Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Polly’s Brown Lace Cookies

This recipe comes from an Aspen friend of Ja and Moogie’s. They are decadent but delicious. I usually make them around Christmas.

Blend in Cuisinart fitted with a steel blade:

2 c brown sugar
½ stick butter
2 eggs
½ c flour
1 t vanilla

Then add, stirring in by hand:

2 c medium chopped pecans

Chill for one hour or overnight.

Rolldough  into 1” balls [I make them about half that size as they are easier to remove from the pan after cooking - see below]

Put balls on a greased and floured cookie sheet.

Cook at 375 degrees F [Moogie notes 350 degree preference] 7-8 minutes.

Cool 2-3 minutes in pan before removing. [These can be a bit difficult to remove in one piece. I find it helps a bit if I put the pan outside in the winter cold (or in the freezer) for about a minute and then remove.]

Reviewed 5/14/17

Mom’s Lunch Box Cookies

This is a recipe from Moogie. Our crew prefers the straight Oatmeal Cookies but this is a good recipe if you have ripe bananas on hand.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together:

1½ c flour
1 c sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt [I omit]
¼ t ground nutmeg
¾ t cinnamon

Cream:

¾ c shortening (part butter) [1/2 olive oil + 1/4 c orange juice or milk]
1 egg, well beaten [1/4 c "egg product"]
3 medium bananas, mashed fine

Combine sifted ingredients with creamed ingredients and add:

1 3/4 c oatmeal [Mom's recipe calls for “Quick Quaker Oats, but I think the regular oatmeal that I use works just as well]

½ c chopped dates
½ c chopped nuts

Mix until well blended.

Drop 2 inches apart on non-stick or well-greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Reviewed 5/14/17

Roasted Pork Loin with Apricot Compote

Alexandra and Christopher served Roasted Pork Loin with Gewürztraminer-Apricot Compote with Vegetable Barley and Three-Chocolate Hazelnut Tart for my birthday in 2006. All three recipes are from Wildwood Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest by Cory Schreiber, a wonderful cookbook  Alexandra gave me for Christmas 2005.






COMPOTE:

In a medium saucepan, combine:

1 cup Gewurztraminer
1 cup apple cider
1 cinnamon stick

1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped OR
2 teaspoons vanilla extract; if using extract, ADD AFTER syrup is
removed from heat

Bring to boil, reduce heat and add:

8 ounces dried apricot halves

Simmer for 20 minutes, or until a syrup consistency is achieved. Remove from heat. [Add vanilla extract, if using.] Set aside and keep warm. This mixture can be made 1 day ahead and reheated.

PORK:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season

1 4-rib pork loin roast (about 2 ½ to 3 pounds), chine bone removed
with
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Place pork in pan and brown on all sides. Place pork on a rack in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork registers 145 degrees F. Remove pork from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 15 minutes.[This should raise temperature to 150 degrees F (rare); leave pork in oven until it reaches 155 degrees F for well done (160 degrees F).]

Cut pork loin into 4 portions and spoon on the apricot compote.

Wildwood suggests plating by distributing Vegetable Barley on to individual plates, topping each portion with wilted spinach and a slice of pork and spooning apricot compote over the pork.


Grilled Lamb Chops

Serves 4

This is from Wildwood Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest by Cory Schreibera, a wonderful cookbook  Alexandra gave me for Christmas 2005. Although the recipe gives a grill option for chops, based on experience I strongly suggest you not use a grill for rack of lamb. While the grill works for chops, the combination of fat and bone on the rack of lamb makes it cook too fast and hot and results in a very charred exterior.

Make marinade (this does 4 5-6 oz chops, scale accordingly):

6 cloves garlic, minced
2 T coarsely chopped fresh sage
2 T olive oil
2 t coarsely ground black pepper

Rub the marinade on:

4 lamb chops, about 3” thick (5 oz) [or rack of lamb (3 ribs/person)]

Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Remove chops from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to allow them to come to room temperature.

To cook chops: Preheat broiler or gas grill, or light a fire in a charcoal grill [if you do this though be sure most all fat has been trimmed off chops or fire will flare and burn chops; not advised for rack of lamb – see above]. Broil or grill chops for 4-5 minutes on each side for medium rare.

[To cook rack of lamb: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cook lamb for approximately 20 minutes for rare (135 degrees), 25 minutes for medium rare (140 degrees). Use oven thermometer and if not automatic, check temperature 5 minutes before done time.]

For sauce and accompaniment see Pinot Noir-Braised Onions.

Fruit Stuffed Loin of Pork

8 to 10 portions

This recipe is adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukinsand is one of my longtime favorites.





4 pounds boneless pork loin roast, prepared for stuffing [I usually use pork tenderloin,
though this is a bit harder to stuff; each tenderloin is about 1 pound so I adjust other
ingredients to reflect amount of meat used.]

1cup pitted prunes, approximately
1cup dried apricots, approximately
1 garlic clove
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet butter, softened [I omit]
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 cup Madeira wine
1 tablespoon molasses
Watercress (garnish)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, push the dried fruits into the pocket in the roast, alternating prunes and apricots [If using tenderloins use a long sharp knife to cut a slit down the inside center of the loin, rotating knife slightly once it has been inserted into loin]

Cut the garlic into thin slivers. Make deep slits in the roast with the tip of a knife and push the garlic into the slits. Tie the roast with twine [I have never found this necessary] and rub surface with salt and pepper.

Set the roast in a shallow baking pan and smear the butter over the roast [I omit butter]. Sprinkle with thyme.

Stir Madeira and molasses together in a small bowl and pour over the roast. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours (approximately 20 minutes per pound), basting frequently. [Tenderloins will require less cooking time; approximately 25 minutes for a 1 pound tenderloin. Internal temperature should be 150 (pink) - 160 degrees (well done) F.  Pork will keep cooking after it is removed from the oven so if planning to let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, remove at 150 or 155 degrees.]

When roast is done (do not overcook), remove it from the oven and let it stand, loosely covered with foil, for 15 or 20 minutes. Cut into thin slices; arrange slices on a serving platter, and spoon pan juices over them.

Garnish platter with watercress and serve immediately.


Date and Nut Bars


This is another recipe from my Grandmother Hope, copied exactly as she wrote it out in script with a fountain pen in her cloth-bound recipe book. Bracketed comments are mine. She seldom gave directions. I cream the eggs, sugar and butter then combine with the dry ingredients, dates (rolled in a bit of the flour) and nuts. While she rolled the bars in confectioner's sugar, I use a shaker and sprinkle the sugar over the top right after removing pan from the oven.


