Monday, October 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Split-Pea Soup

[fairly unappetizing pic that doesn't do justice to the taste forthcoming]

As per what passes for an editorial policy here, I'm just acknowledging a dearth of recent posts then moving on. Hi!

Seeing that it's finally fall, we pulled out our trusty copy of Slow Cooker Revolution and mostly followed the split pea soup recipe -- albeit with more ham hocks, carrots and garlic. It turned out quite well -- smoky and rich, though I may try it with less salt and a bit less liquid next time. Happy soup and stew weather, everyone.

  • 2 onions, minced (about 2 c)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (about 1-1/2 T)
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 T fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 4 c beef broth
  • 3 c water
  • 1 lb. split peas
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. pieces (about 2 c)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 smoked ham hocks, rinsed and scored
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme and oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for five minutes, stirring occasionally, till onions are softened; transfer to slow cooker.

Add broth, water, split peas, carrots, ham hocks and bay leaves to slow cooker. Cover and cook till peas are tender, 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high (everything was super soft at five hours on high with our cooker).

When done, remove bay leaves, stir in lemon juice and season to taste. Skim fat and remove meat from bone, then return to soup if you want; we didn't bother.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quick Chicken Soup, v2

John was feeling poorly and the leeks were on their last legs - time for chicken soup! Sauteeing the aromatics in a couple of tablespoons of butter gave the broth some richness, but not enough to roil an upset tummy. A squeeze of lemon juice at the end made for a nice contrasting sharpness. While this was pretty tasty for something made without broth and cooked so quickly, I'll be looking for ways to make it more flavorful without adding cooking time.

  • 2 T butter
  • 4 c leeks, chopped
  • 1-1/2 c carrots, chopped
  • 1-1/2 c celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2.5 lbs. chicken thighs
  • bouquet garni (several sprigs of parsley, several sprigs of thyme, 2 t black peppercorns tied in cheesecloth)
  • 6 c water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • scallions, chopped, for garnished
  • lemon wedges

Saute the leeks, garlic, carrots and celery in the butter over medium heat till vegetables are softening, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken and brown it briefly on both sides, 5-6 minutes. Add some salt and pepper.

Add the water and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, till chicken is done, 20-30 minutes.

Add baby spinach to pot. Remove from heat, re-cover and let sit for five minutes.

Adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish with scallions and serve with lemon wedges.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken Adobo 5: The Saga Continues

It's been quite a while since I've made adobo for myself. But now that my tweaking of the spicy souse soup recipe is almost complete (need to post the modded version soon), I'm taking a break from pig's ears (much to John's relief) and moving on to a childhood favorite: chicken gizzards. Though I found some promising recipes that involve two hours of simmering and optional deep-frying, I decided to start with the classic: adobo. Since I actually have Filipino cane vinegar and soy sauce at my disposal, I decided to tweak this recipe, skipping the sugar and salt and more than doubling the garlic. It's one of the more delicate takes on the dish, but still satisfying. Next time I'll add some pork and make a few other tweaks for extra oomph.

  • 2.5 lb. chicken thighs, skin-on (about 6 thighs)
  • 1/2 lb. chicken livers
  • 1/2 lb. chicken gizzards
  • 2/3 c water
  • 2/3 c cane vinegar
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 T)
  • 2 t black peppercorns

Combine all the ingredients in a pot and let sit for at least half an hour.

Bring the pot to a boil; simmer till the chicken's done (about 20-30 minutes).

Optional steps: Remove the chicken and reserve it. Bring the sauce back to a boil and reduce till it's thick enough to coat with a spoon. Brown the chicken in a tbsp. of oil (or stick it under the broiler for a bit), then return to pot.

Serve over white rice.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

Lunch - 01 August 2011, originally uploaded by essgee51.
We've mostly been repeating recipes, so I haven't been posting variations. This weekend, we once again turned to the trusty Slow Cooker Revolution, halving some parts of the recipe and using a blade roast instead of the asked-for boneless pork picnic shoulder roast (see below).

Turned out really well - richer and meatier for the inclusion of the bone. This one will definitely become a regular.
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 t fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/8 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 in. chunks
  • 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 in. chunks
  • 1 blade roast, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 t white wine vinegar
Put oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, garlic, tomato paste, and thyme. Cook till onions are softened and browning, 8-10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in wine, scraping up any browned bits, till smooth. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.

Put tomatoes, carrots and parsnips into slow cooker. Season roast with salt and pepper; add to slow cooker. Cover and cook till pork is tender (five hours on high worked fine for me; the book recommends 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 on high).

Transfer roast to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil and rest for 20 minutes.

