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Italian Wedding Soup Raviolis.. They Burst in Your Mouth!

 

Weekends with lady friends are the best, I think we killed 3 bottles of champagne between us, while making these delicious dumplings. I called upon the help of my Italian friend Sarah who I leaned on heavily for meatballs and ravioli, and my trusty taste tester Jeni, to make this genius idea happen.

I have had a idea circling in my head since hitting up Din Tai Fung. And while I left there a little annoyed (not every dumpling has to be a soup dumpling, JEESE!) I thought to myself, why cant I make this into an Italian thing too. I threw around all the ideas in my head landing on a final perfect, delectable version of a ravioli soup dumpling.

Now here’s the thing, if you don’t want to spend several hours, if not days making this recipe, you can buy solidified chicken stock for your base. No judgement here. But if you want it to taste like love, make the chicken consomme at home. That way when these little suckers burst in your mouth it means that much more. The recipe for that will be at the bottom of the page, (start there) just scroll all the way down if you want to be in the cool kid club.

My ravioli sucks. Sorry kids. Not to disillusion you, but its fucking hard. So I used wontons wrappers to speed up the process and make things uniform. I did it both ways, one way making a dumpling style, using only wonton wrappers (the tastiest and least waseful way) and the other using my ravioli stamp (hella wasteful and more thick)

Italian wedding soup raviolis  (serves 4 healthy eaters)

3 cups chicken consomme (recipe at the bottom of page)

100 tiny meatballs cooked (recipe just above the soup recipe)

100 wonton wrappers

For the sauce made in batches

The juice and zest of 2 lemons

1 sage plant (a small handful per batch)

2 cups of butter quartered

6 cloves finely chopped garlic

a small fistful of fresh thyme

salt

pepper

Putting It All Together

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Place out several wonton wrappers. There is significantly less waste if you fold them. place a meatball, and a teaspoon of the consomme in each wrapper, seal the edges and set them aside in batches.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the wontons for about 3 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon, and briefly set them aside. We did about 4 batches of these. So in each individual batch you’ll use about 1/4 of the sauce ingredients.

In a large pan, while the water is coming to a boil, melt the butter and allow it to brown slightly with the garlic, sage, a large pinch of fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Add in the lemon and lemon zest, give it a stir, and toss in your first batch of of the wontons.  Saute them for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. Repeating these instructions with the following batches

Garnish with a little parsely and sprinkle some romano cheese on top.

soup dumplins (19)

These are Sarahs Tasty Balls (halved)

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 c grated parmesan

3 cloves finely chopped garlic

A small handful of chopped parsley

1 egg

1/3 c bread crumbs

a splash of cold milk

1/2 tsp cumin

Salt, Pepper, chili flakes to taste

Mix these ingredients together by hand and form them into cm sized itty bitty meat balls. If you have left over meatball mix you can make several large meat balls to make up for the excess.

Chicken Consomme

1 Whole chicken skin removed

1 yellow onion halfed and seared (save the skins)

2 carrots pealed (save the peals)

1 celery bulb sliced and seared

A few sprigs of thyme

3 bay leaves

A few sprigs of parsley

A few sprigs of oregano

2 tbs salt

1 tablespoon peppers corns

Remove the skin from your chicken and cut it in to quarters. Sear your veggies and place them around the chicken parts. Put the herbs into a spice bag, cheese cloth, or tea strainer and pop them into the pot with the rest of your ingredients. Add water until everything is just covered and bring to a gentle boil. As all that brown sludge comes to the surface, skive it off. Let your chicken brother simmer down over 3 hours. You’ll know its done when you can grab a bone and pull it out of the soup and theres nothing on it. I also check that piece of cartilage that spurs off the chickens sternum, if its gone, you’re done!

Remove the big chunks from the stock, and strain it through a fine mesh sieve and a cheese cloth into a bowl. Let it cool to room temperature and set in the fridge over night (covered). When you wake up there will be (hopefully) A layer of fat on the top of a beautiful golden gelatinous  soup! Yay! You made food magic!  I usually end up with about 6 cups of broth. You’ll probably use maybe 2 cups worth.  If you failed at this life task, pop a packets worth of gelatin in there and carry on. Sometimes we cant win everything.

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Screw Your New Years Diet! Lets Make Some Tonkatsu!

Happy new year!  I hope your new years resolution diets are still going strong. It made me think of all the wonderful things you guys are missing, like beer, pie, pasta, maybe a cheese burger or 2. One of the tasty items I considered was Tonkatsu. Marinated pork chops, breaded and fried,  with a tasty sauce. So I made some, hoping to derail a few of you. You can pretend you like riced cauliflower, and continue to tell me you managed to some how make some kind of plant based weird dessert that is flavored with organic sweat and desperation. I’ll be over here eating food that isn’t sad.

One of the things that I feel is super important with this recipe, is seasoning and flavoring your meat. Bland katsu is disappointing. Relying on sauce to speak for your meat  is a bold move that leads down a sad dark path.

