.

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 02/2010

361 posts categorized "13) Tex/Mex,Thai/Asian, Indian, Greek & More"

05/10/2024

~ 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 ~"

05/05/2024

~ 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 ~"

04/30/2024

~ 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) ~"

04/15/2024

~ 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 ~"

03/25/2024

~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~"

03/15/2024

~ 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 ~"

03/10/2024

~ 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 ~"

03/05/2024

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

I'm Mel -- I pretty much cook all week -- on weekends too. I cook for my family, friends, and, friends-of-friends. I even cooked on TV for about a decade, and it's all fun, but, every once in a while, I have occasion to cook just for myself. Tonight is such a night, and, I am going Greek -- it's also really 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 -- and in the case of tonight's...... View full recipe for "~ T.G.I. No-Fuss-Friday Greek Pizza for Mel Tonight ~"

02/29/2024

~ 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 ~"

02/25/2024

~ 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 ~"

02/10/2024

~ 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 ~"

01/31/2024

~ 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 ~"

01/20/2024

~ 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 ~"

12/15/2023

~ 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 ~"

12/10/2023

~ Cranberry and Soy Sauce Glazed Pork Loin Sliders ~

Intermittently halting the holiday preparations to interject an impromptu movie night into the festivities is a pleasant break from the upcoming hullabaloo. Who doesn't love kicking back on the couch to watch a movie or two for a few hours -- for me, the feeling is akin to playing hookie from school. That said, coming up with a menu (after the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone and before the Christmas gluttony begins), is, in it's own small way, tricky -- for me, it's gotta be low-key, stress-free, easy, and, seriously over-the-top tasty. A simple family-night -- we all need one. Did...... View full recipe for "~ Cranberry and Soy Sauce Glazed Pork Loin Sliders ~"

10/30/2023

~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~

Almost all famous sandwiches got their iconic status thanks to the working class people -- Cuba's Cubano is one such sandwich. In the early 20th Century, vendors who were stationed inside the workplaces, sold hot meat and cheese sandwiches to the workers. When these workers made their way to the USA, usually to regions in Southern Florida, they, like all immigrants, brought their recipes and traditions with them -- that included their institutional but beloved Cuban sandwich. A bit about the Cubano: Like all sandwiches, it starts with the bread. Cuban bread is light and crusty -- alot like a...... View full recipe for "~ The Ideal Cubano: La Ideal's Cubano Sandwich ~"

10/25/2023

~ Mojo-Marinated Cuban-Style Pulled-Pork Shoulder ~

My experiences with Cuban food, all good ones, are limited to a few trips to Miami. I know that "mojo (MOH-hoh)" means "sauce" in Spanish, and, in Cuban cooking, it specifically applies to a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, fresh cilantro, mint and oregano leaves, cumin and bitter orange juice. I also must say that without more than a few well-written recipes in the seven Cuban cookbooks, that I purchased during my visits to Florida, I'd stand little chance of bringing the unique taste of Cuban spice into my home kitchen -- they've all contributed to my recipes: Pulled...... View full recipe for "~ Mojo-Marinated Cuban-Style Pulled-Pork Shoulder ~"

09/20/2023

~Grillmarked: Thai-Inspired Hot & Sticky Honey Wings~

Wings and tailgate. Tailgate and wings. If two words ever went hand-in-hand onto the gridiron, yep, it would be those two. If I say tailgate, you say wings, and, if there is one thing we tailgaters can't resist, it's a new wing-flavor-profile to experiment with. I came across this one in the Parade Magazine insert of my mom's local newspaper about a decade ago. Parade credits the recipe to Michael Gulotta, chef-owner of MoPho and Maypop restaurants in New Orleans. It's a keeper. The moment I read through the ingredients list, I knew I was gonna love this recipe. For...... View full recipe for "~Grillmarked: Thai-Inspired Hot & Sticky Honey Wings~"

