Shrimp in Lobster Sauce

A pal of mine has mentioned ordering in Chinese pretty often.  He lives in Los Angeles and has a much better selection of eats than I do, living out here in the boonies.  He’s mentioned shrimp in lobster sauce often enough that I finally decided to look it up.  Surprise!  No lobster in it.  In fact, the recipes I looked at seemed to be fairly easy-I decided to give it a whirl.

I won’t link to a recipe, Google can find all you need, but I will talk a little about the dish.  The “lobster” sauce is nothing more than ground pork fried with aromatics-onions, garlic, ginger, fermented black beans-and then doused with chicken broth that has been fortified with some Chinese cooking wine.  This sauce is thickened with corn starch and flavored with oyster sauce, or soy sauce and the shrimp are dumped in to cook quickly as the sauce simmers.  Just before serving drizzle a beaten egg into the sauce and stir just a little as it sets.

As with any recipe there are variations, but this is the general thrust of the dish.  Normally it will be served over rice, today I made some fried rice to go with it.  Mrs J announced her approval after eating her plateful.  If it was only me I was cooking for there would have been some red peppers in there, Szechuan peppercorns maybe.

Garnish with sliced green onions and optionally top with a squirt of oyster sauce.

Enjoy!

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Thursday Night Menu: Comfort Food Edition

First a little housekeeping. I’ll be travelling, so there will not be a Thursday Night Menu next week. Since it is Valentine’s Weekend, instead I will repost the menu from last year, Cornish Game Hens with stuffing.

Tonight is all about comfort foods. Most of us are in the midst of a cold snap (and those of you who aren’t, don’t gloat, lest we descend upon you and stay until late spring) and the only way to get through it is to hunker down with some hot soup, buttery biscuits and finish with some melt-in-your-mouth cake warm from the oven. This is my go-to potato soup, over the traditional cream of potato soup; I like the spiciness and the sautéed onions add a deep, rich flavor. The garlic biscuits are a nice complement to the soup. I was going to find a healthy dessert for tonight, but then thought to heck with it, it’s cold, it’s icy and we need chocolate.  Rich, gooey, chocolaty goodness.

On the board tonight:

  1. Spicy Potato Soup
  2. Garlic Biscuits
  3. Salad
  4. Mocha Cake

Spicy Potato Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • ½ lb spicy ground sausage, browned and drained
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper (opt)
  • 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 6 potatoes, well scrubbed, unpeeled and cubed
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack

saucepan

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about five minutes. Add sausage, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, garlic, broth, & potatoes. Mix milk & flour, add. Bring to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes until potatoes are soft. If it’s too thick, add water. With a potato masher, slightly mash a few of the potatoes. Serve with cheese to garnish.

Garlic Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup milk*

bowl and baking sheet or cast iron skillet, greased

I prefer using butter over shortening because it gives the biscuits a buttery, garlic flavor that is irresistible.

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter, stir in garlic, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet or cast iron skillet, and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

*or substitute 1 cup buttermilk,  then omitting buttermilk powder and milk.

Mocha Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

====

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee**
  • 8×8 inch baking dish, lightly oiled

Preheat oven to 350°

This is a pudding style cake, so you don’t want to over bake it. You’ll serve it warm and directly from the pan. When you cut into it a thick, gooey chocolate center will be revealed.

From the top list: combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Combine milk, oil, & vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir well. Pour batter into baking dish. From the bottom list: combine sugar & cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched, do not over bake.

