Tag Archives: entree

Thai Me Up! (Or, “An On-Hand Attempt at Recreating a Proper Peanut Sauce”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c rice noodles
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 3/4 c lite coconut milk
  • Juice of 1/4 lime
  • 1 c cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp carrot sticks, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp gyoza sauce
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

P1110492Ok, this is in stages. But completely worthwhile stages. In fact, to simplify this otherwise daunting-sounding rip off of an otherwise respectable Thai dish:

1. Put sliced garlic and onions in 2 tsp olive / 1/2 tsp sesame oil warming to ML. Let cook until garlic begins edge-goldening. Prep anything else while this goes on.

2. In separate pan, put remaining oil in on M. Lay cabbage and carrots in oil and toss delicately with 1 tsp soy sauce. Cover the pan and turn off the burner. Let sit until mealtime.

3. Spoon peanut butter into garlic pan and let melt. Turn up to M and throw in remaining seasonings along with gyoza sauce, coconut milk, lime juice and remaining soy sauce. Stir until the first boilin’ bubble appears, then turn burner to L.

4. Boil noodles according to package directions. Drain and, while hot, mix into the peanut sauce. Serve topped with cabbage and carrots. Garnish with a

5. Spoons! 

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Papardelle-icious to Vegetarians and Carnivores

In my pantry today:

  • 1 package Trader Joes® lemon-pepper papardelle
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Parmesan to top

P1110468Yum. And an easy “yum” at that. So easy that though I didn’t have time yesterday to write down the ingredients today they are still simple to keep emblazoned in the senses. If you haven’t cooked papardelle before, try it out and learn how it got its name from the Italian verb “pappare” (to gobble up).

P1110447Fry your garlic on ML until just the edges begin to turn golden, then remove the pan from heat and sprinkle on the seasonings. Let that sit while boiling papardelle to the perfect al dente and chopping spinach. When the pasta gets drained, turn off the burner. Mix spinach into the oil/garlic/ and move that pan back to the burner you just turned off (don’t turn it back on). Cover the pan for 1m, then uncover and stir until the spinach is wilted to your taste. Mix in the papardelle and ensure everything is properly coated. Sprinkle with Parmasean. Between the papardelle, spinach (and Parmesan), this vegetarian dish will have more protein – and visual interest – than eating a chicken breast. Of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t add meat if you want, or skip the cheese for an easy vegan dish. 5 well-deserving spoons!

Put a Bowtie on That Chicken

In my pantry today:

  • 1 12 oz can chicken breast meat
  • 1.5 c bowtie pasta, cooked
  • 2 c cabbage, cut small
  • 1/2 c carrots, cut small
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida

IMAG0443This is as easy on the wallet as it is on your palette. Drain the can of chicken and rinse thoroughly; set aside. Cook pasta; set aside. Saute garlic in butter and oil over ML for as long as you can stand to — I went about 20m, which wasn’t tough on time since the pasta requires time to cook and the chicken needs rinsing. Turn heat up to M and stir-fry carrots and cabbage for a minute then reduce heat back to the M side of ML and add seasonings, chicken and broth. Let everything simmer while you stir in Parmesan to thicken the broth. Right before serving, mix pasta with sauce/cabbage. Set aside logic and sprinkle a little Parmasean on top for 5 spoons of simplicious!

Cabbage, Corn and [K]ale Cream Cheese Casserole (or, “An Alliterative Affair”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 c corn kernels
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 14 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 oz cream cheese, in chunks
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 c fried onions
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • dash asafoetida

P1100650Ok, so you’re going to need to do a couple of things first: blanch the kale for 5-9m (taste test it for chewability-without-suspicion) then add cabbage to the boiling water. Taste test for texture; I went about 3m. Drain everything well then line the bottom of a 8×6″ glass baking dish with the strainer contents and corn.

P1100610Now that everything is done boiling, you can use the same pot to start garlic and onions in the oil/ghee. After cooking on ML for 5-10m, add the chunks of cream cheese and smoosh them all around until melted. Sprinkle on seasonings and mix in with the can of cream of mushroom soup. Pour mixture over vegetables, spreading until even. Once you’ve adorned it further with panko and french fried onions let it bake at 350° for 40m. This would have been great served over rice or alongside other dishes at a dinner table, but we ate it almost directly out of the pan. 4 spoons for not entirely knowing its consistency (5 in my heart).

 

Slap Yo Rajma-ma Good

In my pantry today:

  • 1 15.5oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c sweet yellow onion, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 
  • 1/2-1 c water
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • dash asafoetida

rajmaThis rajma restored my faith in what a single can of kidney beans can deliver apart from being in the ensemble of a pot of chili. While your onions and garlic cook to a diaphanous state on L for the next hour, you can easily assemble the other ingredients, do the dishes, take a shower, set up the coffee pots for tomorrow and start a load of laundry. Promise.

When the time becomes right, turn up the heat to M and mix all the seasonings in with your onions until a nice loose paste forms. Stir in the tomatoes slowly then gently mix in the beans. When a boil is a nigh on M, reduce heat to L and cover. This can be eaten right away but is better left to ruminate on its own flavors for a little while. After a 6 hour wait, this was 5 spoons of delight.

The Lo Mein Course

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c leftover vermicelli, cold
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 6-10 baby carrots, quartered
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c red cabbage, diced
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tbsp sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin/minced
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash asafoetida

P1100374I don’t generally order lo mein when take out is afoot… dumplings and other fried things are my vice; I could make a meal easily out of everything on the Appetizer menu at most Chinese restaurants. This is to say that I am no expert on Asian cuisine (as I just used Americanized Chinese take-out as my primary example of Asian cuisine), but it can’t hurt to start with garlic and two kinds of onion in oil on L for an hour. This will deliver plenty of prep and clean-up-from-prep time.

