Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Wong in The House


Lee Anne Wong has done many great things in her time as a chef. After leaving her path headed toward a fashion career, Lee Anne did an about-face and enrolled at The FCI. (Fashion and food. We get it.) From there, Lee Anne worked in the events department at The International Culinary Center (home of The FCI), first as the assistant chef and then as the executive chef of event operations, and she made a run at the Top Chef title in season 1, which eventually lead her into the role of culinary producer for the show.


Lee Anne has since left Top Chef and The FCI but keeps herself constantly busy with numerous projects and traveling. And although she is no longer working full-time at the school, we are lucky enough to have her back from time to time as a guest chef-instructor and for demos. Lee Anne recently teamed up with House Foods to do a tofu demonstration at the school. Lee Anne used a variety of Japanese ingredients along with tofu, which she applied to her versions of three classic dishes from three very different cuinsines: Middle Eastern, Japanese, and Italian. Each sample was as delicious as the last, although I may have a personal soft spot for the falafel. Lee Anne managed to use tofu with perfect elegance in all her recipes, showing off its unique qualities and value in the kitchen.


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House Tofu Edamame Falafel with Tofu Meyer Lemon Tahini
Chef Lee Anne Wong for House Foods America
serves 6 to 8
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 block House Foods Super Firm Tofu, pressed,
drained, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt
black pepper, freshly ground
vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups baby arugula
1 cup medium asparagus, thinly sliced on the bias
Pickled Shallots (recipe follows)
Tofu-Meyer Lemon Tahni (recipe follows)
toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)
1. Place the garlic, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds in a food processor. Blend on high speed until the spices and garlic are finely ground. Add the tofu, edamame, onion, parsley, cilantro, flour, and soy sauce. Season and process until the mixture forms a rough paste.
2. Add oil to a deep wide pot to come several inches up the sides; heat to 375°F. Roll the mixture into 2-inch balls. Fry in small batches until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain. Lightly season with salt. Reserve.
3. Whisk vinegar, oil, and honey in a bowl. Season; reserve. Toss asparagus and arugula in a bowl; drizzle dressing over greens. Season lightly; reserve.
4. To serve, plate 3 to 4 falafel on each plate. Spoon tofu tahini sauce over top. Top with arugula and pickled shallots. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Pickled Shallots
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 dried red chile, crushed
1 star anise
pinch of salt
1 cup shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
Bring the vinegar, sugar, spices, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat. Place the shallots in a deep bowl set over another bowl filled with ice. Pour the hot brine over the shallots. Submerge shallots, gently stirring with a spoon. Place a paper towel over the shallots to keep them completely under the liquid. Cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap. Reserve in refrigerator until ready to use.

House Tofu Meyer lemon Tahini
1 block House Foods Soft Tofu
1 cup roasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice, strained
2 Meyer lemons, zested
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt
black pepper, freshly ground
Place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a blender and process until smooth. Season. Add water if tahini is too thick. Place in airtight container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce can be served warm or cold.

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House Tofu Chawanmushi with Salmon and Marinated Tofu
Chef Lee Anne Wong for House Foods America
1 block House Foods Medium-Firm Tofu, drained
3 large eggs
2 cups Dashi (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce skinless, boneless salmon fillet, cut into 1-ounce cubes
Marinated Tofu (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
8 green onion, white parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch honshemeji mushrooms, trimmed and cut into pieces
salt
black pepper, freshly ground
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups romaine hearts, leafy parts trimmed, julienned crosswise
4 ounces salmon roe
4 leaves shiso, cut into chiffonade
1. Place tofu, eggs, dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and salt in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth.
2. Divide mixture evenly among 8 Japanese tea bowls or large coffee cups. Gently place the salmon cubes and marinated tofu evently into each bowl, submerging in the custard. Cover each bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place cups into a steamer. Steam until custard has set (15 to 20 minutes).
3. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan until smoking. Reduce the heat to medium and add the oils to the pan. Add onion and toss to coat. Cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms; season. Cook, stirring often, until lightly colored, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to high. Deglaze pan with soy sauce and cook 30 seconds more, allowing moisture to evaporate. Add butter and as soon as it has melted, stir in the romaine hearts. Cook, stirring often, 15 seconds. Remove from the heat; season.
4. To serve, remove the chawanmushi from the steamer. Remove the plastic wrap. Place a large spoonful of the vegetables on top of each custard. Garnish each with a heaping tablespoon of salmon roe and a pinch of shiso.

Dashi Broth
1 3-inch square dried Kombu (kelp)
1/2 cup shaved bonito flakes
1. Wipe the kombu gently with a damp paper towel. Bring kombu and 3 cups water (preferably purified) to a boil in small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and let steep 10 minutes.
2. Remove the kombu from the broth and discard the kombu. Bring the broth to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the bonito flakes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter. Discard solids. Place broth in an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Marinated Tofu
1/4 block House Foods Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
3 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1. Palce the tofu in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Close and shake to bring the tofu into a single layer. Place in freezer. Let chill for 2 hours.
2. Remove the tofu from the freezer. Thaw. Remove fromt he bag and gently press the tofu between paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Change paper towels as needed. Reserve.
3. Whisk soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and rice vinegar in a bowl large enough to fit the tofu until the sugar has dissolved. Add the tofu and cover with a fresh paper towel to keep the tofu submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight before using.

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House Tofu-Honey
Panna Cotta with Blood Oranges and Pistachios

Chef Lee Anne Wong for House Foods America
serves 8
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup soy milk, room temperature
1 block House Foods Soft Tofu
1/2 cup honey
pinch of salt
Blood Orange Gastrique (recipe follows)
2 blood oranges, cut into sûpremes and extra juice reserved for gastriqueCandied Pistachios (recipe follows)
Fresh mint and tarragon, cut into fine chiffonade (for garnish)
1.
Lightly coat 8 4 oz. ramekins with cooking spray and reserve.
2. Whisk gelatin and sugar in a bowl; reserve. Place soy milk in another small bowl. Gradually add the sugar mixture, whisking, in a slow, steady stream. Let stand 5 minutes.
3. Place tofu, honey, and salt in a blender; blend on high until smooth. Add gelatin mixture; blend until homogenous. Place in a saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Do not let mixture boil. Whisk once more and remove from the heat. Pour into prepared ramekins. Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set (at least 2 hours).
4. To serve, carefully run a knife along the inside edge of each ramekin and invert panna cottas onto serving plates. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of gastrique over each panna cotta; top with a few orange pieces and some candied pistachios. Garnish with herbs.

Blood Orange Gastrique
peel of 1/2 blood orange, peeled into 1-inch strips with a vegetable peeler
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fresh blood orange juice
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the orange strips; cook 15 minutes. Strain. Repeat the process two more times, boiling a fresh pot of water each time. Run the strips under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and cut into thin julienne crosswise to create 1/2-inch long strands. Reserve.
2. Place all the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cook liquid until it has reduced by 70 percent and has a syruplike consistency. Remove from the heat. Stir in the zest. Place in a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve until ready to use.

Candied Pistachios
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of salt
1 cup pistachio nuts
1/4 cup Demerara sugar
1. Heat an oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk granulated sugar, honey, 1 tablespoon water, and salt in a small bowl until smooth. Add pistachios and Demerara sugar and stir to coat nuts.
3. Spread out onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake until nuts are golden brown (8 to 10 minutes). Remove from the oven. Cool completely then break the nuts into small pieces. Place in an airtight container. Cover and reserve at room temperature until ready to use.

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