Archive for May, 2010

Sun-dried tomato and olive mini biscuits

May 12, 2010


I volunteered to make a savory snack for chorale rehearsal Monday night.  At 4:00 p.m., I suddently remembered.  I was too proud to run to the store to pick up doritos and bean dip, so I scoured my fridge and cupboard and came up with this creation.  I’ve tweaked it a little after having used my fellow chorale members as guinea pigs on this spur-of-the moment baking attempt, but it hasn’t changed much.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stick of butter, cold and cut into little cubes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain non-fat yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 dozen pitted Calamata olives, drained and chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup minced fresh chives

 Combine well all dried ingredients in a mixing bowl.  In a food processor fitted with a dough blade, cream the butter.  Add 2 eggs (reserving the third), yoghurt and feta cheese.  Process until smooth.  With the food processor running, gradually add the flour mixture.  It should form a soft slightly sticky dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl into a large ball.  Add tomatoes, olives and chives and process only until distributed throughout the dough.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide the dough into four sections.  Turn one section out on a well floured cutting board, and coat all sides with flour.  Using your palms, pat the dough down to an even ½” thickness.  Using a 1 ½” biscuit or round cookie cutter cut circles of dough and place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, setting them about 1 inch apart.  Moosh scraps together and pat down against and repeat.   You will need two cookie sheets to accommodate all of the biscuits. Continue with all dough until you only have enough “scrap” to make one last rather ugly biscuit.  This is always my ‘test” biscuit for doneness (which I wolf down) out of the oven. 

Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of biscuits with beaten egg.  You will have left over egg, which you can save for scrambled eggs later. 

Bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes or until knife insert in your test biscuit comes out clean.  Switch baking pans halfway through cooking so they will cook evenly. Remove cooked biscuits from the oven and transfer them to baking racks or place them on a couple of upside down perforated pizza pans to allow air to circulate underneath them.  This will help prevent them from getting soggy on the bottom.  Let biscuits cool at least 15 minutes (I downed the test biscuit before the 15 minutes were up).  Makes about 4 dozen mini biscuits.

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Jerk Pork Spareribs

May 12, 2010

Jerk pork country-style spareribs

You can make your own jerk seasoning (recipe below), or use a commercial brand.  I prefer McCormick’s over Trader Joe’s.

  •             2 lb boneless country style spareribs, trimmed of fat
  •             2 tbsp jerk seasoning (commercial or homemade)
  •             ½ cup orange juice
  •             2 tbsp cider vinegar
  •             2 tbsp soy sauce
  •             3 tbsp canola oil
  •             1 tsp chile sauce (e.g. Sriracha) (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large zipper plastic bag.  Massage contents to evenly distribute the marinade.  Refrigerate overnight.    Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 155 degrees Fahrenheit.  Let rest about ten minutes.  Serve with black beans and salad.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Jerk seasoning recipe

  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
    2 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
    2 teaspoons ground allspice
    2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 Combine ingredients well and store in an airtight spice jar

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Stir fried pork, mushrooms and celery

May 7, 2010

Stir fried pork, mushrooms and celery

  • 1 ½ cups long-grained rice
  • 6 dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound boneless pork, cut into small strips
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp dry sherry
  • Squirt of Asian chile sauce (sriracha)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce

Put rice in a pot and cover with enough water so that when you put you finger tip on the surface of the rice, the water reaches your first knuckle.  Bring water to boil and when the surface water has evaporated, cover the rice tightly and turn heat to low.

While water is boiling, put the dried mushrooms in a microwave safe measuring cup.  Pour in water to the 2 cup mark.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir mushrooms to saturate with hot water.

Slice celery, onion and pork.  Mix pork in a small bowl with cornstarch, sherry, chile sauce, soy sauce and sugar.  Carefully remove mushrooms from hot water.  Slice off and discard tough stems.  Slice caps.

Heat up 1 tsp of canola oil in a non-stick wok or sauté pan.  Add ginger, onion, celery and sliced mushrooms.  Stir fry for 30 seconds and then add mushroom water.  Stir and let vegetables steam-cook in the mushroom water till evaporated.  Turn vegetables out into a bowl.  Heat the remaining oil in the same pan.  When oil is smoking hot, add pork mixture and stir fry until pork turns color.  Return vegetables to the pan and stir in oyster sauce.  Serve over cooked rice.  Serves 4.

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Black Bean Shrimp

May 7, 2010

Black Bean Shrimp –very fast, very easy

  • ½ pound thin dried Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp Chinese sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shells and tails removed
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 cups thin green beans, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 tbsp black bean garlic sauce

Heat a generous amount of water in a large pot to boil pasta.  While water is boiling shell shrimp (if necessary) and run cold water over the green beans.  When water comes to a boil, add noodles.  Cook for the amount of time indicated (usually 5 minutes or so).  Drain noodles and mix with sesame oil and soy sauce and portion into 4 serving dishes.

