Category Archives: Recipes
Okay, paella. A delicious and hearty Spanish dish that is admittedly intimidating when you’re first reading a recipe for it. It calls for a few of those ingredients that I simply refuse to use like saffron. I’m not going to remortgage my house to buy spices, I just wont. I’ve also jumped back on the vegetarian band wagon again recently so the chorizo and chicken are out. Lastly, there’s the shrimp, clams and other shellfish that I’ve always refused to eat simply because they’re nasty. It’s been quite a while since I posted a recipe, or anything for that matter and tons has changed about me. One thing that stayed the same: My recipes are usually such far flung versions of what inspired them that it’s often hard to still call them that. So is this a real paella? No. Is it tasty and delicious using wholesome ingredients and local, in-season produce? You bet your sweet ascot it is.
Since it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I forgot the cardinal rule of food blogging: Photograph the food before you serve it to your ravenously hungry friends.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking Time: 90 minutes.
Assemble the following:
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/3 Onion, cubed
- 1 1/2 C. Un-Soaked Brown Rice
- 1 Large Tomato, diced
- 1 C. Zephyr Squash, cut into match sticks
- 1 C. Zucchini, cut into match sticks
- 3 Spring Onion, finely chopped
- 5 C. Vegetable Broth
- 1 C. Spinach
- 1 C. Artichoke Hearts
- 2 C. Black Beans
- 1/4 C. Red Capsicum Pepper (more or less depending on taste)
- Lime Juice (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 tsp. Cumin
- 2 tsp. Sage
- 2 tsp. Thyme
- 2 tsp. Crushed Black Pepper
- 2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp. Turmeric
And do this with it:
- Bring the vegetable stock to a slow simmer in a separate pot.
- Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium.
- Sweat the onions until they’ve turned translucent, or about five minutes.
- Add garlic and saute for three minutes longer.
- Add the dry rice to the pan and toast for about seven minutes. (Normally, I would have reached for soaked brown rice, but the toasting step is important, and you can’t toast soaked rice because it’s been soaked.)
- Deglaze the pan with lime juice, being sure to scrape up all the delicious charred bits from the bottom.
- Ladle in a cups of the veggie broth and stir. Cover and reduce the heat to low, checking and stirring often.
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- When rice is nearly done (about forty minutes) add the beans, squash, zuchini, tomato, red pepper, spinach, and spring onion and saute for ten minutes longer.
- Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe dish, cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Garnish with a lime wedge and voila!
Not hot enough for you yet? This Pico de Gallo is sure to turn up the heat!! Made with five different fresh hot peppers and a mess of cilantro it could perhaps be the most dangerous thing in your refrigerator! Now, I can eat this stuff with a fork, but I love love love spicy! Of course this isn’t for everyone so feel free to tone it down by moderating, or leaving out some of the peppers. This fresh salsa will keep for about a week, but if you can’t eat it all in that space of time, try vacuum packaging some of it. It should keep for up to a month that way. Salsa isn’t just for chips either! Try a few spoonfuls on the next chicken dish you make. Or if white fish is on the menu soon marinate and bake it in a few cups of Pico. Top a burger with it; hell I’ve even made an omelet with it. It’s very versatile, so get creative!! Look for a few recipes in the coming week that incorporate this deliciously fresh and spicy Pico De Gallo!
Assemble and Combine the Following:
- Four vine ripened tomatoes (about 2 C. diced)
- 1 yellow bell pepper cored, seeded diced
- 1/2 large red onion (about 2 C. diced)
- 4 -6 Scallions (about 1 C. sliced on the bias)
- 1 Bunch of fresh cilantro (stems removed, about 2 C. chopped)
- 3 Poblano Peppers seeded and finely chopped
- 3 Serano Peppers seeded and finely chopped
- 2 Anaheim Peppers seeded and finely chopped
- 2 Jalapeno peppers seeded, very finely chopped
- 1 Habanero pepper seeded , very finely chopped
- Four TBSP dried cayenne pepper
- Four TBSP dried crushed red pepper
1/4 C. lemon juiceRefrigerate for at least 24 hours. I’ve found that it helps all salsa if you stir the contents a few times (I just shake the storage container every few hours) to ensure that everything is marrying up well.
