As I type these words the pot of turkey broth that is pictured above is simmering on the stove permeating the entire house with delicious aroma. If your like me you enjoy leftovers as much as the Thanksgiving meal itself (well, ok, maybe not quite as much, but almost). Anyhow, here’s a few recipes which incorporate leftovers from a traditional Thanksgiving feast. These originally appeared in Artvoice about five years ago; to read that entire article, click here.
As the head cook where I am employed it is within my job description to make lunch for the employees every day. And some days I enjoy this more than others. I’ve posted some of these recipes in the past, but haven’t in a while. Anyhow, this was one of the components to the meal we had today…deep fried beer-battered onion rings. Okay, so they are not the most healthy thing to eat, nor are they the most nutritious…but geeze o’ man were they good. There’s a simple recipe below, which also included a basic beer batter. And The batter recipe can be used with nearly anything…seafood, vegetables, poultry…
This is one of my favorite stir-fry recipes…it’s, simple, quick, and really delicious and nutritious. This is one of those simple restaurant-quality dishes that you’ll be wondering why you ever pay to have it prepared when it is so easy to make yourself. I’ve posted this recipe, or variations of it, a few times before, but I haven’t in a while. Anyhow, I made it for dinner tonight and thought I’d share the recipe again. As I type these words I am–in a word–stuffed. It is so delicious I couldn’t stop eating it. The only difference between the recipe pictured (the one I made tonight) and the actual recipe listed below, is that in tonight’s version I added sliced carrots (which should be added when you add the onion and pepper). Anyhow, I hope you try it.
Just a quick note…
The above is a photo of something I made as a side dish for dinner last night….tomatoes, peppers, onions, and whole garlic cloves basted and braised slowly in a cast iron Dutch Oven just five feet from where they grew. Delicious (and easy)…my mouth waters as I type these words. It’s really just a modern version of the French poele method of braising and basting things in butter.
Beautiful isn’t it. It is–or at least was–as big as my fist. I ate most of it for dinner as an tomato and raw onion sandwich on whole wheat bread slathered with mayonnaise and doused with a liberal amount of cracked black pepper. It was, as I ate it, still warm from the sun. Delicious. I’ve always enjoyed growing my own tomatoes, but this one in particular seems especially special to me because, as I’ve stated in an earlier post, I’ve had a difficult time with “blossom end rot” this year. But this is a sign, I think, that the plants are overcoming it (with a little help from me). I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Anyhow, if you want to learn a bit of history, lore, and a few recipes involving tomatoes, here’s a link to an article I wrote for Artvoice a couple years ago.
Every year it seems there is a new “issue” in the garden. Such is life, right? I can’t imaging how difficult it must be for farmers who rely on their crops for their livelihood, or those who rely on the food they grow to sustain them entirely. A few years ago I had an army of city rabbits who chose to inhabit my tiny gardens each night, then I had giant tomato-eating slugs wreak havoc, and last year there was a hungry city raccoon that all but wiped out my small patch of corn and ate it in a nearby tree (no kidding). Well, this year it is not an animal or insect that is causing trouble, but the plants themselves. The tomatoes in the front of my house, while they look incredibly healthy, are inflicted with–what I’ve finally been able to identify–the not so technical sounding blossom end rot…and it quite literally does as the name describes, the blossom end, or the end that is not connected to the plant, rots. I’m still getting a few healthy tomatoes from the front, and the rear garden does not seem affected, but it’s still early and most of them are still green (the rot begins while they are still green). The tomatoes pictured above and below obviously were not affected, but I’ve been pulling and discarding at least a half-dozen black rotted tomatoes a day in hopes of slowing and halting the problem. From what I’ve read this is not an easy problem to overcome, but I’ll try (and there are far worse problems to have in this world today). If any gardeners out there in the blogosphere have had this problem and overcame it I would love to here about it. Thanks. Anyhow, on to the recipe.
This recipe is about as simple as it gets but is still bursting with nutrients and flavor. It’s really just another aglio e olio type recipe, but in this case the ingredients are turned into a sauce. The easy steps are below.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet and add onion, peppers, and garlic (I used sweet and hot peppers)…cook them slowly until they begin to brown, forming a sort of sofrito. Add diced tomato. Any type will do, I used two types of red tomatoes plus a couple yellow cherry tomatoes with seeds and skins intact. Cook the tomatoes for a couple minutes to release and evaporate some of their juices. Then add chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want to keep it vegetarian) and a bit of seas salt. Bring the sauce to a boil then lower it to a simmer; cook the sauce for a few minutes until it reduces and thickens. Meanwhile boil whatever pasta you prefer. When the sauce is to your liking (in consistency and flavor) it can be pureed or left chunky, which is what I did. Add a few chopped basil leaves and then the cooked pasta. Toss or gently stir the pasta into the sauce allowing it to soak up flavors.
