Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Collard Green Wontons

My mother is what I would like think of as a southern belle; well at least she is my southern belle. My meals were mostly based and steeped in southern tradition, fried chicken, greens and black eyed peas are a part of my fondest memories of my mother. She prepared all the meals from scratch, I can still smell her homemade biscuits and the gravy she made from flour and oil and drippings (a roux for the novices out there). Now I think of myself as a capable and rather good cook, but I could never duplicate her greens. Try as I have I could never do it, until one day when my (I hate cooking) wife made a pot of joy. I was overwhelmed with emotions ranging from anger for holding out to joy for throwing down like my mother. With the first bite I closed my eyes and was back at home sitting in the kitchen sopping up the pot liquor with some biscuits or cornbread (let me say from SCRATCH no box mixes here). But I digress I wanted a recipe that could only be compared to some soul in a tiny package resembling a triangle to bring me back to simpler time in my life. OK well not exactly........look here is the recipe!

Oil for frying
5 tbsp oil
1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
3 slices of turkey bacon diced
1 medium onion diced(about a half a cup)
1 tbsp minced garlic
pinch crushed red peppers
8 oz frozen collard greens(thawed and excessive water squeezed out)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup cooked chicken diced(leftover chicken is fine)
corn starch for dusting
25 won ton wrappers/skins
oil for frying

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large sauce pan on medium high heat add about 2 tablespoon of oil. Immediately add the sweet potatoes and sauté for approx 4-5 minutes stirring constantly, add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the skillet in the oven to roast for an additional 10 minutes. Heat another skillet over medium high heat; add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the bacon and sauté until crisp about 2 to 5 minutes. Add the onions and continue to sauté for an additional 3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Place the garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. At this point if needed you can add more oil if necessary, add the collard greens to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the broth and the hot sauce and allow the collards to soak up the broth. The mixture should be relatively dry when complete. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and allow cooling completely. Mix the chicken and the sweet potatoes in with the collards and allow cooling on a plate or a serving tray. Either use a sheet pan or large and flat serving tray covered with wax paper or parchment. Dust it with corn starch to prevent the won-tons from sticking to the tray. Work with no more than 4 to 5 won-ton wrappers at a time to prevent the rest from drying out, cover them with a damp kitchen cloth. Place the won-ton sheets on a cutting board with the point facing you, take a half of a teaspoon full and place in the center of the won-ton. Using either your finger or a small pastry brush wet one half of the won-ton starting at the top and to each side with water. Pickup the won-ton and fold it over to make a triangle, make sure to seal and press out all the air bubbles. Dust the sheet pan with corn starch and place the completed won-tons on the tray and repeat with remaining won-tons. Place oil in a large frying pan and heat to medium heat, when the oil is at temperature add the won-tons. They should take about a minutes per side flip them to ensure even cooking. They should be golden brown. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Honey, Soy and Garlic Broiled Tilapia

I would like to think I eat healthy every single day but that is a pipe dream that I will save for another time. My hope in creating and developing this recipe was a very easy and quick preparation of fish with some Asian flavors that I love. Now my desire would be to create healthy food done fast, but sometimes my focus can lead down the path of fast food right now! Hey I never said I was perfect.

2 cloves of garlic minced
2 scallions (green onions) sliced
1 tsp crushed red peppers
2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
1 lb of Tilapia or any other firm white fish
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Pre-heat the broiler, arrange the rack to be 4-5 inches from the broiler element (for stoves with the broiler at waist level). Place the tilapia in a Ziploc bag or ceramic dish large enough to accommodate all the fish in a single layer. Combine all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Add half the mixture to the fish and marinate for an hour, reserve the rest for later. Line a sheet pan with tin foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Remove the fish from the marinade and place on the sheet pan skin side down. Broil in the oven for 6-10 minutes until the fish flakes easily. Remove form the oven drizzle with the remaining sauce and top with cilantro and serve.
This dish took about an hour and half from start to finish due to the fact that it had to marinate for an hour. I served it with noodles and mixed vegetables to round out the meal. That is four servings at $1.75 per serving.