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252 posts categorized "13) Tex/Mex,Thai/Asian, India, Greece & More"

09/19/2018

~Lo & Slow-Cooker Jerk-Style Baby-Back Spare-Ribs~

Jerk seasoning was/is the dry spice blend used to season jerky, and Jamaican jerk seasoning, known for the flavors of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, thyme and Scotch bonnet pepper, is perhaps the most famous. Throughout the Caribbean, islanders preserved/cured their spice-rubbed meats by drying them in the intense sun or over a slow fire -- this allowed the meat to be taken on long journeys and eaten as is or reconstituted in boiling water. The word most likely transitioned to the verb, "jerking", in reference to the way the meat gets "jerked" around on the grill as it cooks. The machinations...... View full recipe for "~Lo & Slow-Cooker Jerk-Style Baby-Back Spare-Ribs~"

09/08/2018

~ Sweet Heat: Island-Style Mango or Pineapple Salsa ~

In my food world, one of the most common background noises is the chatter of friends or family talking about the great price they scored on a basket or flat of prime produce. It's big news. Last week I was the one bragging about the flat of perfect mangos I toddled into my kitchen with. At 2-for-$1, it was exciting news. On par with fresh pineapple, mangos are my favorite exotic fruit. Similar in taste and texture to peaches, my first taste of this juicy stone fruit came in Thailand, where a mango hedgehog* was served, compliments of the hotel,...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Island-Style Mango or Pineapple Salsa ~"

09/05/2018

~Jerk-Style Chicken & Slaw on Coco Bread Sandwich~

Don't worry, be happy -- especially if you've got some leftover Jamaican-style jerk chicken (or pork) on hand. Warm or chilled, removed from the bones and pulled into succulent, bite-sized chucks and pieces, this full-of-Island-style aromatically-flavored poultry (or meat), when piled high on one of their signature freshly-baked and opened, rich-and-flaky coco bread sandwich rolls, is magnifique. A slice of tomato or grilled pineapple and a heap of jerk-slaw takes it over the top. Coco bread is an enriched Jamaican yeast bread that's a cross between a thin sandwich roll and a thick pocket bread. It's said the name comes...... View full recipe for "~Jerk-Style Chicken & Slaw on Coco Bread Sandwich~"

09/03/2018

~Crunchy & Creamy Island-Style Jerk-Seasoned Slaw~

Coleslaw -- creamy and crunchy, sweet, savory and nicely-spiced, coleslaw is a make-my-day side-dish and my favorite sloppy-sandwich topper. There's more. By swapping out a few herbs and spices, coleslaw, "the chameleon of side-dishes", any coleslaw recipe can be prepared to complement any cuisine. How convenient is that. I came up with this version to serve with Jamaican-style jerk fare. This simple, lip-smacking recipe has got a bit of coat-your-throat heat. Herein lies the secret to my jerk-seasoned slaw: Leave it to the Jamaicans. I can't think of another exotic-to-me cuisine that does a better job of making my life...... View full recipe for "~Crunchy & Creamy Island-Style Jerk-Seasoned Slaw~"

09/01/2018

~ Island-Style Bejeweled Coconut & Black Bean Rice ~

In Jamaica, they make a dish called coconut rice and peas -- it's usually served as an accompaniment to Caribbean-style chicken- or shrimp- curry dishes and jerk-seasoned meats. This is sort of not it. This is my twist on it. In Jamaica, beans are called peas, more specifically, pigeon peas -- they’re a staple in Indian, African, Latin and Caribbean cooking and are sold canned, dried or fresh. In the Caribbean islands, kidney beans are a common substitution, which is a good, because, up until recently, pigeon peas were not something I could find in my Central PA stores. While...... View full recipe for "~ Island-Style Bejeweled Coconut & Black Bean Rice ~"

08/30/2018

~Spice-is-Nice Oven-Roasted Jamaican-Jerk Chicken~

Leave it to the Jamaicans. I can't think of another exotic-to-me cuisine that does a better job of making my life easier. I mean, seriously, they've cornered the market on marketing high-quality, bold-flavored dry-spice blends and rubs, wet pastes and marinades, barbecue, steak and hot pepper sauces, etc. -- when it comes to cooking Jamaican fare at home, some of their store-bought time-savers make me ponder why anyone would want to concoct "it" from scratch. That said, time spent in my kitchen is therapy -- it's my "don't worry, be happy" space. It's the game-on place where movies and music...... View full recipe for "~Spice-is-Nice Oven-Roasted Jamaican-Jerk Chicken~"

