Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sriracha Mac & Cheese with Vienna Sausages

This is one of the easiest recipes you will ever make and has very simple ingredients and is super frugal.

Store Brand Mac & Cheese
Milk (if needed for store brand recipe)
Small tin of Vienna Sausages - choose a flavor you like if it is an option
Sriracha as much as you like
Salt and Pepper to taste
Gold fish or similar crackers to garnish

Before I start on this 2 line recipe, I want to come clean and say this was a happy accident as opposed to a well thought out and planned recipe.

Being on a frugal kick, when I went to the grocery store, I wanted to spend no more than 5 bucks so I bought a loaf of white sandwich bread, 2 store brand mac and cheeses, 3 tins of vienna sausages (bbq flavored) and a brown paper bag (they charge you a nickel a bag at this place I go). I did have to go and buy milk separately for the mac and cheese but I think it cost me $2 for it.

OK so here is the recipe:

Make the store brand mac and cheese according to its recipe - after you drain off water, add the vienna sausages and a table spoon of sriracha sauce as well as salt and pepper to taste. Right before you serve crumble a handful of gold fish or similar crackers to add some texture

When I initially made this, I didn't include the sriracha or goldfish and it was just meh -- nothing to write home about.. Even adding the goldfish adds only a marginal benefit but the sriracha makes this amazing!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Medley of Mushrooms

Full disclosure - this isnt the cheapest dish I've made but it's an amazing side dish..

Medley of Mushrooms

I was in my local Asian market recently and saw tons of different kinds of mushrooms i wanted to try. I picked up some Beech Mushrooms, Inoki Mushrooms and dried Shiitake mushrooms.

Cup of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Handful of Beech Mushrooms (brown)
Handful of Inoke Mushrooms
Cup of soybean sprouts
Tablespoon of olive oil

Half a cup of dry sherry
Teaspoon of Soy sauce
Tablespoon of Sriracha sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

First thing you need to(a do is to rehydrate the shiitake's - place then in a dish with a cup of water for half an hour or till they become soft. I dont think the stems become soft and i discarded them. Take the shiitake's and give them a course chop to yield bite size piece.

Heat a pan to medium high with a table spoon of olive oil. Add the shiitake mushrooms and sautee for about 5 minutes (also add a pinch of salt). While sauteeing, chop the ends of the beech and inoke mushrooms off  (generally these parts have the dirt you want to remove. If they are still dirty, take a wet paper napkin and clean them.Separate the mushrooms into separate piles and if they are connected break into bite size pieces... By now the shiitakes are probably quite dry so add the dry sherry & soy  sauce (don't put too much)Then bring it to a simmer and add the beech mushrooms and a pinch of salt..  After 2 minutes add the inoke mushrooms and a pinch of salt.  Next add sriracha and mix well... Now take the miaxture off the heat, add the soybean sprouts, mix and add salt and pepper.. Do not over season this dish.. The whole point is to be able to taste the various kinds of mushrooms..

If you wanted to, you could add a teaspoon of fish sauce when you add the sherry - but I didnt want the fish sauce to overwhelm the mushroom taste.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Recipe: Fried Rice

Ingredients: 1 cup Rice, 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce, 1 Egg, 3 carrots (medium size), 1 red bell pepper diced(small or half of a medium), 1 parsnip (medium size), 1/2 red onion diced, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1/4 stick butter, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, salt & pepper to taste. Cayenne powder or red pepper flakes (both optional).

Equipment: Rice Cooker, Large Pan with lid to cook rice in. Large flat cake pan to dry rice in.

Cook 1 cup rice in your rice cooker. Drop a pinch of salt in the rice cooker and a drop of oil. Your rice will have a nice glassy look if you put a drop of oil in it. This should yield 2-3 cups of rice. You should take the rice out before it gets mushy as fried rice should have a little bite. I like using basmati if possible.. Other rices are OK also. I would recommend against brown rice or wild rice though. Stick with a white rice.

Take the rice out once done and spread it out as much as possible on a rectangular cake pan. This is to dry the rice out. Fried rice shouldn't have any moisture in it or it will end up mushy and an unappealing texture (it will still taste good though). Alternatively, if you have time you can dry your rice in the fridge uncovered for 30-45 mins. Dont wash the large cake pan yet. You will use it later as well.

In the large pan, add half of your butter and the onions for 5 minutes in medium heat. Next add the chicken broth, carrots and parsnips and cover for 10 minutes. Next add the soy sauce, fish sauce and garlic salt and cook uncovered until the liquid reduces to a quarter of what was there.. Drop the red bell pepper in and cook for 2 more minutes. Crack an egg and beat it in the mean time with salt and pepper... Next add the contents of the pan to the rice mixture in the cake pan, add the egg right after and mix slowly.. Rice should be mixed with a fork and it should be fluffed... After everything is nicely mixed together, add the remaining butter and if you want it to be a bit spicy add cayenne pepper and/or red pepper flakes and mix one final time. After this, taste for salt and pepper and add to your taste.
 There are endless variations to this dish and you can add any veggies you like and even sausage or cooked meats as well. The beauty of this is that it is very cheap to make and you get something like 6 servings out of my recipe.