Tag Archives: garlic

Asian Stir-Fry Beef with Fried Rice – Total Yumminess! (serves 4 – 6)

Yes, yes, I’ve been a slacker, but I have undertaken a few more ventures in my already too-packed life and so my poor blog has had to suffer until I got everything up and running – so, here we go!


Really yummy beef sir-fry for dinner!

The blog may have been MIA but that certainly does not mean that the Crappy Kitchen was collecting dust: I have been cooking up a storm most nights and here is something that I was begged to cook by my son. He had a longing for something I rarely cook, beef, so I succumbed and made something that would please everyone: a whole wok-full of thinly sliced stir-fry beef with rice.

It was delicious beyond belief and even thought it is a tabu food on my particular diet (Blood Type A) I couldn’t help “test tasting” a little more than was good for me!


You will need:

3 or so tbs vegetable or grapeseed oil (more if needed)

2 lbs beef, very thinly sliced – not shaved (NY stripe or flank steak is good)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

2 tsp granulated sugar

10 scallions, including green parts, sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (use 3 if large)

8 oz mung bean sprouts

1 cup grated or matchstick carrots

4 cups chopped spinach

6 cups cooked basmati rice

Pari Basmati Rice

Pari Basmati Rice

*This is a good time to use that leftover rice – it can be added to the dish straight from the refrigerator. If you do not have rice cooked, put it on to cook first thing. If using a rice cooker (as I do!), cook a 3 cup measure of rice. If cooking on the stove top, use two cups and follow instructions on your rice bag*

fry beef

Fry beef – Hot and Fast!

1 – Mix the soy, mirin, sesame oil, pepper flakes and sugar in a large bowl and add the beef slices. Cover and set aside in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Put large saute pan or wok on high heat. When it is very hot, add 2 tbs of oil and add 1/3 of the beef, shaking off the excess marinade and distributing it over the entire surface of the pan. Let it cook for a minute (do not touch it as it sizzles!). Turn and shake the meat about and cook for another minute or two until cooked. Test a piece by eating – it should be tender and soft. Transfer to a bowl. Add more oil and continue to cook the beef in batches until it is all done. Reserve the marinade that is left in the bowl to be used later.


Yummy stir-fried beef!

2 – If the pan is very dark and blackened on the bottom, you may want to give it a quick cleaning before you continue. Add a little more oil and with the pan on high heat, add the scallions, garlic and carrots. cook for two minutes, stirring often.

stir-fry scallion, carrots & garlic

stir-fry scallion, carrots & garlic

3 – Add the bean sprouts and continue to cook for 1 more minute.

add bean sprouts

add bean sprouts

4 – Add the chopped spinach and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the rice. Stir everything together and cook until rice is hot.

add spinach, then rice

add spinach, then rice

5 – Add the beef and its accumulated juices, as well as the rest of the marinade. Mix well and turn off heat. Taste for addition of more soy sauce or a soy sauce and mirin mixture.

add beef & serve!

add beef & serve!

Serve immediately in warmed bowls with more soy sauce and a dose of sriracha sauce if that is your thing!

Indian-Inspired Pork Stir-Fry (serves 6)

So many times my dishes are born from a single spice or herb and everything else will follow. In this case it was the bag of ground coriander that was calling my name, which I  answered by making this pretty darn great pork stir-fry. One thing is for sure, pork tenderloin is a handy item to have in your fridge. It cooks super fast and it loves a good marinade.

Indian-Inspired pork stir-fry

Indian-Inspired pork stir-fry

Also adding some chopped roasted Anaheim peppers to the plain fluffy rice was a great way to highlight their lovely smoky heat, and the rice looked so pretty dotted with green flecks of color.


Roasted Anaheim peppers

This dish comes together faster than you think so don’t be put off by the list of ingredients. Perhaps you could put pork tenderloin and coriander on your shopping list this weekend!


