Friday, December 18, 2009

Dan Dan Noodles

1/4 c peanut oil (or other non-olive oil)
1/2 c toasted peanuts (either buy the very plain toasted ones or toast them in a little oil in a pan)
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/4 inch of ginger, skinned and chopped
5 T soy sauce
2 T water
2 T Sri Racha (as Asian hot sauce that is pretty widely available)
1 T sugar
2 t sesame oil

1 pound ground pork or chicken
2 c chicken stock
1 c slivered carrots
3 baby Bok Choys, or about 2 cups shredded cabbage
Noodles to serves 4 - I used Udon that I found in my grocery store, but you could use other Asian noodles or even fettucine

  • Put all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Saute the pork in a pan large enough to have the noodles and sauce added later.
  • When the pork is done, add the Bok Choy and saute for a couple of minutes, just until the Bok Choy is wilted. 
  • Add the carrots and stock and heat through.
  • Add the cooked noodles (if you're using Udon noodles, don't cook them on the side first, just add them to the sauce and simmer for about a minute). Done.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Slow-cooked Leek and Proscuitto Pasta

4 leeks
3 T butter
1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 c chicken stock
1 c dry white wine
4-6 slices of prosciutto
1 pound rigatoni, penne, or similar pasta
grated Parmesan

  • Prep the leeks by cutting off the root end and the green top (I use the green up until it gets stiff, but leek purists don't use any green). Slice them lengthwise and then into thin half-moons. Leeks can have dirt in between their tight layers so I rinse mine well and then dry them in a salad spinner.
  • In a wide, deep frying pan, melt the butter and heat the oil (the bit of oil keeps the butter from browning). Add the leeks and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes or until you are just starting to see browning.
  • Add the wine and stock and then lay the slices of prosciutto over the top (see the photo above). You can substitute salami or ham, you'll just need enough to cover the leeks.
  • Reduce to a simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Do a couple checks to make sure the leeks aren't sticking, but don't stir in the prosciutto. If it seems like the pan is drying out you can put a lid half on and/or add a little water.
  • Prepare your pasta while the leeks are simmering.
  • Remove the prosciutto and slice it into thin pieces. Stir this into the leeks.
  • Toss the leeks with the cooked pasta, top with Parm. and you're done.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chicken, Green Chile, Tortilla Soup

2 chicken breasts
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 c stock
1 7oz. can of green salsa
2 4oz. cans diced green chiles
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1/2 bunch cilantro (more if you want garnish)
juice of 2 limes
1.5 T cumin
1 T oregano
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
sour cream for garnish

  • Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts, then sprinkle one side with salt & pepper. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a  soup pot (or saute pan if you're going to use a slow cooker) on medium-high heat. Place the salted side of the chicken down in the pan. Now sprinkle the other side with S&P. Brown both sides well, but don't worry about cooking them through. This searing step is optional, but it adds flavor.
  • Remove the chicken (either set it aside or put it in the slow cooker). In the same pan, saute the onions until the edges are starting to brown , then throw in the garlic and saute until it starts to brown also. You  might have to add a little more oil.
  • Toast the cumin by sprinkling it over the onions and garlic and stirring it for a few minutes.
  • Pour a few cups of stock into the pan and scrape all the good browned bits off the bottom.
  • Add everything except the sour cream and half of the tortillas to the soup pot or slow cooker. This soup is best if you put it on early and let it simmer for a couple of hours (I put it on high in the slow cooker while I'm at work all day).
  • When you're almost ready to eat, take the chicken out of the pot and cut it into bite-sized pieces. I like to give it a quick blend with my hand-blender before adding the chicken back in, but that's optional.
  • For a great garnish, spread the remaining 4 tortillas (cut into strips) on a cookie sheet. Drizzle the strips with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Give them a quick toss to coat everything and pop these in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350, or until they're brown.
  • Serve with the toasted tortilla strips and a generous dollop of sour cream.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lemon Lentils

4 cups red lentils (Masoor Dal) picked over for stones
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion sliced and 1/2 an onion diced
4 bay leaves
4 3inch cinnamon sticks
1 diced garlic clove
1 Tbs. fresh grated ginger
1 tps. cayenne pepper
1 lemon - squeeze out the juice, but save the halves
8 cups hot vegetable stock (and maybe more hot water or stock as it cooks)
maybe salt depending on your stock (don't add it until the end because most stock is really salty)

  • Saute the onions in the oil until the edges brown. Add the garlic and saute until it just starts to brown. 
  • Add the ginger, bay, cinnamon, and cayenne and saute for a minute or two to toast the cayenne and get everything hot. 
  • Add the lentils, stock, lemon juice, and squeezed lemon halves. Simmer this for about 45 minutes. You have to stir it sort of frequently so that the lentils don't stick to the pot. 
I often have to add 2 more cups of stock because I like it like a soup. If you want it to be a side dish you just have to stir it more frequently at the end to avoid adding the extra water. I freeze this for lunches later, but it's very important to remove the lemon halves after it has cooked or else they can make all the leftovers bitter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Red Wine Risotto with Mushrooms

Red Wine Risotto with Mushrooms
serves at least 6, but it works well to cut this recipe in half

