Saturday, January 10, 2015

Souvlaki and all the sauces

 Pork Souvlaki

2 pounds of pork tenderloins (2 "roasts")
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp of fresh oregano
Optional, tsp of greek blend of herbs

Slice pork into medallions.  Add into large baggie or tupperware or container.  Add rest of ingredients and stir to combine.  Let it marinate for a few hours.  If longer, omit the lemon/vingar and add an hour or so before cooking.  The lemon and vinegar will cook the pork and make it way too tangy if left on too long.

Onward to the sauces:


1 cup of unflavored, plain greek yogurt. (Fage is a great one)
Juice of half of lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp of minced red onion (I save a bit when I am chopping the onion for the pork)
1/4 cup of diced cucumber
1 tsp of dill
Salt/Pepper to taste

Mix all the above in a container.  Cover and let it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator.  This can be made ahead of time.

Pickled cucumbers

1 cup of cucumbers, diced
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 tbsp of dill
1 tsp of pickling spice
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
Splash of water.

Add all the above in a shallow container to allow the cucumber to get a bit of the liquid.  Shake and let it marinate for a few hours.  This also can be made ahead of time.


5 garlic cloves, chopped
Juice of half of lemon
Tsp of salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of egg white (I use the pasteurized eggbeaters egg white mix)
1 cup of oil (your choice, I use grapeseed)

In a blender, add garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and egg white.  Blend till foamy and combined well.  Scrape down and blend again on low.  Leave it on low, remove little lid from your blender lid to allow streaming in oil.  Stream in oil very slowly (a very very very slow drizzle)  It should whiten, thicken and then get almost to a mayo consistency.  Once all the oil is streamed in.  Add 2 tbsp of water while it's still on low to allow it to be pourable.  Turn off blender and pour into a container.  Let it marinate for a few hours and also can be made ahead of time.

Now all the sauces are made.  I also chop up tomatoes and lettuce.  I buy the mini pita breads or make it from this recipe:  I even used the flatbreads in a pinch as well.

Onward to the pork:

In a large saucepan over high heat, add the contents of the pork, marinade and all.  Cover and let it cook on high heat for a good 10 minutes to boil off any rawness from the marinade.  Uncover occasionally and stir.  Once the 10 minutes of high heat cooking, remove cover and let it cook over medium heat till marinade cooks off and the pork/onions get golden.  About 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Then serve with all the sauces/suggestions above.

Asian Adventures-Taiwanese Minced Pork over rice

2 pounds of ground pork, lean
1 box of s-h-i-take mushrooms (or whatever you like), sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 inch of ginger, minced
1/2 cup of fried shallots, (I buy these at my asian market, you can make your own)
2 TBSP of Golden Mountain Seasoning sauce (If you don't have this or oyster, sub for soy sauce)
2 TBSP of Oyster sauce 
1/4 cup of good dark soy sauce (mine is thick and a little goes a long way)
1/2 cup of Chinese cooking wine (avoid the overly sweetened mirin, get the plain one)
1 tsp of 5 spice powder 
1 piece of rock sugar (I buy this at my Asian market, you can sub out for 2 or 3 tbsp of honey)

5 soft boiled eggs, peeled.

Add a touch of oil to pan, saute mushrooms for a minute, then add garlic, ginger and shallots. Cook over high for a few minutes till fragrant. Then add in the pork and stir through. Add rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the eggs. Stir through and cook on high till pork is no longer pink. Keep stirring to break up larger chunks that form as it cooks. About 10 minutes. Then add a bit of water till the meat is barely covered. About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup. Not too much. Then turn heat down to low and cover for an hour. Stirring once or twice. I use a french oven for this, the recipe I posted above used a crock pot.

After an hour, add eggs and nestle them on top to absorb the sauce. Cover and let it cook for another hour on simmer stirring occasionally and being careful of the eggs. Rotate the eggs so it browns from the braising liquid all over. . Add a tbsp of cornstarch to a couple of tbsp of water. Stir in cornstarch mixture and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes till thickened. It should be very tender and thick. Serve over rice and sprinkle more of the fried shallots on top. I also have added sliced green onions.

