Sausage and peppers on polenta

Posted October 17, 2022 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Sausage, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

Polenta is a great thing, but many people shy away from it because of the work involved, which mainly consists of 30 minutes or more standing at the stove stirring. But if you have a microwave–and who doesn’t–this drudgery can be avoided with results that are 100% as good. And this dish and many others can become an everynight thing.

The Polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 c coarse corn meal
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 TB butter
  • 2-4 TB crumbled/grated cheese such as gorgonzola (or other blue cheese), romano, parmesan, etc.

You need a 2 quart souffle or similar baking dish. A round dish makes stirring easier but is not essential. The cooking times depend on the power of your oven, so pay attention.

Put the corn meal, water, and salt in the baking dish and stir to make sure there are no lumps. Put in the microwave on high power for 6-8 minutes. Stir well, cover with a paper towel (in case of splatters), and cook on high for another 6-8 minutes. Stir again and if it’s still thinner than you like (it will thicken a bit more when it sits) cook for a minute or two more.

Remove from the oven and stir in the butter, cheese, and a bit of pepper if you like. Let sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes and serve.

The Sausage and Peppers

A very simple yet tasty topping for the polenta.

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 4 links Italian sausage cut into 1/2 inch coins
  • 4 red/yellow/orange bell peppers, stemmed and seeded and cut into pinky-size strips
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick half rings
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved

Put the first 5 ingedients in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring now and then, until everything is cooked thru and starting to brown just a bit. Put in the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes. For a saucier result, add the tomato juice. Correct seasoning and serve over the polenta.

Kimchee seafood pancakes

Posted July 16, 2022 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Seafood, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

We had these at a Korean food stall in a nearby H-Mart and fell in love. Why not make our own? They are quite easy and make for a quick dinner when served with some Korean pickles and a bowl of rice.

At the heart of these is, of course, kimchee. It’s widely available in Asian markets and even some better-stocked supermarkets. It’s also easy and satisfying to make your own if you have a bit of time and space in the fridge. It keeps for months, getting slowly more and more sour, and has dozens of uses beyond pancakes, such as biscuits, soups, and fried rice. A web search will turn up dozens of recipes; this is my current favorite:

OK, on to the pancakes. You can vary the seafood, using all shrimp or adding some squid, etc.

  • 3/4 c medium size shrimp, raw
  • 1 small skinned fillet of cod, haddock, or similar fish
  • 1-1/2 c AP flour (or 1 c flour and 1/2 c rice flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 c roughly chopped kimchee
  • 1/4 c kimchee brine
  • 3-4 scallions
  • 1-1/2 c cold water (about)
  • Neutral oil for frying

For the sauce

  • 1/3 c light soy sauce (such as Kikkoman)
  • 1/3 c rice wine vinegar
  • 2 TB water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 TB toasted sesame seeds

Mix all the sauce ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

Peel, devein, and cut shrimp into 1/2″ pieces. Cut fish into same size chunks. You should have about 1-1/2 c seafood. Cut scallion whites and part of the greens into 1/2″ pieces.

Mix the flour(s), salt, brine, most of the water, and egg to form a batter similar in consistency to what you use for traditional breakfast pancakes. Add a bit more water if needed. Stir in the seafood, scallions, and kimchee. Ready to cook!

You can make a couple of large (10-12 “) pancakes which you will cut up before serving. Or a larger number of smaller ones (5-6 “) for individual servings. To speed things along, you may want to have 2 or more pans going at once. Nonstick pans are best for this.

Heat your pans over medium high heat and add 1/8 inch neutral oil. When the oil is shimmering, ladle in some batter and spread to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cook undisturbed until the bottom is nicely browned, then flip and brown the second side. Poke with a fork to ensure it is cooked thru then remove from pan. If necessary, keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining pancakes.

Serve with the sauce which may be used for dipping or be drizzled on top.

Peanut-coconut chicken

Posted March 26, 2022 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Grilling, Poultry

Tags: , , ,

This dish comes together quickly and is a nice change from more ordinary chicken recipes. I think of it as showing an African influence. Serve on basmati rice and pass chopped cilantro and/or scallions at the table.

