Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

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Egyptian Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 medium sized Red Pontiac Potatoes, cut in 2mm slices
2 cups Sugar Snap Peas
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
1/4 cup Bacon Bits (Real or Soy)
1 Lime
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • In a bowl, toss the Potatoes with Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until fork tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Toss and stir so they do not stick.
  • Halve the Lime, and squirt the juice over the Potatoes. Invert the peal and leave to cook with the Potatoes for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the Sugar Snap Peas, Balsamic Vinegar Glaze, and Sour Cream, and 2 Tbsp water to the pan. Stir well, so everything is coated, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Toss in the Bacon Bits, remove from heat and serve.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: It is rare that I say this, but I prefer this with the soy-based Bacon Bits rather than real Bacon. One can also use fat-free sour cream and reduce the calories further. Be sure not to add too much salt to the potatoes, as they Bacon Bits will add some when added.

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Pork Dumplings – 猪肉饺子 – Zhūròu Jiǎozi

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

50 Dumpling or Wonton Wrappers
1 Nappa Cabbage (if steaming)
Safflower or Vegetable Oil (if frying)

Filling
1 lb ground Pork
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 red Chili Peppers, de-seeded and minced (include white ribs for more heat) or Jalapeño
3 Scallions, the white portion chopped (use the green portion in the sauce)
3 Tbsp Water Chestnuts, minced
1 tsp Sichuan Peppercorns, coarsely ground (optional)
1 tsp Soy Sauce

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp-1 Tbsp Hot Chili Oil
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
Scallion Greens, chopped

Directions:

  • Prepare the Filling – Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Let rest for 1 to 3 hours.
  • Fill the Dumplings – Line a baking sheet or table with parchment paper for Dumplings to sit on before they are steamed. Fill a bowl with cold water. Use a pastry brush or rolled paper towel to coat wrspper edges of a Wraper. Take a bite-size portion of the filling and put it in the center of the wrapper. Fold* the wrapper sealing along the wet edges, set on parchment, and repeat.
  • A. Steam the Dumplings – In preparation, put the steam basket in the pan or pot you are going to use. Add just enough water to be brlow the base of the basket. Remove the basket and line with leaves of Cabbage, not closing off all the holes. Place the dumplings on top of the cabbage, leaving space so they do not touch each other or the sides. Bring the water to a boil. Carefully set the basket in the water and cover. Cook for about 12 minutes. Remove and repeat. You can cover the cooked dumplings to retain moisture before serving. They should ideally be eaten immediately, while additional batches cook.
  • B. Fry the Dumplings – Heat a wok or large frying pan on medium heat. Add a little oil. Carefully add some dumplings, and cook, lightly tossing, until the side touching the pan is a dark golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined rack to drain excess oil.
  • Prepare the Dipping Sauce – In a small bowl, mix all the liquid ingredients of the Sauce together with a fork or whisk. Adjust the taste to your liking between salty, sweet, hot, and bitter. Stir in the Dry ingredients.
  • Serve with dipping sauce on the side as soon as the Dumplings are done, especially if steaming. If you are serving later, frying is recommended over steaming.

* Folding. There are many ways tonfold dumplings, some requiring practice and skill. Round wrappers are either folded in half and crymped along the folded edge making a slight crescent shale, or the edge bunched up to the center making a tear drop.

If using square shaped or wonton wrappers, the easiest is to fold diagonally, then pull the opposing side corners together and press against the mound of stuffing–think of a person folding their arms. Another way is to pull the corners rogether resembling a hobo sack. As you work with dumplings, play with folds that you find online and feel comfortable with. The key thing is to not tear the wrapper and to make sure the insides are sealed.

Notes: These are a Chinese version known as Jiaozi 餃子 and are either boiled (水餃 water dumpling), steamed (蒸餃 steamed dumpling), or fried (煎餃 dry-fried dumpling or 鍋貼 pan-stick). They are traditionally circular wrappers folded in half and crymped along the edge to make a crescent shape.

When cooking, I do recommend using cooking chopsticks or tongs…this helps with transfering dumplings in and out of the cooking vessels…the fillings are damn hot if you try to use your fingers…so I’m told…

I should note thst dumpling dough is different than wonton dough, though you can use the more readily available wonton wrappers. Wontons are thinner whereas dumoling dough is more like ravioli pasta. The ingredients are different…maybe I will play with dough recipes, but for now, I will stick with store bought wrappers.

Stuffed dumplings are served all around the world with various fillings–perogies, empañadas, samosas, and ravioli are just a few examples that are not East Asian.

