Coconut Battered Shrimp/Chicken/Tofu with Hot Marmalade Dip January 2001 A friend and I made this for a New Year's Eve party, modelling the dish on a shrimp variation we'd found
at a local steakhouse. The dip was a random brainchild. INGREDIENTS:
flaked dried coconut (sweetened)
medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined OR
chicken, cut into nugget-sized chunks and marinated in teriyaki sauce OR
firm to semi-firm tofu, cut into bite sized chunks and, if desired, marinated in teriyaki
vegatable oil (for frying)
1/2 c. orange marmalade
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
blend all in small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. allow to simmer about an hour, adding more
juice or water if the mixture gets too thick. it's best if you let it set for a bit at room temperature,
and then store it overnight before serving. you can serve it cold or warm it up a bit, either way tastes
make a basic batter (tempura thickness or lighter, depending on your preference) with the flour, ginger, milk and eggs. add a small portion of the coconut to the batter, for sweetness and texture.
blend 1 t. flour per every 1 cup coconut in a flat dish.
heat oil for frying in a wok or havey pan, deep fryer, etc.
dip shrimp/chicken/tofu in batter, then roll in coconut/flour mix until well coated. fry until golden, and drain on paper towels. serve immediately with spicy marmalade.
Quick Chicken Noodle Soup January 2001 great for when you're feeling crummy or it's cold outside, or when you just miss the
smell of a homey kitchen. INGREDIENTS:
4-5 cups chicken stock (or bouillion, if that's all you have)
2 boneless chicken breasts + 1 tablespoon oil (veggie or olive) OR
4-5 thighs, drumsticks, wings or breasts of chicken
2 bay leaves
chopped onion (2T fresh, sauteed till soft or 1 t dried)
1 c. wide egg noodles
baby carrots, celery sticks
salt, pepper (to taste)
Bring bouillion, chicken, spices and onion and garlic to a good simmer. Cook until chicken falls apart easily; particularly lean cuts of meat will require a little more oil. (If the chicken is not boneless, remove the meat, let it cool, then debone it and add it
back to the pot.)
add carrot and noodles, plus about a cup of water. cover and simmer another 30 to 45 minutes, or until noodles are tender.
rosemary and dill instead of majoram, use less garlic
rice or pastry (Anne's frozen variety works well) in the base for a different kind of soup. With pastry, use lots of black pepper.
Garlic-Parmesean Red-Skinned Mashed Potatoes December 2000
goes great with the teriyaki pork, below, or with any number of chicken or beef
4-5 medium-sized red-skinned potatoes, washed and cut into roughly 2" chunks
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4-1/2 cup grated/shredded parmesean cheese
4T salted butter
2 T half and half, milk, stock, or cream
2 teaspoons salt, plus or minus to taste
pepper, to taste
boil enough water to cover completely the potatoes. add 1&1/2 teaspoons salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil.
drop potatoes and peeled garlic cloves into boiling water and return to full boil for approximately 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.
while potatoes are boiling, place cheese, butter (cut it up to it will melt more quickly), half and half (or other liquid), plus salt and pepper in a large bowl.
remove potatoes and garlic from boiling water with a slotted spoon, draining well and dropping them into the bowl with the butter and other ingrediants.
mash as desired, with a fork, potato ricer, or hand-mixer. some like 'em chunky, others like 'em smooth. adjust liquids accordingly, salt and pepper to taste.
substitute smoked cheddar for parmesean, halve the amount of garlic, add minced onion and chopped, cooked bacon.
re-bake either variation of potato in a lightly greased casserole dish, topped with more cheese and bacon or minced garlic.
cut the amount of garlic in half, add rosemary, thyme, and parsley and whip the potatoes until smooth for use as a potato crust or topping. remove the skins before mashing for an even browned topper.
