Monday, March 29, 2010

Easy rice cooker sausage and greens on rice

This is a really easy way to whip up some dinner after a long day. The main weird ingredient you'll need is Chinese sausage. Here's a picture of one brand and a picture of the actual sausage in a package. Chinese sausage is one of the meats that I like to keep around since it keeps for a long time and you don't have to worry about it going bad too quickly - it also adds sweet/savory flavor to meals. You can also throw some diced garlic into this, but I don't think it's necessary.

You'll need:
1-2 Chinese sausages
5-10 leaves of a hardy green (Mustard, kommatsuna, etc)
1.5-2 c. rice
2x as much water as rice

Cut sausages into small (1/2-1" circles), then chop the greens into smaller pieces. Put rice and water in the rice cooker, then throw in sausages and then greens. Turn on rice cooker, wait 20 minutes and then eat. I recommend adding some soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sriracha.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Squash with Marmalade

This recipe was on a sticker on the cute mini-acorn squashes I got today at the store, and turned out really well (especially since I was using Melanie's homemade marmalade):

Cook acorn squash according to standard operating procedures (cut in half, remove seeds, put face down on cookie sheet in 400 degree oven for around 30 minutes until very soft when poked with a fork)

Flip the squashes so that the inside is facing up. Put a dollop of orange marmalade and a dollop of butter in the center of each half squash. Place under broiler on high until somewhat browned.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Chocolate Bread (Pane al Cioccolato)

I remember getting this bread, or something like it, at Turtle Bread. It was absolutely fabulously delicious, especially when schmeared with mascarpone. The recipes (here and here) I derived this from are pretty complex, and give the measurements in weight and traditional cups/tbsps. I prefer the latter, so that's what I'll use primarily. If you want weights, feel free to look at those links.

The Night Before:
You need to mix "biga naturales" which are a form of starter. I think they recipe would be fine without this, but you might want to increase the yeast later:

1/4c. flour
1/8c. water
pinch of yeast

Mix, and then let sit covered at least 8 hours (or overnight).

Day Of:

Biga Naturales, cut into small pieces
3 c. flour
1 1/8c. water
1/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp salt

1/4-1/2 c. chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients, then knead for 5-8 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Knead in chocolate chips.

Let rest until doubled in covered lightly oiled bowl (around 2 hours).

Divide into as many loaves as you want (this makes 3 smallish loaves, or 2 medium loaves). Shape into spheres, let rest 20 minutes, then shape into the final shape. Score with 2-3 slashes.

Let rest until around twice the original size (the original recipe said 3 hours, but I don't have that kind of patience.)

Place a stout pan in the bottom of the oven with ~1c. water, and preheat to 400 degrees. The recipes online say it should take 20 + 20 minutes with a rotation, but I found it only took about 12 + 12 minutes, so just use your instincts.

Let rest at least 1 hour. Eat (I don't foresee this step being a problem)

I only made this once, so anyone who wants to post modifications is quite welcome.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


This is not a definitive recipe or anything, but it almost always turns out excellently, and so I thought it might be useful to readers of the blog/family members as a good burger recipe. Using a lot of fresh onion in meat is a trick from Lillian.

1# Ground beef (if you use leaner beef, you it won't flame up as much, but it might not be quite as tasty)
1/2 onion (you can mix white and red onion for extra deliciousness)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 egg
1/4c. or so breadcrumbs
Several dashes of Worcester Sauce
1 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses (Dibis rumaan) (optional)

Run the onion and garlic through the food processor, or mince very finely. Mix everything together. The role of the breadcrumbs is to reduce the moisture of the burgers so that they're workable, so you'll have to add more or less depending on the size of the egg, the moistness of the meat, etc.

When everything is mixed, form into patties - Lillian recommends putting an indentation in the center, which will "pop up" when they're ready. I mostly judge the doneness by the size of the burger (they shrink quite a bit). The onions in burgers will keep them more moist than they would be otherwise, so there's less danger of overcooking them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crazy Easy Fudgey Brownies

Made these for cards night and covered them in melted chocolate. The melted chocolate part didn't go 100% right so I won't post that part. The brownies themselves are delish, though. This is the Hershey's fudgey brownie recipe.

1 4 oz. bar unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. flour

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 or 8x8 brownie pan.

Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in the microwave using short bursts at 50% power. When the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stir in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour and stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips or nuts, if desired.

Pour into pan and bake for ~35 minutes, until the center is just set and a knife.toothpick comes out of the middle almost clean (it will set up more as it cools, and it's supposed to be gooey anyway).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Soup. In 15 minutes.

