp of chicken on the bibb lettuce accompanied by 2 slices of cucumber. Serve on its own or with rice.

Ketoprak (Indonesian Noodle and Tofu Salad with Peanut Sauce)

INGREDIENTS:
1 block of firm tofu
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
250 gr dry rice stick noodles / bee hoon

PEANUT DRESSING:
3 cloves garlic
6 red chilis more if you like it spicier
100 gr roasted peanuts see notes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2-inch block of tamarind paste
200 ml warm water
2-3 Thai chili more if you like it spicier

GARNISHES:
Indonesian sweet soy sauce
Fried shallots
Prawn crackers or whatever crackers you like
2 hard-boiled eggs quartered
1 large cucumber

Blanch the rice stick noodles briefly in hot water until it softens but not mushy. Drain and then refresh with cold water. Set aside. You can also blanch the raw garlic briefly if you don’t like the raw taste of it.

Peel the cucumber and then half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds out. Cut into 1-inch slices.

MAKING THE PEANUT DRESSING:
Mix the tamarind paste with warm water. Once it softens, use the back of the spoon to mash the tamarind and then discard the solid. In a food processor, blend the peanuts, garlic, chilis, tamarind juice, and sugar. Process into a thick but pourable consistency. You can add a bit more water if it’s too thick. Season with salt to your taste.

PREPARING THE TOFU:
Place the block of tofu on an absorbent paper towel and then another layer of paper towel on top of the tofu. Place a heavy object like cast iron pot or pan on top of the tofu for about 15 minutes to press all the extra liquid out. Cut the tofu into 2-inch chunks. You can deep fry the tofu or pan fry it with a little bit of oil on the pan until all sides are golden brown. Set aside.

Assembling:
In a large serving plate, place the noodles, cucumber slices, bean sprouts, fried tofu, and egg pieces. Pour sauce over and garnish with fried shallots, a drizzle of kecap manis. Serve with prawn crackers.

Note: You can sub the roasted peanuts with creamy/chunky peanut butter. It’s up to you. You may need to play with the amount of liquid so that it’s thick but still somewhat pourable.

Fish in Ginger Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb white fish fillet : sole, swai, cod, or tilapia
2 Tbsp cooking oil

AROMATICS:
2 inch knob fresh ginger peeled
3 cloves garlic peeled

SAUCE BASE:
250 ml chicken broth
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water

SEASONINGS:
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

Place the aromatics in a food processor and finely chop them (or you can manually chop them by hands).

Cut the fish fillet into large chunks, about 2-inch pieces. Don’t cut too small or the fish will break apart easily when you cook them.

Preheat a large wok or skillet. Add cooking oil. Add ginger and garlic mixture. Stir fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and seasonings and bring to a boil.

Add the fish fillet pieces in and let them cook until the fillet changes into opaque white color and cooked through. It shouldn’t take too long, about 2 minutes or less.

Carefully dish out the fish fillet from the stock into a serving platter.

Have a taste for the stock, add more salt if needed. Bring it to a boil and then give the cornstarch mixture a stir and pour in. Continue to stir until the stock is thickened.

Gently add the fish fillet pieces back. Gently stir to let the fillet pieces coated in the sauce. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.

Rojak Buah

2 to 3 cups of the following fruits: cucumber, jicama, pineapple, underripe mango and papaya, tart apples like Granny Smith, peeled and seeded where necessary and cut into bite-sized pieces

Optional add-ins: A handful of baby spinach or bean sprouts and pieces of fried firm tofu

SAUCE
2 to 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoon coconut sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted ground peanuts

In a large bowl, add hoisin sauce, lime juice, coconut sugar, chili powder, sesame seeds, and half of the ground peanuts. Mix well to combine into a sauce. Then add the fruits and toss to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the ground peanuts and serve.

Alison’s Edamame

1 bag frozen edamame

Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar to taste
Dash of black vinegar to taste
Dash of toasted sesame oil to taste

Steam or boil edamame until just done.

Mix sauce ingredients to taste.

Serve edamame with sauce on the side.

Spinach Salad with Beets and Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the Salad
Optional: pecan halves (or walnuts, toasted)
2 to 3 slices bacon (diced, or about 3 ounces of diced pancetta)
1 pound beets (trimmed, cooked, peeled, and diced)
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup red onion (thinly sliced)
Optional: shredded cheese (or crumbled goat cheese or feta)
For the Dressing
1 clove garlic (crushed and minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (or a similar gourmet mustard)
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange the pecans or walnuts in a dry skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are lightly browned and aromatic.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the diced bacon until crisp or fry the pancetta until browned.

Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Dice the bacon and set aside.

Arrange spinach leaves on 4 salad plates. Top with diced beets, diced bacon or pancetta, red onion, and pecans or walnuts. If desired, top with cheese.

In a bowl or blender, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Whisk or blend in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad or serve on the side.

Tips
Boiled Beets: To boil beets, first start by washing and trimming the beets, leaving about 2 inches of the stem and root ends. Place the beets in a large saucepan and cover with salted water (about 1 teaspoon of salt per quart). Add a few teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.

