Look at what's cookin

My adventure's in feeding my family

Pasta Alla Norma November 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kariryerson @ 12:00 am

I have mentioned before how much we love recipes from Jamie Oliver. I picked up a new book called “Jamie’s Italy” and I don’t know why it has taken me this long to make recipes from it. This one was simple and tasty. I don’t cook eggplant much because the hubs isn’t a fan but everyone enjoyed this dish.


  • 2 large firm eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • a bunch fresh basil, stems chopped and leaves reserved
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 28 oz canned plum tomatoes
  • 1 lb dried spaghetti
  • 6oz salted ricotta or parm cheese, grated




First of all, get your nice firm eggplants and cut them into quarters lengthwise. If they’ve got seedy, fluffy centers, remove them and chuck them away. Then cut the eggplants across the length, into finger-sized pieces. Get a large nonstick pan nice and hot and add a little oil. Fry the eggplants in two batches, adding a little extra oil if you need to. Give the eggplants a toss so the oil coats every single piece and then sprinkle with some of the dried oregano—this will make them taste fantastic. Using a pair of tongs, turn the pieces of eggplant until golden on all sides. Remove to a plate and do the same with the second batch.

When the eggplants are all cooked, add the first batch back to the pan—at this point I sometimes add a sneaky dried red chili. Turn the heat down to medium and add a little oil, the garlic, and the basil stems. Stir so everything gets evenly cooked, then add a swig of herb vinegar and the cans of tomatoes, which you can chop or whiz up. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then taste and correct the seasoning. Tear up half the basil leaves, add to the sauce, and toss around.

Get your spaghetti into a pan of salted boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. When it’s al dente, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water, and put it back into the pan. Add the Norma sauce and a little of the reserved cooking water and toss together back on the heat. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, then divide between your plates by twizzling the pasta into a ladle for each portion. Any sauce left in the pan can be spooned over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, grated cheese, and oil.



Pasta with Cauliflower and Mustard Brown Butter November 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kariryerson @ 12:00 am

Where has this recipe been all my life? As soon as I made it I shouted to the world (ok all my friends on facebook) that they needed to rush out and make it. It is so tasty. The cauliflower gets so sweet to offset the tangy sauce.


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets, stems minced
  • 34 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 13 cup large capers, drained
  • 34 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 12 cup whole grain mustard
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. pappardelle pasta
  • 14 cup roughly chopped parsley



Heat oven broiler. Toss cauliflower florets with 2 tbsp. oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet; broil until charred and tender, 8–10 minutes. Heat 13 cup oil in a 14″ high-sided skillet over medium-high. Cook capers until crisp, 6–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer capers to paper towels to drain. Cook bread crumbs and chile flakes until crisp, 3–4 minutes; transfer to a plate. Wipe skillet clean and melt butter over medium; cook until butter is a deep golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Stir in mustard, salt, and pepper; transfer to a bowl. Add remaining oil to skillet; heat over medium-high. Cook cauliflower stems, garlic, salt, and pepper until golden, 6–8 minutes. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta; add to skillet with half the reserved bread crumbs, all the mustard butter, and half the parsley; toss. Top with reserved florets; garnish with reserved capers and the remaining bread crumbs and parsley.



Rosemary-maple Roast Chicken November 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kariryerson @ 12:00 am

I have mentioned this many times before but I love a roast chicken. This recipe is super simple but oh so tasty. I can never seem to find 3.5lb chickens. Seriously nothing under 5lbs up here. Anyone else have that issue?


  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 12 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 3 sprigs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small yellow onions, cut into 8 wedges




Heat oven to 450°. Combine maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and set aside. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Combine oil, rosemary, and garlic; rub the mixture all over the entire chicken, including under the skin on each side of the breast and thigh. Stuff half of the onions and rosemary into the cavity of the chicken.
Using a trussing needle and kitchen string, tuck tail inwards and truss cavity closed; tie legs together. Transfer chicken breast-side up to a 9” x 13” baking dish; cook, basting occasionally with pan juices, 40–45 minutes. Add remaining onion wedges and rosemary sprigs to pan. Brush chicken, onion, and rosemary with maple syrup mixture.
Continue to cook until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of thigh reads 165°, about 30 minutes more. Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Korean-Style Steaks with Spicy Cilantro Sauce November 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kariryerson @ 12:00 am

I just love steak. Seriously, I would eat it every day if it were healthy to do so. Everything that this recipe called for I had around the house. It is fresh and spicy and I liked it.


  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup medium-dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 6 (1-inch-thick) boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, about 3/4 pound each
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (including roots and stems)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced seeded fresh habanero or serrano chile (optional)
  • 1 (4-inch-long) fresh hot red chile, chopped (optional)




Stir together 3/4 cup soy sauce, sherry, sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish until sugar is dissolved, then add steaks, turning to coat. Marinate steaks, turning once, for 1 hour.