Since I’ve got all this pineapple hanging around, I’ve been trying to find use for it as much as possible. I can’t in good conscience let that delicious stuff go to waste! I’ve never been a fan of anything sweet, but pineapple lends itself perfectly to savory dishes. As the world’s biggest fan of Asian Cuisine, if I had my way my days would be little more than a constant, hedonistic stuffing of the face with sushi, edamame, stir-fry, sake, sticky rice balls, and gyoza. Fortunately for my waist line I have commitments and work and responsibilities that make this dream of mine impossible. That being said, if you’re ever searching for me in the afterlife I’ll be the 400 pound white guy on a Greek-Style couch being attended to by a very skilled sushi chef.
But I digress. Hey, it’s hard not to get caught up in imagining your own personal heaven!
My favorite Thai restaurant in town serves possibly the best Pad Khe Mao in the mortal universe. It’s a spicy dish, with jumbo rice noodles, pineapple, onions, pole beans, egg, bean sprouts, basil leaves, in a delicate yet blindingly spicy super secret sauce. It is, (and I say this without hesitation) pure gastronomic bliss! And it inspired this little ditty.
Assemble the following:
- 1/2 C. Spinach (Fresh is obviously preferred, but all I had was frozen)
- 1/4 C. Mushrooms
- 1 1/2 C. Pineapple chunks
- 2 Scallion (Spring Onion) sliced on the bias
- 3 Cloves Garlic, grated or finely minced
- 1 to 1 1/2 inch of *FRESH* ginger
- 1/2 C. red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 C. Carrots, sliced on the bias
- 1 C. Tofu cubes
- Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
- Cayenne Pepper, to taste
- Your favorite Garam Masala (there are so many varieties, pinning one down is virtually impossible)
- 2 TBSP. Wok (canola/ peanut) oil
- 1 TSP. Rice Wine vinegar
- Cooked Long Grain Rice
It’s important to remember that stir fry is a lot like lighting a very short fuse on a very big stick of dynamite. Once you get started, there’s no turning back (i.e.: no time to chop that ingredient you forgot) so it is vitally important that everything be at the
ready before you even put heat to the wok. I recommend dividing things into groups based on how long it will take them to cook. But I’ve also thrown it all in at once, and the result was still delicious, though some of the veggies were still a little raw. However, I love raw vegetables. The point is to have everything ready to go before you lay a finger on the stove.
Do this with it:
- Use the most powerful burner position. Check the manual on your stove. Even my cheap, General Electric piece of junk stove has one burner that puts out about 500 BTU’s more than the other three.
- Heat the wok until you fear that it’s going to melt. Trust me, it will not. Woks have been used like this for a few thousand years.
- Add the oil. It should immediately spread out and get all shimmery and glossy. It should start to smoke a little bit within a few seconds. If this doesn’t happen, you have misjudged all sorts of ancient Asian wisdom and should apologize to our forbearers and start over.
- At sight of the first whisps of smoke, it’s time to get started.
- Pick up the wok and toss in the ingredients. (If you’re scared of getting burned by splatter, it’s a sign you should spend more time in the kitchen and toughen up, you wuss!) If you grouped things by cooking time, expect three to five minutes cooking time per group. The important thing is to hear that sizzle every time you add something new. If no sizzle is heard, the wok didn’t get back up to temperature. But do not despair; just cook everything a little longer.
- Keep tossing things around in the wok, either by delicate flick of the wrist or by stirring with a spatula, until a nice earthy brown look to the edges of everything can be seen.
- Add the Rice Wine Vinegar and toss some more, return the Wok to the heat for a minute or two.
- After the vinegar has cooked down, kill the heat and immediately add the Crushed red and cayenne peppers, and the Garam Masala.
- Toss a little more, then plate with the rice and serve.
