Asia:  Some Secret Underground dining club menu recipes

Grilled or cooked shrimp with East West Pesto:

1 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and seeded
8 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 heaping tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 cup roasted salted macadamia nuts or roasted salted peanuts
Juice of 2 limes
1 cup peanut oil
1 cup fresh cilantro packed
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a blender or food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, sugar, ginger, nuts, zest, and 1 cup of the oil and blend until smooth. Add the basil, mint, and cilantro and blend while slowly adding the remaining oil until a thick purée is formed. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a tightly covered jar and refrigerate.

Meanwhile grill medium size shrimp. Mix them with the pesto when ready to serve. ( Warm or cold)

Vegetable Stir fry:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or purple onion
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1-2 thumb-size pieces galangal OR ginger, sliced into thin matchstick pieces
  • 1/2 to 1 small fresh red chili, sliced, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 medium-size carrot, sliced
  • 5-6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced, or left in halves or quarters
  • optional: 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 2-3 cups baby bok choy, or other Chinese cabbage (leaves left whole if not too large, otherwise cut in half or thirds)
  • handful fresh Thai basil
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or other vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2+1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 3+1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/3 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (chili flakes)
  • 2+1/2 tsp. brown sugar

 Blue Ginger Spice Cake with Cardamom Cream

  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flower
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup minced candied ginger, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, and stir to blend.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, egg, oil, molasses and ginger. Using an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the mixture until well blended. With the machine running, add the water and mix to incorporate. Remove the bowl from the machine and fold in the dry ingredients by hand until well incorporated.

Spray eight 4-ounce ramekins or a round 8-to-10-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and fill with the batter. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the individual cake(s) come out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. If using the cake pan, bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the cream. In a chilled bowl, combine the cream, brown sugar and cardamom, and whip until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate.

To serve, allow the cakes to cool to room temperature (or serve them warm) and unmold into 8 serving plates or plate. Garnish each cake with a dollop of the cream and the mint leaves.

Thanksgiving 2011

Chestnut stuffing

  • 1 1/2 pounds country bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 4 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/8 inch thick and diced
  • 1 small rosemary sprig
  • 1 dried chile de árbol or other dried red chile, stemmed and broken in half
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise and finely diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 10-ounce vacuum-packed jar of chestnuts, very coarsely crumbled
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Spread the bread in a single layer and toast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown. Let the croutons cool, then transfer to a bowl. Leave the oven on.

In a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over moderate heat until fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar or spice grinder; coarsely grind.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over high heat, stirring, until crisp, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to moderate, add the rosemary and chile and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion, fennel, fennel seeds and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly caramalized, about 8 minutes; discard the rosemary and chile. Stir in the lemon zest and add to the croutons.

Set the skillet over high heat. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Pour the hot stock mixture over the croutons and toss well.

Wipe out the skillet. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter and the chestnuts and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chestnuts to the stuffing, season with salt and pepper and let cool completely. Add the eggs and parsley and toss well.

Transfer the stuffing to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and dot the stuffing with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until crisp on top. Serve hot.

 Pumpkin and Apple Tart with Ginger and Amaretto

for the shell

  • 1 1/2 cup ap flour

  • 2 tbsp sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

  • 1 stick Plus 1 tbsp unsalted diced and chilled butter

  • 5 tbsp cold water


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin pure
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 2 Northern Spy apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/8″ thick
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp amaretto

To make the tart shell combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a food processor. Mix. Add the butter and pulse till pea size pieces. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and drizzle on the water. Knead in the water and add more if it seems dry.  Refrigerate for about an hour.   Pre heat  oven to 400. Roll out the dough an a lightly floured surface and fit in an 11 inch tart shell. Trim the overhang. Line the shell with foil and fill with dry beans. Bake for about 5 minutes or till brown.

Prepare the filling in a large  bowl using an electric mixer. Beat the eggs with the brown sugar for about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, cream, fresh ginger, vanilla, butter,1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice and cinnamon.

Pour the pumpkin custard in the cooked shell. Overlap the apple slices in circles over the pumpkin filling. Bake for about 1 hour at 375 till apples are tender and golden brown


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