** for a stronger coffee flavor, double the ground coffee to water ratio, or use espresso.

Shopping list:

  • Salad fixin’s
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • ½ lb spicy ground sausage
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 6 potatoes (russets work best)
  • 5-1/2 cups milk
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar or jack
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • Coffee or espresso to make 1 strong cup

Also: flour, sugar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, cayenne, salt, pepper, baking powder, oil, vanilla

Burrito? Fajita?–It’s chicken and stuff in a tortilla

I’m never sure what to name these things.  As far as I can tell, either name would work.  I didn’t start out to make these.  I wanted to grill some chicken breasts that I bought several days ago but didn’t freeze right away.  I took my silver hammer and pounded the breasts semi flat, I didn’t spend too much effort on them.  Poured some olive oil into a hot pan to grill them-I was thinking along the lines of grilled chicken salads.  Decided to add some seasoning to them other than salt and pepper, and dragged the fajita seasoning out.  Got me thinking, “hmm…fajita?”  I sliced up some green peppers and some red onion, added some yellow onion, decided to toss in some fresh mushrooms.  Added some ancho sauce, it was a bit dry yet so I splashed in a half cup or so of chicken broth.  Was starting to come together.

I warmed some tortillas directly over the gas burner, let them scorch just a tad, and laid them out on a plate.  Piled a generous heaping of the chicken veggie mix and garnished with green onions, shredded cheddar,  salsa, and a bit of sour cream.  Good stuff!

Enjoy!

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Mmm…Pozole

Yeah, yeah.  Been there and done that.

Deal with it.  This is seriously good stuff.  I did make this batch a bit differently than the last few.  I used the counter top roaster to cook the pork and added a bunch of onions and dried peppers to the pan with the meat.  Cleaned a  head of garlic and slipped most of the head into slits cut here and there on the roast.  Took the powdered dried peppers I made a while back and gave everything inside the pan a good dusting with that, along with some onion powder and plenty of ground black pepper.  Poured in a good quart of chicken stock and turned it on to 350.  I shoved a temperature probe into the sweet spot and set it to beep when it got to 165.  Worked like a charm.

I took the cooked roast out and set it to cool on a board and then strained the peppers and onions and other solids from the juices left in the pan.  Ladle off the fat from the good stuff or do as I did–put the bowl into the freezer until the fat hardens and you can lift it out.

Drag out the blender and dump in the solids you strained from the drippings and the defatted juices and pulse to puree, add chicken stock or water to make it thin enough to pour back into the pot.  Those chilies and cooked onions with a few cloves of cooked garlic make a super duper flavoring.  I enhanced mine with a few chipotles in adobo sauce.  The juice of a lime will work well in there.

Shred or chop the pork when it is cool enough to handle.  Peel off the fat and gristly parts.  Dump the meat into a big stock pot, add some hominy, a few more onions cut up into largish pieces, add enough chicken stock to cover well.  Add the puree of peppers and onions and bring the pot to a simmer, keep it there for at least an hour, longer is better.  Give the broth a taste and adjust for salt and heat.  Add more pureed  chipotles, perhaps with some red pepper flakes or whole dried chilies.  Knock yourself out.  I like a good bit of oregano in mine, I put in a good tablespoon-that’s in 5 quarts or so, maybe 6, of soup.

Enjoy!

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Jinxed Myself

I put up those skunk pics and mused that Jack or another of the pups would tangle with one of them.  Brought that on myself, I guess.  Jack got skunked last night.  Fortunately Mrs J keeps the right stuff on hand to kill the stink and the boy was soon deodorized.

Made some pozole today with a quart of the roast pork I put up in Mason jars.  I’m finding that method as handy as freezing.

The pozole is simple enough to put together.  I dumped the pork into a fair sized sauce pot and added some chicken broth.  Tossed in some diced onions and cloves of garlic, and a couple of cloves of ..er..cloves.  Now add a bit of oregano and a few grinds of black pepper and the addition that really makes this dish–some sauce made from dried chili peppers.  Anchos work fine, as would any of the large dried red chilies.  I have some New Mexico chilies in this batch as well as a couple of dried pasillas.

To make the sauce, tear the chilies into smaller pieces, remove the seeds and the membranes and the stems.  Soak these in broth or water, you can bring them to a simmer in a sauce pan to hurry the process.  Use enough liquid to cover but not much more.  When they soften dump everything into a blender, add a few cloves of garlic, a touch of oregano, and a splash of lime juice.  Run the blender to puree and then dump that into the pot with the pork.  Add a can of white hominy and then set everything to simmer for a couple of hours.

