Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Recipe for Live Mussels

Mussels seem to benefit from garlic, and when steaming mussels you need a liquid of some kind to offset and augment the "liquor" which comes out of the cooking shellfish. Roasted garlic salsa fresca is just about right. Bring the salsa to a low boil, and add the de-bearded, scrubbed, mussels, simmer on low for 5 minutes. Before cooking, mussels that are open and obviously dead can be discarded, after cooking discard mussels that don't open. Again, exercise caution when using this ingredient. Here, we only do mussels, clams, oysters on the "r" months: September through April, but if the weather is still warm in September wait a month or two. As soon as human activity on the coast slows down, the shellfish are safer to eat. Salsa fresca can be made with ripe tomatoes, diced, onions, garlic, and cilantro.

Monday, December 7, 2009

WIC/USDA Red Beans and Brown Rice

The brown rice is easy: 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water, cover, and set to cook. Timer set for 45 minutes including the time it takes to warm the water and rice to boiling, then reduce heat to low.

Start the bean mix with onions and chopped celery, and red bell pepper, about equal amounts. Use a whole medium onion. Chop to about 1/2 inch size. Saute in the bottom of a large stock pot. Once onions are clear, rinse 15 oz. two cans of "small red beans" (the kind from El Salvador) - the closest substitution is black beans or "pink beans" - all are available from Goya - add beans to pot, when it get warmed up, add the chopped tomatoes from a 28 oz can. A bit of ground chipotle, cayenne, etc. (or Sriracha sauce!!) can be added, but avoid the "Chili Powder" mixture, as it contains garlic and oregano, which muddy the flavor of the dish. Cook until hot, then add part of the rice to beans as much as you want. Optionally, start with a small bit of sausage cooked until done before you add the onion, pepper, celery, etc. I have seasoned this dish with parsley sometimes and also celery seed sometimes. Celery if you grow it yourself has more licorice, thai basil and anise notes to it so a bit of basil works as does anise seed for example italian sausage flavors

Green Fava Beans

If you can find fresh frozen baby green fava beans, just barely heat them then serve with olive oil topping and black pepper.

Eric's Sesame Salmon

Heat roasted sesame oil in frying pan (it will smoke) with matching lid. Lightly coat salmon with sesame seeds and a bit of tarragon and sear both sides of fish (with the frying pan lid on), then give it a shot of soy sauce and a shot of rice vinegar and let it deglaze and steam (with the lid on), then come back in again when almost done with Soy-Vay, Soy-yaki, or Gyoza sauce, cover again, and reduce the heat. Salmon is best if just barely done in the center. You can undercook it actually, then give it short 10 second bursts in the microwave until done if you want to. Serve the fish and pour excess sauce over the top. Good with very cheap grades of previously frozen salmon.

Britt Bray's Shrimp Boiled in Beer

Take two beers, open them both. Bring one beer to a boil in a small diameter saucepan with matching lid. Add enough raw, de-veined shrimp (about 1 lb.) that they stay just barely covered in the beer, then boil the shrimp for 5 minutes. Drain and serve with cocktail sauce while drinking the other beer. The better the beer is, the better this recipe works.

Woodcutter's Pasta - Trenette alla Carbonara

This works great substituting for trenette with 1 lb. of fettucini or linguini, when the noodles are just done and still very hot, drain and transfer to a warm bowl and add 2 beaten eggs, up to 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/4 lb. grated romano cheese, and 4 strips of cooked and chopped and salt pork or bacon, and toss. The heat of the pasta, butter, and bacon will cook the eggs and melt the cheese, then serve. One of those dishes to die for, if you are still able to eat food this rich. Unfortunately we aren't.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Low Fat Turkey Burritos

Dice 1/2 onion
dice 5-6 cloves of garlic
1-1 1/4 lbs. lean ground turkey
1 Tbl. cocoa powder <-- (secret ingredient)
2-3 Tbl. chili powder
2 15 oz. cans of small red beans, rinsed
1 32 oz can of dice tomato with the juice
1-2 Tbl flour
Saute the diced onions and garlics with the meat until cooked, then drain off the grease. Add cocoa powder, chili powder, beans, and tomatoes, cook until done. Drain off a bit of the juice and blend with flour until smooth, add back to the chili. Warm burrito-size flour tortillas (maybe whole wheat?) & wrap chili mixture in tortilla with yogurt and hot sauce, serve. Leftovers keep well in the fridge and microwave or heat in skillet later.

