Tag Archive for salt

Farfalle with kale

Yesterday I decided to use up some of our fresh produce from the farm stand and settled on a pasta dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box farfalle white wheat (extra fiber) pasta
  • About 3lbs of fresh kale
  • 2 large broccoli stalks
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 large onion diced
  • About 10 cloves garlic (use your judgement here)
  • About 3-4T olive oil
  • Two jars of sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Basil

Directions:

  1. In my large, wok-like frying pan I put the olive oil, onion and garlic into the pan with some salt, pepper, oregano and basil on medium heat.  While that started cooking, I roughly chopped my kale and added that to the wok, covered and started sweating down those leaves.  I then started prepping the broccoli, added that to the wok, and shelled my peas, occasionally stirring up my vegetables.
  2. After the kale had reduced down to something manageable I dropped the heat to low, added two jars of sauce, some more oregano and basil to taste, the peas and covered.  I started my pasta water boiling at this point and let the sauce-veggie mixture warm together as I cooked the pasta.
  3. Once the pasta had cooked about 11 min, according to the box instructions, I drained and immediately mixed in with pasta.  I served this on plates with some grated parmesan and whole wheat garlic bread on the side.

Hot sauce

I like spicy food.  My wife thinks I’ve burned the heat receptors off my tongue because I have no reasonable gauge for how spicy things are.  A few years ago my buddy Bill sent me a recipe for basic hot sauce and since then I’ve altered it a bit.

Jalapeño Hot Sauce Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 20 fresh jalapeño chiles, sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced

Directions

  1. In a medium glass or enamel lined sauce pan over high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion and salt; saute for 4 minutes. Add the water and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. With the processor running, slowly add the vinegar.
  3. Pour into a sterilized jar with a tight lid. This sauce will keep for 6 months when stored in the refrigerator.

Recipe Source – http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Jalapeno-Hot-Sauce/Detail.aspx

Here’s what I made the other day…

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 25 habaneros, sliced
  • 10 serranos, sliced
  • 5 “spicy red chiles” (I think they were Fresnos)
  • Oregano (maybe 4T or 5T)
  • Cumin (about 3T)
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

  1. Combine the oil, salt, garlic, onions and chiles in a saucepan.  Add oregano and cumin for taste. Sauté the chiles for 5min or so to soften up.
  2. Add the water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20min.
  3. After the mixture cools, pour into a blender and liquefy.  Slowly add the vinegar while blending.
  4. Soak a tortilla chip and give it a whirl.

Like I said before, I’m not the guy to ask if something is hot or not.  This sauce leaves my mouth tingling for a good eight minutes, but has some great flavor.  When I’ve made this in the past, it tends to get hotter the longer it sits.  I’m sure Alton Brown knows the chemical reasons behind it.  If this cocktail of hotness is too much, feel free to substitute any other chiles.  My main goal in a hot sauce is to have something that tastes good.  If your hot sauce tastes awful, it’ll ruin your food and that’s not good eats.

Great guacamole recipe

With avocados back in season I’ve been making guacamole often.  I used to wonder why people I know went Coo-Coo-for-Cocoa-Puffs over the stuff, but now that I’m making my own it totally makes sense.  With food like this I always find a decent recipe as a base and then eventually branch out a little on my own.  And when it comes to recipes, you can rarely go wrong with the Food Network legend Alton Brown.

AltonBrown_bowling

Alton Brown – yes, he’s bowling with a cabbage!

A college buddy of mine turned me onto Good Eats, which still hasn’t been widely released on DVD, around 2003 or 2004.  Up until that point my opinion of the Food Network was not good.  Most of the stuff I had seen seemed quite boring and the food was so complicated – stuff I never saw myself actually trying to prepare.  Alton Brown changed all of that for me.

