A Brit, a Yank and a Kitchen

Thursday, August 31

White Bean Chili

So I've always wanted to make a white bean chili... and decided to go ahead and have a shot at it. I'd planned on using this simple, unimpressive recipe I found last weekend.. but while watching some Paula Deen yesterday (I had off, for a non-event hurricane) I saw that ironically, she was making white bean chili too! I happened to have all of the ingredients needed, so I went for it. I modified it a little bit... reducing the butter by half... but not for health's sake, since I replaced it with a generous amount of fried salt pork. ;-) I also tossed in some file in the end to thicken the lot up a tiny bit.

Dad, this could be veggie friendly if you replace the butter with olive oil, and the chicken broth with veggie broth.. leaving out the chicken all together. ;-)

Really really liked this one... I've only tried 2 recipes of Paula Deen's so far, and both times theyve been fantastic. This weekend I will suffer Dave through grits again, and make Paula's Shrimp & Grits. hehe.

1 pound dried navy beans
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 stick butter
1/2 cup diced salt pork
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green chiles (fresh or canned)
1 pound cooked chicken (I used leftover chicken from the poached chicken I did on Sunday)
2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 to 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cilantro

The herbs & spices invited to the party.

Rinse beans well, cover with cool water, and soak overnight. Drain. Place beans in large pot with chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. In a saucepan, heat butter and salt pork over medium heat, fry until the pork crisps.

mmm.. fat and fat.

Add garlic, onion, and chiles and saute for 5 minutes. Add chile mixture to pot with beans. Add chicken, cumin, oregano, pepper, white pepper, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 3 hours. Add file in the last 15 mins. Serve with cornbread.

Tuesday, August 29

Catfish, Collard Greens & Cornbread

Dave and I are heading to the world of two mortgages (new house closes next week, old house hasnt sold yet)... which means... we gotta figure out a way to eat dead cheap. Although I am going down kicking and screaming because I refuse to reduce us to boxed dinners... it seems it is the only way to do it with the budget we are about to be faced with. You see, I did a test run at the grocery store... buying the absolute cheapest of fresh foods that I could... besides the necessary weekly staples (buying generic this time!)for dinners I picked up a whole chicken to poach, to use for 3 dinners during the week, catfish, at $2 a fillet, collard greens, dried beans, you get the idea. the cheapest I could find without breaking down and buying Ramen and hamburger helper. It all still came out just over $60. Well over what we are going to have for our food budget each week. It does indeed appear that I am somehow going to have to get creative with cheap prepared junk- if thats possible... seems like an oxymoron. Which in turn lead me into a raging fit at the state of this matter how simple you try to do it... you just simply CANT eat fresh home-made HEALTHY food on a very tight budget. We sat down, and worked out.. say.. a box of mac and cheese and some hotdogs costs what total... $2? $3 max? Tuna helper about the same.... You cant even get salad mix for that little, nevermind if you wanted to have something with it. How can you compete? Ugh.

I tried to do some searches online for cheap cooking... most of which involved bulk buys and cooking for massive families... or college fare which was basically getting creative with ramen and PB&J. Anyone out there have any ideas? Copperpots is gonna take a deep dive south soon for a few months otherwise!

So end of rant... this was dinner last night... costing about $8 total ($4 for greens, $4 for the catfish)... I happened to have all the ingredients for cornbread on hand, so I made that as well. =)

Collard Greens

1 large bunch of collard greens, chopped with stems removed
1/2 cup diced salt pork
2 cups chicken or pork broth
salt and vinegar to taste

Bring the broth to a boil and add salt pork, simmering for about 5 mins. Add greens, cover and simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring now and then.
Add salt and vinegar to taste before serving.

The catfish was panfried with some cajun seasoning. =)


Friday, August 25

Salmon & Roasted Asparagus

Roast asparagus is so awesome, whenever I do it I wonder why I cook it any other way.
The tips crisp up, almost like little asparagus fries. So easy... so yummy.

Roasted Asparagus


1 bunch of asparagus, tough stalks removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp grated parmesan
pinch of sea salt


Combine asparagus, olive oil, and garlic, and toss to coat.
Spread evenly over a baking sheet and sprinkle with parmesan and salt.
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

We had this with simple broiled salmon that I marinated in a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar beforehand.

