Category Archives: dinner

Spinach Turnovers, yeah they’re French

A few years ago someone secretly slipped a burned DVD under my door. I popped it in the player and I found out it was all of the episodes of Julia Child’s The French Chef. Not to look fortune in the mouth I immediately made this dish and then just as immediately forgot about it. If you’re looking for an impressive dinner that is different and fun, this one is for you. Don’t get intimidated. If this is too confusing here is Julia herself doing it.


Side note: Always check your oven before turning it on. The day before making this I had a thanksgiving party and someone thought it would be hilarious to put a plastic turkey in my oven. Well it was hilarious but I had to quickly move dinner to Kris and Laurels house as black smoke was emanating from my oven.batterjunkie-11
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Ingredients:
Pastry for 2 – 9” crusts, (unbleached pastry flour)
9 -12oz. fresh spinach, washed (Yield 2 cups blanched, drained- squeezed dry, chopped)
 4 oz. fresh white small mushrooms, quartered
½ cup diced small prosciutto
1 TBSP butter
Sauce Bouillée:
1 medium onion, diced
1/4  cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 and 2/3 cup hot milk
1 egg
Salt & pepper to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
For Cream Sauce:
Remaining Sauce Bouillée
1/2 cup or more cream or milk
Salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Glaze:
2 eggs separated save the yolks
1 tsp. water
Wash the spinach and plunge into a large kettle of boiling water for about 2 minutes. Then immediately toss it into cold water. Squeeze the water out, dry it between towels and chop it finely. You need at least 2 cups of spinach toss in a large sauce pot.
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In a fry pan sauté, thinly slice mushrooms  and prosciutto with 1 TBSP butter until tender. Set it aside.
In a sauce pan sauté onion over low heat in 1/4 cup butter until translucent. Take out half of the onion and throw it in the saucepan with the spinach. (this will make sense later)
For Sauce Bouillée:
Add the flour to the remaining onion and cook the roux over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Whisk in the hot milk a little at a time. This sauce is going to be THICK, just how you like it. Take the pan off the heat and beat in an eggSalt and pepper to taste and add a pinch of nutmeg. Put about a 1/2 cup of the sauce in with the spinach and onion in the other saucepan. Mix together over low heat for about a minute. Set aside.
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For Cream Sauce:
Stir 1/2  cup or more of cream into remaining Sauce Bouillée until it is thinned to a sauce consistency. Simmer for about 10 minutes stirring slowly. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with a bit of the Gruyère and let it melt a bit, then stir it in. Set aside and when we are ready to serve we’ll warm it over low heat and stir in the rest of the Gruyère. 
To assemble the pastry:
Now you’ve got the parts lets make a long pie! Roll the dough into a 10” by 15″ rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Trim the edges so that it is even and square, saving cut scraps. Lay the dough on a lightly floured surface. Beat egg yolk with 1 tsp of water and glaze the pastry with the mixture.
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Spread half the spinach mixture on 1/3 of the pastry lengthwise. Keep a 1/2” edge bare so you can seal it. Place mushrooms and prosciutto on top then spread remaining spinach over mushroom mixture forming another layer.
Fold the pastry up and over and seal the edges with your fingers, then press with tines of fork.
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Place on greased baking sheet and cut pastry scraps into strips. Glaze turnover with an egg glaze of 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water. Decorate with strips laying them on a diagonal or leave them off if you ain’t that fancy. Trim edges that hang over. Glaze again with your egg mixture. Press all of the edges with a fork.
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Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned and crisp.
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Slide it onto a board to cut diagonally. Now add the rest of the Gruyère and warm up the cream sauce. Pour a healthy dollop over each slice of turnover.
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Serve that mamma jamma hot to happy people!batterjunkie-2
Enjoy!

I’ll stuff your Sausage…Mushrooms

Do you like mushrooms? If you don’t, I am judging you but I’m not too fussed. Maybe look at another recipe…Ok now that they’re gone, here’s the good stuff. These mushrooms will increase your penis size, make your breasts grow to epic proportions and super-charge your libido. You have been warned.

2 tablespoons butter
50 or so mushrooms (remove the stems)
1 pound HOT Italian sausage
1 small chopped onion
5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP Dried Basil
2 TBSP Oregano
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet like you know you want to…real slow like…sorry I got distracted.
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Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms and just like when you’re experimenting in the bedroom you want to do them for about 5 minutes a side until softened. Transfer the mushrooms to that sexy pan you greased.

batterjunkie-2Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat drop in your hot sausage, you dirty bastard. Once it’s sizzlin’ dump in the onion, garlic, and extra stem pieces and cook until the meat is brown and crumbly, about 10 minutes.

batterjunkie-5Drain excess grease and throw it out like a jilted lover. Toss the mix into a large bowl and stir in bread crumbs, 1/4 parmesan, 1/4 mozzarella, oregano, and parsley.

batterjunkie-6Now get your little love mushrooms and tenderly, gently, spoon the sausage mix into the little mushrooms cups. I like to press the spoonful up again the side of the pan really hard. This packs it. Then squish it into mushrooms.

batterjunkie-7Once they are all in the pan, dust the tops with the remaining cheese.

Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.batterjunkie-8Then put those hot little mushroomy balls into the closest person’s mouth.batterjunkie-9Enjoy.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Garlic Spinach

Hello friendly Batter Junkies. Today I made a meal with a friend of mine who wanted to keep the cholesterol to a minimum and thusly this lovely seasonal meal was born. Sweet Potatoes are a nice fall-ish flavor while the Garlic Spinach gives the meal some depth. We also made a nice salad to go with. It’s just been that kind of day. So if you’ve been chokin’ down too many burgers or licking sticks of butter like a sneaky kid at fat camp, this is the meal for you. Impossibly, we found the Baked Sweet Potato recipe from Paula Deen. This may be the only thing she’s ever made that doesn’t involve copious amounts of butter.

Ingredients Sweet Potatoes:
5 large Sweet Potatoes
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP chopped fresh garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Ingredients Garlic Spinach:
1 and 1/2 lbs washed, fresh Spinach
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP chopped garlic
1/2 onion chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 lemon
1 TBSP unsalted butter

Ok ya’ll preheat that there oven to 450 F (230 C).  (Make sure to read this with a thick Paula Deen-ish southern drawl) Then git yer sweet pataters and peel um, cut um into 1/4 inch slices and then slice those into 1/4 inch fries.

Batterjunkie-7950Toss all them slices in a giant bowl with a half a stick of butt…OOPS! I mean 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Mix um around until fully coated. Then sprinkle the pepper, salt, garlic and cayenne over the fries and mix again.

Batterjunkie-7951Now arrange them on a baking sheet (flatten them out so there are none on top of one and other) and pop um in the oven just as fast as Paula Deen lost her job.

Batterjunkie-7952Bake them for about 25 minutes. While doing that start on the Spinach!

In a large pot, we used a Dutch Oven because the Dutch don’t get enough airtime really, place the olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook them for just a minute or two and toss in the spinach.

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Using a wooden spoon or really any utensil of your choice (I recommend against your hand) stir the spinach for about 2 minutes and then put the lid on it. This will wilt the spinach. Add salt and pepper and stir for another minute or two until completely wilted.

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Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on it and serve. We did not place a pat of butter on top but to each his or her own. Also, we made a green salad to go along with, sheer genius really.

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Enjoy.

 

 

Jamaican Pumpkin Lentil Soup

You know I spent a while playing with the name of this soup. Jamaican Lentil Pumpkin soup, Lentil Jamaican Pumpkin soup, Soup Jamaican Lentil Pumpkin and nothing really worked. Maybe listing ingredients sequentially by how much of each appeared in the soup? Scrapped that, as I was unable to adequately determine how much Jamaican it contained.

I found this on yummly basically by typing in the ingredients in my fridge that looked like they were about to become sentient. I’d made Dal Baht a few days prior and had a lot of left over items which, ding ding ding, these recipes share. This is a great simple seasonal soup which only takes about an hour to make. It’s great for awkward dinner parties, moon landings, and archeological digs.

