Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cuisine: Sesame Ginger Soy Pasta Salad

This recipe was inspired by Chilis to Chutneys by Neelam Batra. I barely changed a thing, but when I first made it it was very, very, very salty. I adjusted the amounts for The Kitchenless Cook, and it turned out much, much better. I also changed how the vegetables were cut. I find that larger slices of vegetables mix better with the shape of the egg noodles. I prefer No Yolks brand, but feel free to use your favorite brand. It will still taste divine.

One package No Yolks egg noodles
1/2 small cabbage, cored, quartered and sliced into about 1-inch squares
1 Japanese or English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch slices
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 bunch green onions, sliced including green parts
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP spicy vinegar (another tablespoon of balsamic vinegar can be used if you don't have spicy vinegar)
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 to 2 tsp chili oil
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP salt
2 TBSP sesame seeds lightly toasted (toasting isn't necessary, but does add a richer flavor)
1 tsp chaat masala

Bring water to a boil in an electric wok. Add noodles and cook for only 5-7 minutes. Noodles must be undercooked.

Mix cabbage, cucumber, carrots, and green onions together.

Whisk together all remaining ingredients. Combine noodles, vegetables, and dressing together. Mix until fully combined.

It can be served warm right after it is made, but I prefer to let this salad sit overnight. I think it gives much deeper and combined flavor. And it is excellent cold!

Cuisine: Jason's Chaat Masala

This was inspired by Chilis to Chutneys by Neelam Batra. I wanted to make it exactly like the recipe, so I went to the local Indian market to find the ingredients. I found almost all of them, but I didn't find the tamarind powder. I then looked in stores all over San Francisco to no avail. It was tragic.

So...I did what I do best. I improvised. And I added my own special twist. Can you tell which ingredient was mine? I'm sure you can.

2 TBSP cumin seeds
1 TBSP carom seeds
1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 cup mango powder
1 TBSP black salt (it is actually not salt)
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground dried mint
2 tsp spicy paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

Place the cumin in an electric wok and roast over high heat until they start to brown. Add the carom seeds and cook for 1 more minute. Turn heat off and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool to room temprature.

Place cumin and carom seeds and black peppercorn in a spice grinder. Grind until it is a fine powder. Pour into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated evenly. Store in an airtight container.

Cuisine: Jason's Original Chicken Chaat Masala

I bought this fabulous cookbook called Chilis to Chutneys< by Neelam Batra. It showcases dishes and recipes with Indian flavors that are accessible to a Western palate. I love, love, love Indian food. It has a kick and uses such different aromas and spices. I was excited to experiment with her recipes and discover ones of my own.

Along the way, I created this. It wasn't anywhere in her cookbook, but it is inspired by her. It tastes like a curry you would find in a restaurant. And while it has many steps to make it, it is fairly easy. I made this in an electric wok as part of The Kitchenless Cook. And it was the hit of the party.

4 TBSP corn starch or tapioca flour
2 tsp chaat masala (you can substitute garam masala if that is all you can find)
2 chicken breasts, sliced into long thin strips2-3 TBSP oil
4 dried red chili peppers
1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly lengthwise including green part
2 serrano peppers or jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
4 curry leaves
2-3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 3/4 cups water
chaat masala, to taste
salt, to taste

Mix the corn starch and chaat masala together ensuring it is evenly mixed. Dip the chicken into the mixture making sure it gets completely covered. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl.

Heat the oil in an electric wok on high heat. Add the dried chili peppers to the oil and cook stirring constantly until the peppers turn dark. Add the chicken in batches and fry until cooked (about 6 minutes). Drain chicken on a paper towel.

In the same oil used for frying with the heat still on high, add the green onions and serrano pepper or jalapeno. Fry for about 5 minutes.

Add garbanzo beans and the whole can of diced tomatoes including juice. Bring to a boil. Add curry leaves and ginger. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add chicken pieces. Add water making sure liquid covers chicken. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes with cover on making sure to stir occasionally.

Turn off heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Serve with cardamom rice.