Heat up the canola oil in a non-stick wok or skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the ginger and shrimp and stir fry until shrimp turn pink.  Turn shrimp into a large bowl.  Return pan to heat and add green beans.  Stir fry the green beans for about 1 minute, add bean sauce and shrimp and stir fry 1 minute more.  Serve shrimp and green beans over noodles.  Makes 4 servings

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Mahi mahi with mango-strawberry salsa

May 7, 2010

Mahi Mahi with mango salsa

It used to be so hard to find Manila mangos in the States.   For me, these yummy golden mangos have a superior flavor to the green, red and orange mangos from Mexico.  Now, they are popping up everywhere and I couldn’t be happier.

  • 1 medium yellow mango (Manila Mango)
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
  • Generous squirt of hot asian chile sauce (Sriracha)
  • 1 ½ pounds mahi mahi fillets, cut into four pieces
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tsp canola oil


Cut mango crosswise along either side of the flat pit.  Score criss-crosses ½ inch apart on either cheek and scoop the flesh out with a spoon.  You will have ½” diced cubes.  Cut the peel away from the center section that holds the pit and cut away the flesh just under the peel from the pit and dice it.  Combine mango, strawberries, onion, mint and chile sauce in a small bowl.

Sprinkle Cajun seasoning on each side of the fillets.  Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over high heat.  Pan fry the fillets about 4-5 minutes on each side or until just barely done (fish continues to cook when you remove it from the pan so don’t cook it to flaky stage or it will be dry). Top with fruit salsa.  Serve with pasta and cooked vegetables.  Serves 4.

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Hoisin Chicken

May 2, 2010

Hoisin chicken

 A quick dish after a day of moving and unpacking 

  • Six boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • 12 oz buckwheat pasta (soba)
  • 2 tsp Asian sesame oil

 Spray a nonstick skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.  Open the chicken thighs so they lay flat.  Place them in the skillet skin side down.  After about 5 minutes, they should be lightly browned.  Flip them over and brown them for another five minutes.  Add wine, turn heat to medium low and partially cover them.  Cook them for about 10 more minutes.  The wine will evaporate into a thick glaze.  Turn the chicken in the glaze to coat it.  Turn heat to high and let all liquid evaporate.  When chicken is done, remove from the pan and divide onto heated plates.  Squirt hoisin sauce over the chicken.

 While chicken is cooking, heat water in a separate pot for pasta.  Lightly salt the water.   When it comes to a boil, add buckwheat pasta and stir to separate strands.  After 5-7 minutes (following directions on the package), drain the pasta and toss with sesame.  Portion onto warm plates along side the chicken.

 Serve with a salad.  Makes 3 servings.

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Italian Pot Roast

May 2, 2010

Italian pot roast.  This dish is my recreation of the dish served family style at the Golden Spike Italian restaurant in North Beach, San Francisco.

  •  1 can flat anchovies
  • 1 3-pound chuck roast, fat trimmed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped parsley

Drain anchovy oil into a large deep sauté pan.  Heat over high heat, when oil is smoking, add roast and brown on all sides.  Chop drained anchovies.  Add anchovies, onion, celery, garlic, wine, water and herbs.  Bring mixture to boil.  Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 1½ hour.  Turn roast over and add carrots.  If liquid level is very low, add another cup of water.  After another ½ hour, add green pepper and potatoes.  After another half hour, add zucchini.  Dissolve cornstarch in ½ cup water and stir in.  Simmer for 15 minutes more.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into shallow soup plates and garnish with parsley.  Makes 6-8 servings.

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Eggplant Caponata

May 2, 2010

Eggplant Caponata – I made this appetizer for a fundraiser for my chorale group.  Many have asked for the recipe.  Also  makes a great pasta sauce (you can thin it by adding an additional cup of tomato sauce).

by microwaving the eggplant to partially cook it, you will need less oil than the traditional dish and consume fewer calories.

  • 1 medium eggplant, stem removed and cut into ½” cubes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 crookneck squash cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups prepared chunky tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp wine vinegar
  • 1 dozen pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 tsp capers, drained
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp each dried basil and oregano
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup parsley
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted


Cut up eggplant and put it in a colander.  Sprinkle it with kosher salt and mix well with your hands.  Leave it in the sink to drain for about 10 minutes.  While eggplant is salting, prepare remaining vegetables.  Layer them in a large mixing bowl in the order above.  Drain and chop olives, drain capers and mince herbs. 

Rinse the eggplant well and drain it.  Put it in a large microwave-safe bowl and toss it with 2 tbsp olive oil.  Microwave the eggplant on high for about ten minutes, stirring it occasionally to make sure it is evenly cooked.

While eggplant is microwaving, heat up the remaining olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet.  Add onion and celery, and sauté for about five minutes.  Add garlic and bell pepper and sauté for about five minutes more.  Add the eggplant, tomato sauce, ketchup, vinegar, olives capers, cranberries, basil, oregano and rosemary.  Stir well.  Bring to boil and then turn heat down to medium low.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Stir in squash and simmer for about 15 minutes more, or until eggplant is very soft.  If the mixture gets too thick during the cooking process, add a little water, ½ cup at a time.  The finished product should be thick and chunky. 

Salt and pepper to taste.  Let cool to room temperature.  Just before serving, stir in ¼ cup parsley and 3 tbsp pine nuts.  Garnish with remaining parsley and pine nuts.  Serve with bread rounds, or serve as a pasta sauce.

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