Author Archives: enrlihn

saffron pasta with pork and tomato sauce

ingredients
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 12 ounces gnocchi-shaped pasta or orecchiette
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino Sardo or pecorino Romano cheese (about 3 ounces), divided
NOTE: When we first tried this all we had in hand was a block of Parmesan, and for pasta we used penne as that was the closest alternative in our pantry. preparation Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onion and parsley; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground pork and sauté until brown, breaking up with back of fork, about 8 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered for 1 hour, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat before using.) Cook pasta with saffron in large pot of boiling salted water until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to same pot. Add sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese; toss to blend. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve. NOTE: We saved the pasta water and combined pasta with sauce in the sauce pan, so we could add pasta water as needed to prevent overly thick sauce. We also added extra pasta water to leftovers before refrigerating, as they will get drier when reheating. nutritional information n/a yield: 6-8 servings time: 45-60 minutes source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook, p.207

fettuccine with prosciutto, peas, and lemon-chive sauce

ingredients

  • 12 ounces fettuccine or other pasta
  • 2 cup frozen petite peas (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup fresh chopped chives
  • 6 TBSP. finely grated lemon peel
  • 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into slivers

preparation

  1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Add peas; cook 30 seconds.
  2. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta and peas to same pot.
  3. Add cream, chives, lemon juice, and lemon peel to pasta. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if pasta is fry, about 1 minute. Mix in prosciutto; season to taste with slat and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl.

NOTE: Quantities in recipe didn’t quite work, so play around with them until right. When I tried it there was far too much cream and chives. Basically, go with your gut on how much of each to put in.

NOTE 2: Even though it says to add the prosciutto at the end, I actually threw it in the hot pan first for a minute to render a little of the fat into it and slightly cook the meat, then tossed the naked pasta with that before adding the other ingredients.

nutritional information

n/a

yield: 4 servings

time: 20 minutes

source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook, pp.203-4

grilled zucchini

6 whole zucchini (medium)
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
3 whole lemons, zested
1 tsp kosher salt (for lemon salt)

Lop off the tops and bottoms of the zucchini and slice them into quarters, lengthwise. Place them all in a very large (or two regular sized) ziploc. Drizzle in olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the juice of two lemons. Seal the bag(s) and mash them around a bit so that the zucchini is coated. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to marinate.

Heat the grill to medium/ medium-high heat. Grill the zucchini on all three sides until tender, being careful not to burn them or cook until mushy. Remove the zucchini to a plate as it gets done.

Combine remaining lemon zest and sprinkle 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a mortar. Use the pestle to mix the salt and zest together. Sprinkle the lemon salt on grilled zucchini and serve.

moroccan fish tagine

ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless cod fillets (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick), cut into 1 1/2- to 2- inch pieces
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1/4 cup chopped
  • 4 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/4 TBSP lemon juice
  • 6 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced through root end 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced on bias 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped preserved lemon

preparation

  1. Place cod in bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  2. Pulse cilantro leaves, garlic, cumin, paprika , and cayenne in food processor until cilantro and garlic are finely chopped, about 12 pulses. Add lemon juice and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons oil. Set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, bell pepper, carrot, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, olives, and preserved lemon. Spread mixture in even layer on bottom of pot.
  4. Toss cod with cilantro mixture until evenly coated, then arrange cod over vegetables in single layer. Cover and cook until cod starts to turn opaque and juices from cod are simmering vigorously, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, covered, until cod is opaque and just cooked through (cod should register 140 degrees), 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

nutritional information

n/a
yield: 4 servings
time: 40 minutes
source: Cook’s Illustrated, July-August 2020, pp.10-11

cambodian-style rice noodle salad with shrimp, cucumber and herbs

We skipped the shrimp and served this as a side to Vietnamese grilled lemon grass pork.

ingredients

  • 8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 english cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (finely chopped) *
  • 6 TBSP lime juice
  • 1 fresno or thai serrano chili, stemmed, seeded and minced **
  • 3 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 TBSP packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb cooked shrimp (roughly chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro, mint and/or basil

* Cashews will do in a pinch, as it did for us. We only had the lightly salted ones but it worked just fine.

** Didn’t have chilies on hand and wanted the kids to eat it, so we substituted with a small pinch of cayenne

preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold running water, tossing until fully cooled. Drain again. Use kitchen shears to snip the noddles in several places to cut them into shorter lengths. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
  2. In the colander, toss cucumber and shallot with the salt. Let drain in the sink for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together peanuts, lime juice, chili, fish sauce, brown sugar and pepper.
  4. Add the cucumber-shallot mixture, the shrimp, and the chopped herbs to the bowl with the noodles. Add the dressing and toss well.

nutritional information

n/a
yield: 4 servings
time: 20 minutes
source: Milk Street, July-August 2020, p.4

grilled lemongrass pork

We served this with a Cambodian rice noodle salad.

ingredients

for the pork:

  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of surface fat
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 medium shallots, quartered
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, trimmed to lower 5 or 6 inches, dry outer layers discarded, thinly sliced *
  • 1 serrano chili, stemmed and roughly chopped **
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 TBSP grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • pickled carrots and daikon, for serving
  • lettuce leaves, for serving

for the dipping sauce (nuoc cham):

  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 3 1/2 TBSP lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 serrano chilies, stemmed and minced **

* Couldn’t find lemon grass stalks in any of our regular grocery outlets (and not about to add another trip right now) so we used lemongrass paste. did the job fine.