You will need:

basmati rice for 6 (cook rice according to rice cooker or package instructions and keep warm)

2 Anaheim peppers

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 lbs pork tenderloin, thinly sliced, (which is about 2 loins)

1 1/2 tbs soy sauce

1 1/2 tbs mirin

2 tsp sesame oil

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 1/2 tbs ground coriander

2 medium onions, peeled & cut into 8 wedges

3 garlic cloves, sliced

4 cups chopped spinach

1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock (OR 1/2 bouillon cube & 1/2 cup water)

sea-salt & black pepper to taste


*cook rice according to instructions and keep warm & when peppers are roasted (method below), add to rice*

basmati rice with roasted anaheim peppers

Basmati rice with roasted Anaheim peppers

1 – Roast Anaheim peppers: Put your oven rack a few inches from the grill (I’m guessing the second rack) and put the peppers on a baking tray and place under the hot grill. Check every few minutes and turn peppers as they blacken.


Roast Anaheim peppers

2 – Remove peppers and place in a brown paper bag (I use the bags I get when I buy a bottle of wine) and close. Leave for about 15 to 20 minutes undisturbed. Remove from bag and peel off the skin, remove the stem and seeds. Do not rinse with water or you will lose flavor and texture. Dice peppers (& add to warm rice)

3 – Mix together in a large bowl (one that can hold the sliced raw pork) 3 tbs of extra-virgin oil with the soy, mirin, sesame oil, cumin, white pepper, and coriander.

mix spices adn oils for marinade

Mix spices and oils for marinade

4 – Add the sliced pork and mix together until everything is well coated (I use my hands for the job). Set aside for at least 15 minutes (or can be done up to a day ahead and stored in the fridge).

marinate pork in spice blend

Marinate pork in spice blend

5 – Put large saute pan on medium heat and add a tbs of olive oil. When it has warmed, add the onion wedges and garlic slices. Cook, stirring often for about 8 minutes., (onions will soften and start to brown in spots, while still retaining a crunch)

saute onions & garlic

Saute onions & garlic

6 – Turn heat up to high and add the pork. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock (or water and bouillon) and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes. Turn off heat.

add pork, then liquid

Add pork, then liquid

7 – Add the spinach and mix gently. Place lid on pan and let the spinach wilt slightly for 5 minutes (you want the spinach to still have a raw “feel”)

mx in spinach

Mix in spinach

Serve immediately in warm shallow bowls with a scoop of rice and pass the hot sauce (we love sriracha!)

Seasoned Sausage & Chicken in Curried Cream

 This is the kind of dinner that requires little work but has great results. When I am at a loss as to what sorts of flavors I want to come up with for dinner, and I am low on things like fresh herbs, I turn to the foods that I buy specifically to get around these problems; these apple & onion sausages did all the work for this dinner in the flavor department.

Seasoned Sausage & Chicken in Curried Cream

Seasoned Sausage & Chicken in Curried Cream

I can’t say that I ever buy instant food to get me out of those nights when time is precious and hungry offspring are gnawing at my heels in search of dinner. I know that there are some frozen and packet meals that are good enough, but honestly, what is out there is mostly not that great (and I’m being nice).

My idea of instant food is buying say a piece of meat or fish that has been marinated in a mixture of herbs and spices for quick and convenient cooking, or the likes of the sausages that I used to whip up this great curry. And yes, curry powder is my other instant go-to food. Nowadays you can find some fabulous mixes and they last forever. The other trick is to buying a cut of meat that has no bones or skin to contend with (the chicken thighs for this dinner to be precise). I’m all for bouillon cubes and fresh frozen peas if it will keep you cooking healthy meals most evenings.

This dinner is a demonstration in how to make something that takes just a little longer to cook than a large frozen pizza or pasta dinner. Don’t you think that you and your family are worth it!