Before cooking, have about 20-6 inch wooden skewers soaking in water for at least an hour.

  • 6 boned, skinned chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tennis ball-sized onion, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 TB natural (unsweetened) peanut butter
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 TB oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put all ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and zap to a paste. Put in a bowl with the chicken, mix well, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Thread a couple of chunks of chicken onto each skewer. Cook over a grill or under a broiler, turning as needed, until cooked thru and lightly charred–10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: you may be tempted to pass excess marinade at the table, but don’t. It has been in contact with raw chicken and is uncooked, so is not safe.

Home fries

Posted March 9, 2022 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Breakfast, Sides, Vegetables/potatoes/rice, Vegetarian

Tags: ,

Ahh, what’s better that great home fried potatoes? To me, the term means diced potatoes that are pan fried, perhaps with seasonings. They are not hash browns, which are pan-fried grated potatoes (they can be great, but are not the same). They are not French fries, which are deep fried. You can eat home fries with eggs for breakfast, with a burger for lunch, or with roast chicken for dinner. The flavoring possibilities are almost endless.

Home fries

The basics are as follows. Take the desired amount of boiling potatoes (Yukon gold, red skin, etc.) and peel as you see fit. They can be totally peeled, partially peeled, or not peeled at all–your preference. Baking potatoes will work, but are not as good in my opinion. Cut into 1/2 inch dice (don’t be fussy), put in a saucepan, cover with heavily salted water, and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes until partially cooked. Drain well and set aside. This can be done the day before.

Over medium heat, heat a non-stick skillet that is large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer. Add the fat of your choice–bacon fat (best!), vegetable oil, clarified butter (ghee), lard–but butter or margarine are not advised. You do not need a lot, perhaps just 1/16 inch at most on the bottom of the pan. When the fat reaches temperature, add the potatoes and toss or stir to coat. They should sizzle gently. Continue cooking, tossing every few minutes, until the potatoes are lightly browned and cooked thru–5 or 10 minutes. Give a final toss with some salt and serve.

Flavoring ideas:

  • Chili powder
  • Chipotle salt
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic salt
  • Cumin

Apple galette

Posted March 8, 2022 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Baking, Desserts


A galette is a simpler alternative to a pie and much easier to make, primarily because there is less fussing with the crust. Other apple galette recipes I have seen use raw apples but I prefer cooking them a bit first. This reduces the moisture and lessens the chance of a soggy crust. To compensate for the extra cooking, I slice the apples thicker.

Because we prefer desserts to be on the less sweet side, I use the tart Granny Smith apples and a modest amount of sugar. If you like things sweeter, try Braeburn or Cortland and/or a bit more sugar.

Note that the galette technique can be used for savory dishes too, as in this tomato galette.

Apple galette
  • 1 recipe pie crust (for a 2-crust pie)
  • 3 large apples, Granny Smith preferred
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 TB unsalted butter, divided
  • ½ c apricot preserves
  • ¼ c light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ c milk
  • 2 TB white sugar

You will use only half the pie crust for this recipe. Freeze the other half for your next galette!

Set oven to 450 degrees.

Peel, core, and slice the apples about 1/3 of an inch thick. Put in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Heat a 12” non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 3 TB of the butter. When it stops foaming add the apples and stir to coat. Cook, flipping and stirring the apples now and then, until just starting to brown. Stir in the sugar mixture thoroughly and return to the bowl.

Roll the dough out into a 12” circle. It’s easier if you do this on parchment paper. Melt the remaining 1 TB butter and brush over the entire surface. Spread the preserves over the dough, leaving 1-1/2 inch clear around the edge. Spread the apples over the preserves, again leaving 1-1/2 inches clear. Fold the uncovered dough nearest you over the apples. Turn the galette a bit and repeat with the next section of dough, pleating it with the previous section. Repeat until the entire edge has been folded.

Brush the edges with milk and sprinkle with the white sugar.  Bake for about half an hour until the crust is nicely browned. Cool on a rack and serve warm, if possible. Vanilla ice cream would not be amiss!

