Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shallow-fried zucchini rounds

They look a little dark here, but that's a function of questionable photography and homemade breadcrumbs. They aren't burned, they're excellent!

Peter was busy at work making pasta ponza, a Giada Delaurentiis inspired dish. No recipe for it here, all I know is that it involves eggplant. It became my task to provide a green vegetable. At first I thought I’d make my braised broccoli, but changed my mind and decided to recreate one of the only zucchini dishes Peter ever spoke highly of. It consists of 1 ½” rounds of zuke, dredged in flour, dipped in egg and then in breadcrumbs. Then it’s quickly shallow-fried in about 1/8” of vegetable oil.

It may surprise you to know that I last made this on August 8, 2008. How do I know that? Because it’s in my (unpublished) book, “A Year of Food.” Don’t know why I haven’t done this again since. One of the great mysteries of life.

I can report that Peter was as enthusiastic about this as he was over 2 years ago. Me too.

Shallow-fried zucchini rounds (2 servings)
1 zucchini large enough to yield 8 1-½” rounds
kosher salt
black pepper
all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp water
unseasoned bread crumbs, homemade or panko

Trim the ends of the zuke. Cut it in half, across, in the middle. Cut each half in half and then one more time. Now you should have 8 pieces. Put the zuke on a rack over a paper towel and sprinkle each cut side liberally with kosher salt. Let stand 15 – 20 minutes. Wipe the salt off with the paper towel.

Sprinkle the rounds on both sides with some black pepper and paprika. Dredge in flour, dip in egg, and coat with breadcrumbs (just the cut sides as that is all that will come in contact with the sauté pan).

Heat 1/8” vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat (6 on my 1-10 dial). When oil is very hot, fry the zukes about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and hot throughout. The goal is not to soften them in the center, rather let them retain their structural integrity. Serve at once.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pork milanesa

I’m back! The kitchen was mine last night and I made an old favorite of ours, pork milanesa. It’s just a different term for something very much like veal scallopine or Wienerschnitzel. You’ll find it in Mexican places, more often than not made with beef. I’ve never had any success with the beef version – always leathery. But pork, or chicken or turkey? Bingo.

I was dismayed to discover that, while I posted a turkey milanesa and a pork one quite a long time ago, no one read it. Or at least no one commented on it. Therefore I am unashamed to revisit it.

Make note of the absolute essentials for this to be as good as it can be: brine the meat for 3 or 4 hours (2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, to 2 cups water). Rinse it, dry it and proceed; shallow oil – no more than 1/8” – you don’t want it to go over the top of the meat when you put it in the pan; oil must be hot as heck – when you think it’s hot enough, wait another 30 seconds; cook for no more than 45 seconds to 1 minute per side – seriously, trust me on this. Sounds daunting? It isn’t if you just do what you’re told! LOL.

If you buy thin chops, you may be able to pound them to less than ¼” thickness, in which case the 45 second rule applies. If they are thicker and you pound them to ¼”, you can go for 1 minute per side. DO NOT ERR ON THE SIDE OF “GOTTA COOK MY PORK TIL IT’S DEAD”.

You can get away with not brining the chops, but the results will not be quite as succulent. Your choice.

I’ve provided a sample photo of bone-in chops. Some cuts will have a bit more “tail” meat (at the bottom of the chop as pictured). I would separate that from the main part, trim it of fat and turn it into little medallions to cook along with the rest.

Pork milanesa (2 servings)
2 - 8 oz. pork chops, bone in or boneless loin, brined for 3 hours
smoked paprika (or sweet if that’s what you have)
black pepper
salt (only if not brined)
Flour for dredging
1 egg plus 1 tbsp water, lightly beaten
breadcrumbs (homemade are best, but Panko are also excellent – do not use flavored Italian breadcrumbs)

After brining, rinse the chops well and dry them with paper towels. If these are bone-in, cut the bones out.
In a freezer bag or between sheets of plastic wrap, pound until thickness is reduced by half.

Sprinkle with paprika and pepper. Dredge in flour, dip in egg and coat with bread crumbs. Place on a baking rack over a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat no more than 1/8” vegetable oil over medium high (7 on my 1-10 dial). When you think it’s hot enough, wait 1 more minute. Carefully slide in the meat. For ¼” pieces cook exactly 1 minute per side. If they are thinner, reduce the time to 45 seconds per side. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.

Remove to paper towels. Let them sit for a minute, then serve.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quinoa salad with black olives and garbanzos

The redux revolution continues. I'm hoping I get to cook something in the next day or so. In the meantime, please (try to) enjoy another of my older efforts, once again never read or commented on by anyone.
Here's how it went:
I invented this concoction a couple of months ago but only got around to making it 2 days ago. Of course it evolved between conception and execution. This end result is a truly lovely dish to accompany the protein of your choice or just to be a stand-alone lunch (maybe with some crusty bread).

I chose the small olives so that I didn’t feel I had to cut them up – thus saving a little time. It is not essential to toast the garbanzos, but they do take on a nutty tastiness if you do toast them. I love cumin. However, maybe you don’t. Try adding a bit of fresh oregano or thyme or basil or all three.

Quinoa is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Manganese.

Quinoa salad w/black olives and garbanzos

1 14.5 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and dried

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium shallot, minced

1 serrano pepper, ½ seeded, ½ not seeded

2 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup quinoa

1 ¾ cup chicken broth

1 14.5 oz. can small black olives, drained, rinsed, and dried

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

juice of ½ lemon

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped (optional)

Place the garbanzos in a non-stick pan large enough to hold them in one layer. Toast over medium heat until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan. Add the shallot, Serrano pepper and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes or until softened.Add the quinoa and stir to coat. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer slowly about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the quinoa to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.To the bowl add olives, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, and mint (if using). Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Allow to come to room temperature. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slumdog wings redux

We’re almost there in terms of cleaning the fridge of leftovers. Problem is, Peter makes huge quantities of food. Then we’re held hostage to it until it’s gone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all very good food. I just like to move on a little more quickly. So here goes again with a recipe redux. Each of these is something I really felt good about but was not read (or at least not commented on) by anyone. Now that I have more followers I’m pleased to share good stuff with you.

