Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Potato Soup

Fall is the perfect time for soup. You can use late summer corn or fall root veggies in the same dish.  This potato soup is a great autumn meal because it can be served warm or cold, depending on the weather.

Servings: 4-6
Time:    Prep: 20 minutes; Cook: 45 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, large soup pot, a skillet, an emulsion blender (or a food chopper, or food processor), a wooden spoon, a ladle, serving bowls

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes
  • 4 cups low sodium broth (you can use chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 small carrot
  • paprika

  1. Slice the onion into rings. Place the rings into the skillet with a little water.  You don’t want them to float or be covered.  Place them on medium high heat and allow the water to evaporate.  This will take about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. While the onions are cooking down, peel the potatoes and cut them into small chunks.  Try to make the chunks the same size.
  3. Clean and chop the garlic and rosemary.  Set aside.
  4. Shred the carrots.
  5. Put the potatoes, rosemary, fennel, and salt in the soup pot.  Cover in broth and bring to a gentle boil.
  6. By this time, the water should have evaporated from the onions.  Turn the heat to medium and add the butter and garlic to the pan.  The onions should just be bubbling.  Stir often.  Cook until the onions are caramel colored.  This will take another 15 minutes.
  7.  Add the onions (and the butter) to the soup.  Boil until the potatoes are tender.  Use the immersion blender to cream the soup until it is the consistency of thick pancake batter.  (You can also add the soup to a blender.  Just make sure the lid is tilted or the heat will cause the lid to blow off your blender.  Not fun.)
  8. Turn the heat off and stir in the milk.
  9. To serve, ladle a serving into a bowl.  Sprinkle on a little paprika and top with carrots.
  10. You can serve this soup warm or chill it and serve cold.

6. Caramelized onions

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shrimp Pad Thai

This dish may require a trip to your local pan-Asian grocery.  While there you should walk around and buy something new to try in your kitchen. (Read the entire recipe before starting.)

Servings: 4-6
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, an 8x8 baking dish, a microwave safe plate and bowl, 3 small bowls and a fork, a sauce pot, a whisk, a colander, a spatula, a plate, a wooden spoon, a large non-stick skillet
Time:  Prep:  15 minutes    Cooking: 8-10 minutes

  • 8 oz dried rice noodles (about the size and shape of fettuccine)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamarind paste
  • ½ tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Sriracha sauce (depending on your taste)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz (½ bag) frozen carrots
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • ¾ pound (31-35 count) shrimp (You can usually buy these from the butcher already cleaned)
  • 2 limes
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup bean sprouts

  1. In the baking dish soak the noodles according to the package instructions.
  2. Chop the peanuts and cilantro, set aside. Slice 1 of the limes.  Juice the other lime into a bowl. Chop the green onions, keeping the white and green parts separate. Chop the garlic.
  3. Place the frozen carrots in a microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water.  Cover them with a microwave safe plate and zap on high for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Put the cornstarch in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons cold water.  Use the fork to stir until the cornstarch dissolves. Beat the eggs in another small bowl. Set aside.
  5. Rinse the shrimp and remove their tails.
  6. In the sauce pot, whisk together tamarind paste, peanut butter, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha, and chicken stock.  Heat on medium low until everything is mixed together and the sauce is warm. Turn off the heat.
  7. Drain the noodles.
  8. In the skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil on medium-high. Scramble the eggs until they are very soft set, 30 seconds. Transfer the eggs to the plate.
  9. Add the rest of the oil to the skillet.  Add the white parts of the green onion, garlic and shrimp.  Stir constantly, for about 2 minutes.
  10. Add the noodles, carrots, and sauce to the skillet. Stir constantly, and cook until noodles are soft, about 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch-y water and allow the sauce to thicken, another 30 seconds.
  11. Add the eggs and lime juice, stir until the eggs are broken up and mixed in, another 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat.
  12. To serve place the pad Thai in bowls, top with cilantro, green onions, sprouts and peanuts.  Give each guest a lime wedge.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Grilled Scallops with Crispy Shrimp over Orzo in an Orange Sauce

This seems very simple, but is extremely full of complex flavors.  The grilled scallops and crispy shrimp have complementary tastes but contrasting textures.  The orange sauce is sweet without being cloying. The little punch of heat provided by the peppers helps cut through the sweetness of the sauce.  The slightly bitter taste of tarragon ties the whole dish together.  And the dish is beautiful, which believe it or not really does matter.  (Read through this recipe before starting.*)
Serves: 6-8
Time:    Prep: 20 minutes; Cook: 30-45 minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a large bowl, a large heavy bottom skillet, a pot, a grill pan, a light skillet, a colander, a whisk, a slotted metal spoon, a wooden spoon, a gallon Ziploc bag, a paper towel covered plate.

  • 1-16 oz box of orzo
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 1 pound of sea scallops
  • 1 leek
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (½ can) -defrosted
  • ¼ cup orange liquor (I used Grand Marnier)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 chicken bullion cubes
  • ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • ½ + ¼ teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • cooking spray
  • oil for frying
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Slice the leek into thin rings and place the rings in a bowl of water.  Swish around and allow the leeks to float until you need them. (Leeks are very sandy, but they float and sand does not.)
  2. Clean the shrimp, leaving the tails intact.  Rinse the scallops and pat dry.  Slice the pepper in half.  Place the flour and bread crumbs in the Ziploc with a little salt and pepper. Shake the bag.  Add the shrimp to the Ziploc bag and shake like crazy.  Set everything aside.
  3. Cook the orzo according to package directions, adding 1 chicken bullion to the cook water.  When the orzo is done drain it, and toss it immediately with one tablespoon butter and ½ teaspoon tarragon.  Keep warm.
  4. Place the orange juice concentrate, orange liquor, water, remaining bullion, ginger, ¼ teaspoon tarragon, pepper halves, and brown sugar in the light skillet.  Bring to a boil whisking constantly, making sure that the bullion cube dissolves.  Turn down to low and simmer until the sauce is reduced and becomes the consistency of syrup, (about 30 minutes).  Whisk often enough to keep the sauce from sticking, scraping the sides and bottom as you go.  Remove the pepper halves before serving.
  5. While the sauce is reducing, cook the shellfish.  Add enough oil to fill the heavy skillet up half way.  Heat it on medium high.  Shake as much flour as you can from the shrimp.  Fry the shrimp in the hot oil for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.  Using the slotted spoon move them from the oil to the paper towel covered plate.  Keep warm.
  6. Spray the grill pan with cooking spray and heat it on medium high.  Place the scallops on the hot pan for 3 minutes and then turn and cook for 2 more minutes.  Do not over cook the scallops.  They get rubbery when over cooked.  Lift the leeks from the bowl of water and shake a little of the water off.  Place the leeks on the hot grill pan and allow them to wilt.
  8. To serve, place a serving of the orzo on the plate, top the pasta with leeks, and the leeks with scallops.  Drizzle the sauce over the scallops, leeks, and orzo.  Place the shrimp to the side. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the whole plate.  Offer your guests more sauce at the table.  All you need to do to make this a complete meal is add a mixed green salad tossed with a vinaigrette.
*If you are a practiced enough cook, you can start the sauce and the water for the orzo at the same time.  While the sauce is reducing cook the orzo.  Then cook the shrimp and scallops at the same time, while keeping an eye on the reducing sauce.  This will cut down on cooking time.  If you do not feel confident enough to do this, cook everything separately.  Just keep everything warm until you serve it.