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Showing posts from September, 2011

Risotto alla Funghi Porcini

This dish can be made with dried or fresh wild mushrooms, and the most common is Porcini mushrooms. However, I have made it with fresh morels, chanterelles and porcinis and it is still wonderful.


If you are using dried mushrooms, then make sure you follow the instructions for reconstituting them and retain the water for mixing into the stock.
Ingredients 

4to 6 cups of weak beef or vegetable Stock with water strained from dried mushrooms added, if available 3 Tbsp. butter 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil, don’t use extra virgin olive oil, the flavor is too strong 2 cups Arborio rice 3 Tbsp. finely chopped white Onion. ½ cup Parmesan Reggiano ¼ cup of dried reconstituted mushrooms chopped or 1 cup of fresh wild mushrooms, loosely chopped. Salt and pepper to taste
Note: Follow the directions on the package to reconstitute the mushrooms and save the water they soaked in and strain it and add to the stock.
Begin by melting 2 Tbsp. of the butter and all the oil in a heavy saucepan. Then sauté the onion until it…

Italian Sausage and Peppers

Since it's a bit cloudy today and cool, maybe an Italian sauce would be in order. This sauce is hearty, easy to make and really good for those autumn nights. I will often make this at least once a week, because it is quick and no drama after a long day at work. And...it is great the day after.

If pork doesn’t work for you, this can easily be made with Italian turkey sausage as well. Serve it with rigatoni and lots of Parmesan and/or Romano cheese.
Ingredients

2 lbs of Italian Sausage links, hot or mild, cut into 1-inch pieces. 2 28oz cans of diced or crushed Tomatoes; San Marzano’s are best. 4 Tbsp Garlic, mashed and roughly chopped. 1 Onion, chopped 1 Red Pepper, chopped 4 Anchovy fillets, finely chopped - optional 2 tsp Chili Flakes 2 tsp Sea Salt 1 tsp Freshly ground Black Pepper ½ cup Marsala wine 3 Tbsp Olive Oil ¼ tsp ground Nutmeg
Begin by browning of the sausage pieces in olive oil. Make sure they are cooked well, so the sauce will not be greasy. Then drain in a colander and set aside.
Wh…

Meatloaf, Old Fashioned Goodness

As the weather starts to cool and evenings become crisp, I like a simple old-fashioned meatloaf.

This is real comfort food and when served with mashed potatoes and vegetable, it’s a well balanced meal. As an added benefit, this also makes wonderful sandwiches the day after.
Ingredients

2 lbs. of lean ground Beef 2 tbsp. Italian breadcrumbs 1 Egg, beaten 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese 1 Tbsp. Olive oil 1 small sautéed Onion 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped Parsley 1 Tsp. Salt Fresh ground Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and lightly coat the inside of a 9-inch loaf pan with a small amount of olive oil.
In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until just translucent. Then add onion to beef with all of the other ingredients, and mix with your hands until mixed thoroughly.
Put into the loaf pan, and at this point you have the option to cover the top of the meatloaf with either ketchup or a mixture of apple sauce with 1 Tbsp of Dijon mustard…

My Cookbook is finally done!

I have finally published my cookbook and you can view it or even buy it at the Blurb bookstore. Here is the link. 

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2491000




Thank you to everyone for all of the support and gentle prodding for me to get this done.

The perfect Chili Paste to have with your dumplings.

This is so easy and you can make a fantastic chili paste that is healthy and free of any artificial ingredients. Most store bought brands have preservatives and chemicals. This one is just chili paste and nothing else.


This is a fiery chili paste, which was shared with me from my friends in New Delhi. It is wonderful and a must for chili and garlic lovers.


Ingredients

1 lb. Red Bullet Chilies (Ripe jalapenos), or other hot red chili 2.5  oz. fresh Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed Juice of two Lemons 2 Tbsp. of Cider Vinegar 1 tsp Salt
1tsp Sugar - Optional

Grind everything together in a food processor and store in the refrigerator in a glass jar. It is better after aging for a few days to a week. It will keep for months.

Chinese Pan Fried Dumplings

I love making these, number one because they are so good and number two because it's fun. This would be a great weekend project for the kids.


This recipe is simple, but needs to be followed quite closely. Be sure to arrange all the ingredients, before you begin preparing the dish.

This should allow you to make 15 to 24 dumplings. You may freeze any leftovers that are uncooked, and the skins will keep well in the refrigerator or freezer.
Ingredients


Dumplings: 1 package of Dumpling Skins. Easily found at any Asian market. ½ cup each of fresh Bean Sprouts, Bamboo Shoots and Bok Choy. All finely chopped. 8 oz of Shrimp or Pork, or both, ground 1 inch piece of fresh Ginger, chopped very fine or grated. ½ tsp Sugar 1 Tbsp. Light Soy Sauce 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil 1 tsp. Corn Starch
Dipping Sauce: 4 Tbsp. Light Soy Sauce 3 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar 1 Tbsp finely chopped Green Onion 2 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil Chili Paste, optional
Begin by finely chopping all of the ingredients to stuff the dumplings. The ingre…

Moroccan Chicken with Onions and Honey

This is a very favorite dish of mine, which I found in Claudia Roden’s wonderful book, “Arabesque”. It is pure Moroccan simplicity which blends the ingredients to create an end result which is much more than the sum of its parts.  This dish never fails to impress and it makes the entire house smell wonderful and cozy.