You will need:

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs unsalted butter

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper for seasoning meat and to taste

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 lb seasoned sausage, cut into big pieces if it comes in a rope style (I used an Apple & Onion flavored sausage, but another kind will do just as well – do not use an Italian-style sausage as these flavors are too strong – stick with things like a Rosemary & White Wine sausage, Garlic & Onion etc)

2 medium sweet onions, cut in half, then into thin 1/2 rounds

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tbs curry powder (I used a medium/hot variety from a great spice shop in NYC)

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

1 bouillon cube & 2 cups water OR 2 cups chicken stock

1/2 tbs all-purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream


1 – Season chicken things with a little sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put pan or heavy casserole on high heat and add a couple of tbs of olive oil. When oil is hot sear chicken things until browned. Transfer to a plate as you go.

sear chicken

Sear the chicken

2 – Brown the sausages in the same way and set aside.

cook sausages seperatly

Brown the sausages

3 – Turn the heat down to medium and add the butter. When it melts add the onions and garlic. cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Next add the spices and flour and mix together.

saute onions, add spices

Saute onions, add spices

4 – Add the bouillon cube and water (or chicken broth) and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and stir.

make sauce

Make sauce

5 – Place the chicken and sausage back into the pan in an even layer and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and cover with lid. Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

assemble curry adn place in oven

Assemble curry and place in oven

Remove from oven and check to season more and if the sauce is the right consistency for you. If it is too thick add a little more cream or hot water and mix gently. serve with rice, pasta or bread. Of course a salad would be welcome too.

Serve with rice

Serve with rice, pasta or bread

Lightening Fast Pasta For One! (Spaghetti with Garlic, Tomatoes & Capers)

I walked into my house last night at 8.05pm and was sitting eating this lovely dinner with a glass of wine by 8.20pm – talk about Fast Food!

my version of Fast Food (Spaghetti with Garlic, Tomatoes & Capers)

My version of Fast Food (Spaghetti with Garlic, Tomatoes & Capers)

You know those nights when you arrive home late and all you can think about is food? This can go a few ways: you can grab a microwave-able dinner, eat something like a hunk of bread with cheese, or take one moment longer to think about what you could cook and go for that. Last night I choose the latter.

I felt really hungry yes, but I also knew that I deserved something good and something that I would actually enjoy once I had taken my coat off and sat down. We go that extra mile for so many things that are less important than moments like this and I have learned to recognize those moments.

everything I would need for dinner ready in a flash

Everything I would need for dinner ready in a flash (spinach, cheese, garlic & capers)

Within 5 seconds I had scanned the fridge and saw a jar of capers and the lovely parm cheese. The next thing I did was put a pot of water on for pasta and made a vow to have the whole thing ready by the time I was draining the spaghetti. There was even time to pour a glass of wine while I waited for the pasta water to boil!

My dinner was more lovely than you can imagine and I slurped up every last bite like it was my last supper.


*This recipe is for one but multiply the ingredients according to how many you would like to cook this for, and it will work out just as fab!*

You will need:

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped spinach

1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped

1/2 cup diced tomatoes with juices (I used a good quality canned variety – you should always used canned when tomatoes are not in season –  a Summer tomato is welcomed here however)

1 heaped tbs capers (don’t even bother rinsing)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

1/4 cup (or more if you like) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

spaghetti for 1 (I just took a handful from the box that I thought would work for me)


1 – Immediately put pasta water on to boil: Add a tsp of salt and a drop of olive oil to the water and cover with lid so the water comes to a boil faster. Add the spaghetti when water boils and cook according to instructions. When ready to drain, scoop out about a 1/4 cup of pasta water and reserve for your sauce. Do not rinse pasta. You will be transferring hot pasta directly to your cooked pan sauce.

cook spaghetti..

Cook spaghetti…reserve some cooked pasta water and do not rinse noodles when cooked!

2 – Prep ingredients as instructed above. When you add the pasta to the boiling water start to make your pan sauce. Put saute pan (big enough to hold the completed dish) on medium/low heat and add the oil. When it warms, add the tomatoes and juices and let it cook for 1 minutes. Add the garlic and capers and stir.

tomatoes, then garlic & capers

Tomatoes, then garlic & capers

3 – Add the chili flakes and cook everything for a minute or two.

stir adn cook for a minute or two

Stir and cook for a minute or two

4 – Next toss in the spinach and stir everything together. Spinach will wilt and begin to cook into the sauce after a minute or so.

add spinach

Add spinach

5 – The moment the timer goes off on your pasta, scoop out a 1/4 cup of water and add to your pan sauce. Drain the pasta and immediately add to the pan. Turn off heat and mix everything with the help of two wooden spoons.

