Monday, September 21, 2009

Spicy Tofu with Snow Peas

Let the joyous news be spread! After years of fighting with the Lords of the Tofu, I have finally defeated them. Good grief, for the life of me I could by extra firm tofu, extra extra firm tofu or a frickin' cement block, and if I put it in my wok the damn thing would break apart and become tofu dust.

But today, by merging wisdom found on the Internet with wisdom found in the head of my friend Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, I finally succeeded in making tofu, that kept its shape, and was so damn good that David and I cleaned out the wok, and there wasn't a bit of roasted garlic or a fleck of tofu essence left in the pot.

I had to summon massive self control to not lick the wok before cleaning it. It was just that damn good.

So here is this weeks HIGHLY nutritious and HIGHLY delicious from The Fairy Chef, who shall also be known as Emperor of Tofu, Defender of the Bean Curd, Lord of Soy.

Spicy Tofu with Snow Peas

1 package of extra firm tofu (I bought the package with garlic and black pepper in it already)
2 tbsp peanut oil
Non-Stick Veggie Spray
1/4 lb Snow Peas
4 cloves garlic
4 tbsp Brandon's Shut Your Mouth Sauce (optional--recipe can be found on this blog)
Seasoning Salt

First of all, open the tofu package and drain out all of the liquid. On a cutting board, first cut the tofu into thin strips, then slice those strips into squares that are roughly 1/2 and inch on each side.

Next, lay out the pieces of tofu, closely together side by side, on a clean dish towel. Next cover the tofu with the other the other half of the dish towel. Place a heavy glass baking dish on top of the towel containing the tofu. This will soak up extra moisture from the tofu. Believe me...this made all the difference in the world. Leave it covered and pressed for about 10 minutes.

While all that business is going on, pre-heat your oven to about 450 degrees. You can also mince the garlic and wash your snow peas and set aside.

After about 10 minutes, uncover the tofu. Spray a large baking pan with your non-stick vegetable cooking spray. If you don't have the spray, you can grease the pan using butter or olive oil that you dab on a paper towel. But, you will cut down on fat and calories by using the spray.

Lay the tofu in the pan. Next sprinkle the tofu with seasoning salt. Then, sprinkle the tofu lightly with Brandon's Shut Your Mouth Sauce.

Place the tofu in the oven, uncovered for five minutes. Flip the tofu and let bake for another five to seven minutes.

After you've turned the tofu, place your walk or large skillet on the stove. Heat the peanut oil in the wok until it is piping hot. Add the garlic and let it caramelize (don't add anything else to the wok until you see the garlic start to brown around the edges). Then, to the oil and garlic add your tofu. With a spatula flip the tofu as it fries in the oil. Do this for about three minutes and then add the snow peas. Continue to flip the mixture (DO NOT STIR...FLIP LIKE PANCAKES!) for about five minutes. I like my snow peas still kind of crunchy, if you like yours less crunchy, then fry for about eight minutes.

Remove the stir fry from the heat and serve with brown rice. If you want to take up the heat a notch, set out a bottle of Sri Racha sauce, or, as I recently learned that some people call it, "Rooster" Sauce because of the rooster on the bottle.

It is damn good, and you can make this entire dish, that fed two voracious people or non-gluttons for $5-$7.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Announcing the Fairy Chef Cooking Lesson Series

So, in the last few weeks I have been asked to both go into a persons home and prepare a meal for a dinner party and also to provide cooking lessons.

While I am not yet ready to launch my private chef services (hehe)...I am going to offer a once a month cooking class.

The first class will be offered on Saturday, October 10th from 3pm-5pm.

Space is limited to four people.

We will prepare two main courses, a vegetarian and a meat dish.

All recipes used will be taken from the Fairy Chef blog and will cost less than $20 to make to feed a family of four.

The cost for the class will be $40 and will include dinner!

So, bring your notebooks and your aprons. We will start each recipe from the beginning and eat what we cook. This class is perfect for folks that want to learn how to make quick, tasty, nutritious meals. I am not a trained chef...I am a boy that likes to cook, and I am going to show you my secrets.