Wednesday, August 16

Roasted Marrow Bone & Parsley Salad

Look away dad!! Dave and I had a very carniverous moment last night.

I bought this cookbook after reading some Bourdain and hearing him rave about this restaurant in London. It is called The Whole Beast, Nose to Tail eating, by Fergus Henderson.. and is chock full of so-wrong-it-must-be-good recipes. Being a fan of the lesser loved animal bits, like liver and kidney.. even the occasional tripe... obviously this cookbook intrigues me.
So I decided to start with this recipe... simple enough, with ingredients that aren't too difficult to find (unlike many items in the cookbook).

The result was sinful. I almost felt guilty eating it, but how can you, when it is often a part that is discarded? Its a shame our society has so many hang-ups on non-standard fare, because this really was incredible, as simple as it was. If an animal has to die for me to consume it, I think we should give it the respect to not waste any of it.... there is so much more to a beast than a filet.

So, if youre an adventerous sort... and like a bit of butter on your bread.. I'm going to suggest you roast a couple of these bones and try its sublime marrow in butters place.

We had this, by the way, with my favorite pea soup. =)

12 x 7-8cm pieces of middle veal marrowbone (I used 6 beef marrowbones)
1 bunch of flat-leafed parsley, picked from the stems and chopped
2 Shallots, very thinly sliced
1 modest handful of capers, (extra-fine if possible)
juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground salt and black pepper
toast, to serve
coarse sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 450ยบ. Place the bone marrow in an oven-proof frying pan. Roast the marrow for 20 minutes until the marrow is loose and giving, but not melting away.and place in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, until the marrow is loose and giving, without melting away.

2. Mix together the parsley, shallots and capers. Make the dressing by mixing together the lemon juice and olive oil.

3. Just before serving toss the parsley mixture with the dressing and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

4. Scrape the marrow from the bone onto the toast and season with coarse sea salt . Serve with a pinch of parsley salad on top.

Tuesday, August 15

Mahi with Romesco Sauce and Spinach with Pinenuts

Saturday we had my mom and stepdad over for dinner. They brought a massive hunk of mahi (which fed us for dinner last night as well!) A little more wikipedia research taught me that mahi mahi means "strong strong" in Hawaiian, and coincidentally, "great" in Sanskrit. Yea, I'm a dork, on oh so many ways.

I decided to use the recipe Jeff over at C for Cooking posted on his blog last week. The recipe they used was from Cooking light, and is as follows:

1 red bell pepper
2 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
1 1/2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper and tomato halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten peppers with hand. Broil for 12 minutes or until peppers blacken. Place peppers and tomatoes in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel peppers and tomatoes. Place peppers, tomatoes, almonds, and next 7 ingredients (through 2 chopped garlic cloves) in a food processor, and process until smooth.

For the fish I simply marinated them in olive oil and diced garlic for about an hour, and broiled them for about 15 mins.

The spinach was wilted in hot olive oil, and tossed with toasted pine nuts.

Yum =) My mom, I learned, doesnt like spinach... and seemed dubious of the sauce, but she ate it all anyways. ;-)

Friday, August 11

Kingklip with Chipotle Butter and Polenta

Earlier this week I was totally craving fish... so I made my merry way to the store to see what looked good, and there I spied a mystery fish, "Kingklip" at a modest price, so I snagged some. A little bit of research taught me that this is one fugly fish, a type of cusk eel. Wikipedia FTW.

I dug up a recipe for chipotle butter on epicurious that looked easy enough... and simply lightly floured and pan fried the fish(thank you Amanda for teaching me the secret to knowing when to flip the fish!!)

I am also on a mission to bring Dave around to Polenta... or as we call it in the south, grits. I love grits... and it is the only thing I think I've found that Dave just doesnt care for!! This can't be! My culinary partner-in-crime slash guinea pig has an aversion to a foodstuff! A foodstuff as versatile as sweet lovely hominy! OH NOES!

So I made some anyways.


I'm going to try to remember this recipe for you guys since I was basically winging it.. with the exception of the chipotle butter, which was:

Chipotle Butter
1/2 stick softened butter
2 minced chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus 2 tsp of the adobo sauce.

Combine all ingredients.
Damnit that was hard, I hope I never have to do THAT again.

