Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage

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Chicken and Cauliflower Tikka Masala

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Chicken Tikka Masala

Marinade Ingredients:

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot curry powder
1 teaspoon ground tabasco pepper (Cajun Kicker)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (cut up into skewer size pieces)
4 long skewers

Sauce Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 cup chopped cauliflower
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground tabasco pepper (Cajun Kicker)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup half and half or cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

For marinade combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, curry powder, tabasco pepper, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Get your grill going. When grill is ready put chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5-10 minutes on each side, depending on the heat of your grill/coals.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika, hot curry powder, ground tabasco, and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken and cauliflower, and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Commentary: The use of Coussou’s Cajun Kicker Pure Ground Tabasco really gives this traditional Indiana dish some nice Louisiana heat (some other hot ground pepper will do fine as a replacement though), and the cauliflower acts as a curry sponge which is awesome. Also, doing this with skewers really results in a wonderful flavor and tenderness for the chicken if done right.

Inspired by: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-tikka-masala/

Mouthfools Sushi Rolls

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Mouthfools Sushi Rolls

Ingredients:

Sushi rice
Salmon
Salmon roe
Avocado
Crab salad
Cucumber
Jalapeno
Wasabi
Seaweed paper

Directions:

Prepare your sushi rice and prep the remaining ingredients by cutting them into strips. Toast the seaweed paper and cover it with a layer of rice and roe. Flip it over, cover the shiny side of the paper with the remaining ingredients in a line down the center. Using a bamboo mat preferably, roll it on up. (This can be difficult and involve great gnashing of teeth.)

Bulgogi and Crab Rangoon with Garlic Asparagus Chow Mein and White Rice

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Bulgogi and Crab Rangoon with Garlic Asparagus Chow Mein and White Rice

Bulgogi
Ingredients

1 pound rib-eye or sirloin steak
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbs sugar
1 Tb sesame oil (or olive oil)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 an onion (diced or sliced)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Additional options: green onions, ginger, sesame seeds

Directions

Slice the meat very thin, across the grain. This is easier done with the meat partially frozen. Prepare the marinade with the remaining ingredients and massage the meat in it to cover it all. Let the meat marinade in the fridge for at least an hour.

When ready to cook the meat, lay it in a pan with the marinade poured over it and broil till done to your liking. (Around 5-10 minutes)

Recipe used: http://savorysweetlife.com/2009/07/marinade-this-bulgogi-recipe-korean-barbequed-beef/

Crab Rangoon
Ingredients
Makes 10 Crab Rangoon

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

1/4 (6 ounce) can crabmeat, drained and flaked

1/2 green onion with tops, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon light soy sauce

10 wonton wrappers

1 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Heat vegetable oil in wok. Combine garlic, cream cheese, crab, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a bowl. To prevent wonton skins from drying, prepare only 1 or 2 rangoon at a time. Place 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each wonton skin. Moisten the edges with water and fold the wonton skin diagonally to form a triangle, pressing edges to seal. Moisten one of the bottom corners. Create a crown by pulling both bottom corners together and sealing.

Drop in hot oil and turn after 30 seconds. Cook until lightly brown. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Inspired by: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Crab-Rangoon/?scale=2&ismetric=0

Sweet and Sour Sauce
Ingredients
1/3 cup white or rice vinegar (Note: rice vinegar gives better results)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Directions

Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce together and bring to a boil in a small pot. Reduce to thicken.

Inspired by: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/sauces/r/sweetandsour.htm

Garlic Asparagus Chow Mein
Ingredients
10 stalks of asparagus
Olive oil
1/2 tbsp of Sriracha sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
Fresh ground pepper
Simply Asia Szechwan Garlic Chow Mein Quick Noodles

Directions
Trim ends of asparagus and coat with oil, sriracha, soy sauce, and peper. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for 8 minutes. Prepare noodles according to directions on box. Chop cooked asparagus and toss with noodles.

Fresh Gulf Tuna Nigiri Sushi

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Fresh Gulf Tuna Nigiri Sushi

Ingredients:

2 cups sushi rice
2 cups plus 2 tsp cold water
1/2 cup sushi vinegar
1/2 pound fresh Gulf tuna
Wasabi paste

Rice Directions:

Soak rice in bowl of cold water. Stir the rice around with your hands until it becomes cloudy. Pour the water out and add fresh cold water. Continue this process until water remains clear when stirred. This could take as long as 30 minutes or more. No shortcuts! Once rice is sparkly clean, pour rice into pot with 2 cups of water. Cover pot tightly with lid and heat on medium high until steam comes out. Do not remove lid during this process. Turn heat to high for two minutes. Then, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, turn off heat and let stand on cooling burner for 15 minutes. Remove lid and fluff rice. Remove from burner. Place towel over pot and cover with lid. Wait another 15 minutes. Rice is now ready to be seasoned.

Pour rice into large plastic or glass bowl, not metal as it will react with the vinegar, and add vinegar while mixing rice with wooden utensil, preferably a bamboo paddle. Fan rice to help it cool. Cover with towel until ready to use.

Tuna Directions:

The fish needs to reach room temp at the same time as the rice, so make sure to remove it from the fridge when you start to prepare the rice. Rinse the fish under cold water and place on a folded paper towel or actual towel, over a tray of ice or one of those fake ice brick things that go inside coolers. You want the fish to stay cool but not too cool. When the rice is seasoned and cooling, cut the tuna into slices about a half of an inch thick or so, across the grain of the fish. Use a sharp blade and wipe it between each slice. You are now ready to form the nigiri sushi.

Nigiri Sushi Directions:

Pour some water and vinegar into small bowl. This is for your hands. Dip your hands into it, coat them, then shake your hands a couple times. Do this before each time you form the sushi. Take a portion of the rice, about meatball size, and place it in the palm of one hand. With the first two fingers of your other hand, press the rice into your palm to form a rounded rectangle. Flip into other hand and smear a stripe of wasabi over it, then cover that with a piece of fish. Press and shape to your liking and place onto a plate. Repeat this until out of fish. Form remaining rice into balls. Sushi rice balls are awesome.

Commentary: This turned out far better than either of us expected. It only cost $7 for the fresh tuna, and it would have cost like $50 in a restaurant for the same 14 pieces of nigiri sushi, that would usually not be as good, unless the place was awesome and happened to use the exact same rice to fish ration I prefer. This meal was a big win all around.