While the steaks marinate, mix together cilantro, vegetable oil, lime juice, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and chile if using. Set aside.


Heat grill to high heat, and when ready, grill steaks 3 to 4 minutes per each side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices and then top with some sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Squash Gnocchi With Meat Sauce November 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kariryerson @ 12:00 am

I have been wanting to make this recipe for a while but wanted to wait until squash was in season. It was very tasty but the gnocchi was not my favorite.


For the Meat Sauce

  • 12 lb. ground beef
  • 12 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 (28-oz.) can peeled whole plum tomatoes, chopped

For the Gnocchi

  • 1 small butternut squash, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt
  • 1 cup flour

IMG_2206 IMG_2207



For the meat sauce: Brown beef and pork in 1 tbsp. of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, using the back of a wooden spoon to break meat up. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook onions in remaining 1 tbsp. oil in another medium skillet over medium heat until soft and golden, about 20 minutes, then stir in tomatoes and their juices. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Drain fat from meat, then add meat to tomato sauce. Adjust seasoning, then set aside.
For the gnocchi: Preheat oven to 350°. Put squash in a baking pan, cover with foil, and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and, when cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a strainer, then press out as much liquid as you can. Transfer to a large bowl, add eggs, and mash together with a potato masher. Season to taste with salt, then work in flour to form a thick, soft dough.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Using 2 tablespoons (1 to scoop, the other to push batter off spoon), drop spoonfuls of batter into water. (If gnocchi fall apart, skim pieces out of water, add a little flour to batter, and try again.) Cook until gnocchi have risen to surface and simmered for 1-2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a warm platter. Continue until all batter has been used. Spoon warm sauce over gnocchi.

Tunisian Meatballs November 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kariryerson @ 12:00 am

I am actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this recipe. The spices were the perfect mix giving it an exotic flavor without being too “out there.”



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • A 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • Large pinch of saffron, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water


  • 1 1/2 cups cubed day-old firm white bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
  • All-purpose flour for dusting
  • Olive or vegetable oil for shallow-frying


  • 1 cup giant couscous, medium couscous, or m’hamsa
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water until softened, then drained
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon




To make the sauce, heat the oil in a wide heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, without browning, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon stick, and saffron and stir well to incorporate. Season generously with salt and pepper and allow to sizzle for 1 minute. Add the broth, bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. The sauce can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated.


To make the meatballs, Put the bread cubes and milk in a small bowl and let the bread soak until softened, about 5 minutes, then squeeze dry and transfer to a medium bowl.


Add the ground meat to the bread and mix gently with your hands, then add the egg, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cloves, coriander, and nutmeg, and mix well to distribute the seasonings. Add 2 tablespoons each of the parsley, cilantro, and scallions and knead for a minute. The meat mixture can be prepared up to a day in advance and refrigerated.


With your hands, roll the meat mixture into small balls about the size of a quarter. Dust lightly with flour. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs, turning once, until barely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Drain and blot on paper towels.


Add the meatballs to the sauce, bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meatballs are tender. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, adding salt or cayenne as necessary.


Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the package directions, then fluff gently and stir in the butter and raisins. Season with salt and the cinnamon and toss well.


Spoon the couscous into shallow bowls and top with the meatballs and plenty of sauce. Garnish with the remaining parsley, cilantro, and scallions.


Note: Regarding the browning of the meatballs, dusting them in flour before lightly frying helps keep them tender and thickens the sauce, but they can be browned without flour if desired. Or, instead of frying, they can be briefly broiled before simmering. And if you don’t want the sauce, just finish the cooking in the skillet and serve the panfried meatballs crisp and hot.

Warm Goat Cheese Dip w/ Artichokes and Roasted Tomatoes November 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — kariryerson @ 12:00 am

I had extra goat cheese laying around and tomatoes that needed to be used up so I threw this together. I wouldn’t recommend using marinated artichokes because the flavor is overpowering.


  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 10 oz goat cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 c artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 c freshly grated parmesan (optional)




Preheat oven to 400. Spread halved tomatoes on the bottom of a glass baking dish, and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper, and toss with your hands until the oil is distributed. Place in hot oven and roast until tomatoes are blistered and bubbling and slightly brown along the edges. Remove from oven and, while hot, drizzle balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes. Mix with a spoon, and set aside to cool.

In a food processor (I use my mini), put the cheeses, the drained artichoke hearts, and the rest of the salt and pepper. Blend for a few seconds until the mixture is mostly smooth and has taken on a whipped appearance. A few chunks here and there is ok. Spoon the cheese mixture into an oven-safe bowl, or several small ramekins.

When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove them to a large cutting board, and coarsely chop. Spread a layer of the tomatoes over the cheese mixture, and top with freshly grated parmesan if desired.

Return the bowl (or ramekins) to the oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve with toasted baguette slices, or whatever you have on hand!