Recipe: Risotto

I love risotto. It’s thick, creamy, and luxurious. It goes well with any number of foods. Due to the labor intensive nature of it, I make it only very occasionally and like to pair it with something special.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 4-6 cups stock (I prefer chicken)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

TOOLS:

  • 5qt+ stock pot
  • Spatula for stirring
  • Ladle and bowl for stock
  • Board and knife

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Dice onions and put aside. Dice garlic.
  2. Melt butter in the pot. Add the onions and when they are soft, add the garlic.
  3. Stir until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add rice and olive oil and make sure each grain is coated.
  5. Add the wine and stir until absorbed.
  6. Add stock, just enough to cover the rice by 1/4 inch, and stir until absorbed.
  7. Repeat this process until the rice is tender and a pleasing texture. You may use more or less stock depending on this.
  8. Stir in the parmesan cheese, let cool a little and serve.

Recipe: Pork Rib Vegetable Soup

I spent almost my entire life in the United States, so while I like Chinese food, I’m not particularly experienced with making it. After I developed an interest in cooking, I regretted not having taken advantage of my time at home. The following is a Chinese INSPIRED soup that I adapted from several other recipes (and what was hanging around in my kitchen). It’s good!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lb pork rib tips (I used a lot of meat in this, 1 lb will suffice)
  • 2 very large or 3 medium carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 3 cloves garlic (I used tubed)
  • 1 inch ginger (I used tubed)
  • 2 tbs canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chinese vermicelli, if using

TOOLS:

  • 5.5 qt+ pot
  • Spatula
  • Peeler
  • Knife and board
  • Bowls and plates
  • Ladle

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Chop up the carrots (peel first) and onions into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Peel the ginger with a spoon and slice into 4 large pieces. Dice the ginger.
  3. Put dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. After 2-3 minutes, drain.
  4. If using fresh ginger, add the ginger pieces to the hot oil until lightly browned, and then discard.
  5. Sauté the onions in the oil until soft.
  6. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  7. If using tube ginger and garlic like I am, ignore #3 and #5. Add about 1 tbs of each to the onions once they are translucent.
  8. Once it sizzles, quickly add in all the pork and stir to brown. You will not even come close to browning all the pieces, the goal is to get SOME caramelization on the meat.
  9. Once you get bored of browning the meat, add the mushrooms, carrots, and about 7-8 cups of water to the pot.
  10. Bring to a rolling boil, and then turn it down to low (not simmer, I was in a rush) for an hour.
  11. Once the meat is done, stir in the canned corn.
  12. If using Chinese vermicelli add to the pot for about 4 minutes, and then remove into your bowl.
  13. Ladle the goods over the top and eat up!

Recipe: How to Cook Shrimp

Shrimp is amazing. It is low fat, high protein, and so delicious. Today I focus only on the mechanics of cooking shrimp. Side dishes are entirely up to you!

Butter shrimp over white rice and salad with ginger-carrot dressing.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Shrimp – as much as you want, I use the 21-25 size, and for 2 people I usually use 16, which is a perfect fit for a 10 inch pan. Sometimes I peel and devein myself, but most of the time I don’t…
  • 2 tbs butter (or olive oil, but butter is so good)
  • Salt to taste
  • Spices – Really, anything you are in the mood for. Most of the time I don’t use any because I love the pure flavor of shrimp. If you use spices, just mix them with the shrimp and oil and let sit a few minutes. DO NOT USE ANY ACIDS SUCH AS LEMON OR LIME.

TOOLS:

  • Cast iron pan (skillet if you don’t have one)
  • Small tongs
  • Bowl and spatula for mixing spices (if using)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare your side dishes first. The shrimp will be very quick.
  2. Heat up the empty pan on medium. My stove takes about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the butter. As soon as it melts, using your tongs (or hands), start laying the shrimp down on the pan as fast as you can.
  4. Sprinkle some salt on the top.
  5. Pay attention to the clock! After 2 minutes from the time you laid down your first shrimp, flip them individually with your tongs.
  6. Sprinkle some salt on the top.
  7. Cook 2 minutes total on the back side and immediately remove to a plate.
Shrimp with brown rice and sautéed bell peppers.
Shrimp with risotto.
Cajun shrimp with Mexican rice.
Smoked paprika shrimp with Cole slaw.