Another burrito recipe: Get lean ground beef and diced onion and saute until done while liberally adding ground coriander. Wrap and serve.

And another: Take your tortilla and spread garlic hummus, fat-free refried beans, salsa fresca, and Sriracha hot sauce and microwave until hot. Works on corn tortillas as well as the flour ones.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whole Wheat with Kalamata, Pine Nuts, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic

Well here it is going into the oven. I reviewed the bread recipe from Tassajara Bread Book. To make the sponge I used 3 cups warm water, 1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 4 cups ww flour, and let it rise for 15 minutes, then came back in with the rest of the ingredients, and added 2-3 cups organic unbleached white until it was about right, then let it try to double again but got tired of waiting so into the oven it went. The idea is to serve this hot with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; try to avoid using butter - actually don't have any right now anyway.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pizza with Onion, Shallot, & Garlic Sauce

Dice the fresh onions (I use Vidalia, Walla Walla, Oso Sweet or other), fresh shallots, and fresh garlic and saute in olive oil until edges turn brown. Start with the onions, as you dice the shallots very fine, add them, then thin slice the garlic cloves. Add brown sugar or other natural sweetener to aid the browning process. Properly formulated, this makes a sticky sauce to spread over pizza about half an inch thick. Saute some sliced mushrooms and maybe some cooked quartered artichoke hearts. Pictured are Kalamata olive and chopped asparagus.

My advice - don't skip on the shallots or garlic. Dice the shallots until "grits" size - they have a bit too much fiber. At minimum use mushrooms and olives in my opinion. Make sure all ingredients are cooked before putting them on the pizza. I use the nice pizza oven stone and the wooden pizza "peel" so I have to work quickly.

The pizza bread is really much more water than bread normally has. It would be very sticky if not kept coated in flour. If the water and flour ratio is right you can work a little whole wheat into the recipe no problem.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Artisan Whole Wheat Boule

3 cups organic whole wheat flour 
3 cups unbleached organic white flour (or 2-4 cups actually) 
3 cups of warm water
3 teaspoons of yeast
2 tsp brown sugar

Put a stopper in kitchen sink. Fill the pottery (works best as the clay body retains more heat than glass or metal) bread bowl with hot water, fill sink with hot water, dump hot water out of bread bowl into sink, replace with 3 cups of warm (98.6 degrees F., or body temperature) water. Melt brown sugar then yeast in water and whisk in 3 cups of flour. Let it set and rise for about 15 minutes. Then remove bowl from sink and add flour while mixing with strong wodden spoon. The exact amount of flour varies BECAUSE flour in not a uniform product. There are many types of flour and all of them are sold under the same label, in this case, "organic whole wheat" and "unbleached organic white". You add flour while stirring until mixture is no longer sticky and comes away nicely from the side of the bowl. The next step is to knead, and too sticky will not knead well, so you have to use your judgement. If you add too much flour, the bread will not rise well. Transfer the dough to the floured counter top and knead 100 times (approx) or until the gluten makes the dough very buoyant and responsive. In the mean time you have filled the sink with fresh hot water and place the mixing bowl back in it. Flour the outside of dough well and put it back into the floured bowl to rise. Preheat oven to 350. Dough should double in size. Place the round dough on a sheet and into the oven for 45-50 minutes.

Variations: knead in raisins, cinnamon, walnuts, brown sugar. Or try fresh chopped garlic grits, fresh diced rosemary and pitted kalamata olives. The latter can be dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar rather than buttered when done.