Sign up for the class today by responding to this message or by sending an email to Please place Fairy Chef Cooking Class in the subject line.

Currently the class is open only to folks in New York, but I hope to start a webcast of the lessons in the future for folks that can't be present and at a lesser cost (since you don't get to eat dinner with us).

The Fairy Chef

Vegetarian Saffron Fried Rice

Last night, I finally perfected my vegetarian fried rice. I threw a surprise birthday party for David. David doesn't eat anything that flies or crawls on land, so I was limited to fish and vegetarian cuisine. I cooked up a whole mess of mussels (recipe to come), and my vegetarian fried rice. The food was delicious, the people were delicious, and I was asked if I would be willing to do cooking lessons.

Watch for the announcement for the new Fairy Chef Cooking Series coming your way next month.

Until then, here is the recipe for the Saffron Fried Rice.

Vegetarian Saffron Fried Rice

3 cups White or Brown Jasmine Rice
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/2 lb snow peas
1 large red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1 bunch of scallions
1/4 cup Brandon's Shut Your Mouth Hot Sauce (optional)
1 package button mushrooms
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 packets Sazon Goya con Azafran (Goya Seasoning with Saffron)

This recipe is a two step process. The first step is to cook the jasmine rice according to the instructions on the packet. My trick to ensuring that the rice is cooked perfectly is to use 1/2 cup LESS water than the cooking instructions recommend.

Cook your rice and then stick it in a tupperware container and put in the fridge for two hours. This cools the rice and ensures the rice will have a stronger texture when cooking (it keeps the rice firm instead of getting mushy).

Next dice your bell pepper into bite size pieces. Slice the button mushrooms length wise. Wash the snow peas. Set aside.

Mince the garlic, jalapeno, and scallions. Set aside.

Once the rice is chilled, heat the peanut oil in a large skillet or a wok. Peanut oil has a higher heat threshold before burning than regular vegetable oil and olive oil, and since we want the food to cook quickly at high heat using other types of oil is not recommended.

Throw the garlic, jalapeno, and scallions into the woke. Let them fry up (stirring them) for about five minutes. We want the strong flavor of the oil to be mellowed by the garlic, etc. Next, add the bell peppers, mushrooms and snow peas. Add the soy sauce at this point. Cook the vegetables until the mushrooms are almost wholly cooked. Add the Shut Your Mouth Sauce to the mix and stir for another minute.

Then add the jasmine rice. Stir the rice into the vegetables. Add the Goya seasoning. The rice will turn bright yellow at this point, make sure the entire mixture is thoroughly mixed together and the rice is heated to sizzling hot.

Shut down the heat and pull out a bowl and your appetite, cuz it's ready to eat. Salt to taste.

This fried rice was so good, I almost didn't get to eat any last night. And it was gone before anyone could get seconds. Though they sure did ask for some. This whole she-bang will set you back a grand total of about $6-$8. It feeds four people to fed 10 people just enough to tease 'em.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Basil and Garlic Turkey Burger

So tonight, I was in the mood for a burger. Since I have been paying homage at the altar of the Gym Bunny Gods, I have been trying to stay far far away from red meat. I found, long ago, that turkey burgers are just as satisfying when the Burger Craving comes over me.

On our way home from our barber Marcello aka Butterfly Kisses tonight, we swung by Westerly's where David picked up some mac and cheese, and then we headed to Gristede's where I grabbed some turkey burger and locally grown fresh green beans.

Lemme tell ya...once we got was already 8, and I was starving. I had eaten my lunch right around 1pm, and I was ready to snatch off one of David's legs, throw some salt on it, and call it a Jeffrey Damer Cook Out.

Instead, I made this:

Basil and Garlic Turkey Burger

1 lb Ground Lean Turkey
4 Cloves Garlic Minced
8 Fresh Basil leaves minced
1 Jalapeno diced
2 tbsp Sri Racha Sauce or Tabasco Sauce
1 tbsp butter

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the butter. Make three or four patties from the mixture and set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the burgers to the pan. Cook thoroughly...this is turkey and not NOT eat it undercooked.