Teriyaki Pork Steaks December 2000 I like Teriyaki, and my s.o. likes pork. Cinnamon and clove are
spices that somehow make me think of comfortable, warm things. The sauce, if made
properly, is a clear, dark brown and really very pretty. Great with mashed
potatoes and a spinach or garden salad. (Good romantic dinner. ;)) INGREDIENTS:
1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless pork chops, thick-cut if desired. trimmed but not completely lean will taste best.
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove OR 1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and split lengthwise
[OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon powdered ginger OR 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated]
salt to taste
1&1/2-2 cups teriyaki sauce, homemade (mine was) or pre-prepared
1/2-1 tablespoon water
PREP TIME: 15 minutes (1 day ahead), 15 minutes + up to an hour cooking time
ONE DAY AHEAD:
take thawed or mostly thawed chops and rub them with 2 cloves garlic. powder evenly with half of the cinnamon, half the clove and, if desired, half the ginger. salt lightly. place chops in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. you can mince the rubbed-out garlic cloves and toss them on top, if you're fond of garlic.
in a separate bowl, mix teriyaki sauce and the remaining spices, plus the two cloves of garlic that didn't touch the raw meat, chopped finely. reserve about 1/2 cup of this sauce in another plastic container in the fridge.
pour the remaining sauce over the chops, making sure to turn so all edges are coated. allow this to marinate about 24 hours, longer is okay as long as the meat is fresh. occasionally shake the container to blend all the flavors.
THE NEXT DAY:
preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet
sear the chops in the olive oil. the teriyaki sauce will liquify and boil down to sugar if you're not careful, so once the edges have started to brown, you can add water in small dribbles to the pan, to keep the sauce to a workable consistancy. turn the steaks frequently -- your goal is a crisp outer shell, glazed with the thickened sauce created by the teriyaki, water, and heated fats in the oil and the pork drippings.
while the steaks are browning, prepare a baking dish only slightly larger than the combined surface area of the steaks. you may wish to line the pan with foil to ease in cleaning (baked on teriyaki isn't a pleasant thing.). lightly spray the foil with olive oil, if you wish.
remove the browned steaks from the heat and place them in the baking dish. pour the juices from the pan and the reserved teriyaki sauce (not the sauce the meat was soaking in though -- blech!) on top.
bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes (for ~1&1/2 inch thick steaks, adjust accordingly or use a meat thermometer.).
serve the steaks immediately. i've served these whole and sliced on the diagonal, either way they're great drizzled with the thick sauce from the baking pan and thinly sliced green onions.
Lasagna January 2003 I've been told I make killer lasagna. In truth, it's just one of the first things I learned to make, so I've simply had lots of practice. That, and I'm not shy about the cheese. My idea of a good lasagna comes from the Rathskeller downstairs in Chapel Hill... often referred to as 'bowl o' cheese'. I also make a variation with seafood and a cream sauce, which I'll post once I figure it out again. INGREDIENTS:
1 pkg lasagna noodles
shredded mozzarella, parmesean and/or grueyre, about 5-6 cups (adjust to taste)
1 tub of ricotta cheese (12/16 oz., again, dependant on your taste)
8 cups of tomato sauce with meat, mushrooms, and/or veggies (my recipe is below, but anything from the pasta aisle of the supermarket will do)
preheat the oven to 350°
boil water, add about 1 t salt and 1 t olive oil
add pasta. cook until soft and pliable, but not gummy
drain pasta. set aside (might want to spray it with olive oil to stop it from sticking)
spray a 8&1/2x11 inch glass baking pan with olive oil.
spoon about 1 c sauce into the bottom of the dish evenly
cut lasagna noodles to fit, a single layer going North-South
sprinkle / dollop cheeses on top of noodle (1-2 cup shred, 1 c ricotta)
spoon about 2 c sauce over cheese
cut lasagna noodles to fit, a single layer going East-West
cheese, sauce, N-S noodles, cheese, sauce, E-W noodles (or as many layers as will fit)
top with thin spread of sauce and just shredded cheese. I use lots of parmesean (or Asiago) on the very top.
bake at 350° for about an hour, or until top browns and edges are bubbly.