As for the polenta.... I roughly followed the instructions on the back of the bag, taking some liberties and adding a few things... but if I remember right it was about 1 cup corn meal, 2.5 cups milk, 1 cup water, 1/4 stick butter.... but you might want to double check your brands bag if you decide to make this... just follow the manufacture instructions mmkay? To this I added 1/4 diced onion, some powdered adobo seasoning (1 tbsp?), 1 chopped scallion, 1 minced garlic clove (ssshhh dont tell Dave), and a generous handful of shredded cheddar. I let this thicken up.. stirring like mad to try to remove clumps, until it was nice and creamy... I have no recollection of how long this took since I as doing like 4 other things at the same time... maybe 15 mins? Ahh the madness of it all when I'm not following an exact recipe!

So I served this with the polenta spread on the bottom, a few mystery veg (boiled) from the Asian market (they taste like gai lahn, but theyre not), fish, topped with the chipotle butter. It was gooood. =)

Wednesday, August 9

Lobster Party

Ah yes, nothing beats eating my favorite crustacean, right beside the ocean, lobster juice dripping down my arms..... mmmmm!!
more scenery
Every year a friend of ours throws a party on the beach and orders masses of fresh whole steamed lobster delivered to the suite (complete with beach deck) that he rents. I try to make it a point to make it, obviously.

inside lobsterThis years batch was especially nice, shells so soft they were easily broken by hand. I love eating lobster this way, because its completely uninhibited, doesnt matter if you make a complete mess, youre on the beach... doesnt matter if you get any on you.. you can just jump in the ocean and rinse off (and believe me, we did!)

I brought my poke along as to not arrive empty handed, altho Dave ate most of it (I'm telling you, this stuff is like crack to him)... everyone did get to try it and it seemed to have been a hit! =)

pine colada beer cooler
Of course we also had some pina colada's, and Dave proceeded to use his as a cooler for his beer! ;-) It WAS hot out there!

I managed to con the party host into giving me the contact info of the people he acquires these lobsters from... I see many a messy lobster night in mine and Dave's not so distant future! ;-)

Tuesday, August 8

Char Siu Bao

As promised, char siu bao!

These have always been one of my favorites in Chinese dim sum, the baked version of the steamed classic... that sweet, savory melt-in-your-mouthness that just cant quite be matched by its American cousin the BBQ pork sandwich.

Although the bun on this isnt quite up to par with the ones from Chan's, it will do when I cant make it all the way to Orlando to get a fix! This recipe comes from a fantastic book, Dim Sum by Ellen Leong Blonder.

Char Siu Bao
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1/3 cup water
1/2 lb char siu, chopped into teeny tiny pieces!

3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup veg shortening
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk

Sift 2 cups of flour, salt, sugar into a large bowl. Cut in shortening until it the flour resembles coarse meal.
In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup water with the yeast and let sit for 5 mins.
Put the milk and 1/3 cup of water in a medium saucepan and heat the mixture to 110 degrees. Remove from heat and add yeast mixture. Add this to the flour mixture and mix well. Add the remaining flour and mix until the dough is a shaggy mass. Turn onto a well floured surface and knead for 5-8 mins until the dough is elastic.

Place in a greased bowl and let rise for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, for the filling, mix together all ingredients except pork and cornstarch and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch and conintue cooking until thickened. Add pork. Cool to room temperature.

After 2 hours, roll out the dough again and flatten into an 8x 12 inch rectangle; cutting 24 equal portions about 2 inch square. Fill each portion with the filling pinching dough to seal. Place, pinched side down on a greased baking pan and let rise again for 30 mins. Brush tops with a beaten egg.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 mins or until golden brown.

By the way, these freeze very well!

Saturday, August 5

Char Siu & Szechwan Eggplant

Ahhhh.. another crummy picture! Trust me.. it tasted a LOT better than the photo gives it credit for!

Char siu is one of those things that is not only awesome fresh out of the oven, but also makes the most excellent leftovers. I use the leftovers for my congee.. but tonight, I am cooking some char sui bao.... pork filled buns... I'll post that recipe later.. but for it, youre gonna need my char siu recipe.

I've worked and combined several different recipes til I finally made it so it matched the flavors I've had out.