09/15/2023

~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~

Once upon a time there was a woman in Happy Valley Pennsylvania who was planning to make chicken Milanese for dinner. "In the style of Milan", it refers to a thinly-sliced and lightly-pounded protein dredged in flour, dipped in egg, then coated with breadcrumbs. It's quickly-sautéed in butter and/or olive oil until golden. It's crispy outside, juicy and fork-tender inside, and, after squirt of lemon and a parsley garnish it's served the moment it comes out of the skillet. It couldn't be easier, especially when cooking for just two. I refer to it as one of my flash-in-the-pan dinners. (Italian...... View full recipe for "~ My Thai-Inspired Sesame Chicken Thigh Paillards ~"

09/10/2023

~ Thai-Style Chicken-Tender Peanut-Butter Red Curry~

Peanut butter? Yep. Pulverized wok-roasted peanuts are commonly served with or in Thai food, and: Oh my Thai -- if you love Thai food, as I do, you want this recipe in your recipe box. If you cook Thai food, as I do, even if only on an occasional basis, I'm guessing you already have everything you need in the Asian section of your pantry and refrigerator to make this meal without making a special trip to your local Asian market. Is this an authentic Thai recipe? Yes and no. Yes, in that the flavors are authentic Thai. No, in...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken-Tender Peanut-Butter Red Curry~"

07/30/2023

~ Spicy Avocado Crema: Avocado, Crema & Sriracha ~

If you like guacamole and crema Mexicana with or on your nachos, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, etc., whirring the two together in a food processor, along with a bit of Sriracha sauce to give it some cha-cha-cha, creates a creamy-dreamy condiment you'll be craving on a regular basis. It's luxuriously smooth, refreshingly cool, and, there's just enough vinegary spice in the Sriracha to make it addictively interesting. While Mexican crema is becoming easier to find, in the event your grocery store doesn't carry it, feel free substitute crème fraîche or sour cream. I whip avocado crema up in small batches, in...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Avocado Crema: Avocado, Crema & Sriracha ~"

07/20/2023

~ New Mexico-Style Cheese, Corn & Bean Enchiladas~

Whenever we traveled out of town for a few days, the moment we crossed the Centre County line and got within 20-30 minutes of home, we'd discuss what we were most hungry for (the food we missed the most on our trip always won). We'd order it for pick up, from one of our favorite eateries. Typically, that revolved around a pizza shop, a Chinese takeout place, or, a Mexican joint. When it came to the latter, I usually ordered up a plate of seriously cheesy enchiladas. Enchiladas are one of those Tex-Mex specialties that taste a bit different everywhere...... View full recipe for "~ New Mexico-Style Cheese, Corn & Bean Enchiladas~"

07/15/2023

~ Spicy New Mexico-Style Ground Beef Enchiladas ~

Enchiladas are one of those Tex-Mex specialties that taste a bit different everywhere you eat them. In a Mexican-American restaurant or in the home kitchen, they are lightly-fried corn tortillas that have been dipped in a deep reddish-brown chili-powder-based sauce before being filled, rolled up and baked. The filling can consist of a seemingly endless variety of meats (beef, chicken or pork), fish or seafood, cheese and/or beans and/or various other vegetables (for a vegetarian option). In my Happy Valley kitchen, the two kid- and tailgate-tested favorites for my New Mexico-style Red Chile Enchilada Sauced enchiladas are ground beef, lots...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy New Mexico-Style Ground Beef Enchiladas ~"

07/10/2023

~ Easy New Mexico-Style Red Chile Enchilada Sauce~

I'm not proclaiming this recipe "easy" because I have an easy or easier version of a hard recipe. I'm telling you it's "easy" because: it is easy. It's so easy, I don't understand why anyone who loves enchiladas with red sauce would purchase any of the brand name enchilada sauces (and there are plenty to choose from) -- unless they don't realize how easy red enchilada sauce is to make. I know, because for a number of years I bounced around from label to label, sampling store-bought brands, trying to find "the one just for me" in which "the spice...... View full recipe for "~ Easy New Mexico-Style Red Chile Enchilada Sauce~"