The seafood variation replaces the tomato sauce with a cream sauce (butter/flour roux, add cream or half&half, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, fresh basil), and replaces the meat or 'shrooms with fake crabmeat and/or shrimp. I've tried it with real crabmeat, but I can never get it picked totally clean, and that totally ruins it. You can add mild flavored mushrooms, but nothing strong like portobello. And I usually switch the bell pepper for celery and halve the onion. I've addded weird stuff like black olives and water chestnuts, too. Came out ok.
Tomato Sauce January 2003 Basic tomato sauce, cribbed from my mom's lasagna recipe, with some changes. I've never managed to quite recreate the sauce that my friend Eddie's mom made for our swim team dinners... but this is as close as I've gotten. INGREDIENTS:
2 large cans tomatoes (diced, squished, or whole -- whatever you prefer)
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced or chopped, whatever
mushrooms (if desired) -- portobellos are good if the sauce is vegetarian
1/2 lb ground beef or turkey (if desired)
1/2 lb sausage -- plain, sage, or sweet hot italian will all work, according to taste (if desired)
1 c. beef or vegetable broth
2 t EACH basil and oregano
2-3 bay leaves
1 T sugar (adjust to taste, I like it sweeter than most)
butter (for sauteeing)
Melt about 1 T butter in a heavy (but deep) skillet. Sautee the onions and bell pepper until they are soft, but not brown.
Add ground meat and sausage (if desired), mushrooms and garlic to the skillet. Cook until the meat is brown throughout.
In a heavy saucepan or stewpot (bigger is better) over medium heat, stir together the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and sugar. (If the tomatoes are whole, you probably want to cut them up a bit.) Add the bay leaf and the sauteed onions, meat, mushrooms, etc.
Let simmer as long as possible, or at least until it's reduced to a sauce-like consistancy. Cooking with the lid on or a splashguard will keep it from splattering as tomato sauce will do. I usually start this in the morning (it can be done in a crockpot with some adjustments) and leave it on most of the day, or prepare it ahead of time. Freezes well.
SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP October 2003 The basis for this recipe is the version served at the Rockford in Raleigh, NC. It's particularly good, enough so that the Greg Cox got it for his column. Great to serve to company, though it is a little compllicated to prepare. I made some significant changes from the Rockford's version to suit my taste -- more spice, less 'choke, etc.. I served it at my last Halloween party and it was a smashing success. I suspect someone *licked* the dish clean. INGREDIENTS:
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion
1-2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil (1 T for peppers, 1 T for spinach)
1 jar artichoke hearts (in oil, not pickled), drained and chopped (I used 20 oz.)
~1 t cayenne pepper
3 lb cream cheese, room temp / soft
1 lb spinach (fresh or frozen)
pinch of salt
Peppers, onions and garlic go in food processor. Puree.
Saute puree in 1 T olive oil. It will thicken a bit as the water evaporates, around 10-15 minutes.
Add artichoke, cayenne and black pepper to puree, continuing to cook another 5-10 minutes until any remaining water is gone. (Paste-like consistancy.)
Add cream cheese to the mixture and melt, stirring, over slightly lower heat. (Stir often or cream cheese can get tricky.) Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 T olive oil in heavy frypan. Sautee spinach until wilted and tender. If you're using frozen (which will already be wilted and tender), thaw it first, drain excess water, and sautee 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle spinach with salt as it cooks, as though you were salting it to eat it plain.
Fold spinach into cheese mixture. It can be served immediately or put into the oven and baked (with or without parmesean on top) for 10 minutes at 350.
This dip is best if made ahead and refrigerated for at least a day, then reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes (until bubbly).
This dip is really best if prepared a day or two in advance and refrigerated, then reheated in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes (until bubbly). This is also very convenient for party-prep.