Tonight we decided to dine in. At the last minute. But, what kind of domestic goddess am I if I can't whip up something delicious with no warning? That's right. So, I bring you -

La Sopa des Frijoles Negras y Papas de Sabado

1 onion
1 large or 2 small potatoes
3 cloves garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 can refried beans (preferably black beans)
1 can black beans
some pimentos or something similar, if available (for color)
1 cup frozen (or canned) corn
1 TBSP chili powder
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
2 TSP cumin
salt and pepper

Saute chopped onion with diced (tiny pieces) potato. Add chopped garlic and stir fry until golden. Do not let garlic burn. Add chicken broth and bring to boil; cook until potatoes are soft. Turn down to simmer, add spices and beans. Smoosh up the refried beans until they are evenly dispersed into the broth. Cook for a few minutes to blend flavors. Add corn and pimientos and cook until everything is heated and it tastes good.

Optional toppings: finely chopped onion, grated cheese, sour cream, small pieces of tortilla chips, often found at bottom of bag.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dan Dan Noodles

I think this recipe has every flavor your tongue can taste in it. Spicy chili oil, astringent and cooling Szechuan pepper, salty and bitter pickled greens, meaty pork, and just a hint of sweet and sour. Some of the ingredients may seem exotic, but many of them can be substituted with more common things. This recipe is easily scaled for however many people are eating and for individual tastes, as you add the seasoning to each bowl individually. I make lots of the pork topping and freeze it for later use, because the other items are in my cupboard all the time. It is based on this YouTUBE recipe.

Pork Mixture

1 lb. ground pork
1/2 c. Chinese pickled vegetable/cabbage
1/2 c. chopped bamboo shoots

Brown the ground pork with a few pinches salt. Rinse the pickled vegetable and squeeze out the excess water. Chop finely. Add the vegetable and bamboo shoots and heat through. If you don't have the pickled vegetable (you can find it in a can at the Asian store), add finely chopped cabbage or mustard greens and extra salt. Bamboo shoots can be omitted.


This recipe is for one bowl's worth. To scale up to more bowls, just add the same thing to each bowl, accommodating for the eater's taste.

1 bundle round noodles, typically wheat, though rice or yam would be good
1 c. hot chicken broth
2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Chinese black vinegar or balsamic
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. black sesame paste or tahini mixed with 1 tsp. roasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorn
1 small clove garlic, crushed
dash of chili oil, to taste
sliced green onions for garnish

While boiling noodles, combine all sauce ingredients in each bowl. If you don't have black sesame paste or tahini, peanut butter can be substituted. Adjust proportions until the broth in each bowl has the desired flavor. When the noodles are cooked, drain them and scoop into each bowl. Top with a pile of the pork mixture and some fresh green onions. Enjoy!

Levantine Okra Soup البامية

This is a recipe I really love primarily from the Levantine area of the Middle East. It includes what a friend once described as the "three basics" of Levantine spices: garlic, tomatoes, and cilantro (sometimes parsley). This obviously isn't in everything, but they make a meal out of near anything...

You can make this with either lamb or chicken. I happened to have some lamb broth, but after testing my squat PR, I didn't really feel like biking to the only place I know that sells lamb, so I used chicken.

This recipe is based on one from the "Arabic Cooking: Step by Step" cookbook I have (in Arabic).


Lamb or chicken (for the lamb use rib meat if possible, cut into small pieces, and I used whole bone-in chicken - if you omit the meat, this is vegetarian friendly)
1 pound okra, detailed and cut into 1/4-1/2" slices (frozen is fine)
4-5 tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, minced
1/4-1/2 c. minced cilantro

2-3 cloves garlic, squished with salt
Juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp. Arabic spices
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3-4 c. chicken or lamb broth (or water) (Unless you produce it as detailed below)

For lamb meat:
1. Brown the lamb in some oil or fat, then add some salt, and water to cover, then bring to a boil and simmer for two hours (or 45 minutes in a pressure cooker).

For chicken:
1. Boil chicken (I boiled it in the lamb broth) until cooked, then remove the meat from the bones.

2. Saute the onions until transparent, then add the tomatoes. When they start releasing their juices, add the okra, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and spices, and cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Add broth (or the lamb juice) and meat to the pot (it should make a soupy-stew consistency), then cook until the okra is no longer woody, about 1/2 hour.

Serve on vermicelli rice and enjoy!