tonkatsu made with hazelnut flour

I like making tonkatsu because it’s so simple and easy: rice, meat, and vegetables all in one bowl. Make the rice first–in a rice cooker you push a button and forget it. Next, make the sauce. While it’s simmering on the stove,  prep the meat. That’s it! This is my gluten-free version. I used ground hazelnut meal/flour instead of Panko bread crumbs. What was sacrificed in the crunchiness of the crumb coating was made up for by the nutty flavor of the hazelnuts.

Oven-Fried Tonkatsu

Ingredients


  • 8 pork tenderloin medallions, pounded thin  (1 pound trimmed of fat and silver)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups ground hazelnut meal/flour (can use any nut flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to  400˚F for pork tenderloin medallions
  • Flatten each medallion to about ¼ inch thick.
  • Prepare a baking tray; spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a pie plate, combine the hazelnut meal, salt and pepper.
  • In another pie plate, pour the egg whites. Dip meat in egg whites
  • Roll meat lightly in flour mixture until coated.
  • Place each cutlet on the prepared baking tray.
  • Bake cutlets 10-15 minutes.
  • Slice meat into slivers about ½ inch wide.
  • Serve meat with warm rice, steamed broccoli, and tonkatsu sauce for dipping (see my recipe for homemade tonkatsu sauce below)

Tonkatsu Sauce (from grouprecipes.com)

Ingredients


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sake or rice wine (substitute rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic or 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup mirin (substitute ¼ teaspoon sugar to ¼ cup white wine)

How to make it


  • Put all the above ingredients in a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce to a simmer for 25-30 minutes skimming any foam that rises to the top.
  • Refrigerate extra sauce.
  • Makes about 3 cups.

toasted orzo risotto with corn, thyme, tarragon, and chives

The secret to this deliciously simple dish is the orzo. For best results, this tiny pasta must be al dente. And I recommend making it with a vegetable stock because it tastes so much better! As the orzo absorbed the stock, it turned brown. If you use water, the orzo will be white. I insist that all the ingredients must be fresh: fresh corn, thyme, tarragon, chives, garlic, lemon, and shallot. It’s surprisingly sweet but tangy, with a faint peppery flavor from the tarragon. To get the corn off the cob, I used a sharp knife to slice the kernels off the cob, then lightly chopped them to separate them. Be careful when you do this;  I put the cob lengthwise on the cutting board and sliced downward.  I added tarragon and chives because the thyme was already in the recipe, but I think experimenting with a combination of fresh herbs would be delicious. Savory Simple recommends Penzey’s Sunny Paris Spice for seasoning, but I think it is only available by mail order. I just used salt and pepper, which is simple and easy. Like this recipe. The whole thing took 25 minutes to prep and cook.

Toasted Orzo Risotto with Corn, Thyme, Tarragon, and Chives (adapted from Savory Simple)
Makes  2 entrees or 4 side dishes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup shallots, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup orzo
1 ear of sweet corn, approximately 3/4 cup kernels (see note)
Juice of 1 lemon
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, leaves only, minced fine
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced fine
1 3/4 water or homemade stock
salt & pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Preparation

  1. In a 10 inch skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds Add the orzo to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the orzo to toast while stirring. You can go lighter or darker with the toasting. As the orzo browns, it will develop a nutty flavor.
  2. Turn down the heat to medium-low and stir in the corn kernels, lemon juice, thyme, tarragon, and chives. Add 1/4 cup of water or stock. Stir frequently to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the liquid is absorbed, add another 1/4 cup liquid. Repeat until a total of 1 1/2 cups liquid is added  to the pan and is absorbed by the orzo. Reserve the last 1/4 cup.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the last of the water or stock, pine nuts (if using) and salt and pepper to taste.

creamy delicious strawberry ice cream–without an ice cream maker

I don’t have an ice cream maker.

I also don’t have a microwave oven and I don’t have a television. But am I missing anything? Absolutely not! I made this ice cream using fresh cream and strawberries without an ice cream maker. It was quick and easy to make, however, the freezing part took twelve hours. So eating it requires a little patience. If you want it for dessert that evening, then make it in the morning.  Aside from the usual cream, fruit, and condensed milk, this recipe calls for some unexpected ingredients, like white chocolate chips and vodka, which you never taste in the ice cream. It wasn’t as creamy as I had hoped, and I don’t understand the alchemy let alone the chemistry of ice cream making, but it tastes just like fresh strawberry ice cream. The folks at America’s Test Kitchen call it

Magic Strawberry Ice Cream
Makes one quart

INGREDIENTS
8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled (1 1/2 cups) [Cook’s Note: frozen thawed strawberries can be substituted for fresh]
1/2  cup sweetened condensed milk
1 ounce white chocolate chips
1  tablespoon vodka
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Process strawberries in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds (puree should measure about 3⁄4 cup). Microwave sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate chips, and vodka in large bowl until chocolate melts, about 1 minute, whisking halfway through cooking. Whisk in strawberry puree, vanilla, and salt.