2 half inch thick cut pork chops

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tbs mirin

2 tbs brown sugar

1 clove garlic finely chopped

1 small nub of ginger finely chopped

1/4 cup flour

2 eggs

1 to 2 cups of panko

2 cups or more Oil for frying

For the Katsu Sauce

1/4 cup ketsup

2 Tbs soy sauce

1 tbs mirin

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

Mix the ingredients together,  and set in the fridge to cool

For the Meat

Marinate your meat in soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger for 1 to two hours.Remove them from the marinade, pat them dry with a paper towel, dredge them in flour, dip them in the egg wash, and cover them in the panko. I find only one layer is best, otherwise it becomes cakey. Deep fry them at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145. Set it on a wire rack to cool, then serve it with the katsu sauce, and toast the inevitable diet derail.

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Fried Sticky Rice Musubi

Musubi is one of those things, if you aren’t a spam eater, that you look at and really judge a person hard for. I was one of those people. You won’t catch me eating spam and eggs anywhere but in a campsite, its not something I stock in my cupboard, and it probably never will be. However, after careful consideration, if you throw some musubi in front of me, I’m going to eat it. Especially if that spam on the inside is still crispy and a little hot. I made it the normal way a few times, and was pleased. But then I thought to myself, how can I offend everyone, and make something delicious at the same time. And so, my newest culinary abomination was born.

musubi

For the rice:

1 cup glutinous sweet rice soaked for 2 to 24 hours (Your choice. I tasted no difference and the cooking time was almost identical.)

2 oz chopped shiitake mushrooms

2 oz chopped up chinese sausage

1/2 yellow onion chopped

2 tablespoons small dried shrimp

1/2 cup chopped scallions

a generous splash of soy sauce

and even more generous splash of chinese shaoxing

sesame oil

Salt an pepper

Nori

Spam

Rinse your rice until it runs clear after soaking it. In a steamer pot, steam your rice for about 15 minutes. While your steaming, cook the sausage. Add the sausage to the the steamer and fluff it with the rice at the 15 minute mark. Continue steaming the rice until its cooked.

While the rice is steaming saute the mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper in the left over oil from the sausage, and a little bit of sesame oil. Add in the dried shrimp halfway through. Once your rice is finished cooking, add it to the mushrooms and onions. Finally splash in the shaoxing wine, soy sauce, scallions, and little extra sesame oil.  Gently mix everything around in the wok until its well combine. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Set up your sushi station. A truthful moment here, I have literally nothing for making sushi. So, what I do is take a moist rag, spread it out over my counter so there are no wrinkles, and place saran wrap over that. Then place the nori over one side, and moisten one edge.

Cut the spam into 1/4 in thick slices, and fry it.

While its frying, spread the rice over the top of the nori, place the still hot slices over the rice, and roll your sushi. Give it a squeeze, let it sit in the towel and saran wrap for a minute or two. Remove only the towel, slice it up, and serve it.

 

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Not your DFAC’s Shrimp and Grits

I have no standing room as a grit expert. For years, the only grits I had had, were  from the army dining facility, or waffle house. They were grey, lumpy, lacking actual texture. So imagine my surprise when a good friend ordered them at a local brunch joint and they were a beautiful golden red color, teaming with flavor and artistically presented. Who woulda’ thunk that something I had previously referred to as gruel would turn into such a beautiful swan of dish.

So, along with my experience eating grits, is my experience making it. So, if you have any amazing suggestions in the fine art of making grits please, don’t hesitate to send me down the right path.

For the grits

2 cups water

1 cup chardonnay

1 cup chicken broth

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup butter

1 cup stone ground grits

Melt your butter, add in the water chardonnay, chicken broth and lemon juice. Slowly pour in your grits, while stirring. Continue to stir until they thicken up. Then start on your shrimp, occasionally giving the pot a stir while everything is simmering away.

Quick note, A lot of the shrimp flavor is hidden in its shell, after shilling them, retain half of those shells to simmer with your shrimps for an added boost.

For the shrimp

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup wine

1 red pepper

1 shallot

6 cloves garlic

1 tsp chili flakes

1 lb shrimp

1/2 cup shrimp shells in a cheese cloth or large tea strainer

A handful of chopped  fresh dill

A dash of salt and pepper

Melt the butter, and add in the wine. Place your shells in the cheese cloth or strainer to get that tasty shrimp flavor out of them. Add in the red pepper, garlic and pepper flakes. Once the pepper has softened add in the the shrimps. Cook them until the tails curl inward and they turn red and add in your dill.

Remove the grits from the burner, and serve them into bowls, placing the shrimp mixture over each and adding in a healthy serving of the sauce.

Tada! Amazing, flavorful, shrimp and grits, that don’t make you feel like you’re in prison.. Yay!

