Friday, August 31, 2007

Salisbury Steak

One night back in college, I was having dinner in the caf with my friends Ty and Garron. Ty and I both got salisbury steak. Garron sniffed at us and said something like "I can't believe you're going to eat those botulism patties." I rolled my eyes. Ty said "Look, at least we know what we're eating. Salisbury steak is fuckin burgers in gravy. That's it. Do you know what that shit is that you're eating?" Oh Snap. Hippie got owned.

Yup, Ty was right: just burgers in gravy. But how is it so delicious?!

This is basically a fancied up version of my mom's recipe.* I have eaten her salisbury steak more times than I can count. We all have predominent tastes from our childhoods; this is one of mine. I have to say that I liked my version a little bit better, but only because of the inclusion of mushrooms in the gravy. My mom is a mushroom phobe, so they never show up in hers.

You will need a cup of already cooked rice for the patties. I used some that we had leftover from Chinese takeout. Seriously, we have ten of those cartons full of white rice stashed in our fridge, because God forbid my husband waste a single grain of precious, precious rice. It's so expensive and hard to find, right? To reconsitute leftover rice that's been sitting in the fridge for a while, put it in a bowl and add a splash of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cook in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Magically your old, dried out rice will be moist, fluffy, and ready to use in the beef patties (this trick never ceases to amaze me)!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 egg, beaten
1 onion, 3/4 finely chopped, 1/4 grated
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 ounces crimini (a.k.a. baby portobello) or white button mushroom, sliced
2 cups beef broth or stock
Flour or cornstarch
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are darker and slippery, about 15 minutes.

While the onions and mushrooms are cooking, start making the beef patties. Combine the beef, egg, 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper, and the rice in a large bowl. Take the 1/4 piece of the onion and grate it directly into the bowl. Mix everything together, and form into 4 or 5 patties.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put the onion mixture into a medium sized saucepan. Mix in the Lipton onion soup mix, beef broth, and 2 cups of water. Bring up to a boil and let simmer. In either a large skillet or the vessel in which you will bake the patties, add a tablespoon of olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the patties and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. In the pot with the gravy, stir in a cornstarch or flour slurry to thicken. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

Transfer the patties into a deep baking dish or dutch oven if they're not there already. Pour the gravy mixture over the patties and cover. If your baking dish doesn't have its own cover, use tinfoil to tent the dish instead. Bake for one hour, checking halfway through to spoon some gravy over the tops of the patties. While the salisbury steak is baking away, make some rice, egg noodles, or mashed potatoes to serve with it.

Some people might want some sort of vegetable to go with this, but I say it's cool without. There's mushrooms and onions in the sauce after all!

Rating: This is awesome
Obviously I'm going to love it, but I do think that it's a classic.

*Edit: After talking to my mom yesterday, I found out that this is actually my paternal grandmother's recipe. She passed away before I was born, so let's consider this tasty dish and the fact that I'm still making it as a memorial to her.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crab Cakes

Wei and I are both sort of Maryland natives. We were born elsewhere, but we grew up there. Therefore, it was absolutely necessary that I made a batch of crab cakes before the summer was over!

A note about purchasing the crab: if you're more hard core than me, you could buy your own Chesapeake blue crabs, steam them, and pick them until you have one pound of meat. It's probably cheaper that way too. Instead I chose to buy just the meat. I got 8 ounces of jumbo lump meat (the most expensive) and 8 ounces of claw meat (the least expensive). I think it was a good compromise; the lump gave the cakes enough heft, and the claw meat filled them out well.

I found this recipe on a Chowhound message board; it was attributed to Blanche, the late grandmother of the poster's best friend, and a "true Maryland lady."

6 saltine crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 pound crab meat, picked through for pieces of shell

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Form the mixture into 6 or 8 patties and set on a baking sheet. Chill the cakes in the refridgerator for at least 45 minutes--this will help them firm up and keep them from falling apart when you're trying to cook them.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Carefully add the cakes to the pan when the butter is melted and do not touch them for 6 minutes. Flip them over and let cook on the other side for 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and pat them down with paper towels to absorb some of the oil.

I toasted up some French bread rolls to make crab cake sandwiches, but these are also just lovely on their own, with a little lemon juice squeezed over the top.

Rating: This is awesome
Many thanks to Blanche for the perfect no-filler crab cakes!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Not long after Wei and I started dating, he made shrimp one night when I was hanging out at his place. We stood at his kitchen sink, peeling and eating. I matched him shrimp for shrimp. After a little while he said "Damn, I've never dated anyone who likes shrimp as much as me." I smiled and licked the Old Bay and shrimp juices off my fingers. So as you can see, when we got married last month, it was truly a marriage of soul mates :-) I share this story as a way of explaining why there's so many shrimp dishes in here. We love the crustaceans. Also, they cook really quickly, which make them perfect for weeknight cooking.

I took this recipe from Everyday Italian. I decided to use shrimp shell stock instead of recipe-stipulated white wine in the sauce, and I was very pleased with how it turned out. I used the easy Mark Bittman method: throw all the shells in a pot, cover with water, and let it boil away. After only ten minutes of boiling, the stock was intensely flavored and fragrant. I would definitely make it again to use in any shrimp dish! I chose to serve this with fettuccine; you could also omit the pasta and eat it with slices of rustic bread to dip in the juices at the bottom of the bowl.