Cuisine: Homemade Berry-Aid Soda

Soda. I love it. I am an addict. I can drink it any time and any place. I know it isn't healthy, but it doesn't stop me from guzzling it down. We were hosting The Kitchenless Cook, which inspired me to ask, "How do I make a great tasting soda, naturally, and without a kitchen?" I tinkered and toyed, and this divine natural soda is what resulted. Perfect for a day in the sun. Or as a cocktail mixer too!

2 pints raspberries
1 quart strawberries, cored and quartered
3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 bunch mint leaves
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/14 cups brown sugar
4 tangelos, juiced
5 lemons, juiced
6 limes, juiced
seltzer water

Put the water, sugar, ginger, and mint together into a pot or electric wok and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes. Add raspberries and boil for 5 more minutes. Add strawberries and boil until liquid become thick and syrupy. Remove from heat or turn electric wok off. Let liquid cool.

Strain the liquid twice through a colander. If you do not have a colander, you can strain it through cheese cloth or muslin, which can be purchased at a grocery store or even at the hardware store which is surprisingly cheaper AND is exactly the same thing as cheese cloth.

Add the tangelo, lemon, and lime juice to the syrup.

To serve, put a few ice cubes in a cup and add equal parts seltzer water and syrup.

Cuisine: Tart Tomato, Jicama Salsa

This dish has to be tasted to be believed. It is everything you like about salsa and then you add jicama and oranges. It has such a sweet, tart flavor that isn't found in traditional salsa. It is fresh, juicy, and perfect on a tortilla chip, taco, or just by itself over a bed of lettuce.

2 oranges or tangelos peeled, quartered width-wise, and segments separated
3 tomatoes, diced
1 jicama, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 lemons, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, finely minced
1/4 bunch mint, finely minced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
cayenne pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let sit for at least two hours. It is even better if you let it sit overnight.

Cuisine: Jason's Zesty Spicy Grilled Chicken Breast

I love grilling. I have gotten much better at it thanks to America's Test Kitchen They have an excellent base recipe for brining before grilling. This is especially important with skinless chicken. I took their suggestions (mostly just salt, sugar, and water) and replaced some of the salt with Jason's Zesty Spice Rub. The spice soaked through all of the chicken breasts. On your first bite, you taste the salty and sweet of the brine. Then, the heat kicks in. It isn't too much. Just enough to let you know it's there. Wash it down with a beer or club soda, and you have the perfect afternoon picnic food.

3 TBSP Jason's Zesty Spice Rub
4 TBS salt
7 TBSP sugar
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tall plastic garbage bags
6-8 chicken breasts

Put one garbage bag inside the other. Fill the inner garbage bag half way with water. Add Jason's Zesty Spice Rub, salt, sugar, and garlic and mix thoroughly. Place chicken breast in water making sure they are fully submerged. If needed, add more water. Squeeze air out of garbage bag and tie tightly closed. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour. Can be stored in refrigerator for three hours. Should not be left over night.

Remove chicken breasts from garbage bag and pat dry. Turn all the burners on your electric grill to high. Wait for grill to turn hot. If you are using a charcoal grill, light charcoal and wait for flames to die down. Place chicken breasts once the heat inside the grill is very, very hot. Turn down the burners to medium-high on the gas grill and and close or place on center of rack on charcoal grill and close. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Check for doneness. They should be moist with clear juices dripping from breast.

Remove from grill, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with your favorite sides.

This chicken also makes excellent chicken salad. Simply cube the chicken and add a minced onion, a dash of salt, and mayonnaise. Serve on crackers or toast.

Cuisine: Brown Bread

This recipe was created for The S. Kitchen presents...A Very Mary Queer Year. Fruitcake is definitely a New Year's tradition. Depending on the recipe it is "enjoyable" to varying degrees. Instead of making a "traditional" fruitcake, I decided to tweak a recipe for Brown Bread also known as Boston Bread. This is moist, dense, and filled with dried cherries and golden raisings. Mmm...mouth watering

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries

Directions:In a small jar add raisins and cherries and fill with enough rum to cover. Let soak overnight.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until incorporated. The batter will be really wet.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease bread pan and pour batter into it. Let set for about 5 minutes. Put bread into oven and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cuisine: Collard Greens

This recipe was created for The S. Kitchen presents...A Very Mary Queer Year. No New Year's is complete without collard greens in my opinion. I make some of the meanest, tastiest vegan greens you will anywhere. So you better come check em out.