This recipe is a play on the classic Tarte Tatin, which of course is normally made with apples. I’m currently researching and testing recipes for an article I’m writing about Tarte Tatin for Buffalo Spree Magazine and thought I’d try a couple savory recipes (the poor Tatin sisters must be rolling in their graves); this one is made with portabello mushrooms, figs, and brie cheese. It’s sort of a savory rustic pie that is baked upside-down then turned right side-up to serve (and isn’t that what the original is only made with apples and caramel). Anyhow, it’s really delicious and easy to make…and you’ll likely impress your friends with it as well. When the article is published–with history, lore, and more recipes–I’ll post the link.
I made this salad for employee meal last night at work. Like much of the nation it has been hot in Western New York and the last thing I wanted to eat while working in a sweltering kitchen was something hot. This fit the bill; I had leftovers for lunch today. This is really just a variation of tabbouleh or fattoush…and when I say this I mean that while some of the salad ingredients are different (though some are also the same) the flavoring is the same; it’s made with a highly flavorful lemon-mint-olive oil dressing. The other key is to use lots of fresh parsley (too often American tabbouleh recipes lack a significant amount of parsley, making it a bulgar wheat salad garnished with parsley when in fact t is a parsley salad garnished with wheat). In addition to the vinaigrette and parsley in this recipe, I also used tomato, chick peas, cucumber, onion, and shredded carrots (I thought about adding cooked and cooled potatoes as well but didn’t have the time to cook and cool them)…basically you can add whatever ingredients you have…the fresh taste of the dressing and summer ingredients are foolproof.
For a traditional and also a barely tabbouleh recipe, click here.
For a fattoush recipe (with photos), click here.
For a really simple but very flavorful and versatile mint vinaigrette recipe, click here.
For additional Lebanese/Mediterranean inspired recipes (with plenty of photos), click here.
To prepare chicken or fish like this is so easy and delicious that if you haven’t in the past you’ll be wondering why. I used salmon and ate it in fish tacos for dinner, but the fish is delicious on its own or as an accompaniment to rice pilaf or a salad. I used southwestern flavors for the tacos, but this could easily be made with Mediterranean herbs and spices or Indian spices (just to mention a couple variations). Chicken–or other meats–are delicious like this as well. Below is an image of it being cooked, and below that is the method to make it.
Dice 12 ounces of fish or chicken and place it in a bowl. Season it with whatever you like…I used two teaspoons each of mild chili powder, smoked paprika, and ground cumin; also add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Mix the fish or chicken gently to coat it with the spices. In a separate small bowl mix together a tablespoon each of lemon juice and cornstarch; mix it until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add a large egg and beat it with the lemon and cornstarch until mixed. Add the egg-lemon-cornstarch mixture to the seasoned fish and gently mix again. Set aside for about 10 or 15 minutes. Heat about 1/2 inch canola oil in a heavy skillet over a medium-high flame. When the oil is hot enough that a piece of fish or chicken sizzles when dipped, it is ready. Carefully add the fish or chicken and fry it on both sides for about two minutes, or until crispy, golden, and cooked through. Carefully remove it from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate that is lined with absorbent paper.
I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that while I am far from being vegetarian I have been making efforts to eat less meat for a variety of reasons…but sometimes I crave it. Today was one such instance. Maybe it was that I swam 1/2 mile and hauled concrete blocks about 5 miles (one way) on my Mundo–what, do I think I’m Jack Lalanne or something–but I really had a hankering for lamb, which is my favorite meat, by the way. Anyhow, I made the pictured recipe for Lamb Ragout and ate it tossed with whole wheat penne. Like most of what I post here…it is really easy to make, nutritious, and really delicious. It would also be great over rice or as a pizza topping.
I made this for staff lunch at work today…General Tso’s Chicken. It is not that difficult to prepare and really rewarding because when you make it yourself it is not greasy or sickeningly-sweet. The only differences in the version I prepared today (the one picture) is that I added a sliced orange and toasted sesame seeds to the recipe. Other than that the recipe listed below is the one that I used (but multiplied by six times). If you want to prepare a simple yet delicious Chinese recipe at home–one where guests or family members may think you ordered out–this is the recipe. I originally published this recipe in Artvoice a few years ago, and also on this blog around the same time. If you’d like to read the story behind this recipe, and how I came about it, click either here or here.
For the chicken:
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
For the sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 small dried red chilies
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 green onions, sliced
peanut oil for deep frying
Combine all of the chicken ingredients together in a bowl, mix to evenly coat, and set aside. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl and set aside. Heat a couple inches of peanut oil in a wok or skillet until 350F. Stir the chicken again, then carefully deep fry it piece-by-piece and remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Cut a piece of the chicken to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked. Carefully transfer the oil to a tin can or other pot to cool, reserving a few tablespoons in the wok or skillet. Over medium-high heat stir-fry the chilies for a minute, then add the ginger and garlic. Stir the sauce ingredients again, then carefully add it to the hot pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cooked chicken and green onion. Toss to coat. Serve with steamed rice.
Yesterday I made mushroom-barley soup but cooked too much barley (it’s amazing how it just keeps expanding isn’t it). The outcome was that I had an excess of cooked barley today. So I made a variation of tabbouleh for staff lunch today. I had never made this with barley before but it was delicious. And it was a real variation–a sort of stone soup version of tabbouleh–because every time I went to the cooler I grabbed another vegetable and chopped it up and mixed it in. It really ended up being a sort of barley-vegetable salad with lemon-garlic-mint dressing. Nonetheless, it was truly delicious (and simple to make). Anyhow, the recipe I made today is below, and the recipe for classic tabbouleh is just below that.
I didn’t intend on making homemade tortillas tonight but I did…and here’s a quick story why. Last night I made my son and I tacos for dinner (using store-bought tortillas). I filled them with homemade carnitas de pollo (click here for the recipe and pics), salsa pico de gallo (recipe below), lettuce, and cheese. They were delicious, to say the least. Anyhow, I knew I was going to be home alone tonight and that there were leftover pollo and salsa…all I needed was a few tortillas (we ate the last of them last night). I was going to the health club for a steam and swim and figured I’d pick up the tortillas on the way home. I was/am tight on cash and had just a few dollars with me; enough to purchase the tortillas. Lap swimming often makes me hungry, and all I was thinking about was these tacos when I came home (they were that delicious last night). So on my way home I stopped at a local grocer…no tortillas, he told me. Sorry, all out. Not even the white flour variety. So I went to another store, this time a chain store…the same issue. Huh? After unlocking my bike for the third time, I stood on it for a moment contemplating as to whether I should go to the supermarket (I really dislike large supermarkets). To make a long story short, as I stood there straddling my bike, I thought to myself a few things. One was that I had the few meager ingredients home to make tortillas; the second was that I knew they were easy to make because I’ve made them in the past; and three was that being a professional cook I could make these in just a few minutes. So that’s just what I did…and they were so good I wondered I was going to purchase them in the first place. Recipes are below.
Deep-Dish Pizza with a Whole-Wheat Seven-Grain Crust, Five Vegetables, and Three Cheeses…that’s a mouthful if I ever heard one (pun intended). This is yet another variation of pizza that I made tonight for dinner. The vegetables (onion, pepper, carrot, cauliflower, and broccoli) were cooked aglio e olio style before being placed on the dough. The cheeses I used were cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan. When I shaped the dough I formed a sort of ridge around the edge to hold all the ingredients (yum!). Anyhow, for a recipe for the seven-grain bread (with photos and directions), click here. To see how to cook vegetables aglio e olio, click here. For additional pizza recipes, click here.
I really enjoy lentils….and I’m grateful that I do. Because not only are they super-healthy for you, they are also a great medium for all sorts of flavors and textures…and not just vegetarian recipes. Anyhow, a purveyor at work gave me a couple pounds of these lentils as a sample (pictured above)…beautiful aren’t they? I made the below soup recipe for staff lunch today…it was so good (if I do say so myself) I had a double serving. It’s also really easy to make. And while I used the above multi-colored lentils, any lentil will do…some just take longer to cook than others. The spices I used (pictured below and also listed in the recipe) are also interchangeable…add or subtract whatever suits your personal taste. And listed at the bottom of this post are a few links of other easy and delicious lentil recipes.
That’s Franklin on the left and Maxwell on the right, and they love olive oil. Well, OK…they would love any food I gave them. And yes, while some may find a pug unattractive, I think they are almost too cute…they are great house dogs and companions; and it’s like having two little aliens follow me around the house all evening. Anyhow, I’ll get to my point. Most know that olive oil, which happens to be my favorite cooking oil, is good for us humans on many levels, but did you also know that it is good for dogs as well, specifically their skin and coat? And this, I believe, is true for any breed dog, not only pugs. But I have to back up a bit. Pugs, I’ve come to learn over the last few years, are prone to skin problems; Maxwell and Franklin are no exception. They get rashes and itchy skin so bad that sometimes they chew themselves raw (literally). I’ve taken them to the vet only to spend big bucks on medications and physician’s fees with little results. A few people have suggested putting fish oil on their food, which I did for a while. Recently, though, I came to learn that olive oil is just as good. I put a tablespoon or so on their food in the morning and evening. It took about a month to really show difference but what a difference it is. Their coats are soft and shiny again, and they have nearly stopped scratching…they even smell less “doggy.” The only issue is that now every time I reach for the olive oil when I’m cooking dinner they start going nuts because they think it’s their dinner time…
Anyhow, I just thought I’d pass this along to other dog owners.
If you’d like a few recipes (for humans) using olive oil, click here.