Pasta e Fagoli

• 1 TBSP olive oil
• 3 links of Italian Sausage
• 1 celery, diced
• 1 small onion, chopped
• ¾ cup dry macaroni (I used elbow)
• 2 TBSP tomato paste
• 1 cup white wine
• 3 cups chicken broth
• S&P
• 1 ¼ tsp fennel
• Red pepper flakes
• ¼ tsp dried oregano
• 2 cups Swiss chard or spinach
• 1 can drained cannellini beans
• Dash Parmesan

De-case sausage and add to pot with olive oil, chop into chucks and brown. Add celery and onions and sauté. Add tomato paste and mix. Add dried macaroni and mix. Add wine and 2 cups broth. Add seasoning and herbs. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook pasta 10 minutes. Clean greens and add to pot. Drain the beans an add to pot. Cook until pasta is cooked. Turn off heat and add cheese. Serve.


Pork Shoulder Agrodolce

It is rare I will give you a link to a recipe by someone else but I do so in this case because I have to give props to one of my favorite chef’s – Chef John. His last name is Mitzewich and his blog is Food Wishes. I have to use his recipe b/c I was introduced to Agrodolce by a Giada de Laurentis recipe, only her recipe is for pork chops and Chef John’s recipe is pork shoulder, which I have an abundance of at present that I have to cook. There is another reason; Chef John puts a lot of extra stuff in his sauce. I will add a dash of red wine to this dish. Chef John’s recipe is exactly listed below; but is cut in half for two people and with the addition of red wine. In Italian Agro means sour and Dolce means sweet.

• 1 Lb. pork shoulder picnic roast, cut into chunks after cutting away fat
• 1 TBSP tomato paste
• 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar (I use the local Galena Garlic Company)
• 1 TBSP distilled white vinegar
• 1 TBSP dry red wine
• 2 TBSP honey
• 1 anchovy fillet mashed
• 1 clove minced garlic
• 1 scallion (green onion) chopped
• ½ TBSP minced fresh rosemary
• ½ TBSP kosher salt
• Small dash red chili flakes (~ ½ tsp)
• ½ tsp black pepper

Combine sauce and whisk. Add the meat and coat. Place in an oven proof pan, roast at 325⁰ 1 hour, turn meat over, cook another hour or until tender. Serve over Ricotta Mashed Potatoes.

New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice

This recipe is many years in the making taking from several recipes of famous restaurants in New Orleans. I call it a New Orleans style b/c I deviate a little in certain places with the meat. The dish usually requires ham hock and salt pork, and with Cajuns maybe even Cajun tasso ham. Instead I use a pork shoulder and cut away as much fat as I can. I use Andouille sausage which has its own level of cayenne pepper so I don’t add anymore. This recipe has a bus load of flavor.

Traditionally, New Orleanians eat this dish pretty much every Monday. So typically it is made with the cheapest most flavorful pork meats or pork bones from leftovers but more meat such as sausage appear in it as a highlight. The center flavor starts with bell pepper, onion, and celery as do most Creole dishes like Gumbo and Jambalaya.

• 1 Lb. red beans soaked in water for 16 hours.
• 1 Lb. of pork shoulder (fat cut away) (cut into small pieces)
• 1 half stick of Andouille Sausage (cut into 1 inch pieces)
• 1 Bottle of local brew (I used Potosi Ale Red Label, local in Wisconsin not far – 2 cups)
• 1 cup chopped onion
• ½ green bell pepper chopped
• 1 celery stalk chopped
• 3 garlic cloves minced
• ½ tsp dried parsley
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• 1 bay leaf cut in two
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp white pepper
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 TBSP Worcestershire
• 3 cups chicken stock
• Extra chicken stock if needed as you cook

Add all ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a slight simmer 3 hours. Check every hour and adjust as you go. By the time it finishes cooking most of the liquid stock should have evaporated.  Cool, Refrigerate. Serve the next day.

For you Vegans: Instead of pork, make sure you add 3 TBSP olive oil or a garlic olive oil prep. (Heat olive oil and garlic together) Also, just use water and no stock. I wouldn’t use a veggie stock b/c the New Orleans affect is centered around the onion, green bell and celery. That trio is called a New Orleans Mirepoix or in the New Orleans colloquial a Trinity.

Also, New Orleans is pronounced NuWaLens, or NewOrLens, or NewOrlee-ins, not Nu Orleens. If you travel to San Francisco and call it Frisco, you will get corrected!  It’s San-Fran-cis-co.

Chicken and Seafood Ramen Noodle Soup

• 3 cups chicken broth
• 3 cloves garlic (grated-mini grater)
• ½ TBSP fresh ginger (grated-mini grater)
• ¼ red onion (thinly sliced)
• 2 TBSP soy sauce
• 1 TBSP vegetable oil

In large sauce pot sauté onions, garlic and ginger in oil until the flavor appears to the smell, then add the chicken broth and soy sauce and set on medium heat to a light boil.