Recipe: Potato Meat Pie

Comfort food – isn’t all food comfort food? But some dishes are just extra warm, and hearty, and calls to mind evenings spent around the table with family and friends. This potato pie is in the style of the Lancashire Hot Pot (I use ground meat instead of stew meat).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb ground meat (beef or lamb)
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable or beef stock
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 large Yukon gold potatoes

TOOLS:

  • Sauté pan
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Bowls
  • Knife and board
  • Casserole pan

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Dice onions, celery, and carrots. Slice the potatoes thinly. If you are using a thin skinned potato like a Yukon gold, you will not have to peel them. If you are using a Russet potato, peel first.
  3. Brown the meat in the sauté pan, and then set aside.
  4. Brown the onions, celery, and carrots in the meat juices. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme.
  5. Add the stock, and bring to a boil.
  6. Whisk together the cold water and flour and mix and mix and mix until the liquid has thickened and is boiling again.
  7. Reduce to desired thickness and stir the meat back in.
  8. Pour into the casserole pan.
  9. Layer the potato on top of the meat mixture, overlapping the edges slightly.
  10. Bake for 50 minutes.

Recipe: Weekend Brunch

One of my favorite things to do on lazy weekend mornings is to actually make and eat breakfast (one of my 3 favorite meals of the day!) I went with the classics this week.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbs splenda
  • 3 tbs melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • Cooking spray (optional)
  • 3 eggs (or as many as you want to eat)
  • 8 slices of bacon (or as much as you want)
  • 1 banana (or whatever fruit you want)

TOOLS:

  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Small bowls
  • Whisk
  • Pastry brush (optional)
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Ladle
  • Spatula
  • Cast iron pan (skillet is fine too)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the parchment paper on the baking sheet and arrange the bacon on it.
  2. Meanwhile stir together the 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3 tsp baking powder, and 2 tbs Splenda.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg, and then mix in the 1 1/4 cups of milk.
  4. Put 3 tbs butter in a small bowl and microwave for about 45 seconds until it’s melted.
  5. Pour the butter into the milk and egg mixture and whisk briskly.
  6. Add the whole thing to the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
  7. Put the bacon in the oven. Set timer for about 18 minutes.
  8. Spritz a ladle with cooking spray so that the batter does not stick to it.
  9. Using the pastry brush, brush canola oil onto the pan. I never use cooking spray on a stovetop pan because of the residue it leaves behind.
  10. When the pan is nice and hot, pour a ladle of batter onto it.
  11. Cook about 2-3 minutes (based on how large v. how tall you made your pancake), flip, and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  12. The pancake will have puffed up a lot. Make sure it feels firm with some give in the center (not hard or squishy) to ensure doneness.
  13. Once you finish the pancakes (brushing the pan with oil between each one) the bacon should be about done too.
  14. ENJOY!
  15. If you want to go further and make some eggs, take the pan off the heat, brush with oil.
  16. Crack an egg into a small bowl, and then pour the egg onto the pan. I find that putting the egg in a bowl prevents it from breaking or spreading out too much.
  17. Once all your eggs are in the pan, put it back on the heat.
  18. Flip gently for an over easy egg.
  19. Cut up some fruit to go with if you like!

Recipe: Chicken Pasta with Salami

Wait, what? Salami?? Why would you do such a thing? Well I’ll tell you why. I had a birthday party recently, and had almost an entire tray of salami left over. When cooking greens – bacon. When cooking pasta – pancetta, guanciale. So… why not? P.S. It’s delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 6 slices of Italian salami
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp each of dried oregano, thyme, rosemary (1 tbs each if fresh)
  • 1 cup white wine (or chicken stock, but seriously, wine is better)
  • 3/4 lb of linguini (or spaghetti)
  • 4-5 tbs of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan (not shredded)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional toppings: pepper, fresh basil, parmesan cheese

TOOLS:

  • 5+ qt pot
  • Deep sauté pan (or any other pan with a 3 qt minimum)
  • Pasta ladle
  • Spatula
  • Bowls
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Meat tenderizer (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If using fresh herbs, chop them as fine as you can. Put them in a bowl.
  2. Dice the garlic, and set aside.
  3. Slice the salami into strips and microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Put the chicken on the cutting board and hit it repeatedly with the meat tenderizer (optional). Slice the chicken into bite sized pieces.
  5. Mix the oregano, thyme, and rosemary and about 1 tsp salt into the chicken.
  6. Using the deep sauté pan, cook the chicken in 2 tbs olive oil until done. Put chicken in a bowl so it does not continue to cook, and take the pan off the heat.
  7. Boil about 8 cups of water. Add enough salt to it so that it tastes almost as salty as ocean water.
  8. Add the 3/4 lb of linguini (or spaghetti) to the water. You can go ahead and add the whole 1 lb box if desired, but it will impact your meat to pasta ratio.
  9. As for the the sauté pan, put it back on the heat and add the rest of the olive oil, salami, and garlic. Cook until garlic is starting to look golden.
  10. Immediately deglaze the pan with 1 cup of white wine or chicken stock.
  11. Check your pasta regularly. When it is almost done (just a tiny bit crunchy), remove it from the water with a pasta ladle and transfer it directly into the sauté pan.
  12. Add about pasta boiling water as needed to the sauté pan.
  13. Cook until pasta is al dente, and then turn off the heat.
  14. There will still be some liquid left. Add grated parmesan and stir vigorously.
  15. Mix the chicken in, the residual heat from the pasta will warm it up.
  16. Top (or not) with pepper, basil, and/or parmesan.
Put the cooked chicken aside.
Time to add the wine.