Ingredients
1 minced onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 piece gingerroot (2 inches, grated)
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 TBSP ground coriander
1 1/2 tsps ground cumin
1 13oz can coconut milk
1 liter chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red lentils
1 sweet potato cubed
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
2 TBSP curry paste
black pepper to taste so add a lot really

Garlic and ginger love each other so once you’ve crushed and chopped them sufficiently drop them into a bowl together and really make the magic happen. Squish them together like two star-crossed lovers until you have a perfect mixture of the two which are both alike in wealth and dignity.   untitled-7949

In a grandiose gesture of good faith pull out a large cauldron, toss in your vegetable oil and onions. Stir them around for a spell until they become translucent like the skin of a Verona debutant.  Add in the lovers (garlic and ginger) being careful to continue stirring as to not allow their hot fiery love to consume them.untitled-7950Ask the poor  reluctant apothecary for  his wares. “I pay thy poverty and not thy will,” you scream at him as he hands you the coriander and cumin. Mix them into your pot and cook for another minute until you start to smell the spices on the cool night air.

Add everything else except the red curry paste. You are putting a whole mess of liquid in here so don’t be alarmed. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a medium simmer for about 35-40 minutes.

untitled-7951Test that it is done by sampling the sweet potato. If it is falling apart like the rivalry of two aristocratic families you’ve hit it on the head.

Add in your final ingredient, the curry paste and stir vigorously. If you’re not careful everyone will eat the soup without you. You’ll be left holding an empty bowl saying, “drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after?”

Anyway if everything doesn’t go your way don’t kill yourself over it

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Enjoy.

Marinated Flank Steak

A mainstay at gatherings has always been the proverbial gargantuan chunk of meat. I’ve never been the one to cook it, however. When Mr. Martinez is in town the beef chores are always left to him. When I go to a picnic and such, it seems we are always doing beer brats or hamburgers. This got me thinking that I need to perfect the art of “the big meat.” For my birthday I bought myself a flank steak. So here’s my meat everyone. I hope you enjoy every inch of it.

Ingredients:
2-3 lbs (1 kilo to 1.5 kilos) flank steak.
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt

I’m not sure anything could be easier than preparing the marinade. Mince that garlic then add all of the wet ingredients into a glass container or bowl. Mix in the garlic.

Now in a large bowl (I put mine in a resealable pyrex…and no that is not a euphemism for something) lay out the flank steak. About every inch score it with a knife across the grain so that the marinade gets all up in there like a cowboy into the farmer’s wife.

Place the steak into whatever vessel you’ve deem best and pour the marinade all over it. I like to flip the steak around in it to get it good and basted. Cover it and put it in the fridge.

Let it sit for about 2 hours or as long as overnight. I have tasted little difference based on the amount of time yet conventional knowledge dictates that the longer the better (evidently that is also “what she said”).

Once you’re ready to cook it, take it out of the vessel and lay it prone on a platter. Generously coat that beautiful bastard with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Cook for 4-6 minutes a side on a very hot gas grill with the lid closed. It will inevitably take longer than that but you will have to judge for your self. I think it is best served medium rare. The site where I found this recipe has a cool test I was taught years ago by a line cook to test the doneness of steak using your hand. Check it out! May I present: the finger test! All this time I thought the finger test was something else…moving along.

Once it is done slice that bad mama jama diagonally in thin strips.

Enjoy your long piece of hot meat.

Albondigas

There are very few times when a whole weekend comes together like a symphony of howler monkeys but when it does, well, you feel like a freshly shined nickel. The day before the day before Christmas this year we were blessed with the company of the incomparable Martinez family. As oft happens whenever we get together, we cooked. Barney, Mike’s father, gave us a little master class in making Albondigas, or Mexican meatballs, while Kathy, Mike’s mom and my mom, Barbara, provided the color commentary.  The result? Some dynamite Mexican food and an evening full of almost uncontrollable, heartfelt belly-laughter! Thank you to all.

I will never look at the church-key bottle opener the same way again, Kathy.

Ingredients:
1 beef soup bone
1 and 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
1 TBSP finely minced onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 TBSP olive oil
2 and 1/2 quarts of water
6oz can of tomato paste
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots sliced
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 TBSP chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup long grain rice

First: Boil the soup bone in the 2 and 1/2 quarts of water for an hour.

When you’re cooking with two moms make sure they both have a full glass of wine. This is an important step because if the meatballs go wrong no one will notice.

Chop up the veggies! In a large saucepan cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until it is golden brown.

Add the soup bone broth you’ve been making for the last hour while one of the moms has been telling you a story about when she saw Led Zeppelin or went to Cuba or something. Then add in the tomato paste and salt to taste. Bring to a boil then add the potatoes and carrots. Simmer this burgeoning soup baby for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in meatball-making land combine egg, cilantro, mint leaves, ground beef, salt, pepper, and rice.Mix well. If the meat is cold this will suck. There is nothing for it, you are just going to freeze your hands.


One of the moms may help hold the bowl for you but be sure to tell her to go back to drinking wine and telling you about her safari in Zimbabwe.

Remember it’s all for the good of meatballs and your frozen-paw-sacrifice will not be in vain. Form the meat into 1 inch meatballs. Barney above demonstrates the rolling technique.

At this point everyone will be trying to talk over one and other. We found that instituting a “talking stick,” and story time limit helps with this. We used a church-key bottle opener. Kath may or may not have exceeded her time limit!

Add a few meatballs at a time to the simmering pot of awesome. There are some who use a ladle to lower them into the soup.
Mike simply drops them in with nature’s ladle, his hand. Watch out for collateral splash-age.

After adding the whole plate of meatballs, lower the heat on your pot, add the oregano, and simmer for another 30 minutes or until the meatballs and vegetables are done.

The meatballs should start to float and be firm-ish to the touch.

Mike also prepared a small plate of chopped cilantro, oregano and finely chopped onion as garnish.

Serve with fresh lemon, salsa, and a few crushed Mexican-style tortilla chips or heated corn tortillas and Mexican rice.


All and all this was one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever received. I love you guys and damn did we eat and laugh well!.

Check out this fine lookin’ group!
Until next time…

Enjoy!

Mama’s Jambalaya, Laissez les bons temps rouler!

For most of my youth I can remember mom and dad taking a yearly trip to New Orleans to visit their friend Arthur. Arthur took them to the most amazing places around New Orleans. Dank dark clubs into which the common tourist wouldn’t dare venture, late night jazz sessions, but most notably little hole-in-the wall gumbo and crawfish houses. The result was an appreciation for Cajun cooking. This Jambalaya has been a part of family gatherings for years and now I bring it to you. This is a ONE POT meal for all of you out there who are adverse to doing dishes.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts cut in 1 inch cubes, dust with pepper & cayenne
2 Habañero or Andouille sausages—sliced.
1 green pepper—chopped
2 onions—chopped
2 stalks celery—chopped
4 cloves garlic—minced
4 cups chicken broth
1-2 tsp salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp thyme
Add, cover, and cook over lowest heat 25 minutes:
2 cups raw rice
1/2 cup green onions—chopped
1/2-1 tsp Tabasco
1/2 lb. fresh shelled shrimp

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add in the dusted chicken breasts. Brown for about 8-10 minutes. During this time you can do various tasks like learn to underwater basket weave or read the complete works of Anne Coulter, she’s a peach. Add in the sausage and cook for about 2 more minutes.

Then add in the green pepper, onions, celery and garlic and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. At this point the magic happens. Toss in the chicken broth, (if you use bouillon, add no salt) salt, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme. This is where the Jambalaya really starts to Jam. Let that whole thing simmer once again for about 10 minutes. I through the lid on (always use protection) so it heats up more quickly.

At long last you’ve got to a good looking dish. We just have to finish her off an be patient. That’s what she said? Anyhow, add in the rice, green onions, and Tabasco (or whatever your favorite hot sauce might be). Now, lower the heat and let that puppy simmer with the lid on for about 25 minutes.

At this point the rice should almost be done. Remove cover, add shrimp, fluff rice (not that kind of fluff, naughty reader), and cook for 5 minutes longer. The shrimp should be pink. If it isn’t cook a little longer. If you’re colorblind like me, eat one of the shrimp. If you don’t die, it’s done!

Enjoy you bastards! They did…

 

 

 

Grampa Jack’s Stuffing (and Turkey)

This is one of those recipes that I have known and made since I was wee. So we have had this in about 80 turkeys or so growing up and finally this Thanksgiving I sat mom down and made her measure out the ingredients. It was a painful process but the world will benefit from my tenacity. We often triple this recipe and bake two 13 X 9 pans of stuffing ’cause it’s just that good to eat. Strap in kids cause it’s gonna be delicious.

Ingredients:

1 big ass Turkey.
1 loaf of bread torn into pieces and allowed to dry for 1 day.
1 chopped onion (walla walla sweets are good)
4 stalks chopped celery
8 oz of bacon (225 grams)
1 Tbsp Ground Thyme
1 Tbsp Ground Sage
1 Tbsp Ground Marjoram
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup – 1 1/2 cups of water

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).