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved for stock
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use 1/2 teaspoon or omit entirely if you don't want it spicy)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shrimp shell stock
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
6 ounces fettuccine or linguine

Start a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta, if you're using it. Put the shrimp shells in a small pot and cover with water. Bring it up to a boil, and let it simmer until you need it.

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes. In a large, heavy skillet, warm the oil over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and saute until they turn pink, 2 or 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet and cook until soft and translucent, 6 or 7 minutes.

Drain the shells out of the shrimp stock and reserve a cup of the liquid. Add the tomatoes with their juices, 1 cup of shrimp stock, garlic, and oregano to the pan, and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and accumulated juices to the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. If using pasta, add the drained strands to the pan and toss thoroughly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley and basil.

Rating: This is awesome
I love how this dish is elegant, but still very easy and delicious.

Menu Plan for the Week

Wednesday: Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Thursday: Crab Cakes
Friday: Salisbury Steak
Saturday: Lion's Head Stew
Sunday: Chicken and Vegetable Stirfry
Monday: Five-Spice Burgers
Tuesday: Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

This being a holiday weekend, I have a hunch that one of these dinners will get cut in favor of eating out!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kung Pao Chicken with Tomato and Egg

Tonight was a use-everything-up kind of night. Even though I've already made all the dishes I had in my last meal plan, I wanted to challenge myself to throw something together out of what I had on hand, specifically hoping to get rid of the green onions and tomatoes I had sitting in the fridge. I was triumphant! This was a damn tasty little dinner.

I took all of my inspiration for this from my husband. He has made a version of kung pao before; I came up with my method by remembering how his tasted and taking some tips on preparation from other recipes I found online. The tomato and egg are all him, though--it's a traditional Chinese dish, the sort of thing that everyone makes in their homes but don't sell in restaurants. It's beautiful in its simplicity and flavor. Even if you don't have the energy for anything else in your life, you can make a comforting batch of tomato and egg.

I decided to use 5 spice powder in the marinade for the chicken. I thought it added a nice sweet-smoky note to the final sauce, but don't kill yourself trying to find it if it's not easily available at your grocery store. You can omit it without worries. The only reason I even wanted to use it is that I bought a big pouch of it at the Asian grocery store a couple of months ago, and I feel like it's staring me down every time I open my spice cabinet--I don't think it's traditional for this dish.

Kung Pao Chicken
Soy Sauce
Rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 chili pepper, chopped (feel free to use as much as you like if you want it spicier!)
3 green onions, cut into two-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise into thin shreds
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 celery hearts or 1 full celery stalk, chopped finely
1/8 cup unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 inch length fresh ginger, grated
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Peanut or Corn oil

Tomato and Egg
3 small/medium tomatoes (I used tomatoes on the vine), cut into 6 pieces each
3 eggs, beaten with a little salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Soy sauce (optional--only use if you like a little saltiness)
Peanut or Corn oil

First things first, get a pot of rice started.

In a bowl large enough to accomodate your chicken pieces, whisk together 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, the 5 spice powder, and the sesame oil. Add the chicken and stir until all of the pieces are coated in the marinade. Leave the chicken to sit while you work on your prep. As a side note, if you're making both of the dishes, you might as well get all your chopping done at this point so you can cook straight through without having to take a prep break.

Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add the green onions, red pepper flakes or chili pepper, garlic, ginger, and celery and cook by itself until the celery is getting soft and the green onions are wilted, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan, along with the peanuts. Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry, and the brown sugar, stirring to combine. Let it sizzle away until the sugar is melted, 30 seconds to a minute, and stir in a small cornstarch slurry if you want a thicker sauce (you know I did!). Taste for seasoning. Pour everything out of the pan into a bowl and cover to keep warm while you make the T&E.

Wipe down the inside of the pan with a paper towel, add 2 tablespoons of oil and warm over high heat. Add the beaten eggs to the pan and don't touch them until they are almost fully set, about 2 minutes. Drag a wooden spoon or chopsticks through the egg to break it up into smaller pieces. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and two tablespoons of soy sauce to the pan and stir fry until the tomatoes are softer and their skins are starting to pull away, about 4 or 5 minutes. And you're done! Serve over the rice.

You don't have to eat both out of the same bowl like I did--as my buddy Tony would say, it's a little "Mother and Child Reunion" creepy to eat eggs and chicken at the same time--but it was a nice break for my tongue to alternate bites of the spicy kung pao with the salty T&E.

Rating: This is awesome
I'm really proud of how both dishes turned out!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Honey-Hoisin Pork Tenderloin

I got this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Culinary in the Desert. His recipes are always interesting, and he makes the most uhh-may-zing holiday treats every year. Check out his December archives if you want to drool!

I followed the recipe exactly, so I'm not going to re-write it. Check it out here! When you use a pork tenderloin, it's important to take the time to trim off all of the fat and silverskin. If you don't, the final product with be chewy and tough on the outside.

