Monthly Archives: February 2013

Lobster Risotto

Lobster Bacon RisottoI recently entered a lobster recipe in a contest (recipe to be revealed later), and so I’ve been on a lobster kick lately. I can usually find live lobsters at my local Asian grocery store and they tend to be about $1.00-$2.00 less per pound than they are at my local grocery store. I remember back to when I lived in New England and lobsters were cheaper per pound than boneless chicken breasts; needless to say, we ate a lot of lobster. Lobster is such a delight that it’s well worth the occasional splurge. This is a risotto dish that I serve as an entree – it’s rich and filling and deserves to be the star of the meal, not a side dish. As with most risotto recipes; it’s very simple, and you can easily alter it to include other seasonal or on-hand ingredients (corn, bacon, green onions, roasted red peppers), but don’t feel that you have to add anything because simple lobster risotto is perfectly luxurious all on its own. I had some thick cut bacon from my local pork grower, so I did stir in the cooked bacon at the end. The most challenging aspect of this dish is removing the lobster meat; many gourmet grocers sell shelled lobster meat, but I still prefer to cook whole live lobsters and prepare my own stock.


  • 1 Cup Fresh Lobster Meat (tail and large claw meat)- roughly chopped
  • 4-6 Cups Lobster or Seafood Stock (can substitute chicken stock)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Arborio Rice
  • 4 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1 TBS. Butter
  • 2 Shallots – finely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese – grated or shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley – finely chopped (optional)


Heat stock in a medium saucepan and leave simmering. In a medium stockpot, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender. Saute ShallotsAdd rice and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes until rice is well coated and heated. Add riceAdd 2 cups of hot stock and stir constantly until most of the stock has been absorbed. Continue to add stock 1 cup at a time until rice is creamy and al dente. Add stockStir in lobster meat, cheese and any other additional ingredients. Add more stock if risotto seems to dry – it should have a creamy, moist consistency. Serve immediately.


Duck Confit and Morel Mushroom Ravioli

Duck Confit Ravioli 2This is a decadent dish! I will admit that I cheated and bought frozen duck confit legs; all I had to do was cook them. Preparing duck confit is not difficult, but it’s a process that takes several days, which I did not have. I was very happy with the results, but if you don’t have a trusted gourmet grocery store where you can buy the duck confit, then plan in advance and prepare the confit yourself. If you’re not familiar with duck confit – in a nutshell, it’s duck marinated and cooked in duck fat. I am always looking for dishes in which I can incorporate morel mushrooms, another of my guilty pleasures, and this ravioli was provided the perfect opportunity. Morels were not in season, but I’ve had great luck with the dried morels, so I just reconstituted the dried mushrooms. I didn’t want to make a sauce that would overpower the rich and intense flavors of the ravioli, so I simply tossed it in browned butter with some extra chopped morels and garnished it with Italian parsley. I had a ton of duck confit meat and was in an experimental mood, so I decided to make an additional version of the ravioli. For the second version, I simply cut the amount of ricotta cheese in half and supplemented it with pureed pumpkin.


  • Homemade Ravioli Dough*
  • 1 Cup Shredded Duck Confit meat
  • 1/2 Cup Morel (or other flavorful wild) Mushrooms – chopped
  • 2-3 Shallots – finely Chopped
  • 3/4 Cup Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Reggiano Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 6-8 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • Italian Parsley – Chopped (for garnish)

*You can substitute packaged won ton wrappers (usually available in the produce section of the grocery store).


Cook the duck confit and allow to cool enough to comfortably handle. Cook the Duck ConfitUsing two forks, shred the duck meat.Fork shred the duck Heat olive oil in a small saute pan; add shallots and cook for for about 2 minutes. Saute shallotsAdd mushrooms and saute until soft.Chop the morels Combine shredded duck meat, cheeses (and pumpkin puree, if using), and all but a few Tablespoons of mushrooms and garlic mixture (reserve a few Tablespoons for your brown butter sauce)  in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Duck Confit Ravioli Filling

Duck Confit Ravioli Filling

Duck Confit and Pumpkin Ravioli Filing

Duck Confit and Pumpkin Ravioli Filing


Season to taste with salt and pepper.


