Friday, February 17, 2017

Stir-fried Pork and Noodles

Words cannot describe how delicious this is!! Somewhere between pad thai and peanut noodles, this recipes hits all the sweet/salty/savory Asian flavors your face is craving!

In a small bowl, whisk together-

1/2 C soy sauce
1/3 C water
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T honey
1 T mirin
1 T fish sauce
1 T rice vinegar
juice of one whole lime
5 cloves of garlic, mashed (about a tablespoon)
2 T fresh grated ginger
1/2 t Korean chili flakes
3 T hoisin sauce

1 1/2 lbs. pork loin

Thinly slice 1 1/2 lb pork loin across the grain, into strips 1 1/2" wide. In medium bowl, toss pork with 1/2 C of marinade. Set aside. Let marinate an hour or so.

3 T extra crunchy peanut butter

Whisk PB into remaining marinade to make sauce. Set aside.


snow peas
rice (pho) noodles, 14 oz. noodles soaked in boiling water for 10 min., drained
1 lg carrot, grated
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 C cilantro, chopped


Heat large wok to just smoking. Add 2 t oil. Drain marinade from pork and stir fry until half done. Add snow peas, and stir fry about 30 seconds.. Add carrot, noodles, and sauce mix; stir and cook one minute. Add green onions and cilantro; cook and stir another minute. Remove from heat. Garnish with more hoisin and cilantro, if desired.                                                                                    

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

More fun with leftovers... hash!

Hash has become one of my favorite go-to dinners when I have leftover cooked meat. You can make it with just about anything... beef, pork, chicken, even meatloaf! Plus, you probably already have all the other ingredients on hand. Diced raw potatoes, carrots, and onions are great, but if you have some leftover roasted vegetables, that's even better! Got some cooked beets? Make it red flannel hash! The possibilities are almost endless. Hash is perfect to serve any time of day, too! Break out your biggest cast iron (or other ovenproof) skillet and whip up a batch soon!

This particular batch was diced meatloaf, diced raw potatoes, carrots, and onions, leftover roasted potatoes, carrots, and onions, with farm fresh eggs baked on top. I love it when people give me fresh eggs from their chickens and ducks!

Since this recipe is always made with whatever you happen to have on hand, all amounts are approximate and/or to taste.

diced cooked meat of your choice
diced raw potatoes, carrots, and onions
other chopped veggies you may have (bell peppers, celery, etc.) - optional
chopped leftover roasted vegetables - optional
fat of your choice (butter, oil, BACON GREASE!!!)
milk or half and half
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat fat in a large ovenproof skillet. Fry raw potatoes, carrots, and onion until just starting to brown around the edges. Add meat and cooked vegetables (if using) and fry for a couple minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Start adding milk, a little at a time, until the whole thing looks like it's about to fall apart into mush. Continue to cook (don't stir it too much at this point) until a nice crust starts to form on the bottom. Remove from heat. Make depressions in the hash for your eggs, and break them in. Season the eggs with more salt and pepper. Put the whole shebang in the oven for 8-9 minutes. The whites should be set and the yolks runny. Serve immediately, before the eggs overcook.

Monday, February 6, 2017

In defense of Top Ramen... and leftovers...

Oh, packaged dry ramen... you get such a bad rap. You're cheap, easy, and not particularly attractive on your own. Your little foil packet of seasoning can leave one dehydrated and puffy if misused. Leftovers don't have a much better reputation with a lot of people. I am here to say you CAN make something tasty, beautiful, and marginally nutritious with a package of ramen and pretty much anything you have in your fridge. It only takes a small amount of creativity.


Ain't it purdy?

For this particular bowl, I started the ramen according to the package directions. At the 2 minute mark, I tossed in some leftover cooked broccoli and carrots, just long enough to heat them up. Add the seasoning packet TO TASTE! This is where a lot of people go astray with instant ramen. You don't have to add the full packet! I usually start with half, then add a little more if I need to. Top with fried ham, a boiled egg, sliced green onions, sliced mushrooms, and a little sprinkle of furikake seasoning (look for it in the Asian section at most grocery stores. I get mine at Walmart!). I had some pork egg rolls in the freezer, so they joined the party too. 

