Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Split Pea Soup, Walking Knight style!

Okay, it's not quite gangnam style, but hey, I'm back, after a long absence, to bring you the split pea soup of the gods.

Okay, campers, first assemble your ingredients:

1 bag dried split peas (I prefer Goya)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste (fresh or at least coarse ground black pepper)
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 large carrot, chopped
6-8 cups of chicken broth
2 glasses of white wine
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/4 lb bacon
1/2 lb andouille sausage
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional, YMMV)

Fry the bacon in the bottom of a stock pot.  When it's starting to get crispy, add onion.  Saute for a couple of minutes until it starts to get limp, then add the garlic. As the garlic starts to fry, add some salt and pepper, and then the chile powder and the cumin.

Fry all of that until it starts to take some color and the onion gets translucent.  Add the carrots, and fry for another minute or two.  Add 1 glass of white wine.  Let it come to a boil and really start to flavor everything--the smell, at this point, is amazing.

Dump in all the chicken broth and the split peas (pick and rinse them first--I've had dirt and small stones in mine before, but that was with cheaper brands--Goya is usually pretty good).  Bring it to a boil, then put your feet up and drink the second glass of wine while you let it simmer for 3-4 hours.  Let the peas get good and mushy.

Okay, now you need tools--either a standing blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender (sometimes referred to as a "boat motor").  If you're using a food processor or a plastic blender, you're going to need to let the soup cool at this point.  Don't worry, it will be totally worth the wait.

Blend the soup until you can barely tell that you ever put carrots and bacon in it.  It should be really thick and dense at this point (pea soup, right?).  Bring it back up to a light simmer.

Now dice the andouille sausage and pan-fry it with the ham (use tasso if you can get it and if you favor that kind of kick).  Get the sausage good and crispy, then drain all of it, and throw it into the soup.  Stir it all in, season to taste (salt, pepper, cayenne) and serve.

I like to serve it with hot biscuits and more ham, but it's a great soup on it's own.  While it's a perfect food for a cold winter day, I will admit that I just made a batch this afternoon, and it's an 80-degree June day.  This soup also freezes really well--you can cool it, put it in quart-sized freezer bags (or whatever sizes works for you for a serving) and pull it out and thaw it anytime you don't feel like cooking.


(I really need an end-of-recipe catchphrase...)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ttoek Boki

I have no idea if I spelled that correctly.  It's an anglicized attempt at Korean spelling.  This is a variation on a fiery hot Korean snack food, made with a kind of rice-cake-noodle-thing called ttoek (it'll sound like "duck" to us caucasoids).

Sesame oil
6 cloves garlic
1/4 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, sliced very thin
salt and black pepper
4-6 tablespoons Korean red pepper paste (gochu-jang)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb duk
1 medium shallot, sliced thin
3 bunches scallions, coarsely chopped
Blanched snow peas (1 cup)

Fry the garlic in the sesame oil. Add half the beef. Add the onion and shallot, then the rest of the beef, and fry until the onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

While the beef is frying, start boiling water for the duk. Boil it just a bit--you want it to start to get tender, but don't let it get too soft or it'll fall apart. Drain immediately and add to the beef mixture along with a little more sesame oil

Add the red pepper paste, sugar, scallions, and snow peas. Stir until heated through, and serve with rice, kimchee, and the usual sides.

Mak Kimchee

A lot of Korean cuisine shares three attributes:
  1. preservable
  2. portable
  3. Anyone who hasn't tried it before probably won't eat it.
My friend Tom Pak and I used to theorize that this was because of the number of invasions in the country's history. Locals developed food that invaders would pass up--I mean, how many ravaging Mongols are going to think to not only dig up the kimchee pot, but eat what's inside it?

Fantastic stuff, though.

So, without further ado, I'll show you how to make something that most of your friends won't even recognize as food, no matter how hungry they are. This is awesome dorm food and good for shared job-site refrigerators, too--your lunch will never, ever get stolen.