  • 3 1/2 Cups Flour (or a combination of regular flour and semolina flour)
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • Egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 TBS. water)

There are a couple of variables that will effect the consistency of your dough, in particular, the size of your eggs. It may be necessary to add more flour to your dough until you achieve an elastic, workable, dough ball that does not stick to your hands . If your dough seems to need more liquid, you can add a little water, but this is frowned upon by purists, so I err on the side of starting with less flour since it can easily be added.

Rather than give the detailed instructions for making the pasta (there are a variety of methods depending on your equipment) I am including several links to  good descriptions of the process. If using a pasta machine, you may not want to go to the thinnest setting or your ravioli will be difficult to fill, cut, and cook without it tearing.

Homemade pasta video:

Homemade pasta using a stand mixer (video)

Porcini mushroom pasta recipe:

Cut your pasta into strips about 2 ” wide (you can go wider or narrower depending on how you like your ravioli. Starting 1 ” from the end, add about 1 TBS. of filling. Repeat process by adding filling every 2″. Using a pastry brush, brush all edges with egg wash. Cover bottom strip with another strip of similar length. Using a pasta cutter or knife, cut into squares so that filling is in center of the square. If using a pasta cutter/crimper, crimp all sides of the ravioli to seal. If you don’t have a pasta cutter, Use your fingers to tightly seal all sides of the ravioli.  You can use a fork to crimp edges.

Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Add raviolis and return to a boil. Cook until raviolis float to the top. Drain and add raviolis to a serving platter (or divide among individual plates). In the meantime, add butter to saute pan with the remaining mushroom and garlic mixture. Heat until butter just starts to brown. Pour browned butter over plated raviolis, garnish with chopped parsley and additional grated parmesan cheese (if desired).Duck Confit Ravioli 2

Spicy Smoked Chicken Chowder

Spicy Smoked Chicken Chowder with Homemade Tortilla Chips

Spicy Smoked Chicken Chowder with Homemade Tortilla Chips

The boys went out for barbeque the other night and were a little overzealous in their ordering; they came home with almost two full uneaten smoked chicken quarters. (I have a feeling they filled up on hush puppies). The chicken had a great flavor, but didn’t seem that appetizing just reheated, so I decided to craft a soup around the leftover chicken. I thought the smokiness would be best accentuated in a chowder (I briefly toyed with the idea of a smoked chicken tortilla soup, but I like my traditional recipe too much to mess with it). I did, however, decide to make some homemade corn tortilla chips to accompany the chowder, and I garnished the chowder with a couple of avocado slices, but, honestly, the avocado didn’t add much to the already amazing flavor of the chowder. As is typical with a newly created recipe – I tweeked it as I went. I decided to add diced red pepper (because it was a bit of an afterthought, I sauteed it separately after I had cooked most of the other vegetables, so it is not shown in the photos). The photos also show both sweet and red onion being sauteed; I had 1/2 leftover of each, so I used both. You can adjust the spice in the recipe, but I thought the level of spice was perfect as is. If you can’t find smoked chicken (you can always go to your local barbeque joint), you can certainly substitute regular chicken (rotisserie would be fine), but if you can find smoked chicken, it really adds a whole additional level of flavor.


  • 2-3 Cups Shredded Smoked Chicken (skin removed)
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion
  • 1 Sweet Red Pepper – chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper -seeds and membrane removed; finely chopped
  • 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2-3 Large Russet Potatoes – peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 16 Oz. Frozen Corn (can substitute canned)
  • 3 Plum Tomatoes – seeded and chopped
  • 4 Chipotle (in Adobe sauce) Peppers – seeds removed and chopped.
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4-1/3 Cup Flour
  • 3 Cups Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Monterey Jack cheese – shredded
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Sprigs of Fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. Dried Thyme


Fill a medium stock pot with enough water to sufficiently cover potatoes; bring to a boil and add potatoes. Cook potatoes until al dente (just becoming fork tender), about 5-7 minutes. Drain potatoes and run under cold water to stop cooking process; set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno and red pepper and saute until onion is translucent and peppers are tender.Saute onion and jalapenoAdd potatoes and flour and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add flour to vegetable mixtureTransfer mixture to a stock pot, add tomatoes, corn, chipotle peppers, shredded chicken, shredded smoked chickenchicken stock, bay leaf and thyme. Heat to just below a boil, and add cream. Add creamWhen cream is heated, add shredded cheese. Garnish with avocado slice, if desired. Serve with homemade tortilla chips or good crusty bread.A hearty spoonful


Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips


Thru Jan 24 147I started making homemade tortilla chips when I started making Chicken Tortilla Soup. As with most things, my kids have decided that store bought tortilla chips just don’t compare to the homemade kind. While the tortilla chips are worth the effort, there is frying involved and whenever there’s frying involved, there’s a mess involved. So I don’t make these chips that often, but when I do, I make sure to make a big batch and we eat them for days.