12/25/2022

~Easy Teriyaki Chicken w/Ramen & Steamed Veggies~

Asian-style noodle bowls. I love them. If there's a noodle bowl on an eatery's menu, I am likely to give it a try. That said, when confronted with a snowstorm the likes of what the Northeast just recovered from, neither eating out nor ordering in was an option. That said, as long as the power doesn't go out, the peace-and-quiet of staying inside for a few days can be a lot of fun when you've got a well-stocked pantry and keep a few protein staples on hand in you freezer. Binge-watching a few series on TV while cooking creatively in...... View full recipe for "~Easy Teriyaki Chicken w/Ramen & Steamed Veggies~"

12/20/2022

~ Teriyaki Ramen w/Steam-in-Bag Asian Vegetables ~

Pantry cooking? Snowstorm cooking? Desperation cooking? Covid cooking? Refer to it in any way you want to, but, on occasion we cooks have all found ourself in a situation that calls for some creative ingenuity. This super-quick, seriously-easy side-dish is a prime example. One snowy night, I came up with this to serve alongside my recipe for easy teriyaki glazed Cornish came hens -- I always keep a package or two of Cornish hens on-hand in my freezer as it's not unusual for us here in the Northeast to find ourselves snowed in once-twice a Winter. That said, this nifty...... View full recipe for "~ Teriyaki Ramen w/Steam-in-Bag Asian Vegetables ~"

12/15/2022

~ My Easy Teriyaki-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~

Teriyaki sticky-chicken wings and teriyaki steak or chicken chicken skewers have been two of my family's and tailgate-family's favorite game-day appetizers for decades. Because of everyones love for the tantalizing flavor of teriyaki sauce, I came up with a couple ways to put teriyaki flavor in my family's main-dish meal rotation too. My recipes for teriyaki-style slow-cooker baby-back spare-ribs and easy teriyaki-glazed rock Cornish game hens pleased everyone -- the husband, the kids, and, more importantly me because both are so easy to make. The Cornish game hen, also known as the Rock Cornish game hen, is the USDA's approved...... View full recipe for "~ My Easy Teriyaki-Glazed Rock Cornish Game Hen ~"

08/21/2022

~All About Chinese Hotpot & Japanese Shabu Shabu~

From my American foodie's vantage point, I found hot pot and shabu shabu to be more alike than different. A literal hot pot of mild- to spicily-seasoned, simmering, meat- or vegetable-based broth is placed in the center of the communal table. Depending on the country and region of the country, an array of thinly-sliced meats, vegetables, dumplings or noodles and dipping sauces are positioned around the pot. Via a pair of chop sticks, each person picks up and cooks their food by gently bathing it in the simmering broth. The words "shabu shabu" mean "swish swish", and, double-dipping (using the...... View full recipe for "~All About Chinese Hotpot & Japanese Shabu Shabu~"

07/06/2022

~It's the Season for Savory Sweet Corn & Herb Cakes~

I didn't invent adding cooked corn kernels, savory herbs and/or spices to pancake batter. Our Native Americans are credited with that, the precursor to our present-day pancakes. They were called "nokchick", translated to mean "no (or not) cake" by the European colonists (who arrived with a host of their own pancake recipes which had existed in Europe for centuries, dating all the way back to the Romans who called them "alita docia", which is Latin for "another sweet".) In the American colonies, pancakes were known as hoe cakes or johnny cakes, and, flapjacks or slapjacks, made with buckwheat flour or...... View full recipe for "~It's the Season for Savory Sweet Corn & Herb Cakes~"

05/02/2022

~ Kebab, Kabob, Shish Kabob and lots of Kababba ~

Kabbaba is the ancient Aramaic word meaning to char or to burn. Medieval Persian soldiers, who used their swords as instruments to grill food over open fires in the field of battle, are credited with inventing kabobs. It was only natural that this simple method of cooking food relatively fast on a "sikh" (a metal skewer), made its way into the kitchens of the royal houses, then onto the tables of the common folk and eventually into the streets, where vendors cooked and sold them for breakfast, lunch and dinner (where they untreaded them onto or inside some form of...... View full recipe for "~ Kebab, Kabob, Shish Kabob and lots of Kababba ~"

