Category Archives: Main Courses

Chicken Paprikash

Redder Than Your Cheeks…No, Your Other Cheeks…

This is one of those recipes that I adore on a weeknight when I want to spend a modicum of time in the kitchen, and a maximum amount of time lounging on the couch with the hubs.  The kind of meal that is effortless, filling and won’t have me mucking up a ton of dishes in the process.  Paprikash is like sweet nectar from the gods on evenings where the only other dinner alternative is a bag of LiveSavers Sour Gummies eaten directly in bed with a bottle of water for a side dish.

Paprikash is a nourishing Hungarian stew that leverages sour cream to coax chicken (and often veal) into tenderness.  Finding good paprika is key to this recipe to keep the flavors bright, so toss that old jar that’s been sitting in your pantry for ages and spring for some that’s new and vibrant red.  You’ll thank me when you take your first bite and see the entire evening brighten before your eyes :) Continue reading Chicken Paprikash

Turkey Breast Roulade with Wild Rice Pear Stuffing

Get Stuffed!

Turkey dinner has to be one of my favorite ways to get my comfort on and eat my feelings. I know, that’s probably an uber-unhealthy confession, but in this life you love what you love. And for me, I pledge my adoration to the restorative properties of turkey and stuffing.

This particular recipe, though, is extra special in that it utilizes some of my beloved ingredients in the pantry to create a flavor profile that is so refined, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t prepared turkey this way earlier. Fragrant fennel pollen turns bland turkey into a fantastic bite, wild rice adds texture and nuttiness to ordinary stuffing, and the saltiness of the pancetta “wrapping” plays off the sweetness of roasted pear. This fetching combination of comfort and refinement is well worth tucking into your recipe book for days when you are looking for a little magic on your dinner plate. Continue reading Turkey Breast Roulade with Wild Rice Pear Stuffing

Simple Herb Roasted Turkey

Despite the fact that turkey gets a bad name in the way of ease of cooking, it’s really not all that bad.  I still don’t understand why the cooking of the Thanksgiving turkey is the litmus test for a new chef’s mettle.  Screw up the turkey and you’re in deep doo-doo.  Craft a stunning bird with crisp skin and moist white meat, you can cook anything.

Well, in actuality, whether you can cook or not, if you follow a couple of simple steps, you can create an expertly seasoned and prepped turkey that will fool people into thinking that you are a vet in the kitchen.  Take the praise.  You deserve it for being wise enough to know you can fake it ’til you make it. Continue reading Simple Herb Roasted Turkey

Baked Roast Pork Buns

Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

Grab Your Buns and Go to Town

I’ll admit that this is not my first time to the pork bun rodeo. From my sister’s obsession with the steamed version on Sunday’s at the dim sum parlor, to my husband’s cravings for the baked variety fresh from the Chinatown Roast Pork Bun Factory in NYC, I had a clear and compelling reason to learn how to make them for myself. I found a recipe by cookbook author Andrea Nguyen for the perfect little snacky bites and thought that I would try her recipe. But the idea of making that dough from scratch made me sleepy. Especially after cooking the pork for the buns not once but twice before stuffing. I saved myself a step and used Pillsbury dinner rolls to get the job done. The results were less than perfection in terms of the dough, but still so freakin’ delicious. Continue reading Baked Roast Pork Buns

Ginger Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Ketchup Worth Relishing

Anytime anyone says that the secret ingredient in a recipe is ketchup, you have the right to run away screaming. Not this time, though. The shrimp in this recipe are gloriously complex, with the perfect combination of ginger, Chinese Five Spice Powder, scallions and yes, ketchup. Don’t knock it till you try it. They should be called Glorious Ginger Shrimp.

As for the accompanying rice, this recipe is deceptively simple – replace plain water in the rice pot with unsweetened coconut water and cook as usual. Ok, not so deceptive, but the flavor is incredible, making this a nice addition to your next supper.  It works particularly well for soaking up all of the lovely sauce from the aforementioned shrimp. Continue reading Ginger Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Kalua Pork

When I last went to Hawaii, I made it a personal goal to eat my weight in kalua pork. Yes, that sounds disgusting, but I don’t even care. The stuff is so ridiculously good that I find myself longing for it in an almost atavistic fashion when I am not around it. I’ve known it to be a treat partially due to the complicated preparation – a whole pig is wrapped in ti leaves and banana leaves and then submerged into an underground pit called an imu and covered with coals and/or lava rocks. Sure, I could do that in my back yard. In Arizona.