Let braising liquid settle, then remove fat, if you like (we skipped this). Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice roast, spoon sauce over the slices, and serve.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Loosely based on this recipe by Dorie Greenspan, this has been dubbed, alternately, "the devil's pesto" or "dragonbreath pesto." It's certainly tangy and garlicky, and it does linger. I love it, but just have to remember not to schedule meetings right after lunch.
  • 10-14 garlic scapes, chopped (I also used a couple of the white blooms, which may have contributed to the intense garlic flavor)
  • 1/3 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil, more if you like
Put the scapes, walnuts, half of the cheese, a pinch of salt and half the olive oil in a food processer. Whir till blended, and until desired consistency is reached. Add more oil or cheese as necessary.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In Progress: Navy Bean and Chicken Chili

I'm way behind on posts, so this one isn't going to be very chatty. We had to adopt this recipe for dried beans. It came out a tad soupy, but very delicious, especially since we amped up the amount of jarred jalapenos and the garlic. In future iterations - and there will be future iterations, since this is flavorful and filling -  we'll start decreasing the liquid a cup at a time and fiddle a bit with the cooking/what to add when times (beans were perfect but chicken got a tad stringy) and see where the sweet spot is. Below, our riff on the Slow Cooker Revolution original.

  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 2 c beef stock
  • 1 15-o. can hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 4 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 lb. dried navy beans
  • 3 lbs. chicken thighs, skin removed if you want
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 T minced, pickled jarred jalapeno chiles, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, minced
  • 2 avocados, pitted and cut into 1 in. pieces

In a blender, puree the hominy and 2 cups of stock till smooth, about 1 min. Pour into slow cooker.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, garlic, fresh jalapenos, cumin and coriander. Cook till the vegetables are softened and somewhat browned, 8-12 min. Stir in 1 cup stock, scraping any browned bits. Pour mixture into slow cooker.

Add beans to slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker. Cover and cook till beans are tender, about 5 hours on high.

Remove chicken from slow cooker. Let cool a bit, then shred into bite-size pieces. Discard the bones and return the meat to the slow cooker.

Stir in pickled jalapenos, then let sit till heated through, about 5 min. Stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve, garnishing with avocado bits.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Black Bean and Pork Chili

We've been pretty good about making a mess of beans or other stew in the slow cooker every weekend (myself, less so about posting them). This past Sunday, we un-vegetarianned a Slow Cooker Revolution black bean chili recipe, adding in a hefty four-pound (five with the bone in) hunk of pork shoulder and skipping the mushrooms (only because there was no more room for them). We also lessened the hot chili powder and de-seeded the jalapenos, since my tummy's still a bit roiled. Despite the gentling, the Cook's Illustrated folks delivered yet again - it's a rich, flavorful stew, though there's perhaps a tad too much liquid. Our version below.

Future tweaks: less pork, add mushrooms and perhaps other vegetables, perhaps lessen the cooking liquid.
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 4 t mustard seeds
  • 1 T cumin powder
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 c water
  • 1 lb. black beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 lb. pork butt roast, cut into 1-1/2 to 2 in. pieces
  • 1 T canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 T minced fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic, chili powder, mustard seeds, cumin and oregano. Cook till vegetables are soft and slightly browned, 8-10 min. Stir in a cup of the broth. Scrape up any brown bits, then transfer to slow cooker.

Put water, broth, beans, mushrooms, meat, chipotles and bay leaves in slow cooker. Cover and cook till beans are tender and meat is fall-apart soft, 5-7 hours on high or 9-11 on low (took us 5 hours on high).

Stir in cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

In Progress: Souse Soup

After discovering what a rich broth pig's ears make (a byproduct of this recipe), I wanted to try to make a soup. I started with this recipe, increased the amount of liquid (enough to cover the meat), seeded and removed the ribs from the Scotch bonnet and added whatever spare vegetables I had lying around. Though I had my reservations about midway through the process, it turned out quite good - the broth was rich, and the Scotch bonnet imparted flavor and a gentle, lingering heat. The real surprise was the meat I scraped off the tail bones: succulent, tender and tasty. Will definitely be making this one again.

For future iterations: While the broth is rich and turned pretty flavorful in the end, I'd like to bring some more depth to it - whether by sauteeing the aromatics first, or adding more/different seasoning. I'd also like to add more vegetables to it, besides wilting a handful or two of baby spinach as I reheat bowls of the soup.
  • 3 lbs. pig's ears and tails, ears cut into smaller pieces (this iteration used 1 lb. ears, 2 lb. tails)
  • 1 pork shoulder bone (byproduct of the bone-in butt we got for the black beans and pork)
  • 8 c water, enough to cover
  • 1/4 c cider vinegar
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and ribs removed
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 heaping T)
  • 1 onion, minced (about 1 heaping c)
  • 2/3 c celery, diced (about 4 small stalks)
  • 2/3 c carrot, diced (about 4 small ones)
  • 2/3 c green pepper, diced (1 large)
  • 10 oz. mushrooms
  • 2 T Goya adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 c lime juice (about 2 fat limes)
Put the meat, water, vinegar, hot pepper, garlic and onions in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, till meat is soft and gelatinous, about 2-3 hours.

Chop vegetables and add them to the pot. Cook till they're tender, about 15-25 minutes.