04/26/2022

~ The History of Mexican-American Taco Bowl Salad ~

Serving taco salad in edible bowls is mealtime fun. While they lend a festive, impressive "you cared enough to make the bowls" touch to the meal, they allow family and friends to add crunch to their salad as they work their way down, through and around all the goodies in the bowl. Speaking of goodies, taco salads come fully-loaded. Pick and choose your favorite store-bought or made-from-scratch ingredients. There's no right or wrong way to make taco salad -- just make it. From a small tacup, the large taco salad was born. The history of the taco-bowl salad, as per...... View full recipe for "~ The History of Mexican-American Taco Bowl Salad ~ "

04/23/2022

~Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings~

If you are a fan of Chinese-American cuisine and have a place in your heart for deep-fried chicken wings, welcome to this party. This is not so much a recipe as it is a semi-homemade way to show ya'll a new crowd-pleasing twist on Buffalo-style chicken wings. I'm not gonna lie. All I do "for real" is deep-fry the chicken wings. Past that I sauce them with my favorite store-bought General Tso's sauce then serve them over chicken-fried rice from my favorite Chinese restaurant. General Tso's chicken, a Chinese-American creation of the latter 1970s, traces its roots to Pang's restaurant...... View full recipe for "~Hot Stuff -- Deep-Fried General Tso's Chicken Wings~"

04/20/2022

~ My General Tso's Slow-Cooker Babyback Spareribs ~

General Tso's chicken, a Chinese-American creation of the latter 1970s, traces its roots to Pang's restaurant in New York City. This spicy dish has a great history, and I for one am grateful to its creator, a Taiwanese Hunan-cuisine chef, Peng Chang-Kuei. The dish also has a fun (but debunked) legend that claims the dish is named after Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885), a Qing Dynasty military leader and statesman, who lived with his wife in Xiangyin County the province of Hunan. The secret to any General Tso's dish really is in the sauce: The basic ingredients of General Tso's Chicken are...... View full recipe for "~ My General Tso's Slow-Cooker Babyback Spareribs ~"

04/08/2022

~The Chinese-American General Tso's Chicken Story~

General Tso's Chicken is a staple on every Chinese-Americane eat-in and take-out menu. I personally am grateful for that, as, every week or two I crave Chinese fare and rare is the occasion when sweet, savory and spicy General Tso's Chicken is not a part of my order. Sometimes I eat it with some chicken fried rice and steamed broccoli as a main course, other times I eat it as an appetizer or a snack, but, eat it I do -- it's addicting and I adore it. The basic ingredients are easy-to-find & indeed basic: The basic ingredients of General...... View full recipe for "~The Chinese-American General Tso's Chicken Story~"

01/27/2022

~Beer-Batter-Dipped Deep-Fried Babyback Spareribs~

Yes, you read it right -- these ribs are beer-batter-dipped and deep-fried. One could say strange things happen to people during a lengthy arctic-esque freeze stirred into a pandemic -- to name a few, we binge-watch way too much TV, eat way too many carbohydrates, and, push like to way too many Facebook memes. BUT, as Cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs as it might seem to many, batter-dipping and deep-frying spareribs isn't one of them -- the Chinese have been deep-frying ribs for centuries, and they're a popular item on many Chinese-American restaurant menus. That said, it should come as no surprise that South...... View full recipe for "~Beer-Batter-Dipped Deep-Fried Babyback Spareribs~"

01/15/2022

~Spellcheck Chile, Chili, Chile Powder or Chili Powder~

Chile, chili, chile powder and/or chili powder. How these words are spelled is not a regional preference, meaning it doesn't vary willy-nilly from manufacturer to manufacturer, brand to brand or cook to cook. That said, all too many times they are used interchangeably, but the reality is: they should never be. The spelling of these words is serious business, and, savvy shoppers know exactly what they are purchasing. I grow chile peppers in the vegetable garden every year, and, I make a pot of chili or chili con carne several times a year. I admit to having several jars of...... View full recipe for "~Spellcheck Chile, Chili, Chile Powder or Chili Powder~"

01/06/2022

~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Big Batch Beef Taco Filling~

If you are raising kids, you know all about taco night. You also know that having a few cups of a great, kid-friendly ground-beef taco filling already prepared and on-hand in your freezer is a great weeknight time-saver. After a brief thaw-and-heat in the microwave, a busy mom or dad can have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. Having raised three boys, for decades, I was never without it. In fact, I liked to make a big batch of the meat mixture in a large wide-bottomed, 8-quart chef's pan, then portion it into user-friendly-sized 2-cup containers (each enough...... View full recipe for "~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Big Batch Beef Taco Filling~"

