Category Archives: Recipes

Friday Recipe: Catfish in Dashi Sauce

This dish is one of my own creations. It’s inspired by reading
Ming Tsai’s cookbooks, and seeing how he combines things. But as far as I
know, he doesn’t do anything like this.

You really need catfish for this. I’ve tried it with other fish, but
it just doesn’t work as well. Catfish has a unique flavor and texture which
is particularly well-suited to this.

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Friday Random Recipe: Mac and Cheese!

One of my favorite comfort foods is a mac&cheese tuna casserole. That’s real mac&cheese, not any of that glow in the dark orange garbage. It amazes me just how many people have never actually had a proper, home-made macaroni and cheese! It’s really good eating (unlike the glow in the dark stuff). The most important thing for this is to use good cheddar cheese. The pre-shredded stuff is tasteless – you need a good brick of some kind of high quality, aged cheddar cheese. Of the widely available stuff, my favorite is Cabot extra-sharp.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of macaroni, cooked according to instructions an the box, then cooled.
  • 3/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese.
  • 2 cups milk.
  • 8 tablespoons butter.
  • 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced.
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard.
  • 1 can of good quality tuna, preferably packed in olive oil, drained
    and crumbled.
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs.
  • 2 tablespoons of flour.
  • 1 head broccoli, steamed and cut into small pieces.

Instructions

  1. In 2 tbs of butter, brown the sliced mushrooms. Add salt to taste.
  2. In another 2 tbs butter, toast the bread-crumbs until they’re nicely browned.
  3. Put the cooked macaroni, broccoli, mushrooms, and tuna into a large mixing bowl, and mix
    them together.
  4. In a saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tbs butter, and then add the flour. Whisk together
    to form a roux, and cook on medium low heat until it’s about the color of coffee with milk.
  5. Add the milk, and whisk vigourously to dissolve the roux into the milk. Increase the heat
    to medium, and stir until it reaches a boil and thickens.
  6. Add the mustard and 2/3rds of the cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that the salt in the sauce is the only salt for the macaroni.)
  7. Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture in the bowl, and mix it through.
  8. Dump the resulting mixture into a large casserole dish. Top with the toasted bread crumbs
    and the remaining cheese.
  9. Cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes; then remove the foil and let it bake
    for another 20 minutes.

It’s a humble dish, but it’s really awfully good. If you’re adventurous, you can also do all sorts of variations – this dish is great for playing with. For example, replacing the mustard with curry powder
is terrific!

Friday Random Recipe: Spicy Chicken Lo Mein

Lo Mein is one of the staples of Chinese restaurants in the US. In general, it’s not bad,
but it’s a bit greasy, and a bit bland. This version of it is closer to authentic, and has
a really nice kick.

The heat comes from a sauce called Sambal. Sambal is the vietnamese name, but Chinese make
it too, and call it chili-vinegar sauce. It’s basically a ton of fresh chilis – the variety that
we call Thai bird chilis – pounded in a mortar and pestle until it forms a loose sauce, roughly the consistency of a thin ketchup.

You really need to go to a Chinese grocery for the noodles. The chinese egg noodles have a different consistency and flavor than any Italian pasta. To prepare them, you get some water boiling, toss the
noodles in for just one or two minutes, and then take them out and rinse with cold water to cool them, and toss them with just enough oil to stop them from sticking together.

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Friday Random Recipe: Chicken Paprikash

The year before our first kid was born, my wife and I went on vacation in Budapest. It was a beautiful city, and the food was wonderful – I particularly loved the chicken paprikash that they seemed to server everywhere. When I got home, I started looking for recipes to reproduce it. This is the closest I’ve been able to come.

The most important thing for this recipe is the paprika. Get good hungarian paprika. American paprika is pretty much just powdered red food coloring. Hungarian paprika is a richly flavorful spice which is the heart of this dish.

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A New Friday Feature: Random Recipes

Since the friday pathological programming died out, I’ve been looking for something else to
do for special friday posts. A while back, I posted a bunch of recipes for a mutant meme, and
it seemed a lot of people really liked it. So I’ve decided to do an off-topic friday thing: friday random recipes.

For today, a special chinese dish: braised salmon in meat sauce. This dish would traditionally
be done using pork for the meat in the sauce, but since I don’t eat pork, I use ground chicken thighs. Whatever meet you use, you need to make sure it’s not too lean – the sauce does need a bit of fat in it; not a huge amount, but in needs some. Ground chicken breasts are too dry. I like to do this with wild alaskan salmon. If you don’t like or can’t get salmon, it would work with other strong-flavored firm fish – this would probably be very good using swordfish, or mahi-mahi.

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