Char Siu - Chinese Roast Pork


* 5 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 piece fresh ginger the size of a thumb joint, minced
* 1 c. hoisin sauce
* 1/2 c. sherry, mirin, sake or sweet white wine
* 1/2 c light or low-sodium soy sauce
* 1/2 c sugar
* 1/2 t. Chinese five spice
* 1/2 c. honey
* 2 lbs pork loin or pork shoulder, cut into 4 long strips


Combine all ingredients except pork and mix well.

Marinate pork strips in marinade for 4 hours or more (I go as long as 48 hours.. YUM) in the refrigerator. Turn several times.

Bake the marinated slabs for 45 minutes- 1 hour in a 350 degree oven on racks over a water-filled baking pan, or skewer them, and balance the skewers across the pan.

Turn the slabs frequently and baste with remaining marinade.

Cut into slices and serve. =)

We had this with stir fried eggplant, I really recommend using Japanese eggplant for this, as the larger varieties skin tends to be pretty tough and unpleasant. This recipe I snagged from The Food Network ;-) I threw in the rest of the gai lan leftover from last weeks salmon.

Szechwan Eggplant Stir-Fry


5 Asian eggplants, about 2 pounds
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced on a diagonal
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh red chile, sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Thai holy basil and fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


Cut the eggplants in 1/2 lengthwise and then slice crosswise into wedges, no more than 1-inch wide.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high flame and add the oils; tilt the pan to coat all sides. When you see a slight smoke, add a layer of eggplant, stir-fry until seared and sticky, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the eggplant to a side platter and cook the remaining eggplant in same manner, adding more oil, if needed.
After all the eggplant is out of the pan, add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and chile; stir-fry for a minute until fragrant. Add the broth. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the wok and cook another minute, until the sauce has thickened. Put the eggplant back in the pan, tossing quickly, until the sauce is absorbed. Garnish with sesame seeds, Thai basil, and cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, August 1

Veal with Cranberry Port Sauce

Dinner last night was inspired by a recipe I pulled from the cookbook Dave bought me over the weekend... William Sonoma's Healthful Cooking. The original recipe calls for venison, but I spied some huge lovely veal chops at Publix, so I used them instead. It was my first time making a sauce by reduction instead of flour or cornstarch without it seperating or doing some other strange things, or just flat out tasting BAD... this was wonderful and thick, and I was pretty darn proud of myself!

Be warned this is a two day ordeal! I started on Sunday afternoon, when I had the time to play in the kitchen.

While the cranberries were plumping up, we had a little treat of mushy stinky soft Saint Andres cheese and a few slices of that kick ass olive bread from Publix.

1 small carrot, peeled and diced
2 plum tomatoes, quartered
4 tsp canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, chopped
1 cup beef or veal broth
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire (say it with me... Woostasheer Sauce)
6 fresh Italian parsley springs
3 cardamom pods, crushed
2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf

2 veal chops
1/3 cup dried cranberries (I kinda thought this was too many)
1/3 cup Port
2 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 8 equal pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic, shallot, carrot in oil over medium high heat until shallot starts to soften. Add broth, cranberry juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, parsley, cardamom, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes. Let cool to room tempurature. Place in a non-reactive bowl with veal, cover, and marinade for 24 hours.

Next day
Place the cranberries in port and let them plump, 20-30 mins. Have some cheese.

Strain the marinade into a large bowl, setting the veal aside. Discard the chunks from the marinade... unless you can think of something fancy shmancy to do with them... I was lazey... so it was dinner for the gargage disposal.

Preheat oven to 200. Pan fry the veal chops over medium high heat, turning once, about 10-15 mins total depending on the thickness of your chops. Place them on a plate, cover with foil, and stickem in the oven.

Pour the reserved marinade into the pain to deglaze, and reduce for approx 10 mins. Add the cranberries and port and cook until the liquid is reduced by one-fourth, about 5 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Whick in butter until melted and blended into the sauce.

Then the fun part.. EAT! =D

Event: Blogger Postcards from the World

Meeta over at Whats for Lunch Honey? is having a postcard swapping event, and I think its an awesome idea... so I didnt hesitate to sign up!

So I made my merry way to the drug store to score a nifty postcard.. and OMG... you see, I had every intention of buying a nice tacky Florida postcard... but these were just tacky beyond the point of being cute. Just... tacky.... Wal-Mart tacky. So I thought to myself... hmmm.. what ever should I do!? Well Hell! I draw! I'll make my own flippin postcard!

I hope its destination person enjoys!!