Chop up your ingredients, duh!

Get arty.

First cook the bacon until it starts to get crispy.

Drain out the grease and conserve some it for some later basting. Then add in onions and celery.  While they are simmering away take your ripped up bread and toss it into a brown paper bag. Add the Thyme, Sage, Marjoram, salt and pepper to the bag. Now shake it like a Polaroid picture.

Once the bacon is crispy, drain out some of the grease and save it. Add the onions and celery to the bacon and cook until the onions start to become transparent. Onions are generally transparent, they lack almost any sense of tact.

Once the bread is well seasoned, pour it all into a large bowl and add the cooked bacony mixture of awesomeness. Once that is mixed in well, add water slowly to rehydrate the bread. Moisten it up like a bashful debutante! Then give your turkey a call. Make sure she’s empty. Remove any, giblets, neck, whatever the hell else is inside of her. You don’t want any part of that.

Then feed the turkey a few drinks, tell her about your world travel and when you volunteered for “Cooks Without Boarders.”

Once she’s good and relaxed spread her legs and fill her full of your stuffing. When you’re done secure the skin with pins. Place the turkey in a deep pan and rub it down with bacon grease (SPF 15 incidentally), maybe play a little Barry White. This will allow it to brown well. Once it is in the pan add about an inch of water to the pan. This will keep it moist while cooking.

Put the turkey in the oven. Tell it you’ll call as a courtesy but we all know you’re not gonna call. Now here is the expert part. You need to cook the turkey for 10 minutes a pound at 350. Don’t deviate, we have tried other temperatures and times it just doesn’t work. Don’t mess with perfection.

Baste the turkey from time to time and once the top is brown, cover it with tin foil. This will prevent her from burning and preserve her lovely tan.

When the turkey finishes cooking, put it on a serving plate and invite over your friends. There she is, all demure and succulent. Now it’s carving time.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Mücver Turkish Zucchini Fritters

Wow are these good. Deep fried anything is generally tasty but these my friends are the yummiest! They are so easy to make and really can be reheated or taken cold to picnics or dinner parties. The fun part is that they are a great way of convincing yourself that you’re eating healthily. Because it’s vegetables, right?

Ingredients:
3 medium zucchinis,  finely grated.
1 bunch green onions
1/2 cup flour
4oz (120 gram) feta
3 eggs
1 TBSP of fresh chopped mint (dried is ok as well)
1 tsp dried dill
Saffola oil for frying

Peel and grate the zucchini.

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl to create the batter.

Take about a 1/4 cup of batter and toss it into the Saffola oil.

Fry up each side for about 5 minutes.

Flip.

Take them out and put them on a paper towel to sop up some of the grease.

Serve these with rice and a salad! Sweet mother, look at what you’ve made. You’ll make an amazing cook yet.

Enjoy.

Ceviche Peruano

Archaeologist had found that food similar to ceviche was consumed nearly 2,000 years ago. It is believe that the “predecessor to the dish was brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada who accompanied the Spanish conquistadors, and this dish eventually evolved into what now is considered ceviche.” Wikipedia.

Well, that’s pretty neat. I studied in Granada and though I didn’t see too many Moorish women, there were a fair share of conquistadors. Anyway, on to the fun. This is a recipe from Rana who got it from her maestra fantastica de español. She made this dish the other day and it was facemeltingly good.

Ingredients:

2 fillets of cod (about 1/2 lb)

7 limes juiced (enough to almost cover the fish)

1 stick of celery finely chopped

1 Aji Amarillo chile pepper (any hot pepper can work)

1Tbsp cooking oil (canola or saffola)

salt to your taste

1 clover of garlic finely chopped

1/4 bunch of cilantro

1/4 bunch of parsley

1/2 a medium onion chopped (soaked in cold water with salt for 15 minutes)

1 head of butter lettuce

2 sweet potatoes

dried basil

dried oregano

Squeeze your metric ass ton of limes. Get those juices out of there like it’s your job. Strain the juice once you’re done to get the pulp out.

Cut the fish horizontally then cube so you have attractive bits o fish. Then place the fish in a dish and pour in the lime juice. You want to cover the fish because the lime juice is the only thing cooking it.

Then chop your soaked onions after washing them (we used green onions which you don’t have to soak).

Now add the celery, pepper, oil, salt and garlic. Then put it in the refrigerator and leave. You need to find something to do for 3 hours. Go shopping, drink some wine, why not a quick roll in the hay? Do whatever you need to distract yourself from the deliciousness in your fridge.

About 20 minutes before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 400 and boil a big pot of water on the stove. Thinly slice the sweet potatoes. Put them in an oven-safe pan with some olive oil, basil, oregano and salt. Bake for 20 minutes.

About 10 minutes after you put the sweet potatoes in the oven throw the corn into the boiling water. Sentenced to die like the noble lobster, corn tastes about as wonderful (as lobster) when lathered in butter. The corn should boil about 10 minutes.

Then add the cilantro, parsley, and chopped onion to the ceviche. Here you’ll see that Rana has served it on the butter lettuce with the other sweet potato and corn perfectly framing this traditional Peruvian dinner.

Is it finally summer yet? With this dish in mouth, you’ll feel like it always is.

Until next time.

Enjoy!

Cazuela de Vaca (Beef and Pumpkin Stew)

Worried what to do with that post-Halloween Pumpkin? Do you have nightmares of a molding orange gourd slowly becoming one with your porch? Well look no further. The Batter Junkie has a solution. Rana and I participate in a farmer’s coop so we get lots of fresh veggies every week. Once again, owing chiefly to the season, we have received a pumpkin! What to do? Well how about a little Chilean dish. This is something I found on the intarwebs by simply searching for the ingredients I had around the house. I will be honest though, if another pumpkin comes next week, I’m going all headless horsemen on it’s ass.
Ingredients
700 gram (1 1/2 lbs) beef cubed
1 liter (32 ounce) beef broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup polenta
8 red potatoes cubed
1 onion diced
700 gram (1 1/2 lbs) slice of pumpkin (calabaza sí estas en España)
2 ears corn (I could not get corn fresh so I used one can of corn from Whole foods)
1 carrot sliced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 stalk celery chopped
1 leek chopped
1 tsp minced fresh oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste (you can be liberal with these as there is a lot of stew)
1/2 cup or so of coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

So here be how ya does it. Cube the beef and toss it in a large soup pot. Pour in the water and beef broth and boil baby boil! Once it all comes to a boil lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and relax.

Oh, wait you have to cut everything, you can’t relax. Come on man do I have to tell you everything? Set the timer for 1 hour and chop the rest of your veggies.

After the beef has simmered for an hour in it’s beefy brothiness, it is ready for the veggies.

Stir in the polenta, potatoes and onion. Simmer that puppy for another 15 minutes. This will insure that the potatoes cook.

Now add in all of the other vegetables saving out the cilantro and oregano. Simmer those veggies for about 15 more minutes or until they are your desired tenderness. If the veggies start singing Otis Redding, they are ready. Make sure to add enough water to cover the veggies just barely. The hour of simmering the meat may evaporate a lot of liquid.

 
The last 5 minutes before you serve add in the fresh oregano. Now remove from heat, pour into a bowl and serve with fresh chopped cilantro on top! Disfruta!

Labels: dinner, pumpkin, soup, potatoes,

Pumpkin Soup, you slut.

It’s that time of year again when everyone tries their damnedest to look like something + prostitute. Yes I’m talking about that ever mutable holiday, All Hallows Eve where we as a nation have decided that regardless of its inherent ridicularity, showing as much skin as possible the day before November makes irrefutable sense. Well, once you’ve spent a night whoring it up and down the neighborhood for “candy” you might be warmed by this pleasantly festive soup.

Ingredients
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup of cream (this is totally optional and I did not add it)

So really the hardest part about this is staying sober while you’re waiting for it to boil. I used fresh pumpkin so I had to actually puree (not just a noun) my pumpkin. Once that was done I literally tossed all of the ingredients into a pot,

Brought it to a boil,

turned it down to a simmer,

and went about my extraordinarily merry way for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes you can throw in a thickener if you are looking for that bisque-like quality, which I really wasn’t because I was well, all bisqued out. (add in some cream if you so desire.)

Now the original recipe said to puree this mutha at the halfway point. I didn’t really see the point because I like onions but if you have weak digestion or a penchant for baby food, go for it.