You can play with spices and fillings to suit your palate and needs. I’ve seen some with various ground meats and seafood, or all vegetables, with bean pastes, and even fusion hybrids such as stuffed with meatloaf! Often left over fillings make great snacks fried in patties or balls.


The limits are your imagination. I hope to add a few different fillings and dipping sauces as I experiment.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with QuinoaShrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Ingredients
1 lb jumbo Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Quinoa
2 cups Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Green Bell Peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Bay Leaf
2 tsp Thyme, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp Oregano, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Ground
Tabasco Sauce to taste

Directions:

  • In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and brown the Andouille Sausage.
  • Add the Bell Pepper, Yellow Onion, and Celery, and saute until it is soft.
  • Add the Garlic and stir for another minute or so.
  • Add all Herbs, Shrimp, and Chicken Stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the Quinoa and cook, covered for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add Tabasco Sauce to taste–some like it hotter than others.

Makes 4-6 servings

NOTES: Jambalaya is a traditional dish from Louisiana made from rice and akin to Paella. I thought it would be fun to try this dish with Quinoa instead since I’m not a big fan of Rice. I must say I was quite pleased with the result.

You can add Chicken to this recipe, as most Jambalaya recipes do include chicken. It would be cooked at the same time as the Andouille. Some Jambalaya, especially that near New Orleans is known as “Creole” vs. “Cajun”. The only big difference I’ve been able to note, other than mild spice variations, is the use of Tomatoes in the Creole version. I chose to go with the Cajun style, lacking the tomatoes since it is the Cajuns that are my familial cousins.

Roasted Winter Root Soup

Ingredients:
1 med Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Carrot, skinned, chopped
1 Parsnip, skinned, chopped
1 Turnip, skinned, chopped
1 Sweet Potato, skinned, chopped
2 Potatoes, chopped
2 Kielbasa Sausages, sliced in 1 cm thick rounds
6 cups Vegetable Stock/Broth
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Dill
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add all Root Vegetables and Kielbasa to a Dutch Oven, coat with the Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and then another 10 minutes.
  • Remove and scrap into a large Soup Pot.
  • Add the Vegetable Stock and heat on high heat until it boils.
  • Add the remaining Herbs and Spices, reduce heat to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a family recipe from my Slovakian side of the family, originating from Medzev, Slovakia (formerly Metzenseifen).

When chopping the vegetables, think of bite-size/spoon size pieces. You can substitute Mushroom Broth or Chicken Stock for the Vegetable Stock. You can also utilize any other cooked Sausage instead of Kielbasa if you like.

This simple, healthy dish will keep you warm on a blustery winter night.

Italian Green Salad

Ingredients:
8 cups Mesclun Greens
1 cup fresh Basil, leaves only
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Kirby Cucumber, sliced
12-16 large Green Olives (stuffed is a plus)
1 small Red Onion, chopped
2-4 oz Prosciutto
2 Tbsp fresh Oregano
4-6 bocconcini Mozzarella, quartered
1/2 cup Pistachios, shelled
1 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette

Directions:

  • Prepare all items as listed above. For the Prosciutto, tear the slices into bite-size pieces. For the Onion, you can be artistic and thinly slice the pieces so that they are long and thin.
  • Mix all the ingredients together, except the Vinaigrette. I recommend mixing 2/3 of everything together, and then using the final 1/3 of the ingredients to decorate the top and make it look nice. This also ensure that when you toss the salad, everything does not end up on the bottom.
  • Serve in a large bowl with the Vinaigrette on the side.

Makes: 4 Servings.

NOTES: They say a good salad is a sign of a good chef. I dunno if I qualify or not, but here is my ideal salad. It is light and fresh, and you can tweak it to your guests tastes and needs. I find this salad is bright and cheerful and full of colors–and tastes like Spring. For the Olives, I recommend getting some stuffed with Garlic or Anchovies–adds a depth of flavor. If you are going to stuff them yourself, do it a few days a head of time, and let them soak in the brine.

Paella de Quinua – Quinoa Paella with Chicken and Shrimp

Paella de Quinua

Ingredients:
1 lb Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
6 Chicken thighs, skinless, boneless
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
2 Jalapeños, minced
5 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
2 Chorizo links, diced
1 Tbsp Paprika
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Saffron
2 tsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 cups Albariño or other white wine
2 cups Quinoa
1 Tbsp Capers
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped

Directions

  • In a large skillet or (if you have one) paellera, heat up the Olive Oil on medium heat.
  • Liberally coat the chicken in Salt and Pepper and place into the hot oil. Cook both sides until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the Onion, Peppers, Garlic, Shrimp, Chorizo, Herbs, Spices, and Tomato Paste to the pan. Stir well and cook till the Shrimp turn bright pink.
  • Add the Wine, Chicken Broth, Quinoa, and Capers. Reduce heat to low. Add the Chicken pieces back to the pan.
  • Cook for 10 minutes or until the Quinoa is finished cooking, adding water if needed. Quinoa forms a translucent outer casing when it is cooked well. Covering will help increase the cooking speed.
  • When the liquid has dissolved and the Quinoa has finished cooking, remove from the heat and toss in the Cilantro and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Paella is a traditional Valencian rice dish often with various types of seafood and or meat. Paprika, Saffron, and Chorizo are common ingredients added to the rice for flavor. Quinoa, is a grain from the Andes in South America. It has a similar consistency to Couscous, and can be used in many dishes in place of rice–though it is not a long grain. I thought it would be fun to try Paella with Quinoa–something I am sure is not a new idea, but not one I have seen that often. I chose Chicken and Shrimp, however you can add Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and/or Pork tenderloin to make it your own.

Poulet et Ventrèche Dijon au Gratin

Ingredients
6 boneless Chicken thighs
4 oz Ventrèche or Pancetta, thin sliced
2 Portabello Mushrooms, chopped
8 oz Provolone, sliced
4-6 cloves Garlic, sliced
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Basil, fresh, chopped
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Spread the Dijon mustard on the Chicken thighs and place them in a dutch oven.
  • Add the Portabellos, Garlic, Herbs, and Pepper.
  • Cover with a layer of the Ventrèche.
  • Cover with a layer of Provolone.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.

Makes 3 servings.

Escalope de Veau Comtoise – Comte Veal Scaloppini

Escalope de Veau Comtoise

Ingredients:
6 Veal cutlets, pounded thin
6 pieces Ham, thinly sliced
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (for coating)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 – 2 cups Comte cheese, shredded
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Place the Flour in a container and dredge the Veal cutlets.
  • In a large skillet, brown each piece of chicken on both sides in the Olive Oil. When each piece is browned, remove from the skillet and place in a baking dish.
  • Place a piece of ham on each cutlet, and then cover with shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • While it is baking, deglaze the skillet with the wine.
  • Add the Mushrooms, and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add the Heavy Cream and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the Veal from the oven; and plate.
  • Cover with the Mushroom Sauce.
  • Garnish with the fresh Parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

NOTES: I love looking at the cuisine of my the regions of the world from which my family comes. This recipe is a typical dish from the Franche-Comte region of France where my paternal grandmother’s paternal grandmother Adele Francais was born. This dish uses Comte cheese, a regional cheese similar to Gruyère. In fact you can substitute Gruyère for Comte if you cannot find Comte.  For those who object to the use of Veal, you can use Chicken cutlets.

Butternut Squash Roasted with Apples, Pears, & Sausage

Ingredients:
2 Butternut Squash, skinned, and cut in bite-size chunks
4 Apples, cut in bite-size chunks
2 Pears, cut in bite-size chunks
5 links Sweet Italian Sausage
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Yellow Onions, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Sage, chopped fine
2-4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Allspice

Directions:

  • Remove the casing from the Sausage, crumble and brown it in a Skillet on medium-low heat with the Olive Oil. Drain excess grease.
  • In a baking dish, combine all Ingredients (including the Sausage), and mix well.
  • Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until the Squash is tender.

Makes 8 Servings.

NOTES: This is a great way to introduce folks to Squash at a holiday meal. The Sausage, Fruit, and Maple Syrup add a festive flare that feed off the savory-sweet nature of Butternut Squash. You can substitute other varieties of winter squash for the Butternut Squash–just don’t use canned or frozen pureed squash! It won’t work!

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Ingredients:
12 fresh Figs
8 Breakfast Sausage Links
12 Walnuts
12 tsp Chèvre Goat Cheese
1 tsp Rosemary, minced
1 tsp Mint, minced
2-4 tsp Honey
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Water (for sausages)

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add the Water to a skillet, and cook the Sausage Links on medium heat. The water will evaporate as the Sausages cook, allowing them to not burn, yet cook all the way through.
  • Remove the stem of the Figs, and slice an x 1/3 of the way deep with the crux where the stem would have been. This allows for the Fig to be partially divided so that you may stuff it. Dipping a paper towel in Olive Oil, rub the Fig with it and set to the side.
  • Stuff with one walnut to each fig, and then 1 tsp of Chèvre on top.
  • Place on a non-stick baking sheet and put in the oven for 10-12 minutes. You can do this while the Sausage is cooking.
  • When the Sausage is cooked through, remove from the skillet, and pat with paper towels to remove excess grease.
  • Slice each Sausage into thirds. I recommend doing this at an angle for aesthetic value. Set to the side.
  • Remove the Figs from the oven. The Chèvre will have a slight crust, but should not have browned.
  • Plate the Figs and sprinkle the Herbs on top.
  • Drizzle the honey on the figs, and top with a piece of the Sausage.

