2010 Chefs’ Challenge – Side Dishes

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The Chef: Stephanie Cheung (Institute of Culinary Education, New York)

When Stephanie Cheung was asked at the last minute for recipe ideas for a Chinese New Year Party for 200 people, this recipe came to mind.

Vegetarian Noh Mai Fun (Chinese Sticky Rice)

Serves 8  Vegan

2 1/2 cups Chinese sweet rice, or glutinous rice

15 dried shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)

1 1/2 Tbs. Chinese cooking wine, such as Shaoxing

2 Tbs. vegetarian oyster sauce

2 Tbs. kecap manis or sweet soy sauce, such as ABC

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1. Rinse and drain rice twice, place in large bowl, and cover with cold water. Soak 12 hours, or overnight. Rinse, and drain.

2. Place mushrooms in bowl, and cover with boiling water. Soak 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking water. Add enough cold water to mushroom soaking water to have 2 1/2 cups. Finely chop shiitake slices, and set aside.

3. Heat oil in large wok over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic, and stir-fry 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add mushrooms, and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in cooking wine, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add oyster sauce and kecap manis, and cook 1 minute. Add rice and diluted soaking liquid, and bring to a simmer. Cover, and cook 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in green onions, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

The Chef: Abbey Florence (Natural Gourmet Institute, New York)

Lifelong vegetarian Abbey Florence has come a long way from the grilled cheese sandwiches and green bean casseroles that were the staple foods of her childhood. She got the idea for this recipe from the early radishes available at the farmers’ market in the spring.

Braised Radishes

Serves 6   Vegan   30 minutes or fewer   Gluten free

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 small bunches radishes, leaves trimmed and reserved

2 tsp. light brown sugar

1/4 cup white wine

2 Tbs. butter

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add radishes, and cook 2 minutes, or until starting to brown slightly, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in brown sugar, and season with salt, if desired. Add wine and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover, and simmer 5 minutes, or until radishes are crisp-tender.

3. Stir in radish leaves, cover, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until leaves are tender. Remove radishes and set aside. Drain leaves, pressing on them to release liquid, and returning liquid to pan.

4. Stir in butter, lemon juice, and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bring mixture to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, or until syrupy.

5. Gently fold radishes and greens into pan liquid, making sure to add no additional water.

The Chef: Leah Matthews (Johnson and Wales University, Providence, R.I.)

Leah Matthews came up with this recipe on the fly, while working as a sous chef and finishing her culinary degree. The day before she went on vacation, she needed a new recipe, grabbed her favorite ingredients, put them together, and created this salad.

Refreshing Quinoa

Serves 12   Vegan   30 minutes or Fewer   Gluten free

1 1/2 cups quinoa

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced (2 1/2 cups)

3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced (3/4 cup)

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

3 Tbs. lemon juice

2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1. Bring 2 qt. salted water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 12 to 14 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and small “tails” bloom from grains.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread pine nuts on baking sheet, and toast 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool, then transfer to large serving bowl.

3. Drain quinoa, and rinse under cold running water. Drain again. Add quinoa to pine nuts, and stir in cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and parsley. Fold in oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

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