Not Turkey: Guest Recipe from Joshua D.

This popped up in my mail just before Thanksgiving from Men Who Cook regular, Joshua D. I thought the timing was perfect since I always post not-turkey recipes after the holiday. So if you’re tired of turkey, Joshua has the perfect remedy:

This was an impromptu recipe too good to not share! One point: how much honey you will need will depend on the sweetness of your tomatoes. True it’s November but this is a good recipe to hold for summer plus if you have spare canned San Marzanos hanging around that will work beautifully!


(Note from TaMara, I changed amounts to serve 4)

  • 12 oz dried penne
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped (or two cans of diced tomatoes, San Marzanos preferred)
  • 3 large shallot, sliced
  • 2 -4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp basil, chiffonaded
  • 1 tbsp oregano, chopped
  • Few drops honey
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup parmigano reggiano

Cook penne in boiling salted water) for about a minute under package directions. While pasta is boiling, cook shallots in a skillet over medium heat. After about 2 minutes, add in tomato with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes break down, about 4-5 minutes. Add in sliced garlic,wine and herbs and cook for another minute. Drop in honey and stir well. By now the penne should be very toothsome. Add penne to skillet (if water gets into sauce this is good!) and cook together until sauce thickens slightly and penne is done to your liking. Turn off heat and mix in most of cheese. Serve with slices of toasted ciabatta or your favourite bread. Top with more cheese and enjoy!

Joshua De Mers

Fun With Dried Chilies

I’ll be doing a reprise of this today.  Few differences other than the chili sauce I’m working up.  In the last recipe the ancho peppers were just not appealing visually so I puttered about the kitchen this afternoon thinking about how to get the taste without the leather.  I simmered them in water for a while and thought about just dicing them fine, but the blender caught my eye.  I don’t use it much, decided to give it a whirl, pun intended.  Dumped the anchos plus the water they boiled in into the blender and gave it a spin.  Heh. I just kill myself.  Looked a bit thick so I added some lime juice.  Now a shallot and some garlic.  Coming along.  I scraped it out of the blender and put it into the small sauce pan for a good simmer.  Added some sweetener.  It has an interesting flavor.  The ancho is there, and the shallot, just a touch of sweet.  Smoky warm, not really hot.  It will pass the Mrs J test.  I wasn’t quite done with it yet.  Poured half a cup of mild salsa into the mix.  Mmm.  Now we are getting somewhere.

Thursday Night Menu: Ming Tsai Edition

Couldn’t sleep the other night and was channel surfing when I stumbled upon my current celebrity chef crush, Ming Tsai. He had me at sesame seeds.  I love sesame seeds and since that was the theme of the entire episode, I was hooked.  I tried two of the recipes and decided they’d be good for tonight’s menu. One thing I really like about this dinner it is a one-pan meal. Quick and easy to cook and quick and easy to clean up. And dessert is a breeze to make and addictive.  These are my versions of his, I didn’t change much because they were already simple and tasty.

On the board tonight:

  1. Sesame Chive Fish
  2. Buttered Edamames & Spinach
  3. Sesame Brittle

Sesame-Chive Fish with Buttered Edamames & Spinach

  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 6-ounce pieces butterfish, cod, halibut, or a favorite fish (really, this recipe works with any fish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1 cup edamames*
  • 2 packed cups baby spinach, washed and dried
  • splash of white wine
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • oil

Large sauté pan or skillet

Season fish with salt and pepper. Place pan over medium-high heat, lightly coat with oil, add 1 tablespoon butter and sear the seasoned fish on both sides, then cook on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Fish should flake easily. Remove and set aside. Wipe out pan and add 1 tablespoon butter and sauté the shallots. Add the edamames, spinach, dash of salt and pepper, add wine, toss until spinach is just limp. Arrange vegetables on platter and place fish on top. Garnish with chives and sesame seeds and serve.

*you can substitute fresh snow peas if you like, which is what I did.

Sesame Brittle

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • salt

saucepan, wax paper and baking sheet

In saucepan over high heat, melt butter and sugar and stir to combine. Without stirring, cook until mixture becomes a light to medium caramel color, about 3-5 minutes, then add sesame seeds and stir in. Pour mixture onto a wax paper or well oiled parchment paper covered baking sheet and spread into an even, thin layer, about 1/8 to /4-inch thick, with wooden spoon. Shape will be irregular, but don’t worry, you are just going to break it into pieces after it cools anyway. Immediately shake a bit of salt over top of mixture and lightly press into caramel using spoon. I used less than a 1/4 tsp for the entire mixture and that was plenty, though your mileage may vary. Allow to set-up for about 10-15 minutes. When brittle has hardened and cooled, break into pieces and enjoy. Store in an air-tight container. I made this almost a week ago and it’s still fresh and tasty. Not to mention addictive.

You can see his original recipes here. I was hoping for video, but no such luck, because half the fun of this menu is watching him cook.

Shopping List:

  • 4-6 oz fish fillets
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 cups toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 cup edamames or snow peas
  • 16 oz fresh baby spinach

Also: Chives, white wine, sugar