NOTES: This makes an excellent nibble food for a Brunch or Tea. I recommend using a Maple-flavored Sausage link if you can find them. Do not use a dark strong honey, but rather an orange blossom or wild flower honey. As far as figs go, you can use any ripe fig variety.

Salsiccia Dolce con Peperoni e Cipolle – Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions

Salsiccia Dolce con Peperoni e Cipolle

Ingredients:
6-8 links of Sweet Italian Sausage
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced in strips
1-2 Peperoncini or Banana Peppers, sliced in strips
1 Yellow Onion, cut in wedges
2 cups Plum Tomatoes, diced
4-6 cloves Garlic, sliced
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Parmesan, shaved for garnish.

Directions:

  • Poke the Sausage with a fork one or two times.
  • Place the Sausage in a skillet on medium heat with the Water, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Only flip the Sausage once or twice. You are basically poaching the Sausage, but by the time it is cooked, the water will have evaporated.
  • Remove the Sausage to a broiling pan, and place in the Broiler.
  • De-glaze the Skillet with the White Wine.
  • Add the Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Tomatoes and Herbs to the Skillet.
  • Heat through, stirring often so that nothing sticks or browns; about 5 minutes.
  • Check on the Sausage, and flip so that both sides get broiled.
  • Continue heating the Onions and Peppers for about 2-3 more minutes. If the skillet is small, and thus the mixture very deep, you should cover and let the steam help cook the Onions and Peppers.
  • Plate the Onions and Peppers on a platter, and then arrange the Sausage on top. Serve the Parmesan on the side.

Makes 6-8 Sausages

NOTES: This dish is great by itself or divided into Hoagies. You can use Salsiccia Piccante (Spicy Italian Sausage) if you prefer. Additionally, you may choose to top with Mozzarella, though I think the crunchy nutty flavor of the Parmesan can’t be beat. You can also do the Sausages on the Grill. If you do this, you can cook the Peppers and Onions in the Skillet starting with the adding of the Wine.

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Burgundy Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
Pork Tenderloin, 1lb
12 Pearl Onions, skinned and marked with a deep “x” along the bottom
4 cloves Garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped
1-2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Capers (optional)
2 cups Table Mushrooms, thick sliced (or of small, whole)
1 cup Burgundy
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 350F.
  • Sprinkle the Pork Loin with the Spice Rub, and place into a Dutch Oven.
  • Combine Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Herbs, Wine, and Stock to the Dutch Oven.
  • Mix 1 Tbsp of Butter with the Flour, and form a Beurre manie.
  • Divide the Beurre manie in dollops on the top of the mixture.
  • Do the same with the remaining Butter.
  • Bake, covered for 35-40 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove the Roast from the Dutch Oven, and let rest on a plate before slicing against the grain.
  • Cover the sliced Roast with the Mushrooms and Onions, discarding the Bay Leaf.
  • Take the remaining liquid to the stove, and reduce on High Heat, until it can coat a spoon, adjusting Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pour over the Roast, or serve on the side.

NOTES: This is one of my favorite ways to do Pork Tenderloin. If you cannot find Burgundy, your favorite Red wine will do, so long as it is not too strong and dry.

Hawaiian Pork Chops

Hawaiian Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 thick-cut Pork Chops (8-10 oz each)
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Coconut Rum
1 can Pineapple Chunks
1 Shallot, diced
3 cloves Garlic, sliced horizontal
2 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Rub the Steak Spice Rub on both sides of the chops. Use more Spice Rub if needed.
  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Heat a large heavy skillet on high with the Olive Oil.
  • Place the Chops in the skillet and let cook for 2 minutes. Do not move them while they cook.
  • Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove to a baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Deglaze the pan with the Coconut Rum. Be careful, as it will likely flame up.
  • Add the Pineapple and Juice, as well as all the other ingredients to the pan.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly, and coating the Fruit with the sauce.
  • Remove the Pork Chops from the Oven (if internal temp is at 160°F) and plate.
  • Pour the Sauce and Fruit over the Pork Chops.

Makes 4 chops.

NOTES: It appears that any recipe with Pineapple is called “Hawaiian”–though no specific “style” of cooking seems to accompany it. I prefer a pan sauce, myself.  Though the pan sauce could be used as a glaze poured on pork chops cooked on the grill.