Important wisdom from Julia Child [sic] : Go out into the yard with some beans or rice grains or something, put them in a pan and keep tossing them all over the place until they all land back in the pan! Then you’ve got it, and you can say goodbye to that stirring spoon or spatula!
After a long seemingly eternal hiatus, I’ve decided to Resurrect The Reckless Culinarian!
Look for a Redesign of the look and feel of the blog coming soon. As well as a migration away from single dishes to whole meals. In the Meantime, I’ll try to post as many of my culinary explosions as I can!
Some may recall that I was one of those snarky vegetarians for about a year. You know the type: “you, yes YOU! are destroying the planet and have condemned yourself to a life of poor health because you eat meat!” etc. Quite annoying. Last September while attending a friends Labor Day cook out, my will broke. I had brought my cool meat substitutes and had all kinds of talking points ready for when I was questioned about what I was eating… She slapped one Filet Mignon steak down on the grill and it took all of thirty seconds before I very sheepishly asked her to throw one on for me. I mean these puppies were HIGH quality stuff she ordered from out of state. Grass-fed, humanely treated, happiest cows on Earth. Whatever. Needless to say, my views on meat have softened considerably since that day. I try to eat the highest quality meat I can get my hands on no more than two or three times a week, and never on Monday (http://www.meatlessmonday.org).
Pork has become my meat of choice. A well fed hog produces some pretty nutrient dense meat, and there’s so many things you can do with it.
This Recipe will marinate about 2 lbs of tenderloin.
Assemble The Following:
- 4 OZ Crushed Pineapple
- 4 OZ Pineapple Juice
- 3 CL Minced Garlic
- 2 TSP Soysauce
- Pinch Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 TSP Ground Ginger (or 1 Inch Fresh)
Do This With It:
Combine Everything a food processor and pulse until Smooth,
Tenderize your Pork Loin with a few jabs of a knife, and plenty of meat mallet action.
Pour the Marinade over the tenderloin, cover, and refrigerate for as long as you can abate hunger (2.5 hours minimum)
Don’t discard the marinade after it’s done it’s job. We’re gonna make a delicious glaze out of it… I think.
I’ve been playing with stir-fry a lot lately. In fact this makes the third time in two weeks that I’ve made stir-fry. There was the apricot and edamame stir-fry (previous post) last week and another apricot-teriyaki stir fry. Regrettably I didn’t jot down any notes for the apricot-teriyaki dish so I was unable to post its recipe. It was amazing though. So tonight, I’m staring into my refrigerator ignoring the beeping sound that it makes when you’ve left the door open for too long and I decided I would give stir-fry another stab, just for sport. . Tonight, I decided the veggies were to speak for themselves. Bamboo shoots, zucchini, fresh ginger, yellow pepper, carrots, scallions, cabbage, garlic and onions are capable of really amazing things when you just let them be themselves. But what about protein? There was a package of tofu staring back at me from the fridge. How very Asian right? No, I don’t like to do anything by the books so I opted for some Alaskan Salmon from the freezer instead. How very “fusion” of me. …Whatever.
I’ve learned that dividing up the things you put into the pan by three works best. Start with the things that take the longest to cook like carrots, cabbage, peppers, onions. Then move on to the stuff that burns easily like zucchini , garlic, and bamboo shoots.
Finally, kill the heat and that’s when the major flavor goes in: ginger, scallions, and maybe some cilantro or red pepper flakes.
Vegetables serve two, Rice and Salmon serve one.
Assemble The Following:
- 1 C. Carrots, thin sliced on diagonal
- 1 1/2 C. Cabbage, chopped
- 1 C. Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
- 1 C. Onion, diced
- 1 C. Bamboo Shoots
- 1 C. Zucchini Ribbons
- 3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
- 1 C. Scallions, chopped, some greens reserved for garnish
- 1 Inch fresh ginger, finely minced
- 4 OZ. Salmon Fillet
- 3 TBSP. Canola Oil
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- Pinch Cayenne Pepper
- Pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Cilantro for garnish
- 1/2 C. Cooked White Rice, formed into balls.
