Tag Archives: black pepper

Lobster with Ginger Sauce

This was yummy, but quite spicy. The ingredients were:

  • Lobster, 2 pounds, cooked
  • Oil
  • Garlic, 4 cloves, minced
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon
  • Fish sauce, 1 tablespoon
  • Oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons
  • Egg, 1, scrambled
  • Black pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger, 2 tablespoons
  • Jalapeno peppers, 2, sliced
  • Scallions, 1/2 cup, diced
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The ingredients.

This was my first time cooking with lobster. It was a bit intimidating, but a lot less so with the help of the internets. I was told that I had a few choices about how to cook the thing, and I chose to steam it. Notice how the color of the shell changed, indicating the lobster was ready? That’s a sign that God exists.

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The place I’d love to be.

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Who doesn’t want to be steamed and scalded?

The recipe called for the lobster to be retained in the shell at this stage, but I disagreed. I thought I’d prefer to remove the shell now, while it was relatively easy and clean, instead of later on. So, being an independent-minded sort, that’s exactly what I did.

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All that lobster yields so little lobster.

The rest of the cooking is pretty straightforward. Add the oil and everything except the lobster and cook for a while, until you like the look of the egg and the scallions.

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The next stage of the cooking process.

Then add in the lobster.

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The best part.

Cook for just long enough to warm the lobster and you’re done.

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Lobster is so good.

If I had it to do again, I’d probably use one less hot pepper, but you do you!

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Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is delish, delish, delish. Absolutely and easily one of our favorites. We can’t recommend it enough! The ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts, 3, cut into skewer-worthy chunks
  • Yogurt, 1 cup
  • Lemon juice, 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin, 2 teaspoons
  • Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons
  • Black pepper, 2 teaspoons
  • Ginger, 1 tablespoon, fresh minced
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic, 1 clove, minced
  • Jalapeno pepper, 2, sliced
  • Cumin, 2 more teaspoons
  • Paprika, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon or to taste
  • Cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped
  • Heavy cream, 1 cup
  • Tomato sauce, 2 cans
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The ingredients.

Sadly, this recipe takes a while to make – but the wait is worth it. The first step is to combine the yogurt, lemon juice, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, a teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of cumin in a large bowl. Mix it together, and coat the chunks of chicken in it. Cover and refrigerator for at least an hour.

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The marinade, part 1.

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The marinade, part 2.

Meanwhile, you may want to begin heating your grill (we used charcoal). Make sure to oil the grill grate, as this will help you later on. Once the chicken is finished marinading, thread it onto skewers (if you’re using wood, like we did, make sure to soak it first).

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Chicken, skewed.

Then, you know, place them on the grill! Turn as needed, until done.

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Chicken, grilled.

This is what that looks like, by the way:

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Chicken, grilled, part 2.

The next stage begins with heat: frying the jalapeno slices and garlic in the butter.

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The wok stage.

Then add in the rest of the cumin and salt, as well as the paprika.

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Wokking some spices.

Pour in the tomato sauce and cream, and simmer on low heat for a few minutes, to thicken the sauce.

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The sauce is the best part.

Add in the grilled chicken, and simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

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Homemade tikka masala.

And that’s it! Try it over rice, with the cilantro. It’s so, so good!

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I wish I had some now.

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Beef Curry in Peanut Sauce

This one turned out pretty well. The ingredients are:

  • Beef (obviously), 2 pounds
  • Peanuts, unsalted and ground, 6 oz
  • Chilies, 4 sliced
  • Kaffir lime leaves, 10
  • Tomatoes, several, chunked
  • Coconut milk, 2-3 cans
  • Red curry paste, 6 tablespoons
  • Fish sauce, 6 tablespoons
  • Palm sugar, 4 tablespoons
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Thai basil, to taste
  • Lemon grass, 2 stalks, minced
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The ingredients.

The first step is simple: add the red curry paste to a can of coconut milk in your wok, and warm until boiling.