Add adobo seasoning. Stir and wait about five minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, and serve over white rice.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oregano Tomato Sauce

Flowerful Lunch, originally uploaded by essgee51.
An embarrassment of riches led to this delicious, simple thing: we let our herbs flower for too long. Though we will have to get new seedlings, at least our meals in the near future will be flavorful and pretty. This makes enough sauce for two hearty servings of pasta (about 1/2 box of whole wheat).
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 c onion,minced (1/2 onion)
  • 1 T garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
  • 1/8-1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 T minced oregano, plus 1-2T blossoms (or just more leaves)
Put oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, then cook till softening, about 2-3 minutes.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes; saute till fragrant (1-2 min).

Add tomatoes and liquid from can; bring to a healthy simmer and cook till the mixture reaches desired, saucy consistency (anywhere from 10-25 minutes, depending on your tastes - I tend to like some body left in the tomatoes). Add salt and pepper.

Add herbs, then cook a minute or two more. Serve over pasta with additional herbs for garnish and some oil/pasta water if needed for extra body.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dandelion Greens with Warm Bacon Viniagrette

Dandelion Greens, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Simple, tangy and delicious. We had it with Annie's whole wheat mac and cheese - the earthy cheesiness went well with the bitter-tinged, bacony richness. Base recipe here.
  • 1/4-1/2 lb. bacon (used bacon ends from the market)
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens (about 1 lb. from Peapod), chopped into 1-2 in. pieces
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 2-3 T)
  • 2 t Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 T cider vinegar
  • pepper to taste
Slice the bacon thinly and put it in a pan with a tablespoon or so of water over medium heat. Render the bacon fat; once the bacon's crisp, scoop it out and place it on a paper towel. Keep the oil warm (there should be about 1-2 T).

In a bowl large enough to hold the greens, whisk together the shallots, mustard and vinegar. Add the oil, then the greens. Mix well. Top with the bacon bits.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Side Dish: Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Sausage, Mushrooms and Tomatoes, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Partially inspired by watching The Fellowship of the Ring the previous night, this dish is luxurious and yet soft enough for someone recovering from dental surgery. Served here with duck sausage from Canales.
  • 1-2 T butter
  • 1 large shallot (2-3 T)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8-10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large tomato (about 1 cup), sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish
Heat butter till foam's dissipated. Saute shallot and garlic till soft, 2-3 minutes.

Add mushroom and tomato; season with salt and pepper, then cook till desired texture is reached (5-10 minutes for soft mushrooms and tomatoes with a bit of body to them - ymmv).

Adjust seasoning and serve.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Catching Up: Slow-Cooker Navy Bean Stew II

Dinner, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Though we made this last weekend, the rest of this rich, savory stew also served well as soft food for this weekend's recuperation from dental surgery. Based on this variant, but still further simplified - we discovered that we could skip even the fast boil of the beans if we cooked on high for a few hours.
  • 1 lb. navy beans
  • 1 ham hock, scored
  • 1 lb. kielbasa sausage, cut in 1 in. pieces
  • 1-2 c carrots, cut in 1-2 in. pieces
  • 1-2 c celery, cut in 1 in. slices
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, stems removed and cut, if large
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 5-8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
  • 6 c liquid (all water, this time)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Put everything in the slow cooker (see below).

Cook on high for 3-4 hours, till hock meat is falling off the bone and beans are tender. Adjust seasoning and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Salad Nicoise

Salad Nicoise, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Though we still have plenty of delicious navy bean stew in the slow cooker (more recipe backlog for me to catch up on), I was in the mood for a cold, composed salad. This will definitely become a summer staple - filling without being heavy, flavorful without being overly rich, and easy to prepare. Next time, though, I may arrange in individual portions - John and I had a bit of a fun but messy time transferring the food to our plates.

Recipe variant notes: I'm glad I didn't skip the potatoes - they added a new bit of texture and soaked up the dressing well. Alas, John couldn't find any green beans nearby, but we'll definitely add them in next time. Our version (fed two very heartily, and could probably feed one more below):
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • 1 pound green beans, cooked and refreshed (skipped but definitely happening next time)
  • 2-3 T minced shallots 
  • 1 large ripe red tomato, cut into wedges 
  • 2 potatoes, sliced and cooked 
  • 1 5 oz. can chunk tuna, preferably oil-packed 
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved (all we had)
  • 1 freshly opened can of flat anchovy fillets 
  • 1/3 cup small black Niçoise-type olives 
  • 2 T capers 
  • 3 T minced fresh parsley
  • 1/3-1/2 c vinaigrette (see below)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 t Dijon mustard 
  • 1/4 t salt 
  • 2-3 t freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1-2 T red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 T minced shallots 
  • freshly-ground pepper to taste
Arrange the lettuce leaves in a large, shallow bowl or platter. Toss the green beans with a few spoonfuls of dressing, then arrange on platter.

Add tomatoes and potatoes, drizzling with more dressing.

Arrange the rest of the ingredients in desired position, draping a half- or full fillet of anchovy over each egg.