Asian Adventures - Kimchi

Kimchi (Adapted from Maangchi's Traditional and Quick Kimchi recipes)

For salting cabbage:
  • 1-2 heads of napa cabbage, large ones
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt (I use Korea coarse sea salt, NO TABLE SALT)
For making porridge:
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 tablespoons sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
  • 1 tablespoons turbinado sugar (brown or white sugar)
  • 1 cup Korean or Daikon radish cut into medallions
  • 1/2 of a Korean or Asian pear, quartered
  • 4 green onions, rougjh chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped Asian chives (buchu), chopped (if you can't find, use the greens only from green onions)
Seasonings and spices:

First, cut the ends off the cabbage heads thus released the first layer of leaves.  You just want to cut about an inch from the bottom.  I then remove the leaves till I have 3 or 4, line them up with each other and core the hard middle white part by cutting a V mark into it.  (pictures soon)  Then lay the leaves in a large bowl or tupperware.  Once you are done coring all the leaves.  Fill up your container with water and rinse the leaves well.  Drain.  Then sprinkle each leave, especially the bottom or any firm parts with salt.  Be liberal.  You will rinse all this off later.  Once each leaf is salted, lay it back down in the empty container.  Once done, leave it on the counter for 2 hours.  When the 2 hours are up, it should be wilted and limp.  There should be water in the container by now as well from the salted leaves.  Reach in and try to flip the leaves so the bottom is on top and the top is on the bottom.  Leave it for another hour or so.  You can tell it's done when you bend it all the way back without snapping.  Also if you want to kimchi any leftover radishes (they are huge) you can slice them into thin medallions and salt them as well.  

Meanwhile in the last hour of waiting for the cabbage, start assembling your paste.  In a small sauce pan, add the water, rice flour and sugar and stir well over medium heat.  Bring it to a boil as it thickens.  Stir and remove from heat.  Let cool.

Take out your food processor.  In Korea, they hand grate everything but that takes way too long.  I throw everything into the food processor!  When chopping, just rough chop everything and let the food processor do all the work.  Throw everything from the radishes to the red pepper flakes and pulse till smooth,  Let it sit till cabbage is ready.

Once everything is ready, rinse the cabbbage several times in small batches.  You want to make sure it's well rinsed.  I then chop it into almost bite sized pieces and throw it into a large container. (read more on containers below)  I fill it up quarter of the way and add a scoop of the kimchi paste, stir till all coated.  Then add the next layer of chopped cabbage leaves, add next scoop of paste and stir.  Continue till you used up all your cabbage.  Here I usually have paste leftover, I then freeze it.  It's doing the work once for two batches of kimchi.  It freezes really well.  When you are ready to make the next batch, place the frozen paste in the refrigerator the day before making.  

Here's the hard part.  I say hard as here in America, we are so used to refrigerating everything instantly.  But leave it on your counter for 24 hours.  They leave it for a few days but I can't do that. LOL  I do it for 24 hours and then place it in the fridge.  You can eat it the first day but I think it's best after a few days.  It's supposed to be good up to a month or even longer.  But again, I can't do that due to my American I eat it up within 2 weeks.  Our favorite way of using it is in Kimchi fried rice.  Recipe below.

On to the containers, it has to be airtight and glass or something heavy duty to keep it well insulated.  I seen these used for Kimchi,  

I get these instead:

I then place a bit of plastic wrap on the top layer to keep air from it.  

Kimchi Fried Rice

2 or 3 slices of Chinese bacon strips
4 cups of cooked cool rice.  (best if it's made the day before and thoroghly chilled)
4 cups of chopped kimchi
3 eggs
3 green onions, chopped
Soy sauce

In a large wok or pan, fry up bacon till rendered.  Leave enough bacon grease in pan to cover bottom.  Add kimchi and saute till just crispy.  About 10 minutes.  Add rice and stir through to combine.  Let it "fry" for a good few minutes till crispy and stir.  Add a tablespoon of soy and stir again.  Remove from heat.  In a small fry pan, add a bit of bacon grease if you have any leftover or a touch of oil.  Add eggs and a handful of green onions reserving the rest for garnish.  Scramble eggs quickly over medium heat till just set.  Add eggs to rice and stir to combine.  Serve with a sprinkling of green onions/crumbled bacon and a tiny drizzle of sesame seed oil on top.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Two new recipes:

Chipotle Pulled Pork

In a crockpot, add a bunch of cilantro, juice of one lime, and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.  Stir.  Place a sirloin pork roast on top.  Salt and pepper.  Then pour the sauce of a canned adobe chipotle peppers.  You can use the peppers if you wish, I don't for this roast.  Coat the roast thoroughly.

