Category Archives: main dish

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.
batterjunkie-1
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.

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!

Katarina’s Summer Pasta Salad

A few years ago I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of a lovely, sharp, boisterous, amazing German girl by name of Katarina. She often made this salad for barbeques and I can’t make it without thinking of her living with us that summer in Seattle. This is always a hit at parties because not only does it taste amazing, it will feed the Bundeswehr (an army).

This recipe serves: about 10 people (unless Tyler is there.)

2 bags Tortellini—cheese or pesto filling is fine.
1 pint or more cherry tomatoes or use grape tomatoes
1 cup Kalamata olives
1 red bell pepper
2 bunches green onions
1 small container feta cheese

Dressing:
1 cup low fat sour cream
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
lemon juice from about 1/4 lemon
1 tbsp. pesto and/or fresh basil
salt & pepper

This recipe is EASY and wonderful. If you use the precooked tortellini you’re really not even trying. Come on! And you call yourself a cook?

Anyway I usually grab two -three bags of Trader Joe’s dry Tortellini and boil that up for about 10-12 minutes. Once that is done, set it aside and let it cool off. It’s too sexy for the salad right now. It needs a cold shower and Quaalude. While it is cooling prepare everything else.

Halve the tomatoes and olives, chop the red pepper and green onions all into a bowl.

In another bowl mix the sour cream, garlic, olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, pesto/basil and salt & pepper to taste. I know this looks like you might be doing some animal husbandry but stick with it.

Now toss it all together in a large bowl. Add in the feta cheese crumbling all the way.

It will be a colorful amazing mess of yum! Anddddddd….you’re done. I told you it was easy.

Make this one for your favorite people. I know when I make it, I think of Katarina!

This one’s for you Katinka :)

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

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

Talapia in Shallot Butter Roux

Can you tell I’ve been hanging out in the Northwest again? This is yet another of Marissa’s genius recipes that I can’t seem eat enough. If you don’t like white fish this is a great way to make it. If you do like white fish your head just might explode from the awesomeness. I find that it is best to try to use fresh fish if you can but frozen is OK. Oh and FYI roux is just a fancy way to say gravy. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Ingredients:
1/2 kilo (1 lb) of white fish (cod, halibut, something of that ilk)
2 shallots chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup or so of white wine
salt and pepper to taste
dried red chili pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup flour or so to make the roux

So here’s how me make it. Get out a big fry pan that has a lid (Get the lid out as well. Do I have to tell you everything?) and drop in your butter. Now Paula Deen, at this point would be disgraced that I was using so little but she’ll live (a little longer). Add in the shallots and let them simmer for about 5-10 minutes until they are soft.

Now add the slippery slimy fish fillets, so innocent, so tender to the pan. Try to get them all touching (Ooo, like a party I went to once) the pan but if your pan is too small (a personal problem) then just kind of stack them all in there.

Pour the white wine and squirt your lemon juice all over the fish. Add salt, pepper and chili peppers to taste. At this point lower the heat to medium, maybe medium-low if you’re courageous, and put the lid on. This will kind of steam the fish, give it a little fishy sauna if you will. It only takes about 5-8 minutes to cook.

Once the fish is kind of firm and yields easily to the touch, it is ready. Remove the fish from the pan. Whisper to it, “I’ll call you tomorrow fish, I swear,” then toss it on a plate, and set it aside. Leave the juices behind in the pan. (we’ll just take that joke, as read)

Now you need to make the roux. Add flour slowly to the juices left in the pan. By slowly I mean about one tablespoon at a time. With the heat on low stir the flour into the liquid. If there is very little liquid add some more white wine. This is a feel thing, like so many other things in life, you have to respond to the needs of the roux, touch it, love it, caress it, to make it really come together. Fry it, FRY it, FRY IT, until it forms into a thin sauce, ohhh yeahhh.

Pour that liquid love all over your fish in a splendid finale and collapse with exhaustion as you serve it to your salivating guests. It looks a mess but tastes like golden flavored kisses.

I love it when a lovely supple fish comes together, and so will you.

Enjoy.