Season to taste. Garnish, add more dressing, then serve with extra dressing on the side.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thai Pig's Ear Salad

Thai Pig's Ear Salad, originally uploaded by essgee51.
As part of the run-up to attempting sisig, I picked a couple of pig's ear recipes to try. This first one, from Gourmet, is a cold salad. While John didn't like the texture (I loved it - succulent with a slight crunch from the cartilage), we both loved the fresh, bright, very Thai flavor. It also gave me an opportunity to avail myself of cilantro and mint from our garden.
  • 1 lb pigs’ ears
  • 8 c water
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 c sliced ginger
  • 2 T sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 cilantro sprigs
  • 1 fresh Thai chile, halved lengthwise (used a jalapeno)
  • 1/4 c fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 T fish sauce
  • 1 T minced fresh lemongrass (from a trimmed stalk with outer leaves discarded)
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1 to 2 Thai chiles, minced, including seeds (used one jalapeno, seeded and with pith removed)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 c chopped mint
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
Remove any remaining hair from pig ears with a razor, then cut ears into two-inch pieces. Put in a pot with the water, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, sugar, garlic, sprigs of cilantro and chile. Bring to a boil and simmer till ears are tender/at desired consistency (I like them a bit on the crunchy side), 2-3 hours.

Remove ears, and drain, reserving liquid for another use. Chop ears.

In a bowl, mix lime juice, fish sauce, lemongrass, sugar, chiles, and garlic. Add ears, cilantro, mint, scallions and shallots. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Navy Bean Stew with Chicken and Sausage

From our trusty copy of Slow Cooker Revolution. I used dried beans instead of canned and made a couple of other tweaks. Though I was worried about the adjustments to liquid level and cooking time, the tweaks worked out fairly well; in the interests of boosting flavor, I increase the stock-to-water ratio or decrease the liquid altogether, as well as adjust the levels of  spices and aromatics. The recipe itself is a bit fussy, but as far as I can tell, all steps are worth it.
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausages, sliced 1 in. thick
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 1 fennel bulb, tops discarded; bulb halved, cored and sliced thin
  • 6 plump garlic cloves, minced (about 3 T)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T fresh thyme, minced (halve for dried)
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes (may increase this in the future)
  • 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 c chicken stock
  • 3 c hot water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. dried navy beans 
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Dry chicken with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown half the chicken lightly on both sides, working in batches if necessary (5-8 min.), then transfer to a bowl. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil and repeat with the rest of the chicken; move to bowl.

Add the last tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Brown the sausage well (3-5 min.); transfer to a bowl with the chicken.

Pour off all but 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add onions, fennel, garlic, tomato paste, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-high heat till vegetables are soft and lightly browned (8-12 min.).

Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in wine; scrape up any browned bits and smooth out any lumps (whisk in a cup of the broth if necessary). Transfer the vegetables and liquid to the slow cooker.

Stir the remaining liquid and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Add the beans (skipped the initial soaking, but they seemed fine) and the meat (as well as any accumulated juices) to the slow cooker as well.

Cover and cook till beans are done and chicken is tender. I had success with 3 hours on low and 2 hours on high.

Let stew settle, then remove fat from surface using large spoon (skipped this step). Remove chicken, shred and return to the pot, if you like (I left it whole, as it was falling-apart soft later).

Stir in spinach, cover, and cook on high till heated through, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve with grated Parmesan.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sauteed Summer Squash

Sauteed Summer Squash, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Still working my way through the previous weeks' market bounty. I got home pretty late last night and treated myself to a bubble bath after the gym, but also wanted to cook something quick and yummy. Solution? Saute squash in rich farmer's market butter with garlic and lots of salt and pepper. Hooray!
  • 3-4 T butter
  • 4 summer squash, sliced into 1/4-1/2 in. rounds
  • 2 T garlic, chopped
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 1-2 T lemon juice
  • 1-2 T parsley, chopped, for garnish
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, till fragrant.

Add squash. Season with salt and pepper, and cook till squash reaches desired consistency, 5-10 minutes, turning now and then. (I covered the pan for a few minutes to get the steaming process underway and shrink everything more quickly.)

Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning. Pour lemon juice over squash and garnish with parsley before serving.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic 2: Nigella-Style

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, originally uploaded by essgee51.
While I'm quite happy with Bittman's parsley- and allspice-laden take on this recipe, Nigella's version tempted me with its reliance on two of my favorite things: scallions and thyme. Though the browning step didn't go very well (left lots of skin sticking to the base of the pot for some reason, which led to a charred bottom and far less liquid than I wanted at the end stage), the chicken was still tasty: falling-off-the-bone and flavorful. Will definitely try this one again. Original here, and my very slightly tweaked version below.
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs (around 3 lbs.)
  • 1 bunch scallions (8-10), finely chopped
  • 10-12 sprigs thyme, half stripped from the stem
  • 40 cloves garlic, unpeeled but with excess papery covering removed
  • 2 T white wine or dry vermouth
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350.

Heat olive oil in a a wide, shallow Duch oven over high heat. Briefly sear chicken thighs, skin-side down, working in batches if necessary. Place thighs in bowl and set aside.

Briefly stir-fry scallions and thyme leaves from about half the sprigs.

Place half the garlic in the bottom of the pan. Put chicken on top. Spread remaining garlic and thyme sprigs around chicken. Add salt and pepper.