Set it to simmer again for an additional 30 minutes.

When that timer goes off you’ll be in sexy Halloween costume heaven slurping it up like sexy Catwoman and if you spill any you can wipe it up like a sexy maid, and if you throw up afterward because your sexy costume got you oodles of free shots, then you can clean it up like a sexy plumber.

Oh look out it’s sexy batman.

Happy Halloween,

Sluts.

Enjoy.


Home made Pizza

So you may think this is beyond you but really it’s not. Your own pizza. Amaze your friends. Amaze your small pets and animals. Amaze yourself as you triumphantly promote the gods of gluten to bow to your very whim. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:
1 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water about 45 C (110 F)
1 tsp dry yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose four

Topping:
Your discrection!
What I used:
Tomato basil marinara sauce
goat cheese
tomato
mozzarella
basil

Directions

In a big ass bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let the yeast orgy commence for about 10 minutes, until they’re all tuckered out and foamy.

Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of white flour into until the dough starts to gel like a really good conversation in a college bistro.

Toss that dough onto the counter but first make sure to put down some flour. Knead it like the antidote for all of the world’s problems are in there and (until all of the flour has been absorbed). Then form that puppy into a ball of awesome!

Throw it in an oiled bowl, preferably oiled by a circa 400 a.d. Egyptian oil merchant, and turn to coat the surface. Cover the bowl with a towel to prevent nasty stuff from getting in there. Let it sit an hour or so.

Once the dough has doubled in size, like a mountain becoming slowly erect, roll it out onto a floured counter again. Divide it in 2 for thin crust or use it all for thick crust (preferred by women around the globe!) Swish it into a ball again and let her rise again!

Once that has doubled again preheat the oven to 425. Squish the dough into the bottom of the pan and toss it in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Pull it out and add your toppings. (In my case: Marinara sauce, goat cheese, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil.

Bake it all for about 20 more minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and so be the crust!

Enjoy!

Our family Pesto

Pesto one of those universal foods that almost anyone can get behind, and here it is folks for your cooking enjoyment. Pesto comes from the Genoese word pestâ which literally means pounded or smushed. Long ago this dish was made by grinding together the ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Since we generally don’t have the time or patience for that, we used a blender. We’ve been making this since I was a bambino growing up in northern Italy.

Ingredients:
2 c. fresh basil leaves
1/3 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp. salt

Add to:
500kg (12-16 oz.) Rotini or spiral pasta, cooked al dente, drained leaving 1-2 T. cooking liquid
1-2 T. butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. grated Romano pecorino cheese may be added if you’ve got it lying around. I find that if you don’t already have it, Romano adds a lot of cost to a relatively inexpensive meal, so your call cowboy.

I can’t really get my head around making the directions for this interesting. Let me put it this way, I could already be done with the directions, I’m just stalling so you keep reading.


Blend the living crap out of the first 5 ingredients. 2 cups of basil is hard to judge so I generally use about 2, 4oz boxes from Trader Joe’s.

If you’re in a part of the world without a Trader Joe’s, firstly, I’m sorry for you, but secondly I’m sure in your country, basil is not more expensive than Salmon which it is in the US.

Once the ingredients are nicely blended add them to 12oz or so of the pasta being careful to leave a little of the water in which you cooked the pasta. Add the butter and grated Parmesan and Romano if you’re a high roller! Mix it all together in the pot, and you got yourself a home-cooked meal to die for.
 Make sure to mix the pesto in with the noodles before you take it out of the pot. That way they get coated better.

(no picture available as I was too busy eating!)

Enjoy.

North Indian style Spinach Chicken

I know, I know. March was sadly the first month since the start of the blog (over a year ago now) that I did not post a recipe. It turns out the whole full time job thing just changes everything. Excuses. On to the stuff you care about.
 
So here is a recipe that is easy and amazing. For the purest Indian food connoisseurs this may be a Sunset magazine bastardization of a traditional food but, sweet mother, is it tasty! Beth, O Beth you always bring such lovely things into my life notwithstanding yourself. Beth, Rana, Meg (incidentally three of my favorite people) and I all made this one night and it left us all with smiles. Maybe that was the wine but I think that this dish had at least a passing influence on the success of our night.

Ingredients:

3 tsp saffola or canola oil (any veggie oil will work)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
225 grams (8oz) crimini or button mushrooms (sliced)
1 large onion (chopped)
2 inch long piece of ginger (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tsp ground coriander (if you don’t have this I just throw in more cilantro they’re from the same plant!)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayanne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
600 grams (1 and 1/2 lbs) chicken breast (cut into 1 inch chunks)
1 cup of canned, diced tomatoes
450 grams (1 lb) baby spinach
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
Also, don’t forget to make some rice.

Ok so first start by getting 3 hot young ladies! Check! Then you toss some of that oil in a pot and drop in the fenugreek seeds for about 2 seconds. “What the hell is feungreek?” I hear you say. Only the warrior monks of a hidden Chinese fishing village know but they’re not telling. Regardless it adds a nice flavor. Don’t let them get too lonely (the ladies or the seeds). Now gets to sauteing the onions and add those mushrooms right in there.

 Stir that mixture around for about 7 minutes. During this time I would suggest flirting with the ladies, perhaps telling a funny story or throwing down some dance moves. However you work your groove…

At this point add the ginger, garlic, coriander, salt, cumin, cayanne and turmeric to the pot. Then add in the cut chicken and stir until it is no longer pink on the outside. Then add the tomatoes and cover the pot, simmering for about 8 minutes.

Take this time, once again to regale the ladies with a heroic tale of when you fought off a bear with a spoon while camping in Zimbabwe.

At this point stir in the spinach, lemon juice and cilantro and you’re done. But that’s just where we got started!

Serve it up with your favorite wine or beverage.

Happy
Ladies
Three!
Enjoy!

Wontons

Oh, it’s on muthas! So the amazing and exciting Kim invited Rana and me over for wontons the other night. I was so excited because I haven’t made them since I was a wee one. When I was little my grandmother would talk about her friend Sally who was the mother of a famous bay area chef, Martin Yan, who had his own show on PBS called, “Yan Can Cook.” This show, that grandma and my brother and I watched religiously, was responsible for teaching me (with some assistance from the folks) how to chop vegetables. Every time I make Chinese food I think of Yan Can Cook and my grandma. The following is as close to Kim’s actual words as I could make it.

Ingredients:
One package of Wonton wrappers

Da Filling:
500 gr (1lb) of ground beef or pork
4-5 scallions sliced
6oz (about a bag) of spinach boiled for 1 min just so it is wilted
2-3 inch chunk of fresh ginger grated
bit o salt
bit o pepper
bit o sesame oil
bit o soy sauce
pinch o brown sugar

Dipping sauce:
1 clove crushed garlic
4-5 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp hot chili oil/siracha
2 tsp sesame oil

The first thing you need to do is mix everything under filling together in a bowl. I know it’s raw meat but get over yourself and just get in there.

Those of fainter heart use a spoon. However, my rule is if you can’t touch it, you shouldn’t eat it. Just sayin’.batterjunkie-1

batterjunkie-5      BRAINS!!! (I would not eat the raw meat lest you become a zombie)batterjunkie-2

Place a small spoonful of meat just smaller than a meatball in the middle of the wonton wrapper, then wrap it up, bitch! Below are pictures of how to wrap it. Basically, get a glass of water and wet your fingers. Slide them wantonlyover two edges of the squares. Perpendicular, yo.

Then with the care of sensual wonton-lover fold the squares over into triangles, sealing the meatball in its doughy prison.batterjunkie-3

Then fold over the tips so you have a little thing that looks like you have mail from the dough-fairy. Or as Rana says it looks like a little wonton hug!batterjunkie-6

Once you run out of meat you’re ready to boil those little babies! Boil them for about 3 min, they should be floating on the surface at that point. When they float you be done! Serve with rice…if you’ve been reading, you know I won’t teach you how to do rice. It’s just not worth a whole post.batterjunkie-7

If you have any left over meat you can simply fry it up and munch on it while you’re waiting.

Before you start boiling I would put together the dippin’ sauce. Just mix the ingredients in a bowl. If you can’t handle raw garlic (you insufferable wimp) then fry it in olive oil for about 1 minute before putting it in.