2-3 cabbages, cut in half
Red pepper
fresh garlic
7-up (yes, the soft drink)
ginger (finely minced)
1 teaspoon baby shrimp per large jar

Put the cabbages in heavily salted water and soak them for at least two hours, or until they begin to wilt. Wash, drain, chop, and put into a jar with the rest of the ingredients. The 7-up helps the fermentation. Let it sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks before eating.

Bulgolgi marinade

This was shared with me by a Korean friend's mother. I'm writing it up here so that I don't forget it.

Soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed sesame seeds, ground onion, honey, fresh garlic, wine, milk, a teaspoon of instant coffee, and ginger juice. She didn't share the proportions--those are a closely guarded family secret. She just told me to play.

Marinate for anywhere from two hours to three days. You're supposed to use short ribs or flank steak, sliced nearly paper-thin, which you then either grill or stir-fry. Mrs. Pak's bulgolgi was melt-in-your mouth tender and was amazing with rice and kimchee.

Shrimp in a cream sauce

Obviously, the better the ingredients, the better it will taste, but it's still pretty good with all canned/bottled/cheap stuff.

1 pint light cream
3 tbsp flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
6-10 large muchrooms
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup grated swiss cheese
1/2 lb cooked shrimp
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together cream, broth, and flour, and set aside. Make sure there are no lumps.

Fry garlic, scallion, and mushrooms in olive oil. I like to start the garlic, add the scallions after a few minutes, then add the mushrooms.

When the mushrooms are tender, add the cream mixture all at once. Stir.

As it begins to thicken, add the brandy. Stir.

As it starts to bubble, stir in the swiss cheese.

When the cheese is melted, add the shrimp. Stir.

Season to taste, and serve over egg noodles, fetuccini, or (my personal favorite) angel hair.

Monday, November 26, 2007

kill-hunger (wicked big omelette)

This is based on an old peasant recipe--I don't remember the real name, but it loosely translated into English as "kill-hunger".

And it does. Believe me.

4 strips bacon OR 1/2 cup crumbled cooked sausage OR an equivalent amount of your favorite breakfast meat
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk or cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion, sliced thinly
1/4 bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup of home fries, diced small (either use frozen or make your own from potatoes that have been boiled, then diced, then fried until crispy)
1/2 cup grated cheese

Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.

First, beat the eggs with the milk or cream until frothy. Heat the oil. Saute the pepper, onion, and garlic until done to your liking (I prefer the onion and garlic just short of carmelized, and the pepper cooked enough that it isn't watery). Turn heat to high, add potatoes and breakfast meat, and more oil if needed, and fry until crisp. Turn the heat down and add the eggs, pouring them all around to get good coverage. Sprinkle the cheese on, cook gently until set, and then fold like an omelette.

Yes, this is basically a bacon-cheese-potato-sausage-onion-pepper-garlic omelette. Guaranteed to do just what the name says. Serve hot with crusty brown bread or pumpernickel and plenty of coffee.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Curried squash

2-3 small young zucchini squash
2-3 tsp minced garlic
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Curry powder (I like Madras curry powder, but the kind you can get in the grocery store works okay)

Cut the ends off the squash, and then cut them in half lengthwise. Cut the halves into 2-3 inch chunks. Don't make them any smaller than this, or they'll get mushy.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet, preferably nonstick. Add garlic and fry for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Throw in the squash, all at once, and sprinkle on enough curry powder to give it all some color. Add salt to taste. Cook it until it's hot and just starting to brown around the edges; any longer, and the squash loses its crunch.

A teaspoon or two of Patak's spicy red curry paste works really well in place of the curry powder, if you can find it.

Serve hot over rice, unless you're on a low-carb diet, in which case you can eat it as is. This will make enough to feed one or two people; add some chicken breast for a complete meal.

Rice with cumin

When I was growing up, my mother used to make a dish she called Cumin Rice. I remember that she started by frying bacon in the bottom of the pan (usually a Corningware dish on an electric stove), and then fried onions and peppers in the bacon grease. Then she'd add salt and cumin, and fry the rice grains in the onion-pepper-bacon mixture, and then add water or chicken broth and cook it until the rice was done. It was fantastic.

