Desperation Lo Mein

 

Tonight the chicken expired. It's my fault, I didn't check the date on the doorbuster deal for the skinless, boneless white meat I almost never buy. It also means I was taken by a market that needed to unload skinless, boneless white meat. My Sunday purchase had a use by date of Monday. I hate when that happens.

Nonetheless we soldier on, picking a quick trip to the mall over another run into the grocery. Meaning, a vegetable-centric, chicken-free lo mein for dinner. And while probably not so authentic, it's still pretty tasty and missing most of the fat of the take away version. Oh yes, I also didn't have Chinese noodles or rice wine.

Here's the ad hoc version:

1 head broccoli in florets

1 quarter head napa cabbage in matchsticks

1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

2 handfuls shiitake mushrooms, no stems, thinly sliced

4 scallions, thinly sliced whites and greens separated

10-12 oz spaghetti (your choice)

Pinch hot pepper flakes

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon white wine

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

About a teaspoon of grated ginger (use the microplane!)

A pinch of sugar

Salt

 

Get the pasta water started with some salt and cook pasta according to directions. Prep all the vegetables before starting to cook. Make sauce by combining soy sauce, wine, rice wine vinegar, ginger and sugar. Set aside.Meanwhile heat large skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Add a pinch of pepper flakes. Add the broccoli and cook until almost tender. Feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of water and even slap a lid on it to speed it up (told you -NOT authentic!) Toss in all of the other veggies, minus the scallion greens, and a sprinkle of salt into pan. It should cook in 3-5 minutes. Then add pasta, sauce and scallion greens. Heat through, done.

Eat, enjoy – B

BTW -salt lovers might want more soy.

Btw2-the following will make you feel better. I added the broccoli before the pepper flakes, but we like it spicy. Then I answered the phone. Then I remembered the flakes so decided to add them, except the grill was missing from the top and I added something like 2 tablespoons…not too worry. I moved the broccoli, scooped out all but a scraping of pepper flakes and continued on my merry way. Now you know.

 

We’re Having Beefaroni

Does anyone else remember beefaroni? That Chef Boyardee had the right idea…the execution on the other hand, not so much.

When all is said and done, beefaroni is just a meat sauce with pasta. If you start by cooking the sauce down for 3-4 hours you will definitely have something to make Chef B happy.

It wasn’t the can I was looking to replicate anyway. Still inspired by recipes in the current Bon Appetit from Porsena in New York City, I ran out to get sausage and ground pork. Unfortunately I missed several other ingredients on the list and wouldn’t hit a third grocery in a day for love or money. I grew up on braised meats dangit, Italian and Jewish.

Here’s what I did.

I took the casings off a pound of sweet Italian sausage, browned it and a pound of ground pork in a dollop of olive oil. That comes out of the pan.

Processed 1 medium onion, a carrot, 3 garlic cloves with 2 small stalks of celery and added it to the pan with some salt, pepper, dried oregano (2 teaspoons?)and red pepper flake (caution!). When the veggies were soft, I reduced a cup of red wine in them till it just about disappeare

Sausage and pork head back into the pan, adding a processed 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes and a cup of water. Brought to a boil, reduce to simmer partially covered and cooked till tender. Season and taste at hour 3. Watch the liquids – you can always add more water.

Here’s the sequence:

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Great for freezer or fridge or that night’s dining with a pound of pasta.

Enjoy – B

A Mostly Meat Free Monday

Let’s preface this by saying, I really did not feel like cooking tonight. I didn’t want to make the planned stir fry. I didn’t want to celebrate meatless Monday. I didn’t want to leave the sofa or the bodice ripper that got delivered to the office among the cookbooks.

That said, I got up and did it anyway. I skipped the prep and chop of stir fry, going Mexican instead. Lighter chicken enchiladas are a fam fave. I borrowed the sauce from Martha Stewart, but made veggie stuffed corn tortillas all on my own. This sauce uses chicken stock. Meat free sticklers feel free to use vegetable stock.
Don’t tell anyone south of the border, but I used last night’s leftover rice pilaf as a base. I sliced and sautéed another giant onion, a bell pepper, and let a few handfuls of spinach steam with the whole kit and caboodle. Salt & pepper to taste. Use a little sauce to bind the filling. Wrap 8 corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and zap in the microwave for 30-ish seconds. Stuff the tortillas, lay in an 8 inch casserole with more sauce top and bottom, and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven until bubbly.

