Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Steph's Awesome Sauce!

Stephanie, a friend that's now abroad in Japan, cooks a LOT. And she is really really good at it. I had the good fortune of having her cooking on several occasions and one of the things that stands out the most is how good her BBQ Chicken is. The first time I had it was one of those typical dark stormy nights (Well, snowy anyway) at Jason's place a couple years ago I think. And I can still remember how many drumsticks I ended up eating...I'm pretty sure it was five...and I felt bad about eating that much as it was :P

Anyway, Stephanie has been kind enough to share her recipe for Awesome Sauce with me and I made it last night. I was actually lacking in a few of the ingredients so I had to improvise with some BBQ sauce I had in the fridge and some other spices but it still turned out FANTASTIC.

Stephanie's Awesome BBQ Chicken

2 cups finely minced onion
2 cloves finely minced garlic
3 tbsp olive oil OR butter
3 cups ketchup
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp vinegar (rice vinegar is best)
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
Hot sauce (Optional)
10-12 good sized Chicken Drumsticks

Chicken Rub:
Italian Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Toss in the onion and garlic for 2-4 minutes, until the onion is fairly translucent
3. Add ketchup and mix well to keep the sauce smooth.
4. When the ketchup starts to bubble turn the heat down to low and add lemon juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, honey and brown sugar. Mix well.
5. Simmer the sauce for about an hour, mix occasionally. Can add the hot sauce at this point.
6. While the sauce is simmering, wash the chicken well.
7. Mix the chicken rub together in a small bowl and rub over the chicken.
8. Bake the chicken in a lightly greased pan for 30 minutes at 350F.
9. After 30 minutes, pour the barbecue sauce over top and bake for another 15 or so minutes (or until the chicken is cooked through)

That's it! Enjoy the deliciousness!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mini Potluck Weekend Cooking

I don't think I've had a lazier weekend yet this year. Spent roughly 14 hours of both days sleeping but I feel great because of it. Must've needed it.

Anyway, ended up going to Super 88 (no pics, boo!) with Linh to grab lunch and groceries and she put forth an idea that we could do a mini-potluck and invite a couple other friends. So Jason and Zac ended up over for dinner and some hearty Rock Band.

I've never noticed this in the Asian grocery stores but the meats are soooooo much cheaper than in the regular grocery stores. I mean, the quality (Not too sure on that word anyway based on some of the news that's been coming out of the meat industry) doesn't seem all that different and you get better cuts, not to mention all the special bits you'd never find at a Stop & Shop :)

And Super 88 has such awesome lunch selections. Stuffed myself with some Crispy Basil Chicken from Wisteria and a Japche Tukboki from Misono Wok. Forgot to pick up a Vietnamese Sandwich but I doubt I needed it at that point.

So I've actually got two recipes today, one courtesy of Linh. Pictures are at the end.

Thit Kho (Vietnamese Pork Stew)

1 lb Pork (Sliced, any type you want)
1/4 Medium Yellow Onion
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Crushed Black Pepper
2 tbsp Caramelized sugar
2-3 tbsp Fish Sauce

1. Throw all of the ingredients into a stew pot, mix together well
2. Add water to the same level as the pork
3. Cook on high heat and bring to a boil.
4. Simmer on medium for 20 minutes
5. Taste frequently (add more seasoning if needed), should be a salty sauce with sweet pork.

Thai Chicken with Basil - Kao Pad Krapao

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thai chili peppers (Bird chillies)
8 - 16 oz Chicken Breasts/Thighs
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped shallots
1/3 cup thai basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 small red bell pepper
1 small yellow onion
Cold cooked rice (for a fried rice-like meal)

1. In a wok or large frying pan, add oil and stir-fry the garlic under medium-high heat.
2. When the garlic sizzles and turns golden, add chillies and chicken.
3. When the chicken is lightly browned, add the vegetables (probably after about a minute)
4. Mix in the sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and rice (optional).
5. Add shallots, basil leaves and cilantro. Cook about another minute or so, then serve.

Here's the picture. The Thit Kho is on the left, and the Basil Chicken on the bottom right. Linh made some string beans as well to add a little healthiness to the whole meal. I ended up using too much chili peppers and Jason wasn't able to handle it too well. But it still was tasty! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spur of the Moment Cooking

This recipe is one I've commonly seen on the Asian blogs I've read, varying slightly from blog to blog. Adapted my own version for tonight's dinner.

It actually ended up kind of a spur of the moment thing for me. I had all of the ingredients already and didn't feel like eating leftovers from Monday. Speaking of Monday, I forgot to take pictures of the Pad See Ew I made (bummer!) but I'll make sure to remember next time!

Anyway, sister's birthday is tomorrow so Happy Birthday Rachael! Maybe I should make her special cookies to commemorate it ;)

Stir Fry with Pork, Peppers, and Onions

1 lb pork (I used pork chops - can also use less than a pound if you like more veggies)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used a green pepper)

Marinade for the pork:
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tsp Dark or Sweet Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Corn Flour
1 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Water

1/2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Crushed Black Pepper
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1/2 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tbsp Corn Flour
3 tbsp Water

1. Slice the pork thinly (bout 1/4 inch slices)
2. Mix the marinade and marinate pork for 30 minutes
3. Add a tablespoon of oil to the wok and turn on high heat
4. Stir fry the pork briefly until lightly browned
5. Stir in peppers and onions and toss to get a good mix. It's ok to sear the onion/peppers a little, it tastes awesome!
6. Add the sauce, toss well to get everything coated.
7. Serve over rice when the sauce thickens

Monday, February 18, 2008

Somerville Visit

I always find myself in Somerville at least once a month and when I'm there, I always try to make it to a few of my former eateries as a former Tufts grad. One of them makes some of the best pasta in Boston and it just so happens I stopped there on Saturday.