Here’s the latest:

Does that look good or what? The recipe below serves 2 for big appetites as an entree, or 4-6 as appetizers. The perspective of the photo is misleading. These wingettes weren't large, quite small actually, but in the pic they look like legs!
I revisited my previous tandoori-style chicken recipe. There were wings left from my birthday party in April. So I modified the whole thing and prepared them as follows. It’s not essential that you brine it, but I nearly always brine chicken before cooking. Note that after brining no salt is added. If you choose not to brine, add 1 tsp table salt to the dry mix.Slumdog wings

10 chicken wings, tips removed

2 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp sugar

2 cups water

1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp powdered garlic
2 tsp chili powderlime juice

Cut apart the two sections of the chicken wings. Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. Put the wing pieces and brine mix into a freezer bag. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours.

In a bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients except the lime. Put this into a shaker bottle (an empty spice container is perfect).

Remove the chicken from the fridge, rinse and dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife, make a slit in the meatiest part of each wing piece.
Sprinkle the chicken liberally with the spice mix on both sides. Place them on a wire rack over a large plate and refrigerate uncovered for 1-3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 250°. Put the wire rack with the chicken on it onto a baking pan with at least 1” sides. Pour 1 cup water into the pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 2 - 2 ½ hours.

Remove from the oven and turn the heat to “broil.” Leave the oven door ajar so that the heating element does not cycle off. Remove the foil from the chicken. Sprinkle with more of the spice mix on the top side. Broil for 3-5 minutes until the chicken starts to get nice and brown. Turn the pieces over, add spice mix again, and broil for another 3-5 minutes until sizzling and browned.

Remove from oven, tent with foil and allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle with lime juice and serve.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sausage, broccoli and egg casserole

I hadn’t intended to post today, but just felt I wanted to mention this beautiful casserole Peter made yesterday. His motivation was partly inspired by our garden and partly by the turkey sausage we had on hand. Peter’s version is greatly modified from the original, but you can get that original at

From our garden: green and yellow beans, blanched; tomatoes; basil.
From our fridge: leftover gai lan (Chinese broccoli); turkey sausage.
Logical ingredients: eggs, cheese, mascarpone cheese, cottage cheese, onion, salt and pepper, etc.

This is basically a crustless quiche. The proportions of custard to solid matter are absolutely spot on. If you are quiche lover, I think it would be worth a visit to the above site to check out the original recipe.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Garlic gravy redux

This one goes back a year and a half to a weekend when Peter was out of town. Such an experimental dish was a little scary to contemplate using him as a guinea pig on. Oddly enough, even though I adored how this came out, I haven’t made it again. Why? The answer to that is why we have therapists.

Here’s how it went:

For several months I have contemplated making a dish that is garlic, garlic, and more garlic. Finally last night I did it. The idea of so much of the pungent little heads of goodness may be unappalling to some. In the end, it was exactly what I had hoped for.

Garlic gravy
3 heads garlic
olive oil, as needed
1 tbsp butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 stalk fresh thyme
1 serrano chile, halved but not seeded
1 cup corn kernels, thawed if previously frozen
¼ cup heavy cream
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
1 tsp corn starch
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut one garlic head in half across the middle drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour.
Peel 8 cloves from another head of garlic. Set aside.
Peel 3 more large cloves from another head of garlic. Slice them across to about 1/16”.
In a sauté pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Place the garlic slices in the oil and cook until golden but not brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Save the remaining butter and oil in the pan to saute a piece of meat or something else.
Put the chicken broth, thyme, serrano pepper and peeled whole cloves in the sauté pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the cloves are very tender, about 30-40 minutes.Remove the garlic to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. Discard the serrano pepper.
Add the corn to the broth and simmer until very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove to a food processor. Add the cream and puree thoroughly. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing with a wooden spoon. Discard solids.
Return this liquid to the processor, add the roasted garlic (squeeze it) and puree. Put this back in the saute pan. Add the whole peeled garlic cloves, corn starch (dissolve it in a little water first), season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve over your favorite kind of rice or Israeli couscous or orzo pasta.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oven-fried flautas

When I saw Pam’s (of For the Love of Cooking) post of baked flautas I made immediate plans to get them on my table. Last night was my opportunity. I was looking for a way to use up some turkey breakfast sausage we had gotten in the manager’s special bin at Safeway. This was perfect. Of course by using sausage and smoked cheddar I wasn’t exactly being authentic, but I did make (from scratch) tomatillo salsa and guacamole as garnishes. Doesn’t that count for something?

Pam called for you to turn the little “flutes” after 8 or so minutes in the oven. As soon as I did that they started to open up (I hadn’t fastened them with toothpicks). So I left them seam side down for the remaining few minutes of baking. They turned out fine, more than fine actually. Peter made us a side salad of garden fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes. It was a swell meal.

The tube of turkey sausage was a full pound. I knew I didn’t need it all but cooked it all anyhow because it had bumped up against it’s “best if used by…” date. The good news is that we have enough of everything to repeat the meal tonight.

My salsa and guac are deliberately very simple. I like a lot of lime flavor in the guac. I didn’t make either of these spicy at all, just nice, nice, nice. You could certainly use a good jar of Mexican salsa, but they don’t put guacamole in cans – you’ll have to make it yourself. It’s easy.

Flautas (with a nod to Pam) (makes 6)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz. turkey sausage
1 cup grated cheese (any kind you like, we used smoked cheddar)
flour tortillas
cooking spray

Heat the oil over medium in a large skillet. Add the sausage and sauté until no longer pink, breaking the sausage up gradually as it cooks. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking pan with cooking spray. Assemble the flautas by putting cheese and turkey on each tortilla (not quite in the center, closer to you). Roll them up tightly, tucking the filling under. Spray all over with cooking spray. Bake for about 15 minutes until crisp and hot throughout. Serve with salsa and guacamole.

