Now we have Sam the Cooking Guy's just released cookbook, Awesome Recipes & Kitchen Shortcuts (Wiley, $19.95, 256 pp) for new flavors and fun inspiration when dinner seems like drudge work.
Today we whipped up Spicy Chinese Chicken Pizza in what seemed only seconds - okay, really, minutes.
Just like Sam says in the cook book: You're going to like this a lot. It was seriously finger-licking good - gooey with fresh mozzarella and tangy, spicy sweet from the hoisin sauce and the Thai chili paste. The spring onions and fresh cilantro added a herbaceous kick and crunch.
My 11-year-old son handled a lot of the prep work and while I'm still squeamish about his proximity to heat and flames - let go, Mommy, let go - we worked together to pull the meal off. I love cooking with my son and he loves eating what we cook. Of course, I do too.
Sam Zien, eleven-time local Emmy Award winner, hosts Sam the Cooking Guy on Cox Channel 4 in San Diego. A frequent guest on the Today Show, Zien has TV shows in syndication across the country.
adapted from the book
Makes one 10-inch pizza
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons Asian chili paste
1 package pizza dough (we prefer Trader Joe's, but you can make do with Pillsbury)
2 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1/3 finely chopped spring green onions
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. In a small bowl, mix together hoisin sauce and chili paste, then spread over the rolled pizza crust. Top with chicken, green oinons and cheese slices.
Bake about 12-15 minutes, depending on how hot your oven cooks, or until golden. Our test recipe took exactly 12 minutes.
Sprinkle with cilantro to serve. Serves 4.
Thank you, Rachel Ray for saving the culinary day.
At a loss for a quick dinner this week, I was thinking about scrambling through the drawer full of takeout menus. Then I remembered watching RR on TV and watching her prepare a Make Your Own Take Out meal - Spicy Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce.
Ah, shades of the Seventies! There were very few Asian restaurants where we lived and I remember trying to find authentic ingredients - okay, water chestnuts and baby corn - to experiment with my new wok.
Didn't everyone get a wok for Christmas in 1977?
So, I loved RR's MYTO for the day and I made it that very night. I loved it; the boy scraped out the offending water chestnuts, pronounced it edible, but didn't beg for seconds.
Start brown or white rice and 10 minutes before it is done begin your stir fry.
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, add bell peppers and stir fry 2 minutes more. Remove chicken and peppers to a plate and add 2 tablespoons more oil to the pan. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry 15 seconds then add in peanut butter, soy, stock, chili paste and sesame oil and stir to combine into sauce. Add chestnuts and scallions and toss 1 minute, add chicken and peppers back to pan with peanuts and turn to coat in sauce. Serve over rice.
I like to look. At the grocery, that is.
When I'm shopping for food, I'm in no particular hurry. Unless, I'm shopping for a particular menu, I usually don't carry a list. I know what I want when I see it.
This is no problem for me shopping solo, but if I'm marketing with anyone else - my son, my mother, or any other person who isn't as happy in the kitchen as I am - the going can be tough. I hate to be rushed, so if I'm shopping with anyone who sticks to a list and does a cart dash through the market, I'm more than a little annoyed.
The same goes for when I'm cooking. Join me in the kitchen for a glass of wine and a chat, but stay out from under foot and - please - don't second guess my seasonings or method. I won't tell you how to cook in your kitchen and unless I ask, I don't want you telling me how to cook in mine.
Old habits are hard to break.
So when I found myself in front of the butcher's counter at Whole Foods this week, I was doing what I normally do - eying the meat, checking out its color and its texture, making note of its price, basically enjoying the overabundant display. There's a reason excessive and gorgeous displays of food are dubbed 'food porn.'
One of the reasons I like Whole Foods is the staff is attentive and knowledgeable, although, for me, sometimes too much attention is worse than not enough. My boyfriend, the butcher, for instance was quick to ask if I needed assistance - not once but twice in the span of five minutes. The third time he asked, I finally woke up and realized he was flirting.
Please don't flirt with me over the meat counter. I can't think about possible dates over a bloody cut of meat. Too much multi-tasking. Plus, my mother was hovering.
None of this was lost on my mother the matchmaker, who despite marrying me off unsuccessfully one or two times before, would still like to see me linked up with some eligible someone. But I really just wanted a lamb roast. Besides, my mother's matchmaking record is not so great.
Even if my boyfriend the butcher struck out, he gave terrific customer service. I got a lovely boneless roast, hand cut just right for Saturday night dinner. Maybe I ought to reconsider the man behind the meat counter.