08/27/2018

~Sweet & Caramelized Island-Spiced Yellow Plantains~

The closest a plantain gets to a ripe banana is the black-streaked yellow plantain. Eaten raw, it still doesn't taste quite like, or have the mouthfeel of, a yellow banana, but, when sautéed, because of its high-starch and fully-developed sugar content, it can do something the banana can't: caramelize without losing its textural integrity. Sweet and caramelized, and slightly-sticky-without-sticking-together, this quick-to-make side-dish is the perfect sweet complement to the fiery-hot flavors of Caribbean-style chicken- or shrimp- curry dishes and jerk-seasoned meats. Let's talk plantains: Ripe or unripe, plantains are eaten cooked. The best way for me to culinarily describe the...... View full recipe for "~Sweet & Caramelized Island-Spiced Yellow Plantains~"

08/24/2018

~Deep-Fried Green Plantain Chips & Island Salsa Dip~

Bananas and plantains. Plantains and bananas. They resemble each other, and they're even related. I peel and eat a banana almost every morning, but, I can't say the same for the plantain. By accident or out of curiosity, if you've ever peeled a plantain and taken a taste, you knew immediately you were not eating a banana. The best way for me to culinarily describe the difference: If bananas are the sweet dessert, plantains are the savory potatoes. In fact, throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and South America, plantains are generically referred to as "cooking bananas", and bananas are...... View full recipe for "~Deep-Fried Green Plantain Chips & Island Salsa Dip~"

08/15/2018

~My Texican Huevos Rancheros Taco Boat Breakfast~

Classically, soft-yolked fried eggs, served atop a lightly-fried corn tortilla, accompanied by a scoop of creamy refried beans, then drizzled with a cooked tomato-and-chile-pepper sauce (not fresh salsa), is known as: huevos rancheros. Simple, straightforward and scrumptious, ranch eggs, rancher's eggs or ranch-style eggs was the typical big, bold stick-to-the-ribs start to the long, laborious dawn-to-dusk workdays of cattle ranchers and ranch hands throughout the wide-open cattle-grazing spaces of Mexico and the American Southwest. It wasn't fancy, it was filling. Huevos Rancheros = ingredients on-hand in a ranch kitchen. As long as one can cook an egg, this dish is...... View full recipe for "~My Texican Huevos Rancheros Taco Boat Breakfast~"

08/12/2018

~ Mexican-Style Tomato & Chipotle-Chile Chili Sauce ~

I like salsa fresca (uncooked salsa) as much as the next person, but, when I'm making huevos rancheros (ranch-style eggs) for breakfast or brunch, or, a Mexican-style drowned torta (a sandwich drenched in sauce) for lunch or dinner, I make an all-purpose Mexican-style sauce with a thick, semi-chunky consistency and a smokey, spicy, complex flavor, meaning: a cooked sauce that can be served hot or warm. My 15-20 minute quick-to-make sauce uses on-hand pantry and refrigerator staples. Why? Tick, tock. The people I know wake up hungry -- they don't want to wait or watch me stand around simmering sauce,...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Tomato & Chipotle-Chile Chili Sauce ~"

08/09/2018

~ Sweet & Hot Chili-Sauced Thai-Style Fried Chicken ~

Oh-My-Thai-style snacky-type appetizers. Truth told, I could easily make a meal out of these, and, frankly so could every person I've ever served them to -- every sweet-heat-seeking man, woman and child (every last one of them). Every now and then I get a hankering for fried-chicken -- the good old-fashioned batter-dipped and deep-fried kind -- crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. When the hankering hits, I've just gotta have it. What could be better? Fried chicken with all the bold, bright flavors of Thailand. Winner, winner Thai-style sweet & hot red chili sauce. Simply irresistible...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet & Hot Chili-Sauced Thai-Style Fried Chicken ~"

08/07/2018

~Simply Irresistible: Sweet Heat Thai Red Chili Sauce~

Simply irresistible indeed. This is perhaps my favorite of all the Thai-style condiments I use for dipping and drizzling. Next to spicy and slightly-salty peanut sauce, I could and do put it on and add it to almost anything Thai. I got my first taste of sweet and hot Thai chili sauce (Mae Ploy) back in the 1990's and it rocked my food world. That's why there's always sweet chili sauce in my refrigerator, and, I won't lie, it's often store-bought. That said, sweet chili sauce is not hard to make. If you're a purist, or simply curious, you should...... View full recipe for "~Simply Irresistible: Sweet Heat Thai Red Chili Sauce~"

