Friday, July 22, 2011

hi vicky, i got run over by a car in rio de janeiro. i have been down on my uck for a while

Monday, December 31, 2007

Free herb jars

Got mayo, got herb jars. Well call me cheap. I needed a new set of containers for my herbs and spices but when i went out to look for some the prices gave me sticker shock.
For years i have been saving mayo jars for screws, nuts, bolts and such, then it hit me, they are even more perfect for herbs and spices. At first i was annoyed when the mayo jars switched from glass to plastic but after dropping a few i realized that they were even more perfect, food grade plastic and unbreakable. Although the smaller jars of mayo are somewhat more expensive, they are the perfect size to hold a good amount of herbs that can be used up before becoming stale.
Once you have your empty jars, design and print up some labels, tape them on with a clear plastic tape wider than the label so that they clean up easily and you are in business....a matched set of herb jars and the price is right!!

Friday, December 14, 2007



Lagostinas are one of the several types of South American lobsters. I cannot imagine that these critters have many, if any natural enemies. They are totally covered with killer sharp spines. There is meat inside the small claws, but it can be painful to break them open as only your fingers seem able to do the job. The sweet mother load inside the body is a bit easier to get to. Break off the head then grab the tail in the middle and break in half by snapping the tail segments apart side to side. One kilo of lagostinas barely feeds two people. Steam and eat just like their northern cousins.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chinese comfort food

Mandrin pancakes

One summer in the early 70's i opened a leather craft shop, Master Leatherworks, in Ocean city for the summer, across the street a new Chinese restaurant opened. I began eating my lunches there every afternoon and soon i was working off the price of my lunches working in the kitchen during the evening dinner rush. Displaying an aptitude for cutting all sorts of foods, many i had never seen before, into uniform bite sized pieces, the master chef, Mr Lee, took notice of me and started showing me how the pieces went together and were cooked into meals, thus began my life long affair with Chinese cuisine.

Most often when we think of Chinese food rice comes to mind, but in the northern region of China we see more pasta, pancakes and dumplings. One of my favorites are mandarin pancakes. Wrapped around Moo Shu pork or almost any other stir fried dish they define Chinese comfort food for me.
Mandarin pancakes
1 cup flour
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil mixed with 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Mix the flour and water into a dough and kneed on a floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes.
roll into a log and cut into 8 equal pieces.
flatten the pieces with your palm and using a rolling pin, flatten out into 6" diameter pancakes. they should be very thin.
place 4 pancakes on your work surface and brush with the oil.
press the other 4 pancakes on top.
brush a hot fry pan with some of the left over oil and fry the pancakes, 30-60 seconds, on each side,
brown spots should form.
set aside to cool. separate and they are read to use.

Tomorrow i will post a simple and delicious version of the classic Moo Shu Pork that can be cooked by anyone in any kitchen, so stay tuned.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Udon noodles with tofu peanut sauce

Udon noodles with tofu peanut sauce

A very simple and delicious oriental noodle dish. Interestingly enough here in Brazil peanut butter is virtually unknown. Difficult to believe for a kid that grew up with PBJ sandwiches! No loss to have to make your own, homemade is always better.

1/2 cup of chicken broth (this is one of the very few places that bullion works if you do not have home made stock)
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
1/4 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
3 1/2 tablespoons of peanut butter
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of minced ginger
1 teaspoon guilin chili sauce
4 ounces of pressed tofu cut into 1/4" sticks
4 green onions, green tops only chopped fine for garnish
10 ounces Udon noodles

cook the pasta
put all the other ingredients but the green onions in a small sauce pan and
simmer, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
pour the sauce over the cooked pasta, mix and garnish with green onions
3- 4 servings depending on the hunger factor
Chef's notes- I am totally amazed, every time i make this by how good it is. Chunky peanut butter works well also. Most any type of pasta works, think linguine, and most any type of hot sauce, but some type oriental chili paste is best. I use pressed tofu in this dish. it is a tofu with most of the water compressed out making it very firm. You can find it at oriental markets. The softer more moist supermarket tofu can be used but cut it into cubes and add to the sauce in the last minute and stir gently, use twice the amount .
Is it getting hungry in here or is it just me!?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Baked Red Snapper

Rio de Janeiro is just loaded with the freshest seafood. One of my favorites has to be red fish or red snapper, firm, meaty, flavorful and baked, well it doesn't get any more healthy than that.
This recipe is for two medium to large red fish fillets, but it would work well for most any fish fillet.

Baked Red Snapper

1 tsp coarse salt
2 cloves garlic
1 T lemon zest
1 T
minced parsley
1 T minced green on
10 capers
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1-1 1/2 T olive oil
a couple dashes old bay seasoning*
ground pepper to taste

On a cutting board, mash the salt and garlic into a paste
using the back of a large knife.
Put the zest, parsley, onions and capers on top and mince everything together.
Scrape the mixture up and put it in a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Place the fillets in a lightly oiled baking pan and spread the mixture over the fish.
bake for 10 minutes at 190 degrees C/ 350 degrees F and then place under the broiler for a few minutes.
Cooking time will vary on the size of your fillets.

* old bay seasoning is difficult to find outside if the USA and even there it is most popular in the mid-Atlantic region. For this recipe the old bay seasoning is optional, but if you do make it be sure to try it on steamed shrimp. sprinkle the shrimp liberally (put on a lot!) with the seasoning, then steam.

old bay seasoning

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small mixing bowl, stir together salt, cayenne, celery seed, paprika, mustard, black pepper, bay leaf, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon until well-combined. Seasoning mix will keep indefinitely in a tightly covered container, stored at cool room temperature in a dark place.
Yield: about 3 tablespoons

Well, once again i seem to be starved. Writing about food just plain makes me hungry.
See you in the kitchen.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Slice would be nice

I can't go more than a week without a home made pizza. Now i hear a lot about the pleasures of kneading the dough, etc. and yeah, but for me, i like a food processor dough. Proof the yeast, add the flour to the food processor and while running, pour in the yeast liquid. Process until a ball forms, then continue to process for 15-20 seconds to knead. turn out into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double in bulk, punch down and make your crust.
no fuss, no muss and great crust!

Processor Pizza Dough

1 packet of dry yeast
2/3 cup of warm water
1 tsp of sugar
2 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Add the yeast, the sugar and 1/3 cup of warm water to a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
Add the rest of the water, salt and oil to the bowl and mix.
Add the flour to the processor(at this point if you wanted a herb flavored crust, you could add the herbs of your choice to the flour now). With the processor running pour in all the liquid at once. Process until a ball forms, if a ball does not form add a few drops of water at a time until one does, if your dough is too sticky, sprinkle in flour until it looks manageable.
Oil a large bowl and turn the dough out into it. Roll the dough around to coat with oil, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, or more.
Punch down and form your crust.
From start to finish this takes about an hour, but this dough can be allowed to rise again if need be. I've been known to forget it or let it rise and be punched down three times, it comes out about the same just not as light and yeasty.
For me this makes a 12" diameter crust of medium thickness.
I figure you know what you like on top. This one had red peppers, onions, garlic(peeled and simmered in water for 5 minutes before slicing) and pancetta.
I cook mine about 18 minutes in a well preheated oven as high as the temperature will go, 10 minutes on the lowest rack and 8 minutes on the highest rack.
I don't know about you but I'm hungry!