I served this with plain white rice and broccoli. For the broccoli, I cut up one head into florets and sliced the stem into coins. I stir-fried it with some garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, and a teaspoon of brown sugar for about ten minutes, until the florets were tender-crisp. It was perfect with the pork!

Rating: This is awesome
The pork was so juicy and tender, and the flavors in the marinade came together nicely. Also, I loved that it was a perfectly sized meal for 2 people. No leftovers!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Cauliflower

Sorry I missed last night! I ended up going out and didn't cook dinner. I'm going to make the originally planned honey-hoisin pork tenderloin tomorrow night instead.

I devised this dinner as a lighter version of that classic family meal, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I got the recipes from Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition. It turned out really well! The meatloaf was moist and flavorful, and despite acting like I was trying to poison him when he heard what I was making, even Wei enjoyed the cauliflower. Full disclosure: it definitely wasn't as good as mashed potatoes though.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey, preferably a mix of white and dark meat
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Ketchup or barbecue sauce

Mashed Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Start with the meatloaf first. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onions are soft, about 7 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the onion and garlic into a large bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients except the ketchup/barbecue sauce. Mix well with your hands or a long-handled wooden spoon. Lightly oil a loaf pan or spray with nonstick spray. Add the meatloaf mix to the pan evenly, and give the top of the loaf a retro squiggle of ketchup or barbecue sauce (this wasn't in the original recipe, but I couldn't resist!). Bake until the center feels firm when pressed, 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.

While the meatloaf is cooking, place the cauliflower, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and chicken broth in a large pot and bring up to a simmer. Leave it to simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the milk and butter to the pot and mash, or puree in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the parsley.

Rating: This is awesome
It was a nice, low maintenance Sunday dinner that was still filling and yummy.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Beef Stroganoff

I didn't voluntarily eat beef stroganoff until I was 20 years old. I was really grossed out by creamy sauces throughout my childhood, and truthfully, they still send a shiver up my spine. However, this is one of Wei's favorite dishes, so I figured that I should experiment until I find a recipe that we can both like.

I got this one from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat. I wanted to try it, because she uses creme fraiche in the sauce instead of sour cream, which I hate. It took a bit of work to find the creme fraiche though. They didn't have it at Whole Foods, so I had to go to Star Provisions, a fabulous gourmet store in West Midtown, to pick it up. It was worth it for me, but it probably wouldn't be for everybody. You can definitely sub in sour cream if you want. This made a ton of sauce, which is probably why Nigella suggests serving it over white rice. I used egg noodles instead, at Wei's request.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
A few drops of olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
Whole nutmeg
Salt and pepper
2 pounds beef fillet, trimmed of fat (just the gobs of fat on the outside--not the inner marbling) and silverskin if any, cut into thin strips
Scant 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 8-ounce container of creme fraiche
Dry sherry (Nigella didn't include this, but I think it's key to cut through the creaminess of the sauce)
Cornstarch (optional)
White rice or egg noodles

Put 2 tablespoons of butter and a drop of oil in a large skillet, and warm over medium to medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, throw in the onions and saute gently, stirring frequently, until soft. Add 2 more tablespoons of the butter and add the mushrooms when it's melted. Cook for another 4-5 minutes. Grate some whole nutmeg over the pan (it's hard to measure, but I think I added about 1/2 teaspoon's worth) and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and remove to a plate.

Add the remaining butter to the pan with a couple of drops of oil and turn the heat up to high. Season the beef with salt and pepper while it's still on the cutting board. Stir-fry the fillet strips for a couple of minutes until it's seared on the inside but still pink on the inside. Return the onions and mushrooms to the pan; stir well. Add a splash of dry sherry. Grate over some more nutmeg and stir in the Dijon mustard and creme fraiche. Sprinkle in a pinch of paprika, add more salt to your taste. Thicken with a cornstarch slurry if the sauce isn't thick enough for you--it wasn't for us!

Take off the heat, and serve over white rice or egg noodles. If you're using egg noodles, put a pot of salted water on to boil when you start cooking the onions and they should be ready by the time you're done cooking. If you're using rice, start the pot before you do your prep. Sprinkle a bit more paprika over the individual servings.

I realize now that I should have snapped a shot of Wei's bowl, because I used as little sauce as possible on mine! Don't be fooled by the picture; this recipe produced a lot of sauce, and Wei informed me that it was fantastic. If you like your beef stroganoff swimming, it won't be a problem.

Rating: This is awesome
This was really tasty. It has a lot of simple flavors, but when they come together, yum! Next time, I might sear the beef first, take it out of the pan, and not put it back in until the onions and mushrooms are fully done. I might have overcooked the beef a tiny bit, because I wasn't working fast enough at the end. Hopefully cooking it first would prevent that. Also, I think I'll add a scattering of flat leaf parsley before serving, just for visual interest :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sauteed Salmon with Spicy Fresh Mango-Pineapple Chutney

Another RR recipe from 365: No Repeats tonight. I was a little gunshy about this one after last night, since pineapple and mango are both possible latex allergy triggers, but all seems to be well.

