Creamy Ricotta Pasta

In a large skillet, brown 1 large zucchini diced; 6 large crimini mushrooms, chopped; 1 small bunch of scallions thickly sliced. Add 8-10 pitted kalamata olives, halved. Stir and simmer. Drain one can Marzano whole tomatoes. Chop and add to the skillet. Heat and stir. Season with oregano, basil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat and add large dollops ricotta cheese. Stir into the sauce. Serve over fresh pasta topped with a generous amount of lemon zest.

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Savory Couscous

In a small casserole dish mix together 1 1/2 cups couscous, 1/3 cup crushed capers and 1 small zucchini peeled and finely chopped. Season with oregano, basil, garlic powder and pepperoncini flakes to taste.

In a small sauce pan, boil 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and 1/4 stick butter. When stock and butter are boiled, pour into the casserole dish over the couscous, zucchini and capers. Swish around and cover the dish. Let sit off heat for at least 10 minutes.

Uncover and fluff with a fork. Serve as a side dish with fish.

Chicken Cacciatore

Another way to braise chicken thighs. It’s Italian rather than Asian. Serves 4.

Sprinkle 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs with garlic powder all around. In a large deep skillet, in a little olive oil, brown the thighs until skin is crisp and golden, then turn and brown on the other side. Set chicken aside on a plate.

In the same skillet, brown 1 medium onion chopped. Add 6 – 8 mushrooms, chopped. Brown. Add 1 chopped zucchini. Brown. Deglaze with 1/4 cup dry red wine. Add back the chicken thighs.

Cover with 1 can San Marzano whole tomatoes, chopped with juices. Add 1 small bunch thinly sliced scallions and another 1/4 cup dry red wine. Season with generous amounts of dry basil, oregano and pepperoncini flakes. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Add 1/2 cup capers and 1 cup chopped black olives. Simmer another 15 minutes.

Serve with pasta and grated cheese. Top with lemon zest.

Spicy Asian Chicken

Serves 4.

In a small bowl mix together –
1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. each turmeric, ginger, coriander, 2 tsp. garlic powder.

In a large stockpot, in a little olive oil over medium high heat, brown 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, skin side down until skin is crisp. Turn and brown the other side. Remove the 4 chicken thighs to a plate.

In the same stockpot, brown 2 medium onions, rough chopped. Add 1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper and 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced. Brown. Sprinkle with a little of the spice mixture and stir. Add back the chicken thighs with juices to the pot. Sprinkle a little more of the spice mixture on the thighs. Add 1 can San Marzano whole tomatoes, chopped with juice. Sprinkle the rest of the spice mixture and stir. Cover and simmer.

In a small fry pan, on medium high, heat 3 tbs. olive oil and add 1 tbs. sesame seeds, 1 tsp. each cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves. Stir together until forms thick paste. Add to the stock pot and stir. Deglaze the fry pan with a little chicken broth and add to the stockpot. Stir everything together while bringing to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Add 1-2 cups cauliflower florets to the stockpot. Stir. Simmer for another hour. Add 1 cup thawed frozen peas. Stir. Simmer for another 15 minutes uncovered.

Serve with rice and chutneys.

East Over Brisket

The usual Easter Passover overlap. Brisket is great for either.

A family recipe from the Strahl’s.

First cut brisket. 4-5 lbs. at least for 8 since it shrinks. Pat dry and generously sprinkle paprika and garlic powder over all sides of the meat. In a large baking pan, brown 2-3 large sliced onions in olive oil on the stovetop. The more the better. Push onions to the side and add the brisket. Brown on all sides.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover the brisket with an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce. Cover with foil. Bake the brisket for at least an hour. Remove from oven and add 1 cup dry red wine (the original calls for Manischewitz– but no). Add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Place back in the oven covered and cook for another hour.

Take the brisket out of the pan and slice against the grain. Medium thick slices. Place sliced meat back into the sauce and cover with a little chicken broth to keep the meat moist. Bake covered for another hour. Uncover and bake until meat falls apart. Serve with latkes. And such.

Zucchinetti Colitti

In our family, they rhyme.

Clean and pat dry several zucchini squashes. Trim ends. Slice lenghthwise into thin flat pieces. Then slice each piece into long thin strips. Like spaghetti.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and brown a small chopped red onion and a couple rough chopped Crimini mushrooms. Season with garlic powder, oregano to taste. Deglaze with half a cup dry red wine. Add 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes. Chop and stir. Add basil and red pepper flakes. Stir. Reduce sauce by half on low heat. Add the zucchinetti strips and stir until coated with sauce and slightly soft.

Serve with grated cheese and lemon zest.

 

Can add any chopped meat in the browning process if desired for a heartier meal.

Tandoori Shrimp

Serves 2.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together 2 tbs. plain yogurt; 1/4 tsp. each cardamom, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cayenne; 2 cloves chopped garlic. Clean and devein 16 large shrimp. Pat dry. Add to the bowl and stir into the mixture to coat all shrimp evenly. Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

When ready to cook, bring shrimp and marinade to room temp. Put shrimp on paper towels to remove excess marinade. Place shrimp on a cookie sheet so not touching. Preheat oven broiler to hottest temperature. Place shrimp under the broiler on top rack for 6 minutes. Do not turn the shrimp. Take out of oven.

Serve with rice and chutneys.

Blackened Asian Salmon

Brush 2 6-oz. salmon filets, cross-cut, with your favorite Asian sauce. Sesame Ginger Teriyaki is great. Just to lightly coat the outside of the filets. Heat fry pan with a little olive oil to medium hot, place filets in skin-side up. Leave untouched for 4 minutes to get a blackened crust. Turn filets skin-side down for an additional 4 minutes or until medium rare.

Removing the filets with a spatula will leave skin in the pan. Remove the skin from the pan and discard. Fry up some cooked rice and veggies in the drippings. Serve filets and rice topped with lemon juice and a little zest.

Andouille Chili

Super Bowl staple.

In a large stock pot, brown two small red onions, diced. Add 1 red, 1 yellow bell pepper, and 2-3  jalapeño peppers, diced. Brown. Add 4 pre-cooked andouille sausages, cut into small squares. Brown. Add 2 cans low-salt black beans, 2 cans low-salt kidney beans. Stir. Season with 2 tsp. cumin and 1/2 tsp. cayenne. Stir. Add 1 can whole tomatoes and 1 large jar medium hot salsa with corn. Add another 2 tsp. cumin and 1/2 tsp. cayenne. Stir. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and simmer for 1 hour or longer until thickens. Serve with grated cheddar and tortilla chips. Go Saints! Oops.

Swordfish Anchoise

Serves 2.

Mince together 6 Italian jarred anchovy filets and 1 tbs. capers. 1 to 1 proportion. Set aside.

1 lb. 1″ thick swordfish steak cut into 2 pieces. Pat dry. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and a little garlic powder on both sides. In a non-stick skillet, brown fish for 3-4 minutes. Then flip the fish and add 3-4 tbs. butter. Brown while also basting with the butter for another 3 minutes until cooked through but not overcooked. Remove swordfish from skillet.

In the same pan, on medium heat, add the minced anchovies and capers. Stir. Add a squeeze of lemon and 1 cup dry white wine. Stir and reduce sauce by half.

Put the swordfish steaks back into the pan and warm quickly in the sauce on both sides. Serve the fish with the sauce and top with a little lemon zest.