Tomatillo salsa
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ large onion, diced
4 tomatillos, diced
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
garlic powder
salt and pepper
½ cup chicken stock

Heat the oil in a sauce pan or sauté pan. Add onion, tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic powder and salt and pepper (all 3 to taste). Saute, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes until everything is softened. Add chicken stock and simmer over very low heat until all of the liquid is gone. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

2 avocados
juice of 2 limes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chile powder
½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the avocados and dice them into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mash the whole thing up. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mushroom soup redux

Bad picture, sorry.

Another day, another redux. We had lunch out yesterday, dim sum with our foodie group. The dim sum at our favorite Chinese place is always good, always dependable. However, it is too easy to eat too much of it. We came home with a packet of flavored rice in lotus leaf and a couple servings of gai lan, known to some as Chinese broccoli. Hence, more leftovers to consume before I can get on to a few projects I have in mind. We’ll see.

I created this mushroom soup from whole cloth (which is to say in my head) some months ago. I am extremely fond of the flavor. The thickness is something you’ll have to adjust for yourselves, we have to contend with altitude here in Denver and it affects a lot of things. You could use fresh shiitakes, but it is said that in China dried are preferred because they have more depth of flavor, “umami” (see below).

Here it is (was):

There is a unique twist to this recipe, one which not everyone will be able to match. It's the use of preserved mustard tuber. Maybe by the time I've finished this post I'll be able dredge up an alternative. The tuber adds a wonderful extra touch of "umami," that extra dimension of taste which is mentioned more and more.

Here is wikipedia's definition of umami: Umami, popularly referred to as savoriness, has been proposed as one of the basic tastes sensed by specialized receptor cells present on the human and animal tongue. Umami is a loanword from Japanese meaning "flavor" or "taste" (noun) in that language. In English, however, "brothy", "meaty", or "savory" have been proposed as alternative translations. In as much as it describes the flavor common to savory products such as meat, cheese, and mushrooms, umami is similar to Brillat-Savarin's concept of osmazome, an early attempt to describe the main flavoring component of meat as extracted in the process of making stock.

Here's a variation to do without the mustard tuber. Reconstitute 1/2 of the shiitakes in a combo of soy sauce and fish sauce. Heat just enough of it to cover the 'shrooms and then add some or all of the liquid to the soup. Also, puree a few of the shiitakes along with the button mushrooms. That should work pretty well.

Mushroom soup
8-10 reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms
8 oz. button mushrooms
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter, divided
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 packet of preserved mustard tuber
2 tbsp corn starch, dissolved in water
2 15 oz. cans beef stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and white (or black) pepper, to taste
1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped (garnish)
chopped parsley (garnish)

Slice the shiitakes and the button mushrooms. Heat the oil and butter in a soup pan until the butter's foam subsides.

Saute the onion and mushrooms until starting to brown, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Season with onion and garlic powders and some pepper. Don't add salt yet.

Remove about 1/2 of each of the types of mushrooms and set aside.

Put the remaining mushroom onion mixture and the corn starch and the mustard tuber (if using) into a food processor. Add about a cup of the beef stock and puree completely. Return all this to the soup pan and add the remaining beef stock. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your preference. Add back the reserved mushrooms. Add the cornstarch and simmer, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes. Add the cream. Bring to a simmer and simmer very slowly for about 10 minutes.

Taste another time for seasoning, adding a bit of salt if you think necessary. Serve garnished with scallion and parsley.

Kimchi redux

As I explained yesterday, I’m having a bit of a hiatus from the kitchen while we get caught up on leftovers. I have 2 or 3 things planned, but they will have to keep until at least tomorrow (which could mean a Friday post). In the meantime, I’m running a few older posts which did not receive comments (an earlier time in history when almost no one read my blog). These are recipes very near and dear to me. Kimchi is not for everyone, but if you like sauerkraut, I suggest you consider trying this more challenging version of cured cabbage.

Here goes:

If you love kimchi you will love this recipe. I’ve tried a couple of other ones over the years with mixed results. It was always edible, but based on my experience of having kimchi in Korean restaurants, this is the real McCoy.It comes from a book called “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz. It may not be still in print. I found it at my library after learning about it from something I read a few weeks ago. I’m sharing it because it’s worth it and this makes it easy for you to find.The curing time called for was a week. I considered it ready to eat after 2 ½ days. Every other recipe for kimchi I tried called for the mixture to sit out at room temperature for 24 hours and then be refrigerated. The cold slows the formation down and the key to keeping it warm is (as described) keeping the vegetation submerged in its own brine and covering the surface, thus avoiding contact with the air.If the fermentation idea piques your curiosity it’s worth your while to try to acquire a copy of the book. ALERT!; I just went to Ebay. There are multiple copies available there!I’ve adapted Sandor’s plan to suit what I had or could find. I didn’t have time to go to an Asian market to find daikon so I used his suggestion to substitute regular radishes. I didn’t include red chilis, rather ½ a Serrano pepper that was in my produce drawer in the fridge.Also, the picture shows the final product after jarring. I cured the cabbage in this soufflé dish. It was perfect for my needs.

Kimchi redux
1 lb. Chinese cabbage (napa or bok choi)
kosher salt
4 red radishes, sliced as fine as you can
1 medium carrot, sliced as fine as you can
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
½ Serrano pepper
3 tbsp grated ginger
2 or 3 scallions, finely chopped

Mix a brine of 4 cups water and 3 tbsp kosher or sea salt. Stir until the salt dissolves completely.

Coarsely chop the cabbage and combine with the radishes and carrot in a container you can cover with a plate or some such thing to keep everything below the surface of the liquid. Let it stand at room temperature a few hours or, better, overnight.

