Easy Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

An easy stir fry inspired by an attractive napa cabbage. ¬†I added a hamburger steak with melted Swiss cheese for bulk and meat protein ūüėČ

Napa Cabbage Stir Fry

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 multi-colored mini bell peppers, diced

1 tbsp butter

1/2 large Napa cabbage, sliced

Heat the oil in the skillet, add the onion, garlic and bell peppers, sauteing until crisp tender.  Add the butter and the cabbage and continue to saute for 2 minutes, cover and steam on low for about 5 minutes.

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Vide Congelateur USA

Along with the weather, things are heating up here in Honesdale! ¬†It’s always the not-quite -so-apparent things that can fall through the cracks when you’re backing out of one house to go to the other and we’re making our lists and checking them twice!

I’ve always managed to enjoy the emptying of the freezer as an amusing, incredulous realization of my hoarder tendencies and as a challenge to my interest in/ability to cook things I already have ūüėÄ ¬†There are wonders in the freezer and it seems, a lot of chicken ūüôā

I got in the mood with a little Nina Simone and a refreshing glass of besop (hibiscus) iced tea.  I made the tea with dried besop tea bags but it would have been so much better with bulk dried petals.  It was okay.

The idea is to avoid buying anything, while also having a good go at emptying the refrigerator and some of the exotica from the pantry.  I try to avoid the angst of forgetting what I used in the recipes by photographing the bottles, jars and fresh ingredients.

The quantities are more or less accurate, maybe a little spacey in a Star Wars/Trek sort of way.

Speaking of exotica, I must have used quite a bit of rice flour for something¬†in the forgotten¬†past. ¬†This time I thought I’d try it as a sauce thickener instead of corn starch. Good move!

I don’t know how these boneless, skinless chicken thighs made their way into my freezer.

I wanted to accuse my husband but who knows, maybe I had a senior moment and blacked out¬†for the time it took me to get the package¬†into the basket, out of the store and into the freezer. ¬†This probably happens to some of my friends but they are too ashamed to admit it ūüôā

My husband loved this!

Chicken Stir Fry

4 chicken thighs, boned and skinned, thinly sliced

1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp sake

1 – 2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce

2 tbsp peanut oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2 cups sliced and halved yellow squash

1 1/2 cups snow peas

1/4 cup rice flour, minus 1 tablespoon

In a large bowl, mix the chicken strips, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and chilli sauce together.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade in a separate bowl.  Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large skillet then add the chicken and saute until just done.  Remove and set aside.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet and saute until the onion just begins to wilt. Add the squash and saute for about 2 minutes.  Then add the snow peas and saute for about 1 minute.

Whisk the rice flour into the reserved marinade until smooth.

Add the chicken to the skillet to heat, then stir in the rice flour mixture until thickened.

Serve with rice or noodles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creole Chinese Baby Back Ribs

Baby Jesus knows where I got these ribs ūüėÄ ¬†They were in the freezer and I try to avoid looking at the label which could affect my morale and enthusiasm.

I rubbed the ribs with either Emeril’s essence or my neighbor Caroline’s home made Creole Seasoning, confusing jars. ¬†Whatever. ¬†Thanks Caroline.

I make macaroni salad the same way I make potato salad except¬†with the macaroni I like to add a little tuna. ¬†However, if Bob Lynch was eating here, I would tell him it was chicken. ¬†Hater ūüėÄ

If you don’t add the pasta, mix in some mayonnaise and mustard, spread it on toast with a tomato slice and lettuce, you could stop right there and say, “I have cooked.” ¬†I thought about that. ¬†Then again.

This pasta salad is so good and rich!  I laugh in the face of weight gain.  Ha, ha, ha.

For the ribs:  Rub with Creole seasoning, roast in a 350 F oven for 1 hour.  Turn the oven up to 425 F, then, turning frequently for about 15-20 minutes, brush with Lee Kum Kee Char Sui sauce.

Macaroni Salad with Tuna

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

6-8  gherkins, chopped

1-2 tbsp pimentos, chopped

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1 can albacore solid tuna in water, drained

Mayonnaise to taste, maybe about 1/3- 1/2 cup

2 tbsp yellow mustard

1 cup of dried ditalini pasta, boiled

Mix everything together.