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Shrimp Manicotti is Good For Your Body

Winter nights make for amazing food. Part of what I love about winter, is having every excuse in the book to sit at home, and dream up tasty tasty foods to make, while having zero guilt about not going out into the drizzly mess outside. This dish is actually fairly lazy. With only about 20 minutes of prep and a generous bake time, you’ll have plenty of time to look like you spent all day slaving over a hot stove, when you really spent the day binge watching  Netflix and staring woefully out at the rain.

10 Manicotti – cooked to al dente

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 lb shrimp minced with shells removed

1/2 lb chantrelle mushrooms

1/2 cup romano cheese

6 cloves garlic

1 shallot

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, dill,and oregano

1 tbs butter

salt and pepper

2 cups marinara sauce

12 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Saute shrimp and chantrelles with shallots, garlic and herbs until just cooked, and set that aside too cool. Cook your manicotti to just on the hard side of al dente, usually about half the cook time on the packaging.

Once the shrimp mixture has cooled, mix it with ricotta, half the mozzarella, and Romano cheese add in salt and pepper to taste, and pipe it into your manicotti tubes.( I used a super fancy method of placing all of my mixture into a Ziploc and cutting off a corner at the bottom, and squeezing the mixture through.) After you have piped in all of your mixture, line the bottom of a casserole dish with marinara, place you manicotti over the top, add another layer of marinara, then place a heavy smattering of mozzarella and Romano cheese to the top. Bake it at 400 for 30 minutes.

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Seared Lemon Ahi Tuna with Cannellini Bean Mash

Seared ahi tuna is one of my favorite treats. My lovely cousin stopped by and I decided to make her something special. So I put on my thinking cap, and whipped this bad boy together. The creamy cannellini bean mash mixes really well with the peppered ahi tuna.

1 can cannellini beans

4 slices of bacon, fried and cut into pieces

1 onion chopped

6 garlic cloves minced

1 chicken bullion cube

half cup wine

1/4 cup Romano cheese

a few sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano

1/4 cup heavy cream

zest and juice of 1 lemon

salt

pepper

bacon grease for frying

Fry up your bacon. Using the left over bacon grease, blanch the garlic and onions with a little the lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Add in the herbs, 1/2 a cup of water, wine, lemon juice, beans, and the chicken bullion. Simmer that down until the water has reduced, add in the bacon,  romano cheese, and heavy cream and mash everything together.

For the tuna

2 tuna steaks

Juice of 1 lemon

salt

2 tbs  fresh ground pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Before you start anything marinate the ahi in lemon juice, salt and lemon zest for 30 minutes. Mix together pepper, salt, garlic and onion powder  on a small plate and coat both sides of the tuna. Place oil in a cast iron skillet  on medium high. Sear each side of the tuna for about 1 minute each side. Slice the tuna as you see fit, and place it on top of the cannellini bean mash.

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Cupcake Rage, and a Low Carb Beni, with a Fancy Bacon Lattice for two

This weekend I went to the Ginkgo petrified prison… I mean forest. Its what appears to be around 22 logs, set in holes all over  Wanapum recreational area. They are firmly secured under grates so that the hippies don’t steal them to make their tea. The rest is just interesting kinds of animal scat, and the rolling hills of Washington’s lovely desert. And this one (literally one) really cool wild flower…

DSC_0013 (Note: not a single F**K was given about the prison logs. Nothing is pretty about log jail.)

Its been a slow two months, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been cooking, but blogging took a back burner to living life and having a good time. That and I’ve been on a diet. While its wonderful to make all of the tasty treats that my little brain dreams up, sometimes I need to slow my roll. So here’s some diet food. If you still want your bread, might I suggest going the biscuit route… a big fluffy biscuit… with loads of butter, and tiny bits of finely minced garlic and onions spread all throughout it…  Ps. Thats the kind of torture this has been for me. If you walk by me with a cupcake right now I will knock you out, with what I call my fists of hanger, and step on your throat while I slowly eat the whole thing.. Smooch.

6 pieces of bacon cut in half

6 eggs

2 cups arugula

1/4 cup hot melted butter

juice of half a lemon

salt

pepper

cayenne pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange your bacon in two tightly woven lattices. Bake for 25 minutes, then switch to broil for 5 minutes to get the top extra crispy.

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Poach four eggs, (bring the water to a light simmer, pop them in for 3-4 minutes and spoon them out once they have solidified to your liking.

Take the two remaining eggs, and whisk them with a little salt and lemon juice until they thicken. I like to pretend I’m making a mayo. That way my hollandaise doesn’t separate.  Take the hot butter, and slowly pour it in, while whisking the eggs with all your might. Once your mixture has thickened add in some cayenne and a little pepper. You can use a blender for this too, but I broke mine. So do it the hard way. Like me. All the time.

Arugula does something very tasty to hollandaise and eggs benedict. This isn’t just a pretty green garnish. Toss the arugula on a plate, gently set your bacon lattice over the top, followed by the poached eggs, and heavy smattering of hollandaise sauce.