  • 1 Package Fresh Corn Tortillas (sometimes found in the refrigerated section) – cut into quarters, at room temperatureThru Jan 24 139
  • Corn Oil
  • Salt


In a fryer, or large stock pot, heat about 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees. Add 8-12 tortilla quarters (don’t overcrowd the pot or your oil temperature will drop quickly) and move around gently in oil, flipping when one side is browned.Add tortilla to oil Thru Jan 24 131Remove chips from oil, immediately sprinkle generously with salt and allow to drain on paper towels. Drain chips on paper towelRepeat process until all tortilla quarters are fried.

To store: line a zipper bag with paper towels and store chips between paper towels.



Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Valentines Day Sugar cookies

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Last year my daughter and I made a couple of huge trays of heart shaped cookies for the February Blood Drive at our school. I cannot claim that the cookies were homemade (we purchased frozen hear shaped cookies from Gordon Food Service), but they were, nonetheless delicious. We had fun (and made a mess) decorating the cookies, and all of the blood donors and Red Cross volunteers and workers were very appreciative. For the frosting, all you do is combine powdered sugar with a little bit of water until you reach the desired consistency – then color with food coloring. Coloring the frostingThe perfect red frostingWe stuck with the three basic Valentine’s Day colors of Red, Pink and White. We also used sprinkles and sanding sugar. There are tons of great recipes for traditional sugar cookies, and most of you probably have one already, so I’m not going to provide any links; my theory, however, is the simpler, the better. If you’re making large quantities, as we did, consider buying frozen cookies already cut into shapes; the recipients probably won’t mind that they’re not totally homemade, they’ll just delight in the creative decorative techniques. A few samples of valentines cookies

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is this Sunday, February 10, 2013 and we celebrate it with full force in our house. This upcoming year will be the Year of the Snake. For those of you who follow my blog, you may have read that my children are convinced I am really Asian, but the truth is that my Asian tendencies come from having traveled extensively throughout Asia and teaching primarily Asian students. Chinese New Year celebrations are festive and fun, and you may find that once you embrace the traditions, you will continue to do so years to come. I don’t have pictures for the food that I served last year (I started the blog last February and wasn’t in the habit of photographing my food), but I will outline some of the traditions and provide recipes for the traditional foods that I serve. Although I love homemade dumplings (and it is tradition that the family gather to make the dumplings on New Year’s Eve), I typically buy frozen dumplings – they are great and I can get a variety of types that way. I also usually buy the desert as well.

I will start with some of the traditions that are not food related and try to include the reasoning behind the traditions.

  • Clean your house thoroughly before Chinese New Year – this will help to clean out the Old Year.
  • Open all doors and windows at midnight on the start of Chinese New Year (New Year’s Eve) – this allows the Old Year to escape and the New Year to come in.
  • Pay all bills and debts (when possible) and clear up any grievances you may have with others – if you begin the New Year with outstanding bills, you will have them all year.
  • Wear red and/or gold or bright orange on Chinese New Year; avoid wearing white. Red represents happiness and good luck, gold and orange represent prosperity, while white represents death.
  • Wear a new outfit or piece of clothing on Chinese New Year to insure that you will not be wearing the same old clothes all year long.
  • Avoid the number 4 on Chinese New Year (the pronunciation of the word “Four” in Chinese is similar to the pronunciation of the word “Die” in Chinese.
  • The number 8 is lucky because the word “eight” sounds similar to the word “fortune” in Chinese.
  • Do NOT wash or cut your hair on Chinese New Year – you will wash or cut away all of your good luck.
  • Try not to cry, yell, or curse on Chinese New Year – so as not to be crying, yelling, or cursing throughout the whole New Year.
  • Do NOT clean the house or sweep any dirt out of the house on Chinese New Year – you will be sweeping away all of your good luck and fortune.
  • Try to avoid using knives and scissors on Chinese New Year – something about severing good luck.
  • If you visit the homes of others on Chinese New Year, bring them oranges/tangarines/clementines/mandarin oranges – as these are an offering of good luck and prosperity. If you are not expecting visitors, make sure you have your own supply of oranges in the house.
  • Give children red envelopes with a coin, or money – this will insure them good fortune in the new year (the more, the better – kids love that part).