Recipe: Mexican Chorizo “Paella”

Yes well. But I didn’t have any Spanish chorizo on hand, and I really wanted some paella. Or in this case, “paella.” I don’t even know what this is. I liked it, I really did. It didn’t taste like the paella I had at a GREAT Spanish restaurant I went to recently, but it was really good. Honest. I doubled the recipe myself, but assuming normal humans aren’t inhaling carbs like a maniac, I cut everything in half and put it below.

INGREDIENTS”

  • 1/2 lb Mexican Chorizo (the ground crumbly kind)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bell pepper any color
  • 1/2 tbs smoked paprika (important!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups Arborio rice (yes I know this is Italian I don’t know where to get Bomba rice)
  • 1 lb seafood mix (you know the frozen stuff at the grocery with squid mussels and clams? If you can get it fresh even better!)
  • Salt to taste

TOOLS:

  • A freaking large pot (or in your case, 5 qt+)
  • Something to stir with
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Bowls or plates

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put the heat on medium. My stove is good at a 4/7.
  2. Brown the Chorizo until cooked all the way through. Put it aside in a bowl or plate.
  3. Dice onion and bell pepper and add it to the pot (that has chorizo juices in it). Add 2 tbs olive oil while stirring.
  4. Add salt to the pot to help the veggies sweat it out – don’t overdo it. The Chorizo is already pretty salty. Meanwhile, dice up your 3 cloves of garlic.
  5. Add the garlic and 1/2 tbs paprika to the mix until it gets nice and fragrant. Keep stirring.
  6. When it looks like it’s pretty dry, add the 1/2 cup of wine to deglaze.
  7. Then add in the 4 cups chicken broth and can of diced tomatoes.
  8. Dump in the 2 cups of rice. Mix.
  9. Cover with a lid. Lower the heat to simmer, or in my case, “lo.” Ignore for 15 minutes.
  10. If the liquid level looks soupy and not like the photo below, leave it uncovered and boil it down a bit.
  11. When the liquid level is right, as in the texture you want to eat, mix the Chorizo back in.
  12. Throw the seafood mix on top, and cover for about 10 minutes, still on “lo.”
  13. Mix and serve.

Recipe: What is a Denver Steak?

A Denver steak is a cut of the beef chuck. Whaaaaat? The chuck may be a tough piece of meat, but the Denver steak is fairly tender, well marbled, and super flavorful. And to make things even better, it is an inexpensive cut of meat, running around $7 a pound. Compared to the popular New York strip, ribeye, T-bone, filet mignon, and so on, it does have slightly more chew, but with its great price and superb flavor profile, the Denver steak has definitely made it to our dinner table again and again.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb Denver steak
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs canola oil (or other high heat oil)

TOOLS:

  • Cast iron skillet (or fry pan)
  • Small baking sheet
  • Silicone (or pastry) brush
  • Tongs

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the steaks on a large plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (that is a way of saying season to your personal preference, don’t actually taste your raw steak!). Flip the steak and do the same with the other side.
  2. Using a brush, apply canola oil generously to the steak. Flip and repeat.
  3. Meanwhile, place a baking sheet in your oven (I use a toaster oven for convenience) and preheat to 400.
  4. Heat your pan on the stove top, a cast iron skillet if you have one, for 4 minutes on medium high. Only you know your stove, so this may need some adjustment. For me, that is a 5 setting out of 7. DO NOT APPLY OIL TO YOUR PAN! The oil is already on the steak, just let that pan get nice and hot.
  5. Place the steaks one at a time in the pan. You can use your hands or a pair of tongs. If the pan is not sizzling loudly when you put down the first steak, simply pick it back up and wait another minute or so. A strong sizzle is essential.
  6. When the pan is hot enough, sear the steaks 3 minutes on each side for a steak around 1 inch thick (2 minutes for a thinner one).
  7. Using oven mitts, take out your preheated baking sheet from your oven. Using tongs, place the steaks on the sheet and bake for 6 minutes.
  8. When 6 minutes are up, put the steaks on a plate, and cover with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. This allows the meat to rest and prevents all the juices from running out of it.
  9. The steaks (adjusting for your pan and oven temperature) should be a nice medium to medium-rare and are READY TO EAT! Serve with your favorite sides or go straight up carnivore. I had mine with sauteed green beans and air fried sweet potatoes.
Sear the steaks on each side for 3 minutes
Bake the steaks at 400 for 6 minutes