08/05/2018

~Don't Worry, Be Happy: Jamaican-Style Beef Patties~

One patty. That's all it took. A succulent, superbly-spiced, slightly-saucy shredded-meat mixture encased in a flaky, yellow-orange-tinged pie pastry -- similar to any savory turnover ("hand-pie"). It was simply divine, meaning a simple concept with complex flavor. Fortunately, I found out after-the-fact it was prepared with finely-shredded goat meat -- back in my younger days, more likely than not, had I noticed the goats roasting on the spits to the rear of the building, I wouldn't have tried it. That said, a very nice woman at a Caribbean festival in the area of New York City offered me a Jamaican...... View full recipe for "~Don't Worry, Be Happy: Jamaican-Style Beef Patties~"

07/28/2018

~Thai-Style Grilled Chicken or Pork Tenderloin Sliders~

In Thailand, unlike here in America, sandwiches are not something one finds sold in shops or on the streets -- bread is not a part of the traditional Thai diet. That said, East met West quite a few decades ago, and, we Americans love sandwiches -- if it can be eaten between two slices of bread, we Americans will figure out a way to do it and make it taste great. To that end, A trip to Thailand will reveal that nowadays, a portion of the Thai population has come to appreciate and incorporate some bread (mostly flatbreads), in some...... View full recipe for "~Thai-Style Grilled Chicken or Pork Tenderloin Sliders~"

07/25/2018

~ My Basic Thai Marinade for Grilled Poultry or Pork ~

For those who love Thai food, your search for an all-purpose marinade and method of cooking some chicken or pork, to bring the bold flavors of Thailand to your American dinner tables without consuming too much time, muss or fuss, is over. Fact: When it comes to our food, just when we should slow down, relax and make more time for our family and friends, we Americans always seem to be in a hurry. While "eat and run" is not my style, this is my "go to" marinade, which produces succulent, full-throttle Thai-flavored chicken or pork, relatively quickly. It's perfect...... View full recipe for "~ My Basic Thai Marinade for Grilled Poultry or Pork ~"

07/22/2018

~ Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Slider Rolls ~

Bread is not a part of the traditional Thai diet. That said, East met West quite a few decades ago. Thai cooks brought their traditional recipes here to the USA, and in turn, American chefs and cooks who fell in love with Thai food have been very successful at inventing all sorts of Thai-style wraps, Thai-style sandwiches, and Thai-style pizza too -- Thai-style wraps, sandwiches and pizza are all American or Thai-American creations. I know this to be true, because my family thrives on my Thai-inspired creations. A trip to Thailand will reveal that nowadays, a good portion of the...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Slider Rolls ~"

07/20/2018

~Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Pizza Dough~

Every great pizza starts with a great crust, and, when it came to creating a Thai-style pizza dough, my decision to infuse Thai flavors into the crust, for an extra layer of flavor, transformed my Thai-style pizza into a great pizza. Fact: Bread and cheese are not part of the traditional Thai diet. That said, us Americans who love Thai food have been very successful at inventing all sorts of Thai-style wraps and sandwiches -- all of them are American or Thai-American creations. When travelers return to the USA from Thailand, it's almost impossible to wean themselves of the bold,...... View full recipe for "~Mel's Easy Thai-Spiced Bread-Machine Pizza Dough~"

07/18/2018

~ Thai-Style Pizza w/Grilled Chicken & Peanut Sauce ~

Bread and cheese -- they're not part of a traditional Thai diet. Even the Thai-syle sandwiches and wraps we lovers of Thai food enjoy, are American or Thai-American creations. That said, in Thailand they do sell a very limited selection of bread and cheese in their bigger grocery stores (mostly manufactured Wonder-type breads and processed cheeses), to satisfy the cravings of Westerners living in Thailand. I know this from on-the-ground-in-Thailand experience. When travelers return home from Thailand, it's almost impossible to wean themselves of the bold, addictive taste-of-Thailand. That said, as an all-American girl, I did miss bread and cheese...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Pizza w/Grilled Chicken & Peanut Sauce ~"