Do this with it.
- Divide up your ingredients by time required for cooking.
- Long cooking: Carrots, Cabbage, Bell Pepper, Onion
- Easy to burn: Bamboo Shoots, Zucchini Ribbons, Garlic
- Major flavor: Scallions, Ginger, Cayenne, Red Pepper Flakes
- In large skillet or wok heat Canola oil over maximum heat.
- When oil is searing hot, add Carrots, Cabbage, Pepper, and Onion. Toss frequently.
- Just before Onion caramelizes add Bamboo Shoots, Zucchini Ribbons, and Garlic. Toss frequently.
- Heat olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook Salmon in this until done, turning frequently.
- Just as Zucchini begins to brown, reduce heat under the wok or large skillet to low and add Ginger, Cayenne, and Red Pepper Flakes. Cook for three to four minutes more, tossing frequently.
- Carefully cut salmon into strips, offer whatever remains as well as the pan drippings to a friendly cat. They won’t refuse, trust me.
- Plate as shown and garnish with Cilantro and scallion greens.
Who doesn’t like a good stir fry? They’re flexible, relatively quick and absolutely packed with different flavors and textures. This stir fry is loaded with shelled edamame, bamboo shoots, and fresh ginger.
Assemble the Following:
- 2 TBSP. Soybean Oil
- 1/3 C. Onion, Minced
- 2 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 1/2 Inch Fresh Ginger Root, Minced
- 1 1/2 C. Bok Choy or Cabbage, Chopped
- 1/2 C. Red Bell Pepper, Coarsely Chopped
- 1/4 C. Fresh Cilantro
- 1/4 C. Bamboo Shoots
- 1 C. Edamame, Cooked and Shelled
- 1 C. Broccoli, Blanched
- 1 Scant TBSP. Soy Sauce
- 1 TBSP. Apricot Preserves
- Pinch Cumin
- 1 TSP. Cayenne Pepper
- 1 TBSP. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2/3 to 1 C. Cooked White Rice
Do This With It:
- Heat wok or large heavy skillet with oil, very high heat.
- Add Onions and Cabbage, fry until tender.
- Add Red Pepper, garlic, and most of the ginger, fry until tender.
- Add Cilantro, and Bamboo Shoots, reduce to medium heat.
- Slowly stir in Soy Sauce, reduce to low heat.
- Add Edamame and Broccoli.
- Add Apricot Preserves, stir or toss until thickened and reduced.
- Add dried spices and remaining ginger, remove from heat.
- With wet fingertips mold heaping tablespoons of rice into little balls for plating.
- I leave the peel on my ginger; you get a much bolder flavor this way.
- I remember now when Alton Brown did a show on Stir-Fry, he emphasized the importance of having every ingredient ready to go before you even heat the oil. Well, he wasn’t kidding. The good news is I think I may have broken a world speed record for shelling Edamame.
- You can just pile the stir-fry on a bed of rice and forgo the rice-balls, but they add a flair to the presentation don’t you think?
It’s not often I prepare meat. I’ll eat seafood, but only occasionally. Once a moth or so my Dad returns home off the road, and while he has no compunctions about eating a few meatless meals here and there , he is decidedly carnivorous. So before he arrived home last week I went to the market and picked up some steak, sausage, pork chops, a pork loin, and ground beef for burgers (I had forgotten how EXPENSIVE meat was!!) I had stuffed a pork loin in the past, and had recently seen a recipe by (the imminent and SUPER-FABULOUS) Paula Deen that called for an Apple and Sage stuffing for a pork loin. I’ll be perfectly honest: I haven’t eaten meat since December when a friend had some home-made deer-chilli, until I made this stuffed pork loin. I didn’t use Paula’s recipe to the letter, It simply served as inspiration for the following delicious-ness:
Assemble the following:
- 1.5 LBS. Premium Grade Pork Loin, butterflied (see below for instructions on perfectly butterflying any loin cut of meat)
- I medium Golden Delicious Apple, Peeled Cored and Chopped
- 3 TBSP. Dried Sage
- 1 TSP. Ground Caraway Seeds
- 1 C. Fresh Focaccia Bread Crumbs
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 C. Homemade Vegetable Stock
- 3 TBSP. Butter
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/4 C. Onion, Minced
- 1 CL Garlic, Minced
- 1 TBSP. Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 350° F
- Melt Butter in large pan over medium heat.