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This was good enough to curb the cupcake rage. Remember kids, if you give up your cupcakes, you can have tasty tasty butter…

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Peter Rabbit Munched on My Herbs, So I braised Him With a little Red Wine

We’ve been on a rabbit kick for a while. Its wonderfully lean, in fact its so lean, if you were, a hobo, living off only rabbit, you could actually starve from a lack of fat in your diet. It packs a protein punch, but that is all. Rabbit tastes a bit like a chicken mated with a wild bore, and instead of creating a misshapen little gargoyle, it made an adorable tasty treat.

Rabbit is tough, and if you aren’t going to grind it up into a tasty croquettes, most people stew, or slow cook them. Which is why I chose to braise, but if you know any other cool rabbit tricks, please done hesitate to pass them on.

For the Marinade

1 rabbit butterflied

1 shallot

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup white balsamic

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbs fresh thyme

1 sprig of rosemary

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp salt

4 bay leaves

pepper

For Roasting

1 purple onion sliced a few times width wise

1 bulb of garlic, top removed, and drizzled with olive oil

Those extra sprigs of rosemary and thyme

3 cups red wine

Take all of the marinade ingredients minus the rabbit and bay leaves, and puree them. Pop them all into a bag with your rabbit, and bay leaves.Let that marinate for 2-4 hours. After your time is up, heat up a cast iron skillet to high,  and seer the rabbit on all sides for a few minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and add in the onions, bulb of garlic, and herbs. Place the rabbit on top, sprinkle with a little salt,  add in half the marinade, and the red wine. Cover it with a lid and roast it at 325 for an hour and a half, occasionally basting it with the juices. Serve that up with your favorite sides and enjoy.

brerrabit

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Roast Pork Tenderloin With Homemade Apple Sauce

I spent the weekend attempting to catch a few rays of sun. Unfortunately we made reservations before the weather report came out, and spent a very wet weekend in and around Leavenworth and Wenatchee. Its amazing how a little rain can completely hide a mountain that is very literally right in front of you. At least I got to spend the weekend stuffing varying kinds of wurst and beer into my mouth, which led me to remembering that I hadn’t written anything about my tasty tasty pork tenderloin roast.

Pork is indeed a nice sweet meat. When I was young it was always paired with my grandmothers homemade apple sauce. That’s still the case. I made this roast for valentines day and really cashed in on the whole pork theme, with a bacon spinach salad, and carbonara for sides. Enjoy!

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1 2 lb pork tenderloin, separated

1 white onion finely chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1/4 cup romano or parmesan cheese

olive oil

salt

pepper

Preheat your oven to 400. Rinse, and pat dry your tenderloin. Coat it in olive oil, give it a generous sprinkle of salt and set it on a wire rack while you prepare your crust. Saute your garlic and onion until blanched with a little salt and pepper. Add in the thyme and half the cheese, and set it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, top the roast with it, and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145. Let it sit for 10 minutes, and carve it up!

For the Apple Sauce

2 apples pealed, cored, and chopped

1/2 cup of water

the juice of half a lemon

a smidge of lemon rind

2 Tablespoons sugar

Add your ingredients to a small pot, bring to a boil for a few minutes, then drop the heat to a low simmer (medium low), and let it sit there for about 30 minutes to an hour. Give it what should be a quick and easy mash, and set it aside to serve with your tenderloin.

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Diet Food. Savory Yogurt Lunches. Its what you eat when you want a box of delicious pasta.

Diet and exercise kids. Its so important. I’ve been attempting to come up with different foods to eat other than a tasty tasty plate of carbs. Which means plenty of meat, veggies, cheese, and nuts. I’ve been toying with making yogurt lunches this last weekend. They are easy enough to pack into a lunch and they only take about 5 to 10 minutes to make each, and best of all they are fairly filling. Those of you that think tzatziki is as versatile as ketchup should love this! I’ll be happy with these for about a week until I’m absolutely sick and tired of yogurt. For all of these, the base is 2 slices of onion, chopped, a clove of garlic, and 1/4 cup chopped cucumber. If you plan on having it every day you can just pre chop the onions, garlic, and cucumber, with salt and pepper. I’ve also tried adding quinoa and chia seeds to this. Its not bad. Adds a bit of a crunchy factor and makes it even more filling. But it does add on the carbs.

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The Ceviche

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup salad shrimp

1/2 avocado chopped

1 small tomato diced

2 slices of onion chopped

1 small clove of garlic

1/4 cup pealed cucumber chopped

1 serrano pepper chopped and seeds removed (or left in if you like your mouth on fire)

The juice of 1/2 a lime

salt

pepper

The Curried  Salad Shooter

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup garbonzo beans

2 onion slices chopped

1 small clove of garlic minced

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

1/2 a diced red pepper

1 small chopped tomato

1/2 a tsp curry powder

salt

pepper

The Flying Scotsman

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 oz sliced scottish smoked salmon or lox

1/4 cup sliced spinach and arugula mix

2 slices chopped onion

1 small clove garlic

1/4 cup chopped cucumbers

1 tbs capers

salt

pepper

 The Smokey Spaniard

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup chopped chicken breast

1/4 cup chopped cucumber

2 slices of onion chopped

1 small clove of garlic minced

1 small tomato chopped

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 juice half a small lemon

salt

pepper

The Caprese Loving Italian

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup pancetta chunks

2 tbs basil

2 slices of onion chopped

1 small clove garlic minced

1 tbs pine nuts

2 tbs sun dried tomatoes

The Steak Chewing Cowboy (no cowboy will eat this, I’m aware.)

