Talk Food Festival: Reed Alexander

Posted on Sep 26, 2013 10:45am

Actor and cookbook author Reed Alexander joined the ladies of THE TALK for The Talk Food Festival. He showed the ladies how to make an easy and tasty Asian-inspired meal.  Here are the recipes!


YIELD: 8 wraps

Sunday night means Chinese food in our house! Rather than ordering in, we whip up this quintessential take-out staple, but without all of the fat and sodium that hide in the version you get from the Chinese restaurant.

1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth, divided

1 ½ tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 cup sliced button mushrooms

1 cup bamboo shoots

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup bite-sized broccoli florets

¼ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

8 (6-inch) tortillas (100 percent whole wheat), warmed/toasted lightly if desired

Heat a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and the garlic powder. Add ¼ cup of the broth plus 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining ½ tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté about 1 minute, until lightly browned. Add the soy sauce and remaining ¼ cup broth. Add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots, and broccoli. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 7 to 8 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan along with the scallions and hoisin sauce. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Divide evenly among the tortillas and roll each tightly into a cylindrical shape. Garnish with sliced scallions and serve.


YIELD: 6 servings (about 6 dumplings per serving)

These Vegetable Dumplings are my take on classic Dim Sum. I had so much fun creating this recipe. It features envelope-shaped dumplings made from wonton wrappers, which become translucent when steamed—a great cooking method that requires no fat. Once cooked, the vibrant colors of the vegetables show through ever so slightly. Mini masterpieces!

¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger

2 large egg whites

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup grated carrots

½ cup finely grated red Napa cabbage

½ cup shelled edamame

½ cup diced water chestnuts

1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced

¼ cup cilantro leaves

1 package miniature (2-inch) square wonton wrappers (35 total)

In a food processor, pulse the broth, soy sauce, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, egg whites, salt, and pepper until smooth.

To make the filling, in a mixing bowl, combine the carrots, cabbage, edamame, water chestnuts, bell pepper, and cilantro. Pour about half of the mixture from the food processor over the vegetables.

Place 1 wrapper on a work surface and lightly brush the edges with water. Spoon 1 ½ teaspoons of the filling in the center, draining excess liquid before adding to the wrapper. Fold 1 corner of the wrapper over the mixture, followed by the opposite corner, to create an egg roll shape that is open at the sides. Fold the remaining 2 corners over each other and press down firmly to seal the wrapper tightly. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling to make a total of 35 dumplings.

Fill a large sauté pan with high sides with about ½ inch of water. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place the dumplings in a single layer in a metal or bamboo steamer lined with parchment paper and place the steamer in the pan. Cover and steam the dumplings about 12 minutes, until the wrappers are glossy and slightly translucent and the vegetables are tender. Carefully remove the dumplings to a plate. Repeat to steam all the dumplings, refilling the pan with water as necessary. Serve with the dipping sauce.


YIELD: Approximately 1 cup

1 cup cilantro leaves

½ cup thinly sliced stalks lemongrass

¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup water

In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients until smooth. Serve alongside the dumplings for dipping.


YIELD: 16 kewlers

These delicious, refreshing "kewlers" are the perfect way to bring down the temperature on a hot summer day. While many coolers are loaded with sugar, I rely on agave nectar, an all-natural liquid sweetener that's similar to honey in viscosity, but less assertive in flavor. The waiting game begins once you put the mixture in the freezer, but the fun starts when you scrape it up with a fork into an airy Italian ice. I like to keep a backup batch of this on hand in the freezer—it'll revitalize you when the mercury starts to rise!

1 cup light agave nectar

3 ½ cups boiling water

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice

8 lemons

8 limes

16 small mint leaves, for garnish

In a large heatproof and freezer-proof bowl, whisk the agave nectar into the hot water until it has completely dissolved. Add the lemon and lime juices and whisk until incorporated.

Slice a small portion off the bottom of each lemon and lime so that they can stand vertically on their own. Slice a larger portion off the tops and hollow out with a melon baller until no flesh remains inside the fruit. Set aside.

Once the lemon-lime mixture is frozen, remove form the freezer and scrape it repeatedly with a spoon or the tines of a fork until the result is a light, fluffy ice.

Spoon the icy lemon-lime mixture into the lemons and limes and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately, while they're chilly!

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