Garlic Recipes

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Tofu Stuffed Bitter Melon (Kho Qua Nhun Tau Hu) Recipe

Khổ qua nhưn tàu hũ, tofu stuffed bitter melon is similar to dishes you might have seen at Chinese or Vietnamese restaurants. The difference is that it's usually shrimp paste instead of tofu (tàu hũ) and eggplant or button mushrooms in place of the bittermelon, called cà tím nhưn tôm ("eggplants with shrimp paste" in Vietnamese). I made my own blend of ground tofu paste with fried tofu and vegetarian ham to resemble the color of shrimp paste. I then stuffed the mixture into the bittermelon rounds and steamed the vegetables. For more flavor, I pan-fried the tofu filling then braised the dumplings in sweet pineapple hoisin sauce.

I love this dish because it's so flavorful and the texture of the tofu is very similar to meat. My husband Lulu, who’s a vegetarian, really likes it even though he isn’t into meat substitutes. It just proves that there’s more to vegetarian and vegan cooking than just silken and firm tofu!


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Ricotta Pasta with Chimichurri Recipe

Ricotta Pasta with Chimichurri

03.03.10 by Jackie

I love chimichurri sauce. The bright green color and subtle spiciness are perfect with steamed fish or grilled skirt steak. I've wanted to incorporate this delicious green sauce into a vegetarian dish for some time now to share with my husband Lulu.

So, I made a dish of fettuccine pasta with a creamy white sauce and served it with a little chimichurri sauce. The creaminess of the white sauce is made with ricotta cheese and it matches wonderfully with the garlic and herb flavor of the chimicurri. It's a healthy alternative to fettuccine alfredo that doesn't skimp on flavor.


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Olive Tapenade Chicken Rolls Recipe

Olive Tapenade Chicken Rolls

02.01.10 by Jackie

Olive tapenade is extremely versatile and can be used as a spread or filling in many different dishes. You can also use it in place of more traditional party dips such as hummus, guacamole, salsa or roasted bell pepper spread. In this recipe, I added goat cheese to the tapenade and used the mixture as a filling for chicken rolls. I served the dish with a mildly sweet carrot purée that makes an excellent foil to the savory flavor of the tapenade.

If it's not part of your culinary repertoire yet, you should definitely learn to prepare tapenade. It will open up a whole new world of easy to prepare, delectable dishes.


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Veal Scallopini with Garlic Cream Sauce (Escalope de Veau Marsala) Recipe

If you're looking for Valentine's Day dinner menu ideas, Escalope de Veau, sauce au vin Marsala should definitely be on your list. Veal steaks are slightly pounded, dredged in flour and pan-seared until golden. The real key to this dish is the rich and creamy garlic sauce made with Marsala wine. I know, garlic on Valentine's Day seems odd. But food that tastes great will set the mood, and what doesn't taste better with garlic?

I paired the veal with ratatouille, but if you'd prefer a starch, mashed sweet potatoes would make a great choice. The most important thing when preparing a romantic meal is to keep it simple. You don't want to spend the entire evening in the kitchen! Veal scallopini is a safe bet, brings the "wow" factor, and is delicious to boot.

** Note: I've gotten some questions about the thickness of the meat. In France, escalope de veau is usually at least 1-inch thick. I think that Americans are more familiar with the Italian version of the dish where the veal is pounded very thin.


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Stuffed Bitter Melon (Kho Qua) Recipe

Stuffed Bitter Melon (Kho Qua)

01.12.10 by Jackie

Bitter melon (khổ qua in Vietnamese) is a part of many cultures and cuisines. In India, deep fried bitter melon rings (karela) are a common dish. Vietnamese people use the smoother variety of bitter melon, and the vegetable is often prepared steamed or in a broth. In this particular preparation, I filled the bitter melon with tofu, bean thread noodles and wood ear mushrooms, but you could definitely use chicken or pork. I typically pair mine with rice, but you can also serve a simple vegetable broth if you prefer. 

From Wikipedia:

This dish is usually cooked for the Tết holiday as its name: "bitter" reminds people not to forget or disrespect the poor living condition experienced in the past.

Eating shouldn't be a chore, so if you're a little put off by the description, I understand. The taste is very unusual but I think this dish really does taste great though, so I urge you to give it a try.


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