Traditional Chinese New Year Foods (recipes follow):

  • A cooked whole fish – cooking the whole fish ensures that your family will have plenty of food and prosperity in the New Year.
  • Long Noodles (the longer, the better) – noodles represent longevity (long life); remember when eating noodles not to cut or break them (with either a knife or your teeth) or you will be cutting short your life. This is why many Asians “slurp” their noodles.
  • Dumplings- the crescent shape resembles Chinese money, so they represent wealth and prosperity.
  • Spring/Summer/Egg Rolls symbolize wealth because they resemble gold or silver bullions (bulk gold or silver).
  • Vegetables represent purification.
  • Duck (Peking is traditional) represents fidelity.
  • Pork represents strength.
  • Pumpkin represents prosperity, abundance, illustrious children, and it draws earth’s energy to manifest gold.
  • Whole chicken (served with head facing diners) represents wholeness, prosperity and abundance.
  • Prawns (shrimp) represent liveliness and happiness.
  • Rice represents fertility, wealth, and the link between heaven and earth.
  • Eggs (tea eggs are traditional) represent fertility (avoid them if you don’t want more children).
  • Layered cakes – the sweetness represents a rich, sweet life and the layers represent rising abundance for the upcoming year.

Fruit Cakes or Sticky Rice Cakes- these are traditionally fed to the Kitchen God so that he will report good things about your family when he returns to heaven before the New Year. Another tradition suggests wiping his mouth with a bit of the sticky cake to “seal his lips” so that he may not report any negative things about your family.

More information about Chinese New Year Symbolic Foods .

Chinese New Year Menu and Recipes:

  • Assorted Steamed Dumplings (Dim Sum)
  • Egg Drop Soup
  • Asian Style Steamed Clams or Mussells
  • Spring Rolls
  • Steamed Whole Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaves
  • Beef with Broccoli
  • Pork Fried Rice
  • Shrimp Lo Mein
  • Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy with Shitake Mushrooms

Dumplings (Potstickers):

Pork Filling
1 lb. Ground Pork
4 Large Napa Cabbage Leaves – minced
3 Stalks Green Onions – minced
7 Shitake Mushrooms – minced (if dried – rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 Cup Bamboo Shoots – minced
1/4 Cup Ginger Root – minced
3 TBS. Soy Sauce
2 TBS. Sesame Oil
2 TBS. Corn starch


Shrimp Filling
1/2 lb. Raw Shrimp – peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb. Ground Pork
3 Stalks Green Onions – minced
1/4 Cup Ginger Root – minced
1 Cup Water Chestnuts -minced
1 tsp. Salt
3 TBS. Sesame Oil
2 TBS. Corn starch


Use gyoza wrappers (circular) or wonton wrappers cut into circles for the wrappers.

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Make dumplings.

To Boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To Steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of Napa cabbage leaves in a bamboo steamer basket and steam for about 6 minutes. You can also use a vegetable steamer pot lined with cabbage leaves, or grease the pot well.

To Pan Fry (potstickers)*: Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve. If using frozen dumplings, allow to thaw before frying.

To Freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

Dipping Sauce
2 Parts Soy sauce
1 Part Vinegar (red wine or black)
A Few Drops of Sesame Oil
Chili Garlic Paste (optional)
Minced Ginger (optional)
Minced Garlic (optional)
Minced Green Onion (optional)
Sugar (optional)

Egg Drop Soup


  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 -2 green onions, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • A few drops of sesame oil (optional)


In a wok or saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add the white pepper and salt, and the sesame oil if using. Cook for about another minute.
Very slowly pour in the eggs in a steady stream. To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. To make thin streams or ribbons, gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form.
Garnish with green onion and serve.