Cook on low all day.  Then shred and serve for tacos or anything else you wish.

Quick leftover chili

I had odds and ends in my kitchen that I wanted to use up.  \

Crockpot: Can of crushed tomatoes, the large can.  Can of small red beans, drained.  Tablespoon of chili powder.  Tsp of onion powder, cumin, oregano, Badia complete seasoning, spanish smoked paprika and chipotle powder.  Stir till blended.  I added 1/4 cup of pineapple juice and a pound of leftover taco ground meat.  I also threw in there two bold nacho taco shells,  Lastly I chopped up 2 carrots and a red onion and tossed those in there as well.  Stir and let it cook all day on low.

Serve with fresh salsa or anything you usually have chili with.  You will notice I didn't say salt/pepper.  The taco meat was salty enough and the chili didn't need it.  I made the taco meat the day before with 2 pounds of ground turkey, a packet of ranch, a packet of taco seasoning blend, 1/4 cup of mojo and bit of water.  I cooked it till tender.  Served half for dinner and used the rest for the chili above.  I also reserved two of the taco shells from that same dinner for the dinner above.  Dessert that night before was canned pineapple which I reserved the juice for the chili.  Make sure it's juice and NOT the syrup kind.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Creamy Parm Grits

A creamy grits perfect for some creole spicy shrimp to be poured over it.

1 cup of grits, polenta etc
4 cups of water
1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper
1 cup of freshly grated parm
1 cup of half and half (I use fat free)
Salt to taste

In a sauce pan, stir in the cup of grits with the water and salt over medium high heat till it comes to a boil.  Keep stirring for smooth grits.  Once it comes to a boil, turn heat down to medium low and keep it on a simmer covered for about 20 minutes.  Stirring frequently.  It should look thick as you stir it.  if still soupy, take cover off and cook for an additional 10 minutes till thick.  (depends on the grits, humidity etc)

Once it's thick, then add pepper, cheese and half and half. Stir through till melted and creamy.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and taste for salt.  (or even more pepper if you like)  I often have to grind a touch more salt to sharpen the flavor.

If you like polenta, you can at this point pour into greased muffin tins 1/3 full and cool in refrigerator till firm.  And then you have perfect discs of polenta in which you can reheat or saute till golden brown on both sides in hot olive oil.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The best basic bread dough

I found a "master" dough recipe that works for us in many different recipes such as loaf breads, rolls, pretzels, bagels etc.  It crusts beautifully with a simple milk wash or dipped in lye*.  The inside is soft but chewy.  And the flavor is delish.  Best of all, you can throw it in your bread machine or kitchen aid for ease.  Now my recipe calls for Lard which I pick up at the local butcher shop and is actually good for you.  The stuff in the little package isn't but will yield the same texture I described.  You can sub it out for oil or shortening but the results will not be the same.  And invest in an instant read thermometer.  It's so worth the $7 (target 2013 pricing) and invaluable in turning out a delicious bread.  In terms of flour, always use unbleached/unbromated flour to yield the best flavor and results in any type.  Bread flour is preferred but all purpose flour will suffice.

You will need

4 cups of bread flour
2 tsp of kosher or sea salt
2 tsp of sugar or honey
3 tsp of yeast (I always use a touch more but you can just put in a packet of yeast)
2 tbsp of lard
1 1/2 cup of warm water (110* on the instant read)

Place in the preferred order (This is my preferred order) and mix on lowest weight (ie one pound) and dough cycle.

In the kitchen aid, mix with a dough hook till formed into a dough ball and not sticking to the sides.  About 10 minutes on medium low.  Place in well oiled bowl and in an oven with the light on.  Till it has doubled in size.

Remove dough ball onto a lightly floured OR oil misted surface.  Roll out and then roll up into a cylinder for a long baguette style loaf.  Or folds in the sides of the cylinder and form into a loaf pan for a sandwich type bread.  Or for rolls, slice in 3 inch sections from the cylinder and shape into rolls.  In any of these, the cylinder shape will give it an excellent texture inside the bread.