Scallops or shrimp with Brussels sprouts

Posted February 11, 2022 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Seafood

Tags: , ,

Adapted from a NY Times recipe. I did a double take when I first read the title (which was for scallops only) because the combo of scallops and sprouts did not seem like a good one. And the maple syrup? But I went ahead anyway and was very pleased. I used shrimp because that’s what I had on hand. I think that having small, really fresh sprouts is important. I served it on rice. Serves 4.

  • 1 lb fairly large scallops or shrimp
  • 1 lb small, very fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 3 TB fresh lime juice
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 1/2 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove very finely minced
  • 2 TB butter
  • Chopped chives or parsley for ganish

If using scallops, make sure the thin strip of tough muscle is trimmed from one side. If shrimp, shell and devein. Dust with salt and pepper and set aside.

Trim the sprouts and cut in half lengthwise.

Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

Mix the lime juice, syrup, mustard, and garlic thoroughly in a small bowl.

Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crispy then remove to a plate. Look at the fat remaining in the pan–you want about 2 TB. Either remove some or add olive oil to adjust.

Pat the seafood dry and add to the pan, still over medium heat. Let cook until the bottoms are nicely seared, then flip over and cook briefly on the other side. Remove to the plate with the bacon.

If the pan seems dry, add a bit of olive oil. Still over medium heat, add the sprouts, dust with S&P, and turn each one cut side down. Cook without stirring until the bottoms are nicely charred, 2-3 minutes. Shake the pan to flip them around briefly, then transfer to the plate with the seafood.

Add the glaze ingredients to the pan and stir until reduced and thickened–this will happen quickly. Add the butter and when it has melted add all the other ingredients. Turn off heat and stir until the residual heat warms everything up. Serve with the garnish.

Lemon-ricotta pancakes

Posted February 5, 2022 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Breakfast, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Tags: , ,

Luxurious and a nice change from your standard buttermilk pancakes. Serve with butter and maple syrup, fruit compote, etc.

  • 1/2 c + 2 TB AP flour
  • 2 TB table sugar
  • 1/2 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c ricotta
  • 1/3 c buttermilk
  • 2 TB butter, melted and cooled a bit

Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients then whisk into the dry until well blended. Add a bit more flour or buttermilk if needed to get the right consistency. Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2-3 min or until bubble rise to the surface. Flip and cook for another minute or 2 until the bottom is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Vietnamese noodle salad with shrimp and chicken

Posted September 17, 2021 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Salads

Tags: , , ,

This recipe uses bean threads, an unusual kind of noodle that are made from mung bean flour. They are gluten free, which will please some people, and don’t need cooking, requiring only soaking in hot water to soften them. The are available in any Asian market and some well-stocked supermarkets; they typically come in small (~2 oz) packages with 6-8 packages bundled in a mesh bag. They are sometimes labeled as vermicelli. This salad is really tasty and makes a cool, refreshing meal in hot weather. Serves 4, can be doubled.

Star anise is an important component of this dish, adding a subtle licorice/fennel flavor. It too can be found at Asian markets. It’s cheap and it keeps forever in the pantry. I suppose you could try subbing fennel seeds but I have not tried it.

  • 2 large or 3 small chicken thighs (about 12 oz)
  • 1/2 lb shell-on medium shrimp
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger cut into 1/4 inch coins (no need to peel)
  • 6 star anise
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c fresh lime juice
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 2 scallions, whites and most of the greens, sliced thinly
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 4 packages bean threads
  • 1 English (Kirby) cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded if desired, and sliced into thin half-circles
  • 1/3 c each fresh mint, cilantro, and Thai basil, chopped (use regular basil if necessary)
  • To taste, fresh hot red peppers such as Thai peppers, seeded and sliced thinly (1-3 peppers, or omit)

Bring 6 c water, the ginger and anise, and 1 TB salt to a simmer. Add the chicken and simmer for about 20 min. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 min. Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.

Return the liquid to a simmer and add the shrimp. Simmer for a couple of moments, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes or so. Remove the shrimp and set aside to cool.

Cut or shred the chicken into small pieces, discarding any skin/bones. Peel the shrimp and cut crossways into 2-3 pieces each.