1/2 cup yogurt

1 small steak sliced

2 slices of onion chopped

1 small clove of garlic minced

1 small tomato chopped

1 /4 cup chopped cucumber

1 tsp flat leaf parsley

1/2 tsp horse radish

salt

pepper

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French onion soup you would step over your own mother to eat

Today I’m reblogging this because I edited it to absolutely amazeballs. Sometimes you just have to revamp the oldies

Feasts of Strength

There comes a moment in every girls life where she has an excess of cave aged gruyere cheese, and is at a complete and total loss as to what to do with it. Don’t worry, I have a solution. It’s French onion soup. French onion with enough Swiss and gruyere to almost be a choking hazard.

What is cave aged you ask? It’s not actual cheese that is aged in a cave(it should though. I want a cave full of aged cheese), but cheese that is aged in specific cave like conditions. For example, humid, chilly , but not so chilly that it doesn’t age. It is then left there for over 3 months. What you get, is a cheese that is moist, but not gooey, flavorful, and smells like a hobos armpit. Don’t smell it. Just eat it. Some things you should just stick in your mouth and not…

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Guinness Beef Stew. Guinness is Good for You!

We went on hike around tiger mountain in the blistering fricking cold the other day.  ‘Tis the season for the light to pass perfectly through the trees, and for the cold to make its own beauty.

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I had been home a few hours and my ass still hadn’t warmed up. What better way to toast up my insides than a Guinness beef stew. When I was a kid, the very mention of anything about Guinness would cue up my grandmother to say the Guinness rhyme.  guinnes

Wouldn’t you know that Guinness is not only good for you, but its also good in stew. Its rich flavor deeply compliments the salty beef broth perfectly and makes pairing a drink with your stew super easy.

 

2 lbs Beef cut into 2″ chunks

2 large onions sliced

6 cups beef broth

1 can Guinness

6 cloves of garlic chopped

1 lb fingerling potatoes

4 celery stocks

12 oz mushrooms

1/2 cup barley

1 whole nutmeg seed

3 black cardamom pods crushed

3 bay leaves

2 sprigs of rosemary

2 sprigs of thyme

2 sprigs of oregano

Salt and pepper

In a large pot caramelize your onions, and brown the beef.  Add in the broth and beer. Place nutmeg, cardamom, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a cheese cloth or large tea strainer, and add it to the soup. Throw in the celery, mushrooms, potatoes, and barely. Let all of that simmer for approximately 2 hours, or until you can separate the beef  easily with a fork. For extra cool points plop some Swiss and or Gruyere cheese in there for that amazing gooey cheese factor.

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Lobster Carbonara with Stained Glass Pappardelle Noodles

My family moved from Naples to the UK in the 1800’s, which is why I feel completely comfortable bastardizing this carbonara. Everyone has an excuse, and of course, why would you want to do that to a perfectly lush, and delicious recipe. My answer is always, because I can. As usual, this whole thing came about because I found some more randoms in my freezer. I had bought a bunch of lobster tails that were on sale for $3 a piece, my herb plants needed some love and attention, and I had recently bought one too many eggs. Lastly I really wanted to attempt to make stained glass noodles. It snowballed into something fantastic.

How do you make stained glass noodles? Assuming you know how to make basic pasta dough, first you need to pick a wide noodle like pappardelle or tagliatelle. Second you need a pasta maker. Because rolling it out to paper thin by hand will wear you out. Once you get your pasta to near paper thin, take a few different herbs (I picked parsley, oregano, and thyme), and sprinkle them over the top of the rolled out pasta. Fold it in half over the herbs, and run it through the pasta maker one last time. Only once, or the herbs will tear apart in the noodle. Then lay your noodles on a flat surface, and cut them into 3/4 inch strips. Cook the noodles for 1 to 3 minutes or until al dente.

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For the sauce

4 lobster tails, removed from their shells, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 a cup pancetta or guanciale

4 egg yokes, and 1 large eggs

1 cup finely grated pecorino cheese

1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, thyme, and parsley

salt

pepper

olive oil

1 lb pappardelle noodles.