January 2012:  I made this recipe for the first time in years this past Christmas.  When I went to get the 7" x 11" pan I remembered taking it to the transfer station a few years ago when I was purging my cabinets of decrepit aluminum. Ummm... so used the 8" x 8" glass pan and cooked for 30 minutes, until a small skewer inserted in the middle came out clean.  Not enough (think nuts near the top cleaned the skewer). The middle area was not fully cooked. Ed liked them anyway, so I tried them again this week and cooked for 35 minutes. Again, they appeared cooked but a small area in the very middle was a bit soggy.  The bars cut well, however, and seemed to have a pretty good texture after cooling on the rack.


“2 eggs [or 1/2 c"egg product"]
1 cup sugar
butter 'size of walnut’ [I uses 1 1/2 T]
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
salt [I omit]
½ tsp cinnamon
vanilla [I use 1 t]
1 cup dates, cut fine
½ cup nuts [chopped]
[Confectioner sugar]


Bake in pan 7” x 11” at about 325 degrees for 20 –25 minutes. Cut as soon as out of oven. Pieces while warm may be rolled in conf. sugar.”





Reviewed 5/14/17


Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fruit

6 to 8 servings

This recipe is adapted from the recipe "Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Port, Plums and Apricots" found in Sarah Leah Chase’s Nantucket Open House Cookbook

Since I don’t like to use marinade that has been over the raw pork for sauce, I have shown in brackets modifications to keep sauce marinade separate. I also tend to do this with smaller pork tenderloins (averaging about 1 pound each), and cut the amount of marinade to correspond with the amount of meat being cooked.

Rather than grilling, I have on occasion cooked the tenderloin in a 350 degree F oven, basting frequently with the marinade, for 20-25 minutes/pound, to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F.  At 150 degrees F meat will be pink; cook to 160 for well done.
.
1 boneless pork loin, about 4 pounds, cut in half lengthwise
[I usually use pork tenderloins and do not cut in half]

4 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse (kosher) salt [I omit]
1 1/2 cups port
1 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, halved [I mince]
½ cup dried apricots
8 fresh prune plums, cut in half and pitted [if plums are not in season, I use prunes]
2 tablespoon chopped fresh Rosemary [or 1 T dried Rosemary]
Salt and pepper to taste

Rub the 2 pieces of pork loin all over with the oil and coarse salt [I omit salt]. Place in a 5 to 6 inch deep bowl or pan [shallower bowl works fine for tenderloin].

Place the remaining ingredients [except apricots and plums] in a saucepan and heat to simmering. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then pour [ABOUT ½ ] the warm marinade over the pork. Let cool to room temperature. Cover the bowl and let pork marinate, turning the meat occasionally, in the refrigerator at least 4 hours. [good when you have the time, I often do less]

Prepare charcoal or wood chips for grilling. [Light gas grill.]

When the coals are hot, remove the pork from the marinade and sear a few inches from the heat on all sides until nicely browned. Adjust the grill rack so that the pork is about 4 to 5 inches from the coals. [We use gas grill and adjust temperature rather than rack height, starting on high and reducing to low.] Cover the grill and cook the pork, turning occasionally, to desired doneness, 35 to 45 minutes [20-25 minutes for tenderloin.  Meat will keep cooking after it is removed from the grill so if planning to let it sit for any length of time, remove at 150 or 155 degrees.].

[Add apricots and plums to the remaining marinade and] Boil the marinade in a saucepan for just 1 to 2 minutes [about 5 minutes]. Cut the pork into ½ inch thick slices and spoon the warm marinade over the slices.

Micro? Meatballs

READ THE WHOLE RECIPE BEFORE DECIDING ON METHOD!

Mix together (in mixing bowl using your hands or forks or in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; texture will obviously be much more uniform using the latter method):

1 pound very lean ground sirloin
1 egg
1/2 c fine breadcrumbs or panko
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t pepper
1 T Worcestershire sauce or 1-1/2 t soy sauce
1/4 c chopped onion

Shape into balls (12-16 depending on your size preference) and arrange in a circle(s) in a 9 or 10-inch glass pie plate. Cover with wax paper. Microwave on High 6-8 minutes, rotating dish 90 degrees after 3 minutes, until done.

Remove meatballs from pan and place on paper towels to drain off as much fat as possible. Serve in spaghetti sauce.



WHY THE ?

I used to make these quite a bit and no one complained (not sure anyone kissed the cook either).  In January (2011) we were in New York and Christopher made us fresh pasta with a pan fried meatball sauce.  In February when we  were in Colorado, I made buffalo micro-meatballs and served them with packaged spaghetti.  A poor reprise in all regards.  But the real disappointment was the meatballs.

As Ed noted, a microwave cooks from the inside out so it is hard, almost impossible, to get the meatballs cooked on the outside and reasonably rare on the inside using this technique.  The following week, I tried again.  First using a food processor (as Christopher had done) rather than lazily chopping the onions.

The results were much more consistent meatballs (see photo above left). I then pan fried the meatballs until they were well browned on the outside but still pink on the inside, again a definite improvement!  The micro-meatballs may be quicker and definately less messy, but I will be using this stove top cooking method going forward.






Reviewed 5/7/17

Chili Con Carne

6 servings

This recipe is from Moogie. Since it's pretty heavy on the meat, I usually go for the tofu version, Chili Con Tofu with Beans, saving the meat for a good grilled burger with corn on the cob.

Fry 2 pounds

[very lean] hamburger steak

until brown. Remove from fry pan [drain/blot all excess fat – see Scrambled Hamburger] and put into kettle. Add:

1 can red stewed kidney beans
1 qt can tomatoes
4 T vinegar
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T sugar
½ c water

1 t chili powder [I’m sure Moogie always uses more than this; how much you use should be determined by how hot your chili powder really is and how hot you want the chili to be --- do the taste test as you add seasoning].

“Also dump in some taco sauce or green chili or both” [Bottom line: adjust hotness to
taste]

Simmer for one hour.

Reviewed 5/7/17

Dolmadakia (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

About 2 dozen  --- Leaf size varies; size of individual stuffed grape leaves and total yield will vary accordingly.

These grape leaves are equally good as an hors d’oeuvre/appetizer or as a veggie/vegan main course.

When I was in Kuwait I enjoyed the lavish meza, what we would call here “heavy hors d’oeuvres”: hummus, baba ganoush, grape leaves, tabouli and many other dips made of pomegranate, yogurt, chickpeas, liver (well not so much the liver) and served with hot pita bread that was continuously brought to our table. As such, I can appreciate the quote below from the New York Times International Cookbook by Craig Claiborne from which this recipe is adapted.

