Spicy Roasted Thai Aubergine with Udon Noodles

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When we had our house in Jeffersonville, New York,  grocery shopping was about 12 miles away in Liberty, New York.  Whenever we needed supplies we would always say that we had to go to “town”.  Well, on Wednesday of last week we went to town in Baltimore, Maryland to visit our son and for supplies.  Before I left, I left some boiled and cracked quail eggs in a spicy tea mixture in anticipation.

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Fresh udon noodles was at the top of my list.  I bought BAGS to freeze 🙂  I specifically looked for this brand because it also comes with soup base packets.

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The last time I used Thai aubergines, I promised myself that I would try roasting them. Clueless about how to go about this, but not without resources, I tossed them whole with salt, pepper, onion, unpeeled garlic cloves, a few pieces of ginger and olive oil.

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I mean, it wasn’t as if I was walking on the wild side 😀

I ate one of these right out of the pan.  Delicious!

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Still, I did have other plans that involved ground chicken and a spicy sauce.

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Spicy Roasted Thai Aubergine with Udon Noodles

12 Thai aubergine

1 large onion, cut into eighths

6 garlic cloves, unpeeled

3-4 diced pieces of fresh ginger

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

2 -3  tbsp chili garlic sauce

1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup sake

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb ground chicken

Fresh udon noodles, prepared according to package directions.

In a large bowl, toss together the aubergine, onion, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and olive oil. Place this mixture in a baking pan a put into a preheated 400 F oven for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and discard the ginger pieces.  Cut off the aubergine stems.  Cut the aubergine ino halves place in a bowl with the onions, squeezing the cooked garlic from the skin into the bowl.  Set aside.

Mix the chilli garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sake and sugar together and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the chicken and saute until all the pink has disappeared. Stir in the sauce mixture and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Add the aubergine and onions and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve over cooked noodles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes, Thai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

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I like sweet potatoes and yams.  West Africa has a kind of sweet potato that is white inside instead of orange.  I like that too 🙂  But I don’t care much for sweet potato fries with the added coating to make them crisp; they still seem limp and greasy.

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The Super Duper market always seems to have good local yams and sweet potatoes.  I’ve been thinking about buying some for a while now and finally did because while lurking around the internet, I noticed a number of innovative recipes for stuffing them with meats.

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All of the recipes I saw, baked the potato, opened it and piled the stuffing on top.  I did that once with a great recipe for sweet potatoes stuffed with shrimp and avocado but I hated my pictures.  This time, going rogue, I halved the bake potatoes, removed some of the pulp and mixed it with chorizo, onions, parsley, garlic and cumin powder, returning the stuffed potatoes to the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Prettier 😉

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I could not find Spanish chorizo nor Mexican chorizo in the supermarkets and was in a “woe is me” mood when I happened upon this package of “chorizo” produced by D’Artagnan.  Our son raves about products from D’Artagnan because the pork is raised with no antibiotics and fed vegetable feed.  In addition, no hormones or nitrates are added during processing.  Well okay, that’s good.  However, I would name this spicy sausage, not chorizo because of taste and texture.  It was good, just not a chorizo.  If you can find Spanish links or Mexican bulk chorizo, I think that they would work as well.

Chorizo Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes

Olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp cumin powder

2 links D’Artagnan chorizo, medium dice

2 tbsp parsley

1 link D’Artagnan chorizo, sliced

1 scallion, diagonally sliced

Poke the sweet potatoes with a cooking fork 5-6 times, then rub with olive oil.  Place the potatoes in a 400 F preheated oven for 1 hour.

Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic, then saute until the onion is soft. Add the cumin powder and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the diced chorizo, continuing to saute for 3 minutes, then set aside.

Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and when cool enough to handle, slice into halves.  With a small spoon, remove the pulp, leaving a thin layer on the sides and bottom. Set aside.

Mix the sweet potato pulp with the onions and parsley, mound into the reserved shells, top each half with 2-3 slices of chorizo and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the sliced scallion and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

 

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With our eyes wide shut, in the name of normalcy, we tolerate the theft of our democracy by the modern robber barons and carpetbaggers, led by a racist, misogynistic clown, most likely in the pay of/blackmailed by an enemy head of state.  The revolution will not be televised because, as in dictator run countries, the broadcasting industries will be solely in control of and censored by the government through a billionaire/millionaire packed Presidential cabinet. Scary.