Dig in, B

Super Cheap Eats

I'm pretty sure you couldn't get any more budget friendly. Even better to be able to use pantry staples and the dregs of the fridge to churn out a second helpings necessary pasta?! Kitchen life doesn't get better than that.

Ripped from the pages of Bon Appetit, I give you a way to use kale that will make you devoted. Porsena's Sara Jenkins created this recipe that seasons the bread crumbs, the kale and the pasta separately. Divine!

I didn't have orecchiette, a pasta shape named for and reminiscent of small ears. Spaghetti worked just fine. I also wouldn't advertise the anchovies unless you know the audience, or the kale for that matter. In fact just make and serve. Enough with the hard sell to a tough audience. If they're garlic lovers, that should be enough.

Also, my guy claimed it was perfect as is, but I might lose a little of the butter and add lemon zest next time. It was perfect, but we can't help ourselves.

Next up Sarah's ragu! After that I hope to lure her onto “Living At Home”, my series on SiriusXM 110, 10-noon east, tempting talk from the day's headlines, health news you can use, to what y'all can serve for dinner.

 

Midweek Ribs

I love creating recipes, but then again, sometimes I don't. After all I am not a restaurant! That established (again) I pull from far and wide in the search for deliciousness…and easy edible weekday dinners.

During my daily schlepp earlier this week, the following rib recipe caught my eye in Bon Appetit. I also knew I could get them cooking while making dinner last night and do a quick re-heat today.

 

Here's what I didn't know when I made the commitment…I had neither dried garlic nor granulated onion for the dry rub. No matter! I subbed fresh garlic and skipped the onion. No one licking their fingers at my table seemed to miss it.

The instructions call for serving with a prepared BBQ sauce (really?!) I say use this Martha Stewart recipe for a better version that's thrown together In literally 10 minutes – I mean it, literally! Plus this sauce keeps awhile in the fridge. Nice for its intended grilled chicken, or turkey burgers, or maybe roasted butternut squash.

I was so proud of making weekday ribs I blabbed to grilling guru Elizabeth Karmel when I ran into her in the SiriusXM lobby. BTW, in my world that's a humble brag :o) I did however give her all the credit for inspiring me – she made me into the charcoal grilling devotee I am today. See attached photo of me and my Weber to reminisce about summer.

 

 

“Asian” Noodle Bowl!

 

Dinner tonight!

Let's just say I sometimes know how to get the kids to eat their veggies. By calling the soup “Asian” I had their full attention and palates. I do sometimes wonder though if they think the country of “Asian” includes that entire side of the Pacific rim, minus Japan, the holy grail of sushi! And I realize that by offering a mash-up of countries and cuisines in one bowl I am perpetuating the problem. I don't care-I still got them to eat broccoli, mushrooms and sugar snap peas.

My friend Nancie McDermott who has written some crazy good cookbooks including a couple featuring Thai and Vietnamese sparked today's kitchen foray when she came on my SiriusXM radio show (10-12 am east, channel 110-couldn't help myself :). So I enhanced some stock with rotisserie chicken bones, ginger, garlic and the liquor from rehydrated wild dried mushrooms. Then I laid out the buffet:

Cooked rice noodles

Chopped scallions

Steamed broccoli

Raw slivered sugar snaps

Wild mushrooms (Italian, but what the heck)

Shredded chicken

Lime

Other choices-sesame seeds, bean sprouts, snow peas, water chestnuts egg etc…

I also laid on the spice with a favorite fermented hot sauce and enough extra soy to numb their tongues and bloat their ankles till Friday.

Success!

Btw – tomorrow's ribs are in the oven as we speak. I caught a Bon Appetite recipe on my way home and couldn't help myself. Rub, Braise, Cut, Reheat.

 

A Chili Weeknight

 

Old man winter made me do it. All I heard was 12 degrees by Wednesday and I broke out the chili powder. Also the market was out of chipotle in adobo so the recipe for turkey meatballs would have to wait…again. (This is like the recipe that got away-I never make it!) Finally my radio producer and my little guy go for meat and beans. By default I will be loved!

I've included the link to the Martha Stewart recipe I used for the most part, give or take proportions. It calls for several pounds of ground meat. I don't have that many takers, so I halved most everything. Nonetheless, I have plenty to bring to work tomorrow.

Martha Stewart's turkey and bean chili!