Turn the garlic, ginger, Serrano pepper, and scallions into a paste. I used an immersion blender with some of the brine.

Drain the cabbage, reserving the brine, and taste for saltiness. I chose to rinse it lightly. Combine the paste with the cabbage and toss to mix thoroughly.

Place the nascent kimchi in a glass or other non-reactive vessel. Add just enough brine to cover. Weigh it down in such a way that everything stays under the surface of the liquid. I used an odd but effective technique of filling a gallon-size freezer bag with water so that the base of the bag spread over the entire surface of the kimchi.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Redux: Grits with shrimp and chorizo

This is Tuesday. I’ve been adrift lately, and even though I have an idea for an interesting dish, we’ve got too many leftovers in the fridge. Tomorrow is our foodie group’s monthly lunch which means no fancy dishes for supper. Maybe Thursday I can get back in gear, which means nothing to post ‘til Friday. You know what? I’m going to go into my blog archive. There are lots and lots of recipes that no one ever saw (I didn’t have any regular followers in those days). I’m gonna go get one right now and send it your way.

Here goes:

April 2010
We had to drag ourselves kicking and screaming away from the red meat last night. Fortunately we had a 2-lb. bag of shrimp in the freezer that we had gotten at Sunflower at a really great price.A little Mexican chorizo could sub for the Spanish (fully cooked), you’d just need to cook it as the first step before getting to the shrimp.

The ketchup and horseradish garnish is certainly optional – I just got a jones for it at the last minute.

Grits with shrimp and chorizo

1 14 oz. can chicken stock

½ cup water

1 cup medium grind corn meal

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter, divided

1/3 cup frozen peas

2 tbsp finely chopped Spanish chorizo

10 oz. peeled and de-veined shrimp

salt and pepper to taste

2 scallions, white and green parts chopped

¼ cup ketchup

2 tbsp prepared horseradish

In a deep sauce pot (because of potentail splatters) heat the stock to a boil. Whisk in the corn meal and adjust the heat to a lower setting so that the grits bubble, but slowly. Stir frequently. It will take about 20 minutes for the grits to finish cooking. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Near the end, stir in 1 tbsp butter and the peas.When the grits are about 10 minutes along, heat the olive oil and the other tbsp butter in a saute pan. When the butter has melted and the foam subsided, add chorizo and the shrimp. (I should point out here that this timing was based on large, 16-20 per lb., shrimp. Adjust your timing to suit the size of the shrimp.)Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Turn the shrimp when the bottom half has turned opaque. As soon as the second side is opaque, remove the shrimp from the pan to a plate or bowl until ready to serve atop the grits.To serve: put grits in the bottom of heated bowls and top with shrimp, chorizo, scallions, and some mix of ketchup and horseradish, if using.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken - 2 ways

Today’s photos: not so great. I was in a hurry. Today’s flavors: as good as it gets. My electronic thermometer was acting up and I had to guess when the smoked chicken was done. I came close. There was a little blood near the bones of the thigh and leg. Solution: 1 minute in the microwave.

What I did learn is that my supposition about “hot” smoking time was correct. It takes the same time as if you are oven-roasting. A valuable lesson learned.

What have you been smokin’? Most recently, chicken. Got a great deal on a 4.66 lb. free range bird at Sunflower. It was too big for my wok smoker bamboo basket. So I decided to smoke half and poach the other half. After a bit more thought I decided just to leave the backbone on the part I was going to poach.

You know, it’s really hard to get half a chicken in those little cigarette papers.

In a break from tradition, I spare you my imprecations about brining. No brine today. I’m just cookin’ with luv. (Don’t you freakin’ hate it when tv cooks tout the benefits of “cookin’ with luv”? A little salt and pepper does a better job.)

Having learned my lesson about wok-smoking (it’s a “hot smoke” technique and the cooking time mimics that of roasting in the oven), I am now much more confident about taking on new hunks o’ protein.

So, here goes: Chicken 2 ways

Wok-smoked chicken and poached chicken
1 4-5 lb. chicken, split lengthwise along one side of the backbone
olive oil
salt and pepper and chile powder to taste
12 black peppercorns
2 dried red Mexican chiles, left whole
2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
¼ cup Chinese cooking wine (Xaotsing)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

Soak 1 ½ cups wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Line your wok with 2 pieces of foil. Spray your bamboo basket with cooking spray.

For the half you will be smoking (the part without the backbone): sprinkle all over with salt, pepper and chili powder.

Place drained wood chips in the wok, cover and heat at 7 (of 10 on the stove dial) until smoking ensues. Place this chicken half into the steamer basket, cover and place the basket over the smoking wood chips. Replace the wok cover. Smoke the chicken for 45 minutes or so. Of course you should check it with a thermometer – 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and in the thigh area is your target.

For the poached chicken: put the ½ bird into a pot and cover with water. Drop in pepper corns and chiles. Add fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, soy and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over very low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, tent with foil, and allow to cool completely. Strip off all the meat (discarding the skin) and figure out what you want to use it for. (That part’s up to you.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wok-smoked pork chops

Jenn got me so fired up about smoking last weekend that I was keeping my eyes open at Safeway for something I could experiment with in the wok. What turned up were two 1” thick pork chops. Now, bear in mind that I really did not know what I was doing – my previous experience with wok-smoking having been with salmon and catfish. I only got the one picture - my camera needed recharging after one go-round.

I think understand now that smoking in the wok is not a low-and-slow process, it’s “hot” smoking. So, it seems that the protein you put in there will cook in about the same time it would take in the oven. That was true for the fish. I tried turning the burner way down low, but all that did was stop the smoking. I left the chops in way too long. Because we were out of the house much of the afternoon, I did the chops in the morning. Then at dinner time swapped out the wood chips for water and used the wok to steam some heat back into them.

They were tender, very smoky, but somewhat dry. Oh well, this is how we learn. I’m going to post this recipe as the way I think you should do this instead of what I actually did.

