Spicy Aubergine with Udon Noodles

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Because we like Asian spicy aubergine, I have made many variations of the recipe.  Today I used lean ground beef for the meat;  usually I use ground veal or pork but I had lean ground beef.  So that’s why:)

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After I took this picture, I realized that I had “grain” vinegar, a mixture of cheap grains, and not rice vinegar.  I thought I had thrown all these bottles out.  I “binned” it and went back to the pantry for the real rice vinegar.  The fake vinegar bottle is the second bottle on the left.

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We like this dish with noodles or just alone.  In both cases it’s filling and satisfying.  I had some dried udon noodles that, after cooking, I washed and rinsed about 10 times.  That way they can be eaten warmed or cold without sticking together.  I ate some cold with mentsuyu sauce😉

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This variation was good but I think I prefer pork or veal.  Still….

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Spicy Aubergine with Beef and Udon Noodles

3 tbsp sambal oelek

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp sake

2 tbsp mirin

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef

8 tbsp peanut oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

2 large aubergine, cut into chaos chunks

Scallions, sliced

4 bundles of dried udon noodles cooked, washed and rinsed at least 10 times

 

In a little bowl, mix together the sambal oelek, soy sauce, vinegar, sake and mirin.  Set aside.

Cook the beef in a large skillet with 1 tbsp of the oil , remove, drain and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet,  add 1 tbsp of peanut oil and fry the garlic, ginger and bell pepper until the pepper is crisp tender, then remove from the skillet and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet, add 3 tbsps of peanut oil, then brown half of the aubergine chunks, remove when done, add the last 3 tbsp of oil and brown the other half of the aubergine. Put all of the aubergine into the skillet along with the sauce, beef and vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with scallions and serve with the noodles.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Japanese, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Navy Beans with Kielbasa

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I found an artisanal kielbasa sausage at the Super Duper market.  Quelle surprise! Kielbasa seems to be popular in our area, however the sausages available are usually produced in large, name brand factories with God knows what profit maximizing ingredients.  I grabbed two packages of the artisanal sausages for the freezer and future meals.

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The coarse grind of the meat, fat and the little dots of pepper was reassuring.  I should have bought all the packages because there is no guarantee that I’ll find these again.

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If it ever stops snowing and warms up, it will be nice and inspirational to have a greater selection of bright, colorful, seasonal vegetables and fruits.

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Still, you can’t keep a good bowl of beans down:)

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Navy Beans with Kielbasa

1 lb dried navy beans

1 large chunk of cooked, smoked ham or 1 large ham hock

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

2 cans diced tomatoes

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp piment d’espelette

2 bay leaves

1 “loop” of kielbasa, sliced

2 handfuls of baby spinach

Soak the beans overnight in a pot with water about 2 inches above the beans.  The next day, place the ham or ham hock in the pot with the beans.

Saute the onion, garlic and bell peppers in the olive oil until the onions are soft, then add to the bean pot, along with the tomatoes, oregano, thyme, black pepper, piment d’espelette and bay leaves.  Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for 1 hour.

Remove the ham from the pot, cut into medium dice, then put back in the pot with the kielbasa slices.  Continue to simmer for about 25 minutes.  Stir in the spinach and allow to just wilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sweet Chilli Fish Fillets with Coleslaw

 

IMG_1899bI found some rather nice fish fillets in the freezer that my husband had bought.  I don’t know how long they were in there, but they looked better than a lot of the fish I see in the supermarket.  I also had a nice looking leftover piece of cod that I bought at the Southside Seafood market in Scranton.  What to do?

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I had a taste for something vaguely Asian but didn’t feel like making anything complicated. The real cooks are going to be horrified but the truly hungry will take this in stride.  I laid down a bed of raw coleslaw that I bought in a bag, topped it with the fish and poured a sweet chilli sauce mixture over everything.

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Now doesn’t that look exciting :D  The coleslaw vegetables were crisp tender and a perfect foil for the flaky fish.  The sauce was mah-ve-lous!  Serve this with rice or Asian noodles.

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Sweet Chilli Fish Fillets with Coleslaw

3 cups raw coleslaw vegetables

2 lbs firm, white fish fillets, cut into serving size

1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp grated ginger

1/2 colorful bell pepper, thinly sliced

Make an aluminum foil tent, lined with parchment paper and large enough to accommodate the fish fillets.  Spread the coleslaw evenly over the parchment paper, then top with the fish fillets.

Mix the chilli sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce and grated ginger together, then pour over the fillets.  Sprinkle the bell pepper over all.

Tightly close the aluminum foil tent and bake in a 425 F oven for 20 minutes.  Open the tent, push the foil to the side, then continue to bake for 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Asian, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Goat Ojakhuri

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I’ve been thinking a lot about “cabrit boucane” or Haitian, twice cooked goat.  Why?  because I had a package of goat cubes in the freezer.  Cabrit boucane is traditionally made by first boiling a cut up whole goat with spices, and then grilling it over a charcoal fire.  A pound and a half of goat cubes wouldn’t exactly serve.  Still, the goat was starting to or had aged.