** Didn’t have chilies on hand and wanted the kids to eat it, so we substituted with a small pinch of cayenne

preparation

pork:

  1. Place the pork on a large plate and freeze until the meat is firm and partially frozen, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the garlic, shallots, lemon grass, chili, five-spice and 1 1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper.Process until finely chopped, about 45 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the oil, soy sauce, fish sauce and honey, then process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
  2. Using a chef’s knife, slice the partially frozen pork against the grain into pieces about 1/8 inch thick. The slices will be irregularly shaped; cut them into strips about 1 inch wide (it’s fine if the strips are not uniform). Add to the seasoning paste and toss, rubbing the paste into the meat.
  3. Thread the pork onto 10- to 12-inch metal skewers, evenly dividing the meat and scrunching it together, packing it quite tightly. If some pieces are too wide, too wispy or awkwardly shaped, fold the meat or tuck in the edges as you skewer. Place on a rimmed dish, cover and refrigerate while you prepare the grill.
  4. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 minutes, then clean and oil the grate. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high and heat, covered, for 15 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.
  5. Place the skewers (on the hot side of the grill if using charcoal) and cook until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the second sides are lightly charred, about another 3 minutes. Flip the skewers again and continue to cook, turning every couple of minutes, until well charred on both sides, about another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to platter and drizzle with about 1/4 cup of the nuoc cham. Serve with the pickles and lettuce leaves for wrapping and with the remaining nuoc cham for spooning on or dipping.

nuoc cham: In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and 6 tablespoons water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the garlic and chilies. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

NOTE: Don’t be afraid to pack pork tightly onto metal skewers. This prevents overcooking. If using gas grill, make sure to allow it to heat covered for about 15 minutes before cleaning and placing skewers on grate. This helps ensure the grill is hot enough to char the pork nicely.

nutritional information

n/a
yield: 4 servings
time: 50 minutes (not counting freezer time)
source: Milk Street, July-August 2020, pp.9-10

spanish-style chicken and couscous

ingredients

  • 4 (12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine
  • 4 ounces Spanish style chorizo, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 TBSP minced fresh parsley

NOTE: We use boneless skinless thighs because that’s what we stock up on. We also didn’t have chorizo on hand, so we made do with bacon and smoked paprika (close enough for Covid)

preparation

  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Using highest sauté or browning function, heat oil in multicooker for 5 minutes (or until just smoking). Place half of chicken, skin side down, in multicooker and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken; transfer to plate.
  2. Add bell pepper, chorizo and ¼ teaspoon salt to fat left in multicooker and cook until bell pepper is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and saffron and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle chicken, skin side up, into multicooker, adding any accumulated juices.
  3. To pressure cook*: Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 17 minutes. (If using Instant Pot, decrease cooking time to 9 minutes.) Turn off multicooker and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
  4. Transfer chicken to serving dish and discard skin, if desired. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest while preparing couscous.
  5. Stir couscous, peas and lemon juice into multicooker, cover and let sit until couscous is tender, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and fluff couscous gently with a fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chicken

* To slow cook: Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, 1 to 2 hours. (If using Instant Pot, select high slow cook function.) Turn off multicooker and carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

nutritional information

n/a
yield: 4-6 servings
time: 2 hours 40 minutes
source: America’s Test Kitchen, Multicooker Perfection, p.60

basic meat sauce

ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice

preparation

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and juice, breaking up tomatoes. Simmer over medium heat until thickened and saucy, 45 to 60 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

nutritional information

n/a
yield: 5 cups
time: about an hour

easy classic shrimp and grits

ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth divided
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 3/4 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • thinly sliced green onions for garnish (optional)

preparation

  • Bring 2 cups of the chicken broth, the milk (2 cups), 3 tablespoons of the butter, and a pinch of salt to a gentle boil in a medium sized pot. Add the grits and whisk together. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until grits are fully cooked, soft, and creamy, whisking again every 5 minutes or so.
  • Meanwhile, cook the 4 bacon strips until crispy in a nonstick or cast iron skillet. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Once cool, chop into small pieces.
  • Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the skillet.
  • Rinse the shrimp with cold water and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in the bacon grease until only just cooked- about 2 minutes per side.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the shrimp and stir until melted and broth is heated.
  • When grits are finished cooking, remove from heat and stir in the cheese (1 cup) until melted.
  • Serve the shrimp mixture over the grits, making sure to spoon some of the liquid from the skillet over the grits, and sprinkle with the bacon pieces and sliced green onions. Serve immediately.

nutritional information

Calories: 610; Fat: 36g (sat 19g); Protein: 40g; Cholesterol: 372mg; Sodium: 1,892mg; Fiber: 1g; Carbohydrates: 30g (7g sugars)
yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 bowl)
time: 30 minutes

pork and asparagus stir fry

ingredients

  • 3 tsp. peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut on a diagonal into 1″–2″ pieces
  • 8 oz. ground pork
  • 6 scallions, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or medium-dry sherry
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

preparation

  • Heat 1 tsp. peanut oil in a large skillet over high. Once pan is hot (oil will be lightly smoking), add half of asparagus and a couple pinches of salt and cook, tossing only once or twice so the pieces have a chance to blister, until crisp-tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus to a plate. Add 1 tsp. peanut oil to skillet (no need to wipe it out) and repeat process with remaining asparagus.

  • Reduce heat to medium-high; add remaining 1 tsp. peanut oil to skillet, then add pork, spreading out into an even layer. Season with a couple pinches of salt and cook, undisturbed, until meat begins to brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Break up meat with a wooden spoon and add scallions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until pork is crisp and mixture is very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add wine and soy sauce and return asparagus to skillet. Cook, turning to coat with pork mixture, until heated through, about 1 minute.

  • Transfer stir-fry to a platter or large shallow bowl and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve with rice and chili crisp.

nutritional information

n/a
yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 bowl)
time: 15-20 minutes
source: Bon Apetit