Antipasto di Pomodoro e Pesto – Tomato & Pesto Canapés

Antipasto di Pomodoro e Pesto

Ingredients:
5 Plum Tomatoes
4 slices Prosciutto
5 slices Provolone
6 Tbsp Basil Pesto

Directions:

  • Prepare the Tomatoes: Stand the Plum Tomatoes up, stem-side down. You will be “shaving” off the sides of the tomatoes–think 4 sides per Tomato. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice off each of the four sides with a gentle sawing motion. The pieces will look like little boats. Remove any seeds and membrane. Set to the side.
  • Prepare the Prosciutto: Do this to each Prosciutto individually. Lay each slice flat–the slices are generally rectangular in shape. You want to cut each piece into 5 smaller pieces. Set to the Side.
  • Prepare the Provolone: Cut each slice into quarters.
  • Plate the Tomatoes, inside facing up like a bowl.
  • Place a piece of Prosciutto into each “bowl”. I recommend rolling the small pieces and placing them into the Tomato neatly.
  • Place a piece of Provolone on top of the Prosciutto. It will extend over the edges of the Tomato.
  • Using two teaspoons, shape oblong dollops of Pesto. Place the dollop on the top, center of the Provolone, in the same direction as the Tomato slice.

Makes 20 pieces.

NOTES: The tongue-shaped slice of the plum Tomatoes make them perfect to fit in the mouth. The salty prosciutto, creamy sharp provolone, and basil pesto are amazing. I came up with this wanting to use up some left over tomatoes and pesto from another recipe. This is simple, and quick, and like I said, very flavorful.

Pininyahang Manok – Pineapple Chicken

Pininyahang Manok – Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients:
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeños, minced
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 Pineapple, diced (about 4 cups)
2 links Chorizo Español picante, sliced into rounds
1 lb Chicken Breast, diced (boneless, skinless)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
1/4 cup Coconut Water
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Prepare all ingredients before starting.
  • In a large pot, on medium heat, combine the Onion, Bell Pepper and Jalapeños; cooking for about minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, Ginger, Chorizo, and Pineapple.
  • You want to sauté these ingredients, letting them brown and caramelize a little for flavor.
  • Add the Chicken, Crushed Red Pepper, Pineapple Juice, and Coconut Water.
  • Let the Chicken cook through, about 5-10 minutes. You can speed this up by putting a lid on effectively steaming and poaching at the same time.
  • Add the fresh Parsley, and Season with Salt and Pepper; cook for an additional minute.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Pininyahang Manok is essentially a Filipino chicken stew with pineapple. I have substituted Coconut Water for Coconut Milk, though you can retain the milk instead if you prefer. I have also added Chorizo to give it a depth of smoky, salty flavor. With regards to the chicken, you can also use bone-in chicken pieces–but I’d suggest Thighs instead of breasts.

This dish would serve well as a stew, but also can be served over rice.

The Chorizo used is a Spanish-style cured Chorizo–unlike the Mexican variety which, though flavorful, is raw and often cooked like ground beef. Spanish-style Chorizo comes in “dulce” and “picante”–with my preference for picante in this dish. Do not accidentally use a Portuguese Chouriço de Sangue, often marketed as just Chouriço, as it is VERY different.

Prosciutto Asparagus

Ingredients:
6-8 oz Prosciutto, pre-sliced, cold
1 bunch Asparagus, woody ends removed
3-6 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
Water for blanching
Salt for water
Big Bowl of Ice Water for cooling

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of Salted Water to a boil.
  • Drop in the Asparagus and let it cook until bright Green–watch it, do not leave. As soon as you see them turning bright green, use tongs and remove to the Ice Water to stop the cooking.
  • Dry off the Asparagus on paper towels.
  • Lay Wax paper on the counter or table, and place slices of Prosciutto flat on the wax paper. You should plan 1 piece per Asparagus spear, unless the Asparagus is extremely big or long.
  • Carefully spread a small schmear of Cream Cheese on the Prosciutto. You do not want too much, or it will be clumpy. Try to make the schmear even. You may not use all of the Cream Cheese
  • Wrap each Prosciutto slice around an Asparagus spear, schmeared side against the stock, spiraling up the stock so the entire stock is covered. It is ok if the Prosciutto overlaps itself a little.
  • The Prosciutto should stick to itself at the end of the wrapping, but if not, add a little Cream Cheese and press.
  • Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Serves 8-10

NOTES: You do not want too much Cream Cheese, and you want to avoid it oozing. This is a very simple easy-to-do Hors D’œuvre that is a crowd pleaser. To help cut down the fat, you can use fat-free Cream Cheese or American Neufchâtel–French Neufchâtel is not as spreadable, and harder to acquire.

