Secret Sauce Braised Country Spareribs


I looked in the refrigerator yesterday and re-noticed a measuring cup with plastic wrap on top and 3/4 filled with some dark liquid stuff.  I re-heated it in the microwave and tasted it. Good taste, whatever it was.


I sliced a large onion, 4-5 large cloves of garlic and put these into a square roasting/baking pan, placed 4 meaty, pork, country style spareribs on top, poured the “secret” sauce over all, covered the pan with aluminum foil and placed in a 375 F oven for 1 1/2 hours.  I then removed the aluminum foil, turned the ribs over, poured off all but 1/2 cup of the liquid, then returned the pan to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

The public has the right to know 😀

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Chinese Barbecued Pork


Have you ever wondered how the Chinese in Chinese restaurants get the red on the pork slices they serve?  I have.  Apparently char siu barbecued pork originated in Canton and contained red dye #40.  The recipe was adopted and adapted by the Japanese who eliminated the dye and seasoned the sauce with honey and soy sauce.  That is the char siu I’m familiar with and had in no way connected it with the red in Chinese restaurant pork slices.


Well!  I found 2 lost pork tenderloins at the bottom of the freezer and decided to make char siu barbecue, confident that I had a lifetime supply of Lee Kum Kee char siu sauce in the pantry.  Wrong; I had Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce and black bean sauce.  Shite 😀  I have made my own char siu sauce and it’s not too hard but I lacked enthusiasm and decided to trawl the the region’s grocers; Weiss Honesdale, Super Duper Honesdale, IGA Hawley, Wegmans Scranton, Wegmans Wilkes Barre, Laos Asian Market Scranton  and finally, desperately, a discount resale store in Scranton(I forget the name) where I was forced to substitute.  Yes, I could have made the sauce in a 10th of the time but it was a beautiful day and I like to go for rides 🙂


At the discount store I found a “Chinese style” sauce of festive, violent red.  It resembled thick Robitussin cough syrup.


It’s effect on the meat when marinated overnight was, if not surprising, spectacular! Really, I was speechless and a little panicky 😀


After I  “S” hooked the pieces in the oven and sliced them, I got a big surprise!

Me:  Hey Honey look, it’s those Chinese slices from the restaurant!

Honey:  Yeah, should I taste them for you?


At the discount resale store, thinking of my recipe for coleslaw with peanut dressing, I also bought a bottle of peanut sauce.


I mixed this “organic” peanut sauce in with a bag of  “organic” coleslaw mix from Wegmans.  It was okay.


I think the moral of this story, which I know but ignored, is that if you want more than okay results, homemade is better, but if you do use jarred items, choose good quality, known brands.


Like this rich, smooth Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise that I used on the sandwiches.


I have now been in the U.S. for about 1 year.  I know those of you who know my love for France and particularly for my home in Sens, wonder if I have been held here against my will  🙂  In a way, that was true.  My medical issues have finally been sorted and I am free to travel.  I plan to get back to France in Spring/early Summer.  Hell Yes!


“S” Hooked Char Siu Pork

Coleslaw with Peanut Dressing




Posted in Asian, Chinese, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Recipes, Sandwich, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments



In the early nineteenth century when the French referred to Indochine or what is now known as Southeast Asia, they were referring to Asian lands historically within the cultural influence of India.  It took me a long time to find this reference on the internet, in order to justify why I mixed Indian paneer cheese with a Chinese black bean sauce 🙂


However, eschewing “alternate facts”, the real reason I put this together is that I was under the assumption that the 2 blocks of white stuff in the refrigerator was tofu, in a senile moment forgetting that I bought paneer in order to make Indian saag paneer.  As I had already excavated the jar of black bean sauce from the ridiculously overstocked pantry, I stubbornly and with some curiosity went on to make paneer with black bean sauce.


I loved the way the paneer fried up crisp with a dusting of flour (didn’t have any semolina or couldn’t find it).


This was okay but I thought the black bean sauce wasn’t exciting enough for the paneer until I heavily sprinkled the dish with adult red chillies and scallions.  No recipe.






Posted in Cheese, Chinese, Cooking, Food and Wine, Indian, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Easy Curried Chicken and Mirliton


My husband bought 4 mirliton squash (chayote) that kept giving me the eye every time I opened the refrigerator.  They were beginning to look grim, so I cooked them.


This small squash (about the size of a large avocado), with edible skin is perfect for stuffing with meats and/or vegetables.  They are first boiled, halved, the seed removed and discarded then hollowed out, leaving a shell, the flesh chopped and added to the stuffing ingredients.  When stuffed the mirliton can be sprinkled or not with cheese and baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  That was the plan but then I started thinking about Indian curries and how clever the British were to convince a large number of Indian cooks to become citizens so they could have Indian cuisine without having to return to India, embarrassed and uncomfortable with their demotion to tourists.  So that’s why 😀


When I want a good curry but can’t be bothered to freshly grind the individual spices, I rely on S&B Golden Curry blocks.  The blocks, when melted into a paste with ghee, garlic, ginger and onions, create the aroma and color I crave.