“There is an Arabic saying, 'Al akl ‘ala kadd el mahabeh' - 'The food equals the affection,' or 'The more a guest eats, the more he shows his love [though not in translation, I would substitute appreciation] for the host.' The glorious savories that comprise the beginning of a meal in the Middle East offer a guest un-limited opportunities to prove his affection. There are dishes made with sesame paste and chickpeas, eggplant and lamb, grape leaves and yogurt. If they are accompanied by sun-ripened olives, vinegar peppers, and crusty bread, so much the better. Below is a recipe for stuffed grape leaves.”

1 cup olive oil [I use less and compensate by adding more water - not as authentic]
3 large onions, chopped [I use 1-1 1/2 large sweet onions]
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt [I omit]
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1 c uncooked rice [I use brown basmati]
2 T fresh snipped dill
1/4 c finely chopped Italian parsley
2 T pignoli (pine nuts)
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 c lemon juice

3 c water [see notes below]
1 8-ounce jar grape leaves in brine
Parsley stems (optional)
Lemon wedges

1. Heat one-half cup of the oil [I use ~2 T] in a skillet and sauté the onions and garlic until tender but not browned.

2. Add the salt, pepper, and rice and cook slowly for ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add the dill, parsley, nuts, green onions, one-half cup of the lemon juice and one cup of the water. Stir to mix, cover, and simmer gently until all the liquid has been absorbed, about fifteen minutes.

3. Rinse the grape leaves under running water, separate, and place, shiny side down, on a board. If the leaves are small, put two together.

4. Place about one teaspoon [more for larger leaves] of the rice filling near the stem end of the leaves and roll up jelly-roll fashion toward the tip, tucking in the edges to make a neat roll.

5. Place the remaining oil [I use 2 T of oil and 3/4 c water] , lemon juice, and one cup of water in a large skillet. Arrange the rolls in the pan, separating the layers with parsley stems if more than one layer is prepared. Place a heavy plate, or plate and weight, on top and simmer twenty-five minutes. Add the remaining water [only if rice is not tender]* and cook about ten minutes longer, or until the rice is tender. Cool and serve at room temperature with lemon wedges.



* November 2014:  This remaining cup of water may not be necessary.  When I made this recently I found that the rice was plenty tender after absorbing  2 cups of water and 1 cup of lemon juice.  In addition I had used some additional water in place of oil.  Given that the normal rice to water of ratio is 1:2 and this recipe calls for 3 cups of water and  1 cup of lemon juice plus the olive oil, it is not surprising that the third cup of water (fourth of liquid) is not required. 

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Stuffed Grape Leaves are a Condor favorite, especially on cold overnight sails.

Because the meat is added raw to the stew, all of the fat remains in the sauce; to reduce the fat, cook meat first and drain/blot off the fat (see Scrambled Hamburger). Alternatively try the vegetarian Dolmadakia . This recipe is more like a "stew" and as such is not a good candidate for hors d'oeuvres while the Dolmadakia make an excellent hors d'oeuvres or meze dish.

The recipe below is from the original New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne

1 quart jar of grape leaves
2 pounds ground lean lamb or beef [use the leanest beef you can purchase]
1 c raw rice, washed and drained
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 t thyme
1 t oregano
1 small onion, grated [I chop finely]
2 T butter [use 1 T olive oil]
3 large onions, sliced
2 quarts canned tomatoes

1. Wash the grape leaves thoroughly in cold water to remove the salt.

2. Mix the meat [see note above re: cooking first] with the rice, pepper, thyme, oregano and grated onion.

3. In a large kettle heat the butter [olive oil], add the sliced onions and cook until transparent. Add half the tomatoes and heat.

4. Stuff the grape leaves (not too tightly) with the meat mixture, using about one tablespoon of the mixture for each leaf [depending on size of leaf; use more for larger leaves]. Shape each into a neat package [roll jelly roll style, tucking in the ends about half-way through rolling] and place gently in the hot tomato sauce.  [Technique photos]

4. Heat the remaining tomatoes and pour over the top. Cover and simmer forty-five minutes to one hour.[If meat is pre-cooked simmer just until stuffed grape leaves are heated through.]

Reviewed 5/7/17

New England Boiled Dinner

Most every year around St. Patrick's Day when corn beef and accompanying veggies are on special I make a New England Boiled Dinner. I use beef that has been processed without nitrates. For a real "New England Dinner" finish the meal with Indian Pudding.

I often wondered where the term "corned" came from and read recently that a "corn" was a measurement for salt, hence the term "corned" for meat soaked in brine (water containing salts). You will have to take my word for this because when I tried to document this fact by searching salt+corn+measure I found  mostly popcorn recipes.

NOTE: Meat often comes with a spice packet including allspice berries and mustard seed; if you do not have these spices on hand, check the meat packaging before purchasing.

Assemble:

3 pounds cured corned beef brisket, trimmed
1/2 t black peppercorns
1/2 t mustard seeds
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
4 bay leaves
3 cups carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks (about 1 pound)
3 cups peeled rutabaga (yellow turnip, about 1 pound)
2 cups parsnips, cut into 1 inch chunks (about 12 ounces)
2 medium sized onions, cut in half and then in quarter wedges
16 small red potatoes, halved (about 2 pounds)
1 large head green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

Place beef in a large Dutch oven or kettle. Add all of the spices. Cover with water to 2 inches above beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; partially cover, and simmer 2 hours or until beef is tender. Remove beef from pan.

Strain cooking liquid through a sieve over a large bowl, reserving cooking liquid; discard solids. Place liquid in large measuring cup(s) and put in refrigerator or other cold place. Let the liquid sit until fat rises to the top and can be easily skimmed off. Return de-fatted liquid to the pan. Add beef and vegetables to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Arrange cabbage on top; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

Remove beef and vegetables (using slotted spoon*) from pan and arrange on a large platter/carving board; cut meat across the grain into slices.  Garnish  with:

Parsley

Serve with:

Horseradish and/or a mixture of horseradish and sour cream (proportions to taste).
* Strain cooking liquid through a sieve over a large bowl and reserve to use for warming any leftovers and/or for stock).

Reviewed 5/7/17

Sweet and Sour Beef

Serves 4-6

This recipe is adapted from a recipe Moogie gave me.
Do all the cutting of meat and veggies and have all ingredients for sauce assembled and ready to measure before starting to cook.

1 ¼ pound beef for stir-fry or sirloin cut in thin strips
1 onion cut in chunks
1 green pepper cut in chunks
1 c mushrooms
1 can unsweetened pineapple chunks (reserve juice)
Canola [or peanut/olive] oil for frying

Heat ~ 1 T oil in wok, add onions and peppers and cook, constantly stirring, until crisply chewy and not overdone; then add mushrooms, cook a bit and remove from wok. Add a bit more oil to wok if needed, add meat to wok and cook, constantly stirring, until browned. Remove meat from wok.

