Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pasta with Cream Sauce


Serves 2-4.

A couple hours before you want dinner, place in a heavy pan:

1 chicken breast
300 ml water
1 chicken bouillon cube

Bring to a boil, and simmer over a low flame, covered, for 5 minutes. Turn off fire and leave the pot until it is cool.

Put on water to boil the noodles of your choice, and cook according to package instructions. Cook the noodles while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ C chopped shiitake or other mushrooms
(¼ t oregano)
(¼ t basil)

Heat oil and butter in a heavy pot and gently stir fry the garlic and mushrooms. When they are fragrant, slowly add while whisking:

3 T flour

Continue to cook over a low flame, whisking constantly so the flour doesn't get lumpy. Let cook until you can smell that the flour is cooked (a few minutes). Then, very slowly add while whisking:

400 ml chicken broth into which about ¼ C of whole milk powder has been blended
OR 400 ml milk + ½ t chicken bouillon powder (or its equivalent)

Continue stirring over a low flame until the mixture has thickened.

Add:

1 shredded chicken breast
¼ t freshly ground pepper
salt to taste

Just before serving, add:

(¼ C shredded cheese)
(Top with fresh basil.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chicken Potato Salad


This is best to prepare ahead of time so that it will have time to cool before serving.

Remove the fat and skin from: 

2 chicken breasts (about 500gm)

Place in a pan, and add: 

300-600 ml water
1-2 chicken bouillon cubes

Boil on a low flame, covered, for 5 minutes. Turn off fire, and leave until cool. Remove the chicken and save the broth for Tofu Egg Soup, which goes nicely with this meal.

When chicken is cool, shred it and set it aside.

While the chicken is cooking, wash thoroughly (no need to peel) and cut into roughly 1½ cm cubes:

About 1 kg potatoes

Place in a deep, heavy pot, and almost cover completely with water. A few little bits sticking out from the top of the water is not a problem.  

Add:

1 t salt

Cover and boil until soft. Test by sticking a fork into one of the bigger pieces. It should go in easily.

Remove from heat and drain in a sieve or colander. Set aside to cool.

Mix in a large bowl:

¼ C mayonnaise
¼ C thick yogurt (like Greek yogurt)
2 T French mustard
2 T German dill pickle juice
½ C finely minced onion*
½ t freshly ground pepper
½ t salt

Then add and mix in any combination of, or all, of the following:

2 thinly sliced dill pickles
1 small thinly sliced cucumber
¼ C sliced black olives
other vegetables of your choice

Add shredded chicken and mix in, then add potatoes and stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator to cool until serving.

*If you prefer your onions soft and slightly cooked, add the chicken and potatoes to the dressing while they are still a bit hot. Their heat will suffice in cooking the minced onions. Add the other vegetables after the salad has cooled.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Chili


2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 onion - minced
250 gm ground chicken*
1 bay leaf
(¼ t cinnamon)
¼ t chili powder
¼ t black pepper
¼ t basil
2 t cumin
2 t taco seasoning (or chili powder)
¼ t salt 
250 grams cooked beans** (mostly mashed)
1 carrot - finely grated
can (400 gm) of chopped tomatoes 
1 can of water (use the tomato can for measuring)
1 chicken bouillon cube

Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté onions and garlic for a minute or so. Add meat and break it up with your spatula and stir it around. As the meat is cooking, add the spices. When the meat is done, add the beans, carrot, tomatoes, water, and bouillon(If you're in a rush, blend the tomatoes together with ½ of the beans, then add.)

Simmer over a very low fire, stirring occasionally, for about 30-45 minutes until the chili thickens a bit. Taste it, and add a little more salt if needed (maybe ¼ teaspoon).

Serve with cheese, rice, chips, or whatever you like. Or be like Columbo and serve it with crackers.  

*You can use ground beef if you prefer, but if so, cook the meat separately first, drain the grease, then add it to the sauce.

**As explained on the page Kitchen Staples:
To cook beans, first rinse them and soak them overnight in about twice as much water as beans. Rinse them and soak them some more. When you're ready to cook them, rinse them and add fresh water. Boil gently until they are soft. Depending on the type of bean, it can take from 30 minutes to an hour. Light colored beans cook faster; black beans take longer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shoga-yaki (Ginger Pork)


Prepare:

450 gm thinly sliced lean pork
1 onion, sliced thinly from side to center (making thin crescent shapes)

Mix in a bowl:

2 T grated ginger
3 T soy sauce
2 T mirin
1 T sake

Marinate pork for 5 minutes or more. Heat a little (½ T or so) canola or olive oil in a frying pan, and cook the onions. When they are nearly cooked, add the meat and marinade, and stir fry until cooked thoroughly. (If necessary, add 1 T of water.)

If you're making it for an obento, using the following non-oil method makes it so there is minimal grease. This is better for when you're eating a room-temperature obento.

1 onion, sliced thinly from side to center (making thin crescent shapes)
2 T grated ginger
3 T soy sauce
2 T mirin
1 T sake
1 t konbu dashi
1 C water

Place ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum, and simmer until liquid is almost all gone.