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The first step.

Then add a few more items: the fish sauce, the palm sugar, and the lemongrass.

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The next step.

Next, the beef – although you may want to slice it first.

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The step after that.

You can add the ground peanuts at this stage, too (I used a spice grinder to grind them, but if you want to use a spice buffer or a spice elevator, that’s your prerogative).

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Adding the ground peanuts.

Then the tomatoes, chilies, and Kaffir lime leaves.

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Adding more stuff.

Cook for just a while longer, and then it’s done. It should look something like this:

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If your dish doesn’t look exactly like this, it’s not done.

And this, over rice:

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It was yummy!

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Beef Biryani

Oh, woe is me, this was such a bland recipe. The ingredients:

  • Beef, 2.5 pounds, cubed
  • Onions, 4 large
  • Garlic, 4 cloves, chopped
  • Ginger, 2-inch piece, peeled and chopped
  • Jalapeno, 2, chopped
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch
  • Almonds, 8 tablespoons
  • Water, 6 tablespoons
  • Ghee, 2 tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil, 6 tablespoons
  • Coriander, 2 teaspoons
  • Cumin, 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric, 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek, 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon, 2 good pinches
  • Yogurt, plain, 1.5 cups
  • Basmati rice, 3 cups
  • Chicken stock, 10 cups
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

It took a while to make, too – though I do have a few ideas for how it could be improved.

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The ingredients.

The first step is to blend! Roughly chop two of the onions, and combine them with the cilantro, hot pepper, garlic, ginger, water, and half the almonds.

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Blending can be fun.

Blend to a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

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The aftermath.

Next, heat half the ghee with half the oil and fry the rest of the onion (after you slice it, of course) until it’s golden brown. When it is, transfer to another dish – yes, another one!

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Onions are yummy.

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Browned!

Then fry the remaining almonds briefly until they’re golden, too. Or more golden, at any rate.

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Browning almonds.

Transfer them – yes, you guessed it – to another plate, and then start searing the meat, in batches. Add more oil/ghee if you need to.

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Browning meat.

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The meat, seared.

Once all the meat is browned and moved out of the way – perhaps to another plate – you can put the blended mixture into the pot, and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in all the additional spices, as well as salt and pepper to taste.

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Re-heating the blended mixture.

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Plus spices.

Next, lower the heat and slowly mix in the yogurt. Then return the meat to the pot, cover it tightly, and simmer over a gentle heat for 45 minutes to tenderize the meat.

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Simmer.

Meanwhile, you can begin working on the other part of the biryani mixture – the rice. You should soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 15-20 minutes, and begun heating your chicken broth.

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Chicken broth!

Heat to a boil, then add the rice (along with a little salt) and bring it back to a boil. Then cover and cook for 5 minutes.

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With rice!

After that, it’ll look like this: the chicken broth has magically disappeared, and the rice got a lot bigger. I wonder what happened?

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And now, just rice.

Add the rice to your chicken mixture (I used a slow cooker because I didn’t have a dutch oven big enough), and add the onions and almonds as well. Cover securely, and bake on high for about an hour (or 45 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 325).

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Biryani-ing.

Voila! It can be spruced up with more spices – in particular, more salt and cayenne – as well as some fried eggs and possibly some Sriracha.

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The finished product.

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Egyptian Red Lentil Soup

This recipe didn’t turn out so well for me – it was a bit thick and felt like it stuck to my insides. Maybe it’ll work better with a bit more water? In any case, it was a great opportunity for us to break out the immersion blender. The ingredients:

  • Water, 5 cups
  • Red lentils, 2 cups
  • Onions, chopped, 2 cups
  • Potatoes, chopped, 1 cup
  • Garlic, 8-10 cloves
  • Cilantro, chopped, 1/3 cup
  • Lemon juice, 3 tablespoons
  • Oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
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The ingredients.

First, bring the water to a boil along with the potatoes, onions, lentils, and garlic. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until everything is tender.