These are fast and fun and can be frozen for a later meal. If you plan to freeze them, do so before you boil them. Then when you’re hungry you just pot them into a boiling pot. Yeah, y’all. Go cook some Chinese!
Devon

Eggplant stuffed with Goat Cheese (Peynirli Patlıcan)

MY DARLINGS! How have you been? I know it has been a long time and I am sorry. I will not make excuses, just post some recipes! This one will make it up to you, I hope!

Rana and I had this at a Peace Corps party thrown by a family friend every year in Seattle. One of the attendees brought this and we were so blown away by its flavor we asked him for the recipe. Now this doesn’t really fall into the “super healthy” category because of the large amounts of oil but it’s so good you won’t care. Let us begin!

3 aubergines (eggplants)
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp minced dill
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs
1 cup olive oil for frying
1 cup soft white cheese
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1 tsp minced chives
1 tsp garlic salt

Cut off the tops of the aubergines and peel off the skins.

Cut the aubergines into four, lengthwise pieces sprinkle generously with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. I cut mine into more pieces because I was using American eggplant which is much bigger. I got about 5-6, 3/4-inch thick pieces out of each eggplant. Wash well, dry and fry in olive oil until pale brown. Now find a nice spot where someone won’t eat them, and leave them to cool.

In a bowl, mash the cheese with a fork, add salt, parsley, dill, chives and 2 of the eggs and mix well together.

Spread this mixture over half of the aubergines, cut sides upwards, and arrange the
other half of the aubergines on top, like a sandwich. This was messy so we don’t have a picture.

Beat the other two eggs lightly and roll the aubergine sandwiches in the egg.  Then roll the eggy aubergine sandwich in the the bread crumbs. I recommend putting the eggs in a shallow plate and the same with the crumbs.

Fry in olive oil for 3-4 mintues, on each side and serve hot. You don’t have to serve hot but your public will absolutely love you if you do. These can be made ahead of time and are just as yummy.

Once they become golden brown on each side you know you’re done. Now it’s time to munch on a very tasty dinner treat! 

Enjoy kids!

Labels: dinner, eggplant, goat cheese, Turkish

Empanadas de Omaira

Empanadas are a Spanish, Portuguese and South American treat. They should not be missed by any means for any reason. The other night the beautiful and talented Omaira, a Venezuelan friend, made her mother’s recipe for us! Prepare to get quite hungry while reading this post. It’s just going to happen. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Ingredients:
Empanada dough
white corn meal flour (Harina de Maiz Blanco)
water
salt

Filling
Potatoes: 4 red potatoes
1 Tbsp butter
Grated cheese
Beef: 225 grams (1/2 pound) ground beef
Your choice of spices for meat*
1/2 onion

Chicken: 225 grams (1/2 pound) chicken breast
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion quartered
1/2 onion chopped

Other needed items
Saffola oil for frying
Salt
Pepper
1 Large block of cheddar cheese

Think that’s about right but I’m doing this from memory and considerable amounts of wine were involved. Ok, so here’s how you make these lovelies.

We made 2 different kinds of empanadas because, well, we could. If you want you could put only one kind of thing inside. It is really up to you.

First start by peeling and boiling the potatoes (in that order). This is an important step with which to start because much like the pot pies the potatoes have to be done before you make the empanadas. Once they are boiled (about 20-30 minutes) drain them and mash those puppies up! While mashing, add salt and pepper to taste and a good amount of grated cheese. Set aside.

Next chop up an onion and divide it into two equal piles. In a fry pan brown the ground beef. (*I add about 2 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste). Once it has begun to brown, add in the onions. Once everything is cooked. Set aside.

In a small pot boil about 2 cups of chicken broth. Quarter half of an onion and add it to the broth. Toss in the chicken and allow it to boil until it is done (about 10 minutes). Once it has boiled and is done in the middle, remove from heat, throw away the broth and boiled onion, and toss the chicken in a bowl. With two forks, shred the chicken. In a fry pan add the remaining half of the chopped onion and toss in the chicken. Spice as you like. Set aside.

Omaira attempts to teach Devon “the way.”

Now we’re cooking with gas. All you have to do is make the dough and you’re ready to go!
In a large bowl pour about 1-2 cups of water. Add in about 2 cups of corn meal flour and a tsp or so of salt. Mix it around with your hands. It should form a light not-quite-wet dough. This is a bit tricky so don’t be frustrated. I had an expert to teach me!

Once your dough is ready, roll it into balls roughly the size of a clementine. Then get out some plastic wrap and place it on a flat surface. Add a little Saffola to your hands (or whatever oil you’re using) and add some to the plastic wrap as well. This will keep it from sticking. Then, grab your balls!

Press the ball down with your hands onto the plastic wrap making a flat disc. Push in the sides to avoid cracks. Once the disc is about 1/4 inch thick you are ready to fill it.

Stick your meat on one side of the disc making sure not to add too much. I think you know where we are going. It must be a small enough amount of meat so the empanada can close. Add some cheese. Once your meat is in place, use the plastic wrap to fold up so the other half of the disc, without meat,  over the half with meat. Like this:

Through the plastic wrap press down on the edges so that the empanada seals. It should now look like a little half moon. Using a small cereal bowl or really any kind of bowl you might have around, press along the edge of the empanada (through the plastic) with the edge of the bowl, to create a nice edge. Repeat until you have used all of the dough.

We put the beef by itself most of the time and paired up the chicken filling with the potato. Yumtastic.

In about a half an inch of Saffola oil fry each empanada on each side for about 4-5 minutes.

Rana looks on as Devon attempts his first solo empanada.

That’s about it. These are one of those labors of love. Once you know how to make them, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it all of your life.

An excited group of empanada eaters!

A huge thanks to Omaira Borges, our amazing friend who shared her family recipe with us! Until next time, Enjoy!

Labels: Venezuelan, dinner, main, meat

Personal Chicken Pot Pies

So mom says she’s making these personal pot pies and I say, “No kidding?” She says yeah, they’re easy and yummy and you should try them so I did. Wow was she right. Though in my inimitable fashion I changed the recipe a bit.

Ingredients:
1/2 package of refrigerated pie dough
1 Tbsp olive oil 
1/2 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 cups chopped chicken breast
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of milk
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup carrot (chopped)
1/2 cup broccoli (chopped)
1/2 cup mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 – 1 cup boiled potatoes (chopped) 2 small reds

Extra stuff:
4 oven safe bowls (often called ramekins)

The first thing you need to do is chop up the potatoes and start boiling them. This takes about 20 minutes so start right away.

Next roll out your pie dough into roughly a 12 inch circle. Place the four oven safe bowls upside down on the dough and with a knife cut around them. Now you will have 4 little pie crusts for your 4 bowls.

Preheat the oven to 230 C (450 F).

In a largish pot add about a 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss in the onions. Sauté for about 2 minutes and add the garlic. Then toss in the chicken.

In a small bowl mix milk flour sour cream and chicken stock. Once the chicken is browned add the milk mixture to the pot. Then add salt and pepper.

Once the milk mixture is incorporated add the veggies and mushrooms.

Drain the potatoes and toss them into the pot as well. Mix them all up.

Now divide the chicken mixture into 4 bowls. Cut a few slits in the top of each dough topper and place them onto each oven safe bowl.

Place each crust over the pie and use a spoon to press down the edges on the sides. This keeps the whole thing intact. Now brush a little melted butter or oil over the top of each pie.

Throw them all in the oven for 15-18 minutes. Once the crusts start to turn a bit brown, they’re done. These are great for dinner parties and so easy to make you may become addicted.

Enjoy these and thank my mom with every bite!

Goat Cheese Rosemary Savory Muffins

Hey yall. These are fast muffins. I mean really fast. You don’t even have to buy them a drink to take them to bed. If you need a not sweet portable breakfasty treat, these are perfect. That said you can also have them with a savory dinner instead of rolls. For some reason goat cheese is the new ingredient of choice this year. Watch out for this soft flavorful queso, it’s gonna be a star.
Ok, lets get started!

Ingredients:
2 and 1/4 cups flour
2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary
3 Tbsp fresh or dried oregano
2 eggs
6 Tbsp butter (melt it!)
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
224 grams (8 oz) goat cheese
1/2 cup grated goat cheese (or your favorite grate-able cheese)

Plunk that oven up to 175 C (350 F).

In a mid-sized bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt rosemary and oregano.

In another bowl mix, yes yes you know it, the wet ingredients, eggs, butter, milk, sour cream and goat cheeses. You can also add some cut up fruit for a kick if you like.

Now gently fold the two together. As you do it be careful to just stir just enough to get the wet and dry mixed. This process will keep your muffins fluffy!