Ingredients

1 lb of Shallots or baby Onions. The frozen baby onions work very well, and save you a lot of prep time. 1 Onion, chopped ½ tsp Saffron 1 tsp ground Ginger ½ tsp ground Cinnamon 8 Chicken Thighs, skinless, with bone in 1 ½ Tbsp Honey 4 oz blanched Almonds Salt and Black Pepper 4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Heat the oil in a sturdy iron casserole pot, which has a top, and then sauté chopped onion until it is translucent. Stir in the saffron, ginger and cinnamon. Then add in the chicken, salt and pepper and coat well with the mixture. Allow it to cook slightly but watch it carefully that is doesn’t burn.
Add in one cup of water, the shallot/baby onions, stir and allow to cook covere…

Fettuccine with Chicken Florentine

Florentine means to be served with spinach, and its name would imply that it’s from Florence, yet I’ve never seen it in any restaurant in my travels in Italy.

I would guess it is a variation on Fettuccine Alfredo, which is a wonderful dish. I like the freshness of the spinach and feel it adds an interesting contrast to the cream.
This perfectly blends the cream, butter and freshness of the spinach to create a wonderful meal.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, boneless 2 cups of loosely torn fresh Spinach 8 oz of Heavy Cream 2 Tbsp Butter 1 green onion finely chopped Parmesan Cheese 1/2 lb Fettuccine
Prepare the fettuccine as directed, but make sure it’s leaning towards very al dente. Drain pasta add a little butter, mix and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and when hot, add the chicken and green onions and sauté until almost done. Add the spinach and wilt it for a few minutes and then add cream and bring to a boil until it thickens.
Add in the cooked fettuccine, Parmesan cheese. Tos…

Import Food - Great Source for Thai and Asian Groceries

I love this website. They are a great source for Thai and other Asian groceries and the most amazing thing is they have videos of the food being prepared on the street by vendors in Thailand. How cool is that?

If you sign up on their site, they will send you occasional emails with the links. Here is my most recent one. Enjoy!

Here's a Thai recipe you thought you had to go to Thailand to enjoy, not seen in local restaurants. Chicken in Pandan Leaves. We show how to fold the leaves, steam and cook the chicken, and the succulent dipping sauce.

Come see it all at this link:
http://importfood.com/current091311.html

Street Vendor Video:
Gai Haw Bai Toey
http://importfood.com/current091311.html

Perfect Roasted Chicken

This could not be easier and you will have perfect chicken every time. The key is to not overcook the breasts and make sure you tent them after roasting to maintain the moisture.



Ingredients

6 Chicken Breasts with skin on and bone in 5 stalks of Celery, sliced in half ½ bunch of Italian Parsley 1 Onion sliced thinly. I find a mandoline makes this simple. 1 Lemon Fresh Tarragon 4 Bay Leaves Salt and Pepper Olive Oil
Arrange the celery on a foil lined baking sheet, and then lie on the onions, tarragon, parsley and bay leaves.
Lay the chicken on top of the mixture and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the breast and on both sides. Pour on a small amount of olive oil, then salt and pepper well and cook skin side up in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Remove and tent for at least 15 minutes and serve. Or if using the chicken for another dish, allow to cool and remove from bone and prepare as needed. I find that these will store for three days in the refrigerator without any ill effects.

Alcenias Desserts and Preserves - Memphis

Her name is "BJ" Chester-Tamayo and she runs Alcenia's Desserts and Preserves Restaurant in Memphis. She is one amazing lady and her story reflects the healing power of food and love. I ordered her cookbook and it's just stunning. I don't even know where to start as everything looks so good. When I get back to Memphis, this will be my first stop!


Alcenias – Southern Style Cuisine alcenias.com

Szechwan Chicken

This is a wonderful spicy dish and tastes better than much of the Chinese you order in. The key is to have everything prepared prior to starting, as once you start the cooking there is no time to be chasing down ingredients.



Ingredients 

4 boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
Sauce for chicken:
2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce 1 Tbsp Dry Sherry 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
Sauce to finish dish:
2 Tbsp Dry Sherry 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil 2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce 1 Tbsp Water 1 Tbsp Cornstarch 1 Tbsp Chili and Garlic Paste, Red Rooster is best. 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Garnish:
½ cup Green Onion, chopped ½ Cup Peanuts, optional

Take cubed chicken breasts and mix with first sauce, and put in refrigerator.
Combine the finishing sauce and set aside. Chop up the green onions and prepare peanuts if desired.
Heat your pan until very hot, then add vegetable oil and heat until just starting to smoke. Carefully add chicken mixture, stir and cook for approx 4-5 minutes or until cooked thr…

Is this the world's hottest chili?

Okay, I'm all up for hot stuff, but this is just frightening. Welcome the Bhut Jolokia chili from the Assam region of India. Also known as the Ghost Pepper.



So here we go. You've heard of the Scoville unit, well this is a scale of hotness and runs from minimal hot such as a green pepper at say 10-20 and then jalapenos at say 5000. Where does the bhut jolokia come in? Wait for it....can you imagine 1,000,000 Scoville units. Ouch!

Guess we will have to come up with a nice recipe featuring them. Are you joking?

Spaghetti with Peas and Pancetta

I always enjoy making this when peas are in season, as it is just perfect with fresh peas. That being said you can use frozen peas, which have been thawed, but never canned peas.You can also substitute linguine or penne rigate.



Ingredients 

1 lb of high quality Pasta 4 Tbsp Butter 2 cups of fresh or frozen Peas, thawed ½ lb Pancetta, cubed 1 small Onion, minced 2 Eggs beaten 4 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese grated Salt and Pepper
Start your water for cooking the pasta and once boiling and a bit of salt. Keep water boilingAdd two tbsp of the butter into your sauté pan, and add the beacon and brown well. Now add the pasta to the boiling water.
Stir in the minced onion and sweat it down until just translucent and then add the peas to the bacon and onion mixture, and continue cooking until the pasta is done.
Drain the pasta and add the other 2 Tbsp of butter, beaten eggs and bacon onion and pea mixture to the hot pasta. Season to taste with pepper and salt and serve immediately with parmesan cheese.