Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Hash browns at home

October 8, 2019

A lot of folks, myself included, would think of these as a treat to have when eating breakfast at a diner. But they are so easy to make at home, so why wait? They are a simpler version of the classic Latkes and are a favorite accompaniment to breakfast.

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2 c finely chopped potatoes*
2 TB minced onion (optional)
2 TB bacon fat or vegetable oil (not butter)
3 TB heavy cream (optional)

If using onions, mix with the potatoes. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, medium heat. When a speck of potato starts to sizzle, add the potatoes. Use a spatula to shape and press them into a pancake no more than 1/2 inch thick. Let cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is nicely browned, 5-10 minutes. Flip over (easier if you cut the pancake in half first). If using cream, dribble over the potatoes. Continue cooking until the 2nd side is browned. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

* about the size of a raw navy bean, or a bit smaller

Cream of mushroom soup

January 4, 2019

During my childhood this was a favorite, out of the red and white can. Now I make my own, and it’s much better (as you might imagine). The mushrooms you use will make a difference; if you use only the standard white supermarket ‘shrooms it’ll be tasty, but adding some “wild” ones makes a big difference. I am not suggesting you go out in the woods and start picking, that can be dangerous, but many different varieties are now cultivated and available in markets. Some are available dried, as well, and I particularly recommend dried porcini for their great flavor.

2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 – 1.5 lb fresh mushrooms
1 medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1/3 c chopped onion
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
A few grinds of black pepper
1/2 stick butter
4 c vegetable stock
1 c heavy cream (preferred) or half’n’half
2 TB dry sherry
Chopped parsley or chives

Cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water and soak for at least 15 min. Trim the remaining mushrooms, washing if needed, and chop coarsely.

Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot and when hot add the fresh mushrooms, potato, onion, pepper, and garlic. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring. The mushrooms may give off some liquid, that’s OK. Add the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid and the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 min. Let cool slightly and then use a blender to puree completely. Return to pot and stir in the cream and sherry. Serve garnished with the parsley or chives.

 

 

Pork and cabbage with Madiera

October 13, 2018

The sweetness and grapey flavor of the wine is a perfect note in this dish. The recipe is quite simple and lets the pork and cabbage flavors come thru. Fresh cabbage makes a big difference. I made it in an InstaPot but surely it can be adapted for other methods.

1 2-3 lb boneless pork shoulder roast
1/2 c diced carrots
1/2 c diced onion
1/2 c Marsala
1 c chicken or beef stock, divided
2 quarts cabbage in 1-2 inch chunks
5-6 boiling potatoes, peeled or not per your preference, cut in half

In the morning, salt and pepper the roast and let sit all day. Put a bit of oil in the insta-pot and heat on the sauté setting. Pat the meat dry and brown on all sides. Add the veg and stir for a few minutes. Turn off the pot and add the wine and half the stock. Cover and cook on the high pressure cooker setting for 1 hour. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 min then release the rest manually. Remove the cover and check the liquid level. If there’s at least an inch, you’re OK. If not, add the remaining 1/2 c stock. Add the cabbage and potatoes and stir in. Pressure cook on high for another 10 min. Turn pot off and let the pressure release naturally for 15 min then release the rest manually. Eat!

Jamaican Fish Stew

April 22, 2018

This is a winner on many fronts. Very flavorful, it is a good way to feed fish to people who aren’t fond of fish in simpler presentations. Leftovers do well, also. You can use pretty much any white-fleshed fish: cod, haddock, mahi, etc. as long as the fillets aren’t too thin. Serve with white rice.

2 lbs fish in 2 inch chunks
2 limes
1 large or 2 small onions
4 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper such as Scotch bonnet
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried thyme
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
3 TB tomato paste
4 tsp white or cider vinegar
1-1/2 tsp sugar

Dust the fish with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the juice of the limes. Set aside.

Coarsely dice the onion and slice the garlic. Put in a skillet with a bit of oil and the whole pepper (see note below), pepper flakes, thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the onion is just starting to color. Add the coconut milk, tomato paste, vinegar, and sugar and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Add fish and any remaining marinade. Stir and cook slowly until fish is cooked thru, perhaps 5-7 minutes. Adjust salt and add a touch more vinegar and/or sugar if you think necessary. Remove whole pepper and serve.

Note: For more heat, cut the pepper in half before adding.

 

Congee with chicken, scallion relish, and crispy shallots

March 24, 2018

Congee is Chinese comfort food at its best. At its simplest it is, like fried rice, something to do with your leftovers – cooked  rice, some shreds of meat and vegetables, cook in broth until the rice is soft and soupy. But it can be made as a more formal recipe, as this one, and is worthy of serving to guests.