OK now grease the muffin tin or little paper cups if you roll that way, and divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups. It will pretty much fill them all full. That reminds me, Maja, how is my long lost muffin tin doing in Barcelona? I am jealous of that muffin tin.

Now toss these puppies in your warmed up oven and let them bake for about 20-25 minutes until they look roughly like this:

Once they are slightly brown on top, they’re done!

Enjoy!

Labels: muffins, savory, goat cheese, breakfast, dinner

Moroccan Chicken

Mom has been making this one for many years and it has become a family favorite! Being that it is her birthday I think it’s fitting that I post one of her recipes. Happy birthday ma! Thanks for all of the cooking advice through the years.

Moroccan Chicken will literally change your life. Once you’ve had it you’re not the same, you’re changed. You will think about it nightly and when your friend or sweetie or who ever is around asks, “What shall we have for dinner?” you’ll generally gravitate to a demure response, under your breath, of “Moroccan Chicken?”

Lets get started.

Ingredients:

2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander (cilantro)
½ tsp (or to taste) cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 ½ lbs chicken breasts cut in bite sized pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 tsp grated ginger root
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
2 cups garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
3/4 cup halved kalamata olives
½ cup raisins
2 Tbsp honey
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Make a cup or two of the rice of your choosing at the beginning. As I have said before, if you can’t make rice, I may not be able to help you.
Last Friday eve, the kind and magnanimous Eric and Ceres had Rana and me to dinner. Of course we immediately thought of Moroccan chicken because well…we already talked about that.
In a shallow bowl toss the first five ingredients. Chop up the chicken into about 1/2 inch squares and dredge them (roll them around) in the spices. Do about half of the chicken at a time. In a large skillet add a little bit of olive oil and brown the chicken. Try to only turn the chicken once.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
Frivolously toss the onion into the skillet for 3 minutes. Haphazardly add the garlic, ginger, broth and sauté for about 5 minutes. Make sure to drink some wine during this stage. Why? Well, just because wine is nice.
Add in the remaining ingredients and, you guessed it, the chicken. Cover that puppy and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. At the end, remove the bay leaf. It’s not good for eating.
Once you’re done why not toss a scoop of Moroccan chicken over some of the rice, maybe throw a pita bread on there? It’s a thought.
Enjoy.
I hope you enjoy this as much as Rana, Eric, Ceres and I did. Maybe even as much as little Wicket (Ceres and Eric’s dog). If it doesn’t turn out right the first time, don’t get too crabby. :)

 

Mama’s Homemade Frittata

This bad boy is good for breakfast and dinner or whenever you be wanting it. I love me some Frittata and my mom makes the best. On a recent trip home I met up with some wonderful friends from my time in Turkey and we had dinner at the folks. Frittata was on the menu! Things always seem to turn out tasty when that is the case.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion minced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper,
1 tsp basil and oregano
1/2 tsp each rosemary and thyme
6 large mushrooms sliced
2 small zucchinis sliced
1 red bell pepper diced
250 grams (1/2 pound) spinach
6-7 eggs
about 10 slices of mozzarella
Parmesan cheese to taste

Preheat to 180 C (350 F).

Grease a large oven-proof pot. This is an important step because if it’s not oven proof the whole shebang won’t work. Mom usually does this with cooking spray but you can use oil or butter. Heat the pot to medium heat. Pour in the olive oil and butter. Drop in the minced onion yelling something like, “It snowing flavor chunks” as you do. Make sure to open the windows so that your neighbors know that you talk to your food. Simmer for a few minutes and toss in the garlic.

Now add the spices. Toss them all in salt, pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. At this point if you’re over the age of 50 you’re thinking, “Are we going to Scarborough Fair?” If you’re under the age of 30 you’re probably thinking, “I have to buy all of those spices?” Either way, add them. Then toss in your mushrooms zucchinis and peppers and give the whole thing a stir.

Once those have simmered for a few minutes throw in the giant wad of spinach. It will take over the pot like a great green afro. Don’t worry. Give the spinach a few minutes and it will kind of wilt down, reducing greatly in size.

Turn up the heat and pour in the beaten eggs. Cook briefly, lifting the edges with a spatula and turning the pan , so the liquid egg comes in contact with the pan.  The egg will start to set. Once that happens, the magic that is cheese is revealed. Place slices of mozzarella over the mixture until it is completely covered. Grate on some Parmesan cheese and toss the whole pot (remember to have used an over safe pot) right into the oven. Bake if for about 15 minutes to melt the cheese and just like that, you’re done.

Cut that veggie pie into squares or whatever geometric shape follows your fancy.


Serve and enjoy with friends!
Enjoy.

Labels: eggs, breakfast, dinner, main, vegetarian

Fresh Thai Salad Rolls and Peanut dippin’ sauce

I don’t care what mis/pre/immaculate/conceptions you may have about Thailand but I will tell you this: the food lives up to the hype. Back in 2001we had the good fortune to travel in this amazing country. We ate fresh, flavorful and most of all, spicy as hell, food for one glorious week. Upon our departure my parents left me in the Bangkok airport to fend for myself before continuing on to Spain. Even the airport had great food. Yeah, it’s that awesome there.  This is a recipe that I deconstructed from a little place called East West cafe in Tacoma of all places. I know that is embarrassing but you can see it from the freeway so, no harm no foul.

The sauce is a soon-to-be-no-longer secret recipe developed by the Carroll family, and our Thai ancestors.
This is the longest intro ever, so lets get started.

The final product

Ingredients:
Rice or tapioca paper wrappers
3-4 carrots
1 bag thin rice or bean thread noodles
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 bag of bean sprouts
2-3 heads of Romain lettuce (in Spain I discovered you can get baby Romain heads, they are perfect)
Sauce:
2-3 Tbls soy sauce
1 cup peanut butter (I use Adams)
1 cup chicken broth
4 Tbls chopped ginger (or as much as you can stand)

This is a labor of love. These little wraps of wonderment are so yummy, but you may be disappointed with how fast they disappear. I find that they are best to make when many people are around and that’s just what we did here.

First, let’s make the sauce so we can allow it to cool a little.

In a sauce pan over medium heat combine the soy sauce, peanut butter, broth and ginger. Stir for about 5 minutes until thick and remove from heat. Easy sauce, huh? Well, you’re about to make up for it with the wraps.

To make the salad rolls I usually clear a large work surface and set it up like an assembly line, each ingredient separated from the other. Then you can have your friends help.

To prepare, wash all of your vegetables well, grate the carrots, and separate the leaves from the mint and cilantro. In a large pot boil enough water to cover the thin rice noodles. Remove the pot from heat and put your rice noodles into the pot. Let them sit for about 2 minutes. If they are soft, drain them into a colander (strainer) and set them in a bowl. (At least that is what I think it says to do on the bag. I’m not sure because it is all in Chinese but it seems to work.)

Now you’re ready. Boil some water. Pour about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of a large sauce pan.

From here the lovely Rana will demonstrate the assembly process:

1) Place one of the rice wrappers into the water. Be careful! That was just boiling. Leave it in for only about 10 seconds or less. This will soften the wrapper. Remove and lay it out on the counter.

2) Place a large segment of lettuce on top of the wrapper and place small amount of all of the ingredients into it.

3) Pull the lettuce to the edge closest to you and begin rolling up the wrap.

4) When you get about half way, fold in the sides so they seal the ends. Then continue rolling it up.

5) Repeat steps 1-4 until you run out of motivation or rice wrappers.

Once you have a tray full of these, dip them in the peanut sauce and enjoy. They are great appetizers but we often eat them as a dinner.

Check out what happened when we made them last time:

Labels: Thai, salad, appetizer, dinner, dip,

Paellea ala Eric


I choose to believe that the sole inspiration for this next dish came from the food stylings of this blog. This is unconfirmed. Whether inspired by Batter Junkie or not, my friend Eric is second to none when it comes to divining the tastiest snacks and munchies. This was proven time and again but never more soundly than the infamous Salmon Cream Cheese incident, about which we will never again speak.


Rest assured you are in fine culinary hands. Paella can be made 100 different ways, this is way #27, Eric’s way. Eric is a spanish name from waaaaay back.