Wok-smoked pork chops (2 servings)
2 8-10 oz. bone-in pork chops

Line the wok with 2 sheets foil. Soak 1 ½ cups wood chips in water for 30 minutes. While the chips soak, season the chops to taste with the salt, pepper and paprika and let them sit on the counter top.

Turn the burner under the wok to high/med. High (7 on my 1-10 dial). Put the wood chips in and cover the wok. Spray bamboo steamer basket with cooking spray and lay the chops in it. Put on the bamboo cover.

When the smoke appears, put the bamboo basket in the wok (still covered) and replace the wok cover. Reduce the heat to 6 on the dial. Turn the chops after 15 minutes and check for doneness (with the knick of a paring knife) after 30 minutes. Let them stand in the covered basket for 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"I coulda been a meatloaf" goes casserole

It occurs to me that there is a broader application available for yesterday’s “I coulda been a meatloaf”. I didn’t imagine, when posting this, that it was anything anyone else would make. Maybe you don’t have ring molds. So I’m going to revamp the whole thing here as a casserole.

A few ground rules: buy chorizo in a tube (it’s about 1 lb. I think) that is not pre-cooked; buy 2 of the largest onions you can find; the cheese choice is up to you – just make sure it’s a good melting cheese.

If you read my posts with any regularity, you’ve learned that I have a fondness for ramen noodles. They are so easy to work with, they are so cheap.

Bear in mind that I haven’t actually made this dish – but I have a pretty good track record for predicting the outcome of culinary choices. I would love it if one of you intrepid cooks/chefs/bloggers were to make this and give us a report.

Since we’re going to pre-cook the chorizo, it can be crumbly or burger-like. I like the burger idea because of the texture in the final dish. You can cook the ramen in just 2 cups of water. Just do it in a wide sauté pan. We will use the spice packet – beef or pork flavor are the best ideas, although chicken will suffice (don’t use shrimp).

‘I coulda been a meatloaf’ goes casserole
2 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 large onions
4 large cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 lb. uncooked chorizo
cheese, sliced or grated (your choice)
2 packages ramen noodles, boiled 2 ½ minutes, drained and rinsed under cold water
8 oz. tomato sauce
salt and pepper
optional additions: chopped parsley or cilantro, chopped scallions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high.

Trim the ends of the onions, cut in half pole to pole and remove skins. Slice into half moons about ¼” thick. When the oil is hot, add the onion to the pan, along with the garlic, and sauté (without coloring) for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Remove and set aside.

Form the chorizo into rectangular “burgers” no more than ¼” thick. Saute them in the pan you just used for the onions until they are, oh, say, medium rare. (They will finish cooking in the oven.) Remove and set aside.

Wipe out this sauté pan with a paper towel. Bring to boil 2 cups water. Add ramen noodles and cook, tossing frequently, for 2 ½ minutes. Remove to a colander with a spider. Run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Toss them with the tomato sauce in a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 spice packet to the water and stir it in.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 10x10 casserole dish (or something about that size) with cooking spray. Time to assemble the layers. Spread half of the onion and garlic mix in the bottom of the casserole. Lay in ½ of the chorizo burgers. Top this with half of the cheese (the amount is up to you – I like to use a lot). Spread the ramen noodles next. Now, reverse the order of the layers: cheese, chorizo, onions. Add the ramen cooking liquid to the casserole. Bake until hot throughout (how long? is the challenge for the intrepid one among you who decides to test this recipe).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I coulda been a meatloaf

This oddment came to me the other afternoon as I was thinking about what to do with some chorizo that was in the freezer. I’ve never had a chorizo burger, or even a burger of mixed ground meats including some chorizo. This particular chorizo was not strongly flavored or strongly spiced – extremely mild in other words.

The idea arose for a “deconstruction” of what in other circumstances might be basic meatloaf ingredients: meat, onion, maybe cheese, tomato sauce and bread. Now, you see these rings molds below? I’ve had them for years. They were once upon a time tuna cans, about 3 ½” in diameter. These days you can still find cans like these where you can remove both ends. Many of the newer cans are molded on one side and hence completely useless for this purpose.
I wanted to pan-fry these doo-dahs and used the molds to keep them intact. I’ll draw you little diagram of the structure I went for. Each pair of brackets shows what a layer was to contain as it went into the mold:

[ ¼” thick slice of onion]
[1/4” thick chorizo patty] ]
[slice cheese ]
[slice of bread/tom.sauce]
[slice cheese ]
[chorizo patty ]
[1/4” slice onion ]

You can see here what it looks like. Of course it had to go into the mold or it would fall apart. Yep, I fried these bad boys right in the molds. Turning them promised to be a challenge, but I figured good, intact onion slices would help anchor everything from the outside.

Now I need a name. Oops, it just came to me.

I coulda been a meatloaf (2 servings)
4 - ¼” slices of onion
4 - ¼” chorizo patties (or a mix of chorizo and ground beef)
4 slices cheese, cut to fit the mold (choose your own cheese)
2 slices day-old bread soaked in tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)

Layer these things in the ring molds in the order shown above. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper just to the bread slices and the onion rings. Scatter a few flakes of red pepper as you go along, if you wish.

In a skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter has melted and the foam has subsided. Slice a spatula underneath each of the molds and transfer them to the skillet. Cook 6-8 minutes on the first side. Turn the molds in the best way you know how. Continue cooking on the second side for 6-8 more minutes. It’s tricky to know when it’s cooked all the way through. I used my temperature probe to check it out. 160 degrees would be adequate I decided. When done, remove the molds from the pan and let the “not” meatloaf rest for 3 or 4 minutes. Carefully slide the molds off and serve.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bean and basil pesto pasta with prawns

Gosh, that picture came out pretty well if I do say so myself. I am always in a hurry to get to the table – I snap and run. Basil pesto is easy to make (if you want a recipe, see “Guest Peter makes pesto with gusto” on this site from 8/23/10). Our garden basil has come through in bumper crop fashion and we’ve got multiple tubs of pesto in the freezer (it freezes very well).