Cook’s Note: In lieu of a microwave, I melted the chocolate chips into the vodka and condensed milk in a double boiler. I made a double boiler out of a saucepan and a small glass mixing bowl which rested on the rim just above half a pan of water. First bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Stir the milk, chips, and vodka until the chips melt. The condensed milk mixture will thin. Be careful and use a pot holder to remove the hot bowl from the saucepan.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of whipped cream into strawberry mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream, 1 scoop at a time, until combined. Freeze in airtight container until firm, 6-12 hours, depending on the freezer. The ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks–if it lasts that long!  Serve.

Cook’s Note: I should have added I don’t have a fancy (read: Kitchenaid) stand mixer either. I used a Black and Decker hand held mixer (cost me Canadian $15.00 three years ago) with a whisk attachment to whip the cream. You’ll know you have soft peaks when you raise the beaters and the peaks just bend over.

pan-fried fish fillets with mediterranean tomato sauce

I’ve been cooking a lot with tomatoes lately!  Tomatoes are so versatile raw or cooked, so naturally, I had to try this new fish recipe. According to myrecipes.com, this recipe, if made with 6 ounce yellowtail snapper fillets with the skin on, amounts to 282 calories per serving. I used tilapia because it was available (and cheaper) but I think any white fish will do. The sauce has a nice light taste; not overpoweringly tomato-y. In fact,  all the flavors of the herbs come through, so be sure to use fresh as directed in the recipe.

Pan-Fried Fish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce (adapted from myrecipes.com)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (flat-leaf parsley in original recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pounds tilapia fillets (approximately 2 large fillets)

1. In a medium skillet heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add tomato to the pan and cook 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the capers, Dijon mustard, and minced garlic. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley, chives, and tarragon. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste. Cover the skillet to keep warm.

2. In a large nonstick skillet heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish with about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper per side. Add fish to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Turn the fish over; cook 3 minutes or until the fish turns white and flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish with the warmed sauce.

Italian meatball soup with orzo, spinach, and carrots

I went the extra mile for this recipe I adapted from dashrecipes.com!  I had the time this afternoon so I made a vegetable soup stock from scratch, using leeks, celery, garlic, and carrots, seasoned with bay leaf, fresh tarragon, and thyme. For additional flavor, I added a teaspoon of organic Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base. If not for that detour, this recipe would be quick and easy. Of course, to save time, I used the carrots from the stock in the meatball soup, and saved the rest of the vegetables for puréeing later. I will add the purée to the remaining stock for flavor.  I recommend serving this soup with a simple salad or hot crusty bread for a light supper.

Italian Meatball Soup with Orzo, Spinach and Carrots
INGREDIENTS:

1⁄2 lb ground sirloin
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
5 1/2 cups light chicken broth (reduced-sodium, fat-free)
2 cups fresh spinach (no stems)
3⁄4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup chopped carrot
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. In small bowl, combine ground sirloin, egg, Panko, cheese, basil, and onion powder. Using a teaspoon, shape into 1-inch balls.

2. In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs and cook 10 minutes on simmer. Stir in the orzo and carrot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the meatballs are done. About a minute before the meatballs are done, add the spinach. Serve topped with additional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

lotsa tomato! baked quinoa patties

I took a break from the blog but I didn’t stop cooking! I’ve been experimenting with this recipe from 101cookbooks.com. First I tried it straight but it came out too coarse. Then, on the second try,  I put in some blackbeans, salsa, and cheese, and it was moister but still coarse. On the third try I remembered that my aunt adds a tomato to her shrimp fritters to make them moist, so chopped up half a tomato and put it in with the original recipe. It did come out moist but still coarse. I finally realized what I should do is reduce the amount of whole wheat breadcrumbs in the recipe.  I served it with tomato salsa and arugula and plum tomatoes. Is lotsa tomato, like we say in Jamaica. But I love tomatoes. And this is the season for them.

Baked Quinoa Patties

2 1/2 cups / 12 oz /340 g cooked quinoa, at room temperature (1 cup raw quinoa)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup/ .5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup /.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh dill
1 cup / 1.5 oz /45 g finely chopped kale
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (toasted) cumin
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup / 3.5 oz /100 g whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
water or a bit of flour, if needed
1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g crumbled feta (optional)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F / 200C.

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, dill, kale, onion, garlic, and cumin. Stir well.

Add the baking powder and bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Gently stir in the feta. I’ve left out the feta cheese and it had no noticeable difference.

I used a one-third cup measure to make 11 patties. To make the patties moister, 101cookbooks recommends adding another beaten egg or water one tablespoon at a time to the quinoa mixture.  To make it dryer, add flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Generously spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange the patties with a bit of space between each. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown. Flip the patties over and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy hot, or allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Makes about a dozen patties. It tastes pretty good hot or cold.

my everything crustless quiche

It’s Saturday-stock-the-pantry day. But first, I note to myself, make room in the fridge. I have eggs, half a pint of heavy cream that I bought to make a cake but changed my mind, a cup of home-made biscuit mix, assorted raw vegetables in various states of preparation, and inspiration.