Tournedos de Poulet dans une Sauce Sherry – Bacon Wrapped Chicken in a Sherry Sauce

Tournedos de Poulet dans une Sauce Sherry and Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:
6 boneless Chicken Thighs or Breasts, butterfly cut
1 cups Mushrooms, diced fine
6 Sage leaves, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 small White Onion, diced
2 oz “Baby” Brie, very cold
24 slices thick-cut Bacon (about 1 lb)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Sherry
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 tsp Corn Starch
2 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 300°F
  • Using a sharp knife, dice the Brie. It must be very cold so it can do this.
  • Combine in a bowl with the Mushrooms, Sage, Garlic, and Onions, a dash of Salt and a crack of Pepper.
  • Flatten the chicken with a mallet. You can do this by placing it between two pieces of wax paper, and pounding out away from you–think “pound and slide”.
  • Using one had like a cup, place a piece of Chicken in it, and then with the other hand place the Mushroom stuffing in the middle of the Chicken piece. You can press the stuffing together–the Brie will bind it.
  • Bring your cupping hand together so that a seam forms from the opposing ends of the chicken. You can then seal this with a toothpick.
  • Take a piece of bacon and cover the seam, wrapping the ends under.
  • You will then wrap two more strips perpendicular to this strip, covering it, and tucking the ends on the bottom like the first strip.
  • Roll the piece over, and take a fourth strip of bacon and cover over the seams going length wise tucking under. Set aside and complete all pieces.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet, and using tongs, place the Tournedos in the pan. You will want the final strip of bacon to be face up, and it’s seams on the bottom.
  • Clasping from the sides with the tongs, flip the Tournedos and brown the other side. You may then brown all the other sides. I suggest, you do each Tournedos one at a time.
  • Prepare a cooling rack over an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Place the Tournedos on the Rack and place the baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • While they are cooking, prepare the Sauce Sherry.
  • Remove the excess Grease from the Skillet.
  • Add the Sherry and Chicken Stock, and whisk in the Corn Starch.
  • Heat until the Sauce thickens
  • Add the Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Add the fresh Parsley.
  • Plate the Tournedos and cover in the Sauce Sherry.

Makes 3 servings (2 Tournedos per person)

NOTES: Tournedos refers to meat wrapped in bacon, such as filet mignon. If you want to cut the fat of regular bacon, I recommend Turkey Bacon–it will taste great still. The complications of this dish revolve around the wrapping of the stuffed chicken pieces. The smaller diced the stuffing is, the easier this is to do. Do not make the mistake I first did, and use colored toothpicks–food is much less appetizing when it is blue and green form the dye!

Schnitz un Knepp

Ingredients:
2-3 lb Ham, pre-cooked
2 cups dried Apple Rings
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Egg, beaten
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
1/2-2/3 cup Milk
Water for Ham and Apples

Directions:

  • Put the Ham in a large pot, and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours until the ham is very tender.
  • Put the Apple slices in a bowl and cover with water, letting them soak the duration it takes to cook the Ham.
  • Add the Apples, the soaking Water, the Brown Sugar, and the Onions to the Ham, and bring to a boil.
  • In a large bowl combine all the dry Ingredients, Egg, and Butter. Slowly add the Milk to the batter–you may not need all 2/3 cup–you want it to be a sticky and gloppy batter, not runny.
  • Drop Tablespoon size-balls of dough into the Ham pot, and cover.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, and then serve.

NOTES: Schnitz un Knepp is an Amish dish popular in Pennsylvania. Literally translated, it means “Slices and Buttons”. Schntiz comes from Schnitzen – slices and Knepp for button referring to the dumplings. I don’t know who the ham angered, that it didn’t make it into the name! The first time I had this was at YMCA camp in Ohio, when they took us to an Amish farm. The meal is very simple, and easy to serve to a large group of folks–and not what one gets every day in non-Amish circles. I recommend this with left-over ham after a holiday, or in the fall or winter. I’ve also seen this spelled Schnitz un Gnepp, as well as with the “un” spelled out “und”. The Amish German dialect pounces it “schnitz-un-nep”, alighting the ordinarily pronounced K/G sound right out.

Pollo alla Romana – Roman-Style Chicken

Pollo alla Romana

Ingredients:
6-8 fillets of Chicken Breasts, thin sliced, boneless, skinless
1 Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped
6 slices Prosciutto, chopped
2 Plum Tomatoes, diced
1 head of Roasted Garlic
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio
1 cup Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp fresh Basil
1 Tbsp fresh Oregano
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 Tbsp Capers
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Romano Cheese, grated

Directions:

  • Do all necessary roasting ahead of time.
  • In a large skillet, brown the Chicken Fillets in the Olive Oil.
  • Remove the Fillets to the side.
  • Add the Peppers and Prosciutto, and cook until the Prosciutto starts to crisp, about 4 minutes.
  • Squeeze the Garlic into a Mortar and Pestle, and grind.
  • Add Garlic, Tomatoes, Chicken Stock, Wine, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to the skillet.
  • Heat for 10 minutes, and then add the Chicken Fillets back to the skillet.
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving, stir in the Capers and Parsley.
  • Garnish with grated Romano Cheese.

