Previous month:
July 2019
Next month:
September 2019

Spicy Pork Zucchini Stir-Fry

Jump To Recipe Print Spicy Pork zucchini stir fry


Dang, does this look wonderful or what. It has a really nice level of spice and the ratio of the soy sauce and sesame oil is perfect, one doesn't overtake the other. 
Don't overcook the zucchini, keep it a bit on the al-dente side because the recipe doesn't have a crunchy element.  If you want to add one I think bamboo shoots or celery would be a great crunchy addition. 

First I want to tell you about one of my kitchen staples. It resides on the top shelf of the refrigerator door, within easy reach. This one happens to be the Ginger Garlic Paste, I also have a smaller jar of just garlic paste. I prefer to use fresh garlic in most cases but the paste is my go-to for stir-frys and curries. 


 I think it's one of the best spicy sauces I've used in a long time. Of course, you can kick it up a notch or tame it down according to your spice tolerance. 
The recipe calls one tablespoon of grated ginger, I substituted an equal amount of the ginger-garlic paste. 


After you stir-fry the pork, then the zucchini separately throw them back together and douse with the sauce. 
I like more sauce than the recipes call for, so I normally double the recipe. In this case, you definitely should, even doubling it there was "just enough".

The sauce would be perfect over any Asian noodle you could think of. I'm using it to make a cold spicy noodle salad to go with dinner tonight, Mmmmm

Spicy Pork Zucchini Stir-Fry


  • For the sauce:
    3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
    1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
    1 tablespoon sambal oelek or Asian chili-garlic sauce
    2 teaspoons toasted (Asian) sesame oil

    For the stir-fry and serving:
    1 pound zucchini (about 3 medium)
    2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
    1 pound ground pork or ground meat of choice
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
    Cooked white or brown rice, for serving


  1. Make the sauce: Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

    Make the stir-fry: Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons.
    Heat a flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat until a drop of water vaporizes immediately on contact.
    Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil around the pan, add the pork, and season with salt and pepper. Let cook undisturbed for 30 seconds, then break the pork into small, bite-sized pieces and continue stir-frying until it's cooked through and golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined plated and drain the pan of excess fat. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, add the zucchini, and spread out into one even layer. Let cook undisturbed for 30 seconds. Stir-fry the zucchini until browned and just tender, about 5 minutes more.

    Return the pork to the skillet, add the sauce, and stir-fry until the sauce is well-incorporated and the zucchini begins to look glossy, about 30 seconds more. Garnish with the scallions and serve over rice.

    Make ahead: The sauce can be made 1 day in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. Let the sauce sit at room temperature while preparing the stir-fry, and stir before adding to the pan.

    Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


And that's that!

Murgh Makhani (Buttery Chicken Curry)

Jump To Recipe Print Murgh Makhani

When one of the diners goes for a third helping you know you have a winner on your hands. I used the substitutions I noted in the ingredients list but I did go out and buy "the real thing"


I served this with long grain basmati rice that I cooked in chicken broth. It's exactly like the description in the cookbook except it wasn't as spicy as I expected it to be. But yes, it's "spicy, sweet and tangy with the fragrance of butter and herbs". One I'll make again, many times again. 

One of the ingredients in the recipe is Kashmiri red chili powder. After some research, I found that the Kashmiri is a mild heat chili bred more for color than heat, it runs 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat unit, comparable to a poblano chili. While I was looking for the Kashmiri I ran across a bag of Degi Mirch chili powder which is a blend of red bell peppers and Kashmiri chilis and is supposed to have a higher heat level then Kashmiri chili powder so of course, I had to get that also.
O.K. chili school is our for now, on to the recipe. 

Note from Cookbook;
This is a very popular north Indian restaurant dish. The original recipe was created by the Moti Mahal restaurant in New Delhi and it is still a top-seller. Marinated chicken is usually cooked in the tandoor, then folded into a buttery or ‘makhani’ sauce.
Use a mixture of oil and butter so that the butter does not burn when heated. You can use paneer instead of chicken for a vegetarian version. The sauce should be spicy, sweet and tangy, with the fragrance of butter and herbs.

