Sunday, January 8, 2017

Honey Walnut Shrimp

Here’s a Chinese restaurant favorite that was a big hit on the kitchen table the first time I made it.

You’re going to have leftover sweet condensed milk, but you can use it to cream your morning coffee, or spread it on Saloon Pilot crackers (my late father-in-law's favorite).

  • WATER, 1 cup
  • WHITE SUGAR, 2/3 cup
  • WALNUTS, ½ cup
  • MOCHIKO, ½ cup
  • MAYONNAISE, ¼ cup
  • LARGE SHRIMP, 1 pound
  • HONEY, 2 tablespoons
  • SWEET CONDENSED MILK, 1 tablespoons
  • VEGETABLE OIL, 1 cup (for frying)

  1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and add walnuts
  2. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain and place walnuts on a cookie sheet to dry.
  3. Whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy, then stir in the mochiko to a pasty consistency.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Dip the shrimp into the mochiko batter, then fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels
  6. In a medium serving bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey and sweet condensed milk. Add the shrimp and toss to coat with the sauce.
  7. Sprinkle the candied walnuts on top and serve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Slow-Cooker Beer Beef

Beer gives this moist chuck roast a special flavor, especially when combined by the herbs, spices, and tangy vinegar imparted by Italian dressing.

If you end up with a lot of sauce liquid when the beef is done, do what I did. I reduced it by about half, then thickened it a bit with a flour slurry, using about a tablespoon of all purpose flour whisked in a quarter-cup of tap water until smooth.

  • CHUCK ROAST, 1, three-pounds
  • SALT, ½ teaspoon
  • BLACK PEPPER, ¼ teaspoon
  • GARLIC, 4 cloves
  • RED ONION, 1, sliced
  • BEER, 1 cup (drink the remainder of the bottle as a reward)

  1. Place the chuck roast into a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle the roast with the salt and pepper. Place the garlic cloves on top of the roast. Add the red onion, then pour over the Italian dressing and beer. Place the bay leaves on top.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-10. Don’t open the lid during the cooking time. 
  3. Discard the bay leaves and cut the meat into large chunks.
  4. Smash the garlic with the back of a fork and stir the garlic into juices.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Crab and Artichoke Dip

You need to know that this recipe makes a helluva lot of rich cheesy dip. I thought I'd make it as a dinner entree and it turned out great. 

But three of us could only handle about a fourth of what I made. The original recipe called for kosher salt to taste, but the final dish turned out a bit salty. So I eliminated salt from the list of ingredients.

It makes a great morning omelet, too.

  • CREAM CHEESE, 8 ounces, softened
  • MAYONNAISE, 1 cup
  • MONTEREY JACK CHEESE, 1 cup + 1/2 cup
  • PARMESAN CHEESE, 1/2 cup finely shredded
  • ARTICHOKE HEARTS, one 14-ounce can, chopped finely 
  • GARLIC, 2 cloves, minced
  • LUMP CRAB MEAT, 12 ounces
  • GREEN ONIONS, 2 sliced
  • BLACK PEPPER, freshly ground, to taste
  • PARSLEY, 2 tablespoons, chopped 
  • BAGUETTE, 1, sliced and toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, 1 cup Monterey Jack, Parmesan, artichokes, garlic, crab meat, green onions and worcestershire. Season with ground pepper.
  3. Transfer the dip to a 10” cast iron skillet or a flat casserole and sprinkle the remaining Jack cheese on top. Bake until warmed through and bubbly, about 17-20 minutes, until the top is nicely toasted.
  4. Top with parsley. Serve warm with toasted baguette slices (garlic bread).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

BBQ Kalua Pork Sandwich

Take the barbecue pulled pork sandwich concept, throw in a little Hawaii flavor flair, and you end up with an amazing sandwich that you just can't stop eating.

You should have all the ingredients on hand, except maybe for the kalua (pit-smoked) pork, which is readily available in Hawaii supermarkets or online.

And, there's a minimum of prep and mixing involved, unless you have a special cole slaw recipe and make an incredible potato salad. I'll leave those up to you.

You'll notice there are no amounts given in the ingredient list. Just use what you have, as much or as little as it takes to make enough sandwiches to feed your horde. A carton or package of kalua pork makes 3-4 sandwiches.

  • SESAME SEED HAMBURGER BUNS, 1 or more packages
  • BUTTER, quite a bit, softened
  • BARBECUE SAUCE, store-bought or homemade.
  • SWEET ONION SLABS, 3-4" diameter, ¼" thick, one per sandwich
  • COLE SLAW, store-bought, KFC, or homemade

  1. Break up the kalua pork in a pan, squirt in a more-than-adequate amount of your favorite barbecue sauce. Mix and heat through.
  2. Butter the insides of the buns and pan toast them until golden brown. Remove them to your cutting board.
  3. Cover the bottom of a bun with an onion slab.
  4. Pile the BBQ kalua pork high on onion.
  5. Top with a ridiculous amount of cole slaw and the bun's top half. Try to keep the sandwich from toppling over.
  6. Serve with potato salad and a dill pickle spear (or 2, or 3), and plenty of napkins. Goes great with beer or an ice-cold Coca-Cola®.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Taco Cake

I found another winning recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago. If you love Mexican food—tacos in particular, I think you'll like this variation on regular tortilla tacos.

The only thing is that it's quite time-consuming. There's a lot of chopping and slicing to get the mise-en-place right.

I also spent quite a bit of time stacking the layers, trying to get the ingredients distributed evenly, all the way out to the edges. Didn't do too great a job; consequently, my "cake" bulged in the middle and sloped down the sides.

Yet, I will say it was delicious. I mean, what the heck, it was a giant taco and I love tacos!

  • GROUND BEEF, 1-1/2 pounds
  • TACO SEASONING MIX, 1 package 
  • BEEF STOCK, 2/3 cup
  • CORN NIBLETS, 1/2 cup
  • CHERRY TOMATOES, 1 cup, diced
  • BLACK OLIVES, 1 can, chopped
  • GREEN ONIONS, 1/2 cup, finely sliced 
  • CHEDDAR CHEESE, 1 cup, shredded

  1. Brown the ground beef, drain fat.
  2. Add taco seasoning and beef stock. Cook down 5-10 minutes.
  3. Spoon a couple of ladles of the beef mix onto a tortilla.
  4. Sprinkle on about 1/4 of the corn, tomatoes, olives, green onions and cheese.
  5. Repeat 3 more times.
  6. Top with the final tortilla and sprinkle on the remaining beef mixture and cheese.
  7. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
  8. Serve with sour cream, and salsa or pico de gallo.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Punahou Portuguese Bean Soup

Every year during the annual Punahou School Carnival weekend, my son brings home a container of Portuguese bean soup from the carnival. They’re pretty famous, you know—the carnival and the bean soup.

I got to hankering for some bean soup a short while back, and looked up the recipe. It had one ingredient I’ve never put in my Portuguese bean soup before: Potatoes. So anyway, I thought I’d give it a try, tweaking it a tiny bit to my tastebuds’ expectations. Plus, it gave me a chance to use my new veggie chopper that I bought from a Facebook ad.

You know what? I like it! The soup and the chopper. Therefore, it’s the recipe I’ll be using from now-on-in, and I’ve thrown my old recipe away.

Just so you know, this recipe makes a lot of soup—at least a gallon, maybe more.

  • HAM BONE/HOCKS, 1-2 pounds
  • KIDNEY BEANS, two 15-ounce cans
  • POTATOES, 2 large, cubed
  • CARROTS, 3 large, diced
  • ONION, 1 medium, chopped
  • CRUSHED TOMATOES, one 16-ounce can
  • TOMATO SAUCE, one 16-ounce can
  • PORTUGUESE/LINGUISA SAUSAGE, at least 1 pound sliced in circles
  • ELBOW MACARONI, 1 cup uncooked
  • GARLIC, 2 cloves
  • SUGAR, 1 teaspoon
  • SALT, 1 teaspoon
  • PEPPER, 1/2 teaspoon
  • CABBAGE, 1 medium head, cubed

  1. Boil ham hocks or ham bone in 2 quarts of water, about an hour, until tender (save the stock). Cut meat from the bones, chop up.
  2. Bring ham stock back to a boil; chopped meat and all the remaining ingredients except the cabbage.
  3. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.
  4. If too thick, add a little water.
  5. Add the cabbage, cook another half-hour until tender.
  6. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cranberry Walnut Bread

First, a caveat. I made this loaf in David Howard’s Handmade Stoneware Pottery, which I ordered from his Gatlinburg, TN, store.

You can find him online at or call him at (865) 430-3387. Or, if you want to go the old-fashioned snail mail route, write him at 170 Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

You’ll get it in about a month (Hey! It’s handmade, y’know).

Instead of sifting the flour, I whisked vigorously with a wire whisk. The object of whisking is to loosen, aerate and separate the flour; since I was going to use a whisk anyway, why use a sifter or sieve and have another implement to wash later?

I couldn’t find the recommended Cran-Fruit© at the supermarket, so I substituted dried cranberries and soaked them in sherry to rehydrate them. HINT: Use good sherry, and don’t throw it away after you’ve soaked the cranberries. Save it to use in other dishes, if you can resist drinking it. I drank mine while waiting for the bread to bake. Little sips … it’s delicious!

I put the bread maker on a wire cooking rack on top of a cookie sheet to make sliding into the oven easier. Make sure to lower the oven backing rack so the top won’t brown too quickly.

  • SELF-RISING FLOUR, 2 cups sifted
  • LEMON ZEST, 1 lemon
  • SUGAR, 2/3 cup
  • EGGS, 2, slightly beaten
  • CRAN-FRUIT©, cranberry-orange, 1 container
  • (Substitution: DRIED CRANBERRIES, 2 small 1-counce boxes, soaked in sherry and roughly chopped)
  • BUTTER, ½ cup (1 stick), melted
  • MILK, ¼ cup

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lower the oven baking rack so the bread top won’t brown too quickly.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, zest and sugar).
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly until blended.
  5. Spray the inside of a bread maker (or loaf pan) with non-stick cooking spray.
  6. Pour the batter into the bread maker.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes.
  8. Remove from bread maker and cool on a wire cooking rack.