So – last night we wanted an easy, inexpensive, all in one bowl meal. If you look closely you’ll see some yellow and green beans in and among the pasta and shrimp. We’re fond of using ramen noodles in various dishes and mostly save the flavor packets to use, for example, in a poaching liquid for shrimp.

Various pasta shapes lend themselves well to various concoctions. In this case, the farfalle (bow-tie) were perfect in size so that we could eat the whole dish with large spoons. Farfalle actually means “butterflies”. Curiously enough, “farfallino” is Italian for bow-tie. Lesson over.

A word about the shrimp: these are 31-35’s, just because I got a 2-pound bag of them (frozen) for a really good price. Two pounds of shrimp will give us four meals generally. Cook your shrimp in whatever way you prefer. As mentioned above, I simply boiled 2 cups of water, stirred in a packet of chicken flavoring from a ramen package, dropped in the shrimp, took them off the heat and let them steep for 2 minutes or so.

Ok, ok, they aren’t actual prawns, but they lend an alliterative quality to the recipe title. Indulge me.

Bean and basil pesto pasta with prawns
1 box farfalle pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 cups mixed green and yellow beans, cut into 2” pieces
1 batch basil pesto
8 oz. cooked shrimp

Peter tossed the beans in with the pasta and cooked them simultaneously. Convenient, huh? Loosen the pesto with some pasta water, toss the pasta and beans in the pesto. Put in bowls and top with shrimp. (And you call THIS a recipe?)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Leftover night

Leftover night. Some smoked catfish and potatoes from yesterday. Some creamed corn. Some okra. I had a Paula Deen episode on in the background the other day and she was rummaging around her fridge using up leftovers. This particular dinner on our part was one of the most successful use of “stuff” I think we’ve ever come up with.

I ain’t gonna post this as a recipe, it’s such an eclectic bunch of ingredients that no one else will have. But you’ve got your own. I think this post goes as much to the heart of my culinary philosophy as anything could: use your instincts, be creative, be bold (what can go wrong with good ingredients?).

Here’s what I did:
Mashed up the potato slices with some buttermilk.
Chopped the smoked catfish into very small pieces.
Added 1 beaten egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
Formed cakes.
Sauteed them in butter and olive oil.
Ate them.

Here’s what Peter did:
Mixed together creamed corn, okra and some halved cherry tomatoes from the garden.
Nuked it for 90 seconds.
Made a sort of streusel topping with melted butter and breadcrumbs.
Put it under broiler for a couple of minutes.
Helped me eat it up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wok-smoked catfish w/okra and grilled potatoes

I hadn’t played around with the wok smoker for a while and wanted to try catfish filets. They are inexpensive and both Peter and I really like them. This is so easy to do. There are a variety of wood chips out there, but when I went to Target to get some, all that was available was mesquite. They need to be soaked for 30 minutes before heating them up.

Accompaniments: Jenn-inspired grilled potatoes (par-boiled 5 minutes, brushed with oil, sprinkled with pepper and grill seasoning); okra (microwaved in two 3-minute segments with salt and pepper and garlic powder).

Now there are those of you out there who wouldn’t touch okra. We’re not among them. As a matter of fact we love it. So there.

Smoked catfish (2 servings)
2 catfish filets, c. 8 oz. each
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

Line your wok with 2 sheets of aluminum foil. Soak a large handful of wood chips (any type) in water for 30 minutes. Place the chips in the base of the wok. Turn the heat to medium high (6 on my 1-10 dial) and put the wok cover on it.

Rinse and dry the catfish. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Place the filets in a bamboo steamer basket that you’ve sprayed with a bit of Pam, and with the lid on.

When the wood chips begin to smoke, place the basket over them and replace the wok lid. Smoke 20-25 minutes until the fish is cooked through and is firm to the touch.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Honey and spice grilled chicken

Once again my camera was not near at hand. I’ve recycled the photo above from a previous version of broiled chicken. What I made last night looked just like this.

A couple of days ago two of the bloggers I follow published recipes for honey glazed chicken. I needed to adapt it for my stovetop grill. Also, I wanted bone in and skin on chicken pieces. So as not to have the chicken stick to the grill, I browned it before applying the glaze and then finished it under the broiler.

I had a debate with myself about whether to use breast or thigh meat. Then I remembered how much I like the whole free-range birds from Sunflower Market. Decided to get one and dismantle it. Oops, didn’t have mustard – went with prepared horseradish.

Honey and spice grilled chicken

with kudos to Jenn and Pam
1 chicken, about 4 lbs., backbone removed, cut into 8 pieces (legs, thighs, wings, breasts)

2 tbsp olive oil
Black pepper
¼ cup honey

1 clove garlic, finely minced

juice of ½ lemon

1 tbsp prepared horseradish

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ tsp of salt

Start by brining the chicken for 2 hours in 2 cups of water in which 2 tbsp kosher salt have been dissolved. Remove from brine, rinse, dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with some black pepper.
Preheat large skillet over medium-high. Add 1 tbsp olive oil.

Brown chicken on both sides, about 3-4 min. each side.

Preheat broiler with rack in the 2nd position from the top.

While the chicken browns, mix together honey, garlic, lemon juice, horseradish, paprika, cayenne, the other tbsp of olive oil, and salt. Brush the chicken liberally with this mixture on both sides. Place on a baking rack over a shallow baking pan. Broil 5-6 minutes per side until juices run clear.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Orange beef stir-fry with star anise

Once again my camera was not a hand when I served this recipe up. Went directly t0 the table. I found this photo in a Chinese cookbook we own, scanned it, and here it is. Truth be told we served our stir-fry over brown basmati rice, but those noodles look great, don’t they?

There’s a show on the Cooking Channel, “Everyday Exotic”, with chef Roger Mooking. Everything he makes looks great, although some things (this recipe among them) are a bit labor intensive. Below is my version, a simpler one. This is extremely delicious.