Give it a final rise in it's final shape, brush with milk and bake in an 400* degrees F oven with a pan of water inside the oven to steam it a bit.  Bake until it reads 200* degrees F in the center.  This is the magical temperature to excellent bread that is neither underdone or overdone.  You can knock the bottom till hollow, look at the color of the crust whatever, but for me the instant read of 200* degrees F has yet to fail me.

*More on lye bagels and pretzels in the next blog post.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Layered chipotle turkey casserole

This is a hybrid of the Mexican Lasagna and casseroles.  It's tasty and warm with a gentle heat.  I fyou don't like spice, sub out the chipotle powder for chili powder of your choosing.  My kids eat this uup so it isn't truly spicy.  And if you do like spice, by all means sub out for a spicier pepper.  It's a versatile recipe as well.  I will note options below.

First part of the recipe is making the red sauce for the layering. 

1/4 cup of olive oil or oil of choice
1/4 cup of flour
1 can of tomato sauce
1/8 cup of chili powder
1/8 cup of chipotle powder
1 tsp of each, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin
1 cup of water or chicken stock. (if using stock, omit the salt and salt to taste after)

Juice of one half of a lime to finish sauce.

Warm up oil and add flour.  Make a roux by cooking it for about 3 minutes on medium.  Add rest of ingredients and stir with a whisk.  Bring to a gentle bubbling boil and reduce heat.  Let it simmer for 15 minutes or while the rest of the dish is being assembled.  When off the heat, add lime juice and stir through.

Chipotle Turkey Casserole

3-4 poblano peppers (you can use anaheim in it's place for less heat)
1 onion, chopped finely.
2 carrots, diced. (optional)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely.
1 pound of turkey
One tsp of each, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin powder
One tbsp of cilantro, coarsely chopped. (optional)
Use remaining lime

Package of flour or corn tortillas (if using corn, see note below)
Block of cream cheese cut up into chunks, (see note below)
Pound of favorite shredded cheese, (I used sharp cheddar and mexican melting cheese)
A cup of corn, cooked. (optional)
A cup of black beans, cooked. (optional)

Put oven rack as close to the boiler as possible.  On a cookie sheet, lay the peppers down and place under broiler on high.  Don't oil.  Leave it for 3-5 minutes till the skin blacken and blister.  Turn over.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes or similarly blackened and blistered.  Don't be alarmed, it will not taste burned, I promise.  And you really want it blackened.  Upon removing from oven, cluster the pepper together and wrap with foil tightly and lay a towel over it.  Leave it alone, it will steam up perfectly for you.  In about 10 minutes or more, unwrap and you should see it softened and very wrinkly.  Take off all the charred/shiny skin off.  Split open and remove all seeds and white membrane to lessen the heat. (leave on if you like heat).  Roughly chop and set aside.  Preheat oven now to 350.

In a large pan, saute onions and carrots in oil till softened.  About 5 minutes.  Add the now peeled/chopped charred peppers and garlic to the pan.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, add turkey.  Mash it all up so it's all mixed in as the turkey cooks.  Cook turkey till well done, about 10 minutes.  Add spices and cook an additional 5 minutes.  When off heat, add rest of lime.

In a oven safe pan, layer tortillas to cover bottom, coming up the sides a bit.  Ladle in a bit of red sauce to just cover, layer of meat, layer of cheese, layer of corn and layer chunks of cream cheese. Finish with a bit more red sauce before adding the next layer of tortillas.  To this layer do the same but use black beans instead of corn.  Keep layering till done.  On the top, add final layer of tortillas, rest of red sauce and sprinkling of cheese.  Bake in oven for 25 minutes in the 350 oven.  Serve with a tomato and avocado salad.


If using corn tortillas, cook them in a fry pan with no oil/grease on high on both sides for a minute or so.  This will melt the fat in the corn tortillas and make them pliable and delicious.  This is how corn tortillas should be used before any dish. 

My husband hates sour cream, so I used cream cheese.  I made a separate one with sour cream and it was delicious.  Feel free to choose. 

Optional stuff listed can be omitted (I have made it both with and without). 

I highly recommend a chipotle powder.  I have seen it in flakes and it isn't as good as the powder.  It resembles smoked paprika.  This isn't the brand I use, but to show what it should look like.