Asian Style Noodle Soup

I stole – ermmm, borrowed – the basic idea for this soup from the very nice folk at delish.com, but needed to make a few changes based on my pantry and the current leftovers in the fridge.

See, I only had one can of coconut milk, and then there was the leftover ranch marinated barbecued pork (details to come); and the fact that I was without a car for a couple of days, and so I was gonna be using whatever I had on hand. All in all, it worked out really well, and we both agreed it is a fine soup.

INGREDIENTS
•1 tbsp avocado oil
•2 cubes Sofrito
•2 cloves minced garlic
•1 tbsp curry powder
•1/2 tsp dried lemon grass
•1/2 tsp Cayenne
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
•4 cups unsalted chicken broth
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 cup Sweety Drop peppers, drained
•1 tbsp chopped parsley
•1 tbsp chopped basil
•2 cups chopped cooked pork
•2 packages ramen noodles, sauce packet discarded
•1 tbsp lime juice

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: this soup was, for us, nicely zippy. If you would like a milder version, try cutting back on the curry and Cayenne; and perhaps add a second can of coconut milk, as the original recipe called for, but I did not have. Mebbe think about adding that second can of coconut milk anyway, this could’ve used a bit more broth.

Warm the avocado oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the sofrito cubes and cook for six to ten minutes.

Note: no sofrito? Use two minced onions, two chopped red bell peppers, and one large carrot, diced.

Add the Sherry Peppers Sauce and garlic, then cook for about one minute more, just until you can begin to smell it.

Add one cup of the chicken stock, the curry powder, dried lemon grass, Cayenne and Aleppo pepper, and the Seasoned Salt and stir until the well blended.

Add the coconut milk and remaining chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer for about five minutes, then stir in the Sweety Drop peppers, parsley, and basil.

Add the pork and return to a simmer until the pork is heated through.

Once the pork is warmed and the soup is nicely simmering; add the ramen noodles, cover the pot, and remove from the heat.

Set aside to rest for about five minutes, until the noodles are soft.

Add the lime juice and stir to break up and distribute the noodles throughout the soup.

Nice!

Serve it with sliced limes and, heck, even peanuts, if you like.

Note: you like the idea of this soup, but gluten is an issue? Try it with rice noodles instead.

Another Note: No leftover barbecued pork? The original recipe called for using pieces of rotisserie chicken.

So… go ahead and make a batch of this most excellent soup! I plan on making it, a lot, this winter, and mebbe even into the spring, summer, and beyond!

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Honey Butter

Feasts were planned.

Folk were coming.

And I had some plans of my own.

Friends were kind enough to bring their signature home made rolls for the Thursday feast; and I had made gluten-free green chile corn bread for earlier feasts and snacking.

I thought the feasts, and the friends and family, deserved more than just… butter.

Clearly, Honey Butter was called for!

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 lb unsalted butter
•2 tbsp honey*
•1/4 tsp cinnamon
•1/2 tsp vanilla
•1/8 tsp salt
•1/8 tsp black pepper

*Go ahead and use Hot Honey if you like; or split the difference and use one tablespoon each of regular and hot honey.

Soften the butter in a mixing bowl, then add the honey, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and pepper.

Beat together with a hand mixer until nicely blended and a little bit fluffy.

Transfer to a stoarge jar, cover, and stahs in the fridge until needed.

Note: it helps to take the honey butter out of the fridge about an hour before you plan on using it.

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Honey and Rosemary Roasted Pecans

Not quite candied so much as toasted to perfection, with honey, and hot honey (infused with chilies), butter, Seasoned Salt, rosemary, and black and Aleppo pepper; these pecans will be a favorite on your holidaze groaning board.

Or, just for casual munchies.

I have updated the original recipe, from sweetpaulmag.com to include our new fave chile infused honey, and doubled the recipe, just because it is that good.

INGREDIENTS
•4 cups pecan halves*
•1/4 cup honey
•1/4 cup Mike’s Hot Honey
•4 tbsp unsalted butter
•2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•6 rosemary stems

*I used raw pecan halves from Trader Joe’s.

Note: no hot honey? No problem! Simply use an equal amount of your favorite honey to total 1/2 cup.

Add the rosemary to the pecans in a large bowl, heat your oven to 325º and line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil.

Apply a bit of cooking spray to that foil.

Melt the butter over low heat with the honey and the hot honey (if using), as well as the Seasoned Salt, black pepper, and Aleppo pepper.

Stir the honey butter mixture into the pecans and rosemary until the nuts are nicely coated with it, then arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, giving the nuts a stir after ten minutes.

Once the nuts are nicely toasted (ovens vary, so do check your progress), remove from the oven and allow to cool before stashing in a tightly covered container to share, or… ?

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Aioli for the Holidaze!

Who doesn’t need at least one creamy dab o’ garlicky goodness over the holidaze?