Star anise orange sauce
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 scallion, green and white parts, finely chopped
1 whole star anise
1 chile (for heat) or some red pepper flakes
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp ginger, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce

For the sauce:
Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the scallions for 2-3 minutes. Add star anise and chile or red pepper flakes. Deglaze with orange juice. Add ginger. Simmer until reduced and syrupy (this took quite a while at altitude, maybe 15 minutes). Strain into a smaller pan. Add fish sauce, soy sauce. Keep warm while you prepare the beef.

Skirt steak (or flank steak)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
9 oz. steak, sliced to ¼” across the grain
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp garlic powder (or to taste)
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
1 star anise, ground mortar and pestle or in spice grinder
3 scallions, cut into 2” pieces
1 or 2 garlic cloves, sliced
Heat the oil in a wok or large sauté pan until just starting to smoke. Place the cornstarch, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, pepper, and half of the ground star anise into a bowl (reserve the remaining star anise for another use). Whisk thoroughly to combine. Add the beef and toss to coat completely.
When the wok is hot, add the scallions and garlic and fry, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add beef and toss continually until just cooked through. Add orange sauce and toss 30 seconds. Serve over noodles or rice.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Egg (salad) on your face

Egg (salad) on your face

I’ve created a monster: my partner, Peter, who writes better than I do, and whose culinary acumen continues to bloom. Send him a comment and tell him to start his own blog!

Watching CNN correspondent Elizabeth Cohen in a recent guest commentary on that network about the latest salmonella outbreak, I groaned upon hearing her state that a sure-fire way to kill salmonella in potentially infected eggs is to hard boil them. Of all the wonderful ways to prepare eggs, I fear that hard boiling them is, hands down, my least favorite. While I’ll grudgingly gulp down a deviled egg or mayo-based classic egg salad sandwich, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for either. Always ready to equate certain dishes with musical forms, I’d say that deviled eggs and egg salad are the square dance music of the culinary world: homespun, sincere, probably considered old-fashioned even when relative novelties, comforting, but tragically lacking in sex appeal. Admittedly, this has something to do in my case with bad associative memories with pot luck company picnics, at which humdrum deviled eggs were ubiquitous crepe hangers, invariably unveiled as the “specialty” for which a co-worker was “famous” (“Edna will kill me if she finds I let the cat out of the bag, but her ‘secret ingredient’ is that she adds an eighth of a teaspoon Old Bay for every dozen yolks in the filling for these!”). Then there were the neighborhood block parties: for every participant who slaved over a hot stove in an attempt to wow the crowds, there was always some schlub who would breeze by the supermarket deli counter and pick up a tub each of the waterlogged, anodyne potato and egg salads produced by the trough daily at Sysco (the eggs salad for which undoubtedly began with the same tainted eggs laid by steroid-abusing, hormone-injected eggs that got us into this current mess).

So, I’ve tried over the years to find a recipe that would give egg salad a glam makeover. Time and again, this seemed a fool’s errand tantamount to attempting to morph Andy Williams into a particularly sassy, va-voom drag artiste. At one point, I stumbled across what seemed a promising recipe for Asian tea-infused hard boiled eggs in the “Little Dishes” chapter of the latest incarnation of “The Joy of Cooking.” Containing all kinds of authentic Asian ingredients already in my pantry and fridge, I had high hopes, dashed after only a few forkfuls, as Stephen and I blurted out simultaneously, “These really don’t taste much different from any other hard-boiled egg.”

On an impulse buy a year or so later, when Stephen was in thrall to the regional Chinese cookbooks by Fuchsia Dunlop, he bought a carton of the preserved Chinese delicacies known as “Century Eggs.” While their dark purple, almost black eggshells looked promisingly exotic and evil, I found the texture and flavor of their squishy, gelatinous flesh to be inedible, reminiscent of exotic Gummi worms that had been left to melt outdoors in the July heat, only to then be mistaken by the cat for kitty litter. Determined, I set about camouflaging them by piling on a dressing of mayo, soy sauce, bottled ginger juice, chili paste, Chinese five spice powder, and virtually every Asian ingredient I had on hand at the time. While the final product was undeniably edible, the fact remained that I had come not to praise Century Eggs, but to bury them.

A few years later, while shopping at one of my favorite neighborhood haunts, St. Kilian’s, a gem of a cheese shop on Lowell Blvd. (, I happened to be chatting away with Hugh O’Neill, who, with his wife Ionah DeFreitas, is a co-owner and proprietor of the company. He asked if I’d ever made tea-infused eggs, and I told him that, while I’d done so, I’d never had much success. Hugh and Iona are both unfailingly helpful and full of good suggestions, and I always feel as if I’ve learned something new every time I shop there, and this was no exception: Hugh told me about a simple technique for making tea-infused hard boiled eggs that he’d learned from a proprietor at Urbanistic Tea and Bike Shop right next door to St. Kilian’s, another tiny store front that specializes in selling artisanal teas and bicycle paraphernalia and doing bike repairs (only in Colorado). I was so intrigued that, after completing my purchases at St. Kilian’s, I marched right next door to Urbanistic and ordered a bag of Lapsang Souchong tea leaves, walked the few blocks home, and set to work.

A few days later, following Hugh’s suggestions, my tea-infused eggs were ready. They were, just as Hugh said, virtually no effort to make, but wonderfully smoky in flavor and aroma. This is now my go-to method for hard boiling eggs, whether to garnish a gazpacho or potato salad, or to make deviled eggs or egg salad. It does take a few days’ advance planning, but it’s well worth the forethought. The Lapsang Souchong tea permeates the eggshells, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing series of marbled swirls on the white’s surfaces. This translates into a mild but distinctive smokiness, again imparted by the tea. Satisfied, I knew that I at last had hard boiled eggs that were alluring enough to turn heads (and palates) all by themselves, but also sufficient character to stand out in an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad recipe.


