Sunday, November 27, 2016

Spiced Pecans

It's the time of year for fresh pecans. Cooking them with sugar and spices will fill the house with smells of the season. Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and a taste of cayenne will warm your palate!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
2 Tbs. water
3 cups pecans (or other nuts)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the sugar through the water in a microwave safe container, such as a glass bowl. Heat the mixture on high for 30 seconds, then stir to combine the sugar and spices with the water. Pour the nuts into the sugar and spice mixture. Stir to coat the nuts with the mixture. Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes. Remove the nuts, and cool. These will keep for about a week.

Serves 12 as an appetizer

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Warning! These nuts can be addictive!While nuts are a healthy choice in moderation, it's definitely hard to eat just a few of these tasty morsels. The best bet? Either serve them when you've got a crowd to help you eat them, or hide them in the cupboard and only bring out a few at a time, for snacking on a cheese and nut tray or to add to a salad. 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fried Rice

Leftover brown rice was calling for fried rice for dinner at our house. Here's a version that I've used over the years - adding what vegetables I have available or whatever protein is in the frig. This is usually gobbled up quickly, one of those indicators that it met its mark!

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
2 eggs, whisked in a bowl
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped red pepper or carrots cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped snow peas or peas
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu for a vegetarian version
1 tsp freshly minced ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups leftover cooked brown rice
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
1 Tbs chopped Thai basil (optional)
2 Tbs. thinly sliced green onions
1 tsp sesame seeds

Directions:

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the eggs, swirling to cook. When done, remove to a plate and chop into approx 1 inch squares. Add the second tsp of oil to the pan. Add the onion, mushrooms, pepper, celery, and snow peas. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove to the plate with the eggs. Add the third tsp of oil to the pan, then add the protein of choice. I made this one with chicken. If your chicken or pork is leftover and already cooked, then simply heat. If they are fresh, cook until done. Add the rice to the pan, and cook for about 1 minute, until the rice is warm. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, and fish sauce to the pan. Add the bean sprouts and Thai basil, if using, and cook for another minute or so, until the sprouts begin to wilt. Add the cooked vegetables, along with the eggs, and cook until everything is hot. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed. Serve, topped with some of the green onions and sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: The vegetables cook down significantly in this recipe, but the proportions are about 3 cups of raw vegetables to 2 cups of cooked rice and 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken or other protein. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Other veggies you might like to try are canned mini corncobs, water chestnuts, bok choy, or whatever vegetables suit your fancy today. Do taste the fried rice before serving, and correct the seasoning. If it needs to be "brightened", try a squeeze of lime juice. If it needs salt, try a little more fish sauce. If you like things spicy, try adding some red pepper flakes.