Serve on a bun with a side of steamed vegetables or, as I prefer it, serve it without a bun with a side of steamed veggies and jasmine rice.

This is a great, lean meal that is very filling and damn delicious. I spent a grand total (with the green beans) of $6 at the store tonight. You can easily feed a family of four, with this recipe, for $5-$8.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Brandon's Shut Yo Mouth Hot Sauce


I am not responsible for what happens during preperation, at the moment of consumption, or the moment of excretion when your booty hole swells up and starts singing.

But damn this shit is good.

I love spicy food. I mean I LOVE spicy food. I like my tongue to be on that razor sharp edge between love and pain, hurt and heaven. When it comes to spicy food, I am way into S/M. Now, I have, a couple of times, surpassed my comfort zone and had to use my safety word. I will never again try to be bold enough to eat West Indian or Sri Lankan food like a native. Those two cuisines had me callin' on foreign gods and sprouting sweat fountains out of the back of my head. But short of those types of fires...I like it HOT HOT HOOOOOOTTTTTTT!

When I was a kid, I remember visitng my Pinoy relatives in Texas. My step-Grandmother had a hot sauce she made by soaking hot peppers in vinegar. Then, she would sprinkle the vinegar over rice and meat at the a Pillipino version of tabasco sauce. But waaayyyyy better.

I took it up a notch. This is my version of that recipe. BTW, this sauce is completely vegan, so there is equal opportunity for both carnivores and herbivores to thoroughly cleanse out the lining of their colons.

Brandon's Shut Yo Mouth Hot Sauce

6 Habanero Peppers
25 Serrano Chiles
20 Finger Peppers
40oz white vinegar
6 garlic cloves
1 tbsp raw sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tbsp garlic salt
1 large mason jar or jar with a sealable lid

First things first, if you are not used to working with peppers this hot you should think about wearing gloves when handling the peppers. Once you start cutting into the peppers, if you are not wearing gloves, do NOT rub your eyes or scratch any sensitive parts of your anatomy. I barely scratched my upper lip while making this last batch and it tingled uncomfortably for an hour. In the past, I have made the mistakes of scratching the family jewels...and let's just say I thought about becoming a eunuch.

First of all, pour the salts and sugar into the bottom of your jar.

Then, begin slicing your peppers. Start at the tip of each pepper and cut small circular pieces from the tip to the stem. Once your peppers are all sliced, alternate the various types of peppers and put them into the jar. Once all the peppers are in and you have admired the bright red, orange, yellow, and green of the quasi deadly concoction, add to the jar the white vinegar.

Finally, peel your garlic cloves, smash the garlic with the flat of your knife and cut into large pieces. Add the garlic to the jar.

Then, with a large wooden spoon, stir the contents of the jar together until thoroughly mixed.

Seal the jar and sit on a shelf for a week. You can let it sit for a longer or shorter amount of time at your discretion. The longer you allow the hot sauce to sit, the hotter it will be.

After a week, leaving the peppers in the jar, scoop out some of the vinegar mixture to use to spice your food when cooking it or afterwards to give it that final spicy edge.

This will make quit a bit of hot sauce. You can easily pour the larger bottle into smaller bottles for ease of use or for gifts. To make a ginormous jar of the hot sauce (which should last you a good six months to a year)...the total cost is $10-$11.

PS Here is a great article from the Smithsonian Magazine that I received from my college alum Lee Dunham Sessions...thanks Lee.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stir Fried Pork in Black Bean Sauce Boricua Style

So this is the poor man's version of a quick stir fry with a "black bean" sauce. It's real good like. Now, if you are allergic to MSG or just don't like can axe the GOYA Seasoning I include in the recipe. But let me tell you, we called this stuff "yum sauce," when I studied abroad at the UPR. It was also at the UPR that I discovered my love of Puerto Rican/Asian fusion style cooking. This is a rather quick recipe...I got home at 7:15 tonight, and I was eating by 7:50. To make the recipe go faster, before you start prepping the stir fry, start your rice cooking. By the time your rice is done (I used medium grain white rice tonight), your food should be done. If you are using brown rice, then start your brown rice, and wait about 15 minutes before starting to cook the stir fry...otherwise the stir fry will be done way before the rice is.