06/07/2018

~ Two Basic Marinades/Sauces for Chinese Stir-Fry ~

The definition of a stir-fry is straightforward: To fry small morsels of meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and/or vegetables rapidly, in a wok or skillet, over a high heat, in a small amount of oil or fat, while stirring constantly. The concept is an easy one to grasp. Stir-fries were invented by the Chinese, but, it was Chinese Cantonese chefs, who specialized in stir-frying, that were amongst the first to immigrate to other Asian and European countries, our USA, then countries all around the world, where, over a relatively short period of time, they put the word stir-fry in the global...... View full recipe for "~ Two Basic Marinades/Sauces for Chinese Stir-Fry ~"

06/04/2018

~ Chinese-Style Tomato-Eggs: For Any Time of Day ~

The incredible, edible egg. For centuries, the Chinese recognized how good the protein-packed egg is. So much so, eggs are their symbol of the principals-of-life: "yin" being the white, "yang" being the yolk.* Eggs, colored or marbled, celebrate birth, restoration of good health, continued good-luck and/or future prosperity. Dating back to ancient times, eggs of any kind (chicken, duck quail and pigeon) were incorporated into meals all day long (fluffy scrambled tomato eggs, flan-like steamed eggs, omelette-esque egg fu young, wispy egg drop soup, vinegary pickled eggs, tea-flavored smoked eggs, etc.), with mushrooms and/or seafood being common additions. *Note: Yin...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese-Style Tomato-Eggs: For Any Time of Day ~"

06/02/2018

~ Hong Kong's Cantonese-Style Tomato-Beef Stir-Fry ~

Sit down in any Chinese western-style restaurant in China, or, in any Chinese-American restaurant in the USA and peruse the menu. Allow me to point out, there will be just as many, or almost as many beef options as there are poultry, pork and seafood choices. Beef will priced accordingly too -- right up there with seafood, meaning more expensive than poultry and pork. This would lead anyone with an enthusiasm for Chinese fare to conclude: the Chinese must eat a lot of beef. They don't. In fact, most Chinese diners prefer pork to the stronger flavor of beef. The...... View full recipe for "~ Hong Kong's Cantonese-Style Tomato-Beef Stir-Fry ~"

05/31/2018

~ Chinese-American Restaurant-Style Pepper Steak ~

A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends posted a photo of her dinner, Chinese pepper-steak, and, for a few days, just like that song that gets stuck in your head, I walked around wishing everything I ate was pepper steak. As a kid in the 1960's, it was one of the first Chinese-American restaurant dishes I was introduced to, and, as a young bride in the mid 70's, it was the first Chinese-American dish I made in my own kitchen. By the time the '80's rolled around, I had three boys in elementary school, and, pepper-steak was in...... View full recipe for "~ Chinese-American Restaurant-Style Pepper Steak ~"

05/09/2018

~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~

I love a starry night. Sitting outside in the warm Summer air, watching the sun set and listening to my next-door neighbors, the dairy cows, lowing in the pasture -- it's peaceful. That said, on some Summer nights, Thursdays during June, July and August, a band plays "up on the mountain" (the ski slope to the other side of the cow pasture). Weather permitting, on those toe-tapping evenings, if you stop by, you'll find a snack or three on the table next to the cooler of Corona. My neighbors, music on the mountain, &, bean dip. This easy bean dip...... View full recipe for "~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~"

05/06/2018

~ Mexican-Style Adobo Rice (Meatless Spanish Rice) ~

Mexican rice became a staple on our family's table back in the 1980's. Whenever we ate in a Mexican restaurant, remarkably, our three kids would eat the side-dishes: the muli-colored veggie-bejeweled rice, the murky-earthy slightly-soupy refried beans, and, the bright-green garlic-laced guacamole. Without complaint or prodding, they'd slather and scoop 'em onto and into tacos, fajitas, carnitas (or whatever else they were eating), along with red or green salsa and the bottled hot-sauce du jour. Go figure, and, "shut my mouth wide open." I started stocking my pantry with whatever Texican-type ingredients I could find in our Central, PA grocery...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Adobo Rice (Meatless Spanish Rice) ~"