This is basically Betty Crocker’s zucchini pie recipe, a crustless quiche which I’ve found robust enough to stand up to experimentation with the ingredients. For instance, I substituted the heavy cream for the milk–so of course it’s no longer low fat. But this is the basic recipe. For the veggies, I had eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, and onion. For the herbs I only had thyme and dill on hand. But any combination of herbs will do.

I forgot the cheese (I used Cheddar) so I sprinkled it on top then added the herbs on top of the cheese. It was a delicious mistake! For this recipe  and the recipe for the homemade biscuit mix, see my previous post the versatile crustless zucchini quiche.

pasta al pomodoro crudo

 

I found this recipe on a blog but for the life of me, I can’t remember whose. I usually make a note but I forgot to do it this time. It’s real simple; the tomatoes and seasonings aren’t cooked at all. They get warmed up by the pasta. I’ve changed it a bit because I like my pasta dry unless the pasta sauce is thick.  However, I found that with the addition of salt, the tomatoes “spring water” as we say in Jamaica. So, to keep the tomatoes from making juice, I would salt the tomatoes before mixing them with the seasoning to leach out the water. Draining them on paper towels afterwards helps too. And I added the mozzarella cheese. It melts so beautifully in the heat of the pasta into delicious stringy bits that cling to the pasta. This is definitely quick and easy, and it’s going to be part of my week-night dinner menus from now on!

Pasta al Pomodoro Crudo

  • 4 medium to large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and put through a garlic press (use more or less according to taste)
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pasta, such as angel  hair, spaghetti, spaghettini, linguine, or other thin types of pasta
  • 1/4-1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese, grated  (I used Parmesan and Romano, and I recommend it)

In a large bowl sprinkle salt on tomato pieces and toss. Put tomatoes on paper-towel lined tray and let it drain 15 minutes.

Put drained tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley, and oil in a food processor and pulse until combined. The mixture should be chunky.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

Cook 1 lb  pasta in salted water. Cook according to package directions until al dente.  Drain well and divide pasta into four bowls. Put mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of sauce over each bowl of pasta and toss thoroughly.  Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Cook’s note: Add chopped turkey pastrami or prosciutto to the pasta, if desired.

P.S. Robin Jean Marie wrote to say that her recipe is the basis for this one! See Spaghetti with Raw Tomato Sauce at Bringing Europe Home. Thanks, Robin!

leek potato soup

I’ve been so busy lately, too busy to blog. What sacrilege. But I’ve a good excuse;  I’m writing a final paper for my summer reading teacher course. I was very ambitious and started a new course at the same time I started a new job. The course is almost over and I can breathe easier now that summer academy is over. So I whipped up this soup from a recipe courtesy of Irene Phaksuwan. I love my new soup bowl! I bought it in Chinatown because I needed some deep Chinese soup bowls to replace the shallow soup plates that I have. You have to dig into a soup, if you’re Chinese because Chinese soups are hearty and full of noodles, meat, and vegetables; we don’t skim soups delicately with a spoon. This Leek Potato Soup is hearty–and it’s all vegetarian.

Leek Potato Soup

Ingredients
2 leeks, washed, and outer leaves removed, chopped into 1 inch lengths
2 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup celery, chopped with leaves
3 small carrots, scraped and chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 sprig thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Head the oil in a large dutch pot over medium heat. Put leeks, potatoes, celery, carrots and garlic in the oil and stir-fry until tender about 3 minutes. Add the broth, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.

If you wish, thicken the soup. Spoon half the vegetables into the work bowl of a food processor and process until the vegetables are the consistency of thick soup. Return processed vegetables to the soup. Serve hot with a salad on the side or a hot crusty whole grain bread.

chinese roast pork

(I thought the earlier picture was anemic looking, so the next time I made this roast pork, I took another picture!) This is the home version of the traditional red roast pork found in Chinese restaurants all over the world. I like it with a stronger anise flavor so I’ve added a clove of star anise and Sichuan peppercorns to the marinade.  In Chinatown, specialty shops sell barbecued duck, crackling pork, and, red roast pork. Their wares hang in the shop windows, shiny with grease and stippled with fat. No words need convey the deliciousness of these barbecued and roasted meats. A pound of this red roast pork costs $9.00 in New York’s Chinatown. My homemade version: $5.00.

Chinese roast pork (adapted from: The Gourmet Chinese Regional Cookbook)

1 lb pork tenderloin, excess fat and the silver removed

Marinade
2 T brown bean sauce, mashed
2 t minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
1 clove star anise
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, optional

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat ingredients until sugar is just melted. Cool slightly. Put pork in a pan and pour marinade over pork. Refrigerate overnight. On baking day, let stand 3-6 hours at room temperature, turning occasionally. Remove from marinade and discard the marinade. Bake at 350˚ for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and tent with foil. Let the meat rest 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with rice or noodles.

Cook’s Note: I’ve upped the food coloring to make it a deeper red and made it optional because not everyone likes to color their food. It depends on if you want traditional or not!