 

 

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Roasted Rack of Lamb with Squash

Like the ubiquitous Angus beef, Australian lamb seems to be the new heart throb in our neck of the woods. ¬†It’s everywhere, real expensive and doesn’t compare to the flavor of New Zealand lamb. ¬†However, at least our meat suppliers are starting to¬†think globally, if not locally ūüôā ¬†This recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s rack of lamb with potatoes. ¬†Tired of roasting potatoes, I substituted some straight neck yellow squash and then just went rogue. ¬†Jamie won’t mind.

I had some local sun dried tomatoes in the freezer, for God knows how long, and¬†lots of fresh herbs from my garden that I thought could fit in somewhere. ¬†Bummer about the rosemary that survived the whole winter then was laid low by our¬†unseasonable¬†blizzard. Oh well, I’ll plant some more before I leave. ¬†The tomatoes need to be soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes before you add them to your recipe. ¬†Otherwise, you can buy a good quality jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil that don’t¬†require soaking.¬† Whichever. ¬†I had more than I needed, so I put the excess in a small Mason jar with olive oil and refrigerated.

I put everything I thought would be good into a big bowl with the yellow squash, pulled out my neglected tajine and turned on Standards/Vocal Jazz radio on Pandora.

I seasoned the rack with salt and pepper, then browned it in some olive oil.  This rack had about 9 chop bones in it and weighed about 1 1/2 lbs.  I think I would have liked fewer bones and more weight.

Still, not really complaining. ¬†Whining is not the same as complaining ūüėÄ

Vegetarians, just eat it like this.

I did.  My favorite ingredient was the husk roasted, melting garlic clove.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Squash

1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes

Warm water

5 yellow straight neck squash, cut into generous chunks

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 onion, quartered

Mixed herb sprigs (oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary if you have it)

6 unpeeled garlic cloves

10-12 kalamata pitted olives

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

Glug of olive oil

1 1/2 lb rack of lamb, seasoned with salt and pepper

Soak the sun dried tomatoes in the warm water for about 30 minutes,  drain, dice then put them in a large bowl with the squash, bell pepper, onion, herbs, olives, garlic, salt, pepper and the 3 tbsp of olive oil, mixing well.  Place the mixture in the bottom of an oven proof tajine or roasting pan.  Preheat the oven to 425 F, then roast inside for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir.

Pour the glug of olive oil into a skillet, about 2 tbsp, brown the rack on both sides, place on top of the pre-roasted vegetables and continue to roast for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gardening

One of the reasons I’m still not in France is because I needed to wait until winter finished to do my Spring gardening. ¬†I’ve been listening for years to those of you who are both proficient and interested in gardening, which has made me also interested and a little envious. ¬†So this year I decided to join you¬†“green thumbers” in a way. ¬†My way ūüėÄ

I wasn’t playing around! ¬†I wanted to ream out my dry and practically barren front garden and needed professional help with serious equipment. ¬†Bob Shupp understood what I wanted. ¬†The work is a bit dear but after I saw his tractor, I was sold ūüôā ¬†He can do everything, including cook!

Bob also raises his own pigs and cows. ¬†I’ve never been a big fan of beef brisket, it always seemed too dry, tasteless and with the character of a lump of anonymous barbecued animal. ¬†But Bob made the best brisket I have ever tasted. ¬†Ever! ¬†He says all he did was marinate the brisket in Italian dressing, smoke it for 14 hours in his Camp Chef pellet smoker, sliced it, and poured more dressing on top. ¬†I’m still thinking about the taste. ¬†Of course the meat came from his farm raised cow. ¬†Makes a difference.