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Boil, and then simmer.

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Once the simmering is complete.

Then warm the oil until it’s hot, but not smoking pot. Then add the spices – the turmeric, cumin, and salt, stirring constantly until it becomes fragrant, or about 2-3 minutes.

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Adding spices to warm oil.

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Mixed.

Then remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two before you add the mixture, along with the cilantro, to the main pot.

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All in the pot.

This is where you get to use the immersion blender.

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A fine machine.

Add the lemon juice, and then you’re done!

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The finished product.

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Fried Mushrooms

These were the star of our ill-fated election-night party, and a bright spot in an otherwise dismal night. The recipe comes courtesy of my mom, and beware – it is time-consuming to make. But also, so so delicious.

The ingredients are:

  • Mushrooms
  • Panko or bread crumbs
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • Water
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Canola Oil
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The ingredients.

The first step is to wash and cut up the mushrooms into bite-sized portions. Then, prepare three bowls.

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The bowl line-up.

In the first bowl, have flour (as well as a touch of pepper and salt, but not too much)

In the second bowl, have beaten eggs and water. For every two eggs that you add, add 1 tablespoon of water. As you can see, I used a tall glass instead, as it’s easier to dunk the mushrooms in (I use a fork to do so).

Finally, have flour, Panko or bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and Mrs. Dash in the final bowl. The proportions will vary depending on how you prefer your mushrooms, but the main ingredient should be the Panko.

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A closer look at the final bowl.

Dip each mushroom piece into each bowl consecutively, making sure to coat them well each time. Then, deep fry the mushrooms until they turn brown. As you can see, I used an enameled pot, but whatever device works for you.

When they’re done, place on a plate with paper towals to absorb the excess grease, and sprinkle with salt (if you prefer) to eat with ranch dressing.

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Enjoy!

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Croque-Monsieur

When I was in France, I fell in love with the Croque-Monsieur sandwich, and I tried to find a recipe that would allow me to make its deliciousness myself. This is that recipe. The ingredients:

  • White loaf bread, like French or Italian, sliced (NOT sourdough)
  • Sliced ham
  • Dijon mustard
  • Gruyère cheese, 6 oz, grated
  • Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup, grated
  • Milk, 1.5 cups
  • Flour, 2 tablespoons
  • Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Nutmeg (to taste)
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The ingredients.

You may find that the Gruyère cheese is a bit hard to find. And expensive. We got ours at Aldi, where it’s tolerable.

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The Gruyère.

First, grate the cheeses, slice the bread, etc etc.

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Grated cheeses.

Then put the butter in the pan and melt over low heat. We’re going to make a béchamel sauce with which to coat the sandwiches.

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Melting butter.

Meanwhile, you can start toasting some bread.

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Toasty.

Melt the butter until it just starts to bubble. Then add the flour and whisk until smooth.

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Bubbly butter.

Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously, until it thickens.

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Milk added.

Remove from the heat, add your salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and then stir in the parmesan and 1/4 cup of the Gruyère. They should melt , even though heat is no longer being applied, and further thicken up the sauce.

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The sauce.

Next, coat the toasted bread with a thin layer of mustard.

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Mustard!

Then add ham, and before putting the two halves of the sandwich together, add in some of the grated Gruyère.

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Sandwich assembly.

Add more of the Gruyère on top, and then also spoon over with a healthy portion of the sauce.

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Add stuff on top.

Finally, bake for five minutes at 400 degrees, and then broil for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the cheese topping is bubbly and browned. Then, enjoy!

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Bake, and then broil.

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So much yumminess.

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Bryn’s Orange Chicken

This was soo delicious. The ingredients:

  • Chicken thighs, boneless, 2 pounds
  • Honey, 1/3 cup
  • Soy sauce, 1/3 cup
  • Orange juice, 2 tablespoons
  • Tomato paste, 2 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic, minced, 2 teaspoons
  • Salt, 3/4 teaspoon
  • Ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sesame seeds (to garnish)
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The ingredients.