Make sauce by combining in wok:

1/3 c brown sugar
1 c pineapple juice (reserved from pineapple for stir-fry)
1/3 c soy sauce (or more to taste, Moogie calls for 2/3c)
2 T vinegar
2 T cornstarch
1T freshly ground ginger

Stir sauce constantly until thick and smooth; if sauce seems too thick add more pineapple juice or water.

Add pineapple to wok and stir until warm, add meat and veggies and stir until all ingredients are warmed through.

Serve with rice.

Reviewed 5/7/17

Sukiyaki

I originally made this using flank steak; recently however I have substituted leaner bison steak, usually found frozen in 12 oz packages.

Serves 4

Make sauce by mixing:

½ c reduced salt soy sauce or tamari
½ c beef or vegetable stock
1 T sugar
1 T dry sherry


Prepare stir-fry ingredients:

1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound flank steak [or 12 oz bison steak], thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
4 green onions, sliced white and green
1 pound spinach, stems removed

Heat 2 t oil in wok, add meat and cook to render out fat; remove meat from wok, dry on paper towels, wipe wok dry and add 1 t additional oil, sauté onions until they begin to wilt, return meat to pan and add mushrooms, stir fry for two minutes. Add sauce and spinach, stirring constantly, cook one more minute or until spinach wilts. Serve at once with rice.


VARIATIONS
Sauté with the onions
2 green peppers, sliced thin

and/or
1 small head of celery, sliced

Add with the mushrooms

Bamboo shoots, sliced

and/or

Soy bean curd (soft tofu) cut in small chunks

Reviewed 5/7/17

Teriyaki Flank Steak

The original recipe came from Moogie. Moogie makes a lot of marinade and serves extra as sauce with the steak. I don’t like to do this unless marinade is boiled for at least ten minutes and this tends to reduce the remaining marinade considerably. I have cut the amount of liquids so that all marinade is used in marinating and basting the steak.

With a sharp knife remove tough membrane [as well as any fat] on the outside of a

1 ½ pound flank steak

Place the steak in a shallow dish in which the steak can lie flat. Mix the following and pour over the steak:

½ c soy sauce [I use 2 T]
½ c oil [I use 2 T olive oil]
¼ c dry cooking sherry [I use 1 T or often omit]
2 medium cloves crushed garlic [I use finely chopped garlic]
2 T grated fresh ginger root*
I T grated orange or tangerine rind [I omit rind and use ¼ c orange juice]

Marinate two hours, turning steak over occasionally [I often marinate for only an hour]. Cook on grill brushing with marinade until cooked to desired doneness [remember meat will keep cooking for a while when it is removed from grill and it is best to remove ~10 minutes before slicing] . Cut diagonally in thin pieces.

* January 2015: Chris has convinced me to use ~1 1/2 t ground ginger (or more to taste). He argues it is easier (no grating) to prepare, easier to store and makes much less of a mess on the grill.

Reviewed 5/7/17

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sesame Chicken

Serves 4

This recipe is from Moogie. Parentheses are Moogie’s notes; brackets mine.

In a large skillet heat:

2 T canola oil [I use olive/peanut oil]

Sprinkle

4 boneless, skinless breasts with

Paprika

And place in skillet and brown on both sides. Remove chicken. Place in the skillet and brown lightly

2 T sesame seeds (I use more) [I use 4 T]

Remove from heat. Add

¼ c sugar [I omit]
2 T (or less) cornstarch

1/8 t ginger (chopped candied, I use more) [I use 2T Whole Foods crystallized ginger chunks, 3T if using pineapple, see below]

1/3 c soy sauce
1 scant cup water [or water/pineapple juice, if using pineapple, see below]
Minced garlic

Return to heat. Cook, stirring until thickened. Add chicken, cover and simmer 45 minutes [30 minutes] or until chicken is tender. After chicken has cooked for 15 minutes add:

1 18 oz can crushed pineapple (optional) [unsweetened and drained]

Serve with rice.

Reviewed 5/13/17

Yakitori

Serves two as a main dish; four as hors d’oeuvre.

This recipe comes from Edie Baxter, Alex and Christopher's fourth grade teacher. Every spring to conclude their study of Japan, the class with help from Edie and parents, prepared a Japanese feast complete with Yakitori and Sushi rolls (no raw fish) and finished with the not so Japanese but absolutely delicious Ericson's ginger ice cream.

Fresh from Mrs. Baxter class Alexandra (at left - June 1990) wearing a blue kimono and a Japanese apron I brought from Kyoto prepares to grill Yakatori. Below, Christopher and his classmates prepare the Yakatori (1993).



Assemble:

1 whole (two halves) chicken breast, skinned and boned [or 4 second joints, skinned and boned - my preference for this dish]

½ pound fresh mushrooms

4 scallions

Sauce:

½ c soy sauce

2 T brown sugar

2 T dry sherry

Cut chicken into 1” cubes. If mushrooms are very large cut into pieces similar in size to chicken, otherwise use whole. Cut scallions into 1” pieces. Mix the sauce and place in a shallow bowl. Add chicken and vegetables and marinate one hour. [If using wood skewers soak in water while chicken is marinating.] Thread chicken and vegetables alternately on skewers. Grill ~10 minutes (or until chicken is no longer pink inside) while turning and basting with marinade.


Reviewed 5/13/17

Kung Pao Chicken

YIELD: 4 to 8 servings [Depending what other dishes are served with this]

This recipe, one of Ed’s favorites (so favorite he will even cook it), is adapted from Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee’s The Chinese Cookbook. Their introduction to this recipe states:

“The following was named for a high-ranking Chinese official, Ting Kung Pao, who fled to Szechwan as a political refugee a few hundred years ago during the Ching Dynasty. It became popular in many provinces where the inhabitants dote on hot foods, such as Hunan and Kwelchow. An interesting spiced dish, it is redolent with garlic and chili paste, hot peppers, and bean sauce.”

1 large whole chicken breast, boned but not skinned [DON’T go the General Gao route --- SKIN the chicken]

1/2 egg white (beat the egg white lightly, then divide in half)
2 t cornstarch
Salt to taste
2 T bean sauce.
1 T hoi sin sauce
1 T chili paste with garlic (Szechwan paste)
1 /2 t sugar
1 T dry sherry or shao hsing wine
1 t monosodium glutamate (optional) [OMIT]
1 T red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, peeled and flattened but not chopped
2 cups peanut, vegetable or corn oil [I use less oil and peanut oil]
12 to 16 hot dried red peppers, cut in half [since seeds of chili I get tend to be so hot, I don't cut in half]
1 c raw shelled and hulled fresh unsalted peanuts

[Ed/I usually add 1 red bell pepper cut in ¾” squares when cooking the chicken.]