Refusing to be paralyzed by fear, I checked the expiration date on our passports, remembered that we are dual nationals and decided to make “Chinese” 🙂

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Some years ago, I bought the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook that I use frequently and adore.  My copy, of course, is in France but, in the spirit this Christmas, I thought I would buy another copy and gift it to one of my neighbors.  However, after some deep thought, I realized that everyone doesn’t love everything I love, naturally, and that it wouldn’t necessarily be a welcome gift and would probably be given away or stuck on a back shelf.  I wouldn’t want that.  This is a wonderful cookbook, so I did us both a favor and kept it for the house here 😀  The inspiration for cumin in this recipe comes from the cookbook.  The rest is just whimsy.

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I had some pre-sliced beef in the freezer that said Black Angus on the outside but, guys, it was definitely bovine, but whatever.

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I wanted lots of vegetables in this stir fry, plus the usual ginger, onion and garlic to prevent early senility in my husband who seems to be losing his hearing.  That could be the first step.  He says that he has selective hearing 😀

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Vegetarians:  You can eat this.  Just add the marinade ingredients without the beef at the end.

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According to the cookbook, Chairman Mao loved food.  I imagine before and during the revolution he was pretty hungry sometimes.  Things change.

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My husband’s hearing was fine when I said lunch was ready but he was standing right next to me 😀

Cumin Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables

1 tbsp Chinese wine

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp Tamari soy sauce

1 tbsp rice flour

1 tbsp water

1 lb thin sliced stir fry beef

2 tbsp peanut oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

4 thin slices of fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 Anahiem chilli, seeds removed (or not) and diced

1 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 bunch of young aspargus, tough ends snapped off and sliced diagonally (1 1/2 inches)

1 package snow peas

8 0unces mushrooms, quartered

Mix the wine, salt, soy sauce, rice flour and water together, then stir into beef and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large wok or fry pan, add the beef and stir fry just until medium rare. Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp peanut oil to the pan with the onion, ginger, garlic, cumin, bell pepper and chilli.  Saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the asparagus, snow peas and mushrooms to the pan and continue to saute until the asparagus is crisp tender and the mushrooms have begun to release their liquid.  Stir in the beef, cover and steam for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking | 30 Comments

Pho-less in Rural Pennsylvania

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We took our daughter back to college yesterday and picked up her Lexus she received for Christmas, that has been waiting at the Toyota dealer in the school’s town.  Okay, it was a 2004 Lexus, but hey, we didn’t even know that Toyota made Lexus and were just looking for a Corolla and, boom, the price was right and the car was in good shape with under 100,000 miles.  It’s got leather seats and some sort of bizarre red wood inserts around the dash.   She is so pleased!  Now all she needs is her 40 acres 😀

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After we got her settled in her dorm room, we suggested lunch at a Vietnamese Pho shop that we saw on the way to the school.  Ole Jade, impatient to see the back of our heads, declined. Probably so that she could take her car out for a spin, loaded with young friends as irresponsible as she is, raring to break laws and speed limits.  “Maybe that’s not fair”, said her parents never 😀

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Anyway, slightly worried but excited about the Pho, we entered the restaurant.  Very nice people, but I have to think that their family’s livelihood and profit was the motive for opening this restaurant.  I always think that the most important part of a Pho or any Asian soup is the broth, usually taking time and flavor enhancing ingredients.  I hate to think that they just heated up several cans of on sale, off brand, beef broth but it tasted like that. The crunchy vegetable toppings were sparse; 1 tablespoon of bean sprouts, 2 thin leaves of something green and 3 slices of mild jalapeno peppers.  The few slices of meat floated dismally and overcooked on the soup’s surface.  Disappointed we smiled at the very nice people, told them everything was wonderful and took our lying, unsatisfied faces to the nearby Casino for an hour of mindless fun before heading back home.

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So this morning, with cravings unsatisfied from yesterday, I decided to make something Asian.  I didn’t make Pho because I, like the restaurant, didn’t have all the necessary ingredients and didn’t want to go to the store.  Why should I?  There’s always something in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.  I found some oxtails, some baby bok choy and 1/2 pkg of dry soba noodles and 1/2 package of dry udon noodles.  Game on!  We have got to make a run to New Jersey for French wine and fresh udon noodles!

