Ethnic Cuisine Makes Me Tick

I was an executive chef in Manhattan and Los Angeles for years. These cities are home to mom and pop restaurants from around the world. Learning to prepare ethnic dishes from these countries lets me share in their culture and enjoy new tastes. Preparing Caribbean, Chinese, Japanese, Latin, French, Italian is the cornerstone of Simply Gourmet’s cuisine. My wedding fare usually includes specialties from America and around the globe.

Many couples choose menus based on their family’s roots ~ many are requesting food that reminds them of what grandma used to cook. They are searching for tastes that bring them back to a simpler time. Last week we had a challenge ~ a bride from Korea and a groom from Charleston. For the bride, I prepared a traditional Korean barbeque. Thinly sliced marinated, grilled sirloin strips, served with assorted lettuces for wrapping, whole pickled garlic cloves, cilantro, and scallions ~ throw in Kim Chee and Korean good-luck Wedding soup and voila! The Charleston groom was easy ~ gulf shrimp and grits, andouille sausage crusted snapper and biscuits with tangelo butter. There was also an elaborate vegetarian antipasto station that bridged the gap.

One of my favorite dishes is Singapore Noodles. Asian spiced noodles with stir fried vegetables. We serve the noodles separately, so your guests are free to garnish as they wish with scallions, cilantro, peanuts and lime wedges. I like to give guests the opportunity to make dishes their own.

Rule One ~ have fun creating your wedding menu. My first question to the wedding party ~ What do you like eating? That’s the starting point for creating a menu that will make your dream day a reality.

Singapore Noodles
1 Pound Chinese Lo Mein Noodles Cooked Extremely Al Dente
(Available at Asian Grocers)
2 Carrots (Cut in Half Lengthwise/Then Cut Thin on Angle)
4 Stalks Celery (Cut Thin on Angle)
2 Red Peppers (Cut into Large Dice)
2 Yellow Peppers (Cut into Large Dice)
10 Scallions (Cut on Angle into 1 Inch Pieces)
½ Cup Fresh Orange Juice
2 Limes (Zest and Juice)
Roasted Sesame Oil (6 Tbsp.)
Garlic (2 Tbsp/Chopped Fine)
Peeled Ginger (3 Tbsp/Chopped Fine)
½ Cup Soy Sauce
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
5 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce

½ Cup Cilantro Leaves
½ Cup Crushed Roasted Peanuts
6 Lime Wedges

Stir-Fry Vegetables
In a hot sauté pan add 2 Tbsp. sesame oil and all the vegetables. Cook until just tender. Place vegetables in bowl.

Cook Pasta
Cook pasta and drain (don’t cook fully, this way the pasta will absorb the flavors of the citrus/spices and soften). Rinse with cold water to cool pasta/drain well. Place pasta in large bowl and add 3 Tbsp. Sesame Oil, toss lightly. Chill.

Add cooked vegetables to the pasta. Add the rest of the ingredients (except garnish). Toss lightly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Place on serving platter and place bowls around filled with garnishes of cilantro leaves, crushed roasted peanuts and lime wedges.

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