Swiss Chard Aloo “Saag”

6 leaves Swiss Chard, roughly chopped
6 stems Swiss Chard, diced
2 tbsp butter or ghee
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tspn ginger root, minced or grated
2 tspn toasted coriander, ground
2 tspn toasted cumin, ground
1/2 tspn cayenne pepper, ground
1 toasted cardamom pod, ground
1 dash of ground nutmeg
2 yukon gold potatos, skinned and cut into medium sized cubes
4oz cup chicken stock
4 oz coconut milk

4 servings 

I was having one of those “I have nothing to cook” mornings and couldn’t inspire myself to go to the grocery store. But after scanning around my pantry and fridge I found onion, swiss chard, garlic, and potatoes and I had just gone to Kalystians so I had really good coriander seeds. Next thing you know I’m making a mock-curry. I LOVE Indian aloo saag, a rich and spiced blend of spinach and potatoes. But Indian food is expensive and I can never order just one curry – so I figured let’s give it a try with chard instead of spinach. The result: Heavenly homemade curry. Make a bunch, it keeps well as leftovers.

In a medium-large pot, add butter over medium heat. Add onions, chopped chard stems, salt, pepper, cook for 5 min.

Meanwhile, toast spices in a small dry pan, then blend in a spice grinder or mini-food processor (or mortar and pestle but why? Get a mini food processor or spice grinder)

Add garlic, ginger and ground spices to onion base. Stir and cook on medium low for another 5 min, until stem-onion base is tender and fragrant.

Add chard leaves and cook on medium for about 3 minutes

Add coconut milk and chicken stock a and stir. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer

Add potatoes, stir, cover. slow cook for about an hour on low heat setting, stirring occasionally.

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Steak and mushroom pie

This British pub fare doesn’t have to take two days to make. This recipe is full of short cuts, but packs in major savory flavor. The crust is heartier than most pastry (thanks to the egg and the sour cream) so it won’t melt when you put it over the hot filling to bake. The fish sauce and dried porcini ups the umami – and gets rid of the need to brown for your Millard reaction. If you live alone, make it on a weekend and enjoy leftovers all week. If you live with people, make it and enjoy the compliments.

Filling
2.5 lbs quality beef chuck, trimmed into 1-2 inch cubes (grass fed if possible, around 2 lbs total after trimming)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp fish or Worcestershire sauce
2 slices bacon, cut to lardons
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh thyme, 2 tsp
1 lb of mushrooms, cut
2 dried mushrooms, powdered (optional)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup brown or pale ale
1.5 cups beef broth (go easy on salt if you’re using bullion)
1 teaspoon cornstarch + water (slurry)
1-2 tablespoons Parsley or chives, minced

Crust
1 cup flour
tsp salt
5 tbsp cubed, cold lard, butter or a mix of the two
1/4 cup sour cream, chilled
1 egg, beaten (separated in halves)
1 large pinch of caraway seeds

Six servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

You can make the filling and crust on different days, then bake it another time… or knock it out all at once. Your call. But I’m going to break it down as if you were doing it all in one go.

Cube beef (around 1 inch), toss with salt, pepper and mix of water and baking soda. Reserve.

Using a food processor, finely chop garlic (5-7 pulses). Add roughly quartered onion and thyme, pulse until garlic is minced, onion is diced and herbs are well mixed (usually about 8-12 pulses). Reserve in a bowl. *Time saver* – instead of mincing garlic, then chopping onions, then finely chopping herbs, I use my food processor to get ‘er done quick saving myself about 10 minutes or so of chopping. You can always use a knife instead.

Wipe out food processor until dry, then add flour and salt, pulse about 10 times. Add cold butter/lard. Pulse until about dough begins to form pea sized pieces. Add half the sour cream and egg mixture, pulse about 3-5 more times. Then add remaining mixture and pulse another 3 times or so. On a floured surface, fold the dough a few times and create a disk. Cover with cling wrap and reserve in the fridge.

Add bacon to a hot dutch oven. Wipe or wash mushrooms clean of dirt and quarter or slice them. Add mushrooms to semi cooked bacon and a little beef broth to scrape up any brown bits. Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add onion, garlic and herbs cook for about 5 more minutes. Add 1/4 cup flour, mix and cook for another few minutes.  Add broth and beer. Mix well, then add beef, mix and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.

Cover and bake filling in oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, roll pastry into a 9″ pie crust, then return to fridge.