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Also in the freezer was one of my husband’s 1 lb thick cut pork chops and an odd, thin pork steak.   I don’t know why but somehow I thought of making Georgian “ojakhuri“, traditionally made by boiling pork cubes and then frying them.  I’ve made ojakhuri before and it’s delicious.  I love the mixture of spices and herbs.  Of course this rendition was a bit different from my first, but who cares, it was good too:)

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And then my brain, that has started to or has aged, said make roasted, Indian spiced cauliflower because it is good and easy.

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So I did.  This cauliflower can also be eaten as a snack at room temperature.  If you don’t like the taste of whole coriander, just substitute with ground.

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I ate mine with a spoonful of Vietnamese garlic chilli.  Haitian “ti malice” sauce would be good too.

Spiced and Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, separated into florets

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp curry powder

2 tbsp olive oil

Mix all ingredients together, then roast in a 450 F oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring once.

 

Goat Ojakhuri

1 1/2 lbs goat, cut into cubes

1 1/2 lbs fat pork, cut into cubes

1 large red onion, thickly sliced

4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tsp sumac

3 tbsp sour cream

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp coriander

1 tbsp dried cilantro

4 bay leaves

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp olive oil

Mix everything together, put into a cooking pot with cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the pot from the refrigerator, add the wine and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

With a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pot.  Heat the olive oil in a non-stick large skillet, add the meat, then fry and brown until crusty.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Georgian, Haitian, Indian, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Smoked Paprika Chicken Wings with Courgettes

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A quick, easy lunch of oven baked chicken wings and sauteed courgettes with onions.

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Smoked Paprika Chicken Wings

12-15 large chicken wings, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika

Flour

1 1/2 tbsp butter

Dust the chicken wings with the flour.  Melt the butter in a roasting pan, then add the chicken wings, skin side down.  Bake in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes, turn, then continue to bake for another 20 minutes.

Sauteed Courgettes with Onions

2 tbsp butter

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

3 courgettes, sliced

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the onion and saute until just wilted.  Add the courgette slices and season with salt and pepper, then quickly saute until the courgettes are crisp tender.

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Easter Sunday

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Traditionally, our family always has ham for Easter.  I did briefly think about lamb, but was out-voted.  After I whined about the quality of the hams in supermarkets, my neighbor, Caroline, suggested I purchase my ham from the German butcher.  Great idea, but I ended up mind snatched and bought a half, spiraled sliced Hatfield ham from the Shur Fine market near Waymart, PA.

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I like the fruit and vegetable sections at the Shur Fine and some of their meats.  However, they didn’t have an exciting selection of hams and I didn’t really know the brands, so I bought whatever.  The ham was okay but a little dry after heating and glazing.

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I’ve always liked these pre-sliced hams, especially for buffet receptions.  So easy to arrange on platters and attractive with even slices.  Fabulous leftovers!

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It’s the asparagus season and now is the time to buy while the stalks are young and tender.

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Too lazy to heat up the grill, I crisp tender roasted the asparagus in the oven with garlic slivers and cherry tomatoes.

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We ate quite of few of these directly from the roasting pan before serving.  I have to go back and get more before they turn woody!

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The dessert was as simple as the meal.  Jade loved this:)

Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, slivered

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 bunches of young, green asparagus

15 cherry tomatoes, halved

Mix the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice together.  Place the asparagus and tomatoes in a very large bowl, then pour the olive oil mixture over all, tossing to coat, then pour into a roasting pan.  Roast for 15-20 minutes in a 400 F oven, turning once after about 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Beef Sirloin and Vegetable Stir Fry

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If you buy a bag of carrots and end up with several, hidden in the middle of the bag, unattractive throwaways, it’s your own fault.  It’s like packaged rabbit; the head is sure to be there, cleverly hidden under the edible pieces.

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I guess it’s my day for unsatisfactory vegetables; the Napa cabbage is ugly too; yellowish. But it’s okay, a colorful stir fry sorts it out.

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I microplaned my ginger today because I remembered that I owned a microplane. Satisfying.

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I was pleased with the flavor of the vegetables before I added the beef.  Vegetarians, this one’s for you.  For regular people too:)  When making a multi-course Asian dinner, this would be perfect for the vegetable course.

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And if rice is not your “préféré” you can just add the beef and eat it like that.  I did.

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Beef Sirloin and Vegetable Stir Fry

1 lb sirloin steak, thinly sliced

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sugar

3 tbsp peanut oil

1 inch fresh ginger, microplaned

3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

5-6 scallions, diagonally sliced

3-4 whippy thin carrots, thinly sliced

1 large orange bell pepper, chaotically sliced

1 1/2 cups snow peas

1/4 napa cabbage, sliced

2 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp peanut oil

Toss the steak with the cornstarch and set aside.  Dissolve the sugar in the soy sauce, then mix into the steak.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Heat the peanut oil in the wok and add the ginger, garlic and scallions.  Stir fry briefly until aromatic.  Add the carrots and bell pepper and continue to stir fry for about 5 minutes until crisp tender.  Add the snow peas, continuing to stir fry for about 3 minutes.  Finally add the cabbage, stir frying until wilted.  Remove from the flame, stir in the oyster sauce and set aside.

In another skillet, heat 2 tbsp peanut oil to smoking hot, add the marinated beef mixture, quickly stir fry for a few minutes, then add to the vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments