Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Turkey Chili with White Beans


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1/4 cup chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed, drained
Chopped red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Plain low-fat yogurt or light sour cream

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)
Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro and yogurt separately.

Comments: Healthy, very delicious, and easy to make. What more could you ask for? I've made this one multiple times and it turns out great every time. The Cocoa adds a wonderful, unique flavor.

Source: Epicurious

Wednesday, May 16, 2007



1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
a 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves


In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occassionaly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, the coriander, the fennel seeds, the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well. The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.


This dish is simple to prepare, and very delicious. The Wife raves about this one and asks me to make it often. As an additional step to make it extra delicious, Preheat your oven to 350, put the dish in the oven covered with shredded mozerella just until the cheese melts on top. Yummy.

Source: Epicurious

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ovo's Magic Huevos

Ovo's Magic Huevos is more a philosophy to cooking eggs then it is a hard and fast recipe.

When my good friend Kyle was living in Germany for a year writing his dissertation, he ended up living with a famous German drag queen and actress, Ovo Maltine. Ovo Maltine roughly translates to "Ovaltine", which is pretty hilarious.

Anyhow, Ovo would come home from the clubs and cook scrambled eggs for everyone who lived in the house by dumping whatever leftovers were in the fridge in with the eggs and scrambling it all together. Many delicious concotions resulted, and many leftovers that otherwise would have gone bad were used up.

When Kyle returned from Germany we started cooking eggs this way. I found it to be quite liberating, and ended up using some ingredients in scrambled eggs I never otherwise would have used.

One of my favorites was eggs with black beans, leftover salsa, crushed tortilla chips, and cheddar cheese. I used to make this one a lot when I lived in San Francisco and would have leftover chips and salsa from my Mission burritos, which was especially yummy since the salsa verde there is made with fresh avocado.

Another favorite was eggs with garlic, red pepper, and sausage sprinkled with fresh cilantro and a good dusting of turmeric. This looks bizarre but was quite yummy.

In the picture below I used some leftover ham, scallions, leftover shitake mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. Very delicious.

I encourage you to be more adventurous with your scrambled eggs. Throw in that leftover chili. Throw in the roasted chicken and leftover stuffing. Give it a shot. Do it for Ovo, who sadly is no longer with us.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Asian Soup with Spring Vegies

I'm posting this as a customizable approach to a simple asian soup.

First, the broth:

Vegetable or Chicken Stock, 40-45 oz.
1 garlic clove thinly sliced
1 inch of ginger, grated or finely chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

In a medium sized stock pot, but the stock, garlic, and ginger together and bring to a boil.

Next, the noodles:

You can use either soba or udon noodles for this recipe. If you can't find soba, you can use a whole week pasta. 4 oz. of noodles is a good amount for this soup.

Pick whichever noodles you desire, and put them into the boiling broth, reduce to a simmer for the amount of time needed to cook the pasta as directed on the pack.

Next come meat and vegies:

For the meat, you can use thinnly sliced chicken, pork, beef, or even cleaned and deveined shrimp. I used thinly sliced chicken in the picture above, and it turned out great.

For vegies you can use any combination of snap peas or sno peas, red bell pepper or thinly sliced hot chili peppers, bok choy or asparagus, shitake or golden mushrooms, etc. Stick to just a few vegetables to keep the soup elegant, and try to pick vegies that will add some nice color or contrast.

After the noodles have cooked, drop in your sliced vegies and meat. It should only take a few minutes in the boiling broth for the meat to cook. It's important that the vegies don't cook too long, or at too high of a heat, so they stay crisp and fresh.

Finally, the finishing touches.

2 Tsp of Lime juice, or about 1 lime. This adds a wonderful flavor to the soup.
Chopped scallions. Drop in the thinnly sliced white parts of 2-3 scallions.
Instead of scallions or in addition to them you can add some fresh cilantro. 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on whether or not you use the scallions.
Salt to taste.

Serve the soup fresh and hot a few minutes after you add the finishing touches.

Source: Original

Sunday, April 22, 2007

La Caja China

I was watching the Food Network last week and saw this intersting contraption called a "Caja China" featured on Bobby Flay's show. La Caja China was a Chinese cabinet that was brought to Cuba by Chinese immigrants that Cuban street vendors turned into a grill. Sort of a cultural cooking mash-up if you will. La Caja China is a box that has a rack of coals on top that roasts meat inside the box in about half the time as on a spit. La Caja China is an intersting concept, and comes highly recommended from some of the best chefs around.

I'm intrigued...so I think I'm going to buy one and try roasting a pig and a chicken for a backyard bbq. I'll take photos of the whole experience and post them here later this summer.

Check out La Caja China for yourself:


And if any of you out there have used a Caja China please post about your experiences!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Grilled Ginger-Soy Salmon Sandwiches and Spring Salad with Asian Pear


2 6 oz. Wild King Salmon Filets
1/2 Baguette
Melted Butter
Wasabi Paste or Powder
Mixed Greens
Cherry Tomatoes
Asian Pear

First prepare a simple marinade. For this one I used soy, rice wine vinegar, fresh sqeezed lime juice, 2 smashed garlic cloves, and about a 1/2 inch of chopped fresh ginger. I marinated the filets in the fridge for about 2 hours prior to grilling.

After the salmon is marinated, and the grill is heating, cut the baugette in two even halves, then slice each half down the middle to create the bread for your sandwiches. Lightly brush each underside with butter for grilling.

Next prepare your wasabi horseradish sauce. In a small dish combine your wasabi paste and horseradish until you get the classic looking wasabi green color, and it tastes right. In many grocery stores now you can find premade wasabi horseradish or mayo, and you can just as easily use one of these.

Grill the salmon, flipping once, until you see the meat of the fish begin to flake and seperate. Grill the buns butter side down at the same time, careful not to let them burn.

The salad can be made with a variety of ingredients. Asian pear is crsip and juicy, if you can find one at your local grocer it makes a wonderful treat in any salad. The feta compliments the pear nicely by adding a soft salty texture to the salad.

Comments: Both the salad and the fish turned out great, but I think the sandwich could have used a little something extra on it. Maybe grilled shitake mushrooms? Or perhaps if I had laid the fish on a piece of romaine. If anyone tries this one out and has suggestions for an improvement I'd appreciate it.

Source: Original

Monday, April 16, 2007

Simply Delicious Lentil Soup

Here is a quick, cheap, delicious lentil soup recipe that I've made for many years. This one always gets rave reviews. Don't skimp on the fresh spinach, it makes the soup extra tasty.


1 Large Onion
1 Pound Package Lentils
2-3 Carrots
4-5 Diced Yellow or Red Potatoes
2-3 Cups Fresh Spinach
10 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock
2 Tbs. Herbes de Provence or 1 Tbs. Thyme 1/2 Tbs. Rosemary 1/2 Tbs Marjoram
1/2 Tbs. Fresh Ground Pepper
1/4 Tbs. Salt


Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in medium sized stock pot. Saute onion until it is translucent.
Add diced carrots and potatoes. Saute for 5 mins, until carrots and potatoes begin to soften. Add Herbes de Provence and pepper and salt, stir to evenly coat ingredients. Add lentils and soup stock. Bring content of pot to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 35 mins. After lentil have softened, and about 5 mins. before soup is done, add fresh spinach. Serve hot.

Comments: Photo coming soon. This soup freezes and reheats very well.

Source: Original

Black Bean Ful

This is a simply delicious dish that was taught to me by a friend many years ago. I've modified the recipe slightly, but this one is a classic. I never make this without someone asking for the recipe.


2 Cans Black Beans
2 Lemons
1 Medium Tomato
1 Medium Onion
2-3 Cups Loosely Packed Fresh Cilantro
1 Cup Olive Oil
Black Pepper


Begin by cooking the onion in 2 tbs. Olive Oil until the onion is transparent. Put in finely chopped onion along with black beans and chopped tomato. Add remaining Olive Oil. Juice the lemons, and add lemon juice until the taste between olive oil and lemon balances out to slightly lemony flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer mixture for 10 minutes so flavors blend. Add chopped cilantro and simmer 5 more minutes. Serve over steamed white rice.

Comments: No picture for this one yet, but I will post one soon. For a tasty variation on this recipe, try adding red wine to sauce and a package of chicken legs. Simmer until chicken falls off the bone, then remove bones and enjoy.

Source: Original

Steak Frites with Bistro Fries

Steak Frites

4 beef steaks, such as porterhouse, sirloin, rib eye, shell or filet mignon (1/2 pound each and 3/4 to 1 inch thick), or one 2-pound steak
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon water

With a sharp knife, make small incisions, about 1 1/2 inches apart in the fat around the outside of each steak.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet or sauté pan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear for 1 minute on each side. Reduce the heat to medium. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper and continue cooking, turning the steaks every other minute, until you see little pearls of blood come to the surface, about 6 to 8 minutes. The steaks should be cooked rare to medium for juicy, tender meat.
Remove the steaks and place them on warmed plates. Over medium heat, deglaze the pan with the water and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Drizzle these pan juices over the meat and serve at once with fries.

Bistro French Fries with Parsley and Garlic

4 medium russet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), unpeeled
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices, then cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide strips. Pat potato strips dry with paper towels. Combine potatoes and oil in large bowl; toss to coat well. Divide potatoes between 2 large baking sheets; spread in single layer. Bake until potatoes are deep golden brown, turning and rearranging potatoes frequently, about 40 minutes.
Transfer potatoes to bowl. Toss with parsley, garlic and coarse salt.

Comments: Delicious! We used organic filets from a local market, Kowalski's, and this turned out excellent. Very easy to prepare. A note on preparing the fries: I wasn't too careful about making them all the same thickness and as a result they cooked unevenly. Next time, I will take more care to make them consistent.

Source: Epicurious

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce and Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin and Lime

I put these two recipes together to make one easy-to-make, tasty meal.

First, start with the soup, since it needs to chill in the fridge for a while:


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled, chopped (about 5 cups)
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
6 1/2 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
8 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons grated lime peel


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots and leeks; sauté until leeks begin to soften but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add cumin and crushed red pepper; sauté 30 seconds longer. Add 6 1/2 cups chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until vegetables are very tender, about 35 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Transfer soup to large bowl. Cool. Whisk in 6 tablespoons sour cream. Cover soup and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Stir lime juice into soup. Thin soup with more broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into 4 bowls. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon sour cream atop each serving. Sprinkle with cilantro and lime peel.

And then the salmon:

6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
6 Tablespoons Lime Butter Sauce (see recipe for this below)

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).

Season salmon all over with salt and pepper, then grill, flesh sides down, on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using gas grill) 4 minutes. Turn fillets over and grill (covered only if using gas grill) until just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more. Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.

Lime Butter Sauce:


1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted


Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.


We really enjoyed the soup, Nicole thought she would have enjoyed it more if it was actually warm instead of chilled. The salmon with the lime butter was easy to prepare (I used the broiler instead of the grill), and went well with the soup. I would definitely make this meal again, but would leave the soup warm the next time.

Source: Epicurious