Remove Dutch oven and add slurry if the filling needs thickening. Return filling to oven for another 15-30 minutes until finished.

Up the oven to 400 degrees

Add filling to pie pan and add fresh parsley/chives on top, then cover filling with pastry.
Egg wash the pastry. Using a biscuit cutter or a knife make a hole in the middle for ventilation. Dust crust with caraway seed. Push the sides down all around. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes> Allow pie to cool 20-30 minutes before serving.

Serve with fresh salad.

BoyEatsWorld Jambalaya

img_0434Creates about 8 servings 

Tip 1: Don’t do it on a weeknight.
Tip 2: Half the recipe if you are just cooking for yourself.
Tip 3: Only speak in a Cajun accent while you cook this classic NOLA fav.

The Substance
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups washed basmati rice
1 lb andouille, chorizo or kielbasa sausage
1 lb shrimp, deveined

Spices
4-6 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
1 teaspoon of turmeric or pinch of saffron (both optional)

Holy Trinity Base
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 poblano or green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-5 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Finishing Touches
1 lemon, juiced
3 scallions, sliced
1 handful parsley, chopped

Seasoning
1.5 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper

—-

Prep the sausage and shrimp. Give sausage an hour or so in freezer to harden (if it’s loose). slice 1 cm thin. De-vain shrimp. Reserve shrimp.

Brown sausage in a dutch oven or med-large pot. Remove browned sausage and reserve for later.

Prep Holy Trinity. I like to use my food processor to first mince the garlic and jalapeño, then remove. Add onion and celery together, pulse until evenly diced. I use a knife to chop peppers into small cubes for better presentation, but you can pulse them in the processor if you like.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to pan, and add the onion, celery, bell peppers, garlic and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper. Sweat vegetables: lower heat to low, partially covered, stir every few minutes. 10 minutes total.

Add spices and flavorings: Add tomato paste and spices, herbs and cook for another 5 minutes or so on low to medium low heat stirring.

Add chicken stock, rice and reserved sausage, bring to boil, reduce to simmer.
Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes on low heat.

While the rice cooks:
De-vain/peel shrimp to your liking (I prefer to have fully de-vained shrimp, with the outer shell still on. I buy them this way)
Juice one lemon
Chop the parsley and thinly slice the scallions

Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat then add shrimp, lemon and parsley, mix loosely, and cover for another 10 minutes. Allow the Jambalaya to steam and settle, just enough for the shrimp to cook through.

Top with scallions and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir fried tofu with spicy coconut cabbage

Marinated tofu with spicy-coconut cabbage

So I’m not a huge vegetarian cook, but I do live in New York and I’m in my twenties, so I’m always looking for ways to make inexpensive meals with milage. I also love Chinese flavors, so viola! Thus came about my marinated tofu with spicy coconut cabbage.

This recipe is ripe for adaptation. No soy sauce? Add some salt. Can’t find cabbage? Try bok choy or broccoli.  Like it spicy, add some chili oil with the coconut oil. Be adventurous!

Ingredients for Stir Fry

1 package firm or extra firm tofu (10 to 12 ozs)
1 small red cabbage, sliced thin
1 small green cabbage, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
fresh basil, chopped to garnish (optional)
3 to 4 scallions, sliced thin, whites and greens separated
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 jalapeño or thai chili sliced paper thin (seeds/ribs depending on spice preference)
1 cup rice white rice

Ingredients for Marinade

1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 cloves garlic, grated
zest and juice of 1 lime (2 if your limes aren’t juicy)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 teaspoons tbsp of Mirin or sugar
2 tbsp of canola or olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper

In a large bowl or flat bowl, combine and mix all marinade ingredients.
Drain and rinse tofu. Make ½ inch slices, then cross slice into triangular slices.
Pat tofu with paper towels to remove excessive moisture.
Add tofu to marinade and make sure all pieces are well coated.
Cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate, at least overnight, up to three days.