Mushrooms sauteed in butter, garlic, and de-glazed with white wine

Saturday, August 8, 2009


The picture shows a pizza oven we only dream about owning. Our pizza crust is still under development. Usually it is about half whole wheat and half unbleached flour with about 2 cups of flour to one cup of warm water and one package of dry yeast, approximately. It has to be kept at 100 degrees until it doubles. Here are some of the favorites:

Traditional tomato sauce topped with green olives and blue cheese, with Italian four cheese blend. (vegetarian)

Basil pesto sauce with pine nuts and parmesan, asiago, etc. (vegetarian). A good basil pesto sauce spread over the bread, maybe garlic grits, pine nuts, chopped fresh basil and parmesan, topped with a softer melting cheese

Sliced portobello and brie (no other sauce) (vegetarian)!! Simple - slice the portobellos somewhat thin and arrange to cover the pizza, then layer the brie over the top so it just covers the pizza when done. Use the brie skin too! The best part. Cook until it is all done, serve.

Basil leaves, sliced tomato, and sliced fresh mozzerella balls (vegetarian)!! A traditional. Also fresh sliced garlic is an option.

Stewed tomatoes with red wine reduced onions, rosemary and anchovy: (low fat, but high in Omega oils) Soak anchovy fillets in milk. Slice a large whole onion and saute in red wine with liberal dose of whole dried rosemary leaf herb, until wine mostly evaporates, then add the stewed tomatoes and cook mixture until warm. Spread over pizza dough and arrange anchovies and cook.

Walnuts and Gorgonzola, with herbs!!!! (again, no other sauce). Layer finely chopped walnuts and crumbled gorgonzola and lightly cover with four cheese blend. Cook.

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese: If you can find the red pepper Adjar sauce use that with garlic to create your red pepper sauce then add strips of roasted red pepper and either goat cheese crumbles or chevre log cut into sections, maybe a very thin layer of romano (lactose free!!!)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cooking Out



         I always grill over wood or charcoal fire. I will add mesquite or hickory wood to the charcoal fire to create smoke and put the lid on the grill when the meat is cooking. 

Chicken I marinate with Jamaican allspice, garlic powder (not garlic salt), mild paprika, hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco, but less expensive), and soy sauce. Mesquite chips burning and producing smoke is mandatory. 

For pork I just use ground chipotle pepper. I buy pork very red so that as soon as the red is cooked out it is done. 

I cook indirectly with the charcoal in one corner of the grill and the meat in the opposite corner. BBQ sauce is added only when the dish is served, Kansas City style. I normally use Pickapeppa Jamaican style sauce, & Christa uses Kraft Honey BBQ sauce. I buy the family pack and make a project out of cooking so there will be cold leftovers during the week, especially cold pork.

- Eric


This is orzos with sauce ramatuelle.
1 lb. orzo set to boil, al dente
meanwhile in a large serving bowl combine:
2 Tbsp olive oil
4-5 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 bulb garlic, cloves peeled, sliced, diced, then crushed with the back of the fork in 1 1/2 tsp salt.
1 full cup sweet basil leaves, coarsely chopped.
one 8 oz. can california black olives, sliced.
Fold ingredients into the hot cooked orzo (they will cook slightly by thmselves) and serve.

- Eric & Christa

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Linguini with Mussels

1 pound of linguini.
1/4 olive oil.
2/3 cup white wine.
6-8 garlic cloves, minced.
2 pounds of live mussels in the shell, scrubbed and de-bearded.
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian flat leaf "plain" parsley.
2 tablespoons of butter (optional).
1 cup fresh grated parmesan.

Set 6 quarts of water to boil. Add linguini and cook "al dente". Drain. Heat the oil in a large covered frying pan, add the garlic, but only cook a minute at most, garlic is delicate, do not brown. Add the wine and heat to boiling point. Add about half the parsley,then add the mussels and cover for 5 minutes, at simmering. Then toss in the remaining parsley, serve the mussels over the pasta, liberally adding the juice to the plate. Melt butter and parmesan over the top of the presentation. I recommend a good Jerez (sherry), preferably a Manzanilla or a Fino, for both in the cooking and accompanying.

The means by which careful selection of live mussels which are free from possible contamination will vary from location to location. Check for local advisories. Here we only buy them in the "r" months, e.g., September through April. I make sure the shells are intact and not broken, then scrub and remove "beards" while rinsing in cold water. Shells that do not open when cooked merit discarding the mussel.

- Eric