05/04/2018

~ Spicy Mexican Ahogada-Style Grilled Shrimp Tacos ~

If you're like me, an American cook with a fondness for Mexican fare, you most likely have a recipe-or-six for tacos (American-style ground beef tacos, grilled-beef tacos al carbon, shredded-pork carnitas tacos, shredded-pork tacos al pastor, chicken tacos, fish tacos, etc.). Today I'm adding another one, and, the inspiration for my creation came from the signature sandwich of Guadalajara: the Torta Ahogada (in Mexico, "torta" means "sandwich" and "ahogada" means "drenched", "drowned" or "drunken"). After eating these famous tortas for our Cinco de Mayo celebration, it occurred to me that making these shrimp tacos tonight might be a fine use...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Mexican Ahogada-Style Grilled Shrimp Tacos ~"

05/02/2018

~ Mexico's Torta Ahogada Drowned-Pork Sandwich ~

Torta ahogada. Culinarily, torta can mean several things: in Spain it refers to a pancake, in Latin America it's a cake, in Central America it's an omelette, and, in Mexico it's a sandwich -- the kind that, unlike the taco, fits the culinary definition of anything edible placed between two slices of bread. Generally speaking, in Spanish ahogada means drowned, drenched or drunk. Putting two and two together, today's recipe is: a Mexican sandwich, drowned or drenched in sauce. A traditional torta ahogada is a fried-pork and onion sandwich drenched in a spicy red sauce, and, this Mexican working-man's lunch...... View full recipe for "~ Mexico's Torta Ahogada Drowned-Pork Sandwich ~"

04/30/2018

~ Sink or Swim: Mexican Drowned-Beef Sandwiches ~

Tacos and tortas -- two staples of Mexican cuisine. They are to Mexico's culture what pizza and hamburgers are to America's -- you can't pass through a city or a town where you can't find either. If you're an American cook with a fondness for Mexican fare, like me, you most likely have a recipe-or-six for tacos (American-style ground beef tacos, grilled-beef tacos al carbon, shredded-pork carnitas tacos, shredded-pork tacos al pastor, chicken tacos, fish tacos, etc.). That said, how many Mexican torta recipes do you have in your repertoire? I'm guessing not too many, or none. Sink or swim:...... View full recipe for "~ Sink or Swim: Mexican Drowned-Beef Sandwiches ~"

04/28/2018

~ Ahogada Sauce for Mexican Drowned Sandwiches ~

In Spanish, "ahogada" means "drowned", "drenched" or "drunk". Culinarily it refers to a super-spicy, tawny-red sauce that gets poured over Mexican-style chopped, sliced or shredded, beef, pork, chicken or shrimp "tortas" ("sandwiches"). The working-mans-lunch is served on a semi-firm bolillo roll, in a bowl, "bien ahogada", "well drowned" (immersed end-to-end). It has the reputation of curing the common cold or a bad hangover, and, is believed to be a way to sweat-out an infection too. For those who can't handle the heat, the sandwich can be ordered "media" ("medium"), with a higher ratio of tomato sauce added to tame the...... View full recipe for "~ Ahogada Sauce for Mexican Drowned Sandwiches ~"

04/26/2018

~ A Basic Mexican Marinade for Beef, Pork or Poultry ~

As a fan of Mexican-Texican food, I find myself improvising occasionally. Not, of course, when I'm preparing one of their many classic dishes (like low and slow roasted pork carnitas or tacos al pastor) -- they require specific ingredients and a traditional method of cooking. Improvisation enters my food world when I'm preparing one of my flash-in-the pan meals (a meal where the protein gets quickly grilled, grill-panned, pan-seared or broiled). This all-purpose marinade, which contains many flavors basic to Mexican-Texican fare, is my secret to imparting that all-important extra-layer of flavor into into my meal -- without overpowering it...... View full recipe for "~ A Basic Mexican Marinade for Beef, Pork or Poultry ~"

04/24/2018

~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~

Cóctel de camarónes. That's Spanish for cocktail of shrimp. If you're a fan of Southwestern spice, but never tasted a shrimp cocktail prepared Mexican-style, I recommend giving this Southwestern perfect-for-Summer twist on the classic a try -- plenty of plump, tender, poached (sometimes lightly-grilled) shrimp, swimming around in a citrusy, tomato, cilantro and spicy-hot sauce, containing pieces of diced avocado, cucumber, onion and jalapeño. It's a snazzy fork-friendly salad in a glass, not to be confused with its cousin, ceviche, which contains raw, cooked-via-marination fish and/or shellfish mixed with spices, citrus juice, vegetables and/or peppers. Traditional shrimp cocktail, as we...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~"