*Egg Drop Soup is frequently thickened with cornstarch in restaurants. To add a cornstarch thickener, mix 2 – 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Just before adding the beaten egg, stir in the cornstarch/water mixture, remove the soup from the heat, and then add the beaten egg.

Tips for making Egg Drop Soup:

  • Lightly beat the egg so that no bubbles form
  • Turn off the heat the minute you begin pouring in the egg (this produces silkier threads)
  • Pour the egg in a very slow stream (pouring it through the tines of a fork from several inches above the pot is a good way to keep the stream slow and steady)
  • Begin stirring as soon as you start pouring in the egg
  • To make shreds or threads, stir rapidly for at least 1 minute
  • Stir the beaten egg in one direction only

Asian Style Steamed Mussels or Clams


  • 3/4 cup Dry White Wine (or Rice Wine)
  • 1 TBS. Fish Sauce
  • 2 tsp. Lime Zest
  • 2-3 lbs. Mussels or Clams
  • 1 TBS. Peanut Oil
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Ginger -grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – crushe
  • 3 Fresh Red Thai Chilis- seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 Cups Cilantro- loosely packed
  • 2 Stalks Lemon Grass – bruised with a mallet (optional)


Heat wine in a small saucepan until hot. Add sauce and rind, remove from heat and stand, covered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile scrub mussels and pull away the beards- and check to make sure clams or mussels are alive (discard any with broken shells or any opened – for mussels tap opened ones to make sure they move or try to close). Heat oil in large saucepan, add ginger, garlic, chilli and lemon grass. Cook, stirring until fragrant. Add wine mixture, 1 cup of cilantro, and mussels and simmer, covered for about 5 minutes or until mussels open (discard any that do not open). Add remaining cilantro. Spoon mussels and broth into large serving bowls or onto a large serving platter.

Whole Fish Steamed in Banana Leaf 


  • 4 Medium Whole Fish – fully cleaned and prepped (allow about 1/3 fish per person) Suggested fish: red snapper, black sea bass or pomfret (they are smaller, so you’ll need about 1/2 fish per person)
  • 2 banana leaves (OR 2 sheets tin foil if steaming the fish) – for more on banana leaf, see below
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
  • 2 Green (spring) Onions- sliced (including the green stem)
  • 1/2 to 1 Fresh Red Chili-seeds and membrane removed – finely chopped
  • 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves (cut out the hard central stem and only include the soft leaf)- can substitute Lemon Grass – be sure to bruise it with a mallet to release flavor.
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic -minced
  • 1 TBS. Lemon or Lime Juice
  • 2 TBS. Fish Sauce
  • 1/2  Cup Fresh Basil Leaves (Thai basil if available)-loosely-packed
  • 4 TBS. Coconut Oil – OR walnut, almond, olive, or other healthy, good-tasting oil
  • optional: 1 tsp. Butter (this makes the sauce richer-tasting)
  • 2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • Lemon/Lime Slices
  • Sprinkling of Fresh Basil (other toppings: spring onions cut thinly lengthwise, and fresh-cut chili)


For more on how to buy and cook with banana leaf, see: Cooking with Banana Leaf – Tips and Practical Advice.

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Rinse the fish under cold water and inspect for any remaining scales or entails – remove any you find. Place fish in a shallow baking dish and cover with sauce (including on the inside of the fish) – place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 20-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove fish from refrigerator and pour remaining sauce into a bowl. Lay one banana leaf on a clean work surface – top with a fish and spoon some sauce marinade over the surface. Fold one long side of the banana leaf over the fish and then fold the two sides over (trim the sides if too long). Holding the folded sides in place “roll” the fish onto the remaining long side of banana leaf – this should sufficiently cover the fish. If you like, you can use kitchen twine to tie up the “packet,” but I don’t usually find that necessary. Place the banana leaf “packet” seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat process until all fish have been wrapped. Add a little extra sauce and some water to the bottom of the baking dish (about 1/2 inch). Place in the oven and cook for 20-35 minutes depending on size and thickness of fish. Remove from oven and check for doneness – the flesh of the fish should be opaque and flaky and should easily pull away from the bones, but still be very moist. Transfer fish to a serving platter and garnish.