This aioli (garlic mayonnaise) is compliant with most (I think) “no flour, no sugar, no…” diet programs and is wickedly simple to prepare – so much so that every time I do make it, I wonder why, exactly, I do not make it more often.

More than likely because, being all fresh and home made and all, it will not last as long as mayonnaise from a jar.

The taste, though…

I actually posted a version of this recipe just this past summer; but, for the holidaze, I opted to toss in one extra clove of garlic, because, why not?

Totes tasty, and worth it for all our garlic loving friends. If your’s prefer a… softer garlic profile, though, by all means stick with just one clove.

INGREDIENTS
•1 egg
•1 tbsp lemon juice
•2 cloves garlic, crushed
•1/2 tsp Zippy & Sweet or Dijon mustard
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/2 cup vegetable oil

Note: to make this, recipe, I use a very cool mini food processor, which is usually available for well under $50, and comes in wicked handy for much more than just this. You could also use a standard blender; but, if all you have is a regular-sized food processor, you may need to double the recipe, in which case “MORE yummy garlic mayonnaise!” will be your only real concern.

Add the egg, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Seasoned Salt, as well as the black and Aleppo pepper to the bowl of a mini food processor and pulse until the garlic is chopped, the egg well-beaten, and all is mixed together well.

With the processor running, sl-o-o-o-ly stream the oil in through the top. I should note that the Cuisinart mini food processor I have has this kinda cunning little oil streaming trough built into the lid. Continue to stream the oil into the running processor until you have used the full half cup, and you have this marvelous, creamy, home made garlic mayo.

Over the course of the weekend, we all totally enjoyed this with turkey, with pistachio crusted salmon, and, of course, sammiches, but the possibilities are endless!

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“Everything” Deviled Egg Dip

At this point, who hasn’t heard of  Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning?

Friends add it to all sorts of things, and my husband likes it sprinkled on hard cooked eggs, so, I got to thinking…

Family and friends are coming for the holidaze kickoff, and dips and other munchies are kinda expected, so why not try Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend in my Deviled Egg Dip, which was pretty popular last year?

INGREDIENTS
Dip:
•6 hard cooked eggs
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•1/4 cup chive cream cheese
•1 tbsp Zippy & Sweet Mustard
•1 tsp sherry vinegar
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1/2 tsp paprika
•1/2 tsp Aleppo Pepper
•1-1/2 tsp Everything but the Bagel Seasoning

Garnish:
•Paprika
•Chopped fresh chives
•Sliced green olives

Slice the eggs in two and place all of the yolks, along with half of the whites in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Chop the remaining egg whites and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, cream cheese, mustard, sherry vinegar, and seasonings to the food processor, then pulse until blended and smooth.

Add the yolk mixture to the bowl with the chopped egg whites and stir to combine.

Transfer to a covered container and stash in the fridge until needed.

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Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake Dip – Gluten-Free!

I was planning for a week of family feasting and, while several family and friends volunteered very nice sounding desserts; I wasn’t seeing any gluten-free options.

Then, this recipe showed up in my email from the nice folk at delish.com, and, problem solved!

Dead simple – and fast (once you’ve softened the cream cheese) – to toss together; this was so very good that I made a second batch, because everybody will be wanting some!

INGREDIENTS
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
•2 tsp cinnamon, divided
•2 tbsp melted butter
•2 tsp sugar

Beat the softened cream cheese together with one teaspoon of the cinnamon and the confectioners’ until creamy.

Whisk the remaining one teaspoon of cinnamon into the melted butter and the sugar in a small bowl.

Pour this over and fold into the whipped cream cheese.

Note: the nice folk at delish said to do this to create “cinnamon sugar swirls” in the dip.

That did not happen for me; but I am more than OK with this fact.

The finished dip is light, quite nice, and of course, gluten-free, so, bonus!

The nice folk at delish recommend Granny Smith apple slices or graham crackers for dipping, but, thanks to my market’s gluten-free section, I can also strongly recommend Walkers gluten-free shortbread cookies.

A dessert well worthy of a holidaze feast; gluten-free or not.

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Let Us Sauce ALL the Cranberries!

Well… relish more like.

Cranberry relish, that is.

Julia Child’s cranberry relish, thank you very much.

I have been making this for the holidaze for *mumble mumble* years, and it is truly one of my favorite parts of the feast.

Good thing it is dead simple to toss together, and will keep in the fridge for the season.

INGREDIENTS
•3 packages fresh cranberries
•3 oranges
•1 lemon
•2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
•3 cups sugar, divided
•1/4 cup Cointreau

Wash the cranberries and pick out and discard any woody stems or bad berries.

Wash, dry, then zest the oranges and the lemon, and add to a food processor fitted a the metal blade along with one cup of the sugar.

Pulse until the sugar and zest are nicely mixed together.

Add to a pot along with the cranberries.

Juice the zested oranges and lemon, and add to the cranberries in the pot along with the Cointreau, the remaining sugar, and the ginger.