04/21/2018

~ Easy Does It: Mexican Chicken & Spicy Rice Soup ~

For the most part, I find recipes made from a melange of leftover "this and that" to be a compromise. With every forkful, they remind me I'm eating a week's worth of leftovers, repurposed to make me feel less guilty about their inevitable demise. After a few bites, I find myself wishing I'd left well enough alone: made a sandwich out of the chicken, cooked a steak to go with last night's rice, or, eaten the blanched broccoli and carrots hand-to-mouth as a snack. "Waste not, want not." It's admirable -- rah-rah-zis-boom-bah and count me in. That said, it's my...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Does It: Mexican Chicken & Spicy Rice Soup ~"

04/02/2018

~ The Japanese Take on Salisbury Steak: Hambagu ~

Japanese hamburger steak. If it doesn't sound very Japanese, it's because its origin is not. It's an...... View full recipe for "~ The Japanese Take on Salisbury Steak: Hambagu ~"

03/19/2018

~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~

How you cook spare-ribs is your business. Here in Happy Valley, sometimes we smoke 'em, sometimes we grill 'em, occasionally I make them in the oven, and, recently, I've started experimenting with slow-cooking them. Past that, even if you aren't a fan of crocket science, it might interest you to know that Japanese-seven-spice blend and teriyaki sauce, when substituted for traditional Tex-Mex rubs-and-mops is a delicious alternative to typical ribs -- give 'em a try. Do not confuse spicy "Japanese-seven-spice" powder with aromatic Chinese five-spice powder. They are completely different. "Shichimi togarashi", originated in Japanese apothecaries in the 17th century...... View full recipe for "~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~"

03/15/2018

~ Thai Chicken and Pineapple-Fried-Rice Casserole ~

Thai-Malaysian pineapple-fried-rice is a classic Thai dish that's easy to get addicted to. It's divine. Grains of fragrant jasmine rice bejeweled throughout with bits of golden pineapple, cashews and raisins -- it's a taste unlike the fried rices of China and Hawaii. It's a staple item on the menu of most Thai-American eateries, the choices being pineapple-fried-rice, or, pineapple-fried-rice with chicken or prawn. It can be served in a pretty bowl as a side-dish or a main-dish, or, as they do in the tradition of Thailand, baked and served in a carved-out fresh pineapple. A hearty 4-season casserole w/all the...... View full recipe for "~ Thai Chicken and Pineapple-Fried-Rice Casserole ~"

03/12/2018

~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~

Everyone knows anything one can sandwich between two slices of bread can be tucked into a pita pocket to eat on the run. Almost everyone knows that the flat round pita (or any flatbread) is a great foil for all sorts open-face knife-and-fork sandwich meals too. What all busy moms know is: if the ingredients on the pita are amicable to being baked in the oven, and you refer to it as pizza, it's a sure-fire way to get children to venture into trying just about anything. It's called "bending the rules for the common good", and, when my kids...... View full recipe for "~Greek Hummus, Steak & Arugula-Salad Pita-Pizzas~"

03/09/2018

~ T.G.I. No-Fuss-Friday Greek Pizza for Mel Tonight ~

I'm Mel -- I cook all week -- on weekends too. I cook for my family, friends, and, friends-of-friends. I even cook on TV, and it's all fun, but, every once in a while, I have occasion to cook for myself. Tonight is such a night, and, I am going Greek and easy and super-good. Why cook for myself when I don't have to? Because, with little effort, calorie for calorie, my food tastes much better than over-priced, lack-luster take out or delivery -- in the case of tonight's pizza, it's faster too. When it comes to pizza just for...... View full recipe for "~ T.G.I. No-Fuss-Friday Greek Pizza for Mel Tonight ~"

03/07/2018

~ Sweet Heat: Peanutty Thai Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~

Mae Ploy brand sweet chili sauce, known in Thailand as "nam chim kai", "dipping sauce for chicken", is a staple in my refrigerator. We use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things -- from lettuce wraps and spring rolls to deep-fried chicken wings, coconut shrimp and batter-dipped vegetables, almost everything tastes better with the sweet heat of this sauce. Here in my American kitchen, my family affectionately refers to it as "the ketchup of Thailand." Using sweet chili sauce in conjunction w/the right ratio of other Thai staples renders a vinaigrette no store brand can compete with....... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Peanutty Thai Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~"