Ingredients:
500gr (1lb) chicken thighs, breasts or whatever.
olive oil
salt
500gr (1lb) squid, fish, whatever seafood you want
saffron

1/2 large white onion
1/2 green bell pepper
5-6 mushrooms
400ml (14oz) Chicken Broth
400ml (14oz) Vegetable Broth
1 cup rice 

Sofrito:
1/2 large white onion
2 cloves garlic
(14oz) canned diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
1/2 green bell pepper

First chop up or throw in whole, your thighs. Well, not your own thighs. You can do whatever you want with those however I would suggest covering them while making this dish. The Batter Junkie fully supports cooking naked but this particular dish may have a high splatter factor. Maybe just a short skirt? Where were we?

Brown the chicken thighs in olive oil with a bit of salt and a little bit of saffron. Once they are browned, remove them and put them in the meat equivalent of the sidecar. Now brown the squid or whatever kind of seafood you’ve chosen in the same way. Remove that and put it aside as well.



Now you have to make the sauce. This is the most important part. The sofrito makes paella all come together. In the same pan pour in a little more olive oil. Make sure all of your ingredients are chopped very finely. Throw in the onion and garlic. After a  few minutes put in your canned diced tomatoes and bell peppers. Saute them for about 30 minutes. Set aside the sofrito.

Saute up the remaining onion, green pepper, and mushrooms (cut into, to quote Eric, “medium sized pieces”) for about 5 minutes. Add back in the sofrito, a bit more olive oil, the rice and a bit more saffron.



Cook for about 3 minutes and add in the chicken and vegetable broth and a “generous pinch” more of saffron. What is a generous pinch, Eric? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? Cover that baby again and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

At this point it’s time to get meaty. Add back in the chicken. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Finally add back in the seafood and cook for a 5 more minutes. 

Eric, in his inimitable wisdom, garnished the top with seared peeper slices. Nice touch, Captain Snacky!


Serve in bowls or however you want. I won’t be there to supervise. This looks amazing. A special thanks to Eric for the recipe and pictures!
Enjoy


Labels: dinner, Spanish, rice, seafood

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

This recipe is posted by popular demand, well the demand of Rana and Ines who will be eating this. Today Simone Binelli and I are going to do it for you. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Melanzane alla Parmigiana aka Eggplant Parmesan is coming to you, LIVE from Barcelona. This is a live post! Are you amazed? Be.

Ingredients:
4-5 small eggplants
salt
Lots of olive oil
300gr parmesan cheese (a bit more than 1/2 a pound)
1kg fresh in-water mozzarella

Sauce:

1 sprig rosemary
2 cloves garlic
1 onion
1/2 carrot (grated)

800 gr canned peeled tomatoes (28 oz)
800 gr canned pureed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
basil

Ok friends so this will take some time so bear with us. Start out by cutting all of the eggplant into thin slices.

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Layer the slices in a colander, salting them all over in between each layer. Set them aside and start on the sauce.

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Chop your onions very finely. Slice the garlic into fine slices. You see how I’m not being cute with this recipe. Yeah that’s because there’s a metric ass ton of instructions. Place about 4 tablespoons olive oil in a pan and begin to fry the garlic and rosemary. Add the onions and fry for about 10 minutes. Add in the carrots. Fry for about 10 more minutes. Add the water from the tomato can. Cook for 3 more minutes. Then add the tomatoes.

Simone says that there is only one rule about tomato sauce he learned from his grandma. It can cook forever but when the oil starts to separate from the sauce, it is done.

While you are doing the sauce, prepare the eggplant. Lay out a towel, wash the salt off of the eggplant slices and lay them out on the towel. Press them into the towel to get out the excess water.

In a fry pan put about three tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the eggplants on both sides for about 4 minutes each. They should be brown on both sides and just starting to get crispy.DSC_3666

At this point you might want to preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F).

Put a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar in the tomato sauce. Add a little bit of water if the sauce seems too thick. Continue simmering the sauce. Remember it can cook forever. At this point take a wooden spoon and break up the whole tomatoes in the sauce.

Finish your eggplants. Prepare the other ingredients.  The first you need to cut your mozzarella into slices. Grate about 2 cups of parmesan cheese. Now you’re ready to construct your pie.DSC_3684 DSC_3689

In a 13 X 9 inch pan lay down a layer of olive oil. Then put down a very thin layer of the tomato sauce. Then make a layer of fried eggplant medallions.DSC_3697

Then put down a layer of mozzarella and finally a layer of parmesan. Repeat this process a few times until you have either run out of eggplant or come to the top. The top layer should consist of eggplant, tomato sauce and a heavy helping of parmesanDSC_3703

Pop it in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. It should come out with a nice crust of cheese on the top. If all has gone well, you will have the most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten. If not, you’ll still have the second most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten.Batterjunkie-3755

Make sure to let is sit for a while before serving. It needs to cool and it is also easier to serve after cooling. Simone says that parmigiana is even yummier after the second day. Yum.

Ok, well here’s to you friends. This is one tired Batter Junkie. The cook time on this was about 3 hours but let me tell you it was worth it.

Until next time,
Enjoy.

Labels: dinner, main, Italian, eggplant

Arepas Venezolanas

This recipe comes from the kitchen of Maya and her sister from another mister, Mariana who both currently live in Madrid. Arepas are originally from Venezuela and common in many parts of South America. The white corn flour required to make them can be found in Mexican markets in the US and in many markets in Spain and, of course, all over South America. If you’re not in one of these places, you may have to order it.

Ingredientes:

2 cups pre-cooked white corn flour
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans of black beans (450 grams)
2 Tbls olive oil
1/2 leek
1/2 onion
1 tomato
1 bunch of Cilantro
Avocado
Your favorite white cheese.

Chop up your leek and onion. If you do not have a leek, one whole onion will work. Dribble olive oil in a pan and heat it up. Add onion and leek. Rip off about two handfuls of cilantro leaves and one chopped tomato. Toss them in. After a few minutes pour in your black beans. Make sure to drain them mostly but add in a teaspoon or two of the juice in which they are packed. Once this juice has evaporated, (some in the cooking world might say “reduced”) the filling is done.

Now it is time to construct the vehicle for this beany mischief. Fill a bowl with two cups of water and mix in one teaspoon of salt. With a sifter, mix in two cups of the corn flour and get your hands in there.

You cannot mix this with a spoon or the ghost of my mythical Venezuelan grandmother will haunt you. Knead the corn flour together with your hands. It should form a stiff dough.

Spread some butter on your hands. No, really, do it. Look I know it sounds weird and kinky but it really helps with the next part and it’s great for your skin. Grab a chunk of dough a little larger than a golf ball. Start to roll it like a top, with a spinning motion. When you’re done it will look like a top.

Flatten out your arepa attempting to avoid cracks. As your life coach, I encourage you in general, to avoid crack. You should now have a  little white disk. Heat up a pan on medium high heat and pour a few tablespoons of oil into it. Place your flying-saucers in the pan.

While you are waiting for them to brown, why not prepare the toppings? Slice the avocado into, well, slices. Grate some cheese and rip out about two more handfuls of cilantro leaves. When the arepas sound hollow when you tap them, they are done. Caution: it takes time to cook them maybe 15 minutes on each side. If you cook them too hot they won’t get done in the middle.

When you pull them out, Slice them in half like an english muffin, butter the insides and apply you mischievous toppings. You can fill the arepas with just about anything. The first time I had them they had shredded beef, so be creative!

This final picture is kind of silly because there is a fork in it. Merely a formality, I assure you. Maya informed me post haste that you eat these puppies just like you make them, with your hands.
Until next time.
Enjoy.

Labels: main, dinner, breakfast, Venezuelan

Dal Baht – Nepalese lentil dish

So I know what you’re thinking, Lentils? Me? Yes, friend you too can cook with lentils and enjoy their savory taste to boot. Dal Baht is the national food of Nepal. In the early 2000s I had the distinct pleasure to travel to Kathmandu. There I learned of eastern religion, yoga and this succulent dish. Traditionally there are a lot more spices than this but, owing to the fact that I am in Spain, I will give you the expurgated version.

UPDATE: I’ve had a number of people make the quick version since I’ve been back in the states so I flipped the positions. Now the full version of the recipe is first (from my lovely aunt Kate) and the quick version is below if you are in another country and cannot get the ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups dry red lentils
3 jalapeno chilies chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 TBSP olive oil
1 cup minced onion
3 TBSP grated ginger
1 cup chopped tomato
2 tsp. minced garlic
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried red chilies flakes
1/3 TBSP cumin seeds
1/3 TBSP fennel seeds
1/3 TBSP black mustard seeds

OK, so here is how this scrumptious meal happens. The first thing you want to do is to get a big pot and put in the lentils, water, jalapeños, turmeric and salt. This will be the base of operations for your entire lentil escapade. Simmer that on medium heat for about 25 minutes.