--Enough Lapsang Souchong tea bags or loose leaves to make one quart at triple the strength of a normal pot;
--6 large eggs

1.) The day before you hard boil eggs, make a quart of Lapsang Souchong tea, tripling the amount of tea leaves or bags recommended by manufacturer to make a standard pot for drinking. Allow hot tea to cool completely to room temperature. If using tea bags, remove, squeezing bags to extract all liquid. If using loose leaves, strain into clean bowl with fine mesh sieve, pressing on sieve with back of spoon. Cover bowl of tea, and refrigerate several hours (preferably overnight), until very cold.

2.) Fill small saucepan with cold water; place eggs in pan (be sure water covers them completely), partially cover, and bring to boil. At this point, prepare eggs as you normally would for hard boiling (here in Denver, where liquids boil at a lower temperature, I have to simmer eggs in boiling water for a minute, remove from heat, cover firmly, and let rest off-heat for 15 minutes before proceeding.

3.) Instead of shocking eggs in ice water bath, remove cold tea from refrigerator and, using a slotted spoon, gently drop eggs one by one into cold tea. Re-cover tea and return to refrigerator for two hours.

4.) After two hours, reach into bowl of chilled tea and, one by one, gently tap eggs against side of bowl until the shells are uniformly cracked on all sides. Cover bowl and return to fridge for at least 3 (preferably 5) days. Eggs will keep for up to 10 days. Peel eggs, and use to garnish potato salad, gazpacho, or make deviled eggs or Vaguely Asian Egg Salad (below).


The beauty of this recipe is that there are so many flavors going on that, if you don’t like a particular ingredient, or simply don’t have it in your pantry or fridge, just leave it out: think of this as a technique rather than a formal recipe, and pretend that (optional) appears after each ingredient. Trust me: if you start with the tea-infused eggs as prepared above, you can’t go terribly wrong.

--6 tea-infused hard-boiled eggs, sliced;
--1 medium celery rib, diced fine )1/2 cup)
--1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced fine (1/2 cup)
--1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
--2 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts, diced fine


--1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise;
--1 Tbl of cold Lapsang Souchong tea (in which eggs have been infused);
--1/4 tsp liquid smoke
--2 tsp. regular or light soy sauce
--1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
--3 cloves of pickled garlic, minced or pressed;
--2 tsp. bottled ginger juice, and/or 2 tsp pickled ginger, minched;
--1/2 tsp. chili oil (more to taste if you like extra kick);
--1/2 tsp chili sauce (more to taste, again if you like it hot)
--2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
--salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1.) In a medium bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients;
2.) Stir sliced hard boiled eggs, celery, cucumber, cilantro, and scallions into dressing. Chill (Makes enough for 4 generous egg salad sandwiches, served on a bed of lettuce leaves on soft rolls).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stir-fried lamb with scallions

Peter and I had a sit-down menu planning session and plotted out what to do with food we have in the fridge: skirt steak, two loin lamb chops, chorizo, leftover Mexican rice, leftover creamed corn. We’ve gotten very good about using up leftovers. Used to be, after 3 days, I wouldn’t eat any of it. I’ve grown up a lot since then (discounting the fact that I used to be 5’ 9 ¼” and now I’m just under 5’ 9”, help me, I’m shrinking).

Back when we lived in DC (1980 – 2000), we used to go to a Chinese place often. It was called City Lights of China. It’s still there and very popular. Two of our favorite dishes, which we used to order virtually every time we went there, were stir-fried lamb with scallions and stir-fried spinach with copious amounts of garlic. I going to try to recreate their lamb when I use the chops. Loin chops need quite a bit of trimming, so it makes sense to me to cut it up into thin slices and cook it in the wok.

This was an odd recipe. It called for a second dose of soy sauce with sesame oil. Even though I pre-mixed it, I decided not to use it. We liked it just fine the way it came out.

I harvested what is probably the end of the yellow and green beans from the garden, blanched them in boiling water for 8 minutes, shocked them, and stir-fried them with some soy sauce and Chinese rice wine and preserved black beans. They were swell.

Speaking of “wok” reminds me of something totally irrelevant to this blog: my ex-wife. She’s of Chinese/Japanese extraction, and once appeared as an extra in the Cary Grant movie “Walk, Don’t Run”. Her role was that of a drummer in an all-girl Japanese band. So there.

Stir-fried lamb with scallions (2 servings)
1 tbsps soy sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp dry sherry
vegetable oil
8 oz. lean lamb, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tsp black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 or 4 scallions, green and white parts, cut into 2” pieces

Mix together 1 tbsp of the soy sauce, the salt, sherry and 2 tbsps of the oil. Add the lamb slices and leave to marinate for 5 minutes

Heat 1 tbsp oil over high heat in a wok or sauté pan. Add the garlic and scallions and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir fry until browned. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chicken thigh kebobs

I did chicken skewers recently with a different flavor profile. That time I used boned drumsticks, although boning them is a bit of a challenge. It’s just that I couldn’t get thighs at Safeway that day without buying a jumbo pack.

I’m pretty good at boning out chicken parts, so it wasn’t daunting to make this recipe with less expensive bone-in thighs. Once boned, I just cut them lengthwise in half and skewered ‘em up. I did brine the chicken for about 3 hours. Then all I did was season them with some pepper (no salt), paprika, and after turning them, a sprinkling of dried tarragon.

I tossed some green pepper strips on the back end of the stovetop grill. Peter made corn cakes that were lovely. Maybe I’ll get him to post that recipe soon.

Chicken thigh kebobs
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise (and brined, which is of course optional)
olive oil
black pepper
dried tarragon

If you don’t brine the chicken, add salt to taste before cooking. Brush the skewers with olive oil, sprinkle on the paprika and pepper, and cook 4-5 minutes per side (turning just once). After turning, sprinkle on the tarragon. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

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