3 bunches collard greens
3 bunches leeks
1 large sweet onion
1 head of garlic
olive oil
1 can vegetable broth
Jason's Zesty Spice Rub

De-stem and clean all the collard greens. Slice the leeks down the middle and clean.

Layer the collard greens on top of each other and roll up length-wise. Cut the collards into thirds. Set aside.

Cut the leeks into 1/2 inch pieces. Mix leeks and collard greens together.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil. Add about 1/2 the collard greens and leeks. Fry stirring occasionally for about 5 to 7 minutes (until all the collard greens and leeks have wilted). Remove from pot. Add about 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil to the pot. Fry the other 1/2 of the collard greens and leeks. Fry for 5 to 7 minutes (until all the collard greens and leeks have wilted). Remove from pot.

While the collard greens and leeks are frying, dice onion and mince garlic. After all the collard greens and leeks have been fried and removed from the pot, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil. Fry onions and garlic for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add fried collard greens, leeks, 1 cup of vegetable broth, 1 cup of water and Jason's Zest Spice Rub (about 2 tablespoons depending on how spicy you like your greens.) Simmer for about 25 minutes. Taste and add salt to achieve desired saltiness. Cook for 5 more minutes.

Cuisine: Country-Fried Pork Chops

This recipe was created for The S. Kitchen presents...A Very Mary Queer Year. Pork is considered a very lucky food in cultures around the world. Normally it is a ham or pork shoulder or some other large piece of meat. This is my reinterpretation of traditional pork chops pounded, battered, and fried.

4 lbs boneless pork chops about 1/2 inch thick
Jason's Zesty Spice Rub
corn starch
2 cups buttermilk
4 egg yolks
saltines or water crackers, crushed fine
1 onion, diced
2 - 4 TBSP flour

Sprinkle Jason's Zesty Spice Rub over both sides of each pork chop. Place in refrigerator over night.

Take pork chops out of refrigerator and pound with a meat tenderizer until 1/4 inch thick. Cut pork chops in half.

Set up a dredging station: one container with cornstarch, one container with buttermilk whisked with egg yolks, one container with crushed crackers. Dip the pork chop in the cornstarch making sure to coat both sides fully. Then dip in buttermilk mixture. Finally dredge in crushed crackers. Set on wire rack and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Heat lard and butter (in equal measures) in a cast iron skillet until melted. Liquid lard and butter should be about 1/4 inch deep. Place pork chop in hot fat and fry for four minutes per side. Place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm until all pork chops are fried.

Add about 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour to the drippings and fat. Fry the flour for about 3 to 5 minutes (Flour should be completely incorporated into the oil and not yet brown.) Add the diced onion and fry for about 5 minutes. Add a pinch or two of Jason's Zesty Spice Rub. Add all of the buttermilk used in the dredging and bring to a simmer. Add milk until slightly runnier than the gravy thickness you prefer. Bring to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.

Serve pork chops smothered in gravy and enjoy!

Cuisine: Jason's Zesty Spice Rub

I pulled this blend together inspired by Emeril Lagasse's Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking. I blended the Southwest and Cajun seasonings together and added my special secret ingredient and VIOLA! a special spicy spice rub.

Enjoy it rubbed on pork chops, steaks, chicken breasts, catfish, etc. It is also great in rice and beans, soups, chili, and any other recipe that calls for either Southwest or Cajun seasoning.

1 TBSP and 1/2 tsp spicy paprika
2 tsp bittersweet paprika
2 tsp smoked chipotle powder
2 tsp red pepper powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 TBSP salt

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container and shake until all ingredients are mixed together.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Kitchenless Cook: The Recipes

The Kitchenless Cook recipes are divided into categories based on where the food can be purchased (grocery store or convenience store), what electrical equipment is used (raw, electric wok, toaster, crock pot, microwave, spice grinderrice cooker), and cost ($, $$, $$$). They have ingredient lists and directions. We try and capture pictures, but sometimes we get a little preoccupied with cooking that we forget to snap a photo. Recipes are written by Jason Wyman and friends. All are crafted with love.

The Kitchenless Cook: The Equipment

The Crucial Piece of Equipment:
If all I could afford was one electric appliance, I would have to pick the Electric Wok. It can do many different things from frying to sautéing to steaming and packs quite a punch. The sloped sides are better than an electric frying pans because it uses less oil and you can place food on the sides to regulate cooking speed. You can find a cheap one at a thrift store, but make sure it has all the pieces.

Additional Equipment:
Small Refrigerator - If you don't have a kitchen, you DO need a small refrigerator. It just makes life a little easier. If you can't afford a small refrigerator, you will have to go grocery shopping more often. You will also have to be good about portions as you don't have a place to keep them fresh.

Toaster Oven - This would be the third thing I would buy. It has many, many uses. It can heat frozen pizzas, make toast, bake cookies, roast vegetables. The possibilities are endless.

Rice Cooker - There are a surprising amount of uses for rice cookers. Sure most of them do include rice, but rice is a staple.

Crock Pot - These are tried and true. Slow cookers are amazing if you have at least 4 hours between when you prepare and when you eat. It also bakes. That makes it a versatile friend.

Spice/Coffee Grinder - In some ways, I would put this second. When you want great tasting food, freshly ground spices make all the difference. It can also save money and time in the long run. Whip up a quick batch of Cajun Seasoning, and you have a spicy mixture you can throw on lots of things. Oh...the prospects!

Microwave - Of course this is an obvious suggestion. And it is a good tool. But if what you want it fresh and tasty, the microwave isn't your best option. It's perfect for reheating, melting, boiling, popping, and that's pretty much it.

Assorted Equipment - There are various other pieces of electrical equipment, but they all over the place in terms of function, ease of use, and versatility. I am not a huge fan of the George Foreman Grill or his other products. Too clucky and not enough variety in what can be made. Sandwich presses are in the same category. I found a rotisserie at Community Thrift, but the heating element is on the bottom right where the fat drips, and it seems to be a recipe for disaster. That and after unpacking everything it didn't come with a plug.

Knives - These are essential. If you only can afford one knife, I suggest a regular chef's knife. You can use it for pretty much everything. Sure, it is larger to handle than a pairing knife, but it makes everything else easier.

Cutting Board - If you have a knife, you'll need a cutting board. Not only is it hand for chopping, it makes a great tray for presenting food. I prefer bamboo cutting boards because they look nice and are durable. Plastic are the least desirable.

Colander - If you boil water for pasta, you will want something you can drain it in to. You can do drain liquid holding the lid slightly closed, but it is bound to end in a mess. It also could result in electrocution or a ruined piece of equipment if water or liquid spills on the heating element or plug. A colander reduces that possibility. is perfect for washing food in if you have a shared bathroom. Who wants to put their fruits and vegetable directly in that sink? A colander provides a useful protective barrier.

Mixing Bowls - One really large bowl is perfect. Two is even better. Then, smaller bowls. Think of it this way, you can always mix a small amount in a large bowl, but you can't mix a large amount in a small bowl. Also...if all you can get is one bowl, try and NOT get a metal one. If you mix vinegary or citrusy things in it, the sauce retains a tinny flavor.

Wooden Spoon - These are preferred over metal only because they work on everything. You can't use metal on anything that is non-stick. Wood also doesn't heat up to the point of burning if you leave it sit in the electric wok.

Other Utensils - There are a bunch of other utensils that are handy including a spatula (both kinds), a whisk, a slotted spoon, a strainer, a cheese grater, and a peeler. They certainly make cooking easier. But if you are on a limited budget, the knife, bowl, and spoon are the top three things you will need.

Cuisine: Rice Cooker Rice and Beans

Rice and beans are one of those dishes that I can eat over and over again, especially when they are spicy. I thought about how to make this dish for people with limited access either to food or space. And then I thought rice cooker and convenience store! You can find a cheap one at the thrift store, and all the ingredients can be found at the barest of convenience stores. (Well, at least out here.) It is tasty, easy, and has a hint of spice. To add a dash of zest, sprinkle fresh lemon or lime juice over the top just before eating.