Stir Fried Pork in Black Bean Sauce Boricua Style

1 package pork chops
1/4 red onion
4 cloves garlic
1 can GOYA black beans
2 cups fresh green beans
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
3 jalapeno peppers
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 package GOYA Sazon con Azafran (Saffron)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

First slice your pork into strips and set aside.

Break the tips off the green beans, then snap beans in half. Set aside.

Then dice your onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapenos. Heat the olive oil, add the onion, garlic, cilantro, and peppers and stir fry for about two minutes.

Add the pork to the mixture. Stir fry for about one minute.

Add the soy sauce, red pepper, and Sazon packet to the mixture. Stir fry for about 10 minutes. Open the can of black beans and dump the contents into the wok. Cook for another five minutes.

Add the green beans to the concoction, and let cook another five minutes.

Slap that deliciousness over some rice, and serve it up!

Depending on the cut of the pork chops you get (I got thick center cut tonight, which was a little more expensive), this whole gourmet explosion should run you about $6-$9 and feed two to four people.

Sweet and Spicy Party Wings

Growing up I lived for my Mama's chicken. Fried chicken, smothered chicken, baked chicken, roasted chicken, if it had chicken in it, I knew it was fixin' to be fierce. Hell, my Mom's chicken was so good, chickens would stop by the house and asked to be cooked up by her.

Now, pale as my Mother is...she cooks soul food better than most black folks that grew up in the South. Her fried chicken was out of control, and her fried chicken wings made you see visions of the Virgin Mary. She also made a baked chicken that she covered in soy sauce and honey, and it would come out sweet, moist, and many of my lesbian friends like their women.

Seeing as I have tried to stay away from Crisco and its accompanying health problems as an adult, but recognizing that I love me some chicken wings, I decided one day to use my Mom's honey/soy sauce glaze on some wings.

The result was soo good that I had a roommate that would just come home from work with a package of wings and a hopeful smile.

Over the years I have added a bit of this and that to the recipe. For my birthday party this last weekend, I marinated and baked 8lbs of chicken wings for the party. At only $1.99 a pound, I got away with enough chicken for thirty people for less than $20, and there wasn't nary a piece of chicken left up in the house when it was over.

Here's the secret recipe.

Sweet and Spicy Party Wings

1 to 2lbs fresh or frozen chicken wings/drummies
1 Cup Honey
2 Cups Soy Sauce
1 tsp garlic salt
5 or 6 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper

For cheapness a couple bags of the frozen wings at Cub or Rainbow and make sure they are thawed out.

Spread them out in a large cake baking dish. Something that has some depth to it.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium size microwave safe mixing bowl, pour about a cup to two cups of honey...depending on how many wings you want to make.

Nuke that for about 20-30 seconds so the honey melts.

On standby have about two to three cups of soy sauce. Mixed in with the soy sauce you should have some minced garlic...if you mince it yourself mince five or six cloves. If you buy the preminced the stuff in water and not olive oil and use about three heaping table spoons.

Once the honey comes out of the microwave add the soy sauce and garlic to the bowl.

Then evenly pour the honey/soy sauce mixture over the wings in the cooking pan/pans.

Sprinkle the crushed red pepper, pepper, garlic salt, and seasoning salt over the wings.

Then add about a half cup water to the bottom of each pan. This will keep the soy sauce from scorching.

Make sure the wings are thoroughly covered with the sauce....and pop in the oven for about 40 minutes. Check them from time to time to make sure that the soy sauce isn't burning on the bottom of the pan, and add more water to the bottom of the pan if it looks as if it is going to dry up.

Turn the wings about 10 minutes into the deal and then turn them again after 10 minutes.

Pull 'em out and serve 'em up.

This recipe will easily feed six to eight people if eaten as an appetizer. Serve them with brown rice and vegetables for a meal and you can feed four to six people. Either way, the entire cost of this meal should run you about $6-$8.

PS For every pound of wings you add...add another 1/2 up of soy sauce and 1/2 cup of honey. The rest of the ingredients are really to taste.