03/05/2018

~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~

Mae Ploy brand sweet chili sauce, known in Thailand as "nam chim kai", "dipping sauce for chicken", is a staple in my refrigerator. We use it as a dipping sauce for all sorts of things -- from lettuce wraps and spring rolls to deep-fried chicken wings, coconut shrimp and batter-dipped vegetables, almost everything tastes better with the sweet heat of this sauce. Here in my kitchen, we affectionately refer to it as "the ketchup of Thailand." Using it in conjunction with the right ratio of other Thai pantry staples renders a vinaigrette no store-bought brand can compete with. A salad...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette ~"

03/03/2018

~ Thai-Style Oven-Roasted Barbecued Half Chicken ~

In the wide, wide world of food, almost every culture has a favorite way to serve grilled chicken. In Thailand, that would be gai yang. Those are the Thai words for grilled chicken, more specifically a very small, whole or half chicken that's been marinated in a soy-and-fish-sauce-based coconut-creamy, cilantro-greeny mixture laced with fragrant lemongrass, ginger, garlic and scallions. Throughout Thailand, the recipe for gai yang does vary from cook-to-cook, but not very much. Not to be confused w/authentic Thai gai yang... ... mine = American chicken infused w/authentic Thai flavor. In Thailand, small, lean chickens are skewered, cooked over...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Oven-Roasted Barbecued Half Chicken ~"

02/28/2018

~ Greek-Style Flank Steak Salad or Pocket Sammies ~

I'm going Greek today. It happens a few times a year -- my lust for lemon and garlic and oregano combined with crumbly feta cheese and/or creamy Greek yogurt takes over. Thank goodness I have a few excellent recipes go to. Sometimes I'm inclined to quash my craving by incorporating shrimp, other times I choose lamb, chicken is not off limits, but, one of my all-time favorites is flank stank. When duly-marinated and rare-cooked via broiling or grilling, it is a carnivorous Greek goddess's dream come true. I adore this hearty, main-dish salad topped plenty of crunchy herb-bread croutons, and,...... View full recipe for "~ Greek-Style Flank Steak Salad or Pocket Sammies ~"

02/22/2018

~ Japanese Teriyaki Meets American Chicken Wings ~

Chicken wings are all-American and teriyaki is an all-Japanese method of cooking. Trust me when I tell you, if you walk into a restaurant in Japan, you aren't likely to find teriyaki chicken wings on their menu. That said, Japanese teriyaki sure does turn out a really good version of American chicken wings, however, unlike our traditionally-prepared wings, which are typically plunged into the hot oil of a deep fryer, teriyaki wings, in order to render their signature fall-off-the-bone tender interior with a slightly-crispy, sticky exterior, they require a kinder, gentler treatment. As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is...... View full recipe for "~ Japanese Teriyaki Meets American Chicken Wings ~"

02/20/2018

~Japanese-Style Oven-Broiled Teriyaki-Style Cod Fish~

Eat more fish. I've heard it too many times to count, and, I've preached it too many times to count. Joe and I love fish, especially white fish, so, for me, keeping it in our weekly meal rotation is easy. That said, serving it to people who've determined they dislike fish, or worse, trying to entice children to try fish, can be a tricky, fishy business. On such occasions, teriyaki fish fillets or fish skewers, served with a veggie stir-fry and some rice, is my go-to "just try it" fish dinner. As a lover of Asian fare, teriyaki-in-general is one...... View full recipe for "~Japanese-Style Oven-Broiled Teriyaki-Style Cod Fish~"

02/14/2018

~ Creamy-Coconut & Spicy-Hot Jamaican Pork Curry ~

Throughout the Caribbean, porcine reigns supreme, and, when it comes to perfectly-balanced, bright, slightly-sweet and spicy-hot curry blends, the Jamaicans have cornered the market. That said, the world is full of curries, they are all different, and, for the home cook, it's almost impossible to prepare an authentic curry outside of the region it's prepared in, within its country of origin. Why? Because outside of the United States, curry is not a store-bought dried spice blend or wet paste that produces a predictable end result. They're hand-made, mortar-and-pestle pulverized, dry or pasty concoctions of spices or herbs, the amounts of...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy-Coconut & Spicy-Hot Jamaican Pork Curry ~"