1.  Cut the chicken into ¾ -inch cubes. Combine with the egg white, cornstarch, and salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Combine the bean sauce, hoi sin sauce, chili paste with garlic, sugar, wine, monosodium glutamate [OMIT], vinegar, and garlic and set aside.

3. Heat the 2 cups [I use ~1/4 c] of oil in a wok or skillet, and when it is almost boiling-hot but not smoking. turn the heat off and add the peanuts. The peanuts should turn light golden brown from retained heat, but if they don’t, turn the heat on and cook briefly, watching carefully - they cook very fast and will continue to cook after being removed from the heat. Drain and reserve the oil.

4. Heat 1 cup of the reserved oil [use just oil reserved from cooking peanuts] in the pan (save the rest for another other use). When the oil is hot, add the chicken mixture. Cook quickly, only about 45 seconds, stirring, until the chicken becomes translucent. Do not brown. Remove the chicken and drain well. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons [I keep 1 T] of the oil from the wok.

5. Add the peppers and cook until dark-about 15 seconds longer. Add the sauce and the chicken and cook about 1 minute [or until chicken is cooked through]. Serve sprinkled with the peanuts.

[I serve with rice]

Reviewed 5/13/17

Chicken and Fennel

Serves 6

This recipe is adapted from the Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook (Provencal Chicken and Fennel). I am a real fennel fan so I like this dish. For those who are not licorice inclined, try substituting canned (14 oz.) or fresh cooked artichoke hearts. Photo at left is from recipe substituting "chicken tenders" for chicken breasts. In both cases, since olive or other oil is not used for browning, the resulting chicken will be pale. Alternatively, if reducing/eliminating oil is not an issue, brown chicken in a small amount of olive oil before adding to the dish.

Cut in half lengthwise through the base, then cut each half into 4 wedges

6 small fennel bulbs, trimmed [remove stalks]

In a large non-stick frying pan, combine:

2 tomatoes, diced or 14.5 oz canned, diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 c dry white wine
1 T grated orange zest [use organic orange]
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t balsamic vinegar
1/8 t red pepper flakes [I use 1/4 t]

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Arrange fennel [if using artichokes instead of fennel, add artichokes after chicken has cooked for 10 minutes] and

6 skinless, bone-in chicken breast halves, 5 oz each, trimmed of visible fat
[I use boneless, skinless breasts]

over the tomato mixture, spooning a bit of sauce over them. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, about 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a warmed platter.

Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and top with

2 T fresh parsley, chopped
[I sometimes use 2 T fennel weed, chopped, if I have it left from trimming or 2T chopped parsley and 1 T chopped fennel weed]

Reviewed 5/13/17

Chicken Marbella

IThis recipe is adapted from a recipe of the same name in the original Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. When this cookbook was first published, I think I was served Chicken Marbella at three dinner parties in a row. Now 25 years later, this recipe is less used and is a great dish for entertaining. Although the original recipe calls for 4 whole chickens, quartered, I use 2-3 (depending on size) bone in or boneless (easier to eat) second joints, per person. To keep fat content down I buy skinless chicken or remove the skin and any extra fat. I have had this dish made with boneless chicken breasts but the breasts seemed over-cooked (breasts are much easier to over-cook in liquids than is dark meat). I use the cilantro option and serve warm with farfalle (bow-tie pasta) or more recently, my favorite: Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta.

Notes from the cookbook:

"This was the first main-course dish to be offered at The Silver Palate, and the distinctive colors and flavors of the prunes, olives and capers have kept it a favorite for years. It’s good hot or at room temperature. When prepared with small drumsticks and wings, it makes a delicious hors d’oeuvre.

The overnight marination is essential to the moistness of the finished product: the chicken keeps and even improves over several days of refrigeration; it travels well and makes excellent picnic fare.

Since Chicken Marbella is such a spectacular party dish; we give quantities to serve 10 to 12, but the recipe can successfully be divided to make a smaller amount if you wish."

In a large bowl combine:
4 chickens, 2 1/2 pounds each, quartered [see above; I use boneless, skinless second joints]
1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
1/4 cup dried oregano [I usually use Italian Spices]
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves [remove before serving; I omit]


Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight. [Note: I often don't plan ahead and only marinate for ~ half a day. Also to save pans, I put the chicken thighs arranged flat in one or more shallow baking dishes and pour/sprinkle  the other ingredients over them.  I then (with clean hands) mix all ingredients well, turning the chicken several times while it marinates but arranging the chicken pieces flat before cooking.]


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans. [I tuck prunes and olives under the chicken so they are less likely to scortch (see photos above)]. Spoon marinade evenly. over the chicken then sprinkle chicken pieces with:

1 cup brown sugar [I use much less sugar; 1/3 - 1/4 cup]

and then pour around the pieces:

1 cup white wine

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.[180 degrees F.]

With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle with:

1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Pass remaining pan juices in a sauce boat.


Reviewed 5/13/17


Lemon Chicken

1 chicken breast per serving.

This is a really simple way to cook chicken (especially if no grill is available) that provides an interesting and yummy variation for just a little work.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pat dry

1 chicken breast, bone in, skin on per person

Place chicken bone side down on washable surface and pull back (but do not remove) skin. Place

3 pieces of thinly sliced lemon (round)

on each breast, pressing down on the lemon to release some of the juice and sprinkle with

1/2 t rosemary

Return skin to cover lemon and rosemary.

Lightly brush skin with

Olive oil

And sprinkle the top of each chicken piece with additional

1/2 t rosemary

Place on lightly oiled rack of baking pan and bake ~30 minutes (depending on size of breast) until skin is well browned and internal temperature is 160 degrees F.

Since I usually have a large rosemary plant growing near a window,  I serve garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Reviewed 5/14/17

Roast Chicken

Although I used to usually stuff chickens when cooking, I now tend toward the no stuffing version. The chicken cooks a bit faster and can be served with rice or even better with roasted potatoes or root vegetables cooked simultaneously with the chicken (in separate dish to avoid coating with the chicken fat drippings). This is probably a healthier route as the stuffing tends to absorb fat from the chicken. That said, I have also included a basic recipe for stuffed chicken. The possibilities for stuffing are endless and offer an opportunity to experiment given the ingredients on hand using pecans instead of chestnuts, adding raisins or dried cranberries....

A few years ago I roasted several chickens that did not seem done. I had taken the temperature, 160 degrees F from one of my new (and subsequently one of my favorite) cookbooks. When I checked another favorite cookbook which I had used previously when roasting chicken, I found the recommended temperature for roast chicken to be 180 degrees at the thigh. I have gone back to using 180 degrees F and am happy with the results.

