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Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Who doesn’t love chicken noodle soup?  Well, maybe not vegetarians.  This recipe can be amended easily: swap chicken for tofu, chicken broth for vegetable broth, and fish sauce for soy sauce.  It’s a noodle soup good for everyone… even those who think they don’t like coconut.  If someone you know doesn’t like coconut (like August), you might get them to like it at least in this soup (she does).

coconut chicken noodle soup

coconut chicken noodle soup

Makes 4

2 14-oz cans of coconut milk

3 cups of chicken broth

1 lb (or more) of udon noodles

3/4 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast

1/4 cup of fish sauce

The juice of 1 lime

2 tbs. of peeled and grated lemon grass

2 tbs. of sriracha

1 tbs. of grated ginger

1 tbs. of peanut oil

1/2 tsp. of turmeric

Mung bean sprouts, minced cilantro, and lime wedges for garnish

2 coconuts halved for serving vessels, if you want to make it cute

Thin slices of Serrano peppers, if you want to make it spicy (not pictured)

Heat the oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat.  While the oil is heating, slice the chicken in thin strips width-wise.  Saute the chicken in the sauce pot for 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden brown – it doesn’t have to be fully cooked.

Add all the ingredients except the noodles and the garnishes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the noodles and continue simmering for another 3 minutes.  Serve immediately, garnished with a large pinch of bean sprouts, a sprinkling of cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Ceviche and Truffled Chips

This Cinco de Mayo we stayed at home instead of celebrating the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in public with lots of reveling Oakland denizens.  We didn’t go all out to do a party or anything, but instead Zach put a gourmet twist on two Central American standards for a snack lunch.  We try to follow sustainable seafood guidelines, so the ingredients used were with thought towards the impact on the environment.

ceviche and truffled chips

ceviche and truffled chips

Makes enough for 4-6

• For the chips:

3 liters of peanut oil for frying

18 corn tortillas, white or yellow, sliced into sixths

Truffle salt for seasoning to taste, but you’ll probably use at least 1 tbs.

Heat oil to 370 degrees F in a deep fryer (it’s possible to fry in a cast iron pan or a dutch oven, but then you’ll have to monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer).  Cut the tortillas in half, then slice each half into thirds, creating evenly-sized triangles.

Place one fourth of all the triangles in the fryer at a time so as to make small, thoroughly cooked batches.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes but stir a couple times with a skimmer.

If you have a sturdy fry basket, shake and/or tap it to knock off any excess oil, and let drip for about 20 seconds before tossing the chips in a stainless steel bowl with truffle salt.  Transfer to another bowl lined with paper or cloth towels (to be green) to soak up the remaining oil.  Chips will stay good in a sealed sandwich bag for days!

• For the ceviche (all local ingredients except the Hawaiian pineapple):

1/2 lb. of line-caught Californian halibut

1/2 lb. of line-caught Pacific salmon

1 cup of pineapple

3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup of Roma tomatoes

1 extra large jalapeño pepper

1 shallot

1/4 cup of minced cilantro

Salt to taste

Cube the fish 1/4″ pieces, and soak in lime juice for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Dice the pineapple and tomatoes in the same size as the fish, first removing the tomato seeds.  Remove the seeds from the jalapeño, and cut into 1/8″ pieces.  Finely mince the shallot and cilantro like the jalapeño.

After the fish has finished soaking, drain with a strainer and discard the lime juice, shaking off any excess juice.

Toss all ingredients together, tasting for desired saltiness, and serve cold in Arakawa Pottery.

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri, Elote Corn on the Cob, and Jalapeño Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

There are so many variations on meat and potatoes, it doesn’t even compare to Bubba listing different types of shrimp preparation in Forrest Gump.  With Cinco de Mayo fast approaching, we’re doing a nod to Mexican flavors with elotes y chimichurri.  Okay, to be honest, elotes are Mexican but chimichurri, derived from tximitxurri, is Basque for “a little of this, a little of that.”  Many Hispanic cultures have adopted the word chimichurri to describe a sauce that usually has garlic, olive oil, lime juice, and a combination of fresh herbs.  August tried making chimichurri once in 2007; it was that memorable because it took her two hours to mince all the ingredients without a food processor!

Serves 4 as per the recipes (but we only did 2 corn ears for ourselves)

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• For the mashed potatoes:

4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, washed

1/2 to 3/4 cup of fat free milk, depending on desired consistency

1/2 cup of shredded Rumiano mild cheddar cheese

1 jalapeño pepper

4 tbs. of butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Over an open heat source like a stove top burner, hold the pepper over the heat until the skin blackens and the pepper slightly softens.  Put in a bowl and cover in plastic wrap to steam for 10 minutes.  This will help cook it further, and make the skin very easy to remove; remove the skin once it’s cool enough to touch.  Split in half and discard the seeds.  Dice up the pepper and set aside.

In a medium pot, boil the potatoes in about 12-16 cups of water, or at least so they are covered by water.  Cook low heat to achieve a slow boil so that the potatoes don’t break apart.  Boil for about 45 minutes or until a thin, sharp knife easily sinks in.

Drain potatoes in a strainer.  Add the milk and butter to the potato pot, then transfer the potatoes back in along with all other ingredients; Chef Zach recommends to start with about 2 tsp. of salt.  That might sound like a lot of salt to some people, but potatoes need a lot of it.  Mix with a hand mixer on low speed until thoroughly mixed.

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• For the avocado butter:

1 medium-size avocado

2 oz. of softened butter

A pinch of salt

avocado butter

avocado butter

Mash the avocado with a fork, then add the butter and salt and thoroughly incorporate.

• For the corn:

4 ears of corn (although we did 2)

Avocado butter

1/4 cup of crumbled queso fresco

1/2 of one lime

Paprika for dusting

Shuck and clean the corn.  Grill on a barbecue or open grill for 10-12 minutes, or until the corn just starts to brown.  Not every single kernel has to be brown (notice the pictures throughout the article).

Spread the ears with avocado butter, squeeze the lime for juice, dust paprika, and evenly sprinkle the queso fresco.

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• For the steak’s chimichurri sauce:

1 cup of lightly packed flat leaf parsley

1 cup of lightly packed cilantro

3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot

4 garlic cloves

3 tbs. of red wine vinegar

2 tbs. of fresh lime juice

1 tsp. of salt

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Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor.  Pulse the food processor about 15 times to break down the herbs but not completely liquify them.  Turn the food processor to ON and slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream.

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Once all the oil has been added and mixed in, set aside until serving.

•For the flank steak:

1 1/2 lbs. of pasture-raised beef flank steak

1 tbs. of paprika

1 tbs. of kosher salt

1 tsp. of ground cumin

1 tsp. of garlic powder

1 tsp. of onion powder

1/2 tsp. of ground white pepper

Mix all the dry ingredients to make a rub.  With your hands, work the rub all over all surfaces of the flank steak.  Let sit in on a sheet pan the refrigerator for an hour, covered with plastic wrap.

guest appearance by bea

guest appearance by our dog bea

If you’re following this recipe and good with your timing, the grill will already be on for the elotes.  Grill the flank steak on each side for 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut.  Don’t fidget with the steak; the only times you should touch it are when you put it on the grill, flip it, and remove it.

Slice on the bias, against the grain, for thin strips.  Garnish with chimichurri (and serve in Arakawa Pottery).

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