This is the first time I’ve used mirliton in a curry but it won’t be the last.  I encourage vegetarians to make this without the ground chicken, adding some cooked potato cubes for hardiness.  You’re welcome 🙂


Easy Curried Chicken and Mirliton

4 mirliton

2 tbsp ghee

1 large green pepper, large dice

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, grated

2 blocks S&B Golden Curry, sliced

1 lb ground chicken

1 can diced tomatoes

3/4  cup chicken/vegetable broth

Boil and simmer the mirliton for about 45 minutes.  Cool, slice in half, remove and discard the seed.  Cube the cooked mirliton and set aside.

Heat the ghee in a large skillet or wok, add the green pepper, onion, garlic and ginger, sauteing until the onion is soft.  Add the curry blocks, cooking and stirring for about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken and cook until all pink is gone.  Stir in the tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the mirliton, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serve with rice or chapatis.












Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Indian, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Calamari with Linguini


I was very excited about repeating this recipe.  The first time I made it was in Germany with enormous calamari tubes that I found in an Italian supermarket.  As I made my list, I wasn’t too worried about the ingredients, although I did know that I would have to go to the Wegmans’ in Scranton for frozen calamari.  While not fresh from the ocean, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would find them in this emporium of Northeast sophistication that features interesting species of foie gras, chocolate dipped strawberries, French cheese and really bizarre hard crunch caviar (I’m not talking about Beluga firm). Fool that I was.  Hopelessly, we returned to our Honesdale supermarket Weiss and found, at the very bottom of the freezer compartment, a package of small calamari tubes with tentacles!  Glory be to God.


To be fair, I should get over not being able to find delicacies that are, in a way, as foreign to our region as hot dogs would be in Sens.  Battered and fried calamari rings are ubiquitous appetizers in restaurants here but whole squid/calamari is even missing from the very few good Italian restaurants.  Anyway.  Still I PERSIST!


We do have a couple of good varieties of frozen shrimp the way I like them; uncooked, deheaded, shelled and deveined.  I have impressed myself for years with my ability to clean shrimp and am now over it 🙂


I love buying sausage in coils, like this very good hot Italian sausage.  It really doesn’t matter if you use coiled, linked or bulk Italian but the coils are attractive 🙂


The stuffing includes Italian sausage, shrimp, and parmesan cheese.  Opulent.


My husband thought I should use colored toothpicks to secure the calamari before browning.  Festive 🙂


Could you imagine if we had had some good wine to go with this?  Like a Masi Amarone.   Didn’t.


This was sooo good.  “I didn’t miss the wine at all”,  they lied 😀


Shrimp and Sausage Stuffed Calamari with Linguini

1 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, casing removed

1 cup shrimp, finely chopped

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

12 small to medium size calamari tubes with tenticles

4 cups homemade tomato sauce

1 lb linguine, cooked

Brown the sausage meat in a large skillet, then remove with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl.  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and set aside.

Add the shrimp, bread crumbs, cheese, chicken broth and parsley to the sausage meat in the bowl and mix well.  Stuff the calamari tubes with this mixture, closing off the large ends with toothpicks.

Heat the olive oil in the skillet and brown the stuffed calamari on both sides, then place in a baking dish.

If there is any leftover stuffing, add it to the tomato sauce and heat.  Pour 2 cups of the sauce over the calamari, then place in a 400 F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Toss the remaining tomato sauce with the cooked linguine, slice the calamari and serve immediately.


Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Italian, Main dishes, Recipes, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Flanken Ribs and Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta


Everyone in my family loves brussel sprouts or maybe anything with bacon 😉  Pan or oven roasted they are always a hit.  And pretty 🙂


I would have liked to cook these flanken ribs on the outdoor grill but my husband, objecting to the below freezing temperatures outside, said no.  Just no.


Forced to broil them in the oven, they were okay but not grilled.  Thanks Obama 😦


Flanken Ribs and Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta

12 flanken ribs, sliced for grilling and seasoned with black pepper

1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine

3/4 cup black soy sauce

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 tsp sesame oil

4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup of water

1/2 cup pancetta

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, coarsely chopped

2 garlic cloves, slivered

1 lb brussel sprouts, cut into halves

1/4 cup water

Mix wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, peanut oil, sesame oil, garlic, scallions and water together.  Pour into a Jumbo ziplock bag, add the ribs, coating well with the sauce and refrigerate overnight.  Broil in the oven turning once, about 5 minutes per side.

Brown the pancetta in a skillet, remove and set aside.  Remove all but 1 tbsp of the fat from the skillet, add the 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until the onion just begins to soften.  Add the sprouts and saute for about 3 minutes, add the water, cover and steam for 5-8 minutes.  Stir in the cooked pancetta.












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BBQ Sauced Salmon with Okra


I guess okra is not very popular in my neck of the woods because I rarely find it.  But I got lucky at Wegmans’ the other day and the okra didn’t look as if it had been allowed to over mature on the stalk and then been transported from the South to the North on a bicycle.


Very pretty with onions, garlic and tomatoes.


I seared some salmon, skin on, brushing on barbecue sauce for the last two flips.



Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments