Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quick and Dirty S'ghetti

If you work for a living, you probably don't have all day to make a good pasta sauce. If you do both, you are probably making it on the weekends, or you know a helluva lot more than I do about making pasta sauce (which is entirely possible). I have a quick way to make pretty tasty spaghetti sauce within, truthfully, about 40 minutes. I have been making this for about 10 years or so now and learned some of the basics from my Mom.

The follow recipe was written while listening to the eponymously titled album by Graveyard and drinking Goose Island India Pale Ale. It serves three to four:


1 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 oz black olives, chopped (or 1/2 of a 3.8oz can)
5 to 6oz of shitake mushrooms
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 29oz can of tomato sauce
6 to 7 cloves of garlic, minced
8 to 9 0z of Morningstar Farms sausage crumbles (about 2/3rds of the bag)
4 to 5 tablespoons oregano
1/4 to 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
8 to 10 quarts of water

In a skillet, add 1/2 of the oil and bring to medium heat. Once hot, add 1/2 of the minced garlic and stir occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes until the garlic starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook until the majority of the water has cooked out of them, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large sauce pan (3 quarts or larger), add the remainder of the olive oil and heat to medium. Add the chopped onions, black olives, and green peppers. Add the remainder of the garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and some oregano. Cook until the onions are wilted and brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the 'sausage' crumbles, and cook for about 10 minutes until hot. Add the tomato sauce. Stir for about 2 minutes to ensure that all ingredients have mixed together properly. Add the parmesan cheese and add more oregano to taste, if desired. Turn heat to low and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the water to another stock pot with about 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the package.

Drain spaghetti. Add to plate, and cover with sauce. Server with warm garlic bread.

So tasty....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Barley-Sprouts" with Red Potatos and Tofu

Read this while listening to Eagles of Death Metal "Heart On"

Recently, I have been sampling the stock of some local breweries (hint, hint), and I have become quite fond of the Double Barrel IPA and Pale Ale, respectively. I started thinking about something that would compliment (at least in my taste) the intricacies and complexity of both beers.

Here is what happened:

12oz Extra Firm Tofu
4 medium to large red potatoes, 1/4" slices (julienne)
10 to 15 brussle sprouts, cleaned and halved
1/2 Anaheim pepper, sliced thinly; sliced halved
3/4 cup uncooked barley
4 celery stalks, julienne in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces (i like chunky. Say it. Chunky.).
Garlic powder (to taste)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Oregano (to taste)
Cumin (to taste)
6 to 7 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cups of water / veggie stock / beer ( your choice)

Rock Bottom Double Barrel IPA (3 pints; drink it)
Broad Ripple Brew Pub Pale Ale (2 pints; drink it)

Preheat oven to about 425 degrees Farenheit.

Drain tofu and press to remove excess water. Slice in half to make two large, thin patties. Slice those in 1/2 as well to make four (4) rectangle-shaped tofu pieces (longer than wide).

Add barley to 1.5 cups of water or stock to a 3 quart sauce pan. Add barley. Season with salt, pepper, or whatever spices you like. If you are making this, you already know what you should use for seasoning (use your taste). Season lightly as we all like different seasoning. Bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce to low. Simmer SLOWLY for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until barley is cooked. Remove when done and set aside.

Meanwhile, add olive oil to cast iron skillet (12"). Bring to about medium low to medium heat. Season the tofu pieces with oregano, garlic powder, and cumin to taste (mine taste buds are less sensitive, so i use reasonable for your palate). Cook each side of the tofu patty slowly until firm on both sides, about 25 minutes. It is done when it is crispy on all sides.

Once the tofu has started, you should be choppin' up the veggies (potatoes, brussle spouts, celery). Sprinkle some olive oil liberally in a square cassarole dish (glass), smear it around, and layer the bottom with the potato slices. Evenly spread the celery slices over the potatoes, and then do the same with the halved brussel sprouts. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin.

The barely should be done cooking now. Spread it evenly over the veggies in the cassarole dish, and then add the remainder of the liquid (1 1/2 cup; water, veggie broth, beer) to the cassarole dish.

Cook this shit in the oven for about 30 minutes. If the tofu is done before, take it off off the heat and set it aside.

Once the casserole is about 5 to 7 minutes from being complete, start reheating the tofu in the skillet until it is hot again. You can do one of two things with it: cut it into bite-size pieces, or leave it as it is.

Scoop some of the cassarole onto a plate, and add some tofu. Eat.

No kittehs were injured in the making of this post...only loved on.

Such a baby...Azreal.

If you gots no beers, go the pub. If you gots no kittehs, go the shelter. It is always better to have too much than not enough. Praise Bob.

You can make a difference in so many ways. Act.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Red Beans with mushroom soup, TVP, and spiral pasta

I tend to make dishes based on whatever I can find in my kitchen. I tend to buy things that look or sound good without buying anything with which to pair them. I am lax about following recipes, and I generally embellish them with things that I prefer.

Here is another one of those dishes.

This will provide 2 to 4 servings.

1 can red beans
1/2 cup of reconstituted TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
1 can of mushroom soup
1 can (14 to 15 oz) veggie stock
1 to 2 cups of spiral pasta, cooked (I used a spinach, tomato, and beet medley)
1/4 cup of scallions
1 small to medium jalapeno, deseeded and cut in 1/4" by 1/4" pieces (thinly sliced and julienned)
1 medium white onion, peeled & quartered
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of Chef Han's Cajun seasoning (any Cajun spice mix will do)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 ears of fresh corn, cooked and de-kerneled
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Add as much water as necessary to cook the corn in a stock pot with a pinch of salt. Add the corn, and boil for about 25 minutes. Once it is done, remove all kernels into a separate bowl.

Boil 1 cup of vegetable stock with the Cajun spice and garlic powder. Add TVP and allow to reconstitute (about 10 minutes). Set aside for later.

Add olive oil to a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Once hot, add quartered onions and green onions. Heat until wilted but still crisp. Add the can of beans without draining. Mix well with the onions. Season with black pepper. Stir occasionally for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until hot. Reduce heat to low. Add the can of soup 1 spoonful at at a time, stirring each spoonful into the mixture. Add the corn and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the reconstituted TVP in the same manner.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package using the remainder of the veggie stock and an appropriate amount of water (I season this with a pinch of salt also). I only used about 2 cups of uncooked pasta to get the right amount. Once the pasta has cooked (about 10 minutes), drain and rinse with hot water. Return pasta back to the pan in which it was cooked, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Allow cheese to melt.

Scoop some of the pasta and cheese into a bowl. Top with the bean, veggie, and mushroom soup mixture. Serve hot.

Look for another recipe later this week with brussel sprouts. Mmmmm...tiny cabbages.