1 can white kidney beans, drained
2 7 oz cans salsa casera (or 1 16oz bottle of Pace Picante Sauce, or some other salsa)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 small can jalapenos, seeded and diced depending on hotness
1 scant TBSP cajun seasoning

Mix all ingredients in a rice cooker. Turn on. After it pops, let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Cuisine: Daniel Dewey Schott's My Meatballs and Sauce

I love spaghetti and meatballs, and I am always in search of a great recipe. This one was created by my friend Dewey and posted through Facebook. It is a fantastic recipe! I asked him if I could share it here, and he said yes. So here you go...Daniel Dewey Schott's My Meatballs and Sauce. Enjoy!

Ingredients (this makes a pretty big pot- you can half it)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground veal
1/2 lb. ground pork
(my mom always used 100% beef, which I may go back to. not so sure that the pork and veal are necessary)
1 med yellow onion
2 eggs
2 slices of bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk or cream
1/2 c. Romano cheese (or Parm but my mom always used romano- just make sure it's super tasty either way- there are some bland "parmeseans" out there)
1/3 bunch of flat-leaf parsely
7 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper (if you want to be more Italian, add red pepper flakes but I don't know how much)
2- 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes (I like to use Muir Glen Fire Roasted. Some people swear by San Marzano but I think they are too sweet)
1- 28oz. can tomato puree
(you can really experiment with your own combinations of three cans of either crushed, pureed, or diced tomatoes)
1-2 Tbs tomato paste

Empty the crushed and pureed tomatoes into a pot and add one can of water. bring to a boil. When it boils put it on low.

Soak the bread with some milk or cream until very soft. Put meats into a medium mixing bowl. Mince onion. Put half in the sauce and half in the mixing bowl with the meat. Mince garlic and put half in the sauce and half in the bowl. Chop the parsley until very, very fine and add to the bowl. Add cheese, salt, pepper to bowl. Whisk eggs lightly and add to bowl. Squeeze the liquid out of the bread and add to the bowl.

Heat a black cast iron skillet on HIGH and add olive oil until there's about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch in pan.

Mix the meat mixture with your hands until incorporated. Form into balls a little bit bigger than golf balls (about 2 inches) and line up on a baking sheet. When oil is smoking, add as many meatballs as you can without crowding- for me that is about 7. I always swirl the meataball around in the oil and little before I leave it in one spot. Brown deeply on each side, I'm never sure how long it takes to develop the crust but you want to err on the side too much but not burnt. When all sides are brown, add to sauce and add more meatballs to the oil and repeat until they are all in the sauce.

Cook the meatballs and sauce until the sauce reaches a consistency that is right for you. It probaby should be at least an hour. Add the tomato paste toward the end of cooking, after tasting. Some people also put sugar in their sauce if it tastes too acidic, but if you use Muir Glen or San Marzano that probably isn't needed.

Serve with pasta!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cuisine: Barbara Kaio's Ahi Tuna Poke (My Way)

This dish was crafted by Barbara Tamayo Kaio as part of The S. Kitchen presents... The Kitchenless Cook. It is incredibly tasty filled with complex flavors. It starts out slightly sweet until you hit the hint of lime and lemon juice. Then, as you bite into the tuna you get a lovely salty flavor along with a suggestion of soy. Finally, the sesame hits your tongue and you melt away. It has to be tried to be believed.

2 pounds fresh or sashimi-grade Ahi (yellowfin) tuna steaks, cut into small pieces
½ cup Yamasa brand (tastiest!) soy sauce (regular, not lite or flavored – use less if you need it ‘lite’)
1 squeezed lime
1 squeezed lemon
1 bunch chopped green onions (white part included)
3 Roma tomatoes diced
½ cup chopped white onion, shallot, garlic mix
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon (or less) Shichimi Togarashi or crushed red pepper
½ tablespoon (or more) furikake (toasted sesame seed and nori variety)
Alaea sea salt or plain medium coarse sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chopped freshly toasted macadamia nuts

In a large bowl, combine tuna with everything and mix together with hands. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Eat as is or with romaine lettuce leaves or good quality tortilla chips or fried wonton skins

Thanks! from The Kitchenless Cook


Special thanks to Barbara Kaio and Margaret Schultz for their tasty dishes (recipes coming soon)! And to Lynn Johnson from OutLook Theater Project for sharing her story of the power of theater.