10/15/2021

~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~

Got leftover chicken-fajita filling or steak-fajita filling? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but when I do, I know exactly what to make with that tasty couple-of-cups: fajita quesadillas. Ooey-gooey and cheesy, they're so dang good, I won't lie, sometimes I make the filling for the sole purpose of making fajita quesadillas. When I do do that, it's usually because I'm feeding a crowd, and, more-often-than-not, the occasion is a tailgate in front of the TV. No matter how many I make, they're the first appetizer to disappear -- there never seems to be enough. "Queso (KAY-soh)" is the...... View full recipe for "~ Run-Up-the-Score with Chicken-Fajita Quesadillas ~"

10/12/2021

~Chutney -- A Spicy Condiment and Sandwich Topper~

Having its origin in India, the name for this condiment comes from the East Indian word chatni, which means to entice the appetite. Indian chutneys were and are commonly made daily and eaten the same day -- originally prepared using a stone mortar and pestle, nowadays an electric food processor is often used. Just like our common American condiments, they can be found on the table for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner -- they are a part of the daily culinary routine. Chutney was imported from India to Western Europe in the early 17th century. European renditions were generically referred to...... View full recipe for "~Chutney -- A Spicy Condiment and Sandwich Topper~"

09/15/2021

~ Jamaican Jerk Style -- A Unique Method of Cooking ~

In a (coco)nutshell, jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica. It was developed by African slaves who escaped into the mountains of Jamaica after the British captured this island paradise from Spain in 1655. Forced to adapt to their new surroundings, the Maroons (the name given to the escaped slaves) made use of the foods nature provided, by pulverizing the edibles they gathered into a fiery pasty rub. By adding fruit and/or citrus juice, the fiery pasty rub became a spicy basting and dipping sauce. When thinned down with a bit of drinking water or the milk from...... View full recipe for "~ Jamaican Jerk Style -- A Unique Method of Cooking ~"

08/28/2021

~ Don't Confuse the Tomatillo with the Green Tomato ~

Tomatillo, also called tomato verde, means husk tomato, with verde meaning green in Spanish. The tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, which, while related to the red tomato family, and remarkably similar in appearance to the green tomato, cannot be used interchangeably with green tomatoes. Tomatillos are a staple in every Tex-Mex gardener's garden. The fruit of the tomatillo is firm, green and relatively small compared to red tomatoes (only about the size of a large, cherry tomato). They grow to maturity inside of an inedible husk (which gets disgarded), and, range in color from pale green to...... View full recipe for "~ Don't Confuse the Tomatillo with the Green Tomato ~"

08/24/2021

~Let's Talk Plantains -- The Next of Kin to the Banana~

Bananas and plantains -- they resemble each other, and they're related too. I 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 you weren't eating a banana. That said, when sautéed, the taste and texture of the yellow plantain is remarkable. As a lover of sautéed bananas, a la bananas foster for dessert, or atop eggnog pancakes w/sautéed butter-rum 'n nog bananas. The best way for me to culinarily describe the difference between the two is,...... View full recipe for "~Let's Talk Plantains -- The Next of Kin to the Banana~"

08/18/2021

~ Slightly-Spicy Creamy Cajun-Creole Hot Crab Dip ~

I grew up eating hot crab dip in the Chesapeake Bay area where it is made with Old Bay Seasoning, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, dry English mustard and white cheddar. I thought it was the ultimate crab dip until I tasted hot crab dip made in New Orleans, where it is made with Cajun seasoning, Louisiana Gold Hot Sauce, Creole mustard and cream cheese. Both versions also contain Parmesan, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic, plus, in NOLA during Mardi Gras, for festive color, they throw in some green and red bell pepper too. When eaten in close proximity to either place,...... View full recipe for "~ Slightly-Spicy Creamy Cajun-Creole Hot Crab Dip ~"