Stir white wine or vermouth into chicken juices left in bowl. Add liquid to pot. Cover, place in oven and cook at 350 for 1-1/2 hours.

Uncover and let rest briefly. Serve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cucumber Gin Cooler

Cucumber Gin Cooler, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Now that spring is finally here and summer's fast approaching, I'm moving from brown liquor to clear and researching crisp, cool drinks. This one, from Saveur, turned out well - light and refreshing, though I may fiddle a bit with the proportion of lime juice. The lightly pickled cukes are good to munch on once the drink's done.

For two:
  • 4 oz. Hendricks
  • 4 T lime juice
  • 1/4 c Kirby cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • tonic water
Fill two glasses about halfway with ice.

Put some ice, gin, lime juice and cucumber slices in a shaker with a small amount of ice. Shake vigorously for 1-2 minutes.

Pour into glasses, dividing the cucumber slices evenly. Top off with tonic water.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brazilian Black Beans with Pork

Absolute home run of a recipe - the stew was smoky, rich and full of flavor; the sauce added a perfect accent of sharp, grassy tang. We pretty much followed the recipe in Cook's Illustrated's Slow Cooker Revolution - our reliable go-to - save for deglazing the onion and bacon mixture with a cup of water. I scraped the pan pretty well though, and the stew was more than rich enough, so no harm done. I may try a bit of acid next time, though. Recipes for the stew and the accompanying sauce follow.
  • 6 oz bacon
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1/4 c tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander 
  • 4c chicken broth
  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 1 lb sausages, halved and sliced 1/2 in. thick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 lb boneless pork butt roast, cut into 1-1/2 in. pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, saute the bacon over medium-high heat till crispy, about 5-10 minutes. Add the onions, tomato paste, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander and cook till the onions are softened and beginning to brown, 10 or so minutes.

Meanwhile, put sausages, bay leaves and broth in the slow cooker. Add the onion-bacon mixture and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5-7 hours on high (took us about 5) or 9-11 hours on low, till meat is tender and beans are done. Adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve over rice and with Brazilian hot sauce (recipe below).

Brazilian Hot Sauce (makes about 3 cups)

This was good, though I may add a bit more jalapeno/include a bit of pith and seed next time.
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (seeds and white pith removed if you're inclined)
  • 1/3 c white wine vinegar
  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1T cilantro (used 1/4c parsley)
  • 1/2 t salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes, till flavors have melded.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lengua Estofada

Lengua was always one of my favorite childhood dishes - my lola used to put extra button mushrooms in it for me. Finally I decided to try my own version of it - not a recreation of the beefy richness I remember, but something to tweak and turn into an occasional indulgence. I started from a recipe in Let's Cook with Nora, and made several changes - most notably trebling the amount of mushrooms (what? I love them). It turned out wonderfully - the meat was tender, the sauce (more of a broth by thickness) rich and tangy but sweet from the carrots and leeks. I may try a more umami-laden version in the future, but this recipe is a keeper.

Since this is the first time I've ever tried this (and since I had an epic, 20-minute battle with the leathery outer coating of the tongue), I've felt obliged to document (and share said documentation of) the process.
  • 1 beef tongue (2.6 lbs. or so)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1-2 T salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
  • 1 t peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 2 carrots, cut into rough chunks
  • 3 leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, including juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 cups mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed (used a mix of white and cremini)
Here are most of the assembled ingredients.

Rub tongue with salt and vinegar (pre-boiled tongue below - doesn't look very different after this step). Rinse, then boil for 10 minutes.

Scrape off leathery coating on surface. (Mind, this took me 20 minutes with three different knives. It got pretty gnarly in the end, but I triumphed. It probably would have been much easier if I'd boiled the tongue for the whole time first, but I wanted it to braise with the sauce.)

Brown tongue in oil (5-10 minutes.)

Transfer to plate, then brown the onions and the garlic.

Return tongue to pot, then add everything but the mushrooms. (I may try adding less water next time.) Bring to a boil then simmer gently till the tongue is tender (recipes say three hours, it took me more like four).

Slice tongue into pieces and set aside (when I gave John a taste at this point, he said it was just like brisket or pot roast).

Strain sauce (skipped this step). Add mushrooms; turn heat to medium or high and cook for a few minutes, till sauce is reduced and mushrooms are done. Return tongue to pot and warm through. 

Serve with rice and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Quick Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Was feeling poorly, so came home early on Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully, I had just enough energy to make a pot of this quick (about 40 minutes from start to finish, and I'm a very slow prepper) and surprisingly tasty soup. I think the bouquet garni (pictured here) made a big difference, and the parsnips helped as well. At any rate, I lived on this soup (augmented by buttered noodles and a can of potato sticks) through Thursday night, and am convinced it's part of the reason I was well enough to return to work on Friday.
  • 5-6 large parsley stems
  • 5-6 thyme stems
  • 2 t. black peppercorns
  • 1-2 T neutral oil (used grapeseed)
  • 6-8 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1-1/2 cup onion, chopped (one large one)
  • 1 heaping cup celery, chopped (about 1/2 in.)
  • 1 heaping cup carrots, chopped (about 1/2-1 in.)
  • 3/4 cup parsnips, chopped (about 1/2-1 in.)
  • 1.5 lb. chicken thighs (three huge ones)
  • 1 quart chicken stock (store-bought, in this case)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Put the parsley, thyme and peppercorn into a cheesecloth pouch and tie the ends together.