This isn't particularly groundbreaking, but I did love the flavor of ground coriander on the salmon. I might have to slap some on anytime I make salmon from now on! The outside of the fillets crisped up perfectly for me. And the skin on the tasty. Is it bad to eat the skin? Oh well, I don't care.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow or red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and membrane removed, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
2 tablespoons honey
2 salmon fillets, about 8 ounces each
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 ripe mango, diced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 - 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed

Heat up one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the onion and jalapeno, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook for 8 or 9 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the pineapple, honey, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then down to a gentle simmer.

If you want to serve steamed green beans with this, as I did, put a pot with a couple of inches of water on to boil, then get on with the salmon. Warm up the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season the salmon on both sides with salt, pepper, and ground coriander. Place the fillets in the hot pan, skin side up first (I don't know if there's a reason for it, but that's how I cook it). Saute until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness.

While the fish is cooking, put the beans in a steamer insert and place inside the pot of boiling water. Season with salt and clamp a lid on for 5 minutes. To finish the chutney, add the mango lime juice, parsley, and cilantro, stir to combine, and turn off the heat.

Serve each piece of salmon with some of the chutney on top and with green beans on the side.

There are different theories about the best way to cut mango. The easiest way for me is to cut down each side of the large, flat pit in the middle so you have what resembles two halves of a sphere. Hold one half in your hand, take your knife and, being very careful not to pierce the skin of the mango , cut grindlines into the meat of the fruit. Flip the skin inside out, and voila, you have mango cubes! If you are a master of dexterity, cut the cubes free from the skin. If you're not (like me), just pull them off.

Rating: This is not awesome
It was fine, but I'm not wowed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Poisoned Darts of Pleasure Avocado Pasta

I got the inspiration for this dish from a chapter in Alex Kapranos' book Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand:

There's a wok full of pasta tubes glistening green on the stove. They're delicious. Jessica is cooking tonight. Her husband Bill is rewiring a 10-channel Flickinger pre-amp into Sly Stone's old mixing desk. Sly's old roaches still lie among the circuitry. Bill and Jessica own the Key Club Studio in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where we are recording for a few days.
I can't work out what's in the sauce that makes it taste so good. Jessica says that she just heated up some cloves of garlic in oil and then mixed in the pasta with mashed avocado: "It's an easy vegan version of macaroni cheese."

I made it un-vegan by adding chicken to the mix. I had planned on tossing in some cubes of fresh mozzarella as well, but the boccioni I had in the fridge from last week had gone sour. It didn't really need it, though; I think the cheese would have added too much bulk.

Unfortunately, I think I had an allergic reaction to the avocado. My tongue got all prickly and burn-y and swollen-feeling when I got half way through my bowl. I've had similar reactions to kiwi in the past, and both kiwi and avocado are triggers for natural latex allergies. The mushy green stuff has never bothered me before, but I've also never eaten so much of it at one time. I guess I won't be making this anymore, which is a shame. Really, it was as comforting and tasty as a big bowl of mac n cheese.

1 16-ounce box of medium length tubular pasta, preferably a variety with ridges on the outside (I used rigatoni)
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced
3 ripe avocados
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta, then do your prep. To time this right, you should start the pasta cooking at the same time as the chicken.

Pre-heat a grill pan on medium-high heat. Butterfly cut the chicken breasts in half like a book, then cut in half lengthwise so you have four roughly equal sized pieces total. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and cook on the grill pan until done, 5 or 6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board and let them rest.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Throw in the garlic slices and cook until they start to change color, 3 or 4 minutes. Keep them moving around in the oil to be careful that they don't burn. Drain the pasta and put it right back in the pot in which it cooked. Pour the oil and garlic over the pasta and toss together.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and hollow out the meat into a bowl. Mash with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until it reaches your desired smoothness. Add to the pasta a large spoonful at a time, mixing after each addition. Chop the cooked chicken and toss in with the pasta. Finally, scatter the cilantro over and mix together. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if you want.

Rating: This is awesome
It was delicious, but I guess my lame body didn't like it. Boo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thai Chicken with Basil

This dish is an fantastic blend of sweet, spicy, and salty. I got it from 365: No Repeats. I've made a different version of this before, but it was way too saucy and didn't have the honey and heat that makes this version such an interesting contrast of flavors. The only thing I didn't like about Rachael Ray's version is that she said to serve it over shredded iceberg lettuce; I did rice instead. If you don't want to serve it over rice, I think using shredded savoy cabbage, quickly braised in simmering chicken or vegetable stock, rather than lettuce would be a healthier, tastier option.

I had to make one change to the recipe. It called for a red bell pepper, which I bought. However, when I cut into it, I saw that there was mold all over the seeds inside. Nasty! The best laid plans, eh? So it went in the trash. I think it would have been great with the bell pepper--definitely try to include it if you make this recipe!