Boneless Lamb Roast with Carrots, Parsnips & Brussel Sprouts
2-3 pound boneless lamb roast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Italian oregano, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
3 parsnips, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
12 brussel sprouts
1. Rub the outside and the center of the roast with the kosher salt and ground pepper.
2. Mix garlic and fresh herbs, then rub the mixture over the roast and in the center.
3. Place the roast in a glass baking dish and pour the olive oil and white balsamic vinegar over the roast. Cover and marinate over night.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Arrange vegetables around the roast and add 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish. Cover and cook 20 minutes per pound for medium rare (140 degrees on the meat thermometer), 25 minutes per pound for medium (160 degrees), and 30 minutes per pound for well done (170 degrees).
Ron Suhanosky, Colleen Marnell-Suhanosky
with Susan Simon
Sfoglia, Italian for an uncut sheet of pasta, is an apt name for the Nantucket and New York City restaurants of chefs Ron and Collen Suhanosky.
With their Renaissance-inspired menus featuring sweet and savory flavored sauces enrobing egg-rich pastas, the acclaimed restaurants have earned their place in the hearts and stomachs of their clientele.
Even former NY Times food critic, Frank Bruni, whose reviews were renowned for their pungency, was mellowed by a meal at Sfoglia NYC.
A dish of pasta this fantastic, its sauce of cream and vin santo applied with restraint and leavened cunningly by shredded carrot, convinces a person that whatever path led him to it should be embraced more often. In this case the impulse to enjoy an unhurried midday meal had taken me there. That, and the very lucky decision to enjoy that meal at Sfoglia.
Now after a decade and more of mastering their craft, the Suhanoskys have developed a cookbook. With 111 recipes - including the Fusilli, Guanciale, Carrots, Vin Santo and Cream that Bruni admired in his 2007 review - PASTA sfoglia gives guidance to the home cook.
Master recipes for fresh egg pasta, gnocchi, crespelle (thin Italian crepes), and brodo (a hybrid cross between stock and broth) are the foundation of this beautifully staged cookbook. Included also are recipes for ingredients Sfoglia pasta dishes rely upon: Limoncello, a lemon infused liqueur made in nearly every seaside Italy village, preserved lemons, and goat's milk cheese.
The two-page section detailing how to roll and cut pasta for various shapes is as precise as can be, but suffers from a lack of illustration. I would have liked to see the process through the lens of food photographer Ben Fink, whose gorgeously styled photographs tell the unwritten story throughout this cookbook.
A shared passion for the Italian cooking of their youths is evident in PASTA sfoglia. One of the sublime pleasures of this cookbook is reading the personal notes, the intimate experiences, of the couple's food journey. The reader gets a glimpse of big family dinners and working stages in Italian kitchens as well as insights about a centuries old cuisine and way of eating that is as much an art as it is a lifestyle.
Each recipe is prefaced by a short passage, which is one part inspiration and technique, one part memoir, that provides readers with the hidden nature of how the recipe evolved. In the recipe, Ricotta, Prunes, Walnuts, Fazzoletti, and Valpolicella Sauce, the couple tells us the filling for these plump fazzoletti - literally handkerchiefs - were the Valpolicella wine-soaked prunes dipped in chocolate they ate while traveling in Verona.
Organized in six sections - master recipes, fresh pasta, dry pasta, filled pasta, gnocchi and grains, which the Suhanoskys consider as "cousins of the more traditional pastas" - the cookbook builds on the basics. Ron Suhanosky, who says he dreams about pasta, simplifies the process of making fresh pasta by using a food processor to blend the dough and an electric pasta maker to roll out the sheets of dough. "Fresh pasta is something special, but something not just for special occasions'," he writes in urging home cooks Niente paura or Have no fear.
The authors provide an extensive and detailed list of resources for necessary specialty products as well.
What makes this cookbook indispensable is its wide range of pastas and sauces as well as its insider tips for creating memorable meals. The book takes the terror out of making fresh pasta and details inventive ways of using ingredients in sauces, which for the time-pressed may be combined with either store-bought fresh or dry pastas.
Condensed from PASTA sfoglia
Serves 4 – 6
FUSILLI, GUANCIALE, CARROTS, VIN SANTO, CREAM
original idea was to make a carrot salad with guanciale. Then I thought
about pasta – just because pasta is always the first thing I want to
eat. This recipe is kind of a spin off of carbonara because of the
crispy guanciale and creamy sauce.
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1/2 pound diced guanciale (see resources)
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and finely shredded, yield approximately 2 cups
1/2 cup vin santo or Malvasia
1 pound good quality fusilli
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the grape seed oil and
guanciale to a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the
guanciale has rendered it fat,is deep gold and crispy, 6 – 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the fat.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook until they have wilted, 2 – 3 minutes. Add the vin santo and reduce to 1/4 cup.