Labels: fish, shallots, roux, main

Goat Cheese and Pear Salad with Fig vinaigrette

In the spirit of getting healthy, here is a tasty salad recipe. I found this on cooking light, a fantastic little site that helps us all have slightly less weighty meals. Kim and I were yet again pressed for time because of our strict schedule of eating chocolate and watching movies so this was the perfect dish. It is hearty but doesn’t take too long to make.

Ingredients:

6 cups mixed salad greens (Romain, arugula whatever strikes your fancy)
1-1/2 cups thinly, sliced, pear (leave the skin on for flavor)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
5 dried figs chopped up
6 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
2 garlic cloves minced

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
 

Make sure to chop the figs to pieces and cut off their dignity (stems). Then further humiliate them by tossing them in a small saucepan over high heat with balsamic vinegar.  Once the mixture boils, lower heat and simmer until the total amount of liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes.





 If you have one, pour your shamed fig mixture into a blender with the water and fresh lemon juice and process until smooth. If you don’t have a blender, man, I don’t know what to tell. Just whisk that puppy up with a fork.

In a bowl pour the blended fig mixture in with shallots, thyme, crushed garlic, olive oil and salt.  Stir it up like your dinner depended on it. Well it does.

Thinly slice your pear, leaving the skin on. We wouldn’t want the pear to feel nude, or would we? 

Place 1 cup of greens on each plate. Now put a little pear and goat cheese hat on each serving and drizzle the vinaigrette like it’s a hot oil message. “Yes you little greens are going to love this. I’m just gonna drizzle this on and then mix it in. Uh! Ju look sooo yummy.” Sorry, sometimes I get carried away and channel my inner Puerto Rican drag queen. He would say something like that. 


Serve and you have a happy table.
I can’t actually tell what expression that is, Kim.

Enjoy.

Labels: Salad, main, goat cheese,

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

Croatian Fish Soup

Many of you may know that over the past two weeks the Batter Junkie has been forced to compromise between his two favorite past times, Cooking and Traveling. (Well, at least his two favorite PG-rated past times) Rana and I spent the last two weeks in the intolerably wonderful care of Ivana, Ines and Amela not to mention many other extremely kind Croatians. Can I just for a moment plug the country? Ok, well I’m going to anyway. Croatia is a beautiful, amazing, yummying and loving place. The people there also have a strong connection to the sea as Croatia is not only mostly coastline, but consists of an archipelago of over 1000 islands along its coast. Yeah, 1000, and I only got to explore one!

That brings us to our recipe, which comes straight from the ancestral home of Ivana, fish soup. Early one morning Ivana went to the store without us, we may have been sleeping, and got fresh fish, caught that morning on the coast. This soup hinges on the freshness of the fish. It can be made with frozen fish but I imagine it is not as nice.

Ingredients:
2 medium sized white fish (I assume that any fish will do but this will drastically change the taste)
5-6 cups of water
1 red onion (chopped)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic (but you know the Batter Junkie, he always puts in more garlic!)
1 grated carrott
1 head of parsley
1/2 cup white rice
1/2-1 cup of tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

If you’ve never cooked with whole fish before, do not despair, this is relatively easy. The first thing to check with fish is their eyes. If they are milky white, toss them in the garbage, preferably outside and down wind. If they have a clear eye they are most likely fresh.

In a large pot, place the water (I would start with about 5 cups) the fish and a quartered onion.

Boil for about 5-8 mintues. This will infuse the fish with the onion and cook it nicely. The fish will be slightly firm to the touch. Remove the fish and onions and SAVE THE WATER! The water is your soup base. Discard the onions and clean the cooked meat out of the fish and reserve it for later. Toss the fish heads unless you can come up with a creative way to use them.

In a fry pan, place the garlic and olive oil. Fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes.

Heat up the pot again with the fish broth in it. Add the carrots, parsley and fried garlic. Toss in the white rice and bring the whole thing to a low boil and let it sit for about 20 minutes. This will cook the rice. About 5 mintues from the end of the boil, add in the fish again and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with bread and a salad if you really want to complete the meal.

Thank you Ivana for this fantastic, traditional, fresh meal! It was such a joy seeing you, Amela, Toni and friends in Zagreb! We miss you already.