Strain the cooking liquid, discarding solids, and return to pot. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir in bean threads. Check for texture after 5 minutes and let sit longer if needed. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut thru the noodles a few times with shears to get more manageable lengths. The broth can be discarded or saved for another use.

Put the lime juice, oil, fish sauce, sugar, carrot, scallions, and a few grindings of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the noodles and toss well. Add the chicken, shrimp, cucumber, herbs, and peppers and toss again. Chill and toss again before serving.

Pizza with potatoes, goat cheese, bacon, and onions

Posted September 11, 2021 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic

Tags: , ,

This is a welcome change from the traditional pizza based on tomato sauce and mozzarella (good as that can be!). I got the idea for a potato-based pizza from the Radius Pizzeria in Hillsborough, NC, and worked up my own version. You’ll want a pizza stone and a peel for this recipe. This makes 2-12 inch pizzas.

  • 1/2 recipe pizza dough (or use store-bought)
  • 2 medium Yukon gold or similar potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 oz soft goat cheese, plain or herbed
  • 6 slices bacon

Make the dough

This makes a double batch, enough for 4-12 inch pizzas I like to make a full recipe and freeze half for another day. Using the food process makes the task easy, and the overnight rising gives better texture. But you can make it the same day if you allow a few hours for the rise.

  • 4 c AP or bread flour
  • 1-3/4 c water at room temperature
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 tsp or 1 envelope instant yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Put the flour, salt, and yeast in the processor and pulse to combine. With the machine running add the oil then most of the water, holding back a couple of TB. Process for 30 seconds or so. If the dough seems dry add the remaining water; if too sticky, a couple of TB more flour. Process 15 sec longer then turn out onto a floured counter. Divide in half; put one piece in a zipper bag for freezing. Use your hands to form the remainder into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Stretch plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge the next morning and leave at room temp to finish rising.


Peel the potatoes and slice very thin, perhaps 1/8 inch. Boil for about 3 minutes to partially cook, then drain and set aside.

Peel the onion and cut into thin half-rings. Sauté in a bit of olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, perhaps 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Slice the bacon crossways into 1/4 inch pieces. Using the same pan, sauté until starting to crisp, then spread out on a paper towel to remove excess fat.

The Oven

At least 30 min before baking, put a pizza stone on the middle rack and set the oven to its highest temperature. This will be 500o in most home ovens, 550o if you are lucky.


Divide the dough into halves and roll each into a ball. Working one at a time, place on a piece of parchment paper and use your hands or a rolling pin to form a 12″ circle, dusting the dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking. If the dough begins snapping back due to gluten formation, cover it and allow it to rest for 15 min, then proceed.

Layer the potato slices in a single layer over the dough, then spread the onions and bacon evenly. Follow with grape-size blobs of cheese evenly spaced all over, some ground pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Use your pizza peel to transfer one pizza, with parchment paper, to the pizza stone. Bake 8-12 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Remove to a cooling rack and discard the parchment. Repeat with the second pizza and serve.

Real tartar sauce

Posted August 24, 2021 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Miscellaneous, Sides

Tartar sauce is a popular accompaniment to many kinds of seafood. I think it’s used way too much, to cover up the (non)taste of crummy seafood such as fishsticks or fillets that are not fresh. Be that as it may, it is tasty in certain situations. It’s easy to make so you might as well do it right rather than rely on the pre-made commercial stuff,.

Tartar is a mayonnaise-based sauce and there is no single “best” recipe. If you’re up for making your own mayo, all the better, but there are some commercial brands that are fine, such as Hellman’s/Best Foods (same product). The recipe is quite adaptable as you will see. But it should not be sweet so no sweet pickle relish PLEASE!

  • 1 c mayo
  • 1/4 c finely minced capers OR cornichon (those small really sour pickles)
  • 1 TB finely minced shallots OR scallion whites
  • 1 tsp grated horseradish OR Dijon mustard
  • Couple twists of the pepper mill
  • Squirt of lemon juice

Mix all together and allow the flavors to meld for a while. Serve at room temperature.

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