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2T if you buy lime juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (sea salt works)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1T chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Recipe source – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/guacamole-recipe/index.html

Like I said before, I always start with something reputable and go from there.  I don’t often have jalapenos around so I just added some more cayenne for kick.  The last batch I made had slightly more than double cumin, cayenne, cilantro and garlic.  I love onions so I put about double or more in there.  Once I had no lime juice and substituted lemon juice without any noticeable taste difference.  I’ve used different types of tomatoes and they all taste good.  Roma are smaller and easier to create smaller pieces if that matters – I always leave the seeds in there.  I’ve also eaten immediately instead of waiting an hour.  Letting it sit definitely helps all the flavors to seep together, but it still tastes great.

Steak-Vegetable soup

As it gets closer to moving time I’ve been trying to find ways to use up things in the freezer.  A while back Liz and I were taking advantage of Angel Food Ministries in our area to get some cheap eats.  During one of these purchases we received four steaks.  I put two of them in the fridge and last night decided to make a soup.

Making soup may sound hard, but many of them start out the same way – heat up some oil and start cooking your onions, garlic and other “tough” ingredients.  Then you just throw some stuff in and let it cook down.  Right before I started cooking I had the idea to include the meat.  Here’s how it all went down…

Step 1: I put a medium-large pot on the stove and large pan on the stove.  I put some olive oil into both.  Next I chopped up 1/2 of a large onion dumping that and garlic into the pot.  I also added some salt, pepper, and oregano.

Step 2: I grabbed the thawed steaks from the fridge, salted and peppered them, and put them in the pan to cook.

Step 3: I chopped up 4 stalks of celery, then I peeled and chopped a large russet potato.  I added these and some water to the pot.

Step 4: I put some savory seasoning on to both sides of the steaks and made sure they were cooking well.  When they got to be about medium, I took them out, cubed them, and put em back into the pan.

Step 5: I added green beans, broccoli, corn, and lima beans to the pot.

Step 6: Some people like to do red wine reductions on things.  I’m not that big into wine so I went with option b – worcestershire sauce.  I put a good amount into the pan with the meat, lowered the heat and scraped all that “flavor” off the bottom of the pan.

Step 7: I stirred up the pot making sure everything was mixed well, then added the meat and sauce.

Step 8: I let everything cook down in my soup for about 25 min.

Step 9: I cubed up about 8oz of velveeta and dropped it into the pot, then replaced the lid for another 15 min or so.

Step 10: Eat it.  I added some ketchup to my bowl to give the soup a slight hint of tomato taste.  It turned out pretty well.

Burrito: Back to the basics

A long time ago and in a land far away, I started cooking things for myself.  It started off with scrambled eggs when I was 4 or 5 and just kind off took of from there.  Eventually I started making burritos.  Before I started cooking my own mega batches of pinto beans, I used to use beans from a can but eventually quit using them almost altogether.  Liz doesn’t understand why I’ve loathed them so much.  It’s just hard to eat them after you’ve made the same thing yourself.

As I’m trying to get back on my feet, I decided I wanted a burrito.  So here’s a simple burrito recipe if you want to try something new.

Ingredients:

  • Two cans refried beans. (You can substitute pintos, black, etc)
  • 1lb ground hamburger
  • 6-8 flour tortillas (burrito size)
    Optional:
  • 1 onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Cumin or Coriander
  • Cheese (cheddar or monterrey jack work well)
  • Sliced black olives
  • Tomatoes

Prepare the meat:
The first thing you want to do is brown your hamburger.  I like to add onions to almost everything.  Fresh are best, but the dried kind work too.  I chopped up my medium onion and got it cooking in a pan with a pad of butter while I defrosted my hamburger in the microwave.  Once my onions had softened up I put in the hamburger and added a little salt, pepper, dried minced garlic, oregano and ground coriander.  All these spices are optional.  I’d be careful of them (with the exception of salt and pepper) until you know what you’re doing and how much you like.  There’s not much worse than a seriously over spiced dish.  From here you just cook your hamburger down like you’d normally do.  Break it up into small chunks so you can divide and conquer, and make sure there are no pink parts left.  After this is done drain or spoon out the grease.