• 1 chicken breast (boneless and skinless)
• ¼ cup of chicken broth or white wine or sake
• ½ TBSP sesame oil

In a fry-pan, add the oil and place the chicken in hot pan and fry for 2 minutes exactly on each side. If you do this the chicken will not stick to the pan. Add the liquid (I used white wine) cover and steam the chicken several minutes. The idea is to lightly brown the outside and steam the inside to a pink color. The broth will finish cooking the chicken when added later. Use a plastic spatula to scrape the fond (brown stuff on the side of the pan) as the fond will be used in the broth. (Fond = “commonly refers to the browned bits and caramelized drippings of meat and vegetables that are stuck to the bottom of a pan after sautéing or roasting.”) Add the pan drippings from the fry pan to the broth. Center cut the chicken length ways and then cross ways into small ½ inch slices.

Seafood and Seafood Juice
• 6 shrimp with tails
• 1 Pollock filet (or any white fish)
• 1 cup of water

I use frozen fish here for many reasons. I will defrost the fish and shrimp in the same bowl in a cup of water so that when it defrosts I am left with a bowl of seafood juice, which I will add to the stock. Even in chicken or pork Ramen, the Japanese will use some sort of seafood flavoring back to include seaweed kelp (kombu) or a dried fish like skipjack tuna flakes (katsuobushi), dried baby sardines (niboshi) or my favorite dried Bonito (Hondashi). In this soup just the juice from the frozen fish will suffice. It is more subtle. If time permits, read up on how to make Japanese Dashi. Before adding to the pot, remove the shrimp shells and discard.  Cut the fish into bite size squares. (We use chop sticks to eat the solids so the meat has to be manageable)

In Pot Veggies
• Shiitake mushrooms (I use dried and then re-hydrate them in warm water)
• 3 Napa cabbage leaves (center cut length ways and then chopped cross cut 1/2 inch)

• 1 hard-boiled egg (sliced in half)
• 1 carrot (cut into sticks) See trick below
• 3 scallions – green onions (chopped)
• cilantro (hand full chopped)

There is a trick to carrot sticks. I have a mandolin slicer. After peeling the carrot, I cut the whole carrot into 2” lengths. Then I slice them on the mandolin (setting 2) length ways and once more again to make perfect matchsticks. Place the carrots in a strainer and sprinkle with salt. The salt quickly makes them flexible and less crunchy. Rinse the salt off before adding to the bowl.

Ramen Noodle
You can use the noodles in the cheap Ramen noodle packs (do not use the seasoning that comes with it, too much MSG and will ruin the broth).  Maruchan Ramen noodle or I use Simply Asian Japanese Style Ramen Noodles (Walmart), which is separated into 4 packs. Boil in water 10 minutes separately from the broth then drain. If you place the noodles directly into the broth they will over swell and soak up most of the broth.

In stage one of the broth, cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes, then add the “In Pot Veggies”, the chicken and the seafood. Cook another 15-20 minutes on a lower setting. Turn off heat and let stand until the temp is right for eating.

In a large bowl, add the Ramen noodles, then ladle in the broth, veggies and meat, then place the garnish on top and serve. We use chopsticks for the solids and an Asian soup spoon for the liquids, or just crab the bowl and drink the liquids directly from the bowl.

All the ingredients for this dish can be purchased at Walmart.

Thai Fish Salad

This is another adaptation of several Thai dishes. This uses a Thai honey sauce on white fish rather than salmon. Salmon works just as well.

Serves 2

• 1 TBSP fresh grated ginger (unpeeled and sliced)
• 1 TBSP cloves minced garlic
• ¼ cup Soy Sauce
• ¼ tsp Hot Pepper Flakes
• 3 TBSP Lime Juice squeezed from limes
• 1 tsp Lime Zest (grated)
• 6 TBSP Vegetable Oil
• ¼ tsp Black Pepper
• 1 cup Bean Sprouts (rinsed and drained if canned)
• 12 oz. frozen Cod or Halibut Steaks (thawed)
• 1 TBSP Honey
• Napa Cabbage (shredded)
• ½ sliced red onion
• 1 large Carrot (thinly sliced like matchsticks)
• 2 TBSP Cilantro
• 2 green onions chopped
• (Optional toasted sesame seeds)

Match stick carrots trick: After cutting the carrots into match sticks, place them in a strainer and add salt and toss. The salt makes them flexible. Rinse the salt off before serving.

In a small food processor blend garlic, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, 3 TBSP oil, honey, lime zest, black pepper, green onions and hot pepper flakes in a processor to make a marinade. Pour marinade into a glass container and let stand for an hour or more before use.

Dress 2 bowls with cabbage, red onion, carrots, cilantro and bean sprouts.

Broiling fish:
Foil an oven pan and lightly grease the foil. Apply sauce on the fish with a brush and broil the fish for 5 min, turn the fish over and apply the marinade and broil another 5 minutes. If you like your fish well done you can go 7 minutes a side.

Add the remaining oil to the remaining sauce and whisk. Place fish on the greens then spoon on the remaining sauce/dressing.