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the garlic, onions, celery and carrots till they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook till it begins to color (3-5 minutes), turning once.

Add the stock and the parsnips. Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the temperature and simmer till the chicken's done, about 30 minutes.

Adjust seasoning and serve.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Braised Baby Bok Choy

Braised Baby Bok Choy, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Quick, light and oh so good - the crunchy stems and light, gingery tang contrasted nicely with the richness of leftover (and getting tastier by the night!) lamb and beans. Mostly eyeballed the ingredients, but a rough recipe is below.
  • 4 baby bok choy, cleaned and halved
  • 1-2 tbsp. oil (used peanut)
  • 1 heaping tbsp. garlic, minced (3 cloves)
  • 1-2 tbsp. ginger, julienned
  • 1-2 tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
Over medium heat, saute ginger and garlic in the oil till fragrant and beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes.

Add the bok choy, cut side down. Saute, turning once or twice to coat with oil, till the leaves begin to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. If you don't have enough room in your pan (I didn't), do them in batches.

Return all the bok choy to the pan. Add some water (3-4 tbsp. in my case) and the soy sauce. Stir, then cover and cook till the bok choy stems are tender but still crisp, about 4-7 minutes.

Adjust seasoning.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks and Navy Beans

The slow cooker is my new favorite thing. We prepped and started this last night, went out, came back, slept and woke to this savory, meaty richness. We used this recipe as a jumping-off point. Our version (below) completely filled the cooker (thankfully, I decided to buy only two shanks at the last minute!) and produced at least four cups of spare liquid/fat. Now that we have a solid base recipe, next time, we may try a bit less liquid, more seasoning (it's too rich and savory to be bland, but could perhaps use a bit of zing), some herbs and perhaps more vegetables.
  • 1 lb. navy beans, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 lamb shanks (about 4 lbs.), cut in thirds
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil (will probably omit this next time - there's more than enough fat in the finished product)
  • 1 huge carrot (about 1 lb.), roughly chopped (will add more next time)
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups liquid (hot water or stock)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Soak the beans. We forgot to soak them overnight, so we followed the quick soak method on the bag:
  • boil for two minutes
  • remove from heat
  • cover and let stand for an hour
  • rinse.
Boil the beans (in new water) for a half-hour. We may skip this step next time and just adjust slow cooking time accordingly.

Drain the beans and place them in the slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients, then season (we started with about a tsp. of freshly ground black pepper and a tbsp. of salt). Cook on high for an hour (we had to leave, so it was more like half an hour), turn the slow cooker to low, and let cook for 8-10 hours (more like 12 in our case, because we slept in).

Adjust seasoning and enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Backlog: Braised Pork Chops With Tomatoes, Anchovies and Rosemary

Tomato Sauce, originally uploaded by essgee51.
(The above is an in-progress shot, obviously.)

Made this in Dec. 2010, following this NYT recipe pretty much to the letter, save for doubling the amount of garlic. Turned out very well - rich and tasty, with the anchovies adding savory depth to the always-winning combo of rosemary, pork and tomatoes. Sans pork chops, the sauce itself would probably go well over pasta - maybe even whole-wheat, if I added some heat to counteract the additional body.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew, originally uploaded by essgee51.

With a Christmas Amazon gift card from John's aunt and uncle, we finally bought a slow cooker!

Our first project, based on this recipe, was a success - the meat was tender, and the sauce was rich, silky and savory in a way that only slow-cooked food can be. Next time, we may experiment with more/different herbs -- and definitely add more mushrooms. Tweaks below.
  • 2 tbsp. oil (used peanut this time)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves,chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme (orig. 1/2 tsp. dried, but in an unusual reversal, I didn't have any)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 c. low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. frozen peas
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Put the oil in a large pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the celery, carrots, onion and thyme. Cook till the carrots begin to soften, about 7-10 minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Cook another 3-5 minutes or so, till the tomato paste starts tasting a bit roasted. Add wine and mustard, then stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook till wine's reduced by about half, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mix flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cut the roast into 1-1/2 in. cubes. Put the meat and mushrooms in the flour mixture and toss to coat.

Put the meat, mushrooms and any excess flour into the slow cooker. Add the wine and vegetable mixture, and a bay leaf. Turn the slow cooker to high and cook till meat is pierced easily by a fork, 5-6 hours.

Add peas and cook till heated through. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meatloaf for Dinner!