When I come back from France, I’m buying a Camp Chef pellet smoker and some of Bob’s meat ūüėÄ

 

 

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Leave the Head On

I’m starting to understand the French fuss about buying poultry with head, feet and a patch of feathers. ¬†It’s similar to why they seem to prefer¬†to buy their rabbit with head. ¬†I imagine it’s so they can¬†rest assured that they are getting what’s advertised and what they want. ¬†No one wants to buy a guinea fowl that’s actually a fat chicken, or a rabbit that’s a squirrel. ¬†¬†Feet, head, feathers and bones identify the meat and alleviates any chance of the old ¬†“okie¬†doke” ¬†ūüôā

So what’s this new practice in both of the larger supermarkets in Honesdale of selling only boneless cuts of beef that are labeled as steaks that I used to know? ¬†Most of these cuts¬†in the past were sold with the bone and could be readily identified; T-bone, porterhouse, rib steak. ¬†What’s up? ¬†And why are most of the beef products now labeled Angus? ¬†Has¬†a vicious virus decimated the rest of the beef cattle? ¬†What percentage of DNA does a beef cow have to have in order to be labeled “Angus” by the USDA? ¬†Betcha it’s not 100% and would be surprised if it was¬†even 50%. ¬†I think they just have to be black ūüėÄ

Anyway. ¬†After a huddled and whispered conversation with another customer at Weiss Supermarket, I decided I didn’t like mysteries about my¬†meat, turned in my empty shopping cart and went to the Alpine butcher who still sells meat with bones and has his own source¬†of regular beef cows, purchased locally as carcasses, headless but recognizable. I bought a couple of porterhouse steaks, 2 packages of smoked pork chops and 2 gorgeous light rose colored veal chops. ¬†They all had bones.

To be open minded, it could be that the new generation of consumers have lost or never learned the art of using a knife with a fork to cut around the bones and therefore prefer the boneless cuts.  Okay, times change.

Still, I’m not taking any chances ūüėÄ ¬†There’s something wrong with my grill. ¬†The flame is not coming out very strong. ¬†I think we need to replace a part when my husband comes back from walkabout in Mali.

 

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Easter 2017

Finally getting around to this. ¬†I’ve been a little busy preparing to close down the house here in Honesdale, while dealing with the day to day. ¬†Anyway.

In the Sahel¬†of West Africa (Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal), the women prepare a drink from ginger root called gingembre (ginger in French); delicious, stimulating and maybe, depending on the strength, eye popping ūüôā ¬†Our family loves it so I decided to make a batch for Easter. ¬†We’re not in France and¬†I didn’t want to disappoint ourselves and the food with a sweetened, fruity, “wine” from some of our States who have convinced themselves that wine can be made¬†anywhere, including Pennsylvania, because of those handy dandy grape concentrate pouches. ¬†Cringe.

I sliced up about 6 “hands” of ginger, skin on, then chopped them in the food processor. Actually, next time I will grate them. ¬†I think that’s more authentic but I was lazy ūüėČ

I boiled about 8 cups of water and poured it over the ginger, letting it steep for for about 2 hours before straining into an enormous plastic pitcher and adding 3 cloves, a cinnamon stick, juice from 3 lemons and sugar to taste. ¬†At this point the gingembre will be scorching spicy. ¬†Don’t worry, add about 4 more cups of hot water and set aside for another hour. Stir in 2 cups of 100% pineapple juice, taste, adjust sugar if necessary and refrigerate. ¬†Serve with slices of navel oranges. ¬†Refreshing drink for summer that’s why the West Africans always make it because it’s always summer in the Sahel ūüôā

Since the whole family hadn’t been together for a while, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when we could have the time to catch up with each other. ¬†Oven roasted, herbed carrots and parsnips.

They complained that I didn’t make enough carrots and parsnips. ¬†So I felt it was my duty to shame them¬†about how this¬†meal of ham, roasted vegetables and potatoes could sustain a large multi-wife, ¬†Sahelian family¬†for a week.

I mean, they had gumbo for an appetizer!

Of course they just laughed at me¬†with food in there mouths ūüėÄ

Of course I felt guilty, especially because¬†they were clamoring for more vegetables, however they seemed to make do with the ham and potatoes. ¬†For God’s sake! ¬†There were only 5 of us!

And what about that white chocolate panna cotta with blueberry compote that drove the paucity of vegetables right out of their minds?  Huh?

Kids and husbands today ūüėÄ

 

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