For a lighter version, use less cream cheese. Low-fat cream cheese does funky things when melted, so this is really best with the real thing.
If you don't care about the fat, you can add a little grated parmesean or swiss (gruyere if you're snobby about it), both to the mixture and on top to broil. I think that's just a bit too rich, but cheese freaks like it. If you add a particularly dry cheese, a little milk will smooth it out.
If you use frozen spinach, use the time that it is sauteeing to pick out any stems or debris, as well as any discolored pieces. It really is better with fresh, as long as you wash it very well.
This dip is good with pita bread or crackers (I love it on sesame melba toast). It can also be spread on bread or, I suppose, served with veggies.
Caramel Apple Butter October 2003
Didn't expect much out of this when I tried it, but was so intrigued at its simplicity that I gave it a shot anyway. Turns out it's the spread equivilent of smack. Highly addictive and totally dangerous -- to your arteries and thighs! But definately an impressive sweet treat for a fall party, served with warm bread.
1 apple (I like granny smith for the tartness), peeled and chopped
small bag (Kraft) caramels (16 oz?)
2 sticks butter (salted or unsalted, either will work)
Take 1-2 T butter and melt in heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add apple and cook until soft and mushy (lower temp if it starts to brown).
Add caramels to apple, lower heat, stir until melted. Add more butter if you have trouble getting it smooth.
Take caramel mixture off heat and transfer to a food processor. Blend, adding the remainder of the butter in chunks, until smooth.
Pour into mold or container and refrigerate. Serve chilled.
I bet you could speed up the recipe a great deal by using applesauce (natural, unsweetened) and skip cooking the apples down and blending (it'll already be smooth). Haven't tried it myself yet, but it should work.
Chili January 2004
By request, here's what I can only guesstimate as my "usual" chili recipe. It always includes the onions, the chili powder, and the cinnamon, but everything else varies depending on who I'm serving it to. I can make it vegetarian, but usually don't because let's face it in my mind "chili" = "ground cow," not "warm salsa w/beans."
1/2 to 1 lb. lean ground beef
1 very large or 2 medium onions, chopped
[1/2-1 green bell pepper, chopped]
3 cloves garlic
1-2 cans red kidney beans
1-2 cans pureed or crushed tomato
sugar (brown or white)
prepared plain yellow mustard
Sautee the ground beef in a big soup pot on med. Add onions and garlic [and pepper], chopped, about halfway through. Cook until beef is browned throughout and onions are translucent.
Add chili powder and cinnamon (I like to add them at this point because it smells so good, but they can wait until the liquids are in, especially if you're trying to do it by taste)
Add beans, tomato. You will probably want to add a half cup to a cup of warm water since it will reduce when you slow-cook it.
Add molasses (um, maybe... 3 T?), mustard (2T?), ketchup (4T?), and sugar (this is definately a 'to taste' item, I like my chili sweeter than most).
Turn down to low and let it simmer for a number of hours, usually around 3 or 4. Add water if it gets too dry/thick, and adjust with ketchup, mustard, sugar, molasses to fit your taste for chili.
This can be easily made in the crock-pot. Just follow the directions in terms of frozen/not frozen meat and dump everything else on top. Handy, this, because it doesn't splatter on the stovetop.
I always serve chili dinner with crusty bread, salad, and assorted chili toppers. My favorites are cheddar, sliced green onions, and sour cream.
Pot Roast May 2004
My roommate and I decided we wanted roast beast one day, and so I asked my mother for her recipe. I mucked with it a little bit, but it was damned tasty, all in all. INGREDIENTS:
1 large glass baking dish
1 large size oven cooking bag
1/4 c flour
roast beast (one of the less expensive cuts of beef, usually rump roast or a thick round w/ some fat)
1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix
1 cup red wine (we used Smoking Loon Sirah)
fresh rosemary (lots of it)
salt and pepper
red-skinned potatoes, quartered
[tomato paste] (which I actually forgot, so, enh.)