Meatloaf for Dinner!, originally uploaded by essgee51.
We returned from Eastern Market with a bounty, including the makings of this dinner. The meatloaf recipe is based on Bittman's basic one, with changes (particularly more cheese, garlic and parsley) outlined below. It turned out to be delicious - tasty, juicy and perfect for a warm but still wintery evening. Note: Creates lots of drippings, which I'm sure we can figure out lots of delicious uses for.
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (used panko)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 lbs. meatloaf mix (they were out of pork, so equal parts veal and beef)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb. bacon (six slices - three in the original)
Preheat oven to 350.

Soak breadcrumbs in milk till liquid is absorbed, around 5 minutes.

Mix together all ingredients except the bacon. Shape meat into a loaf in a baking pan (we used John's cast-iron skillet), then drape the bacon over the loaf. Bake for 45-60 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, till the meatloaf is firm, lightly browned and 160F.

Optional: put under the broiler for a minute or two to get a browner crust.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Variation: Leek and Tomato Braise

Leek and Tomato Braise, originally uploaded by essgee51.
I've cooked this before, but now I have a picture - and enough variation in the recipe to make this repeat worthwhile, for me at least. Unfortunately, this version didn't make nearly enough liquid to put on the rice; I may add some juice from canned tomatoes or broth next time.
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4-6 leeks, cleaned and halved
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice or more, to taste
In a pot large enough to hold the leeks in a single layer (I had too many and thus worked in batches), heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the leeks till they begin to brown, 5-7 minutes; salt and pepper them as they cook, turning them once or twice.

Add tomatoes (and some of their liquid or some broth if you like). Adjust heat till mixture bubbles, then cover and cook till the leeks are tender, 15-25 minutes.

Add lemon juice to taste and serve over rice (good hot, warm or cold).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chicken Braised in Lemon and Soy Sauce

Wanted something quick, and Bittman gladly obliged. It's rather less adobo-lite than its constituent ingredients may make it seem, and is bright with just a small touch of heat. My version of the recipe (with more garlic and lemon juice than originally called for) below.
  • 2.5 lbs chicken (thighs)
  • 4 tbsp. neutral oil (grapeseed this time)
  • 1 heaping tbsp. garlic (originally 1 tsp.)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 heaping tbsp. lemon zest (from 2 medium lemons)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (may add slightly more next time)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from one juicy lemon)
Put oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it's hot, brown the chicken, working in batches if necessary (should take around 10-15 minutes).

Remove the chicken and pour/spoon out all but 1-2 tbsp. of oil. Turn the heat to low, add the garlic and cook till it starts to soften, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the water, soy sauce, sugar and cayenne pepper to the pot. Put in the chicken, turning it once or twice to soak up the broth. Adjust the heat so it bubbles gently but constantly and cook till done, anywhere from 20-40 minutes.

When done, stir the lemon juice into the dish and remove from heat. Adjust seasoning and serve over white rice.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Beef Stew a la Bittman

Beef Stew a la Bittman, originally uploaded by essgee51.
While I typically make stew the lazy way, this time I bothered to brown the meat. It made a big difference, and I'll definitely be making the time investment in the future. The stew turned out to be rich, comforting and flavorful, but next time I think I'll use a fattier cut of meat and up the umami quotient (perhaps with Worcestershire or soy sauce, anchovies and/or tomato paste). Recipe, with my modifications, below.
  • 2-4 tbsp. neutral oil (used grapeseed - started with 2 tbsp. but had to keep adding more because of the lean meat)
  • 2-1/2 lbs. stew beef, in chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed + 4-5 cloves (1 heaping tbsp.), chopped
  • 2 large onions, cut into eighths
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups liquid (used 2 cups beef broth from a very good concentrate I found + 1 cup red wine)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 6 small/medium potatoes, cut into 1-2 in. chunks (used Yukon Gold)
  • 5 medium carrots, cut into 1-2 in. chunks
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen peas and pearl onions
Heat large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high for 2-3 minutes;. Add oil, then wait another minute. Add crushed garlic clove, then remove once it begins to turn golden-brown, about a minute.

Brown meat, working in batches and seasoning the meat with salt and pepper as you go. Remove meat and reserve, then drain excess oil if necessary (wasn't in my case, since the beef was very lean).

Lower heat to medium. Cook onions, stirring often, till softened, about 10 minutes.

Add flour and stir till completely incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.

Return meat to pot. Add liquid, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes undisturbed.

Add carrots, potatoes and mushrooms to pot. Cool till vegetables are tender, anywhere from 30-60 minutes (closer to 60 on my finicky stove). Adjust texture of sauce to taste, adding liquid if you want it soupier and boiling for 5 or so minutes if you want to reduce it.

Add peas, pearl onions, chopped garlic. Simmer for another 10 or so minutes, till peas are warmed up and garlic has infused stew. Adjust seasoning, then serve.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Curried Split Peas and Carrots

Curried Split Peas and Carrots, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Alas, no ham hocks handy, but I still wanted some split pea goodness. Followed a base recipe for Kenyan curried split peas from Extending the Table, added standard mirepoix portions of celery and carrots (my fridge contains a softening surplus of both), and cooked till the peas were mushy. Very good with rice and sausage - sort-of roasting the spices gave it a wonderfully warm tang.
  • 1 cup split peas
  • 2 tbsp. oil (used olive)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (around 2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (around 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped (around 1 cup)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 tbsp.)
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
Soak the peas or pre-heat if you're into that (I was lazy and didn't). Put the peas in a pot with 3-1/2 cups of water, bring to a boil, then simmer. Cook till the peas are mushy (recipe claimed 45 minutes with pre-soaked peas, took me more like 1-1/2 hours with unsoaked ones), adding the celery and carrot about halfway through (I like to keep a bit of firmness in both).

