Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Carbonara Sauce with Rotini

This is by no means the traditional recipe, by the way. According to "All the Best Pasta Sauces" by Joie Warner, it's an "updated classic". If you want to do it the authentic way, here you go.

Who likes history lessons? Nobody? Too bad.

"Previously unknown, spaghetti carbonara's popularity began after the Second World War, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the USA. It also became popular among American troops stationed in Italy; upon their return home, they popularized spaghetti alla carbonara (spaghetti with carbonara sauce) in North America."

Anyway, on with the eating part:

2 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 pound bacon, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
cracked black pepper
parsley garnish
pasta shape of your choice (smaller shapes are best for cream sauces)

In large serving bowl, whisk eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper until blended, set aside.

Cook bacon until crisp, transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. In same frying pan, cook garlic briefly (do not burn!), add tomato and cook until soft. Set aside.

Drain cooked pasta, and toss in the serving bowl with the egg mixture. Add the bacon and tomato and toss again. Serve and garnish with pepper, parmesan and parsley.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Corn and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Finally, a good excuse to play with fire. I knew learning how to cook would pay off.

Oh yeah, the soup. Spicy and'll like it if you're into Mexican or Thai food, it reminds me of both...I know that sounds odd.

2 tomatoes, skinned
1 onion, chopped
3 cups kernal corn
2 red peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
3 red chiles, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cilantro
2.5 cups milk
1.5 cups chicken stock
3 potatoes, diced
4 tbsp heavy cream
cracked pepper, chopped parsley, and cilantro for garnish

Process tomatoes and onion in food processor until smooth, add one cup of the corn and process again. Set aside.

Grill the red peppers on a bbq (or use a blowtorch) until blackened. Put into a plastic bag (or a covered bowl) and allow to cool. Remove blackened skins, seeds, and dice the peppers. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a pot, add chiles and garlic, stir briefly (do not allow garlic to burn) then add the tomato puree', cilantro and cumin, and cook for several minutes, stirring often.

Pour in the milk and stock, and add the remaining corn kernals, potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Serve in deep bowls, garnish each with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, and additional chopped cilantro and parsley, and cracked pepper.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Chickpeas and Corn Salad

This is one for the Weight Watcher people...the entire recipe makes 11 points worth of salad...devide up as you like (my serving shown was about one third of it). Add some bean sprouts, some red onion and you have a pita stuffing.

1 can chickpeas, drained
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup diced green onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
chopped parsley
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine everything in a bowl. That's it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

I'm about as Texan as winter boots, but I love southwest flavor. Here's a great marinade for chicken or white fish before you grill, or in this case, saute' for topping an otherwise cold salad.

1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt

Marinade your chicken for 4-6 hours. White fish would only need 1 hour or so.

I cooked the chicken (with marinade still with it, not drained) in a non-stick pan, and as it was finishing up, tossed in a handful of mushrooms to heat up. Meanwhile, in a hot cast-iron pan, I was charring up some peppers and onions. Toss the whole pile on cold lettuce, top with chopped tomatoes, cheese, salsa, diced red onions, jalapenos...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pasta with Lobster and Asparagus

This is Mother's Day for Karen, so here's my offering of appreciation. Ryan, sadly, cooked nothing for her at all. :(

Oh, and it was awesome. I mean that in the most humble way possible.


1 cup asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tbsp. butter
6 oz cooked lobster meat (I used two small canning lobsters)
2/3 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
pinch cracked black pepper
dash of ground nutmeg
8 oz fetuccine


Cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook asparagus and mushrooms in margarine or butter for 5 minutes or until just tender.

Add lobster and cream; heat through.

Add cooked fettuccine to the skillet. Then add Parmesan cheese, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Toss until pasta is coated. If necessary, cook for 2 to 3 minutes until sauce is desired consistency.

Serve immediately. Sprinkle with additional pepper and chopped parsley.

Lobster Stock

It's not a recipe for a meal, exactly, but it's certainly useful. :) You can often get lobster shells for free from your local seafood vendor.


1 pound uncooked lobster shells
2 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, washed and sliced
1/2 onion, sliced thin
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 rib celery, sliced thin
1 tablespoons tomato paste
3 sprigs parsley
1 fennel stalk (optional)
1 cup white wine
4 cups water (or chicken stock if you want a richer stock)


Rinse and dry the lobster shells. If you're using the heads, remove and discard the gills and stomach. Grind the shells in a food processor or wrap them in a towel and crush with a mallet. Heat the oil in a heavy pot, add the shells, and cook over medium-high heat until bright red. Add the leeks, onion, carrots, and celery, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Stir in the tomato paste and cook 1 minute.

Add the parsley, (optional) fennel stalks, wine, and water (or chicken stock); bring to a simmer and cook gently for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Strain, cool thoroughly, and refrigerate or freeze.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Corn and Jalapeno Soup

It's been a cold, wet day and evidently the weekend will be the same. Get ready for some cold-weather cooking then. Here's a spicy soup that will keep you warm, and I think some shrimp would be great in this also if you have some.

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, slivered
2.5 cups corn kernels
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped*
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
chopped cilantro for garnish

1. Heat oil in sauce pan or dutch oven, and add onions. Stir and sweat them until softened and starting to brown. Add garlic, corn, potatoes, and jalapeno. Stir and cook until the corn begins to soften. Add chicken stock, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat, then transfer to food processor** and add salt, chilli poweder, sugar, and black pepper. Process until smooth. Return to cooking pot and add diced red pepper.

3. Serve, garnish with chopped cilantro.

* If you want it hot, leave the seeds in.
** If you use a stick blender, no need to wait for cooling it down. Just process the hot soup rignt in the cooking pot.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cajun Haddock w. Peppers

Wow, a healthy dish. Must be summer. :P This is actually from one of Karen's WeightWatchers books, and it was pretty good. I'll make it a bit hotter next time with some ground chiles, though.

1 pound haddock, monkfish, etc.
2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 green bell peppers, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced or slivered
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
1 tsp thyme

1. Use 1 tbsp of the seasoning to dust the fish. Heat oil in large nonstick pan, fry about 3 minutes each side until browned. Remove and set aside.

2. Add to pan peppers, onions, garlic, and the other tbsp seasoning. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes and thyme, bring to boil. Return fish to the pan, lying on top of the tomatoes. Simmer on medium for 8 minutes or so until fish is opaque throughout.

I served with brown rice and broccoli.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Jerk Pork with Mango Chile Sauce

Spicy! Have some ice cream handy for dessert for this one. The sauce adds a really nice sweet/hot/tart element to the deep earthy/hot jerk seasoning. I stole this from Bobby Flay if you want to look up his recipes.


Pork chops or skinless bone-in chicken

Jerk Rub*:

2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cayenne powder
2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons dry thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Mango Chile Sauce:

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 habanero, chopped
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Combine all sauce ingrediants, simmer on low for 20 minutes, puree in blender. Return to pot and keep warm until service.

* Lazy? Forget the jerk rub and brush on some President's Choice Memories of Montego Bay jerk sauce.