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, quartered, and thinly sliced
4 green onions, cut into two-inch lengths, then cut lengthwise into thin shreds
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons peanut, corn, or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Get a pot of rice on the stove first thing, before you start any prepping. If you need help making it, check out my tips in this post.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper while it's still on the cutting board. Heat up the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it's no longer pink. Throw in the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and bell pepper strips. It will smell insanely good as soon as the garlic and ginger hit the hot pan; give yourself a moment to lean over and inhale the deliciousness :-) Cook for two minutes, then add the green onions and stir fry for another minute.

Whisk the honey into the soy sauce and add to the pan. Toss everything together. I added a small cornstarch slurry at this point to thicken the sauce, but I'm psycho about having a thick sauce--it's not necessary! Add the basil and stir until wilted.

Rating: This is awesome
It is so simple, yet SO yummy. The spiciness makes it great for the sultry summer nights we've been having here lately!

Menu Plan for the Week

Tuesday: Thai Chicken with Basil
Wednesday: Avocado Pasta
Thursday: Salmon with Mango-Pineapple Chutney
Friday: Beef Stroganoff
Saturday: Honey-Hoisin Pork Tenderloin
Sunday: Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Cauliflower

Shopping List

I'm trying something new this time: I'm tagging each item with the day of the week that it will be used. That way you'll know which item goes with which recipe!

2 pounds beef fillet (Fri)
1 pork tenderloin (Sat)
1 pound ground turkey (Sun)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Tue, Wed)

2 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each (Thu)

1 cup creme fraiche (Fri)
2 medium sized boccioni of fresh mozzarella (Wed)

2 bulbs garlic (All but Thu)
3 yellow onions (Thu, Fri, Sun)
1/2 pound white button mushrooms (Fri)
1 bunch basil (Tue, Sun)
1 bunch cilantro (Thu)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (Fri, Sun)
1 red bell pepper (Tue)
1 bunch green onions (Thu)
Fresh ginger (Tue, Thu)
3/4 - 1 pound green beans (Thu)
1 jalapeno pepper (Thu)
1 mango (Thu)
1 head broccoli (Sat)
1 head cauliflower (Sun)
1 lime (Thu)
3 avocados (Wed)

Inner Aisles
1 box of medium length tube pasta like ziti or penne, preferably one with ridges on the outside (Wed)
1 8-ounce can of pineapple chunks (Thu)

Staple Items (that you might already have)
Milk (Sun)
Parmesan (Sun)
Eggs (Sun)
Nutmeg (Fri)
Butter (Fri, Sun)
Dijon mustard (Fri)
Paprika (Fri)
Dried red pepper flakes (Tue)
Soy sauce (Tue, Sat)
Hoisin sauce (Sat)
Honey (Tue, Sat)
Olive oil (Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat)
Peanut, Corn, or Vegetable oil (Tue, Sat)
Ground coriander (Thu)
Dry bread crumbs (Sun)
Tomato paste (Sun)
Chicken broth (Sun)
Rice (Tue, Fri, Sat)
Sesame seeds (Sat)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Teriyaki Ginger Lime Noodles with Shrimp

I'm not going to post about the slow cooker chicken tortilla soup I made last night. It was so not awesome that I'm not even going to write about it and tag it as "This is not awesome." Blech. Why is it so hard to find a good slow cooker recipe?

I'm going to post the weekly menu tomorrow. I went rafting all day yesterday, and I was too exhauted to work on the menu when I finally got home. Thus, tonight I had to throw something together from the odds and ends laying around. This is what I came up with!

1 pound shrimp
1 broccoli head, cut into florets, with the stem sliced into coins
2 carrots, sliced into coins on the bias
3 green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
8 ounces spaghetti
1 lime, juiced
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons peanut, corn or vegetable oil

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the spaghetti. You should probably do this while you're still prepping, since the dish doesn't take very long to cook. Add the pasta when the water is boiling, and drain when it's just this side of al dente.

Heat the oil in a deep pan or wok over high heat. Add the broccoli, carrots, green onion, and garlic. Stir fry until the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes. Throw in the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Put the lime juice in a small bowl, whisk in a teaspoon or so of sugar (use more if you want!), and add the grated ginger. Pour contents of the bowl into your pan or wok and stir to combine.

Add the noodles to the pan, a little bit at a time. Toss everything together with the noodles as they're added. Add the teriyaki sauce and stir around. Add a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Taste to see if it needs salt--it probably won't as there's a lot of sodium in teriyaki sauce!

Rating: This is awesome
It was light, fresh, and tasty--an easy, summer-y weeknight dinner!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

The term "stuffed shells" is frozen in my memory as a nasty school lunch item that was on pretty heavy rotation at my elementary school. Whenever it was on the menu, I would opt for the tragic mini pizzas that were available everyday instead. I saw Giada De Laurentiis make these on her show when I was getting my teeth whitened several months ago for the wedding. I went to one of those fancy places where they zap you with light for an hour. Thankfully, they have little TV's you can watch so you don't go crazy. Her stuffed shells so changed my opinion of stuffed shells that I wanted to go home immediately and make them, despite the fact that I wasn't allowed to eat anything that would stain a white shirt for the next 36 hours.