Back to the drawing board, and as I’m looking through my We The Women of Hawaii cookbook, lo and behold, a recipe for kalua pork. In the oven, no less. I can do this! Apparently, after a little more research, I come to find out that the legendary Sam Choy makes his kalua pork in the same way, using mesquite liquid smoke to replace the flavors imparted by the burning banana leaves of the imu. But how the heck am I going to mimic banana leaves in my home oven? Continue reading Kalua Pork

Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

Ribs require a hefty dose of patience to get them right, right? In order to achieve fall-off-the-bone tenderness along with a lacquered barbecue crust, you need to give them time and a lot of TLC.  Or do you?

These ribs are for the hungry and lazy – a troublesome combination that is often hard to please but will be bowled over by this ridiculously easy recipe. Parboil the ribs in a pressure cooker to cut down on the cooking time from hours to a mere 15 minutes. Paint with homemade glaze and broil for a few minutes for fresh off the grill goodness right from the kitchen and in a lot less time. Done and done.  I’m not kidding.  That’s really it.

Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs

1/4 c. of browning seasoning
3 tbs. of lemon juice
1/2 c. of apricot jam
2 tsp. of molasses
1/2 tsp. of dry mustard
2 tsp. of dark corn syrup
1/2 tsp. of ground ginger
2 tbs. of chili paste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs. of soy sauce
4 drops of mesquite liquid smoke

1 onion, quartered
6 dried apricots
2 c. of chicken stock
3 lbs. of ribs

Mix the browning seasoning, lemon juice, apricot jam, molasses, dry mustard, corn syrup, ginger, chili paste, garlic, soy and liquid smoke. Add half of the marinade, onion, apricots and 2 c. of chicken stock to the pressure cooker. Top with the ribs (cut into thirds to fit in the cooker) and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.  Remove ribs to a rack set over a cookie sheet and let dry while you make the sauce.  Add the remaining marinade to the pressure cooker and boil vigorously until reduced to a cup of liquid.  Brush the ribs on both sides with the marinade.  Turn the oven on broil and cook until lacquered and crisped.  Let rest for 5 minutes before carving.  Slice ribs into individual pieces and serve.

Mother Stuffin’ Falafel Pita with Spicy Tahini Dressing

For all the folks out there claiming that vegetarian and vegan food has to be boring, falafel is a giant nanny-nanny-boo-boo in their direction.  These delicately spiced fritters made of chickpeas are toothsome and filling, leaving even the most dedicated meat eaters feeling as if they’ve got all that they need in front of them.

The name of this recipe came from my sister who demanded that I make a sandwich called a “Mother Stuffer.”  In that she is a vegetarian (and most of the time a raw vegan at that), I had to make a concoction that proved that, much like her, veggies are non-stop fun.  This pita is no exception – half the fun of falafel is assembling your pita yourself with your favorite toppings, so feel free to use any combination of pickles, peppers and hot sauce that you’d like. Food is ALWAYS more fun when you can make it your own. Continue reading Mother Stuffin’ Falafel Pita with Spicy Tahini Dressing

Italian BLT Panini with Pesto Mayo

When you can get your hands on a juicy tomato, you need to treat it right.  All of those mealy, hothouse tomatoes that are pushed on us by the grocery store are great for tossing, but that’s about it.  But then there’s that slim window of time where you can get your hands on heirloom tomatoes in a rainbow of colors, bumpy and rough on the outside, brimming with translucent tart juice in the center.  When the planets align and the gods deem you worthy of an incredible tomato, you’d better recognize and step up to the plate. Continue reading Italian BLT Panini with Pesto Mayo

Crispy Halibut Po’boy with Caper Aioli

Nothing says summertime majesty like a tender fish filet in crisp, lacy batter, slathered in luscious tartar sauce.  Correction: nothing says the perfect time of year like the aforementioned fish.  A good piece of halibut, carefully breaded and fried, is a welcome addition year-round assuming that I can get my hands on some.

The secret ingredient that makes this recipe sing is the caper aioli – a homemade mayonnaise enlivened with capers, cocktail onions, tarragon and lemon, this condiment tastes of a majesty so great that one would think that you slaved over the stuff.  But that’s not the case.  Pop the ingredients into the blender and whirr away until the mixture thickens to absolute perfection. Continue reading Crispy Halibut Po’boy with Caper Aioli