Serves 3-4 people (portion 2 fillets per person)

NOTES: So it was a long weekend, and my partner volunteered to cook. He loves chicken, so he started looking online for a chicken recipe. I should mention he is not a good cook–toast and oatmeal he does well, but not much more than that. So he found a recipe for Roman-Style Chicken by Giada DiLaurentis. I had a feeling he would not end up cooking, and by the time we got back from the store, it dawned on him how much work would be involved. So it was saved for another night. I don’t like to do other people’s recipes, so I compare them to similar recipes and then make my own version with my own variations. This is my version of Roman-Style Chicken that resulted from my research and comparisons. I decided to add some different herbage, deepen the flavors with roasted peppers and garlic, as well as adding Romano cheese over the top. This is a light summery Italian meal, and it does not need a side of pasta!

Smoky Baked Beans

Ingredients:
2 cups Haricot/Navy Beans
6-8 cups Water for Soaking
1/2 lb thick-cut Bacon, diced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/3 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
3 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp dried Chipotle Pepper, minced
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, soak the Beans in the Water overnight.
  • Drain the Beans, reserving the liquid.
  • Preheat the Oven to 325F
  • In a large Pot brown the Bacon.
  • Add the Onion and Garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring well.
  • Add 1 cup of the Reserved Water, and all other ingredients EXCEPT the beans, and heat for 5 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Mix with the Beans and place in a Dutch Oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, covered.
  • Stir well and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes uncovered.

NOTES: I was a Boy Scout in my younger days. On camp outs I took joy in being on the kitchen patrol and cooking. Then we’d cook them in a cast-iron Dutch Oven over the campfire. Over time my Baked Beans became a request of the troop, though back then I didn’t get to use Jack Daniel’s.

So with regards to Baked Beans, there are a variety of “styles”. In Boston Style, Beans and Salt Pork are stewed with tomato paste and molasses. Southern Style incorporates Mustard and Bacon into the mix. In Vermont north through Quebec the sweetener is Maple Syrup. Cowboy Beans incorporate BBQ Sauce and Ground Beef. My beans are sort of a hybrid of baked beans with a very smoky flavor that is reminiscent of a campfire stove.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:
3 medium Russet Potatoes, skinned and diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 pieces of Bacon, diced
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Clam meat, diced
1 cup Clam Juice
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley

Directions:

  • In a saucepot, cook the Bacon until crisp on medium heat.
  • Add the Onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the Potatoes and Garlic, coating with the Oily Onion/Bacon mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  • In a bowl combine the Butter and the Flour to form a paste called a beurre manié.
  • Add the beurre manié, Clams, and Clam Juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Milk, Heavy Cream, and Herbs.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

NOTES: I prefer to use bigger chunks in my Clam Chowder, so my dices are a little bigger than others…especially the Clams. However you should avoid having whole clams as they can be chewy–quartering is the best. I have no problem using high-quality canned clams for this, so long as preserved in water and not oil. Oh, and you’ll notice that I omitted the use of Salt in this recipe. This is because of the salty bacon and salty clam juice, and the lower amount of potatoes, however you can always add salt to taste.

There are other types of Clam Chowder — Manhattan, Rhode Island, and Outer Banks (from the Carolinas), but none of them have the appeal of New England Clam Chowder to me. This is a true comfort food, and reminds me of the days when my family would go to buffet restaurants like Ryan’s Steakhouse and Golden Corral. I would always start with a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder, and pick out the potatoes which seemed to take away from the clams!

Variations:
Cassava Clam Chowder – Substitute Cassava for the Potatoes.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder –  When adding the Clams, also add 1 cup diced Tomatoes.

Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients:
Pâte Brisée for 9″ shell
6-8 strips of thick-cut Bacon, diced, cooked
4 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 375° F
  • Place the Pâte Brisée in a Spring-Foam Pan or Tart Pan or Pie Pan, and crimp the sides and edge as desired.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and remove to the side.
  • Sprinkle the Bacon pieces throughout the Pie shell.
  • In a large bowl beat the Eggs and combine with the Heavy Cream, Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg.
  • Pour over the Bacon in the Pie shell.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes.