Murgh Makhani (Buttery Chicken Curry)


  • Serves 4 PREPARATION → 20 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating time or overnight if possible
    COOKING 30 minutes

    800g skinless chicken breast, cut into 2.5cm cubes
    boiled rice or Laccha Paratha, to serve
    For the marinade
    50g natural yogurt
    1 teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder
    or mix 3 parts paprika with 1 part cayenne pepper and use equal amount of the mix
    1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala salt

    For the makhani sauce
    2 tablespoons salted butter
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi), plus extra to serve;
    or substitute with equal amount of honey Dijon mustard
    1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    150g tomato purée
    1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder;
    or mix 3 parts paprika with 1 part cayenne pepper and use equal amount of the mix
    The rest of the mixture is great on potatoes.
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    2 tablespoons honey
    100ml single cream, plus extra to serve


  1. 1 *Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the cubed chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least for 1 hour or overnight if possible.
    2 Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Transfer the chicken and marinade to an ovenproof dish and bake for 10–15 minutes until tender and cooked through.
    3 For the makhani sauce, heat the butter and oil in a saucepan over a high heat and add the kasoori methi and green chilli. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cook for a minute or so, then add the tomato purée and stir to blend for a couple of minutes.
    4 Mix in the chilli powder, garam masala and honey, and season with salt. Finish with the cream, then add enough water to give the sauce a pouring consistency.
    5 Add the cooked chicken to the sauce. Serve with rice or laccha paratha, with a swirl of single cream and a sprinkling of kasoori methi.

    *Or skip this step and use pre-cooked chicken and re-heat in the finished sauce. 

    Bharadwaj, Monisha. Indian Cookery Course

And that's that!

Pan-seared Thyme Butter-Basted Tenderloin Steak

I was home alone for dinner the other night, what a treat!!!! A good time to indulge myself in a thick pan-seared, thyme, butter-basted steak. I followed the directions on Serious Eats. I had a small tenderloin that turned out absolutely perfect.




First salt and pepper both sides of the steak and set aside.


Thinly slice some shallots and brown in the fat of your choice, I usually use a pat of butter with a little olive oil. 

Wipe out the pan you cooked the shallots in, add a little oil and get it screaming hot over a medium-high flame. 

Add the steak and keep flipping it until a golden-brown crust starts to develop. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter and a few sprigs of thyme, or rosemary. I added thyme, I think even a few leaves of fresh sage would be wonderful. Fried sage leaves are great. 
Very carefully tip the pan so the butter collects toward the side of the pan. Keep basting and flipping the steak until your desired doneness is achieved.
Using an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the steak, the temperature should read 120-125*F for medium-rare and 130* for medium
Add the cooked shallots back to the pan right before serving. Drizzle the perfect steak with the butter, thyme, and shallots. Enjoy

Now, I'm not_that_selfish that I wait for everyone else to have other plans so I can have a perfectly prepared steak, I have prepared steak for everyone in the past, but only twice. The first time some asked for their steaks well-done. O.K. even though well-done steak goes against the grain, (no pun intended) I understand that's just how they like their meat served, after a mild protest from me I accommodated them. The next time I prepared, actually grilled, steaks for everyone a couple more wanted well-done, o.k. I was getting used to that by now, but when one of the well-done diners asked for ketchup, I could hardly keep my composure (and you know who you are). Ergo, no more steak for you.
K my little tangent is over, for now.  
I hope you try cooking your next steak this way, I think you'll love it. 

And that's that!

Mango Cabbage Slaw


Jump To Recipe Print Mango Cabbage Slaw


I really, really, really, I mean REALLY need to get my eating habits back on track. I've enjoyed my "foodie" staycation, maybe just a little too much.
You know how it goes, we have the freedom of choice, but not freedom from the consequences of our choices. 

One of the first things I made to get myself back to reality is this cabbage slaw. It's so easy even a...well you know the rest. 

I like that the mango is the only sweetness you need in the slaw and the little bit of lime and shallots temper that. I didn't add the jalapeño because there are some lightweights in the household and besides, I didn't have one or I would have added some to my portion.
Just don't make it too far in advance because it does weep. 

We had it with pork in BBQ sauce sandwiches, a great combination. 

BTW it's pretty darned good for breakfast too.  

Mango Cabbage Slaw


4 servings
30 minutes total time

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot or red onion
    Juice from 2 limes
    2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
    1/2 small cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
    1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
    1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper.