Enjoy junkies!

Written in Joe Bar, Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Labels: Croatian, fish, soup, main

Yakisoba noodles with mushrooms

The first time I had homemade yakisoba was a less-than-sober night back in college at the house of my good friend Mike Martinez. We were hungry and like most college students had an ample supply of Ramen noodles. In a fit of sheer genius Mike produced a head of cabbage, some onions, and mushrooms from parts unknown. In his mad scientist-like quest to concoct the the perfect drunk food, he sustained 2nd degree burns to his forearm in the half crescent shape if his favorite fry pan. We ate the amazing soba noodles greedily and luckily as Mike said, the burn didn’t hurt until the next day. Since then I have not attempted homemade soba, until today. This is adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe.

Ingredients:
Start with the sauce:
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 tsp hot sesame oil (you can use really any hot pepper to spice it)
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar

The noodley bits:
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp ginger (chopped)
1 Tbsp garlic (chopped)
10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
One head of thinly sliced Naapa cabbage (8 cups)
6 green onions (sliced)
8 to 9 ounces soba noodles

As per usual it behooves the cook to make the sauce first. It really is just a matter of stirring the ingredients together so don’t sweat it. Just mix them together in a bowl and set aside for later.

Toss the sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Toast them just enough to release the aromas. They will get a little brown.

At this point boil enough water to cover the soba noodels. Place them in the water for a few minutes. Once they are soft to the touch, drain them and set aside. (Where is this “aside” in which people are always  telling me to put things?)

Chop up your veggies and mushrooms!

Into a large fry pan pour vegetable oil. Once it is hot, toss in ginger and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until you smell their combined awesomeness. It will smell like a picnic at Yan Can Cook‘s House.

Toss in the mushrooms and mix well. Let them saute for about 4-5 minutes.

Then add in the cabbage and most of the green onions (save some onions for garnish if you are the posh type who garnishes things). Let them simmer with the other bits for about 6 minutes.

Now you need to mix the triumvirate of flavors together. Toss the drained noodles into the cabbage mixture and finally mix in the sauce.

At this point you are near perfection. Serve up some portions of this fine mess and sprinkle some sesame seeds and and green onions on top.

And your done. Do you feel good about yourself? Cause you should.

Enjoy.
Devon

Labels: Japanese, main,  noodles

Gazpacho – Andalucia style


There are as many types of gazpacho as there are fish in the sea, grains of sand in the desert, large animals with teeth of which I am afraid, you pick your favorite metaphor. This cold vegetable soup is traditional in the Andalucia region of Southern Spain and all over Central and South America. I learned how to make this many years ago from my adorable host mother, Teresa when I studied in Granada, Spain. I have added a few touches over the years but essentially, this is her recipe.
Warning, making this can cause incidents of extreme summer-y deliciousness.
Ingredients:
2 slices French bread—dissolved in 2 cups water
1/2 English cucumber
1 bell pepper quartered
2 cloves garlic
7 small tomatoes
2 Tbsp vinegar
2+ Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cumin
A blender of some sort.
You don’t need a blender but it helps. Just like “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people but the gun helps.” I have a blending wand like I’m some sort of crazed kitchen fairy, willing to grant your taste buds three wishes. Something like that.
This is another one of those recipes that will really stretch the limits of your culinary skills. In a bowl large enough to encompass the mass of vegetables you’ve collected, pour two cups of water and toss in two large chunks of french bread. If you have a blender you can do the bread in a smaller bowl.
Leave this be for about 10 minutes so the bread can really soak up the water. 
Meanwhile (back at the ranch) skin half of the English cucumber and the garlic as well. Cut the tomatoes and bell pepper into large chunks. This is not necessary but it will make you feel like you are actually cooking. If you don’t need that kind of affirmation, simply toss all of the vegetables and the rest of the ingredients into a blender, blend, and you’re done.
The oil, vinegar and spices are all to taste. You will find that as you make this you will have to add a little more or less of things based on the juicyness of the veggies. I love the Moroccan flavor that the cumin gives this dish so I sometimes add a touch more. Garnish with a little pepper or cumin.
Enjoy this on the back porch, your terrace or really anywhere nice in the summer time. It can be eaten as a main dish or a starter soup. We ate it as a starter with Simone and Ines and then finished the left over parmigiana from last night.
Living and eating well! Until next time.
Enjoy.
Labels: soup, Spanish, vegetarian, main, side

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

Patatas a lo Pobre

It’s here! Or rather, I am. To celebrate my triumphant return to Spain I give you a traditional dish. 

