Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Meal in Taiwan

We made it to Taiwan on Tuesday night!  What a crazy trip.  14 hours over the ocean and here we are in a whole new culture.  It's overwhelming to realize that we'll be living here.  But the food is pulling me through so far.  Yesterday we had lunch at a local chain, Kiki Restaurant which was absolutely amazing.  It won me over.  I think I could get through anything if I could just eat this food every day.  It is a Sichuan place.  Our guide for the day took us here. We ordered four dishes for the three of us.  We got three small bowls of rice and then the dishes came out.  We took a little off the dish and put it in our rice and ate.

They brought out the beef first.  It was tender slices of beef in a red chili broth with bean sprouts and green onions.  The Sichuan peppercorns were intense and had a strange numbing effect on our tongues.  Believe it or not there's beef in that broth!

Next we ate bitter melon with boiled salted egg.  My husband didn't love this one - he has a thing against eggs - but I thought it was delicious.  It sounded a little weird, and it was a little bit of a strange flavor, but it was perfectly salty and bitter.

The next dish was both of our favorites.  Green beans with diced pork, scallions, and chilies.  Fantastically salty and delicious.  Everything had so much flavor!

Finally we had this amazing tofu dish.  It was tofu that was mixed in some way with eggs, making it really creamy inside, like a custard almost.  The outside was fried - not until it was crispy but it was more spongy, kind of like a pancake.  It was drizzled with sesame oil and coriander.

The best part of the entire meal was the rice bowl.  As I kept adding little bits and more broth from the beef it became this delicious stewy mixture of all the dishes.  The last few bites were fantastic.  I can't wait to eat here again!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Moroccan Chicken and a Move

I'm finally posting again! I know I should have posted these pictures a while ago – I think I made this dinner sometime in April - but I’ve been totally consumed with our move to Taipei. It’s getting closer and closer! We get on a plane tomorrow afternoon and begin our new adventure.

But on to the chicken!
 Moroccan Chicken with Saffron Rice, Grilled Vegetables, and Tahini Yogurt

 The Moroccan spice rub was excellent, but the real star was the tahini yogurt sauce.  It was the perfect mix of creamy and tangy to balance the chicken.

Moroccan Spice Rub Recipe 

2 tsp whole cardamom
1 tsp whole cloves
2 dried red chilies
2 tsp whole coriander
 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp turmeric

Grind all whole spices and mix with ground spices.  This recipe doesn't contain any salt so make sure to salt the meat too!  I use this as a rub and like to put it on about an hour before I cook the meat.  Then I just throw it on the grill and it's good to go!

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

1/4 c. plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works best)
1/4 c. tahini 
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt, pepper, cumin
1 clove fresh garlic minced

Mix all together and let sit at least 1 hour before serving

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the Southwest

In two weeks I'm moving from Arizona to Taipei, Taiwan.  I've left the southwest for short spurts before and I've always missed the culture (especially the food!) tremendously.  This time is going to be no different.  It's hard to imagine being able to find proper green chili and chipotles in Asia.  So I'm making as much of it as I can before the move.  Maybe it'll get me through the 8 months we're there.

Chicken Tostada with Avocado Cream and Sour Onions

I'm pretty new to making my own tortillas.  I'd been waiting to buy a tortilla press.  I guess it's just going to have to wait until next year.  It's easy even without the press though.  I just mixed 1/2 cup masa with 1/3 cup water and a little salt, rolled it out into balls and smashed it between the cutting board and the bottom of a pan.  A little thick and uneven but at least I got to eat fresh tortillas!

The rest was easy too - diced chicken, sauteed red onion and jalapeno with a little vinegar and cumin, showered it all with some cotija cheese and mache lettuce.  What more could a girl ask for?

Avocado Cream
8 oz sour cream
1 avocado
1/2 Tbsp Montreal seasoning (or mixture of salt, pepper, fennel, onion flake, garlic flake)

Smash the avocado up the way you would to make guacamole.  Add to the sour cream and mix together with the seasoning.  Great on almost everything!