Here's to good food!

I am finally putting my tried and true family recipes here. Check out my old-time favorites as well as newly discovered ones.

I hope you'll find some recipes here that you enjoy cooking, and those you cook for will find them tasty and satisfying.
Are you looking for something special? Something quick and easy? You'll find it here somewhere.
Check in often to see what's cooking in Monterey!

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti

If you are posting from this site, please give appropriate credit and notify me. Thank you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fried Rice for Lydia

This recipe was requested by Lydia.  We made it while in Germany, trying to use up a LOT of cooked rice we had.
Fried rice is a dish that is meant to use up leftovers.  So check out your fridge and see what you find.  (But if it’s more than a week old, THROW it out!)  I’m giving a range of amounts because it can vary by what you have and how many you aim to feed. 

2 tsp oil (I like bacon grease for flavor, but you can use any oil)
¼-1/2 cup chopped onion (some like using green onions)
¼-1/2 cup chopped celery
¼-1/2 cup chopped or grated carrots
¼-1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 -1 cup cooked meat, or cook up several slices of bacon and omit the oil
¼ cup green peas (optional, but adds nice color)(defrosted, should cook as you finish the dish)
Cooked rice, about ½-1 cup per person, depending on what else is being served
1-3 tsp soy sauce, preferably Kikkoman or a Japanese brand
Ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp catsup (optional)
1 egg (optional)

Fry whatever vegetables you are using in oil until almost cooked to your liking.  (It will cook a little more in the process.)  Add the meat and rice, breaking up big chunks.  Keep stirring to mix it up and continue breaking up rice.  At some point you can add the soy sauce, pepper, and catsup to taste.  Start with the smallest amounts and add as needed.  Continue mixing until heated through.

If you want to add an egg, clear a space in the pan by moving the rice over.  Break the egg into the space and scramble a bit, then mix into the rice and cook.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mexican Rice

This would go well with the Chile Relleno, Tortilla Soup, or Fish Taco recipes below or any Mexican dish.

2 C white rice  (if using brown rice, use 2-3 Tbsp less)
1/4 C butter
1/2 C chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 C salsa or enchilada sauce
3 C chicken broth
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Rinse rice.  Put into rice cooker with next 5 ingredients.  Cook.  Between 20-40 minutes after it turns off, add salt and pepper to taste.
In a large skillet, heat half the butter and gently sauté onions and garlic until onions are golden.  Heat the rest of the butter in the same pan, add the rice, and cook gently, stirring constantly, until rice is well coated and evenly colored.  Add the sauce and heat through; then add chicken broth.  Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

Moroccan Chickpea Chili

       I loved the flavors of this chili/stew/soup.  Be careful with how much ground red pepper you add if anyone is very sensitive.  It's easy to make with a few key ingredients on hand.  Add more beans or broth depending on the consistency you want.
       Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you.  It is mostly spices. 
       If you like this recipe, you might also want to try Chickpea and Cilantro Stew with Cumin. 
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup chopped onion
  • 3/4  cup chopped celery     (choose whichever of these
  • 1/2  cup chopped carrot         you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1  teaspoon  minced garlic
  • 2  teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2  teaspoons paprika (smoked)
  • 1  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon ground red pepper OR LESS
  • 1 1/2-2  cups water or chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste*
  • 1-2  (15 1/2-ounce)cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2  tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1  tablespoon fresh lemon juice   
          (underlines separate groups of ingredients to be added)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth, tomato paste, chickpeas, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro and juice.

This can be garnished with a little dollop of yogurt or sprinkled with cilantro.

* Freeze leftover tomato paste in 1-2 T dollops in a freezer baggie.  Because it is so thick, it will usually stay separate until frozen.  Take out as needed from the baggie.

Original recipe:  Moroccan Chickpea Chili My Recipes
There is even a link you can click that demonstrates making it, plus recipes for the rest of dinner at this link: Moroccan Chickpea Chili Video

Chile Relleno Casserole

I like this recipe better than any of the others because the egg topping is fluffy and just a bit crusty.
2  7 oz. can whole chiles or more              1 large can evap. milk
            4 eggs, separated                                       2 Tbsp flour
about 1 lb each, sharp and jack cheese, sliced or shredded
(try shredded Mexican mix to make a layer about ¾-1" thick)

Open chiles, remove seeds, if desired.  Place in the bottom of a 9 x 13” baking dish. (For half recipe, I used a 10-inch pie plate.)  Spread cheese over the chiles.

Whip egg whites until stiff, mix in flour; set aside.  Beat egg yolks and milk, fold in beaten egg whites.  Pour over cheese.

Bake uncovered at 325 for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve immediately.

I served this garnished with some chopped cilantro, Mexican Rice and a little cabbage slaw with Mexican flavors.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fish Tacos a la Monterey

Cabbage,  taco-seasoned fish, sauce, chopped cilantro
Assembled fish taco

This recipe comes from the Steinsons in Sitka.  And the fish I've been using to make this comes from them too. Thanks to Jenn and Jamie for the fish and the recipe.  Yummy!  
The sauce recipe is an adaptation from Cooking Light.

1 Taco seasoning packet
1 lb fish
Corn tortillas
Cabbage, finely shredded 
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup + 1 T   mayonnaise
1/2 cup + 2 T Greek yogurt, yogurt, or sour cream
1 lime, grated rind
1  tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4  teaspoon  salt
2  garlic clove, minced

Optional:  lime slices, chopped cilantro, avocado cubes
            Combine sauce ingredients.  Refrigerate if made earlier.  Cut fish into chunks about 1 inch.  Put into a plastic baggie with the taco seasoning.  Refrigerate for 30—60 minutes, if time allows.  Shred cabbage finely.  Prepare other condiments.
            Quickly fry fish in a little oil until done.  Heat corn tortillas according to package directions.
            To assemble tacos, place fish, cabbage, sauce, and condiments as desired on warm tortilla.

The leftover cabbage and sauce can be mixed together for a delicious slaw. 
Optional:  Mexican Rice