Basic Rice

In a medium saucepan add 2 cups water, boil:
Add 1 cup rinsed rice to boiling water, lower heat to simmer
Cover with lid
Cook about 12 – 15 minutes, remove from heat

Cooking the Stir fry

Carefully remove tofu from the marinade, reserving the liquid. Dab with paper towels to help with browing.
Preheat wok or skillet to high. Add canola oil when pan is heated.
Just before oil smokes, add tofu in one singular layer for about 3-4 minutes per side, allowing space (do this in batches if you must)

Remove cooked tofu, reserve on a plate. Then:

Turn wok heat to high
Add coconut oil to pan
Add garlic and ginger, toss for about one minute
Add scallion whites, toss for for about one minute
Add jalapenos, cook for one minute
Add reserved marinade, cook a minute more until thickened, then..
Add cabbage, toss and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until cabbage is tender, yet firm
Toss In tofu, turn off heat,
add chopped green scallion and basil

Spoon about a cup of rice into a bowl, top with a spoonful of stir fry, serve immediately

Marinated tofu with spicy-coconut cabbage

Stir fried vegetarian dishes can save you time and money.  And they are healthy! A great weeknight dinner

“Supermarket” inspired Rigatoni Bolognese

Tasty, cheap with major milage: Pasta Bolognese

The final product: Rigatoni Bolognese – after lots of love and attention. Read my recipe story so you save yourself some effort!

 

Super market meat may be cheap but get ready to work. Hard. Here is what you need to make a Bolognese sauce your nona would be proud of (even though you skipped the fancy meat counter):

2 lbs ground meat  (I prefer a mix of pork, veal, and beef, but you can go any way with it)
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tspn dry oregano (or 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh if you have it)
1 tbsp tomato paste
16 0z canned San Maranzano tomatos, pureed
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Vodka (any dry or distilled you have on hand)
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbsp Olive oil
2-4 tbsp Lard or butter

and
Your favorite pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta liquid if it’s dry pasta!

I was at a Key Food store in Brooklyn, picking up pantry staples for my new place. You know, all those little things you need to (actually) cook food: Flour, honey, rice, vinegar, and so on. But I needed something to cook that night. With very limited kitchen functionality due to the move. I wanted something simple, with good flavor that would feed us for a few nights. Bolognese.

Sadly, my new neighborhood Key Food market did not boast the best meat section. I went in thinking spicy pork ragu, but the sight of grayish, hardly marbled pig discouraged me. The most suitable pre-packed meat option was a trio of veal, beef, and pork. There was no fat ratio on the label. This was discouraging because this boy usually jumps for 80/20 exclusively. But If I wanted avoid another delivery from Shanghai Gardens… this was my only option.

Cheap Sunday supper

After adding milk, vodka, love, and more love

After lugging nearly $250 worth of groceries and pantry staples home, it was time to think. How do I make delicious Bolognese from this super sad super market meat? Unfortunately, due to the move, my options were quite limited. So I threw some veg in a food processor and starting thinking about the meat. I did what I always do, season, brown, break it up, but I could SEE how dry it was. Normally, I add milk at the end of cooking my Bolognese (it’s just what people do). But I figured this needed the richness now so boom. Milk added, cooked into the meat then I removed it all into a dish to focus on my veg.

How was I going to make this dish taste rich and decedent with every step? I decided on bacon and butter. I cooked up the veg with bacon, butter, and seasoned it all with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Then I cooked in some tomato paste and followed that with pureed San Marzano tomatoes.  I cooked the fragrant tomato and veg mixture for a few minutes then re introduced our trio of meats. I added a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, another little hit of pepper flakes, set the stove to a simmer and said a prayer.

2 hours later, the place smelled great. Sadly the Bolognese did not taste great. The seasoning was okay, but the meat was dry and the flavors weren’t melding. What was I going to do? VODKA! Drink it, yes, but also put a whole bunch of it in my sauce! I added about a 1/2 cup to cup of vodka to the Bolognese. I figured this would help break down fats and meat more, help the flavors mix and add depth to the sauce. Turns out, I was right! After another 30 or so minutes,  I could tell the vodka was doing it’s magic. The sauce was beginning to to taste meaty. My final touch was another cup or so of whole milk. Once that cooked for another 30 minutes or so, a final touch of grated Parmesan Reggiano and I had made it to the end. Supermarket Bolognese.

I strongly recommend starting with quality, high fat ground meats and sausage when you make Bolognese at home, but let’s face it, we don’t all have the money or resources to start there. So if you live near a Key Foods (or any chain supermarket) and have some time on Sunday, make Bolognese. But be prepared!!! I used Vodka but any booze would do. And make sure you have good fatty flavor enhancers like milk, cream, butter or lard around to substitute for the super lean meat to fat ratio.