Spicy Orange Beef with Broccoli


  • 1/2  tsp.  Salt
  • 1  Clove Garlic -minced
  • 1/2  tsp.  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1  lb.  Boneless Sirloin Steak -cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2  tsp.  Grated Orange Rind
  • 1/4  Cup  Orange Juice
  • 1  TBS.  Cornstarch
  • 2  TBS.  Low-sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1  tsp.  Sesame Oil
  • 3/4  Cup Green Onions – 1 inch slices


Combine garlic, pepper, and beef, tossing well. Combine rind, juice, cornstarch, and soy sauce, stirring with a whisk. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture and onions; sauté 2 minutes. Add juice mixture; cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Add broccoli and continue cooking until broccoli is just tender. Serve beef mixture over rice.

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms

See the recipe for Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sesame Sprouts and eliminate sesame sprouts and add shitake mushrooms (cut in half) for last 3-4 minutes of stir frying.

Pork Fried Rice

The following looks to be a good recipe for pork fried rice – I have made fried rice so many times that I just kind of “wing it” and have never bothered to write down the recipe, but this one looks similar to how I would make it. The trick is to use leftover cold/dry rice. If you are going to be making rice especially for this dish, spread your cooked rice in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator. This will allow your rice to dry out and chill which is what makes for good frying – rice with too much moisture will be sticky and clumpy when fried.

Shrimp Lo Mein

Similar to fried rice, lo mein is just something I usually throw together. I might add a dash of oyster sauce or some garlic chili sauce if I want a touch of spice. You can use a variety of vegetables, including red pepper, peapods, broccoli, and baby bok choy. My staples are shredded cabbage (not very much – use the extra from your steamed dumplings), carrots, peapods, and green onions. As noted in the blogged recipe below – try to find lo mein noodles. They will be in the refrigerated section of your Asian market. If you can’t find fresh lo mein noodles, use a thinner pasta like Angel Hair or Thin Spaghetti. Many recipes call for linguine – I think that is just too thick for lo mein.

I hope you enjoy Chinese New Year and that it brings you good luck, prosperity, longevity, and good fortune all around. Gong She Fa Chai!

More of my Asian Recipes:

Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup Asian Style Barbequed Chicken Wings
Braised Chicken Thighs in Teriyaki Sauce
Asian Style Chicken Skewers
Chicken Stir Fry
Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Greek Grilled Chicken Wrap

Greek Grilled Chicken Wrap

Greek Grilled Chicken Wrap

The other night we had soup and sandwich night. My daughter loves the chicken Greek wrap sandwiches at the deli near school, so I decided to recreate that and serve it with Chicken Lemon Rice Soup (one of my son’s favorites). It was an easy weeknight dinner, and everyone was pleased. I decided to buy the taziki sauce at our local Greek Coney Island restaurant; it’s easy enough to make, but it needs to be made in advance in order for it to have good flavor. (Serves 6)


  •  2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts- cut 3/4″ wide strips
  • 6 Oz. Feta Cheese
  • English Cucumbers – thinly sliced
  • Leaf or Romain Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Purple (Red) Onion – thinly sliced
  • Kalmata Olives – pitted and sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cup Taziki Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 3/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Dried
  • Oregano
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 6 Wraps


  • Combine Olive Oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a shallow baking dish or bowl. Add chicken to the marinade and allow to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Marinate chickenIn the meantime, combine taziki sauce and mayonnaise and set aside. Heat a griddle or large saute pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until well browned on each side and cooked through; remove from heat and set aside.Grill chicken until well browned To assemble the sandwiches: Lay out a wrap and spread a thin layer of the taziki mayonnaise mixture over the wrap, leaving about an inch clear around the edges.Spread a layer of sauce Lay the lettuce across the wrap, top with chicken. Through January 31 044Add cucumber slices, red onion, and tomatoes, and finish with  feta cheese and olives. Ready to wrapPull the bottom edge of the wrap over the filling, fold the sides over, and continue to wrap. WarppedCut in half, and use toothpicks to secure the two sandwich halves. Repeat until all wrap sandwiches are assembled. Serve with extra taziki sauce.Grilled Chicken Greek Wrap

