TAHOE/TRUCKEE — Healthy cooking is moving “full steam ahead” with a myriad of steamer pots, stacked baskets and remarkable steam-enabled appliances with cooking, re-heating and additional capabilities. (Move over microwave!)Inspired by the 2012 Chinese New Year, the “Year of the Dragon,” Chef Rachelle Boucher, Culinary Director at Standards of Excellence, offers three great Dim Sum recipes you can make all year long: Pearl Balls, Salt andamp; Pepper Spareribs, and Steamed Mango and Lime Custards. Conquer steam cooking for a healthier new year by making, wrapping and cooking Dim Sum at home.“Although Dim Sum is often fried, you can make these delicious items in a healthy way by steaming them,” said Chef Rachelle. “Steam ovens, like the Miele Steam Oven or a Thermador Convection Steam Oven, make preparation easy and fun.”Pearl BallsYield: About 26-30 balls, serves 8-10 or more as a part of a buffet3⁄4 Cup glutinous rice (see note above)1 Pound ground pork or beef, or a combination2 Large green onions, finely minced, about 1⁄4 cup1 Tablespoon peeled, minced ginger3 Water chestnuts, minced1 Large egg white1 Tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar or dry sherry1 teaspoon kosher salt1⁄2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper1 teaspoon cornstarchInstructions: 1. Soak rice for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours, preferably overnight. Drain well and spread out onto half of a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure it does not dry out. Prepare two parchment lined steamer baskets or pre-heat your steam oven and line two solid pans with parchment paper.2. Add all remaining ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cook a small amount in a small pan to taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls onto the other half of the sheet pan and roll the balls into the rice to coat well. Place balls about 1⁄2 inch apart into the pans.3. Steam in a pot with simmering water reaching just to the bottom of the steamer, covered for about 25-30 minutes. Replace water as needed. Alternately cook in your steam oven on “steam” setting for 25-30 minutes. Balls are cooked when rice is translucent and meat is cooked through. Serve hot or warm with soy sauce.Steamed Mangoandamp; Lime CustardYield: 4 Custards1 Large ripe mango, about one poundFinley grated zest of one lime1 14-ounce can of coconut milk1⁄3 Cup of superfine sugar2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract2 Large eggsScant amount of butter for greasing ramekinsInstructions: 1. Peel the mango by slicing a flat side onto the bottom and using a vegetable peeler cut from the bottom up and over the top. With your hand on the top and the mango resting on the cut side, slice two full sides off carefully, down along the oval, fibrous pit, removing all flesh. Save one side, cutting it into long, slim wedges. Cut remaining mango into small dice.2. Bring a large pot of water with a steamer inserted into it, to a boil with water reaching just to the bottom of the insert. Grease four 6-ounce heat-proof ramekins lightly with butter and divide diced mango into the ramekins.3. In a large bowl, whisk together the zest, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Turn off heat for a moment and carefully place ramekins into steamer and divide custard mixture among the cups with a ladle or measuring cup. Cover and return pot to simmering. Steam for about 15 minutes or until just set They will remain somewhat soft. Serve with the garnish of slivered mango and an optional sliver of lime. Serve warm or chilled.Salt andamp; Pepper SpareribsYield: Serves 3-4 as an appetizer21⁄2 Pounds of pork spareribs1 Tablespoon kosher salt1 Tablespoon of freshly cracked black pepper or Szechwan peppercorns1 Teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice powderTwo green onions, slivered (optional) Instructions: 1. Rinse, dry and cut ribs into single rib portions. Place ribs on a parchment lined steamer basket into a large pot and pour water to just reach the bottom of the steamer. Bring to a boil on high heat, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and steam for about one hour or until ribs are tender. Alternately cook the riblets in a solid pan in the Miele steam oven for 50 minutes or the Thermador convection steam oven for 50 minutes on “steam” setting.2. In a small frying pan, over medium heat, heat the salt and pepper while shaking the pan until the salt becomes slightly dark in color. Use your fan, this will smoke! Remove to a medium bowl and stir in the Five Spice powder. Set aside to cool, take about 2 teaspoons out for a final seasoning. Pre-heat your oven to 400F, or better yet 375F convection for better browning.3. Drain ribs if needed, cool slightly and season well with seasoning mixture. Place ribs on a parchment lined sheet pan and cook until browned, about 20 minutes, turning as needed. With the Thermador, return seasoned meat to the oven and cook for 20 minutes on “convection with steam” setting. Serve while hot with a final sprinkle of seasoning mixture and an optional sprinkle of slivered green onions.— For more recipes and tips from Chef Rachelle Boucher, please visit www.chefrachelleboucher.com and “like” on www.facebook.com/chefrachelleboucher.
Tahoe dining: Steamed dim sum makes light meals
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