Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Angry Red Lentil Soup

A hearty soup with spicy-hot zip, fantastic for cold weather. It's a shame the lentils turn corn-yellow when cooked, because the colors in the bowl don't reflect the agressive flavor.

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced carrot
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 habanero pepper, minced
1/2 cup red lentils
2 cups water
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chopped chives, for garnish
fresh grated parmesan cheese, for garnish


Place cooking vessel on camp stove over medium to medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and habanero, cook until onions are caramelized. Add red lentils and toast for about 30 seconds.

Add the water and cover the pot.

Simmer the soup until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the lentils from sticking.

Mash the soup with a fork or wooden spoon against the sides of the pot, breaking up some of the lentils to thicken the soup. Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish and serve.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chicken, Spinach, and Pine Nut Stuffed Shells

Hey, special treat for me...the wife cooked for me. :) I was her loyal sous-chef and did some of the dirty work, but she was in control of what went where and when, and I just followed orders. The meal was just terrific, I honestly could not have done it better.

16 jumbo pasta shells
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken meat
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 package thawed chopped spinach
1/2 container ricotta cheese ( 237.5 g)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili flakes
shredded chedder cheese
fresh parsley


1 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 can of tomato paste
fresh parsley

1. In saute pan, heat olive oil and add onions and garlic until softened. Add diced tomatoes, paste, and parsley and simmer until reduced. Replace lost liquid with chicken stock and reduce again. Add a shot of vodka, combine, and set aside covered to keep warm.

2. Cook pasta shells, underdone and firm, then drain and set aside.

3. In large mixing bowl, combine all other ingrediants and stuff shells. Arrange in casserole dish and cover with the sauce, then shredded cheese and parsley. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serve with fresh parmesean and a twist of cracked pepper if you like.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Simple Roasted Chicken

Why use a recipe? You want a roasted chicken and you want it today. No problem.

Take some butter out of the fridge and let it soften to room temperature. Cheat with the microwave if you have to.

Chop up a whole mess of root vegetables so they're roughly the same size. Potatoes, squash, onions, carrots, yams, etc. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, rosemary, and olive oil. Toss them around, then into a roasting pan.

Cut a lemon into quarters and shove some lemon inside the chicken, along with whatever else you have. A piece of onion, a chunk of orange, more rosemary, a sprig of thyme, whatever. Rub the chicken all over with the soft butter. Toss some salt and pepper all over it. Lay it on the vegetables. Roast for an hour at 400 F then test either with internal temperature (170-180 F), juices running clear, or wiggling a leg (the chicken's, not yours) to see if it's loose. Everyone seems to have a technique. Don't worry, chances are you won't poison yourself. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Risotto 1.0

I've never made risotto before in my life, so I did a "beta test" while we really didn't have a meal planned. It was ok but I'll be trying again before I post a recipe.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Twice-Cooked Pork

I've actually been making this for years, but not since I started the blog, as I was always trying to reach for new things. This is a really great dish, nothing too exotic for ingredients so you can get everything at the local grocery store, and if peppers are in season, and you find a pork shoulder (or whatever you use) on sale, the whole thing is very inexpensive.

1 pound cooked, cubed pork
1 tablespoon dry sherry
5 thin slices of ginger (pretend you're making dimes)
3 green onion, diced
2 each red and green peppers, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons black bean sauce (PC Memories of Hong Kong works)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tsp salt

Add cooked pork to a hot wok, stir-frying until edges are browned and crispy. If there isn't enough fat in the pork to coat the wok, add a tsp of vegetable oil.

Add ginger slices, green onion, peppers, garlic, and 0nion. Stir fry for several minutes until vegetables are slightly softened. Add rest of ingredients, and heat through. Serve over steamed rice and pass the green tea. Clumsily fumble with chopsticks, then abandon them for forks (just trying to stay accurate here).

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Simple Tomato Sauce

The Pierce's dropped by with some gifted Roma tomatoes, so I whipped up a quick sauce immediately. Nothing gourmet here, really, unless you've never had a tomato sauce with some butter in it before. Try it.

6 Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (796ml) can crushed tomatoes
1 (156ml) can tomato paste

4 to 6 basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

Heat large pot of water to boiling. Cut a small X in at the bottom of each tomato, and boil for two minutes, then cool in cold water. Peel and set aside.

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, paste, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. Add sugar. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Process ½ of the sauce until smooth, and combine with the chunky sauce. Serve.