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I modified my Asian Braised Oxtails recipe to create enough sauce to boil the noodles after the oxtails were cooked.

Asian Braised Oxtails II with Noodles

2 1/2-3 lbs oxtails

1/2 cup Tamari soy sauce

1/2 cup sake

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 cups water

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

12 thin slices of fresh ginger, skin on

4 star anise

3 sticks cinnamon

Peel from one mandarin, cut into strips

1 package of Japanese dried noodles(soba, udon, somen, etc.)

Mix the soy sauce, sake, brown sugar and water together and set aside.  Place the oxtails in the bottom of a pressure cooker.  Sprinkle the scallions, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks and mandarin peel over the oxtails.  Pour the soy sauce mixture over all.

Put the top on the pressure cooker and seal well.  Put the little bobble thing over the vent in the middle of the pressure cooker top.  Turn the gas up to high and when the bobble starts to swing back and forth, decrease the heat until the bobble continues a gentle swing. Cook for 30-35 minutes, remove from flame and set aside until the pressure button, located at the top of the handle, sinks completely to the bottom.

Open the pressure cooker and place the oxtails on a platter.  Strain the solids from the sauce and discard.  Bring the sauce back to a boil, then add the noodles and cook according to package directions.  Remove the cooked noodles and place on a platter with the oxtails.  Serve with the oxtail sauce.

Steamed Baby Bok Choy

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp peanut oil

2 tbsp water

6 baby bok choy, stem ends removed and sliced in half vertically

Mix the oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, sugar, peanut oil and water together well, then set aside.

Steam the bok choy halves in a steamer or wok for 5-6 minutes.  Remove the bok choy, place on a platter and drizzle with the oyster sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Coddiwomple

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Our friend and neighbor Skip, retired from his job at the local newspaper and too old to join the Navy, has decided to see the world his way and in his own time.  He’ll leave our borders for Canada, then on to Iceland, Ireland, Germany and points beyond not yet determined.  Coddiwomple:  “To travel purposefully toward an as-yet-unknown destination.”  Feeling a little envious, but not bitter, I decided to prepare a lunch, a la Francaise,  as a send off.

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Salmon rillettes, chiquetaille, and cavair topped deviled eggs as hors d’oeuvres, a shrimp/avocado/mango cocktail for the appetizer, rare roasted prime rib with a mustard crust accompanied with sides of pancetta brussel sprouts and roasted fingerling potatoes. At the pause we had a young sprouts green salad tossed with a mustard vinaigrette, followed by an ambitious cheese basket inspired by M. Parret.  Our neighbor Anne Lynch contributed a wonderfully delicious pineapple upside down cake, topped with whipped cream for dessert.  Coffee, tea and digestifs  followed.  Of course it took all day but we had the time and the will 😉

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As happens with me often, my hostess instincts supersede my blog photographer responsibilities and not everything I make gets it’s picture “took”.  Thanks a lot Obama 😦   In fact, the top picture plate was cobbled together and photographed this morning to show the rare perfection of that roast!   Oh well.  We all had a marvelous time 🙂

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In France generic, no name, bastard beef is usually called “bovine” and is cheaper than the labeled Charolais, Limousin, Parthenaise, etc. varieties.  The only variety I’ve seen labeled here in the U.S. is Black Angus, so I’m assuming this pretty piece I found at Wegmans is of the American bastard variety 😀

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Taking the opportunity to remedy my unforgivable neglect of my tajine, I slathered the roast with a mixture of Dijon mustard and minced garlic, then pressed in whole mustard seeds (I liked doing this) and surrounded it with quartered shallots and onions mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  This mixture contributed to a marvelous sauce after the roast was cooked, the pan de-glazed with brandy, port and beef broth added and reduced.

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Though not quite ready for “prime time”, our daughter Jade prepared a rich horseradish cream also for the roast.

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Great job Jade!

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Canadian farm raised salmon doesn’t seem to have that feed lot taste of farm raised fish. It tastes like fish, for which I’m grateful because wild salmon is rare in my available shopping markets.

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This “rillette” of fresh, poached salmon and smoked salmon is easy to make and has become a favorite for both sandwiches and cocktail bites.