I forgot about them until I saw the recipe in Everyday Pasta. Unfortunately I don't think I'll be making them again for a while, since Wei and dairy products aren't the best of friends (or fortunately, since this is pretty fatty and it probably shouldn't be eaten all the time!). This is a great "company" dish, since it makes a big pan-ful and is a crowd-pleaser. Giada recommends making a quick, slightly spicy Arrabbiata sauce to use in the dish. I decided to make it since it calls for pancetta and I had some leftover from Monday night's soup. It added a great flavor, but it's not necessary--regular marinara would work just fine!

1 12-ounce box jumbo pasta shells
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound ground turkey, preferably a mix of white and dark meat
Salt and pepper
1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped basil
5 cups Arrabbiata sauce or marinara sauce
1 and 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

For Arrabbiata sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves
1 jar of store bought marinara or 5 cups homemade

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and continue to cook until the turkey is completely done. Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine. Put the mixture in a large bowl and let cool.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta and, if you're using it, get on with the Arrabbiata sauce in the meantime. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until it turns deep red and starts to crisp, about 6 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and let it mellow on its own until you're ready to use it.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and partially cook until tender but still very firm, stirring occasionally, 4 or 5 minutes. Drain. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the turkey mixture. Stir to combine.

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish with 1 cup of the Arrabbiata sauce. Hold a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of the turkey mixture, about 2 tablespoons. Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish. Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full; you should have about 24 shells. Spoon the remaining Arrabbiata sauce over the shells and top with the grated mozzarella. Bake until the shells are warmed through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.

Rating: This is awesome
I mean, just look at the picture up there.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pork and Vegetable Stir Fry

I didn't know how to cook before I met Wei, my husband. He didn't exactly teach me, but he did give me a lot of inspiration. When I saw how easy it was for him to throw together something delicious with fresh ingredients, like a stir fry, it made me wonder why the hell I was cooking meals that came out of boxes and pouches.

My stir fry technique has become something like this: Cook the meat first, then take it out of the pan so it doesn't end up over cooked. Cook onion, then throw in the rest of the veggies and garlic. Add the meat back when the veggies are cooked. Season with cooking sauces and stir in a cornstarch slurry to bring the sauce together. Done! It's an easy way to get something fairly healthy on the table in a short amount of time.

This was the first time that I made one with a pork tenderloin. I don't know if I'll do it again. I liked the flavor, but tenderloins are such a pain to prep since you have to remove all of the silverskin and fat bits. Also, you have to be careful to cut it into small pieces, otherwise they take a long time to cook. It just doesn't fit in with my vision of a quick and easy stir fry!

This isn't a recipe as much as a suggestion. Use whatever meat and vegetable combinations you like, or make it all veggie. The only ingredients that I consider to be absolutely essential are the onions and garlic. They are the flavor base, and it just wouldn't taste right without them.

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silverskin and cut into bite size pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into half moons
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, sliced (use a green bell pepper if you want, but I just can't stand the flavor!)
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons peanut, corn, or vegetable oil (peanut is best)
Soy sauce
Thai fish sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chicken broth

Start by making the rice. You probably have your own technique, but this is how I do it. Put one cup of white rice in a medium-size pot and rinse the grains several times to remove most of the starch. I do this by swirling water around in the pot, dumping the water out (being careful not to lose any rice grains in the process), and repeating until the water runs mostly clear--about 5 or 6 times.

Once the rice is rinsed, add water to the pot so that the water level is 2 centimeters above the level of the rice. Put a lid partially on the pot, and put on a burner set to medium heat. Set a timer to 14 minutes, and it should be done when the timer goes off. Sometimes there's still some water in the pot at that time, in which case keep checking at 2 minute intervals. Basically, when there's no more steam coming out of the pot, it's done. Turn off the burner, clamp the lid on the pot, and let it sit until you're ready to eat it. This "sitting stage" is essential; it needs to sit for at least 10 minutes.

While your cut up pork is still sitting on the cutting board, season it well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a small spoonful of cornstarch over the meat and toss it all together to distribute. Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high or high heat in a wok or a large, deep pan. Add the meat and cook until it's done. Remove to a plate and tent with tin foil to keep warm.

Wipe the inside of the pan or wok with a paper towel, and add the second tablespoon of oil. Keep an open can of chicken broth next to you in case the pan gets too hot and you need to deglaze it. Throw in the onions and cook until soft, about ten minutes. My test is that the onions are done when I can easily cut through one by pushing on it with my wooden spoon. Throw in the garlic and the bell pepper and mushrooms. Stir fry until cooked, about another 10 minutes.

Add the meat and any accumulated juices back into the pan. Toss everything with two tablespoons each of soy sauce and fish sauce and a splash of chicken broth. Add several grinds of black pepper. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of chicken broth in a coffee mug until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour over everything in the pan and stir together until the sauce is glossy and thicker. Taste for seasoning.

Serve over the rice, and yes, chopsticks are a must!