There is nothing finer than simple food. Well reader, she doesn’t get much easier, and cheaper I might add, than Patatas a lo Pobre or Poor man’s potatoes. This is a recipe that was suggested to me by my good friend Simone, after he took a trip down south to Granada. This recipe is served as a tapa in Andalucía. If you don’t know what a tapa is, go read another blog, seriously.

If you’re poor, rich, or somewhere in between you’ll love this salt and oil delivery system.We got the particulars from a little blog called Recetas de mamá.

Ingredients:

2 potatoes
1 onion
1 green or red bell pepper
Olive oil
salt

Wash and skin the potatoes. If you want to give a little extra flavor you can leave the skin on the potatoes and just cut off the nasty bits. I will leave that to your discretion. Dice your onion.If you don’t know how there is a short tutorial in this post. It’s OK to leave large chunks as they will become soft in the cooking process. Cut the core out of the bell pepper or what ever kind of pepper you are using and slice it perpendicular to create rings.

Go find a fry pan with a lid. If you don’t have one, go buy one. Not only does it come in handy all the time but you use far less energy cooking with a lid. Good for you and mama earth!

Heat up a healthy amount of olive oil in the pan (for the overly fastidious lets say 3 tablespoon but truth told I have never measured it). Toss in all three ingredients, sprinkle with about a teaspoon or more of salt. Now be careful here because the salt and the oil are where your personal preference comes in. DO NOT skimp on either one. If you do, you’ll have dry, tasteless, mushy potatoes. That is not a time to come crying to me.

You: “Devon, they didn’t taste good, Waa!”
Me: “Well, hypothetical crappy cook, did you add enough oil? I didn’t think so.”

Cook it on low with the lid on and stir occasionally. It will take some time so be PATIENT.  Go take a course in Navajo code breaking or learn to use Windows 7. Just make sure it’s something that’s pointless and will take a long time. Near the end, about 30 minutes in, turn up the heat a little to crisp and brown those tasty taters.

You’ll know if they taste right because you will make this dish twice a day for a week.

Thank you Simone for reminding me of a favorite food from Andalucía!

Labels: main, Side, tapa, potatoes

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

You won’t ever need another Caesar Salad

I started making this about a year ago. It tastes like Jesus and Buddha got together and made their favorite dish. Give this to anyone you love, want to love, or at least you want to talk into staying the night. I guarantee that there will be smiles, unless or course your guests have lost their sense of taste.

The first thing to do is get your ingredients together:

Dressing:

6 tablespoons safflower oil (or any cooking oil)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (substitute balsamic vinegar if you don’t have Worcestershire)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg, coddled

Salad:

1 french bread baguette cut into 1/2 cubes
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (again balsamic works)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 large head of lettuce, rinsed dried and ripped into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

The dressing should be made first because, well, it’s easier.  In a glass jar or bowl mix all of the dressing ingredients.

To coddle the egg bring a few inches of water to a boil. Carefully lower the egg into the boiling water. Immediately, remove the pan from heat. Leave the egg in the water for 1-2 minutes. Remove the egg and let it cool for a few minutes. Break the egg open and pour it into a bowl. Whip it! up with a whisk like you mean it. Pour the egg into the dressing mixture. Viola! you have made your own Caesar salad dressing.

To make the croutons, mix the bread, melted butter, Italian herbs, Worcestershire sauce, and grated cheese in a fry pan over medium heat. Toss them around until they look crispy and yummified. If you really like them crispy, put them in a 135 degree C (275 F) oven for about 20 mins. (That’s what I did)

Combine everything, dressing, croutons, and lettuce in a large, and I do mean large, bowl. Serve and watch the smiles explode on the faces of your guests.

Enjoy.

Labels: main, salad, vegetarian