During that time why not make some rice? If you are serving 4 people make about 2 cups of rice. If you don’t know how to make rice, you’re pretty bad off. Use the Internet to find out how. I can’t do everything for you. I’m a busy man.

In a fry pan, place about 4 TBSP olive oil, your onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Sauté for about 10 minutes being careful to enjoy yourself immensely. Once the onions start to become as see-through as a frat guy’s motives, pour the entire contents of the fry pan into the pot with the lentils bubbling away like a witch’s cauldron.

Stir it around for about 2 minutes all the while chanting “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble!” Believe me, this makes it taste better. Drop in the bay leaves and dried red chili flakes.

The final bit is to “pop” the seeds. In a dry fry pan with no oil or anything in it heat up the fennel, mustard, and cumin seeds. The seeds will start to pop a bit and at that point you know they are toasted. Add these to your potion and Viola, you’re there.

At this point you’re done. You’ve just got to go find Macbeth and call him to dinner. Make sure he washes his hands for they may be bloody. “Out Damn Spot!” Put down a bed of rice on your plates and ladle out a healthy portion of the mixture onto your alabaster carbohydrate carpet.

Enjoy.

P.S. for the person on the go or someone in a different country here is the quick version with fewer spices and shorter cook time.

Don’t tell anyone else this is down here.

Ingredients

Simmer for 15 minutes:
400gr canned precooked lentils (about 2 cups)
4 1/2 cup water
2 green peppers (chopped)
1 tsp of Cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt

In fry pan saute:
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 tomatoes (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 Tbsp ginger (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 tsp of Cumin
ground black pepper

Add that to the the Dal and serve with Basmati or jasmine rice.

Labels: dinner, main, vegetarian

Karnıyarık Turkish meat stuffed eggplant

Karni Yarik (Pronounced Carny Yar-ruk) is a much beloved dish in every region of Turkey. I had the distinct pleasure of having it for the first time with a one Ali San, International Turkish Man of Mystery, and Rana’s Daddy.

Warning if you make this recipe for someone they will never leave you alone until you make if for them again. You’ll have a trail of foodie followers longer than the Pied Piper.

Ingredients:
6 medium eggplants (called baby eggplants in the US)
1 onion (chopped)
2 green peppers (chopped)
2 tomatoes
300 gr ground beef (1/2 pound)
2 green peppers (whole)
1-2 cloves garlic
sunflower or any vegetable oil
2 cups hot salted water

Cut off the tops of the eggplants. Peel a strip of down the middle of each one like a little racing stripe. Peel them all the way around.

This will allow the eggplant to sit flat and the cutting board. Slice one side down the middle, lengthwise. Start the cut about one inch from the end and finish the cut about one inch from the other end. The slit should go a little more than halfway through the eggplant. When you’re done it should look like this:

I am aware that this is starting to look more than a little sexual but wait until we get to the end. Place these little fertility symbols into salted water for about 30 minutes. While you’re waiting for them to soak you can make the filling!

Filling:
Peel your tomatoes and slice six rounds off of one (for topping). Remove seeds from the rest and chop finely. In a fry pan cook your beef in about 2 Tbsp olive oil, until all juices have evaporated. Then add the onions and green peppers, cooking them for about 1-2 minutes. Toss in your tomatoes bits and sauté until cooked. Then remove from stove and add salt, black pepper, red pepper, and diced garlic to your mixture.

Wash and dry off your eggplants. Pour a solid amount of oil into a small fry pan making sure that it is at least one inch deep. Fry these guys on both sides on medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes, until they start to become brown. They should be a little squishy by now. Once you’re done with all of the eggplants toss the peppers into the oil for about one minute to blister and brown them a little.
Place your fried eggplants on a baking pan with the slit side facing up. Use two spoons to open the slit (shown below). At this point you’re ready to fill your fecund vessels with meat (I told you it got naughtier). Hang in there, you’re going to love the taste!

Once they are filled, top them with a tomato slice and your whole green peppers.

Pour 2 cups hot, salted water over eggplants and bake at 205 C (400 F) for about 15-20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and serve!

Enjoy this amazing gift from Turkey!

Labels:  dinner, main, meat, Turkish

Shrimp on Buzara

This is a dish from my lovely Croatian friends Amela and Ivana. It also has the distinguished honor of being the first guest blog on Batter Junkie. I believe Shrimp Buzara can be found in various locations along the Adriatic. This scrumptious version is from Dalmatia, Croatia.

So imagine you are on 40 foot wooden sailboat anchored somewhere in the vast Croatian Archipelago. A warm breeze blows over the deck bringing amazing aromas up from the galley. A beautiful Hrvatska žena (Croatian woman or man depending on your particular brand of fantasy) wearing a bikini or sarong number, brings you a steaming bowl of tomato, shrimpy goodness. Here is how to make that happen. Well at least the the tomatoy shrimpy goodness part. This recipe does not come with a free Croatian.

Ingredients (for four people)

1.5kg fresh shrimp (raw, not pre-cooked) (about 3.5 pounds US)
1 head of garlic (chopped)
Lots of parsley
1/2 L cheap white wine (so a little more than half of a normal bottle)
1 can of tomato sauce (around 800gr) (2, 14oz cans in the US)
A little bit of flour
Olive oil
Lots of fresh bread!
How to do it:
Heat olive oil in a large pan and add most of the garlic and parsley (leave some for later). Add salt and pepper and let simmer for 3 minutes. 

Add some white wine, cook for another minute or two and add all of the shrimp. Immediately add all of the remaining wine and the tomato sauce. Put in the remaining garlic and parsley and continue to cook and until the shrimp is done.
 

You will know that the sauce is OK when there is no bitter wine aftertaste. 

Tasting is very important 

Add some flour in order to make the sauce creamier. 

Dobar tek! (Bon appetit!) Serve hot, wash your hands, dip the bread into the sauce and attack the shrimp!

Bon profit!
Thank you Amela and Ivana!

Labels:  Croatian, dinner, main, seafood, shrimp

Knishes: Not just fun to say

Have you ever wondered what a Knish is? Well, wonder no more, for I’m about to show you how to make them. Knishes are essentially stuffed dough so there are two parts; the dough and the stuffing. Saw that one coming, didn’t you? Here is my augmented recipe. I got the original from Gabi Moskowitz over at brokeassgourmet.com

Dough:
4 eggs, lightly beaten (save one of the egg whites)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp vegetable oil (I use saffola)
3 cups  flour

Filling:
2 large potatoes cleaned with skin left on
2 tbsp unsalted butter (or olive oil)
1 small onion chopped up
1/2 tsp fresh thyme or rosemary
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
300grams (1/2 pound) of chicken, beef, or turkey (ground or chopped)

Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F).

Mix the dry ingredients (baking powder, salt and flour). Add in the eggs and oil until it turns into a soft dough. Cover the dough (to protect it’s modesty) put it in a warm place, and play the dough some Barry White records. While the dough is resting, begin the preparation of the filling.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, enough to cover the potatoes, and toss them in. Make sure they are chopped into little chunks because they will cook more quickly. I leave the skins on.

While those are boiling, chop up your onion and toss the butter or olive oil into a fry pan. Saute for a few minutes and add your choice of meat. Continue to fry until browned. Add thyme or rosemary and salt and pepper. Now doesn’t that look tasty?

By this time, your potatoes should be soft. This might be a personal problem… If they are not, then simply boil them longer. Mush the potatoes up in a large bowl. If you’re fancy use a masher. If you’re not, use whatever tool is closest. Add your meat mixture and the cheese. Now that your filling is done you’re ready to knish it up.

Go find that dough. It’s been resting and listening to sexy music so it’s ready for action. Knead it for a few minutes. Divide and roll it into two eight inch long cylinders. Now things are heating up. Cut each cylinder into eight equal pieces. Now you have 16 little dough coins. Lay the coins out flat on a surface dusted with flour. Use a rolling pin or in my case a pint glass, to roll them out into flat discs as shown below.

 
Scoop out about 2 Tbsps of the filling and drop it in the center of the dough discs. Grab all of the edges, and pull them up to form a tulip shape.

Place all of the knishes on a tray. The look like little sacks of gold, and they are, just wait. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg white onto each finished knish.

 And this my friends is what they look like when you’re done. These are lots of fun, and can reheated later if you can’t eat them all in one go. Enjoy your sacks of gold.

Labels: dinner, dough, main, potatoes