ROAST CHICKEN WITH NO STUFFING

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

STEP 1. Remove any giblets, etc. that may be placed in cavity of a 4-7 pound chicken.

Also remove any fat deposits attached to the skin around cavity opening. Rinse cavity thoroughly with cool water. Blot skin dry with a paper towel.*   Be sure to clean sink throughly after this step. (Some sources suggest omitting this rinsing step and the potential contamination  it may cause.)

STEP 2. Rub skin with:

Olive oil

Sprinkle some/all of the following herbs over the oil coated skin:

(Parsley if you have and must)
Sage
Rosemary
Thyme

Put ½ to ¾ inches of water in bottom of roasting pan (this keeps fat from burning on pan and sending smoke into kitchen), put rack on top and oil surface, put chicken on rack.

Bake 20 minutes per pound or until 180 degrees F at inner thigh.


ROAST CHICKEN WITH STUFFING

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Follow STEP 1 above.

Sauté:

2 t olive oil (heat first)
½ onion, chopped fine
2 sticks celery. chopped fine

until onion is transparent. Stir in:

1 t sage
1 t thyme

[or use the spice Moogie  always uses: Bell's Seasoning, to taste, in lieu of sage and thyme]

Pepper to taste
½ c chopped cooked chestnuts (optional ; these can be purchased ready to use)

then add:

2 c wild rice, cooked
OR
2 c dried bread cube stuffing and water to soften

Mix thoroughly, and then stuff cavity of chicken (do not compress stuffing in process) and close cavity with metal skewer. If there is extra stuffing bake in separate bowl.

Follow STEP 2 above.

Bake 20 minutes plus 20 minutes per pound or until 180 degrees F at inner thigh.


Don’t forget to save the carcass for Chicken Soup!

* Maybe because 2 balls of kitchen twine appeared in my stocking last Christmas, I have started tying the two drumsticks together.  Not necessary but more compact in the oven.

Reviewed 5/14/17

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Baked Stuffed Flank Steak

6-8 servings.

This is a recipe from Moogie. I use olive oil in place of butter and trim all of the fat I can off the steak.

Prepare:

1 1/2c cooked rice [I use brown basmati; 1/2 c dry makes approximately 1 1/2
cups cooked rice]

For a 2 pound steak I often make 3 cups of cooked rice and cook what does not fit in the steak in a separate dish in the oven.

Sauté:

1/4 c butter [I use 2 T olive oil and heat before adding onion and garlic]
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed [I mince]

until golden. Remove from heat and stir onion mixture into rice along with:

1/2 c chopped parsley
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 t salt [I omit --- salt is best directly on the meat!]
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Dry and score [and trim off as much fat as possible]

1 3/4 - 2 pound flank steak

Rub with:

Garlic

Brush each side with:

1 T soy sauce
1/4 t pepper.

Lay flat and spread with 1 T butter [I omit butter]. Place rice mixture over steak, keeping about 1 1/2 inches from the edges. Roll [longest edges toward each other] close and fasten with small skewers or tie in three places. Spread 1 T butter over surface [I omit butter].

Dilute:

½ c condensed beef broth with
½ c water [I use 365 Organic Beef Flavored Broth and do not dilute]

Pour over rolled steak. Sprinkle with:

1 T chopped crystallized ginger [I use Whole Foods Naked Ginger]

Roast 30- 45 minutes, basting occasionally, until internal temperature of meat is 125 - 130 degrees F (for rare). Using a thermometer is hard given thinness of meat. You may need to check surface of meat on inside of roll or make small test cut.

Revised 5/7/17

(Basil) Pesto Sauce

When Alexandra was about two years old, linguine with pesto sauce used to be our standard Sunday night supper on the boat before driving home to Cambridge. Linguine with pesto rolled on a fork, then dipped in Parmesan cheese was referred to as a “trolley-rolley” (both words pronounced with long "o").

Combine in food processor bowl fitted with metal blade and chop finely:

2 c fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped


1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese*
1/3 c olive oil (I use just enough so all ingredients blend smoothly) Add:

¼ c pine nuts or walnuts

Pulse to chop fine but not so fine that all texture is lost.

This can be refrigerated (or kept in boat ice box) in a tightly sealed container for 2-3 weeks. But if you don’t intend to use within a week, I would suggest freezing.

If pesto is frozen in an ice cube tray (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) it can be thawed in small quantities.

*IF I am freezing or going to store in the boat icebox, I don’t put Parmesan cheese in the sauce. Rather I serve Parmesan cheese with the pesto.

Spicy Orange Shrimp

This dish served with a wild rice blend and Weeds with Pecans and Fruit was my “standard company dinner” the winter of 2001-2002.

Serves 4



In a large skillet or wok over medium low heat, warm

2 T olive oil. When oil is warm add:

3 or 4 cloves of garlic, cut into slivers
3 or 4 dried hot red chilies to taste

Cook over low heat until garlic starts to turn golden then add

zest of one orange (I try to use organic orange for zest)

and continue to stir until zest turns slightly crispy. Raise the heat to medium high and add:

~ 1 pound shrimp*
1 t cumin
1½ t (bittersweet) pimenton (paprika may be substituted)

Continue stirring until shrimp are almost done then add:

1/2 c orange juice
Minced fresh cilantro**

Heat until orange juice begins to bubble.  When shrimp are pink and firm (~4 minutes cooking time total), remove  from the wok and allow the juice to reduce by about half. Pour over shrimp.

Serve immediately. (If including hot peppers, which add color, remind guests NOT to eat them!)

I often serve with a wild rice blend that has been packed into a ramekin that is then inverted onto a warm individual serving plate to release the rice. I serve shrimp in sauce next to the rice, garnished with a bit of chopped cilantro and bit of orange zest.

*I use ~6  21-25 count per person. I buy them (raw, peeled with tails and frozen) then thaw and dry before using.

** I find it’s hard to always have fresh cilantro on hand when I want it; on the other hand a large bunch is often much more than I need for a particular recipe. So, when I have extra fresh cilantro, I chop it and place it in a small plastic bag/container and put It in the freezer for future use. Much better than using dried cilantro.

 
VARIATION #1:

This recipe can also be done "Spanish Style"; heavy on the pimenton and served with Spanish Rice:









VARIATION #2:

Add cherry tomatoes ~2 minutes before shrimp have finished cooking:


Baked Scallops

This recipe comes from The Woodbine Cottage - Our Favorite Recipes. The Woodbine Cottage in Sunapee NH was (it closed about 15 years ago) a favorite restaurant of my parents while I was growing up. I had baked scallops with sweet potato balls and Caesar salad there on several occasions. In making the recipe below, I would use 1/3 pound of scallops per person and top with Whole Foods spinach panko. As I recall, the Woodbine used small “bay” scallops. Fresh bay scallops work very well (but are usually very expensive); don’t use the cheaper frozen china bay scallops. This dish is definately much better if done with "dry scallops". "Dry scallops" are scallops that have not been soaked in phosphates ("wet scallops") which causes them to absorb water and loose flavor; the phosphates also make the scallops "look better" to some consumers and prevent them from losing water, hence weight, hence market profits. Dry scallops are occasionally, but not usually, advertised as such; you will probably need to ask the fish monger if the scallops are "dry"/unsoaked.