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Saute the mushrooms, lobster, and pancetta in a bit of olive oil, until the pancetta is just crispy. Set it aside, or on very low while you cook your noodles. While the noodles are doing their thing, whisk the egg, yokes, cheese, salt and pepper until well mixed. When the noodles are finished grab 1/4 cup of the pasta water (just in case) Strain the noodles, remove the pancetta pan off the heat, and quickly add them to the lobster and pancetta. slowly pour in the egg mixture and gently toss until it coats all the noodles, and serve.

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Portobello Lamb burgers. Soooo Juicy. Soooo Delicious

Excited face! I went out with my father today taking pictures and even went on a small hike. But the awesome came at the end, when I found a butcher just a few miles from me, called the butcher shop cafe. I am over the moon about the special order situation. It seems that a lot of places near hear will do a tri tip roast, but this guy has no problem ordering kangaroo. In fact he has it on hand right now. Things are about to get far more interesting boys and girls.

This weekend I made portobello lamb burgers. Its a simple and delicious alternative to using using bread buns on your burgers, and will make this lamb burger extra juicy. One thing that makes me sad when I eat a burger, is sinking my teeth into it, and finding that someone decided the best option when making them was to not season their ground meat.  This burger will not disappoint in the flavor department. I promise.

8 portobello mushroom caps

1 pound ground lamb

1/2 cup feta cheese

1/2 purple onion

4 cloves of garlic

a few chopped sprigs of fresh thyme and a oregano

1 tsp salt

1 tsp curry

Juice of 1 lemon

Pepper to taste

Olive oil

Place the ground lamb in a bowl, and add the feta cheese, onion, garlic, herbs, curry, salt, and pepper. Mix those ingredients gently together, and  separate them into 4 patties. You can stick these lovely smashed balls of meat on the stove or on the grill and cook them for 8 minutes each side on medium high. Take the portobello mushroom caps, and  cover them in a light coat of oil and salt on both sides. Grill them, or stick them in the oven for 8 minutes each side as well until the tops turn a darker shade of brown.

Build up your burger in your most favorite way, with your favorite sauces and dig in. My suggestion is a nice garlic aioli, curried ketchup and maybe a few extra napkins.

Portobello burger

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The Great Salmon Grilled Cheese Experiment

Last week I made salmon. A few moments after tweeting about it, one of my favorite people in the whole world responded that she too was having salmon, but since it was leftovers, it was going into a grilled cheese. That really tickled my fancy. In the creepiest way “tickled my fancy” can be understood. I needed to know what was going on in her mouth right that second, and so, the salmon grilled cheese experiment was born. Plans were made, cheese, bread, and salmon were bought. Aspirin was taken for its blood thinning properties to prevent any possible episodes that were about to take place. I was about to take that heart healthy protein, and make it my culinary bitch.

The main thing she said was missing was a sauce. Tomato soup is quite traditional to go along with grilled cheese. However, there was a slight allergy issue that was hindering that. I spent the rest of the week pondering that. Tarter is too thick, its also a bit crude for a grilled cheese, I thought about various salad dressings, oil and vinegar dips, and aiolis. It was all too rich. Hollandaise would be perfect but it was a bit too thick. Beurre blanc would also be magical but it was a bit too thin. What to do…. Combine the greatness of hollandaise with phenomenal flavor of beurre blanc, that’s what. Holland blanc… beurredaise..

So here’s the details of our little experiment. Bread: Sour dough. Cheeses: Swiss or cheddah. Salmon: Chinook or lox. Sauce: Beurredaise. Yes, I know there are about 400 other combinations, but in the interest of not weighing 400 pounds, and the fact that  there were only two bellies to fill, we narrowed it down a bit.

What it came down to was Swiss on sour dough, my salmon recipe sans tomato, and the Beurredaise sauce. I took the left over herbed butter from the salmon and used it to fry up my sammich. The lox was ok with the swiss, but when we put it with the cheddar and the sauce it turned out to be really overwhelmingly flavorful. Swiss had the perfect mild flavor to go along with the oven roasted salmon.

Beurredaise recipe

1 cup of chablis

2 bay leafs

a few peppercorns

1 sprig of dill

1 sprig of thyme

1/2 a coarsly chopped shallot

1 clove of garlic

1 egg yoke

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup of butter.

salt and pepper to taste

Put your wine, lemon juice shallot, garlic, peppercorns and herbs into a sauce pan. Bring that to a boil and reduce it by half. Run that through a strainer and let it cool for a few minutes. Put it back on the stove on low. Whisk up an egg until it thickens, and add that to your wine. Continue to whisk with all of your might until the whole mixture thickens. Place it in a bowl and serve it up with your delicious salmon grilled cheese.

And that was that. Salmon grill cheese with a lovely hybrid sauce. Thanks Jeni, for the wonderful idea!

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Chicken Pesto and peas…dirty knees, look at these.

I opened my freezer today, and for the first time in about 6 months, I spotted my pesto I made this winter for a lazy day. That lazy day came today. The second thing I spotted was my chicken, and then my peas. Perfect combo for making a lazy Tuesday dish.  On an educational note, Did you know that peas can be used to tend to a constipated gold fish? You’ll know its possibly constipated when it floats to the surface (still living) and cant swim to the bottom of the tank. Hence the reason for my pack of frozen peas….. I’m slightly ashamed of my peas. 

