Category: Pasta/Rice

Thai Basil Pork

My first full weekend without work was equal parts good and bad. Saturday felt like Sunday the whole time, but it obviously wasn’t. We checked the box on several big pieces to the new patio out front. Bistro lights were hung. Outdoor furniture has been purchased. More plants have found homes. There are only a few things left to do. Regardless we spent a lot of time outside eating. It’s the new favorite place in the house. Get ready for a lot of food photos from out there. It’s going to happen. Sunday was spent watching a lot of football [soccer], studying, and a whole lot of my body fighting some sort of congestion crap. Not the perfect weekend, but I’ll take it.

This stir fry has become the new curry in this house. I make it all the time. When we don’t know what we want to eat? I make this. If I managed to have some time in the kitchen during busy season? I made this. The first meal back in the kitchen? This.

It started out as this Thai Basil Chicken recipe, and it’s morphed into what it’s become for me now. I don’t measure much anymore; it becomes an shake of this and a dash of that. The overall foundation is there. There is always a fried egg. There is always white rice. The bottle of fish sauce is always on the table. I add it to the stir fry and then again when it’s on my plate or in a bowl. My love of fish sauce is strong. I tried using a defrosted chicken breast once. Don’t do that. It was way too watery. I’ve tried ground chicken, which is good, but kind of bland ultimately. I ended up with ground pork because it’s cheap, already cut up into small pieces, and imparts a lot of flavor with it’s fattiness without being too greasy. Since New Seasons the fridge doesn’t have Thai chilies or Thai basil, it’s jalapeños or serranos and regular basil. It’s still very good, and still very worth it.

Inspiration: Eating Thai Food

Ingredients

  • 3/4lb ground pork
  • 2-4 small jalapeños or serranos, depending on your spice tolerance, sliced
  • 1-2 large handful of basil leaves
  • 5 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • olive oil
  • fried eggs and rice for serving

Preparation

In a large skillet, heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the garlic and jalapeños or serranos. Stir often. You don’t want that garlic to burn. Burned garlic sucks. Once it gets hot and fragrant, add the ground pork. While it browns, whisk together your sauce ingredients and sugar. Once the pork is cooked, if there is a lot of grease, drain it. It happens every two or three times for me. It totally depends on the pork. Add the pork back to the pan. There should be no need to turn the heat back on. Stir in the sauce and the basil. Stir until the is basil starts to wilt. Serve with rice and a fried egg.

Unstuffed Peppers

Sometimes you just want a one-pot meal. I’m pretty sure the crock-pot is the ultimate one-pot meal, but that requires planning and foresight that I just don’t have most of the time. I’ve been getting better. Expect some crock-pot meals to come, but until then there are these.

This is what happens when you unstuff a bell pepper. It’s practically what I do when I’ve ever made/eaten stuffed ones anyway. Sure they’re pretty all on your plate perched high and stuffed full of whatever goodness, but one cut and it’s on its side anyway. Then you have to cut up the pepper with each bite so you get enough pepper with every bite. Cooking it up this way ensures you’re increasing your fork to face time. Who doesn’t like making something a little easier every now and then?

Inspiration: Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, diced
  • 15oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

Preparation

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic for a minute or two. Add the ground beef. Break up into small pieces as it browns. Add the diced bell pepper and cook until soft—about 3-5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes to the pan, including the juice. Stir in the rice, basil, oregano, some pepper, and the beef broth. Bring the whole mixture to a boil before turning down to a low simmer. Cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed. Stir in the tomato sauce and worcestershire sauce.

Taste for salt and more pepper before serving.

Salmon Snap Pea Risotto

Burger Week is going strong. I haven’t binged been as dedicated as some. One burger a day is enough for me. There’s only been the one photo because it’s usually too dark. So far I’ve been to North Light, Double Barrel, Club 21, and Tilt. Tilt ran out of the $5 burger before we got there, and I didn’t want to hold out on my hunger any longer, so we ate there. Even though it wasn’t one of the burgers it’s still a burger. North Light’s burger stuffed with cheese curds and Double Barrel’s pimento cheese and fresh jalapeños were so, so good. Club 21 had a solid, traditional burger [gouda and onion ring!] and their grill master had medium rare on lock. Tilt was awesome as usual. So many burgers left and so little time!

This risotto was something I drummed up while on a salmon kick. I really really really really want to love salmon in a can, but I really have to dress it up to make it not taste like canned salmon. It just isn’t the same as the fresh stuff. I don’t know if that’s because I grew up on the fresh stuff or what, but I love canned tuna and fresh tuna equally. They’re different, but I like them. Canned salmon is just okay for me. I think part of it is always having to pick out the bones. It drives me crazy and makes me paranoid. I know they’re cooked down and you can eat them, but I freak out a little bit if I get an unexpected little crunch while eating.