Serve with lots of grated Parmagiano reggiano

Serve with lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Tip the entire dish into a waiting warmed bowl or plate and garnish with the grated cheese. Drizzle with a good quality olive oil if you have it.

Fettuccine & Shrimp with Bok Choy in Flavorful Broth (serves 4)

 I had decided to do my grocery shopping in the early evening and knew by the time I got home, and completed the dreaded job of putting everything away, it would be a late start with dinner.

Fettuccine & Shrimp in Flavorful Oil

Never fear; this dish was the answer to the pangs of hunger growling in my house!

This comes together in about 30 minutes, and it is well worth the effort. It smells heavenly as the garlic cooks in the oil, and the tender shrimp clinging to the lemony noodles lend a note of sweetness to the air.

That, along with a lovely perfume-y Riesling I had treated myself to while out shopping (my reward for tramping through aisles of groceries with my big-wheeled metal basket!), was the perfect end to a hectic day.

Thank you food!


You will need: 1 lb shrimp, deveined, remove shell ( 31 – 40 count per lb size), 2 heads baby bok choy, white parts finely diced, green parts chopped, ( you can also substitute with 3 ribs regular bok choy, cutting as directed), 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 2 tbs unsalted, cold butter, sea-salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional), 3/4 lb fettuccine pasta (I use Barilla brand)

1 – Prep all ingredients before you begin cooking, as this all happens pretty fast.

2 – Put water on for pasta and time fettuccine to be cooked at the same time the broth is ready (about 15 minutes total). Cook pasta according to instructions, reserving about a 1/2 cup of pasta water (you may need it to loosen the pasta broth)

3 – Put a big saute pan on medium heat and add oil. Add the diced white parts of bok choy and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes before adding the chopped greens. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Saute garlic and bok choy in oil

4 – Add the broth (or bouillon & water), and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook at a gently simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes.

5 – Turn heat off and add the butter and lemon juice. Taste for addition of salt and pepper. Toss the cooked, hot pasta into the broth. Add some pasta water if you like a looser sauce.

time to eat

Serve with a nice grating of cheese (if you like).

Pasta Puttanesca with Fresh Cayenne Peppers (serves 4)

What else could I do with my crop of cayenne peppers besides drying them? I decided to see how they would fair in a spicy puttanesca sauce.

The three stages of color my peppers go through, green , orange-y & bright red

There were four main ingredients in this sauce and I am proud to announce that they came from either my garden (parsley & peppers), Rambler Farm (garlic) or Good Work Farm (tomatoes).

How could I possibly go wrong. I had never made a puttanesca sauce without using San Marzano canned tomatoes, and cayenne pepper flakes, so this was going to be very interesting.

Sublimely simple flavors

I was not particularly sure my kids would go for such a minimal dish either, but I was determined not to think about it, and let my curiosity take over.

I was so impressed with the final result! It was not as hot, but the heat felt fresher, if you can imagine that? The tomatoes were sharp and everything was balanced magically by the earthy-tasting parsley.

My kids couldn’t get enough of this fresh take on a spicy tomato sauce. I will long for this dinner when it is wintertime and there isn’t a tomato or pepper in sight. This meal was all about right-from-the-ground-taste and would be hard to replicate out of season.

What am I saying? Very simple; make this before the bounty disappears!