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Basic pesto

2 cups of basil

2 cups of spinach

4 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup gently toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup parmesan 

1/2 cup olive oil

Juice of one lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Throw all of that into a blender and puree it into a lovely green slurry. I use about 1/2 a cup for whatever meal I’m making, and then I store the rest for times when don’t feel like cooking much.

For the chicken

about 4 chicken breasts chopped up into chucks

a smattering of olive oil

lemon pepper and salt to taste

Saute your chicken until its cooked though, cook your peas, and your pasta to the package standards, and throw it all into a big bowl, along with your pesto. Mix that together, and inform your family that they should shut up at and eat it. Then commence liberally sipping your wine. It is Tuesday after all. Not a Friday to be seen for at least two more full days. 

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Swedish meatballs with a lingonberry balsamic reduction

Swedish meatballs are deliciously comforting. They are slightly messy, but fairly easy to make. It has me wondering why anyone would even remotely consider buying them in Ikea of all places. I initially tried it with gravy and lingonberry preserves. If you are looking for something that will make you start breathing heavy while eating, that is definitely the way to go (it is quite good). However if you want to hit up the lighter side of things, such as an appetizer, or you just aren’t a fan of a hearty gravy, a balsalmic reduction is an excellent option. It gave the perfect amount of tart and and sweet to compliment the light spices inside my little balls. I’ll put both in this post.

1 lb ground beef

3/4lb ground pork

3/4 cup bread crumbs or panko

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

a liberal dusting of nutmeg

1 tsp of ground cardamom

salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic reduction

1/2 cup balsalmic vinegar

1 tbs butter

1 tsp honey

2 heaped tbs lingonberry preserves

Gravy

2 tbs butter

2 cups beef broth

1 cup milk or heavy cream

1 tbs flour mixed with 2 tbs of water

salt and pepper to taste

Now, you CAN use your hands for this, I chose to stick it in my stand alone mixer, because nothing make me wash my hands more, than touching raw meat. Blanch your onions and garlic in a frying pan and set them aside to cool. Put your beef and pork in your mixer and incorporate in the rest of the ingredients. I used the slowest setting to make sure I didn’t make a meat paste.  Once you have mixed up your meat, roll it into small balls (or use a cookie dough scoop). The Italian side of me really wanted to make these gigantic, but after a test ball I made them about an inch or less in size.

Turn your stove to the high side of medium high, in a large frying pan, put  couple tablespoons of butter. Add in your meatballs and brown them on all sides allowing them to cook all the way through (about 5-7 minutes each side). I had to do mine in batches. If you make too many, you can easily stick the uncooked ones in a freezer bag and save them for  a lunch snack for later.

At this point if your are going to make gravy, in the same pan you used to make the balls,  add a tablespoon of butter and allow that to lift the delicious cooked brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add in your beef broth, and bring it to a boil. Add in your flour drop your heat to medium low, and whisk with all your might until your sauce thickens. Add in your meatballs, and serve it over mashed potatoes.

For the balsamic reduction, in a sauce pan, melt your butter and add in the balsamic vinegar. Bring that to a boil and allow it to reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the honey and the lingonberry preserves until it thickens and serve it up with your meatballs.

swedish meatballs (2)

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Moist, fall off the bone, oven made baby back ribs with homemade BBQ sauce

Why did I wake up at 5am today? I have a ridiculous internal clock, and I was too lazy to start my ribs last night. When I was a teenager, my friends father seemed like he made ribs every day. Every time I went over there, they were just coming off the grill. I would show up at random times during the day and week. If they weren’t coming off the grill they were in the fridge. It became a funny game, sometimes I would get a random text, ” he just put them on the grill” I’d show up an hour later, and commence giggling and devouring them. Half random luck, half hilarious conspiracy.

A few years later I asked for the recipe. He told me the secret to making that fall off the bone situation, but he clammed up on the sauce. I know, I should be grateful for that sneaky trick. However, I have never been able to recreate that exact flavor. Over time I’ve forgotten. But forgetting has led me to making my very own, awesome, homemade BBQ  sauce. It took me less than 15 minutes to make, and now my ribs have their own secret sauce, and I’m sharing my recipe, cause secrets don’t make friends.

IMG_20140331_190711 Bare bones!!

So whats the secret to that fall off the bone action? Sweating the ribs. After several hours of marinating , pop them into a little enclosed tinfoil house, and oven roast them for 3 hours. Some people say to boil the meat. To them I say, stop removing the flavor from your food. Sweating the ribs allows them to retain their delicious piggy flavor, while melting all of that connective tissues to make them detach from the bone.