I dumped the cans of salmon into a bowl and went fishing for bones for a few minutes before going any further. It helped. A lot. The bright, crisp snap peas also helped give the dish a crunch so in the event I might have missed one, it would blend right in. Baking it is the lazy man’s risotto, and I’m all about it [never mind it’s been nearly three years since I’ve last made some]. You can add just about whatever you want into it. If you want to use some other meat, I’d probably cook it first. Top it all off with parsley and a bunch of shredded cheese, and it’s dinner without a whole lot of work.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1lb snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cans of salmon
  • parsley, chopped
  • parmesan cheese, shredded

 Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.  If you have a large oven proof pan with high walls that you can sauté in, use that. Otherwise start with a skillet of some kind, and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add onion and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir often to keep the garlic from burning. Add the Arborio rice, salmon, and snap peas and sauté until the grains appeared to be slightly translucent.

Transfer the rice mixture to an oven proof dish if it isn’t already in one. Stir in stock. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the rice is tender, and the stock is evaporated. Set aside, covered, for five minutes. To serve, top with parmesan, chopped parsley. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Mango Puree

I’ve been enjoying an abundance of fruit and vegetable. I wander over to New Seasons and see what’s new. A beautiful new batch of honeydew melon from Hermiston, Oregon. It was a bigger, more oval shape. Intrigued was an understatement. I don’t think I’d ever had one before, only watermelon. It was extra juicy, a more vivid orange, and just as deliciously sweet as you’d expect from a melon. The radishes are extra spicy and nearly the size of golf balls right now. I don’t think I’ve had one that spicy before. I’ve been eating them like apples, so I don’t see them ending up in any salad or side dish anytime soon. The radish greens are cleaned and waiting to hopefully get used up here soon. I was tempted to blend them into my morning smoothie, but that just seems…unappetizing. My last experience with them was bitter and spicy, so I don’t know how well that will go with the latest concoction I’ve been blending up.

It all started with craving a mango. I don’t eat that many mangos after a really random and unfortunate reaction to a mango that left me with obscenely dry lips and eyelids. It’s related to poison ivy, I guess. I still gave into the craving and picked up some pre-made puree in hopes of alleviating another reaction. I did pick up a couple champagne mangos a few weeks later and survived. Maybe it was just freak thing. Either way I’m still cautious.

Rice pudding is like the risotto of the breakfast dessert world. It’s such a comforting bowl of awesome. I love it best the first day and less so each following day. Don’t think it stops me from eating it cold for breakfast. There are no rules. It’s really easy to make. The hardest part is remembering to stir it often enough so it doesn’t stick and burn to the bottom of the pan. No one likes crunchy burnt bits, do they? Maybe for color.

Each bite of the pudding was every bit of wonderful. Stirring in the puree was nice, but I really think I’d want cubed mangos next time. It would be a nice texture change and you’d get a bigger contrast between spicy coconut and the sweet mango.

Inspiration: A Thought for Food

Ingredients

  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1.25 cups of water
  • 2/3 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mango puree [the original recipe has a details on how to make your own] or cubed mango

Instructions

In a large saucepan that will hold all of your liquid and rice, add the rice, coconut milk, water, orange juice, salt, and vanilla extract. Bring it to a boil and reduce it to a simmer and partially cover the pot with a lid. Stir the mixture occasionally over the next 20-30 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed by the rice. Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, and your spices. Remove from heat. Spoon into serving dishes and top with mango.

Spaghetti and Anchovy Butter with Crushed Tomatoes

Let’s spare you the rant on how the internet ate my post. Again. I think it’s a sign.

Let’s talk about Bar Vivant instead. Spain in Portland. It was Spain from nearly top to bottom. After two glasses of Perucchi Red Spanish Vermouth, a Spanish tortilla, a chile stuffed with the best egg salad of my life on a piece of crusty bread, a marinated shrimp, two large, meaty marinated mushrooms, a plate of Iberico ham, two skewers of olives, chilies, and anchovies, mushroom puree wrapped in a puff pastry, and marinated pieces of the most tender octopus I was pretty much right back across the ocean. I’m more than impressed.

Speaking of seafood [again], do you like anchovies? They seem like a such a love/hate food. Bon Appetit debuted this recipe in one of the recent issues, and I have to say the photo won me. A pile of spaghetti marinating in a pool of melted butter and crushed tomatoes. It wasn’t until I read further that it had salty fish chopped up in it. Hello simplicity and delicious. My kind of stuff! Even if you didn’t want salty fish in there, melt some really good butter and do this. Such a nice change from olive oil.

Inspiration: Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of spaghetti
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter [if you go for no fish, use salted]
  • 2-4 anchovy filets, depending on your love of anchovies
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds medium tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preparation

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. Set aside.

While the spaghetti cooks, melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovies, stirring to break down the fish and keeping the butter from browning too much. Add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to breakdown. This will take a good 10 minutes. Add the pasta and enough pasta water so it’s covered thoroughly with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with the parsley just before serving.