Note: you do not need to add any water to the pot, the berries as they cook and a juices and Cointreau will provide more than enough liquid for the relish.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have burst.

Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 30 minutes or so.

Give it a taste.

Fresh and nicely tart, yes?

Remember, this is a relish to go along with your turkey or ham, or roast beast, or what have you,  and as such, it should not be all that sweet. I pack mine into pint jars and stash it in the fridge until needed.

Just trust me on this, Julia and I would not steer you wrong on the matter of cranberries at this time of year.

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Honey French (Cyborg) Bread

Why cyborg?

Well, because this very nice loaf of bread started out in the bread machine, but was then rescued from teh machine and finished in the oven in a traditional bread pan.

The result?

No more hoooge “paddle hole” in the middle of the loaf; but still a wicked tasty loaf of home made French bread; perfect for sammiches, and toast, and…

whatever floats your fancy. This is the loaf of bread you need to bring your bread machine out of the shadows and dust off – da google knows that my 20 year old machine is gonna see a lot more use this holidaze season!

INGREDIENTS
•1 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/3 cup water
•1-1/2 tbsp honey*
•3 cups flour
•1 tbsp sugar
•1/2 tsp salt
•2 tsp yeast

*I used Mike’s Hot Honey which is infused with chilies, but everyday honey will most certainly work a treat here.

The only tricky part of this recipe/method is that you need to load the ingredients into your bread machine in the order specified by your particular machine. My machine’s instructions are “Wet. Dry. Yeast.”

With that said, load the ingredients – in my case, the olive oil, water, and honey; then the flour, sugar, and salt, and finally the yeast in the bread machine pan – in the order called for by you machine.

Push the “Dough” button, then go about your life.

The machine will mix and knead and worry about the first rise of the dough, and then, with all that bother out of the way, it will beep to tell you when you actually need to do something about it all.

Brush a loaf pan with olive oil, then punch the dough down, gather into a ball, and arrange in the prepared loaf pan.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise for an hour or so.

While the bread is rising in the loaf pan, heat your oven to 375º.

Pop your risen loaf into the hot oven and bake until it is golden brown and sound hollow when thumped – mine was perfect in about 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing – it will be hard, I know, because – fresh baked bread! – but truly, this bread cuts better when cool, so, be patient.

*SIGH*

This is the bread I’ve been waiting for; totally worth the carbs.

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Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon – Now With Hot Honey!

To be perfectly honest, I prefer this salmon on the grill, but it really is totally tasty baked as well.

Just, do not try to broil it; my fishmonger maintains that broiling is terrible for fish, and I am not gonna argue with Captain Porky (who also smokes a fine salmon and makes a quite nice lobster salad and key lime pie, so, all in all I am gonna listen to most anything he/they tell me.

But, back to the salmon…

INGREDIENTS
•3 tbsp Thai-style sweet chili sauce
•2 tbsp lower sodium Tamari*
•1 tbsp Chili Infused Honey (or plain honey)
•1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
•Salmon filets (I like mine without the skin)

*You can also use plain soy sauce. I default to Tamari because, unlike soy sauce, it is gluten-free.

Whisk the chili sauce together with the Tamari, honey, and ginger until well mixed.

Pour over the salmon and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Note: I usually do this in a large zipper bag and allow the salmon to rest in the glaze for an hour or so in the fridge, flipping the bag when I think to so that the salmon is evenly coated with the glaze.

Heat your oven to 450º, then arrange the salmon on a foil-lined baking pan, pouring any glaze remaining in the bag evenly over the salmon.

Bake until the salmon is cooked through and flakes nicely, ten to fifteen minutes.

We enjoyed ours with stir-fried blanched asparagus.

And it was good.

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My Take on Sofrito

Before we even start, let me just say that I know that this is not the sofrito my niece’s grandmother would have made.

And I am OK with that.

See, my husband does not care for green peppers, and I don’t care that much for cilantro, so using red, yellow, and orange peppers, and then parsley was the way to go for this household. I also did not have aji dulce peppers, but a cup of Sweety Pie (or Peppadew) peppers worked a treat.

In the end, I got a fine seasoning blend for soups, stews, whatever you may choose to add this too.

This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, any extra (I kept one pint for fresh) can be frozen in ice cube trays until solid, then stashed in a freezer bag until needed.

Note: you are gonna want to cover those ice cube trays with plastic wrap, or your entire freezer will smell like sofrito – not perhaps the best pairing with ice cream.

INGREDIENTS
•3 large peppers, seeded and chopped
•3 large onions, peeled and chopped
•1 cup Sweety Pie or Peppadew peppers
•12 cloves garlic
•1 large handful parsley

Prep could not be simpler; add all of the ingredients to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until finely chopped.

Store in the fridge, or, use those spare ice cube trays and freeze for perfect two tablespoon sized individual chunks for use as you will.

 

 

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