Home made BBQ sauce

1 15oz can of tomato sauce

1/2 an onion

4 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 tsp salt

1 heaped tablespoon of whipped honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp worchester sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

Saute your garlic and onions in a little olive oil or butter until blanched. Add your can of tomato sauce, molasses and sugar. Turn the heat up to meduim high and let it simmer while you add in the rest of the spices and ingredients. After about 5 minutes of that high simmer, drop your heat to low and let those flavors meld together for about a half hour.

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At this point generously cover the ribs in your sauce and let them absorb that delicious flavor for a few hours. Once that is up, make your tinfoil rib house, and pop them in the oven at 250 degrees for 3 hours. After your ribs have created their own juice pool, gently remove them from the tinfoil, and place them on a rack. I say gently because at this point the meat should be ready to remove itself from the bone all on its own. Smother them in BBQ sauce, bring the temperature up to 425 degrees and bake them for 30 more minutes, and there you have it. Fall off the bone oven baked ribs!! Serve them up with the left over sauce and enjoy.

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Simple Pan Fried Oysters, with Special Oyster Shooter Aioli

I have a nostalgic love of oysters. I love them fried, in shooters, raw in the half shell with my own favorites additives, and even BBQ’d. My mother is deeply responsible for this. She is the Tom Sawyer of oysters, telling me how good they were, that they were her favorite treat, suggesting I should get my own at Ivars. I also remember my first bite. It actually didn’t taste terrible. I pulled back to look at the other half, and there in its little oyster belly, was a bunch of disgusting green crap. Some say its its stomach contents, some say its the swollen gonads of an oyster ready to spawn. At the time, I really only found it utterly disgusting, and gag worthy. Mom’s response? “Well you aren’t supposed to look at it.” I didn’t eat oysters for a few years, but when I finally ventured back in that direction I absolutely loved them. (Thanks mom!)

Today managed to get a little creative and make my own special aioli. Aioli is gods gift to french fries and fish. I don’t think I’ve ever had an aioli on a fish yet and thought to myself, that it was a mistake. Today’s aioli hit the jack pot. It took the goodness of fried oysters, combined with the sauces from an oyster shooter, to make a lovely little dip for my cornmeal dredged little buddies. Here is the recipe for my aioli Oyster shooter aioli

Pan Fried oysters

2 Jars of extra small oysters

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil or butter

Mix the flour and the cornmeal. Fully dredge each little oyster in the flour and cornmeal mixture. Place them in an oiled frying pan on high, for about 2 minutes each side. Sprinkling the cooked sides with a touch of salt, remove them from the pan and serve them up with my lovely oyster shooter aioli.

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Oyster Shooter Aioli, For Pan Fried Oysters

Aioli is a tricky little wicket. After what feels like hours of beating it to death with a whisk, sometimes you just end up with something gloppy. I’ve stopped using my amazing collection of whisks for aioli. The tennis elbow just doesn’t feel worth it. Instead I use my hand blender, with a whisk attachment. Apparently you can use a food processor too, but I’ve found this to be less than effective. I’ve made my fair share of runny aioli.

I have a few sneaky tricks to help you out though.

1. Chill your eggs and oil. Colder ingredients will help thicken your sauce.

2. Know when to stop adding your oil. I start my aioli by whisking my eggs until they are thick, and then I very slowly drizzle in my oil, stopping every few seconds to get it to where I want it, and then I resume my slow drizzle. If you only put in 3/4 of the oil or even half of your oil its not the end of the world. Making it too runny, beyond repair and running out of eggs and ingredients is!!!!!

3. Don’t use straight olive oil. Its much harder to make stay thick, and the flavor is a little better.

4. Pay attention. If the aioli is getting too thin, quickly whisk up an extra egg, add it to your aioli (stop adding oil) and continue to whisk it until it gets thick again.

5. Don’t add your lemon, herbs, anything acidic, or what ever flavors you put into it until its thick enough.

Lastly, a little voodoo. Apparently constantly stirring it in the same direction is supposed to help…maybe.

Today I picked up some oysters for dinner, and I thought about what sauce to make for them. Sure, cocktail or tarter would be delicious, but where’s the fun in that. I decided to concoct my own flavor of aioli, that combines the bold daring taste of oyster shooters, with the velvety smooth taste of aioli. I pulled out all of my favorite oyster accompaniments, lemon juice, Tabasco, horseradish, and a smidge of Worcestershire sauce.

Basic aioli sauce

4 egg yokes

about 1/2c vegetable oil, 1/4 cup olive oil (mixed and chilled)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp FINELY chopped garlic

The delicious extras

1/2 tsp horse radish

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

A few drops of Tabasco

Whisk your eggs until they thicken. Add the salt, while whisking, drizzle a small amount of oil into the eggs, and continue to whisk until it thickens back up. Repeat this until you get your desired amount/thickness, and begin adding in your lemon juice. If you’re making the oyster shooter aioli, add the horseradish, Tabasco, and Worcestershire. If the other ingredients make it too thin, add in your sneaky extra egg yoke, and whisk it until it thickens back up.

 

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