Category Archives: Cooking

Lucy’s no-fuss spaghetti sauce

We had a lovely Christmas dinner with my brother and his family last Sunday. I made his mom’s special spaghetti sauce with linguine and meatballs. She usually takes a basic Prego sauce and adds onions and mushroom. I make it from crushed tomatoes and add a little twist.

Ingredients:
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
about 1/2 lb. crimini or button mushrooms, sliced with a hard-boiled egg slicer (way fast!)
2 TBS dried basil
1 TBS dried oregano
salt and pepper
dash of red wine
sprinkle of red pepper flakes

Good for 1 lb. of pasta

Directions:
Add butter and olive oil to a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook till mushrooms are soft and have let off a lot of liquid and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add more butter or oil if pan gets dry. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add the other ingredients. Simmer till pasta is done.

Check out how I sliced my mushrooms. It was an epiphany.

Homemade Shrimp and Pork Wontons

As per Muggle in Pink’s request, here is my recipe for pot stickers/dumplings. You could use round gyoza wrappers to make a pot sticker shape, or you could use the square ones and make a dumpling where it looks like a Scrooge McDuck money sack.

Homemade Shrimp Wontons | Alaska Knit Nat
 

Homemade Shrimp and Pork Wontons with teriyaki sauce
Makes about 36 dumplings
 
Ingredients for pot stickers:
½ lb ground pork
Less than ½ lb shrimp, cooked or raw, chopped finely
2 green onions, chopped finely
Less than one egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
Dash of soy sauce
Dash of sesame oil
Dash of rice vinegar
Pot sticker or won ton wrappers
 
Ingredients for teriyaki sauce:
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup soy sauce, or to taste
Dash rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Directions:
Mix all the pot sticker ingredients together, making sure it’s not too sloppy (measurements may vary). Spoon about a teaspoon into wrappers and dab edges with water. Fold into half moons (or make little pouches with square wrappers). Crimp edges for decoration.
Heat a large pan with a little sesame oil and vegetable oil, enough to coat pan. When hot, fry one side of pot stickers till brown, just a few minutes. Then add the teriyaki sauce ingredients, turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with rice and steamed edamame.
For a vegetarian version of pot stickers substitute shrimp and pork for chopped cabbage, blanched for a minute in boiling water and one shredded carrot.
To make a wonton soup, use the square wrappers and use egg to seal pouches shut. Instead of frying, you can boil this in a pot with the teriyaki sauce and serve with thin rice noodles and the broth.
 
 

Non-traditional beef stew

No photo. Stew doesn’t look good in photos. I love a traditional beef stew with the carrots, potatoes, peas and whatnot. Several years ago I found a mediterranean lamb stew in a random cookbook and since lamb is extremely expensive up here I used beef instead. It has become a staple in our household and was adamantly requested for tonight’s meal.

Ingredients:
1 Tbs cooking oil
About 1 pound cubed stew meat
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef stock (or chicken stock)
3 Tbs Wondra flour, or regular flour
3 cloves garlic
6 anchovy filets
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed OR 2 Tbs dried thyme
salt and pepper

Coat a large frying pan with cooking oil and turn heat to med-high. Salt and pepper the meat and add to hot pan. Brown on all sides. Meanwhile, mince the anchovies and garlic together till they are somewhat of a paste. Include the fresh thyme in this step, if using. Mix together the stock, wine and flour.
When meat is browned, add the wine, stock, flour, thyme, garlic, and anchovies. Stir, cover, and turn down heat once simmering. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add frozen peas or beans to stew if desired and recover till veggies are cooked.
Serve with buttered egg noodles.

Pesto, Pesto, Pesto!!!

My dad let me thin out his homegrown basil so naturally I had to make pesto sauce with homemade Italian sausage. The pesto recipe is as follows, but you’ve got to check out my dad’s Web site for his Italian sausage recipe.

I use Marcella Hazan’s blender pesto recipe, but tweak it depending on what ingredients I’m lacking. After several taste tests, my dad and I have concluded that if you can’t afford pine nuts at $30 a pound, subbing shelled pistachios does not drastically alter the flavor the way walnuts do. It’s actually quite tasty with pistachios. I can’t really tell the difference.

Pesto sauce — good for about 1.5 lbs. pasta

Ingredients:
4-6 cups fresh basil, stems removed
3/4 – 1 cup olive oil (I start with less and add more if necessary)
1/4 cup pine nuts or peeled pistachios
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a chef’s knife
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly graded Pecorino Romano cheese (sub more Parm if you don’t have this)
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled to room temp.

Directions:
With a blender or food processor, blend the olive oil, pine nuts and garlic till combined. Slowly add the basil till well blended. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheeses. When butter is cooled, add to sauce. If a little thick, add more olive oil.

Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.
Yum!