08/12/2021

~The Best Way to Make Slow-Cooker Babyback Ribs~

When it comes to slow cookers and crockpots, most folks either love them or they hate them, period, or, they neither love nor hate them, they use them due to circumstances beyond their control. I've heard all the reasons in favor, against and in between. Trust me when I tell you, I understand. I neither love nor hate mine. I simply recognize it for what it can do and do not try to make it do the things it cannot. The machinations of making ribs in a slow cooker never seemed right to me -- kind of like trying to...... View full recipe for "~The Best Way to Make Slow-Cooker Babyback Ribs~"

08/09/2021

~An Inconvenient Truth - A Sweet Potato is Not a Yam~

Sweet potatoes were first introduced to North America when Columbus brought them over from the island of St. Thomas, where this large edible root, which belongs to the morning-glory family, is native to the tropical regions of the Americas. There are many varieties of sweet potato, but the two most widely grown commercially are a pale sweet potato and a dark-skinned variety Americans erroneously call "yam" -- the true yam is not even related to the sweet potato. The pale potato has a thin, light yellow skin and pale yellow flesh. Its flavor is not sweet, and, after being cooked,...... View full recipe for "~An Inconvenient Truth - A Sweet Potato is Not a Yam~"

08/06/2021

~ The Bell Pepper Season & Why We All Love Them ~

Ok, maybe we ALL don't love the bell pepper but the majority of us do, including me. Served raw or cooked, they impart both flavor and color in all sorts of dishes from cuisines all around the world. At first sight, it's hard not to be attracted to their bold green, red, orange or yellow color, and, even if a recipe calls for a specific color, it's nice to know they can be used interchangeably -- although the green bell pepper is not quite as sweet as the others. Store-bought or home-grown, kept stored in the refrigerator, they have a...... View full recipe for "~ The Bell Pepper Season & Why We All Love Them ~"

08/03/2021

~The History Behind the Beloved Hass Avocado Fruit~

The most popular avocado in the United States is California Hass -- HASS, which rhymes with PASS is frequently mispronounced and mispelled Haas. This pear-shaped fruit weighs in at about half a pound and has bumpy, rough, dark greenish-black skin -- interestingly, it was originally known as the alligator pear, which, when you think about it for a moment, is an accurate description. It is known for its silky, rich, buttery texture and mild, nutlike flavor. It is the only avocado variety to be grown year-round, representing about 80% of all avocados sold in the world and generates more than...... View full recipe for "~The History Behind the Beloved Hass Avocado Fruit~"

07/21/2021

~ My Fajita Rice for Chicken or Steak Fajita-Burritos ~

I love fajitas and I adore fajita-burritos. Sometimes I make chicken or steak fajitas for the sole purpose of taking the well-seasoned, sautéed bell pepper, onion and chicken or steak mixture, and wrapping it up burrito-style in a large flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans topped with a scattering of spiced rice and shredded cheddar. Interestingly, because fajitas are seasoned with a specific scratch-made or store-bought spice blend, and Mexican-rice recipes or Mexican-style rice mixes are not seasoned with the same seasoning, many times, the flavor of the seasoned rice can compete or clash with the fajita seasoning....... View full recipe for "~ My Fajita Rice for Chicken or Steak Fajita-Burritos ~ "

07/18/2021

~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~

A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas, wrapped-and-rolled, burrito-style, in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese. The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either. Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa. Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat. No need for embellishments. Pick 'em up -- they're...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap Cheesy Flank-Steak-Fajita Burritos ~"

07/15/2021

~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~

Newsflash. A flank steak does not have to be grilled outdoors to be a great flank steak. While grilled is very, very good, truth told, my oven broiler method does a marvelous job with no stress, guess nor mess. The end result is wonderfully seasoned, perfectly-cooked medium-rare steak. The process is so foolproof, I prefer it. There's more. Once sliced, a flank steak feeds an entire family. When the flank steak gets added to an easy-to-make sautéed vegetable medley, this meal feeds a crowd. It's perfect for any indoor or outdoor gathering any time of year. When the steak is...... View full recipe for "~ Kids-Stuff Tex-Mex Broiled-Flank-Steak Fajita Filling ~"