Roasted Beets: To roast beets, first wash the beets and trim, leaving an inch or two on the stem and root ends. Rub the beets with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; wrap in foil and bake at 375 F for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until tender. The time varies depending on the size of the beets. You can also roast the beets in the slow cooker.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Blueberries

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
6 cups fresh spinach leaves (torn)
2 cups fresh strawberries (rinsed, dried, hulled)
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

In a large bowl, toss spinach with sesame seeds. Prepare strawberries, cutting large ones in half. Add strawberries to the spinach mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar or shaker; shake well then refrigerate to chill.

To serve, pour chilled dressing over strawberry and spinach salad mixture in a bowl and toss gently to distribute well.

Spinach Salad with Eggs and Warm Bacon Dressing

10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup minced red onion
5 to 6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs,* 1 chopped, 1 sliced
2 to 4 slices bacon
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl. Add onions and radishes.

Refrigerate the salad, tightly covered.

Fry or microwave bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside.

In a small jar or measuring cup combine the bacon drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate all ingredients until just before serving.

When ready to serve, microwave the dressing on HIGH for 30 to 45 seconds, or until mixture boils. Toss the chopped egg with the greens then pour the hot dressing over greens mixture; toss again lightly.

Arrange the salad on salad plates and top each with a few slices of egg and crumbled bacon.

*In a saucepan, cover 2 large eggs with water. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a full rolling boil. Cover the saucepan and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 12 to 15 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs and peel them.

Tips

Make Ahead: Prepare the spinach, onion, and radishes in a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate. Prepare the eggs and bacon and refrigerate them in separate containers. Prepare the dressing and refrigerate. Just before serving time, toss the chopped egg with the spinach salad mixture. Heat the dressing; drizzle over the salad and toss. Garnish with the sliced eggs and bacon.

Variations

Add about 1/4 cup of pine nuts, sunflower seeds, toasted slivered almonds, or toasted pecans to the salad for additional crunch.

Add about 1/4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries to the salad.

Add sliced fresh mushrooms to the salad.

Omit the radishes, if desired.?

Spinach Salad with Rhubarb

2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons grated onion
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

SALAD:
6 cups torn fresh spinach
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 to 2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped

In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar and vinegar; cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving about 6 tablespoons juice; discard pulp.
Pour juice into a jar with tight-fitting lid; add oil, onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Shake well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Note

If using frozen rhubarb, measure rhubarb while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press liquid out.

Spinach and Fennel Salad with Grapefruit

3 tablespoons red grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large fennel bulb
2 large red grapefruit, sectioned
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup shaved Romano cheese
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a small bowl, whisk the first five ingredients. Remove fronds from fennel; set aside for garnish. Cut bulb into thin slices and coarsely chop the slices. In a large bowl, combine the chopped fennel, grapefruit and spinach. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to coat.

Divide salad among four plates; sprinkle cheese and pomegranate seeds over salads. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Spinach and Fennel Salad with Apple

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 large tart apple, julienned
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 cup glazed walnuts

In a small bowl, bring vinegar to a boil; cook 4-5 minutes or until thickened to a glaze consistency. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine arugula, fennel and apple. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, oil, pepper and salt until blended. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Add cheese and walnuts.
Drizzle eight plates with balsamic glaze. Top with salad.

Spinach (or Arugula) Salad with Nectarines

4 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach
4 cups torn Bibb or Boston lettuce
3 medium nectarines, sliced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

DRESSING:
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat.

To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Spinach Salad with Kiwi and Strawberries

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
12 cups torn fresh spinach (about 9 ounces)
2 pints fresh strawberries, halved
4 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced

Place the first five ingredients in a blender; cover and process 30 seconds or until blended. Transfer to a bowl; stir in green onions, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, strawberries and kiwi. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat.

Melon and Spinach Salad

1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper

SALAD:
4 cups fresh baby spinach or arugula
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
2 cups cubed cantaloupe
2 cups cubed English cucumber
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk the first nine ingredients. In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat; serve immediately.

Spinach Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

2 cups cut-up heirloom tomatoes
1 cup multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced red onion

DRESSING:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage

Place tomatoes, spinach and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients; toss with salad. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Spinach Salad with Apples, Pears, and Nuts

8-10 cups baby spinach (or other greens)
1 apple cored and finely chopped
1 pear cored and finely chopped (instead of 1 apple and 1 pear you could 2 apples or 2 pears)
1/2 cup candied pecans (or walnuts, or other nuts)
1/4 lb crumbled feta (or goat cheese, or blue cheese)

Salad dressing:
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a salad bowl, combine greens, fruit, nuts, and cheese.
In a separate bowl (or blender) combine all the salad dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, honey, dry mustard, garlic and salt) and whisk to combine.

Pour dressing over salad and serve.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

1 lb. fresh spinach
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup almonds
2 ounces feta cheese

Strawberry Dressing:

7 large strawberries, cut in half
Fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon
Drizzle of agave nectar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the spinach in a medium bowl. Top with sliced strawberries, almonds, and feta cheese.

For the dressing, put the cut up strawberries in a blender. Squeeze lemon juice into the blender. Drizzle the strawberries with agave nectar. If your strawberries are ripe and sweet, you will only need a little agave nectar. Make according to your taste. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over spinach and strawberry salad.