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

These chicken enchiladas are really easy to make, and everyone I make them for loves them. You can adjust the spice to meet your tastes, but my family tolerates spice pretty well; so if you follow this recipe exactly, you will find that the enchiladas have a fair amount of heat to them. The heat comes from the jalapeno; if you don’t want a lot of heat, either cut back on the jalapeno or eliminate it all together. I use canned enchilada sauce (mild), because I don’t find the homemade sauce to be that much better. However, it is important to buy good quality fresh corn tortillas. I cook my own chicken for the enchiladas, but you could use rotisserie chicken and just shred it and add some spice. This is a great dish to serve if you’re feeding a crowd; if it’s a large crowd, it’s easy enough to double the recipe. (Serves 4-6)


For the Chicken:

  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp. Light Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Coriander
  • 1.2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Enchiladas:

  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion – finely chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Jalapeno Pepper – seeds and membrane removed and finely chopped
  • 1 TBS. Corn Oil
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Corn Tortillas
  • 1 28 Oz. Can of Enchilada Sauce (mild)
  • 10-12 Oz. Queso Chihuahua – grated (can substitute Monterey Jack or Mexican blend – just make sure cheese does not contain spices)
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Cilantro – chopped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add chicken and broth to an 8×8 baking dish. Add chopped garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne and salt and pepper to the top of the chicken. Chicken with spices ready to be cookedBake until chicken in cooked through (30-40 minutes depending on size of chicken breasts). Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and allow to cool. In the meantime, heat corn oil in medium sized saute pan. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno to the pan and saute until tender. Saute onion garlic and jalapenoUse a fork to shred chicken. Shredded chickenCombine chicken, onion mixture, and 1- 1.5 Cups of the grated cheese – set aside. Enchilada fillingPour a thin layer of enchilada sauce into a  9×12 baking dish and set aside. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce into a pie plate or onto a plate. Heat 3-4 tortillas in the microwave for 10-20 seconds just to soften so they don;t crack apart when rolling. Add a tortilla to the enchilada sauce (in pie plate) and soak on both sides. Add about 2-3 TBS. of Chicken filling to the tortilla, Place a layer of filling on tortillaroll up tightly and place seam side down into the 9×12 baking dish. Repeat this until you have used up all of the filling – you should end up with 10-12 enchiladas depending on how fat you make your enchiladas. Rolled enchiladasPour a layer of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas Cover with a layer of sauceand top with remaining cheese (you can add more if you like). Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through (about 20-30 minutes). Chicken Enchiladas out of the ovenAllow to cool 5-10 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with sour cream (optional).

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey and Kale

This is a hearty but healthy soup. It’s been in the single digits here in Michigan, and this soup is a welcome warm-up. It’s great for dinner with a thick slice of crusty bread and a hunk of hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano or Asiago), or have it for lunch. I loaded the soup up with greens because I feel like our vegetable intake is always lacking in the winter, but you can certainly cut back on the amount of greens. I used dried beans that I soaked, but if you don’t have the time to soak the beans overnight, you can substitute canned beans. I used Great Northern Beans, but you can substitute any other type of white bean (including garbanzos), or use a combination of beans.


  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion – chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 48 oz. Dried Great Northern (White) Beans (or your favorite white bean)
  • 1 Smoked Turkey Leg
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Cups Chopped Carrots (about 3 carrots)
  • 1 Cup Celery – Chopped
  • 64 Oz. Chicken Stock (about 12 Cups)
  • 4-6 Cups Kale or Escarole (or other dark leafy green)
  • Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Thyme

Carrots and celery



Pour beans into a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Soak the beansDrain the beans and set aside. Add the turkey leg to a medium stockpot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until turkey leg is cooked and tender  – about  60-90 minutes. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and garlic and saute until tender. Saute onions and garlicAdd smoked turkey leg, beans, and chicken stock, and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until beans are al dente (about 15-20 minutes). Add Beans and waterRemove turkey leg from the pot, and, when cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the leg (discarding skin) and shred. Ladle out about 1  cup beans and 1/3 cup of cooking liquid and transfer to a blender or food processor. Puree bean mixture Pureed beansand return puree to stockpot. Add shredded turkey meat, carrots, celery, greens, and bay leaf and simmer until vegetables are tender.Add Kale Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese and a sprig of fresh thyme.Ready to serve