Dave's Fresh Pasta sells, as you may have guessed, fresh pasta! They have about half a dozen or so freshly made ravioli each day that you can purchase at a pretty darn reasonable price. They also stock various cheeses and pre-prepared foods ranging from lasagna to clam chowder. There are wine tasting events monthly (or more than that, I don't quite remember) and the selection is fairly large. And not only that, but they also make fresh sandwiches, rotating about 4-6 different sandwiches of the day, including one of my favorites, the Cuban. And all this is crammed into a small retail space where not an inch of room is wasted.

They're located right outside of Davis Square, along Holland ave going towards Teele Square.

I ended up ordering a sandwich I'd never seen there before, made with flank steak!

It's got flank steak, boursin cheese, caramelized onions, and the obligatory lettuce. Personally, they had me at the flank steak...or was it the onions. Anyway, wolfed that down real quick and off I went to another favorite place.

The Tea Zone is the opposite way away from Davis...going down Elm Street nearly until you hit Wilson Square (or Somerville Avenue). Really small place but has an excellent selection of tea leaves (not the prepacked stuff that you can buy in a grocery store, but the nice fresh stuff!) Ended up picking up a couple pounds of different teas for work (waking up, duh!) and for home (anti-aging :P)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Previously frozen never tasted this good!

So many of you know that I read about 30 different food blogs and all kinds of dishes swim around my mind during the day at the office. Tonight I wanted to have something fishy or of the sort and found this awesomely simple recipe from WokkingMum. I adapted it a little bit to my own tastes but I got the idea from there.

It's not the most healthy dish since it uses Mayo but I combined the fish with some pasta I had lying around and it turned out great! The pasta I used, for the curious, is a lemon parsley mafaldine made by Pappardelle's Pasta. Granted, it's not the cheapest stuff in the world (it's really pricey pasta!) but it's really tasty, even without sauce!

Baked Lemony Cod with Garlic Mayo

1 lb Cod (Filets or with skin, broken into portions)
Pepper and Salt to taste

3-5 cloves Garlic depending on your tastes, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 generous tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit
2. Rub some salt and pepper onto both sides of the fish
3. Place Cod (Skin down) on a baking dish
4. Mix the ingredients for the sauce together. Mince the garlic as fine as you can.
5. Spread the mixture over the fish.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
7. Serve immediately

And there you have it. If using other whitefish than Cod, add a teaspoon or so of olive oil to the bottom of the pan before placing the fish in.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Grand Opening and a recipe!

Wow, so it took me all of a day to get enough excitement together to get rid of all the inertia and create a blog.

Apparently, I talk soo much about food that a bunch of buddies decided that they'd had enough and requested, politely I might add, that I talk about food on a blog (and desist from ranting and raving to them every waking moment). So I love food. And I love eating food. And I do enjoy cooking, even though I currently stink at it (No really, I call myself a noob for a reason!)

Anyway, here it is, The Seasoned Noob, and I've got a recipe to kick start this whole thing.

This is one of the easiest dishes that I cook. Most of the time is spent chopping the vegetables into itty bitty pieces and then you pretty much toss everything in and you're done.

I cook this on average twice a month (gets boring real fast when you make enough to eat for 4 other meals - not that it's not good or anything, just that I like to eat tons of different things!)

Ground pork and tofu with chopped vegetables

Serves 4-6

1 lb ground pork (meatloaf mix works too, used beef once, liked pork the best)
1 large cake FIRM tofu (I like using the pressed five-spice tofu from the local Asian supermarket the best)
4 Scallions (roots removed)
2-4 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper (yellow or red are the best)
1 medium yellow onion
Half a box of frozen peas
1.5 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tbsp Sherry or Shaoshing Rice Cooking Wine
1/2 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 can (~14 oz) Chicken stock or water
1 tbsp Corn Starch

To taste:
Five Spice Powder
Black pepper

To begin, dice the pepper, onion, and scallions and then set them aside. Mince the garlic (Please don't use the pre-minced garlic, it doesn't taste the same).

Heat the oil (medium heat) in a medium to large size sautè pan and toss in the minced garlic. Let sizzle and brown before adding the ground pork. Season with black pepper if you like.

While the meat is browning, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce. The salt can be omitted if using chicken stock and soy sauce. Slice the tofu into small pieces (think small sugar cubes or bouillon cubes) and set aside.

Once the meat is browned, add the chopped vegetables into the sautè and mix lightly. After about 5 minutes on medium heat, add the sauce and stir in the tofu and frozen peas. Season with some five spice powder if you like, but remember, it's pretty strong.

Keep on medium heat for another 10-15 minutes (stir frequently to get a nice healthy mix of the goodies) and then serve hot over steamed rice.

Here's a picture of it on the burner...sorry I don't have anything better:

It may not look like a whole lot, but it's quick, easy, and tastes great!