Rating: This is not awesome

Yeah, this wasn't my best work. It was too salty and not enough vegetables in my opinion. Truthfully, I had cut up a head of broccoli to use as well, but I was impatient and didn't feel like waiting for it to cook. If you want to make it like I did, you should probably cut the amount of soy and fish sauce down to one tablespoon each. If you use another veggie to bulk up the amount of stir fry, you should be fine with two tablespoons each.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Breaded Chicken Breasts and Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Raw Tomato Sauce

I took the inspiration for this dish from a few different recipes in my Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition. I wanted to create a summertime version of Chicken Parmesan, which was my absolute favorite thing to order at restaurants when I was a kid. I've branched out since then, but it was still really nice to make this for myself after a not so great day at work. I guess it's still one of my comfort foods!

To qualify this as a "summertime" version, I used a simple raw tomato sauce instead of a hot marinara, and I tore up a piece of fresh mozzarella instead of (ugh) turning on the oven and melting shredded cheese over the cutlets. To make the pasta a little more interesting, I used an aglio e oilo (or garlic and oil) sauce.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup dry Italian or plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
8 ounces spaghetti
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large or 4 small tomotoes, seeded and chopped
2 medium sized boccioni of fresh mozzarella, torn or chopped into bite-size pieces

Get a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Combine the chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon each of basil and olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Remove any fat around the edges of the chicken breasts, and butterfly cut them open (like a book), then cut in half lengthwise down the middle, so you have two pieces of equal size. Place the chicken pieces between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound each with a blunt object (mallet, rolling pin, heavy trivet, etc.) to flatten.

Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 teaspoon salt (omit salt if you're using Italian bread crumbs--they already have enough sodium!), and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a wide, shallow bowl, pie plate, or round cake pan . Put the egg in another shallow bowl, and spread the flour on a plate. Coat the chicken with the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg, then coat with the bread crumb mixture, patting with your fingers or tongs to make sure the crumbs adhere. Set aside on a plate.

Throw the pasta in the now boiling water, and heat 1/3 cup of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side. The time will depend on how thinly you pounded the chicken. When it's done, drain the chicken on a plate covered in paper towels.

In a small skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic just starts to turn color, about 2 minutes. Be very careful not to burn it. Drain the pasta over a small bowl in the sink to capture the cooking water. Put the pasta back in the pot and toss with the oil and garlic, adding a ladle-ful of the pasta cooking water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a serving of pasta in a shallow bowl or plate, and top with one of the chicken pieces. Spoon over the raw tomato sauce and pieces of fresh mozzarella.

Rating: This is awesome
It was a bit decadent with all of the olive oil going on, but it was very tasty. The only bad part is that I made such a mess making it! Time to go clean the kitchen I!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fiery Singapore Noodles

I saw Ching He-Huang make this recipe in an episode of Daily Cooks! on BBC America about a month ago, and I knew I had to try it! Besides the fact that Singapore Noodles is one of my husband's favorite dishes, it has a lot of my favorite ingredients. Turmeric is amazing in its flavor, vibrant color, and health properties. It is like, Super Spice. I love getting the chance to use it :-)

One of the great things about stir fry is that you can customize it however you want. If you don't want this to be spicy at all, omit the chiles! If you want it extra spicy, leave the membranes in when you chop the peppers! Don't have any sesame oil? Leave it out! You get the idea. Never forget that you are the one in charge of what you're cooking, not the recipe. My only tip for making this dish is to get all your prep done before you start cooking it. By which I mean, have all of the elements sitting on the counter next to your range so you can grab them and keep cooking with minimal running around.

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 pound thin, dried rice noodles
2 tablespoons peanut, corn, or vegetable oil (peanut is best)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 chiles, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 green onions, finely sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 egg, beaten
A couple of pinches crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (freshly ground black pepper is fine if you don't have white)
A few drizzles of sesame oil

Put the rice noodles in a big bowl and submerge in hot (not boiling) water for 10 minutes. I try to time this right so that the 10 minutes are up when I'm already cooking, so I can pull the noodles out of the bowl with a pair of tongs and put them straight into the skillet.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok or deep skillet over high heat. Throw in the garlic, ginger, and chiles and cook for a minute, until the garlic begins to change color. Add the mushrooms and shrimp and stir until the shrimp turns pink.

Add the turmeric and stir around until everything is coated. Add the noodles to the skillet and use a pair of kitchen shears to randomly snip them several times to shorten the strands--this will make them much easier to work with. Toss together with the shrimp and mushrooms so that everything gets combined.

Toss in the green onions and soy sauce, oyster sauce, and rice wine vinegar. Stir to combine. Pour the beaten egg over the noodles, turn down the heat, and let the eggs set for 30 seconds. Stir gently.

Turn off the heat and sprinkle the crushed red pepper flakes and white pepper over top. Finish with a few drizzles of sesame oil.

Mark Bittman wrote an article in today's New York Times about using shrimp shells to make a simple stock to use in shrimp based dishes. I was going to make some to use in this dish, but I realized too late that I had bought the already peeled shrimp by accident. D'oh! I probably would have thrown in a 1/4 cup or so of the stock at the same time as the sauces. Maybe next time. Let me know if you try it!

Rating: This is awesome
Mmmm, so awesome. Simple cooking with tasty flavors, my favorite kind of food to make and eat. Definitely a keeper! My husband's verdict was that while it tasted good, it wasn't "greasy enough." Uhm, I can live with that, thanks!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Grilled Flank Steak and Orzo with the Works

I have such a love-hate relationship with Rachael Ray.