When your time is right, put 1 tsp of olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot (or use a big pan if you’re fancy, but I make messes) and turn to MH. When the highest MH is reached, toss in your vegetables and stir fry for a few seconds. Pour broth into the pot, add seasonings and 3 tsp soy sauce. Stir then cover when boiling happens and reduce heat to ML. Let the vegetables cook in the flavored broth until fork-tender (about 5-10m).

While that’s going on, pour room temperature vermicelli into the pan with oil, garlic and onions. Mix well. Remove the stock pot from heat and mix in noodles. Once there’s a successful consummation cover the pot and let it sit for 3-5m. A hearty 5 spoons await.

 

Chicken and Black Beans in Macadamia Nut Gravy

In my pantry today:

  • 1 6oz can chicken breast
  • 1 14oz can black beans
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp macadamia nut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 S sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida
I forgot to take photos of this meal, so here is a picture of the most tantalizing of all nutmeats.

I forgot to take photos of this meal, so here is a picture of the most tantalizing of all nutmeats.

First and foremost, thank you mom for the bag of macadamia nuts that in part went to the making of the macadamia nut butter that makes this dish great. I don’t have a specific magic recipe for macadamia nut butter, but nut butters in general are all pretty similar. Grind the nuts until they are butter. Add a little oil. Maybe a little salt. There was just a little left in the fridge this time, and a little is all you need.

Start the onion and garlic in olive oil on ML and let cook 15-20m (depending on your patience), stirring occasionally,  then sprinkle with turmeric and stir a little more. Stir in the macadamia nut butter until it melts into a gooey, near-liquid paste, drizzling in the vegetable broth until a thin gravy is made. Add then the entire can of black beans and entire well-drained can of chicken; stir and increase the heat to MH until a boil begins. Before rolling commences reduce to the ML side of L, stir in the cayenne and cover. Let cook another 20-30m. Serve over rice or pasta. 5 spoons!

The Dinner Slawlad

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/3 c walnut halves/pieces
  • 1/2 mozarella ball, in tiny cubes
  • 1 S carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 c baby corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp celery, minced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinager
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 dashes black pepper

slawlad

I spent a lifetime not liking cole slaw, but I had never had anything but mayonnaise-based cole slaws and thus considered no other slaws of which to speak. About two years ago a little place called Farm Boy’s in Chapin, SC would become the new slaw-spiration in my vastly expanding relationship with cabbage. It was easy to accept with joy the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables, and the general price of a head of cabbage means there’s almost always one in the fridge. This cost:benefit ratio makes it an exciting endeavor to make an entree out of cabbage. Don’t you scoff.

Start your thinly sliced garlic simmering on the L side of ML. Let it infuse while you prep other ingredients. Whisk together sugar and vinegar; set aside. When you’ve got mixed in all the solids but cheese and walnuts, increase the oil to the high end of ML. Toast walnuts with garlic for a minute or two, stirring frequently, then mix in vinegar/sugar mixture. Pour warm dressing and walnuts over and into the bowl of cabbage. You can mix in the cheese now, or wait until serving time — if it sits in the vinegar it will emerge with almost a paneer-like texture. This is not necessarily a bad thing; plus it turns pink.

Let the entire cabbage conundrum  sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving or chilling. I let it sit at room temperature for a couple hours before serving, then I waited a day of refrigeration before serving the rest — both ways work fine. This is going to become a meal staple as the weather begins to warm into its boil: prepare yourselves for more summer slawlads at 5 spoons!

 

Holy Taters ‘n Beans, Batman!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 26.5 oz can black beans
  • 3 sm sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 small sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chile de arbol powder
  • 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida
  • dash water

Holy Taters 'n Beans, Batman!As it turns out, I am making a crock pot meal today… but not one which utilizes the free haunch-meat of rodents (April Fools!). A big spicy pot of something meatless was on the menu — in fact, I don’t see any meat happening in the very near future. Not until the image of the half-squirrel LouLou once did bring inside stops suddenly also being in a delicious sauce. Cut your onions, pepper and sweet potatoes. Put onion and pepper into the olive oil already heated to H on the slow cooker scale. Add turmeric and let simmer for a few minutes, then add the beans and remainder of the seasonings. Rinse out the can with a little water and mix it in along with your sweet potatoes. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender… this can be arranged whether you’d like it set before you leave the house bright and early, or whether you want it a little quicker. Either way you’ll get at least 4 spoons for dinner.

Pinto Squili is Illin!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 20.5 oz can pinto beans
  • 2 squirrel legs
  • 1 large Vidalia onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • dash asafoetida

squiliNo, we’re not that poor — but I’ve lived in South Carolina my entire life and have never taken advantage of what’s right in my back yard. All over my back yard. Because I am mostly homebound, I hear them all day every day using our gutters as freeways. Maybe now I will feel as though I was able to exert more control over the tiny creatures who don’t know I am lord of their dominion than fist-shaking can communicate. Damnit.

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Dramatic recreation of how LouLou approached us this morning.

Have you ever dressed a squirrel? Because I’ve never even cleaned a fish, and this inadequacy is why I’m only using the legs. They were plump and easy to remove; the crock pot handled the rest of those hairless gams’ day. Chop up your onion and garlic for the event and throw it all in the crock pot. The longer you can let it simmer, the more tender your meat will be. Make sure to reach into things and take out any bones before serving. This wasn’t as terrible an idea as the wife told me — when cooked this long, the meat really resembles any other. Apart from the cultural finger-waggling that comes with eating rodents, this gets 4 spoons and will have leftovers frozen.

I will forever remember this small animal by the not-very-flashy name I gave him while ripping off his limbs: Pinto.