Larger scallops should be sliced, retaining the round shape, to cook more evenly but still may require a longer cooking time.

Individual serving:

In a large scallop shell or scallop shaped ceramic dish place:

8 oz scallops [I usually use 6 oz.]
1 T butter, melted [I use 1 - 1 1/2 t]
1 T white wine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cover with:

Fine bread crumbs [spinach or lemon herb panko]

Put scallop shells on a sheet pan and place under the broiler about 3 inches from the heat for about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Watch the top of the panko and don’t burn! If cooking larger scallops for longer than 4 minutes, you may need to move pan further from broiler to finish cooking.

Lemon-Glazed Scallops

Serves 4

This is best with dry sea scallops --- "Dry scallops" are scallops that have not been soaked in phosphates ("wet scallops") which causes them to absorb water and loose flavor; the phosphates also make them "look better" to some consumers and prevents the scallops from losing water, hence weight, hence market profits. Dry scallops are occasionally, but not usually, advertised as such; you will probably need to ask the fish monger if the scallops are "dry"/unsoaked.

If the scallops are large slice them in half, keeping the round shape, so that they will cook more evenly and absorb more sauce. I figure about 1/3 pound of scallops/person.

In a medium skillet or wok, heat (on high heat):

2 T olive oil

When oil is hot, add:

2 t minced garlic

and sauté until golden. Add:

1 t lemon zest (use organic lemon)

stirring to coat zest with oil, about a minute. Add:

1 1/3 pounds dry scallops

one or two at a time turning individually as they brown, about 2 minutes per side. When scallops are browned, Add:

4 T lemon juice

and cook an additional minute. Remove scallops to a warm plate.

Cook remaining liquids over medium-high heat until reduced to a glaze, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the scallops to the skillet, along with:

1 T minced fresh chives or parsley*

and stir to coat with the sauce and reheat, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

I often serve with a wild rice blend that has been packed into a ramekin that is then inverted onto a warm individual serving plate to release the rice. I serve scallops in sauce next to the rice, garnished with a bit of chopped chives or a sprig of parsley and bit of lemon zest.

* I find it’s hard to always have fresh parsley on hand when I want it; on the other hand a large bunch is often much more than I need for a particular recipe. So, when I have extra fresh parsley, I chop it and place it in a small plastic container and put it in the freezer for future use. Much better than using dried parsley.

Tuna Steaks with Wasabi Butter



6 or 4 servings

This recipe is adapted from a recipe of same name from Sarah Leah Chase’s Cookbook Nantucket Open House  My recipe has fewer ingredients and makes considerably less marinade so turning the fish is even more important.

Make marinade; below first is Ms. Chase’s recipe for 6 servings (3 to 3 1/2 pounds tuna) then my version for 4 servings (~1½ to 1¾ - pounds tuna; May 2017 I now figure 1/4 pound or just a bit more/person). When buying tuna do not count any black area (best not to eat) in figuring amount per person.

This is a boat favorite when tuna is in season and easily obtainable along the coast.

CHASE VERSION

Make marinade by combining:

¼ c sesame oil
½ c vegetable oil
¼ rice wine vinegar
2 T sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ c soy sauce
2 T chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced

In this marinade place:

3 to 3 ½ pounds tuna, about 1 1/2 inches thick

MY VERSION

Make marinade by combining:

2 T sesame oil
4 T olive oil
2 T lime juice
2 T soy sauce
1 T finely chopped/grated fresh ginger

In this marinade place:

~1½ to 1¾ pounds tuna, about 1 1/2 inches thick

FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS FOR BOTH RECIPES

Marinate for 1 to 4 hours in shallow pan placed in refrigerator, turning the fish occasionally.

Remove tuna from marinade and place on heated grill. As tuna cooks, baste with some of the remaining marinade. Grill until tuna is warmed through but still red/pink in the middle. I like it rare - red in the middle  - see photo at left. Cooking time will depend on heat of grill and thickness of tuna. Chase cooks 5 to 6 minutes each side, we cook less. Tuna will keep cooking after it is removed from the grill.

Serve with wasabi butter made by mixing:

CHASE VERSION

½ c unsalted butter at room temp
1½ t green wasabi paste*
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

MY VERSION

3T unsalted butter
green wasabi powder to taste*
1T chives, finely chopped (optional)

If using powdered wasabi, make wasabi paste by mixing green wasabi powder and water to a paste-like consistency, then mix with butter. Amount of wasabi used will depend both on the hotness of the wasabi and individual taste.

May 2017: Note:  There is a great variation in  powered "wasabi:". some is mostly all horseradish and mustard and some is 100% wasabi.  Christopher introduced me to the latter, Sushi Sonic Real Wasabi. when he was living in Brooklyn.  The ultimate, he tells me, is fresh wasabi, but even in NYC this is dufficult to find.

Reviewed 5/22/2017





Lo Mein

4 or more servings

BEEF LO MEIN (See below for Chicken/Shrimp Lo Mein and, my favorite, Veggie Lo Mein - photos at left and below)

The Lo Mein with Beef recipe is adapted from The Chinese Cookbook by Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee. They point out “The word mein means noodles, and lo has been translated as ‘mixed'. These noodles are mixed with beef and cabbage.” This beef dish serves 4 as a main course, more if served with other dishes or especially in the case of the vegetable lo mein, more if more vegetables are added. I don't know why this recipe lists chives as optional. I use small scallions rather than chives and think they are essential to the dish.

NOTE: While this recipe calls for cooking the pasta ahead and rinsing with cold water. I usually cook the pasta while I am cooking the meat/veggies, then drain the pasta well and add while still hot to the meat/veggie mixture. I then "cook" just long enough to mix the veggies thoroughly and coat the pasta with the sauce. Recently I have started using whole wheat spaghetti.

1/2 pound fresh Chinese noodles [thin spaghetti works too]

3 large dried black mushrooms [I often substitute fresh crimini/button mushrooms]
[If using dried mushrooms] Place the mushrooms in a bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes or longer, then drain and squeeze them to extract most of their moisture. Cut off and discard the tough stems.]