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The avocado, shrimp and mango mixture is a perfect starter for a heavy meal or a light lunch.  Make it and eat it however and whenever you want.  It’s delicious.

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Of course I had to attempt a cheese tray but felt intimidated by the lack of a superior cheese selection and of M. Parret, the master of both taste and cheese presentation.  I looked at an old photo of cheese he had arranged for one of our meals in France and, discouraged, I almost decided to do without.  Anyway, my cheese tray or correctly Jade’s, who arranged the cheeses and grapes when my courage failed.  I warn you, there’s President brie on the tray 😀

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Mustard Seed Crusted Prime Rib

6 1/2 lb prime rib roast

Salt and pepper

2/3 cup mustard

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp yellow mustard seed

4 onions, cut into quarters

5 shallots, cut into quarters

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup port

2 cups veal/beef broth

Season the roast with salt and pepper.   Mix the garlic with the mustard and spread on the roast.   Sprinkle and press in the mustard seed. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.   Reduce heat to 350 degrees.  Mix the onions, shallots, vinegar and olive oil.   Arrange around the roast and continue to cook for about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours.   Remove and allow to rest on a cutting board covered with aluminum foil.

Remove the onions and shallots from the roasting pan.  Add the brandy to the pan and deglaze, stirring, over a medium flame until the liquid is reduced by half.  Add the broth and port, simmering until the liquid is reduced by half, stirring occasionally.  Serve with sliced prime rib and horseradish sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Appetizer, Cheese, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Roasted Lamb Souvlaki with Butter Bean Soup

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As children we all hated lima beans.  My mother didn’t so we ate them, unenthusiastically to be sure, but we ate them.  Democracy ended at the dinner table and crazed protesters where ejected or worse.  However everyone loved butter beans boiled with smoked ham hocks. The lima beans were also boiled with ham hocks but we just saw this as a waste of ham hock.  What a surprise to read that lima beans are, allegedly, just green, young butter beans!  Could be “fake news” and better not to chance it because it changes nothing.

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For New Year’s Day lunch I roasted a boneless lamb leg roast, born and raised in New Zealand but processed in the U.S.  What does that mean?  I do know that the roast was missing that unique New Zealand grass tang, but at least it didn’t smell like mutton.

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There was a little green cooking button on the meat that I’ve never seen on a lamb leg before.  Processing?  Doesn’t matter, I ignored it and cooked the roast for as long as I wanted to cook the roast.

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My rosemary plants laugh in the face of snow and ice, so I had plenty for my fennel seed, garlic and rosemary  rub.  I added rose peppercorns because they’re pretty 🙂

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Anyway, we had a nice meal with the lamb and roasted vegetables for New Year’s and the leftover lamb was adequate for an additional lunch on Tuesday with our friend Marianne. Souvlaki pitas stuffed with lamb, Greek salad and dolloped with tsatziki sauce.

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The Greek salad looked good enough to be eaten as is.  Think of making this with crumbled feta!

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The sauce was easy to make with thick, “normal” greek yogurt, mint and winter cucumber.

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I also made some Korean quail eggs because I had quail eggs, garlic and chillies for babies. They didn’t really fit into the theme of the meal but were good anyway.

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What Honesdale needs is a family owned bakery.  What we have is Weiss supermarket 😦

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Butter Bean Soup

1 lb smoked pork neckbones

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery branches, diced

2 carrots,  diced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 large Maggi chicken cubes

1/2 tsp black pepper

Water

4 cans butter beans

Place the neckbones, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, Maggi cubes and black pepper in a large stock pot.  Cover with water to about 3 inches above the ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove the neckbones from the pot, discard the bones, chop the meat and add back into the pot along with the butter beans.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Greek, Recipes, Sandwich, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Happy New Year 2017

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We’re invited over to a neighbor’s tonight at 10:00 p.m. for a New Year’s celebration.  Our refrigerator is choked with leftover odds and ends.  I’ll be cooking again tomorrow, a boneless lamb roast from New Zealand, and thought I could make a little room by boiling up the leftover goose, fresh uncooked squash and the usual soup enhancers.  My husband made himself a liverwurst sandwich to go with.

Happy New Year my friends and courage to you in surviving the upcoming hell hole we’re walking into on January 20th.  Yes, I said it 😀

Posted in American, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments