Asian Style Meatballs

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

2 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp onion powder

2-3 tsp red pepper flakes

4 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

For the sauce:

5 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp mirin

4 tbsp honey

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 tbsp chili garlic sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

For the slurry:

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp water

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Mix all ingredients of meatballs together & form into balls. Add to parchment lined baking sheet & bake for 10-12 minutes.

While meatballs are baking, mix together all ingredients of the sauce with exception of the sesame oil. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the sesame oil & then the sauce. Heat up, add the slurry, & allow to thicken slightly before transferring meatballs. Stir to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Eat on their own or serve with jasmine rice & sautéed broccoli.

Enjoy!

Adapted slightly from: mikefitnfood (TikTok)

Posted in Asian, Beef, Meat | Leave a comment

Books I Read In 2022 (and my favorite 4)

1. The Midwife of Hope River, Patricia Harman

2. To Paradise, Hanya Yanagihara

3. Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones

4. Bright Line Eating, Susan Pierce Thompson, PhD

5. How The Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History Of Slavery Across America, Clint Smith

6. Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals For A Life of Imperfection, Kate Bowler & Jessica Richie

7. My Evil Mother, Margaret Atwood

8. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, Isabel Wilkerson

9. It’s Okay To Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) Nora McInerny Purmort

10. What The Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell

11. A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, & Songs in Between, Linda Thompson

12. America’s First Female Serial Killer: Jane Toppan And The Making Of A Monster, Mary Kay McBrayer

13. I’ll Take You There, Wally Lamb

14. The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

15. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality & Threatens Democracy, Cathy O’Neil

16. Fourth of July Creek, Smith Henderson

17. Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love & Being Comfortable In Your Skin…Every Inch Of It, Brittany Gibbons

18. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby

19. It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover

20. I Hate The Ivy League: Riffs & Rants On Elite Education, Malcolm Gladwell

21. Into The Beautiful North, Luis Alberto Urrea

22. The Winners, Fredrik Backman

23. Get Good With Money, Tiffany Aliche

24. Our Missing Hearts, Celeste Ng

25. The Nature of Life and Death: Tales of a Forensic Ecologist: Every Body Leaves a Trace, Patricia Wiltshire

26. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett

27. Everything I Know About Love, Dolly Alderton

28. Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come, Jessica Pan

29. Excuse Me While I Disappear, Laurie Notaro

30. Emotional Inheritance: A Therapist, Her Patients, & The Legacy of Trauma Galit Atlas, PhD

31. Effin’ Birds, Aaron Reynolds

32. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, Charles Mackesy

My favorite four:

I am such a fan of Fredrik Backman. He is one of my absolute favorite authors & I will read anything he writes. His ability to describe people in relation to their relationships (including the one they have with themselves) is impeccable. This book completes the Beartown series.

“Marriage. There ought to be a different word for it once you’ve been married for enough years. When you’ve long since past the point where it stopped feeling like a choice. I no longer choose you every morning – that was a beautiful thing we said on our wedding day – I just can’t imagine life without you now. We aren’t freshly blooming flowers, we are two trees with intertwined roots. You’ve grown old within me. When you’re young you believe that love is infatuation, but infatuation is simple, any child can become infatuated, fall in love. But real love? Love is a job for an adult. Love demands a whole person. All the best of you, all the worst. It has nothing to do with romance because the hard part of a marriage isn’t that I have to live seeing all your faults, but that you have to live with me seeing them. That I know everything about you now. Most people aren’t brave enough to live without secrets. Everyone dreams about being invisible sometimes; no one dreams of being transparent. Marriage. There ought to be a different word for it after a while because there’s no such thing as eternal infatuation. Only love lasts that long & it’s never simple. It requires a whole person, everything you have, the whole lot…Dear Lord, how close you have to be to giving up each other to remember to fight for each other…There really ought to be a different word for marriage, but perhaps also a different word for divorce. One for when you’re only almost there, when you want to whisper that I don’t know what I want, I just don’t want it to be like this. A word for simply saying that I can’t bear it. I can’t bear it if all we’re going to do with each other is just bear it…Above all the other words for love, there ought to be one for this. One that says how many times we’ve come close to losing each other, but turn back & start again. One for the very smallest things, the inches when we brush past each other in the kitchen instead of only almost doing it. Something that says, I can’t bear it. I can’t bear it if you can’t bear me. I can’t bear it without you.”

This is by far one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. Chances are, you’ve likely never given much, if any, thought to dust, pollen, & spores. If you read this book, you’ll never look and/ or consider them the same again.

“What I am doing is absorbing all the information I can and using it to paint a mental picture of a place that I have never visited, and quite possibly never will. I call the image “the picture of place” – an imagined construct, but out there somewhere. This picture represents something real, a place I can summon into being by carefully considering the pollen, spores, and other microscopic matter that I retrieve from exhibits. It is the place I can see on the backs of my eyelids whenever I close my eyes. Some parts of the image are sharp, others are murky, sliding around like amoebae as more information is gleaned from the microscope. The place where you buried your lover, the place where your victim says you pinned her down and raped her, and which you say you were never near. It’s the place where you picked up telltale clues that will one day expose you, and it is how nature relays the stories that nothing else can.”

If the book before was the most interesting, this book has to be one of the most important. I’m a trained & licensed social worker with a lifelong interest in people & their stories. I believe self introspection is imperative to overall growth & function. The more you know about yourself, you’ll likely become more compassionate & empathetic which will naturally lend itself to others; even as their actions & choices can affect you.

“In ways that often feel mysterious, emotional material left unprocessed tends to appear & reappear in our lives. The unexamined life repeats itself & reverberates through the generations. The untold stories clamor for reenactment; they insist on being told. That which cannot be consciously identified forces itself into our reality & repeats itself. It is those now seen patterns that we search for & unpack. Again & again, the human unconscious brings us to the original site of where things went wrong with the wish to do it all over again, repair the damage, & heal those who were hurt & wounded. We identify with previous generations, with those who have been injured, who have been humiliated, & who have died. In our fantasy, their cure is also our own.”

Lastly, one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Just the other day, after brunch, we headed to the bookstore across the street from the restaurant. Our oldest handed me this book with the following instructions: “Open to any page & just read.” From that moment on, at minimum for the next 15 minutes, we pealed with laughter, doubled over wheezing & crying, me trying not to pee. This is a gem of a book. From the inside of the book:

Here’s to another year of reading. Happy reading!

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Caramel Corm

Whether you’re going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight & have been asked to bring something or you’re the one hosting & want to have an assortment of snacks, this is relatively fuss-free & crowd pleasing one to have on hand.

Ingredients:

4 bags of 3 oz microwave popcorn, popped

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200° F. Pour the bags of popped popcorn (removing any un-popped kernels) into a large roasting pan.

In a medium sized saucepan, over medium heat melt the butter, brown sugar, & corn syrup together; stirring occasionally. Once it starts to boil, stir constantly for 5 minutes. Whisk in the baking soda & salt. Pour the mixture over the popcorn; stir to coat.

Bake for 45 minutes; stirring every 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Posted in Appetizers, Sides, Snacks | Leave a comment

3 Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits

These biscuits are so soft & fluffy enough to eat on their own & also substantial enough to turn into a breakfast sandwich.

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour, spooned & leveled

1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, frozen

1 cup buttermilk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425° degrees F.

Add the flour into a bowl. Using a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour. With a pastry cutter (or your hands) incorporate the butter into the flour until pea sized. Pour in the buttermilk & stir together. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, flour your hands & rolling pin & mix together, turning a few times.

With a 3 inch biscuit cutter, dip in flour & press into dough. Do not twist it, just press down. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet & place the biscuits so their sides are right up next to each other.

Bake for 11-13 minutes. Remove from oven & immediately brush with melted butter.

Enjoy!

Notes: I doubled the above recipe. Also, I never buy buttermilk because it’s easy enough to make your own. For each cup of milk, start by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a liquid measuring cup & then fill with milk to the 1 cup line.

Posted in Bread; Sides, Breakfast | 1 Comment

Fried Apples

A few weeks ago, I visited a patient in his home & his wife had just made breakfast: eggs, ham steak, & fried apples. I haven’t had fried apples in years & understood I would soon be making some. When I woke this morning, it was a cold 30° outside & knew today was the day.

Ingredients:

2 apples

3 tbsp butter, salted is fine

Pinch of salt if using unsalted butter

2 tbsp brown sugar

3/4 tsp cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

Preparation:

Peel, core, & chop both apples; set aside.

In a small dish, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, & nutmeg together; set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter (add in a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter), stirring until butter becomes brown, careful to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

Add the sugar & spice blend into the skillet & mix together with the brown butter for 30 seconds.

Toss in the chopped apples, turn to coat, & stir intermittently & allow to cook for 10 – 12 minutes until apples are soft.

Enjoy!

Adapted slightly from: https://onedishkitchen.com/fried-apples-recipe/

Posted in Breakfast, Desserts, Sides, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Pumpkin Bread 2.0

For years my favorite pumpkin bread was the one I grew up on & the recipe is buried in these archives. Probably 5 years or more ago, my youngest made this recipe & it has since become the preferred recipe. While I don’t fall under the category of team all things pumpkin spice, Fall doesn’t go by without having made this a time or two.

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 sticks + 2tbsp butter, at room temperature

3 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 15oz can of pumpkin purée + 1/2 can of 15oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Generously grease or use non-stick spray, two 8×4 loaf pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, & cinnamon.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat for several minutes, until light & fluffy. Mix in the pumpkin purée. Add flour mixture & mix on low until just combined.

Transfer batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, longer as needed, until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to rest 10 minutes in pan before removing to racks to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Source: https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/spiced-pumpkin-bread.html

Note: I found once I increased the recipe to 1 1/2 times, it better filled the loaf pans. The above ingredients reflect the change.

Posted in Bread/ Muffins, Bread; Sides, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chili Oil Noodles

TikTok has quickly become a great way to stumble upon new foods & fun recipes. Enter the above dish compliments of @mikefitnfood

This dish will waken up your taste buds & clean out your sinuses! It’d also be really good with some flank steak.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp chili oil

4 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp black vinegar (*I did not have this, nor could I find it so I used Seasoned Rice Vinegar)

3 garlic cloves, freshly crushed

Black sesame seeds

Scallions/ Green Onions, chopped, per taste, divided

Wide Egg Noodles, 12 oz or 340g

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to boil, & cook egg noodles, per package instruction.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add the chili oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, & crushed garlic. Whisk together. Toss in some green onions.

Once the noodles are ready, drain the water & return to the pot. Add in the oil mixture, sprinkle in the sesame seeds. Dish into bowls, garnish with more sesame seeds & green onions.

Enjoy!

Posted in Asian, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Kitchen sink cookies are not just one type of cookie, with only selected ingredients, but a full breadth of ingredients, a run of the pantry & throwing in whatever strikes your fancy e.g., potato chips, toffee bits, nuts, etc. Below is simply my version.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, cold & cut into tablespoons

1/4 cup Crisco

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup (or per desired amount) chocolate chips

3/4 cups chopped pretzels

3/4 cups caramel bits

Preparation:

Combine butter, Crisco, & sugars together until creamed & light & fluffy. Beat in the eggs & vanilla. Sprinkle baking soda & salt over the dough & add in flour. Mix until it comes together. Fold in the chocolate chips, pretzels, & caramel bits.

Cover & refrigerate dough for one hour.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drop by 1-2 rounded tablespoons. Bake for 9-10 minutes; being careful not to over bake.

Enjoy!

Posted in Cookies | 1 Comment

Chicken & Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese

There’s a restaurant in town that used to serve this very dish which my husband ordered without fail. Then one day we went in & it was no longer on the menu. He asked about it, the kitchen obliged, & he was happy, but that was a one time occurrence.

We were at the grocery store last week when we saw this brand of chile showcased & we instantly had the same idea: let’s try to recreate the macaroni & cheese at home using this. What’s the worst that could happen?

Turns out it was the best thing that could happen because it was spot on! We both took a bite & realized I’d nailed it. Victory!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb large pasta, I used shells

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded & divided

8 oz Colby Jack cheese, shredded & divided

1 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken, chopped or shredded

S & P, to taste

12 oz hot hatch green chile, divided

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil pasta according to package directions, 2 or 3 minutes less, for al dente. Drain; set aside.

In a large pan, over medium heat, melt the butter, whisk in the butter, & stir constantly for a minute. Pour in the milk & stir constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from heat & add small amounts of cheese at a time, reserving a 1/2 cup each of the Pepper Jack & Colby Jack, until melted. Season with S & P. Add 1/2 cup of the green chile, cooked pasta, & chicken. Stir to incorporate. Transfer to a large cast iron skillet. Pour the remaining green chile along the perimeter of the skillet & add remaining shredded cheeses to the top, spreading to the chile. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.

Enjoy!

Posted in Chicken, Macaroni & Cheese, Pasta | 1 Comment

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

Even before the official start of summer, the weather here was dreadfully hot & humid, so much so, even our dogs started to drag instead of their usual bounding on our morning walks. When it’s hot like that, the last thing I want is to turn on the oven. This dish is the perfect solution.

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

For the salad:

1 1/4 cups Orzo pasta, dry

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 English cucumber, diced

1 10.5 oz grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

3 tbsp parsley, chopped

S & P to taste

Preparation:

Cook orzo according to package directions to al dente. Drain & rinse under cool water to stop cooking. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, & minced garlic to emulsify; set aside.

Slice, chop, & dice all vegetables & add to bowl of cooked & cooled pasta. Pour in salad dressing & stir to evenly coat.

Season with S & P, to taste.

Enjoy!

Adapted slightly from: https://www.cookingclassy.com/greek-orzo-salad/

Posted in Pasta, Vegetarian | Leave a comment