Add the fusilli to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.
Add the heavy cream to the skillet and reduce by half, about 10-12 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce. Use a wire mesh skimmer to remove
the pasta 2 minutes before cooking is complete and place it directly
into the skillet. Toss to thoroughly coat the pasta and cook for the
remaining 2 minutes.
Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.
For years I was intimidated by this wonderful Italian specialty. But once I began experimenting with risotti, I discovered it was as simple as good timing and a strong stirring arm.
Risotto is a great dish for sneaking vegetables into unsuspecting kids - diced spinach, pureed winter squash, even mushrooms. The kids gobble up the Parmesan cheese laden rice with its hidden nutrients and are none the wiser that they've eaten something healthy.
Rachel Ray takes risotto one step further with a Risotto and Mini Meatball dish that is a bit too cute for my taste, but is sure to make the kids ask for seconds.
A basic risotto recipe can be altered simply by changing the intingolo, the sauce or cooked ingredients added to the risotto. Risotti are prepared following the same basic procedure, with variations according to the intingoli.
For this recipe, you'll require two pans - one for the intingolo and the other for the basic risotto.
Basic Risotto Recipe
Serves 6 to 8
Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot. Note: Liquids added to the risotto should be warm rather than cold.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until slightly translucent.
Add the rice to the pot, stirring briskly with a wooden spoon until the grains are coated. Don't let the rice turn brown.
Add the wine, stirring until the liquid is fully absorbed.
Then add a ladle of warm chicken stock to the rice, stirring until the liquid is fully absorbed.Continue adding ladles of stock and stirring the rice while the liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches.
Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy.
If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn't done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it's absorbed.
As the last stock is being absorbed, stir in the desired intingolo.
Finally, stir in the remaining butter, the Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese and the parsley. Correct to taste with Kosher salt.
Serve immediately since risotto turns glutinous if held for too long. Properly cooked, the risotto should be soft and creamy.
Spinach Mushroom Intingolo
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Cremini mushrooms, red pepper and garlic. Saute until tender. Then add the spinach and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
Growing up we called this breakfast treat Egg in the Nest. You might know it as Toad in the Hole.By either name, it's delicious and easy to make.
Kids and kids at heart love it.
The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook has a recipe for this breakfast classic that includes Red Pepper Ketchup.
16 slices sourdough bread, about 3/4 inch thick
1 cup melted butter or as needed
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1 cup Red Pepper Ketchup (recipe below)
Cut holes in each slice of bread with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Be sure not to get too close to the edge of the bread. Brush both sides of each slice of bread with the melted butter.
Heat a griddle to medium heat (the CIA cookbook calls for a gas grill or charcoal grill but for indoors I suggest a griddle, either electric or stove top). Griddle the bread on one side until golden brown' about 1-2 minutes. Flip each piece of bread over and crack one egg into the hole in each piece of bread.
Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Fry the eggs about 2 minutes for sunny-side-up, 3 minutes for medium yolks and 3 1/2 to 4 minutes for hard yolks. Flip the bread over, being careful not to break the yolk, and cook for 30 seconds more, if desired.
Serve immediately with the Red Pepper Ketchup on top or on the side.
1/4 cup olive oil
5 red peppers, diced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3/4 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the peppers and shallots and saute until tender, about 5 to six minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, making sure to scrape up anything that is stuck to the bottom of the pan.
If you've only experienced Hilton Head or Kiawah Island off the South Carolina coast, look a little deeper South for an experience more rustic, more authentic and definitely more relaxed - the Private Islands of Georgia's Eagle Island.
Whether you're looking to disappear with someone special or with a group of friends, this secluded 10-acre getaway is a find. Getaways can be customized.
Accessible only by boat, guests enjoy the spectacular Georgia salt marsh eco system, offshore/inshore fishing, blue crabbing, coastal cruises or full moon weekends in complete privacy. A 10-foot wraparound screened porch with hot tub and an outdoor fire pit are perfect for idling.
For those who can't leave their technology behind, there is WiFi and Direct TV. Rates start at $400 per couple per night. Round-trip boat transportation is provided with each visit.
Get owner Capt. Andy Hill to put on a low country boil for the end to a long and perfect autumn day on the coast. Wild Georgia shrimp, Andouille sausage, carrots, potatoes and corn make for some good Southern eating. Serve with deep dish corn bread and a few cold bottles of Reisling.
Low Country Boil
You don't have to be in the low country to enjoy this seasonal Southern shore specialty.
Note - outdoor gas cookers are typically used. A large pot on the range can also be used when outdoor gas cookers are not available.
Fill a large pot with water. Leave enough room in the pot to accommodate the food in order to prevent over boiling. Bring water to a boil.
Next, prepare the Private Islands of Georgia Seasoning Blend (recipe below) and add to boiling water.
Note - Old Bay Seasoning can be substituted for the Private Islands of Georgia Seasoning Blend if desired
Private Islands of Georgia SPECIAL Seasoning Blend
2 sticks butter
1 cup black pepper
1/2 cup red pepper
1 cup garlic salt
1/2 cup seasoning salt
1/2 cup celery salt
10 lemons, halved and juiced
10 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
Melt butter in large sauce pan on low to medium heat.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir with wire whisk. Pour contents of mixing bowl into melted butter and stir with wire whisk until well blended.
Pour fresh squeezed lemon juice into pan and stir. Add jalapeno pepper slices and stir. Add mixture to boiling water.
Low Country Boil Ingredients
Note - other ingredients that can be added to personal taste are rutabagas, sweet potatoes, crabs, crawfish or the 'kitchen sink' - whatever textures and flavors you love
4 pounds shrimp
2 packages Andouille sausage cut into 1" slices - or substitute your favorite brand
8 onions, peeled and halved
16 new potatoes
4 ears of corn, halved
small bag of baby carrots
After adding the Private Islands of Georgia Seasoning Blend to the boiling water, you are now ready to add the remaining ingredients.
The food items are added in order of longest to shortest to cook.
First, add the potatoes and boil 10 minutes. Next, add the carrots, sausage and whole onions. Return to boil. Add corn and return to boil. Then, add the shrimp last. Cook until shrimp are pink in color, approximately 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
Have on hand extras like cocktail sauce, lemon wedges and don't forget plenty of napkins.
There's a large Hispanic community here, but (despite the welcome sight of a Taco Truck) I've yet to find cocina casero like you find on every street corner in NYC.
When you're handed a big bag of lemons, you start making lemonade.
So, this week's recipe for Saturday night eat-in is a quick and dirty version of pernil asado. Click here to see video instructions for another version.
Pair this meal with a youthful and fresh Portuguese Vinho Verde.
Leftovers can be used to make super delicious Cubanos, meaty and magnificent heroes made with roast pork, ham, swiss cheese and dill pickles on Cuban rolls.
Mighty good eating, I say.
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1/2 cup dry sherry
* whole fresh lime, juiced
* zest of fresh lime
* 1 tbs cilantro, chopped
4 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and tied
Mix all marinade ingredients in a glass or non-reactive metal mixing bowl. Place the pork in a large resealable plastic bag and then pour citrus marinade over meat, and seal.
Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the bag over occasionally to thoroughly marinate the pork roast.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Transfer pork and marinade to a roasting pan, and place in the oven. Roast uncovered for half an hour, then cover and continue to oast for about an hour and 45 minutes, basting with pan juices occasionally, or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).
Add small amounts of water to the pan if it dries out.
Roast uncovered to crisp the pork roast, then transfer the pork to a carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
For quick and easy sides, serve with Mahatma spicy saffron rice and seasoned pinto beans.
If the temperature dips even slightly below 70 at night, Iam ready to rattle my pots and pans to make hearty meat sauces and soups. It's not that I don't make sauces and soups in the warmer months, it's simply that there is something idyllic for me about simmering a large pot of sauce or soup on a long, cool afternoon or evenig.
Yesterday I made a ragu di carne in the Bolognese tradition. This meat sauce originates in the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy. It is both familiar and comforting, and can be served with pasta - fresh or dry - as well as polenta and gnocchi.
Variations of this sauce may be made with prosciutto, porcini or chicken livers.
3 oz pancetta
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot
1 small onion
l/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 tbs Italian seasoning mix (I bought mine in the Campo dei Fiori, but you can find yours at any well-stocked grocer or make your own.)
1/4 teas red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup broth
1/2 oz butter
1 tbs tomato paste
1 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or 4-6 large peeled & seeded tomatoes)
Prepare a battuto (finely chopped herb mixture traditionally using a mezzaluna) with pancetta, celery, carrot and onion. Melt butter in a saucepan, add the battuto and the ground meats, brown well, then add the wine and half the broth as well as the Italian seasoning mix and red pepper flakes.
Continue to cook until the liquids are reduced, then add the remaining broth. Reduce again, then add the crushed tomatoes or peeled and seeded tomatoes as well as the tomato paste, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Cover saucepan and let cook over a medium heat for at least 2 hours. Add the cream, and correct salt and pepper to taste. The sauce is ready to serve over fresh or stuffed pasta.