- Sauté Onions and Garlic until tender and caramelized.
- Add apples, cook briefly.
- Beat egg in separate container, cut with a little water, reduce heat and add to pan.
- Before egg sets up add vegetable stock, stirring often.
- After egg has set, and stock is reduced add bread crumbs.
- Continue to stir until the stuffing has thickened and come together.
- Remove from heat and stir in Caraway and 2 TBSP. Sage.
- Rub remaining sage on the butterflied side of the loin.
- Close the loin jelly-roll style and Secure with butchers twine, or toothpicks.
- Grease a Glass baking dish with Olive oil, add loin and bake 35 to fifty minutes, or until the temperature of the meat (not the stuffing) is 160 degrees.
- Let rest ten to fifteen minutes before slicing.
- Serve with steamed vegetables and rice.
Regrettably I didn’t photograph this dish. Trust and believe though it’s a beautiful thing to behold.
Perfectly Butterflied Loin:
Summer is the perfect time for a cold pasta salad. Served with burgers off the grill, or by itself this take on pasta salad is just as refreshing as it is filling. It keeps well, so make a little extra and enjoy over the next few days. Planning a barbecue or a picnic? Make this a day ahead and refrigerate overnight to really let the flavors marry up and combine.
Serves Four as a side-dish, or Two as a main.
Assemble The Following:
- 1/4 C Orzo, uncooked
- 1/4 C. Finely Minced Onion
- 1/2 C. Scallions or Spring Onion, Coarse Chop
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1-2 Roma Tomatoes, Cubed
- 1/4 C. Black Olives, Rough Chop
- Handful of Fresh Cilantro
- 1 C. Italian Pole Beans, Blanched and Shelled
- 3/4 C. Vegetable Stock
- Italian Seasoning, Salt and Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Parmesan and Asiago Cheese Blend
Do This With It:
- Bring Vegetable Stock to boil.
- Sautee onion and 1/4 C. Scallion in olive oil until tender.
- Add Garlic, and Italian seasoning.
- Before garlic browns, add 1 C. Hot vegetable stock, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
- Reduce heat to simmer, and slowly cook until all the stock has been absorbed by the mushrooms, remove from heat.
- Cook Orzo in remaining vegetable stock until al-dente.
- Drain Pasta and rinse, toss with a little olive oil and allow to cool.
- Combine cooled vegetables, pole beans, olives, remaining 1/4 C. scallion, and cilantro. Toss gently.
- Refrigerate 1-2 hours to allow all the flavors to really get to know each other.
- Serve with sprinkling of cheese and topped with more scallion greens.
Notes and Abstract:
- I misjudged the pole beans big time. 1 Cup is what I was shooting for before I shelled them. Needless to say, four large handfuls of the beans before cooking and shelling yielded only about 1/4 Cup.
Tonight witnessed a major victory for me in my kitchen. I’ve tried to bake maybe ten times before in my life, (not including your box cake or cupcake mix) and saying that all ten times resulted in utter disaster would be putting it mildly. Flour everywhere, eggs on the ceiling, burnt “bread” …awful stuff really. Well, I’ll be starting culinary school here in about twenty days, and one of the classes I’m going to have to take is baking. I don’t want to have to learn how to bake at school, so this last week I’ve had a renewed interest in my oven. After a miserable defeat on Sunday with Irish (no yeast) bread, and determined to finally figure out how to bake something anything, I armed myself with the proper accoutrements of baking today at the market. Well sort of. I don’t keep milk in the house, so I ended up with some dehydrated milk flakes which on initial inspection smelled and tasted just as gross as real milk, so I figured it would work. I got some yeast, and some eggs and more flour and came home ready to make some baking magic. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t work! I don’t know if it’s a fluke or what, but I’m enjoying one of these delicious olive and potato scones, warm from the oven as I write this.