You will need: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 4 gorgeous red tomatoes, diced, 2 fresh cayenne peppers, thinly sliced, OR, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes, 4 tbs freshly chopped flat-leafed parsley, 1 tsp coarse sea-salt (I used Maldon salt – type Maldon in my search box for more info.), 3/4 lb spaghetti pasta (I use Barilla brand),

1 – Put saucepan or pot on low heat and add oil. Add chopped garlic and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

saute garlic in oil

2 – Add the diced tomatoes, salt, and cayenne pepper slices. Bring to a steady simmer and cook like this for about 15 to 20 minutes.

add fresh tomatoes and cayenne peppers

3 – While tomatoes are cooking put on pot of water for pasta. When it comes to a boil, cook pasta according to instructions. Try to have it ready when sauce is cooked. *Reserve about a 1/2 cup of pasta water in case you need it for the sauce.

simmer for 20 minutes

4 – Add the chopped parsley and give everything a stir. The moment the pasta is cooked, drain and add immediately to the sauce. add some pasta water if you want a looser sauce. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Turn off heat.

add parsley

Serve on warmed plates with more parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano. Super good food!

Serve with more fresh parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Good Work Farm Vegetables & Shrimp in Sublime Sauce with Spaghetti (serves 4)

This dinner was completely driven by my CSA box of veggies which I receive from Good Work Farm each Wednesday (see top right of this blog for what a CSA means etc). It is getting to the point in the growing season where more and more vegetables are maturing, and so yesterday, I was greeted by wonderful purple, red and yellow potatoes, dill, yellow cherry tomatoes, purple bunching onions, cucumbers, carrots, beets, tons of basil, and 5 fabulous heads of garlic from Rambler Farm (Good Work have co-oped with them to give their CSA members lots of variety). Wow – what a harvest! I wanted to cook it all, just to taste it.

This is why I get excited about the Summer!

When I put all the vegetables on my counter top, I decided that everything besides the protein (I was defrosting some shrimp) would come from my CSA box.

Local Garlic from Rambler Farm

I went with something that would highlight the vegetables, and so made a light tangy broth with wine, butter and lemon juice (oops, where did that lemon come from?). I cannot tell you the difference it made to the dish to use produce that was barely out of the ground from a few short miles away. I could taste every nuance each vegetable had to offer, from the sweetness of the tomatoes to the sting of the garlic.

The result of using fresh local produce - Yum!

When I presented this bowl of goodness to my children I felt as if I were giving them a birthday present, and they received their food with equal enthusiasm. Dinner was ravenously eaten by all, and the broth was slurped and sopped with bread until our plates needed no washing!


You will need: 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (31-40 count per lb size), 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 bunching onions including green parts (or 4 scallions), sliced, 2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes, cut 1 cup in half and leave 1 cup whole (red is fine too), 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves, 1 carrot, thinly sliced, 1 cup white wine, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube,( or 1/2 cup chicken broth),  crumbled, 2 tbs unsalted butter, 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup cooked pasta water (which you scoop before you drain the spaghetti), 1 lb spaghetti (I use Barilla brand), coarse sea salt (I use Maldon salt flakes), freshly ground black pepper.

1 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add the extra-virgin oil. Saute onions or scallions for 3 minutes before adding the carrots and garlic. Continue to saute until the onions soften (about 7 or 8 minutes), stirring frequently (adjust heat if necessary).

Saute onions and garlic, then add carrots

*Put pasta water on to boil and cook spaghetti according to instructions. Try to time the process so as the spaghetti is ready after the shrimp has been added to the pan. Scoop out 1 cup of pasta water before draining and set aside for use in the sauce.

2 – Add wine and let it come to a boil. Simmer wine for 5 minutes before adding the halved tomatoes, chopped basil, water and crumbled bouillon (or broth). Bring liquid to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste broth at this point and add salt and pepper according to your taste.

Add wine, cook, then basil & tomatoes

3 – Add the shrimp and whole tomatoes and bring back to a slight simmer. Cook shrimp for 3 minutes. Add the butter and lemon juice and stir.

add butter and lemon juice

4 – Toss the cooked pasta directly into the pan when it is drained and add a 1/2 cup of the pasta water and stir. If you would like a brothier sauce (We Do!), add the rest of the water.

Add spaghetti, pasta water and a few whole basil leaves.

Serve in warm shallow bowls with a couple of fresh basil leaves (if you have them), and a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese if you like.

Garnish with a little Parmigiano Reggiano cheese if you have it.