Serve the pozole with any of a number of garnishes: shredded cabbage, radishes, shredded cheeses, nacho chips, green chili peppers, pickled or fresh jalapeno slices, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Enjoy!

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Dumplings? If you say so…

Tried to make chicken and dumplins using the drop in dough method and made quite a mess of it.  I sorta was following a recipe but I refuse to link to it for fear that the author of that recipe would put out a contract on me.  When I said “sorta followed” what I meant was I followed two different recipes and melded them together.  Mistake.  It said to drop tablespoons of the dough into the chicken broth, keep them separate because they would swell.  Boy did they.  I dropped in a dozen or so and put the lid on to simmer.  Came back and it looked as if the dumplings had taken over.  If I slid the pot into a hot oven at that point it would have made a credible pot pie.  I scooped those out and set them aside, dropped in a few more, much smaller dollops, and came back to something I felt I could plate up.  The dog boys and Annie got the discards and they were well received by them.  Anyway, I took pics.  Behold my works and despair!

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Pozole

I’ve done this one before but a search for pozole came up blank.  Maybe it was before I came aboard.  Simple recipe, drop a couple of pounds of pork into a pot of stock and boil it for a long time.  I added two onions, coarsely diced, about two cups of my ancho chili sauce,  about eight cloves of minced garlic, and a couple teaspoons of dried oregano.  Oh, don’t forget the hominy, used two cans of white hominy.  When I say boil for a long time, I mean until the pork can be pulled apart into bite sized shreds.  Since the pork I used was frozen solid I boiled this batch for a long time indeed.  LOL  You don’t need to make my special ancho sauce-seed several anchos and soak them in some hot stock until they’re falling apart, then process in a blender.  Dump that back into the pot.

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Thursday Night Menu: Slow-Cooker Edition

It has been a whirlwind week and Thursday took me by surprise. But no worries, I figured it out soon enough to dig up a recipe. Someone requested slow-cooker recipes a few weeks back, so I thought I’d do one of those this Thursday. Brunswick Stew is an old family favorite. I think my mom cut it out of the newspaper….in the 60’s!….and still has the original copy. There may even be on old Dear Abby column next to it. It is surprisingly good, even though it has lima beans. I hate lima beans, rates right up there with Brussels sprouts for me (sorry JeffreyW), but I’ve never even thought about eliminating them from this recipe. I’ve always been afraid it would alter the great flavor, so I just eat around them. Granny Smith apples were on sale this week, so Cinnamon Apple Cake it had to be.

On the board tonight:

  1. Brunswick Stew
  2. Corn Bread
  3. Tossed Salad
  4. Cinnamon Apple Cake

Brunswick Stew

  • 1 whole cut-up chicken
  • 2 tsp salt (more as needed)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 stalks finely diced celery with leaves
  • 1/4 tsp leaf marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 8 oz frozen lima beans
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

slow-cooker

Add all ingredients to Slow-Cooker, except butter & flour. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions (usually low for 8-10 hours). Before serving, turn heat to high and bring to a low boil. Blend flour into melted butter. Add small amount of hot liquid from stew to mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir mixture into stew, cook 2 minutes until thickened.

Cinnamon Apple Cake

  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/4 cup flour

8×8 baking dish and bowl

In baking dish, blend butter, nuts & cinnamon. Top with apple slices. In bowl, mix together egg, oil, milk, vanilla, sugar, baking powder and salt until well blended. Add flour and blend until moistened. Pour over apples evenly, but don’t worry if it’s perfect, it will arrange itself as it bakes. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes until cake springs back in center. Cool 10 minutes, then invert on plate. Serve warm.

Well, my cake didn’t work out….take a look.

Shopping List:

  • Corn Bread Mix
  • Tossed Salad Fixin’s
  • 1 whole cut-up chicken
  • 1 onion
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 8 oz frozen lima beans
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 oz chopped walnuts
  • 2 small Granny Smith apples
  • 1 egg
  • 4 oz buttermilk

Also: salt, marjoram, thyme, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, oil, vanilla, sugar