June 10, 2011 § 3 Comments
I’m excited to introduce Chinese Toon. Before this post, I only knew this vegetable/herb by its Chinese name. I have never seen it sold or grown in the U.S. as pictured; only in its dried form and even that is rare. In fact, I didn’t even know what this looked like until a family friend gave us a batch from her garden. It was an exciting day. 🙂
Imagine growing up eating and loving cilantro, but not knowing its name or what it looked like. That’s how I feel about xiang chun. It has a strong distinct flavor with a similar strength as garlic. It can be a great complement to a dish or overwhelming if you don’t like the taste (similar to onion or chives). I can eat it with everything!
It is predominately used in Asian cuisine, mainly Chinese. I have had it with tofu, eggs, stir-fries, noodles, rice and savory Chinese pancakes. All delicious!
Step 1: fold the leaves in half and tear them off the branch from the stem (this will leave the root behind)
Step 2: after washing, mince leaves
Step 3: transfer to container, sprinkle salt to bring out juices, mix and seal (the true flavor of xiang chun will not come out till this step)
You can then save this for future use in tofu, stir-fries, noodles, fried rice or pancakes.
Next time you come across Toona sinensis aka Chinese Toon or 香椿 xiang chun, you’ll know how to use it or at least have a new dish to try at your favorite Chinese restaurant. Be sure to ask for it in its Chinese name, xiang chun. Here’s the wiki page to learn more.
May 21, 2011 § 2 Comments
About the Soup
Arugula, corn and roasted peppers make one of my favorite chopped salads. So why not make a soup?
I wanted to try Tal Ronnen’s Cashew Cream recipe from his book, the conscious cook. Supposedly, raw cashews can mimic the texture and replace cream without altering taste. In the past, I’ve used soy, coconut and almond milk as substitutes for milk. I’ve never used them in savory recipes and I wouldn’t want to. They tasted like what they’re supposed to-soy, coconut and almond.
Could cashews be the answer? I needed to try it.
Cashew Cream Recipe by Tal Ronnen
I followed the recipe as instructed. I have a Vita-Mix blender (pricey, but worth every penny) so it made things a lot easier.
Step 1: Soak raw cashews (I used a 16 oz. bag from Trader Joe’s.)
This is what they look like after being soaked for a few days. The recipe says overnight, but I didn’t get to them till 3 days later.
Step 2: Pour in Vita-Mix and blend until smooth
- 3 ears of sweet corn
- 3 roasted peppers*
- 1 loose cup of arugula (garnish)
- 1 cup of cashew cream
- 3 cups of water
- 2-3 tbsp of olive oil (more for frying arugula)
- spicy olive oil (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
* I used Trader Joe’s pre-made fire roasted peppers.
Step 1: Shave the kernels (I used a knife or you can buy a fancy gadget.)
Step 2: pour olive oil onto a medium heated pan and saute the kernels with some salt and pepper for 5-7 mins until color changes
Step 3: set 2/3 cup of sautéed kernels aside
Step 4: in your Vita-Mix, add sautéed kernels, roasted peppers, cashew cream, 2 cups of water and blend
Step 5: in a large pot, pour mixture and heat; add 2/3 cup of kernels back in (adjust salt and pepper) and stir; use the remaining cup of water to adjust desired creaminess
Step 6: keep soup on very low heat and prepare to make the garnish
Step 1: fill pot with oil 1/2 inch deep
Step 2: after patting dry arugula, drop a few pieces in and fry for 30 seconds each
Step 3: remove and drain on paper towel immediately
This soup was creamy and delicious! There was no after taste. It was a true replacement for cream. I couldn’t believe it! The flavor was amazing!
I encourage you to try this recipe. You will never look at cashews the same.