01/29/2018

~ Open Sesame: Japanese Teriyaki Steak Skewers ~

Place a platter of these appetizers on the cocktail table and I'll bet they disappear before bets can be taken on how long it will take them to disappear. Put a platter of them on the dinner table alongside a fresh vegetable stir-fry and some steamed white rice, and, when served as a family-friendly dinner, they won't last any longer. A bottle of teriyaki sauce has been a staple condiment in my pantry for as long as I've had a pantry, standing right next to the elites: Heinz ketchup, French's mustard, Hellman's mayonnaise and Lee & Perrin's worcestershire sauce. That...... View full recipe for "~ Open Sesame: Japanese Teriyaki Steak Skewers ~"

01/24/2018

~ Hatch Green Chile Chili with Pork and White Beans ~

Having traveled to Mexico and New Mexico, I've eaten green chili a few times -- twice "as is", out of a bowl with tortilla chips, and once, burrito-style (wrapped up in a flour tortilla with avocado, scallion, cilantro and crema). It was excellent -- different, but excellent. That said, each time I ate it, I secretly wished there were beans in it -- and maybe a little jalapeño Jack cheese added to the latter one too. Today's the big day. White beans are going into my green chili and I can't wait. In many regions of Mexico and New Mexico...... View full recipe for "~ Hatch Green Chile Chili with Pork and White Beans ~"

01/21/2018

~ Happy Valley PA's Pop's Mexi-Hots Hot Dog Sauce ~

Yesterday was a big day. During a stop at Meyer's Dairy, I got my first taste of a Pop's Mexi-Hot hot dog, complete with Pop's ground-beef-based and chili-powder-laced sauce, ballpark mustard and diced onion. Considering what I always tell my friends, "I was a hot dog in a past life", I can't believe I've lived in Happy Valley forty-two years and never tried one. What I knew about State College's iconic Pop's Mexi-Hots yesterday was zero. Today, after the fact, it's a different story. Mexi-Hots is a Pennsylvania, registered, fictitiously-named business, originally filed on February 4, 1948 (the company will...... View full recipe for "~ Happy Valley PA's Pop's Mexi-Hots Hot Dog Sauce ~"

01/18/2018

~ Bone-Suckin' Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~

The machinations of making ribs in a slow cooker never seemed right to me -- kind of like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I've seen people bend entire racks, slice and stack sections, even cut them into individual riblets That type of rib abuse is why I never attempted it, but, as a person who likes my ribs fall-of-the-bone tender, there was never a doubt the slow cooker could achieve that. After all, just like a Dutch oven placed on the stovetop or in the oven, it's what slow cookers do, tenderize meat -- especially...... View full recipe for "~ Bone-Suckin' Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~"

01/15/2018

~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~

Welsh rarebit -- the original cheese toast. It's worth mention that I've only eaten what I believe to be the real-deal once. It was in the latter 1990's, in Wales, in the exquisite Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel (coy-dee-moo-ster). It came to me as a complimentary side to a lovely salad (which I ordered after returning from shopping in the city of Cardiff). The cheese toast, along with everything else in this hotel, was perfect. I kicked off my high-heels and enjoyed it in my lavish room, overlooking the How-Green-was-My-Valley countryside, with a very English G&T too. I gave cheese toast a lot...... View full recipe for "~ Say Cheese Please: Making Perfect Welsh Rarebit ~"

12/21/2017

~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~

Chinese-American fare. It's a favorite in our house. About once a week, we either order take-out or delivery from our two favorite places, or, I take the time to make some. Each of us has our favorite menu item -- the one that we crave and can't wait to plunge our chopsticks into. For me, it's chow mein or lo mein -- two of China's most iconic dishes. "What exactly is the difference between the two?" When I got asked that very question last night, I decided to transcribe the discussion into a blog post today -- while it's still...... View full recipe for "~ The Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein ~"

12/15/2017

~ The China Syndrome: An Easier Chinese Char Siu ~

During December and January, like clockwork, without notice, and, for reasons unknown, I crave Chinese food. It happens every year. Sometimes I order take-out or delivery from my favorite two places, and, other times I take the time to make it. In either case, in my kitchen, I feed my inner-Chinese about once a week. I affectionately and chucklingly refer to my condition as: The China Syndrome. All snickers aside, note that a great percentage of my Chinese recipes get posted during the months of December and January. December of 2017 is no exception. Char = fork (noun & verb)....... View full recipe for "~ The China Syndrome: An Easier Chinese Char Siu ~"