Preheat oven to around 350 degrees.
Follow direction on cooking bag for preparing it. Normally this involves taking the flour and coating the inside of the bag, and positioning the opening to be on one side, and later there will be some hole-poking. My mom says to seriously follow the directions, as it can explode and make a bigger mess than the one you're trying to prevent. You've been warned.
Add the soup mix and the red wine to the bag. Mush it around a bit. This is where the tomato paste would be added, I imagine, if one can manage not to forget that part.
Salt and pepper the roast. Rub it liberally with thyme and pop it into the bag. Turn carefully to coat.
Add rosemary, more thyme if desired, and veggies. You can hold the mushrooms out until the very end if you prefer them not cooked to death.
Seal the bag in the manner described by the manufacturer.
Cook 3-4 hours, depending on the thickness and weight of the roast. The meat should fall apart when it is done.
I recently bought a slow-cooker and will probably try this in there next time out. Even less hassle.
Rosemary Almond Chicken Salad April 2005
From one of this spring's issues of Cooking Light, though I went the other way and fat-i-fy'ed it instead of making it more reasonable. Obviously, one can substitute light mayo and yogurt for the real mayo and thus, make it much healthier, but it was quite delicious. INGREDIENTS:
one whole roast chicken, removed from bones and cut/torn into small pieces
mayonaise, 3/4 c.
dijon mustard, 2T
green onions, chopped
rosemary, stems removed and chopped fine
smoked almonds, chopped, 3/4 c. (or to taste)
garlic salt or minced garlic, 1/4 t. (optional) DIRECTIONS:
Mix all ingredients together to taste.
It is best if you make up this salad the night before and store in the fridge to let the herbs come to full flavor.
Do not chop all the almonds super-fine. Leave some large chunks for appearance.
Gumbo August 2005
I came back from New Orleans, and had to learn how to make this in time for our Halloween party. One of my co-workers assured me it was easy. I researched it for a while, and once I thought I understood the kitchen chemistry (hey, it involves a dark roux. You never can be too careful with dark roux.), gave it a shot.
1 c flour
1 c vegetable oil
2 large onions, chopped
1-2 bell peppers, chopped
1 whole chicken, cut up
2 lbs pork andouille sausage, cut into 2" pieces
bit of oil or butter
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 bay leaves
tarragon, basil, thyme, black pepper, oregano
okra, cut into 2" pieces
cooked long-grain rice
Combine oil and flour in a heavy, deep skillet. Cook to a roux -- dark and somewhere between the color of coffee and milk chocolate. I noticed a change in smell -- first it smelled like burnt popcorn, then toon on a deeper coffee-bean-like smell. It took about 20 minutes. When it is just about done, add the onions and peppers to stop the cooking process. This will keep the roux from continuing to cook and burning. Set the completed roux aside.
Pour the stock and some water (4 c. or so of each -- that's a guess) into a large pot. Add herbs -- tarragon, basil, thyme, black pepper, oregano. (approx 2 t. apiece). Heat on medium.
While the stock is warming up, brown the chicken and the sausage. Set it aside.
Add the roux to the stock and bring to a simmer. It should thicken.
Add the chicken, garlic, and 3-4 bay leaves to the roux/stock.
Cook at a simmer 2-4 hours, until chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone.
Remove the chicken from the pot. Let it cool and remove the bones. You can also skim the fat off the top of the soup at this point, if necessary.
Add the chicken back to the pot. Add the okra and simmer at least 30 more minutes until the okra is cooked through and no longer stringy.
Add the scallions and parsley and let simmer another 20-30 minutes.
Serve over cooked rice.
A proper gumbo can be made with chicken, sausage, crab, shrimp, gator, or pretty much any combination of delicious meats.
The key to proper gumbo is the dark roux. This is not a french roux, all white and pasty. Because the starch is so thoroughly cooked, it will not thicken to the same extent a roux for, say, white sauce, will. That's why there's so much of it.