Meanwhile, put oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook till they're translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook till it's aromatic, about 1-3 minutes.

Add the curry powder, cumin and salt and stir to coat thoroughly (the bottom of the pan was pretty dry by then, so the spices got semi-toasted, which added a nice pop to the flavors). Cook for another minute or two.

Combine the spice mixture with the peas and stir thoroughly. Adjust seasoning then serve over rice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil

The usual "after" picture was nice, but I figured this one was more interesting. This dish, again courtesy of Signore Bittman, was quick, strong and delicious with sausages and a chopped scallion on the side. Thanks to John's family for the fancy extra-virgin olive oil! My take on the recipe below.
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 14-oz. package pasta - spaghetti in this case (original calls for 1 lb. fettucini, but all I had was the smaller packages of whole wheat)
  • lots of salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta in it according to directions.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt in a small pot over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, till the garlic is golden - about 3-7 minutes, depending on your burner. Turn off the heat if the pasta isn't ready yet.

When pasta is done, drain it and reserve a bit of the cooking water in case. If necessary, reheat the garlic and olive oil - mix it with the pasta, seasoning with salt and pepper and garnishing with the parsley if you like.

Poached Chicken with Lemon Sauce

Chicken and Leeks, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Another quick, easy dinner via Bittman. Used more leeks than called for (because I love them) and didn't reduce the sauce (too hungry), but it still turned out very good.
  • 3 tbsp. butter (originally 4)
  • 3 medium leeks, diced, with some of the green (originally 2) - about 2-1/2 cups
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • /12 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1-1/2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into 1-1/2 in. chunks
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley, chopped, for garnish
Put 2 tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the leeks and cook till they're softened, about 5-7 minutes.

Add wine, stock and herb; bring to a boil and let bubble for 1-2 minutes.

Add chicken, turn heat down to medium-low. Cook till done, 7-10 minutes (original recipe: cook till almost done, remove from pan, turn heat to high, reduce sauce to 3/4 cup, re-lower heat, return meat to pan, then proceed.). Add the rest of the butter and the lemon juice, a bit at a time.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, adjust seasoning, then serve.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dinner Component: Braised Endives II

Dinner, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Last night's repast was simple but hearty and flavorful. We basically repeated this soy-ginger mackerel braise (the sauce was delicious over rice) and quickly braised some endives (more quickly and simply than I did here, hence the rewriting of a recipe).
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 fat endives, cored and halved
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • salt and pepper to taste
Brown endives in butter over medium heat, about 5-7 minutes.

Add juice and water, then cover and simmer till tender, anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on how you like them.

Adjust seasoning.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chickpeas and Baby Spinach

Chickpeas and Baby Spinach, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Easy and healthful. Based largely on this NYT recipe, with a couple of tweaks. Made us a delicious dinner over couscous with a generous squeezing of lemon and even more freshly-ground black pepper.
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground (lazily used cumin powder)
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas
  • 1 cup water or broth (I used beef bouillon)
  • 1 7 oz. package baby spinach
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, saute the onions in the oil till they're soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin and salt. Stir and cook till the paste darkens.

Add the chickpeas, some cayenne and broth. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the spinach one handful at a time, stirring till the leaves wilt before adding the next batch and lightly salting. Once all the leaves are in, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, adjusting seasoning and adding lots of black pepper.

Remove from heat, adjust seasoning and serve over rice or couscous, with lemon slices.

Mirepoix Tuna-Tomato Sauce

Mirepoix Tuna-Tomato Sauce, originally uploaded by essgee51.
Testing out Flickr's blogging functionality and documenting this variant of this tuna-tomato sauce staple. Basically added a mirepoix for more vegetal goodness, a dash of cayenne pepper for zing, and a can of tomato sauce for added liquidity.
  • 8-10 oz. pasta (used whole wheat penne)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (about 1 cup in picture)
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced (about 1/2 cup in picture)
  • 1/4 cup carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup in picture)
  • 1 5 oz. can chunk tuna, drained
  • 1 12 oz. can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato sauce, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs for garnish
Prepare pasta according to instructions.

Meanwhile, saute onion, celery and carrot in oil over medium heat till onion begins to soften, 3-5 minutes.

Add tuna and stir to mix thoroughly. Add tomatoes, turn heat to medium-high, then cook till mixture begins to become saucy (10-15 minutes), or less if you're impatient. If it gets dry, add some tomato sauce.

Season with cayenne powder, salt and pepper. When sauce is at desired consistency, remove from heat, adjust seasoning, garnish and serve over pasta.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.