Chicken Parmesan

No picture, but a good way to use chicken breasts in a tasty way. Serves 3-4
Use my Meatballs Recipe but substitute 2 chicken breasts. Roughly chop the chicken and put into the food processor till ground. Form into 3 or 4 big flat patties. Dredge in bread crumbs and fry in a large sautee pan with hot vegetable oil for a few minutes on both sides. If center isn’t quite cooked, microwave for a couple of minutes. Smother in marinara sauce!

Big Batch of Chili

I like it spicy!

Ingredients (all spices are eyeballed):
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 anaheim pepper, chopped
1-2 TBS cumin
2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz. can chopped tomatoes with green chilies
1 can chili beans with flavored sauce
1 can white beans, drained but not rinsed
1/2 cup beef broth
1 zucchini, diced

Directions:
Brown the beef over medium high heat. Don’t drain the fat. Add the onion and peppers and saute till onions are soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, broth and beans and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and cook until you’re too starving to wait any longer. Add the zucchini ten minutes before serving. Zucchini is optional. Top with shredded sharp cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.

I think this is South Beach Diet friendly!

Quinoa stir fry

Liquid ingredients are approximate

Ingredients:
1 cup raw quinoa, cooked according to package
1 crown fresh broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup cooked edamame without the pods
1 brick of extra firm tofu
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TBS corn starch
2 TBS cooking oil
1 TBS sesame oil
2 tsp chili garlic paste
2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar

Directions:
Drain the tofu and slice it in half like a hamburger bun. Place in a pie pan lined with paper towels. Place a paper towel on top and weigh a heavy pan on top to press out the liquid. Let rest for 10 minutes. Drain off excess liquid and chop tofu into bite size pieces. Heat the broccoli in the microwave with a small amount of water in a plastic wrap-covered bowl for 1.5 minutes.
Heat cooking oil in a large saute pan over high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add the tofu and brown on all sides. Drain the oil. Add the carrot, scallion, garlic, broccoli, edamame and sesame oil. Toss to coat. Add the cooked quinoa, soy sauce, corn starch, chili garlic paste and vinegar and toss till thoroughly coated. Add more soy sauce if necessary to create a good glazed sauce.

Brown Rice with Pesto and Peas

Ingredients:
1.5 cups uncooked brown rice
2.5 cups boiling water
1 TBS butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 TBS olive oil
1.5 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup pesto
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:
Make brown rice according to Alton Brown’s Recipe. Ten minutes before rice is done, steam the peas in a small saucepan. Drain when they are just hot. Saute onions in olive oil over medium heat till soft. Add the garlic and lightly brown. Add the rice, cheese, peas and pesto and toss till rice is coated.

Whole wheat linguine with creamy sauce and peas

Ingredients:
3/4 pounds whole wheat linguine
1 cup of frozen peas
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
2 tsp italian seasoning
several shakes of red pepper flakes
3 TBS fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 of a block of cream cheese
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook till al dente. Add the frozen peas at the end of the pasta’s cooking time just to heat them up a little. Meanwhile, heat up butter and oil in a large pan over medium low heat. Add the garlic, italian seasoning and pepper flakes and slowly brown the garlic. Drain the pasta and peas and add directly to large pan. Turn up the heat, add all the other ingredients and toss till pasta is fully coated.

Homemade Sushi

I’ve really got to start taking photos before I eat the food. I’m just so hungry!

Makes about 2 rolls of sushi plus extra for hand rolls
Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked short grain white rice, cook according to directions
1 TBS seasoned rice vinegar (or rice vinegar plus 1 tsp. sugar)
1/4 pound imitation crab (the kind that’s 80% snow crab so it tastes better and is CHEAP)
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1 TBS mayo
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 sheets of nori
Soy sauce
Wasabi (optional)
sushi mat, preferably wrapped twice in plastic wrap

Cook the rice and when it’s done, spread it thin on a foil-lined cookie sheet so it cools faster. Sprinkle the vinegar and mix in with a spoon. When cool to the touch, it’s sushi time!
Shred up the crab and mix it with the mayo.
Place a sheet of nori on the sushi mat so the lines on the nori are horizontal. The nori should be flush against the bottom of the mat. Wet your hands so the rice doesn’t stick like crazy and grab a handful of it. Spread it all over the nori except for the top inch. Don’t need to lay it on thick, but make sure it goes up to all three of the other edges.
If you’d like wasabi in the sushi roll, spread a small line across the lower part of the nori. Place the crab in a line on the bottom third of the nori, (like a joint?) Place avocado up against the crab. Sprinkle green onions on top.
Wet your fingers and run them along the non-rice part of the nori, at the top.
Use your index fingers to secure the filling and your thumbs to pick up the lower edge of the mat and nori. Begin to roll the sushi up. Once it reaches your index fingers, start lifting the mat away from the nori as you continue to roll. When you get all around, roll the sushi back and forth, pressing gently. Remove from mat. Cut into eight pieces using a wet chef’s knife.
Serve with soy sauce. YUM YUM.