Tag Archives: red pepper flakes

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)

The ingredients.

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


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.


Chicken in a thing.

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



Like so.


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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Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a traditionally southern dish that’s often made to celebrate the New Year. It’s also delicious. The ingredients are:

  • Black-eyed peas (1 pound)
  • Rice (3 cups)
  • Collard greens or kale (1-2 bunches)
  • Bacon (half pound or so)
  • Onions (3 large, diced)
  • Garlic (1 head or so, minced)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)

The ingredients

The black-eyed peas require special attention. If you don’t soften them up enough, they’ll be somewhat crunchy, and the whole dish will be less pleasant.

So you may want to start by soaking them for an hour, and then rinsing them. But the key thing is to cook them well. Place them in a pot, cover them with water, and boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes at least, and then let them stand in the hot water for another hour, before straining them out and rinsing them in cold water.



Before boiling.


After boiling. Don’t be worried about the detritus that collects at the top; just skim it off.

You should also make 3 cups of rice; I use a rice cooker.



Cut the bacon into smallish pieces, and cook until crispy, then remove from the pan.





Leave the bacon grease in the pan. It’s the grease that lend its flavor the rest of the dish.



First, fry up the onions until soft. Then add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for another minute or two.


The garlic, pre-mincing.


With the garlic and pepper flakes added.

Then shred up the greens and add them to the pot. They’ll cook down and become tender in the grease.


The shredded greens will…


…cook down.

This is then the time to strain, rinse, and add the beans to the pot, as well as the rice.





Mix it all together, and season to taste with the salt and pepper, and you’re done!



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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

The ingredients

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


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.


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.


Cook the mixture (minus the shrimp).

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


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.


Add everything else, except the parsley.

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


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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Ryan’s Mussel Fettuccine

This recipe of mine has changed over the years, and as you can see from the list of ingredients, there’s still plenty of room for improvisation:

  • ½ cup white wine
  • Garlic
  • Stick of butter
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Fettuccini (box)
  • Mussels (2 lbs)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt?
  • Pepper?

The ingredients.

First, you may want to soak and de-beard the mussels. Since we’ll be putting the mussels, shell and all, into our meal, you may also want to scrub the shell. I don’t – I think rinsing is fine – but to each his or her own.


Soaking the mussels. Use cold water and soak them for as long as you like. Soaking incentivizes the mussels to let out their beards, which you can then pluck more easily.

Next, fry the onions and garlic in the butter for a little while. I might use a large onion, or less, or more. Similarly, the amount of garlic you use is up to you. I use at least a few crushed cloves.  Again, how much you want to cook things at this stage is up to you.


Onions in butter smell delicious.

Next add your white wine and diced tomatoes.


Adding stuff

And then your lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Again, you have discretion in how much you use. You can always add more red pepper later, if you want it spicier – and in my opinion, this dish is better with some kick. But it’s up to you.


Adding more stuff.

At some point, you may want to start making your fettuccini. Follow the instructions on the box. I use a whole box, but again, it’s up to you. And I add olive oil and a bit of salt to the water, but you may do things differently.


Making fettuccini


Making fettuccini

Add the mussels. Yup, just pour them in there – just the mussels, that is; not the water they were soaking in.


Adding the mussels.

Cover the pot – let them steam. In the heat, they’ll gradually open, which is how you know they’re cooked. At some point, you may want to add in the noodles, too. Then cover the pan again so the mussels can continue to cook.


Adding the noodles.

When the mussels are fully open, the dish is done. You should taste test it, and see how much salt and pepper you want to add, and decide whether you want to add more lemon juice or white wine or red pepper flakes or anything else. Then you get to the good part:




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Portobello Appetizer

This recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to make. This is the (very short) list of ingredients:

  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper flakes
  • Gorgonzola cheese, preferably crumbly (but blue cheese works too)

The ingredients.

First, clean the portobello caps, and cut down any stem that might make them difficult to fry on both sides. Then make sure they’re dry.

Next, coat the bottom of your pan (preferably cast iron) with olive oil.

Fry the caps – gill sides down – on low heat for a while. You want to cook them thoroughly, but without burning or searing them.


Gill sides down.

When you’re ready, flip the caps. Now they can cook gill side up for a while. And the gill side is now hot enough to help melt the cheese you’re going to crumble over them. Add as much cheese as you care to. Then add some red pepper flakes too – again, to taste.


Crumble the cheese

Cook for a while, until you think they’re ready, or the cheese is melted. Cut into quadrants and enjoy!



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