Mix the burrito ingredients together:
Now you’ll add your beans and your meat together.  You can combine them in a separate pan if you like, or add the beans to your meat.  Just make sure your pan is big enough.  One thing to be careful of is stirring this mixture together.  At first it’ll be a bit like water and oil.  If you’re not careful, you’ll be sloshing beans and meat all over your stove.  Just take it easy and be patient.  You’ll have a nice mixture in a few minutes.  After everything is mixed, let this simmer for 10 minutes or so.  You can put a lid on it if you want, just don’t turn the heat up too high and walk away or it’ll start bubbling and splattering.

Click to see more

Building your burritos:
Once you get your tortillas out of the fridge the first thing you need to do is warm them up a little.  This is a very important step because cold tortillas will tear.  If you’ve ever gone to a burrito place, they usually steam/warm their tortillas in some sort of way.  I like to put mine in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.  Now take one tortilla and place it in one hand.  With the other hand fill the tortillas about 1/3 with your meat/bean mixture.  Now it’s time to fold.  You’ll put the bottom half up a little, then wrap the left and right sides around.  Some like to fold all four side in to seal the burrito.  I think this is slightly more advanced because it’s almost too easy to over-fill your burrito.  If you just do three sides, any extra can just ooze out the end.  Check out the two graphics I pulled off the web to illustrate.  If you click them, you’ll see more images and instructions.  The one above is for the three-side fold I described.  The one below shows you how to do a four-side fold.

Click to see more

As you’re folding your burritos, you can put them on a cookie sheet to pop into the oven at 350F for about 15-20min.  You’re mainly looking to melt the cheese and crisp up the tortillas a bit.  If you don’t want to eat them now I’d suggest wrapping them in foil or plastic wrap, or put them in a sealing container for later.

You probably noticed I added a slice of cheddar to mine.  You can really use any kind of cheese you want.  Monterrey jack is pretty close to some of the mexican cheeses you might see in ingredient lists.  Feel free to add whatever you want.  That’s the beauty of a burrito.

So there are my burritos.  I added some olives and tomatoes.  What do you like on yours?  Would you use a different filling?  Chicken?  Steak?  Vegetarian?

Mexican-chili-spaghetti

Tonight I was thinking of firing up some grilled cheese in honor of April, National Grilled Cheese Month, but wanted to try and use up some nacho cheese/cheese dip I made a few days ago.  I checked the cupboard and only had a partial box of macaroni-ish (cavatapi) noodles so I had to top and think about what I could do.  I noticed a full box of thin spaghetti and decided to make mexican-chili-spaghetti.

I often cook more traditional types of food, but I equally often make something to eat out of whatever I can find in the kitchen.  Here’s what I had today:

  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 box thin spaghetti
  • Left over cheese dip
    • 1 box velveeta
    • 1lb Jimmy Dean ground sausage
    • 2 cans Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies)
    • Black pepper
    • Oregano
    • Chili powder
    • Ground jalapeño chilies (Anthony Spices)
    • Ground hatch chilies (Anthony Spices)
    • Maybe something else I’m forgetting
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt (“regular” salt is fine)
  • Onion powder

Step 1: I started a big pot of boiling water with some sea salt, black pepper and onion powder in it.  After I had a decent boil started I dropped in the whole box of spaghetti and let it cook for about five or 6 minutes.

Step 2: I then turned the heat down to 4/10 and dumped the noodles in a colander.  I then opened and dumped the cans of tomatoes and beans into the pot, followed by the drained noodles, and placed the pot back onto the stove.  The cans beans and tomatoes had enough juices in them to allow my new mixture to heat without sticking or burning.  It was a little tricky, but I somewhat mixed the whole thing up with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: This is where I added some of that cheese dip into the mix.  I put about half of my container into the pot, tried to do some more mixing and decided to let it simmer.  I placed a lid on top and the mixture cooked for almost 20 minutes.  This was almost too long, 10-15 minutes would be better.  Things were starting to stick.

Step 4: By now the noodles were pretty soft, yet still very long.  I took a metal spatula and chopped everything up a bit.  The I was using is teflon coated, so I was careful not to scratch or scrape the bottom.  Then I added the rest of the cheese dip, recovered and let the whole thing simmer another 15 minutes.

Here are a couple pictures I took.