I love that she encourages people to get in the kitchen. I love it when she creates recipes that boil down the essence of a classic dish so you get the flavor without all the fuss. I hate it when she throws way too many ingredients into a big pot and calls it a "stoup." I hate that in the book from which I got this dish, 365: No Repeats, she advocates feeding meals to dogs that include onions, which happen to be toxic to dogs. She says that her dog used to love the flavor of onions. WTF?! Her dog liked the flavor of death?

But I digress. This was one of her better recipes. Also, it included a vegetable that I had never used before: fennel! I had to modify it a bit; it originally called for skirt steak, not flank, but there was nary a piece of skirt steak to be found in Publix when I was there yesterday. She suggested using 1 pint of grape tomatoes in the orzo, but honestly, I think grape tomatoes are twee and overpriced. Regular seeded tomatoes worked quite well instead! Also, I had to omit the flat leaf parsley that she specified for the orzo because I didn't have any. I didn't really miss it, either.

1.5 - 2 pound piece of flank steak
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound orzo pasta
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
A couple of pinches (or more if you like it spicy!) of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Marinate the steak for 10 minutes in the balsamic vinegar, a good drizzle of olive oil, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat your grill pan or outdoor grill to as hot as you dare.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the orzo. Cook until al dente, about 12 minutes.

While you're getting the pasta water started, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, fennel, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Season the steak with salt and grill for 5 -7 minutes per side. [Disclaimer: I don't know anything about using an outdoor grill, as I've never owned one. This time works on my stovetop grill pan to produce a rare steak. I highly encourage you to use the touch test otherwise: if the meat feels like your cheek, it's rare. If it feels like your chin, it's medium. If it feels like your forehead, it's well done.] Remove the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Add the chicken stock and tomato to the pan and bring it up to a bubble. Add the cooked orzo, basil, and parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper until it's how you like it.

Slice the meat very thinly on a sharp angle against the grain. Plate and serve!

Rating: This is awesome
I totally didn't expect it to be awesome. I was iffy about using balsamic vinegar on steak, and I thought the orzo would be blah. But it wasn't! I would probably make it again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup

Having soup for dinner is still a relatively new thing in my life. When I was growing up, the only soup we had came from a can and was generally eaten with a sandwich for lunch. My husband introduced the concept of dinner-sized soups to me with his rustic versions of Chinese classics like wonton and chicken corn when we started living together a few years ago. Now I love making a pot of soup on nights when I want something filling but not overly engorging!

I had the ends of a big bag of cheese tortellini from Costco in the freezer, so I was psyched to see this recipe when I was flipping through Everyday Pasta! I modified it a bit, swapping her shallots for onion and increasing the amount of liquid.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch of Swiss chard, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1/2 pound of frozen cheese tortellini
Salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, onion, and carrot and cook until the vegetables are soft and the pancetta is crisp, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, beans, chicken broth and water and bring up to a boil over high heat. Throw in the Swiss chard and let it wilt, about 3 minutes.

Add the tortellini and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the tortellini are tender, about 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

If you've never cooked with Swiss chard before, don't be put off by its size! It's delicious, and it has so much good stuff in it. Take each leaf and run your knife along both sides of the thick rib in the middle to remove it. Chop the leaves coarsely and it's ready to put in the soup!

Rating: This is awesome
It was very yummy and relatively easy. I would repeat it, especially if we succumb to the allure of the big bag of tortellini at Costco again.

Menu plan for the week

Monday: Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini
Tuesday: Grilled Flank Steak and Orzo with the Works
Wednesday: Fiery Singapore
Thursday: Sauteed Breaded Boneless Chicken Breasts and Spaghetti aglio e olio with raw tomato sauce
Friday: Pork Tenderloin and Vegetable Stir fry with Steamed Rice
Saturday: Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed
Sunday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup with Guacamole

Shopping List

1.5 - 2 pounds piece of flank steak
4 ounces pancetta
1 pound ground turkey (preferably a mix of white and dark meat)
1 pork tenderloin
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 pound shrimp

1-15 ounce container of ricotta cheese
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
1 bunch of fresh basil
1 bunch of cilantro
1 fennel bulb
1 garlic bulb
1 piece of fresh ginger
5 yellow onions
1 bunch of tomatoes on the vine (at least 4 tomatoes)
1 bunch of swiss chard
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
2 small chiles, whatever variety you like
1 bunch of green onions
3 avocados
1 head of broccoli

Inner Aisles
1-15 ounce can of canellini beans
1-14 ounce can of artichoke hearts
1-14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chiles
1-10.5 ounce can of tomato puree
1 package of jumbo pasta shells
1 package of thin, dried rice noodles
1 package of frozen cheese tortellini
Tortilla chips

Staple Items (that you might already have)
Olive oil
Peanut, corn, or vegetable oil
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Thai fish sauce
Oyster sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese
8- 2 cup cans of chicken broth
Italian dried bread crumbs
Crushed red pepper flakes