1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c Arborio Rice, or short-grain sushi rice in a pinch
2 c red wine
6 c chicken stock, simmering
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 T butter
1/2 c Parmesan plus more for garnish
  • In a thick-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 T of the butter until bubbling. Add the onions and saute until they are starting to become translucent.
  • Add the garlic and saute for about 5 minutes more. If things start to brown, turn down the heat a bit and move on to the next step. For the record, risotto doesn't traditionally have garlic, but I like it.
  • Add the rice to the pot and saute until you see one or two grains start to brown. If you don't see that, just saute for 5 minutes and move on. This is a great time to twist in a little pepper, but not salt (it will make the rice tough).
  • Add the wine and stir well. Adjust the heat so that the rice is bubbling well, but not furiously boiling. You should be able to walk away and just give it a stir every 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Now you'll add the heated stock in 1 cup batches when the liquid has mostly cooked off, but the rice isn't sticking to the pan (every 5 minutes or so). I think this is the intimidating part, but you can't really mess it up unless you let it stick and burn. For the first couple of additions you should be able to see the bottom of the pot when it's time to add more. I've also seen recipes that just dump all the stock in and have you stir frequently (they claim to be just as good, but I've never tested this).
  • While the risotto is going, saute the mushrooms in a hot pan with 1 T of butter until they are browned.
  • Before adding the last cup of stock, give the risotto a taste. It should be creamy and thick and the rice should be cooked, but not mushy. You should be able to eat it with a fork. Sometimes I don't need the last cup, sometimes I need 1 cup more.
  • To finish the risotto, add 1 T butter and about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Stir vigorously and the risotto turns creamier and it's done.
  • Now you can add the mushrooms and adjust the salt.

P.S. This basic method works great for a simple (non-purple) risotto as well. Just omit the wine and use 2 cups more stock. You can also skip the mushrooms and add just about any cooked ingredient that suits the mood you're in - asparagus, roasted squash, shrimp, peas, corn and lime, herbs and lemon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Succotash (that turns into soup)

makes enough for 4 to 6 as a side and then there will be leftovers for the soup below
5 ears fresh corn (or 2 cans)
1 pound good ham, diced (I use Black Forest from The Swinery)
4 cloves garlic, diced
5 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut bite-sized
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (or other bean)
Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t thyme
  • Start your potatoes either in a pot of water or in the oven to roast.
  • Saute the garlic in a little olive oil until it just starts to brown. 
  • Add the ham cubes and saute until they have brown edges.
  • Cut the kernels from the corn and add it to the ham along with the peas, cumin, thyme, cooked potatoes, and a few dashes of Tabasco.
  • Saute on medium until the peas are heated through and the corn is cooked, about 10 minutes. Splash in a little hot water or olive oil if your pan is getting dry.
  • You're done.
Soup from the Leftovers
3 cups leftover Succotash (or whatever the equivalent corn & beans & ham would be)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
4 to 6 cups chicken stock
thyme & cumin to taste
1 medium-sized winter squash, peeled and diced (2 -3 cups)
1 cup cream (optional)
  • Saute the onions and garlic in the bottom of a soup pot until the edges are starting to brown.
  • Roast the squash cubes in a 400 degree oven simply by tossing in olive oil, salt & pepper and letting them cook until the edges are brown.
  • Add the leftovers to the pot and cover with chicken stock, adding it bit by bit until it's the consistency you like - you'll be adding the squash to bulk it up, but them cream to thin it again.
  • Once it's all warm enough to taste adjust the seasonings.
  • Simmer this on low for at least 30 minutes (an hour or more would be good if you have it).
  • Stir in the cream about 10 minutes before eating.
  • Serve with buttered toast (always!).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

serves 4

3/4 pound Crimini mushrooms (or white button), sliced
1 1/2 pound top sirloin cut into bite-sized strips
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1 T Dijon mustard
5 T sour cream
1 T paprika
1 t dill
serve with:
  1 pound egg noodles tossed in butter and a pinch of salt
  • Melt 2 T of butter in a high-sided frying pan. Toss the beef with salt & pepper. Cook hot & quick in the butter just until the edges are brown. Remove to a bowl leaving as much butter and juices in the pan.
  • Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan. Add a little more butter or oil if needed, but try not to. Mushrooms will dry out the pan at first, but then they start to release all their juices and you'll be fine.
  • When the mushrooms have started to brown, add the garlic and cook until it is just starting to brown as well. Add this all to the bowl with the beef (this time getting the pan as clean as possible).
  • Now make a roux to thicken the sauce: melt 2 T of butter in the pan and sprinkle it with 2 T flour. Whisk it well until it starts to brown (I like it medium brown, just about the color of caramel). Add the beef stock in a steady stream while whisking like crazy.
  • Whisk in the sour cream, mustard, dill, and paprika.
  • Add all the reserved ingredients and adjust the salt & pepper.
  • Cook the beef, mushrooms, onions, and garlic together until the beef is cooked through and the mushrooms are tender.
  • Add the paprika, dill, half the stock, and half the sour cream. Mix well.
  • Add more sour cream and stock until it is a consistency and flavor you like (without the flour-butter roux it won't be as thick and rich, but it's still yummy).