3/4 pound flank steak
1 to 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup canola oil [I use just 2-4 T oil]
½ cup shredded bamboo shoots [I usually omit]

½ cup any kind of cabbage-celery, Chinese or plain-cut into crosswise
shreds

½ teaspoon sugar (optional.)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon light soy sauce*
½ cup chicken broth
1 ½ teaspoons dark soy sauce*

[*to simplify I use 1 1/2 - 2 T soy/tamari sauce instead of light and dark soy sauce]

½ cup chives (preferably Chinese chives) cut into 2-inch lengths (optional)
[ See note above, do not omit, use small scallions and a minimum of  ½
cup, in this case more is better]

3 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

Drop the noodles into a large quantity of boiling water - at least 2 quarts - and cook according to directions on package until tender. Do not overcook. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Set aside. [To use noodles hot, delay cooking so noodles and meat/veggie mixture are done at approximately the same time.]

Place the meat on a flat surface and cut it across the grain into the thinnest possible slices. [It is easier to do this if the meat is partially frozen.] Place the slices in a bowl and add the oyster sauce, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil.

In a wok or skillet, heat the 1 cup oil [I use a few T] , and when it is warm, not hot, add the beef and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. (If the oil is hot, the meat will stick together in a lump). Drain the beef, in a sieve-lined bowl to catch the drippings and drain off all but 2 T of the oil in the pan. [For less fat do not save drippings, discard all oil and start with fresh oil for next step]

Heat the oil remaining [2 T unused oil] in the pan to almost smoking, then add the bamboo shoots and, mushrooms [and white part of scallions, cut diagonally into 1/2" pieces] and cook, stirring, over high heat about 15 seconds. Add the cabbage, sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute, then scoop out and reserve the solids.

Add the drippings and oil from the beef to the pan. [I do not add drippings] There should be about 2 T  of oil; add some if necessary. Turn the heat to high, and when hot add the noodles. Cook, stirring, about 20 seconds. Add the light soy sauce, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms.. Cook about 15 seconds, stirring, and add the chicken broth and dark soy sauce. Cook, stirring, about 8 minutes, then add the chives [green parts of scallions, sliced diagonally into 3/4' lengths] if  used, bean sprouts, and beef. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining sesame oil, toss to blend, and serve hot.


CHICKEN/SHRIMP LO MEIN

Use Beef Lo Mein recipe and substitute thinly sliced raw chicken (cook ~4 minutes until the chicken has lost all pinkness) or raw shrimp (cook ~4 minutes until pink and firm) for beef and dry sherry for oyster sauce.  Or add chicken/shrimp to Veggie Lo Mein recipe.


VEGGIE LO MEIN

This is my favorite.

This is almost an "anything-goes" veggie wise (just don't omit the scallions!). Use veggies that are in season and on-hand. Last night I made a delicious version omitting the sweet onion, cabbage, and bean sprouts but adding some red,orange and yellow peppers. Especially if you are making this dish for just a couple of people, a few veggies (carrots, mushrooms. scallions and bok choy) work very well.

Heat in wok:

1-2 T sesame oil (or if you like this dish really hot, substitute chili sesame oil for some/all of the oil)

Add and saute:

1 T ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

until slightly browned then add:

2 carrots cut in thin julienne strips
1/2 sweet onion cut in thin slices
1/4 pound crimini/button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 c assorted sweet peppers, thinly sliced

White parts of 6-8 scallions, cut diagonally into 1/8" pieces
(reserve the green parts)

and saute about 3 minutes, then add:

2 cups napa/Chinese cabbage or bok choy, thinly sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
Green parts of scallions, cut diagonally into 3/4" pieces

stir to coat with oil and then immediately add

1 1/2 to 2 T tamari to taste
1 T dry sherry
1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 t sesame chili oil (adjust amount to taste - or just serve as a side with dish)

saute 2-3 minutes then add:

1/2 pound cooked Chinese noodles or spaghetti (hot, but well drained)
1 t fresh ginger, grated
1 T fresh coriander, chopped

Cook 1-2 minutes until well mixed. Serve immediately.

Reviewed 5/7/17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        








Pasta with Peppers

Serves 4-6* (more if more veggies are used)

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the different colored peppers (2 peppers of any color are really enough). On the other hand, when peppers are in season, I buy smaller peppers in as many colors as I can find. Although I usually use penne or linguine for this recipe, it works well with a variety of pastas.

2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 red sweet pepper, cored, seeded and cut in julienne
1 green/purple sweet pepper, cored, seeded and cut in julienne
1 yellow/orange sweet pepper, cored, seeded and cut in julienne

Heat oil in large wok, add garlic and sauté just until it starts to brown; do not overcook. Add peppers and sauté, stirring frequently 3-4 minutes. Then add:

(OPTIONAL)

2 t  capers
¼ c kalamata olives, seeded and cut in quarters (long way)

Cook 2 more minutes.

MEANWHILE

Cook according to instructions on box and drain:

1 pound penne/fusilli or other pasta

Add well-drained pasta to the wok with peppers and sauté, stirring constantly for one more minute.

Transfer to individual pasta bowls and serve with/without

Parmesan cheese

VARIATION #1: PASTA PRIMAVERA

Substitute any or all of the bell peppers with any mix of the following veggies (don’t use capers and olives with these veggies):

Broccoli flowerettes with 1" – 2” stems (if you want to use more of stem, peel and thinly slice stem on slant to form oval pieces)

Snow peas, snap peas, shelled peas

Green beans

Carrots, cut in julienne

This is good sprinkled with:

Parmesan cheese


VARIATION #2: PASTA WITH SHRIMP

Use only one pepper in sauté; do not use capers. Sauté pepper (with garlic) for 1 minute then add:

24 large (21-25 count) shrimp with tails but without shells, rinsed and drained well.

Sauté over medium high heat, stirring constantly for ~4 minutes until the shrimp are firm and pink and cooked through. Then add:

1 T lemon juice
Tabasco or chili sauce to taste

Add pasta to wok and mix well.

*  April 2013:The pasta portion filling the one serving circle, photo left, weighs 4 ounces. The information on most pasta boxes/bags, including the fusilli I used when I recently made this dish, lists "serving size" as 2 ounces. What constitutes a "serving" of pasta? Writing in How to Cook Everything (page 129, original edition), Mark Bittman provides a good answer: 

"How Much Pasta to Cook
There is no rule about how much pasta to cook.  In Italy where pasta is served as a small first course, a pound will easily feed six to eight people. In my house, and many others  where pasta, bread, and a vegetable is often called dinner, a pound usually serves four, including two adults, one ravenous teenager and one often finicky twelve-year-old....  The kind of sauce and the shape of the pasta also affect how much you will eat; spaghetti with garlic and oil or a simple tomato sauce goes much faster than rigatoni with eggplant and mozzarella."