Here's another one with leftovers from a previous stir-fry dish of some sort... baby bok choy, carrots, snow peas, fresh shitake mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, Chinese bbq pork, sliced green onions, and a poached duck egg. Omnomnomnom...

I know Top Ramen and leftovers will never make the culinary elite greatest hits, but you can make them into something much greater than you think!

Tamale Pie

Easy, hearty comfort food at it's best!

Tamale Pie

1 lb. ground beef 
1 medium onion, chopped 
1-2 cloves garlic, mashed 
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained 
1 C. tomato sauce 
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained 
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can corn, drained (or about 1 1/2 C. frozen)
1/2 C. sliced black olives 
1/3 C. chili powder 
1 t.oregano
2 t. cumin 
1/2 t. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
1 C. EACH milk and cornmeal 
1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. In large skillet, brown beef, onion, and garlic; drain. Add tomatoes (with liquid), tomato sauce, kidney beans, corn, olives, chili powder, oregano, and cumin; simmer 10 minutes. Spread mixture into 3 qt. casserole. In a medium bowl, combine eggs and milk, then stir in cornmeal. Spoon evenly over meat mixture, making sure cornmeal is well distributed. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until top is set and lightly browned.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sloppy Joes

If your idea of Sloppy Joes is frying up a pound of ground beef and dumping in a can of Manwich sauce, you really need to try this recipe! With only slightly more effort, you can make something from scratch and adjust it to your own tastes.

Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 lb. ground beef 
1/2 C. chopped onion 
1/4 C. chopped red bell pepper 
1/2 C. chopped celery 
1 large carrot, grated 
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce 
1 T. yellow mustard 
1/4-1/3 C. brown sugar 
1/3 C. ketchup 
1 heaping teaspoon chili powder 
few dashes Worcestershire sauce 

Brown meat with the onion, bell pepper, celery, and carrot; drain well. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat to desired thickness (about 20 minutes). Serve over toasted hamburger buns.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mongolian Beef

In almost the time it takes to boil rice, you can have this delicious dinner on the table! Throw in a veg and some frozen egg rolls or pot stickers, and you have a complete meal on the table faster than getting takeout!

Mongolian Beef

2 T. oil
1 lb. beef of your choice (I use the "special trim" beef I get from Cash & Carry... flank steak, sirloin, or top round would work just as well), very thinly sliced across the grain
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 T. grated fresh ginger
4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces


1 T. cornstarch
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. water
2 t. mirin or rice wine vinegar


2 T. hoisin sauce
1/4 C. soy sauce
large pinch Korean chili flakes
1 t. sesame oil
2 t. sugar or to taste (you can omit this if using mirin)
Salt to taste

Combine marinade ingredients, mix with beef and let stand about 30 minutes. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat wok with 1 T. of oil and stir-fry beef until half done (should still have some pink). Remove from wok and set aside. Heat remaining oil; stir-fry ginger and garlic until fragrant but not browned. Add back beef and sauce mixture. Continue to stir-fry until the beef slices are almost done, then add the scallions. Do a few quick stirs. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Damson Plum BBQ Sauce

Around here, Damson plums are the zucchini of fruit. Almost everyone has a tree in their yard and come harvest season, they're desperately trying to find someone to take bags of them off of their hands.

I am one of the unfortunate souls who does not have a tree in their yard, although (to be completely honest) I am more than happy to not deal with the tree itself and just take other people's overflow. 
The other night, I was gifted with over 30 lbs. of ripe plums and have been trying to come up with new and exciting things to do with them before they go south. So far, I have made a plum cobbler, two pints of Chinese plum dipping sauce, and three pints of this WONDERFUL bbq sauce. It's sweet, spicy, tangy goodness works especially well with poultry and pork.

3 1/2 C chopped Damson plums
2 C ketchup
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1/2 C maple syrup
1/4 C honey
1/4 C red wine vinegar
2 t. paprika
1/2 t liquid smoke
1 T Dijon mustard
1 t ground black pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until plums are soft, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth (you can also do this in a food processor). Makes 3 pints.

Tonight, I applied it liberally to grilled Cornish game hens.

PS: In my research for plum recipes, I have discovered that Damson plums are actually quite rare now in most of the country. You all have my deepest sympathies.