The chicken:

2 large chicken thighs with bone and skin (about 1 lb)
1 tsp black pepper
1 TB oil
2 c low salt chicken stock
5 scallions, white and green parts, in 1 inch lengths
2 inch piece ginger cut into coins (no need to peel)
4 garlic cloves, halved (no need to peel)
1/4 c Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
1/3 c soy sauce
2 whole star anise
2 tsp Chinese hot pepper paste

Heat the oil in a soup pot and brown the chicken well on all sides. Remove excess oil from the pan. Turn chicken skin-side up, add all remaining ingredients, then simmer gently for 60-90 minutes until the meat is very tender. Remove chicken from the pan and take the meat off the bones, discarding bones and skin. Set aside. Strain cooking liquid thru a fine-meshed strainer. Set the broth aside and discard the solids. Shred the meat and set aside.

The Relish

5 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 fresh hot red pepper such as a Thai bird chili or a ripe jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c unseasoned rice vinegar

Mix all ingredients and set aside

Crispy shallots

Thinly sliced shallots, about a cup
2 c vegetable oil

Place oil and shallots in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle bubbling and stir occasionally until golden brown. Strain and spread on a paper towel, salting lightly.

Note: Strain the shallot-cooking oil thru a paper coffee filter and save it. It can be used for frying again or as a tasty change to your salad dressing.

Final prep

1 c raw short-grained rice
Chicken cooking liquid
4 c water
2 c low salt chicken broth
Shredded chicken

Put all except the chicken in a heavy bottomed soup pot and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 1 to 1-1/2 hour, stirring frequently, until the rice is very soft and soupy. Add some more water if needed. Remove from heat, stir in the chicken, and serve in bowls, passing the relish and shallots separately.

Thai Red Curry with Tofu and Lentils

February 2, 2018

This dish is very flavorful and loaded with protein from the tofu and lentils. Its main flavoring is Thai red curry paste, which fortunately you can get already prepared. Making it yourself, which I tried once, is a huge hassle because it contains a lot of obscure ingredients such as galangal and lemon grass. But excellent commercial versions are available (I recommend the Mae Ploy brand) and you can freeze what you don’t use for another day. This recipe is flexible, for example, substitute parboiled green beans or broccoli for the snow peas, or perhaps add some cubed potato. I like this served on jasmine rice.

1 lb firm tofu
1 large or 2 small red bell peppers
6 oz snow peas
1-1/2 TB Thai red curry paste
1 TB red miso paste
1 c lentils (not red lentils, but pretty much any other kind will work)
3/4 c coconut milk
1/2 c fresh basil, slivered
1 TB lime juice
1/2 c slivered scallions

Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch slabs and place the slabs on a cutting board. Place another cutting board on top and weight it with a couple of books or cans of food. When much of the water has run out, cut the tofu into 1/2 cubes and toss with a bit of salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Trim and seed the pepper(s) and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Set aside. Take the strings off the snow peas and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 TB of vegetable oil and then add the curry paste. Sizzle gentle for a minute or so, until fragrant, and add the miso, lentils, and 2 c water. Stir well, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer slowly for about 1/2 hour until the lentils are tender and most of the water has been absorbed.

Add the coconut milk, tofu, peppers, and snow peas. Simmer for a few minutes until the veg are crisp-tender. Stir in the basil and lime juice and serve, topped with the scallions.

 

 

Chicken “shakshuka”

January 13, 2018

Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern dish that, in a nutshell, consists of eggs poached in a well-spiced tomato sauce. It is great! I was making it the other night and to my horror discovered that I had no eggs–but I did have some boned, skinned chicken thighs. I subbed the thighs for the eggs and the result was very tasty. Serve with toasted pita bread and a salad.

6 boned, skinned chicken thighs
1-28 oz can of peeled plum tomatoes
4 fresh Anaheim chilis
1 medium onion
4 large or 6 small garlic cloves
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TB paprika, either sweet or spicy, your preference
1 tsp black pepper
Chopped parsley

Stem and seed the peppers and peel the onion. Chop both. Peel garlic and slice thinly. Put tomatoes and their juice in a bowl and crush with your fingers.

In a deep skillet, saute the peppers and onion in a little oil for a few minutes and then add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and black pepper. Stir for a minute then add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes. Taste for salt, then add the chicken and stir around until the chicken is well covered by the sauce. Cover and keep at a low simmer for 30 minutes. Serve garnished with parsley.


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