Little chunks of potato, salty bits of olive and woody fresh rosemary permeate every bite into one of these savory little gems. It only took about an hour including baking time and If it’s easy enough for me to pull off, then anyone can do it!
Adapted from Bay Books Ultimate Kitchen Companion.
Assemble the following:
- 8 OZ potatoes, peeled and cubed (Recipe did not specify, I used red potatoes)
- 1/2 C. Milk
- 2 Cups Self-Rising Flour (See Note.)
- 2 OZ butter, chopped and cold
- 4 TBSP Black olives
- 4 TBSP Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- 1/2 C. Water
- 1-2 TSP Olive Oil, for glazing.
(NOTE: I had only All Purpose Flour, but self rising can be made by sifting 1 Cup AP Flour, 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Voila: Self Rising Flour. )
Do this with it:
- Preheat oven to 415°F (210°C)
- Boil potatoes until tender, mash with milk. Season with salt and pepper. Potatoes should be a little soupy.
- Sift flour into large mixing bowl. Slowly rub in the butter with your fingertips until all the butter is incorporated, and the flour has a crumbly texture.
- Add in the olives and rosemary, stir with balloon whisk until just combined.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and add the potatoes and most of the water.
- Mix with a spatula until a soft dough is formed, turn out onto floured surface and knead briefly. It’s important not to work the dough too much, or the scones will turn out hard and doughy.
- Press out to a thickness of 3/4 Inch and cut into ten equal sections with a dough scraper. (See note 2)
- Roll the sections around in your hand a bit to round them off, and place on well greased or parchment lined baking sheet.
- Press the dough sections back down to 3/4 inch and brush tops with a little olive oil.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes at 415°F or until browned.
- Let cool five to ten minutes before serving with butter.
(NOTE 2: The recipe called for a two inch plain round cutter to be used to form the scones. I had none, so I improvised. According to the recipe, with a 3/4 inch thickness and a two inch round cutter, you can get 15 scones, I ended up with fifteen, albeit not perfectly round.)
Abstract and Notes:
- Next time I’ll reduce the amount of milk I put into the potatoes they turned out a little too soupy and I therefore had to add a little more flour to the dough after every thing was combined.
- I don’t have a rolling pin (yet) but wet fingertips and a gentle touch work almost as good as a rolling pin.
- I also don’t have a flour sifter, but I do have wire mesh colanders, which work just as well.
Frittata is one of those dishes that has a bevy of uses. Paired with toast and home fries it makes a hearty breakfast. Later in the day, cube up some of the leftovers to top a salad. Arrange cubed frittata on a serving tray with some tooth picks, and you’ve got great finger food for a social gathering. Just like an omelet, anything you have lying around in the fridge finds a use here, it’s great for leftovers. Didn’t eat all that kielbasa last night? Straining to find a use for that third of a red pepper you have in the veggie crisper? It’s all fair game here, throw it in the pan!
Assemble the following:
- 1/2 C. Portobello Mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 C. Zucchini Medallions, halved and about 1/8 inches thick
- 1/4 C. Tomato, finely minced
- 3-5 Marinated Artichoke Hearts, coarsely chopped
- 2 Cloves garlic, finely minced
- 6 Eggs, beaten and divided
- 1/2 C. Cheddar Cheese Shreds
- 1/4 C. Curly Parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 TBSP. Butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Do this with it:
- Preheat broiler.
- Sauté veggies over medium heat in olive oil until tender.
- Add butter to pan and melt.
- Add four of the eggs, and half the cheese. Cook for five to seven minutes, until eggs are semi-done.
- Add remaining cheese and eggs. Cover, reduce heat to very low. Cook another five to seven minutes.
- When only a small amount of egg liquid remains, remove from heat, top with cheese and parsley.
- Put under broiler for ten minutes or so, until slightly brown and crisp.
- Slice like a pizza and serve!