The only change I’d make is that, on reflection, I’d double the recipe. It went fast.

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A crock pot, in all its glory.

The recipe uses a slow cooker – and like many slow cooker recipes, it’s really easy to make. First, put the chicken in the slow cooker.

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Chicken in a thing.

Then, whisk together the other ingredients – everything except the sesame seed garnish – and pour it over the chicken.

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Whisk.

Like so.

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Chicken, covered.

Cook on low for four hours, shred, and enjoy over rice. Don’t forget the sesame seed garnish, if you like that sort of thing!

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Delicious!

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Aljotta (Maltese Fish Stew)

I love this recipe. I’ve made it at least a dozen times over the years, and if it weren’t so expensive to make, I’d make it more often. Why is it expensive? The ingredients are:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion (large, peeled and thinly sliced)
  • Garlic (6 cloves, peeled & minced)
  • Diced tomatoes (1 large can)
  • Fish stock
  • Basil leaves (6 springs, shredded)
  • Mint leaves (6 springs, shredded)
  • Marjoram leaves (6 springs, shredded)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Rice (2 cups, cooked)
  • Fish (1-2 lbs)
  • Lemon juice (to taste)

Neither fish (something like cod, haddock, or tilapia works well here) nor fish stock are cheap. I’ve found that seafood stock is inferior to actual fish stock (if you can find it) and in either case, it’s hard to buy enough to avoid having to supplement the stew with some amount of water. But if money is no issue for you, just use fish stock.

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The ingredients.

The place to start is with a simple, empty pot. Then add the oil.

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Heating the oil.

Add onions and garlic and fry in the oil until soft.

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Cooking down the onions and garlic.

Stir in the diced tomatoes, and then the fish stock (if need be, you can supplement with fish bouillon, but I never have).

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Add the tomatoes…

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…and then the fish stock.

Next, tear basil and mint leaves into pieces, then add to saucepan with marjoram leaves.

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Green stuff!

The next ingredient is the fish, cut however you like (I do cubes).

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Fish!

Let that cook for a few minutes, then add the cooked rice. It’ll expand even further in the stew, so (depending on how much broth you like) you may want to add more water in.

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Rice!

Finally, season the stew with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. I usually use at least a tablespoon of each, and often more. But they’re all to taste, so you’ll need to decide for yourself : -)

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The finished product – enjoy!

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Gambas al Ajillo

Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp) is a famous Spanish tapas recipe that is mesmerizingly delicious. These are the ingredients:

  • About a pound of frozen shrimp (roughly 25), heads and tails off, medium or large
  • 10 large cloves of garlic
  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Dry sherry, either a quarter cup or a third of a cup
  • Lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
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The ingredients

The first step is to finely chop the garlic, and add it to the olive oil.

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Add that garlic!

Then let the shrimp marinate for a while. The longer they marinate, the more garlicky they’ll be, but 30 minutes is fine. This is also when you add the salt and the baking soda. The baking soda helps keep the shrimp crunchy, and together, the salt and baking soda help the shrimp retain their juiciness.

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Marinate the shrimp.

Next, remove the shrimp and dump everything else in the pan. Cook the garlic for about five minutes on medium-high heat to bring out more of the flavor.

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Cook the mixture (minus the shrimp).

Next, add the red pepper flakes, and cook for another minute or so.

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Add the red pepper.

Add in almost everything else – the shrimp; the sherry; the pepper (to taste); the lemon juice (again, to taste). Don’t overcook the shrimp! About 4 minutes on the medium-high heat should be good enough.

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Add everything else, except the parsley.

That’s plenty of time to chop the parsley for the garnish.

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Chopped parsley!

Then add the parsley and you’re done. The shrimp are delicious, but the oil is too – it’s incredibly flavorful, and perfect for mopping up with a baguette.

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Delicious.

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