Category Archives: onion

Shrimp Scampi

I’m back you beautiful readers! This dish is peculiarly named. In italian it is like saying “Shrimp, plate of shrimp,”. It is the redundant cooking equivalent of saying “ATM Machine.” No matter how ridiculous it sounds, it is on the extreme side of easy and so fast you won’t believe you can cook this meal faster than you can catch a wounded emu. Oh did I mention it tastes like a meal fit for Poseidon himself? Well if I haven’t, now I have. Dad and I had some time to kill when I was visiting the other night  so we decided to try this. You know it came out fabulously because now it’s on the blog. Begin! This is based on Melissa d’Arabian recipe from the food network.

6 garlic cloves chopped
2 lemons, zested and juiced
5 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
3/4 to 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (keep the shells)
1/4 onion chopped
1/4 onion whole (for the shrimp sauce)
3/4 pound thin linguini
2 TBSP butter
1 small bunch parsley, leaves chopped

In a bowl big enough to fit all of your shrimp, toss in the garlic, zest and juice of 1 of your lemons, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, to taste, and the shrimp. Let that sucker marinate. Shimp are quick on the uptake and won’t take too long to catch on to the wonderful flavors.

Meanwhile back on the stove its time to exploit the shrimp shells. In a small pot use medium heat. Add the shrimp shells and 1/4 whole onion. Fill with enough water to cover the contents and boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain into a bowl and throw out the shells and onion. Make sure to take them all the way to the garbage or you will be sorry the next day. Ain’t nothin’ smell worse than rotting shrimp. I once almost lost the friendship of a young woman when I forgot a shrimp carcass in my sink for two days…Oh the humanity!

Now on to the pasta! Boil a large pot of water. Make sure to add salt. Once boiling, add in the linguini (I know, I know the pasta pictured is Fusilli. Give me a break. Most kinds of pasta will work) and cook until al dente! Usually this is 2 minutes less than recommended on the box. Drain and keep about 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Remove the shrimp from the marinade (making sure to keep the marinade) and toss those little flavor explosions into the skillet. Cook until they turn pink and start to caramelize, about 3 minutes.

untitled-7952-3 Set aside the shrimp on a  plate and then add the remaining 1/4 cup chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Then ad the left over marinade into the skillet. Cook for few minutes then add 1 cup of shrimp stock, 1/2 cup pasta water . Cook that sweet rue down until it reduces by about half and starts to thicken. Sprinkle in the remaining zest and juice of lemon, the butter and the parsley and stir it like it’s your job.

untitled-7954-3Add salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the shrimp and pasta and sauce all together in the pasta pot.

untitled-7951Serve it right away for the best taste. That said this can be reheated and it is also quite good.

untitled-7955-3This is a perfect summer meal.


This goes well with my Spinach Goat Cheese salad.


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.


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.


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.






Well, you’ve done it again. You went and drank too much and are feeling not only bad about what you did last night but likely have a headache to boot. In a few, head-pounding minutes you could have a plausible cure but you must listen closely. Ok, maybe not “The Cure” per se,  but Chilequiles has made me forget about a hangover for a moment so potato po-tat-to. We have the incomparable Barney Martinez, Mike’s Dad, to thank for this one. Incidentally, auto-correct keeps wanting to change “Chilequiles” to “Childless.” Let’s hope after what you did last you can still make that boast.

8-10 Corn tortillas (cut into 8 wedges each like a pizza)
14oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 of a small onion diced
1/4 El Pato sauce (red sauce in the yellow can)
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Safflower or peanut oil

Get out a large frying pan. I have one with high sides I really like to use. Throw in a few TBSPs of oil into the pan and heat her on up.

Toss in the tortillas and fry until crisp.

Add in your tomato sauce, El Pato sauce, onion and garlic. Remember to turn the tortillas often.

Season it all with your lemon pepper and chili powder.

Lower the heat and cook until tortillas are how you like them. I like them with a little crispness still but others cook them down until they are soft again. This part is entirely up to you, but assuming you did drink too much the night before, decision making isn’t your strong suit and thus you should listen to my guidance.

To be super authentic one must also place a fried egg atop this wonderment pile!



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.

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…


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.


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.

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

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 :)


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.

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.


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.


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

Fresh Mexican Salsa and an Onion Lesson

Have you ever wondered how they made that amazing fresh vegetable salsa that you get in Mexican restaurants? Well, I did until I met the amazing and talented Mike Martinez. He and his family have been teaching this white boy to make Mexican food for many years. This post is a thank you to the Martinez clan. I hope we can cook together again soon!

Get together your ingredients:

5 cups roma tomatoes (about 10)
5 cups jalapeños (about 15)
2 1/2 cups white onions
6 cloves garlic
1 head cilantro (chopped)
3 serrano peppers
3 limes
1 shot of tequila

This recipe does not have to be perfect by any means. The measurements are not as important as how it tastes. They say that the spicier the salsa the better lover you are but who’s keeping score? Make your own decision.

If you have a bunch of people over that are NOT into hot food, you can use fewer jalapeños. In the pictures below I made a more tame version.

There is only two real rules in making salsa:
1) Cut everything into very small pieces.
2) Do not forget the Tequila.

The smaller the chunks, the more the flavors mix together. The tequila does exactly what alcohol usually does, it makes all of the flavors more attractive to each-other and sometimes the vegetables make bad decisions.

I like to begin by cutting the onions. There are three easy steps:

Hold the onion with the root stump near you and cut it straight down the middle like this:

Cut off the tip (not the root) and peel back the skin from both halves. Slice perpendicularly and then flip the onion half 90 degrees to the left. Batterjunkie-7951Then slice perpendicularly again like this:Batterjunkie-7952This will yield little tiny onion bits! Next slice your little tomatoes.Batterjunkie-7953Slice, scrape out pith and seeds with a spoon, and chop your jalapeños.Batterjunkie-7955 It should be noted that one should use extreme caution after chopping jalapeños when touching the more sensitive or otherwise naughty bits of one’s body. Capsaicin (the active chemical in peppers) can cause the most lingering and painful of burns.Batterjunkie-7957Next check your proportions! Here you see I have about double the amount of tomatoes as jalapeños and also double the amount of jalapeños than onions. With these proportions it will be pretty spicy for most people but you will learn to love it. If not…I can’t help you.

Next add all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Mix them around a bit with a fork. Then add the tequila and squeeze the juice of the limes into the mixture.Batterjunkie-7958
Finally give this baby another stir with your fork and pop it in the refrigerator. I would recommend letting it sit for at least a few hours before eating it but if you are short on time  you can eat it right away.

This is bound to spice up any dinner party! Once again a huge thank you to the Martinez family!

Labels: dip, Mexican, side, onion