NOTES: Quiche Lorraine does not traditionally have Cheese, however most recipes do add Gruyère or Swiss. The addition of cheese or other ingredients connotes a different type of Quiche such as Vosgienne or Alsacienne (Cheese and Onion). Because I am someone who enjoys the fine details, below in the Variations section you will find the similar Quiches that are often all called Quiche Lorraine.

Quiche originated in the medieval German region of Lothringen or what is the modern day Alsace/Lorraine region of France. It was called Küche in the original Lorraine Franconian dialect.  French pronunciation influence changed the name to “kishe” and later quiche.

Variations:
Quiche Vosgienne – Add 1-2 cups shredded Gruyère Cheese on top after adding the custard mixture.
Quiche Alsacienne – Add 1 small diced white Onion when adding the bacon. Add 1-2 cups shredded Gruyère Cheese on top after adding the custard mixture.

Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:
2 cup dried Split Peas
4 cups Water for Peas
4 slices Bacon
5 cloves Garlic, diced
1 yellow Onion, diced
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup Butter
3 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Milk
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-2 cups Croutons

Directions:

  • Soak the Split Peas in the Water overnight in a bowl. Add more water as needed.
  • In a large Sauce Pot, brown the Bacon until crisp but not burnt.
  • Remove the Bacon, set aside on cookie rack to drain the grease.
  • In the same Sauce Pot, saute the Onion and Garlic until tender.
  • Add all Remaining Ingredients, and simmer for 1 hour on low heat, stirring often.
  • Remove the Bay Leaf.
  • Blend the Soup:
    1. Use a hand-held blender, and puree the Soup in the Sauce Pot.
    2. Pour the Soup into a Food Processor or Stand Blender and puree the Soup.
  • Serve in Bowls, pouring a ring of Heavy Cream along the top of the Soup, garnished with the Bacon and Croutons.

Sausage Balls

Sausage Balls

Ingredients:
2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Butter, cut in pieces
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup Dry Nonfat Milk
1 lb bulk Hot Pork Sausage
3 cup Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a food processor, combine dry ingredients.
  • Slowly add the Butter, pulsing as each piece enters to fully incorporate into the dry ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, break down the sausage with your hands.
  • Slowly add the Cheese and Flour mixture, alternating between the two. Dough should be slightly crumbly.
  • Grease a large cookie sheet.
  • Using your hands, make small balls (slightly smaller than golf balls) of the dough, rolling the dough in your palms; place on the cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen, depending on size.

NOTES: Any Southerner will recall this recipe. It is that simple brunch snack or holiday appetizer that everyone loves. I grew up in a trailer park in Georgia, and we had a holiday party at the local club house. I was the only child usually there, and there were many people in their sixties or so. There was always a bunch of these wonderful treats there.

Let’s talk sausage: Though pork sausage is easy to find, I really have to advocate for Jimmy Dean® hot sausage. This is the only traditional sausage I would use.

Now the above is a homemade version–a lot of people will just use Bisquick® baking mix, which is fine if you’re in a hurry, though the above recipe is all natural.

Cobb Creamed Corn

Ingredients:
8 cobs of Corn (about 4 cups of Corn)
4 slices Bacon
1/2 yellow Onion, minced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Jalapeño Pepper, de-seeded, minced
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled
2 Haas Avocados, sliced

Directions:

  • Prepare the Corn: If using cobs, remove husk and silk, and boil for about 7 minutes. Use a chef’s knife to cut off one end of each cob, forming a flat edge. Place the corn flat side down, standing up on a plate. Use your chef’s knife and slice down parallel to the cob and remove the corn kernels. Rotate and repeat until the kernels are on the plate. Use the back of the knife perpendicular to the cob and slide down scrapping off any excess corn. Place in a bowl, and repeat for each cob.
  • In a skillet, fry the Bacon until very crisp.
  • Remove to paper towel, pat dry, and crumble.
  • In the skillet, drain all but about 2 Tbsp of the drippings.
  • Saute the Onion, Garlic, and Jalapeno in the Butter on medium-low heat until the Onion is tender.
  • Add the Cream, Corn, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Stirring constantly, heat for 7-10 minutes, allowing the cream to thicken. Depending on your skillet, the time may vary.
  • Remove from the heat and toss in the Bacon crumbles and Blue Cheese crumbles.
  • Garnish with the slices of Avocados across the top.

Serves 4.

NOTES: If you opt from using fresh Corn, do not use can, but instead get frozen corn. Before using it, thaw it out, and place in a large zipping storage bag, then crush it with a rolling pin, to break the Corn up.

Variations:
Creamed Corn (savory)
Sweetened Creamed Corn