This isn't that dish. It is still good, though.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups Basmati rice
3 cups water or chicken broth
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced small
1/4 cup onion, minced
1-2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan big enough to hold the cooked rice. Make sure it has a tight-fitting lid. Fry the garlic for a minute or so, then add the onion; fry until the onion takes some color, then add the peppers, cumin, and paprika. Add the rice and salt, and fry until the rice is translucent, stirring constantly. Add the water or broth all at once, and cover and cook on low heat until the rice is done. Basmati takes about 15-20 minutes, making this a pretty quick dish.

To reheat, put a couple of tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a hot wok, or use a nonstick skillet. Fry the rice, breaking up any clumps, until heated through. Depending on how clumpy and how old the leftover rice is, you may need more oil and/or some water, broth, or white wine--at that point, just keep frying until the rice is tender again.

Serve hot with darned near anything.

Panfried Kale


2 large bunches of fresh kale (WILL NOT WORK WITH FROZEN)
1-2 tsp coarse salt (kosher salt or sea salt)
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil

Wash the kale and strip the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems. Shred the leaves into large, uneven pieces.

Starting with just a couple of tablespoons, heat the oil in a large skillet. I prefer a nonstick skillet for this dish; use high heat. When the oil is good and hot, add the kale all at once and sprinkle salt over the top. Cover the dish so that while the kale on the bottom fries in the olive oil, the kale on the top steams in the water vapor from the kale on the bottom. Uncover and turn it all over every minute or so, until all of the kale is dark green and some of it is crispy. Add more oil if you need to, but be careful; this is a dish that can go quickly from "having a pleasant hint of olive oil flavor" to "a big, dark green, greasy mess".

Serve piping hot with rice and beans. Goes well with any Mexican or Tex-Mex food, and is incredibly good with Blackened Catfish.

Yeah, it sounds like a weird way to serve greens, but it never disappoints. Even the kids like it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chicken Fajitas!

I'm working on writing a cookbook, but I continually run out of time to write, and then I misplace my file, and then I can't find my recipes...etc, etc, etc.

I'm going to start posting random recipes here as I think of them, so that I can organize them later.

So, without further ado, Chicken Fajitas.

2-3 lbs boneless chicken breast or thigh meat
At least 1/4 cup of olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, diced or sliced into very thin strips
1-3 green, yellow, or red peppers, diced or sliced into very thin strips (optional)
2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic (however many cloves that ends up being)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro, or 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder (the kind that is ground chilis--check the label for salt and other crap before using)
1 fresh lime
1/2 cup tequila
Salt, pepper, and Cayenne pepper to taste

If you have them, I like to add chopped ancho chilis in adobo paste, but that gives it a completely different flavor.

1. Slice chicken into thin strips--I like them about the size of french fries
2. Heat your pan. Cast iron or a good quality nonstick skillet works best.
3. Add the oil. Let the oil heat up almost to smoking; you want the vegetables to sizzle when they hit the pan.
4. Add the garlic and fry it for about a minute.
5. Add the onions and keep everything moving until the onions start to brown.
6. Add the cumin, oregano, cilantro, and chili powder and let it coat the onions and heat up in the oil.
7. Add the chicken. Personally, I like to cook it at this point until the chicken starts to form a brown, spicy crust on the outside--that means heat and lots of it, and maybe a little more oil if the pan has gone dry. This is also the point where you'd add the ancho chilis, if you like.
8. Add the peppers if you have them.
9. After the chicken is cooked to your liking, squeeze the lime into it and add the tequila. Cover the pan immediately and shake it around to deglaze it a little. Simmer this down to a thick sauce.

Serve with tortillas; I like the following sides with this dish:

Sour cream
Shredded lettuce
Diced peppers (sweet and hot)
Rice with cumin and garlic (yeah, that's another recipe)
Black beans (and another)
Panfried kale
Fried plantains, if you have the time or energy. I'll post all of these over the coming days, I promise.