  1. In a small bowl, soak the thinly sliced shallots in the lime juice with a cube of ice for at least 10 minutes
    When you’re ready to assemble the salad, toss the mango and sliced cabbage into a large bowl.
    Add the soaked shallots and lime juice.
    Add the mint and jalapeño pepper (if you want the slaw to pack heat).
    Season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss well.

    From Ready or Not Cookbook: Michelle Tam & Henry Fong

And that's that!


The Grove Grinder

This was the last stop on my staycation. The Grove Grinder sandwich shop Not saying I saved the best for last but it was pretty darned good and I'll eat there again for sure. 


You walk up to the counter to order, I would have taken a picture of that part of the restaurant but it's a small space and they were really busy and the lady behind the counter must have been having a bad day, not pleasant or helpful at all.


Whole lot of collectibles 

There are only 4 tables. It was easy getting a table, most of the business appeared to be take out. 

I got a Philly Cheesesteak. The sandwich was wonderful, I had the choice of smoked meat or not, I chose not. Nicely seasoned tender meat and the veggies were done to perfection, still a bit crispy. 
They have a large selection of sandwiches and all sandwiches can be made breadless as a salad which I think is nice. 

Out of the places I've been to, there is only one I won't be going back to, so I think I hit up some pretty good places in my Zip Code. 

And that's that! 

Peach Panzanella Salad


Jump To Recipe Print Peach Panzanella Salad


I know, I know Panzanella salads have bread in them. This was going to a BBQ later, so I added the bread and dressing when I got there. 

This is my take on the Peach and Cornbread Panzanella salad Katie Lee has on the food network. 

I say "my take" on the salad as if my creative juices were flowing when in actuality, whenever I made this if I was lacking some basil I’d substitute flat leaf parsley, and so far I’ve never used cornbread, I’ve been using pita bread that I toasted and cut into cubes.  I always use Persian cucumbers, I can't remember the last time I bought an English cucumber the original recipe calls for. 


The dressing is a pretty straight forward vinaigrette with the addition of capers. 

I usually make salad dressings in canning jars. They have nice wide mouths, and the lids don't leak when you shake the jars to mix the ingredients. 


The salad ingredients are few and simple, with the exception of the peaches and bread,  this is one of the salads I make frequently.
Our Middle Eastern students loved it so I tried to have cucumber, onion and tomato salad with the evening meal.  

I hope this entices you to make this salad. You don't even have to add the bread, just don't call it panzanella or the salad police will come looking for you. 


Peach Panzanella Salad


  • 2 large peaches cut into cubes
  • 3 Persian cucumbers cut into same size cubes as the peaches
  • 1-pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 15 basil leaves torn or parsley leaves from 6-8 sprigs of parsley roughly chopped

  • Salad toppings:
  • 2 cups of toasted and cubed bread of your choice cut into 1/2 to 1-inch cubes, .
  • 6 slices prosciutto for garnish, optional

  • Dressing:
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon style mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • For the dressing:
    In a pint size canning jar combine all the dressing ingredients, screw the lid on tightly and shake.
    Or; whisk the dressing ingredients together in a large salad bowl

  • For the salad:
    Add the salad ingredients to a large salad bowl and toss with the shaken dressing.
    Or; add the salad ingredients and toss with the whisked dressing in the salad bowl.

  • Salad topping:
    Add the bread cubes and toss again, then place prosciutto slices on top of the salad.  

And that's that!

Chef John's Fish and Chips

One of the restaurants on my staycation list is Chef John's Fish and Chips


It's been a Lemon Grove institution since 2004 serving up London Style fish and chips. Don't know about the London Style having never been to London myself, or pretty much anywhere for that matter. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying the foods of places I've never been.


This is the fish and clams with coleslaw and fries. The clams were really good one of the better parts of the meal and the fries pretty darned good too. 
I hear the sauces are made in house which is a plus. The coleslaw is o.k. not bad, just o.k. 

The fish was nicely done, not over cooked and nice and flaky and flavorful and a delight to eat once I peeled off the greasy batter. 

This is the fish and shrimp with fries and hush puppies,  OMGosh those hush puppies, if I go back there it will be for the clams and hush puppies. They had a nice crunch, well seasoned and tender inside. Just look at the size of those shrimp. 


Looks can be deceiving, after biting into one I had to look twice for the shrimp. Oh! there you are. They were still good and not greasy. 

Would I go back?  Yes, I'm a big believer in second chances and besides, those hush puppies keep calling my name. 

And that's that!