Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Greek Smoked Sausage, Artichoke and Kefalograviera Cheese Ramen Noodles with Ajvar

     Gourmet Microwave Ramen Noodles!
     This is an easy to make microwave recipe that can also be cooked on a conventional stove top.  There are no tricky cooking techniques.  The ingredients are added in stages to prevent overcooking.  Cooking in stages is the best approach for microwave cooking.
     The ingredients for this recipe can be found in a Greek delicatessen.  Greek Lovka is a smoked dry cure beef sausage.  Jars of marinated artichoke hearts are convenient and they are usually good in quality.  Finely grated Greek Kefalograviera Cheese was tossed with the hot ramen noodles.  Ajvar vegetable dip was placed on top of the noodles and this Eastern European condiment adds plenty of flavor.
     Some people browse the internet looking for quick easy to cook recipe ideas.  Ramen noodle fans always seem to be looking for new ramen noodle bowl flavor combinations.  Today's ramen recipe has a simple Greek flavor theme that will please noodle bowl fans that are looking for something different.    
     Greek Smoked Sausage, Artichoke and Kefalograviera Cheese Ramen Noodles with Ajvar:
     This recipe yields 1 ramen noodle entrée.
     This is a microwave recipe!  Conventional cooking methods can be applied by boiling the noodles in a pot.  Sautéing the sausage and marinated artichoke hearts together with olive oil, then adding them to the noodles is a good choice.
     Step 1:  Boil enough water in container in a microwave oven to cover the ramen noodles.
     Add 1 portion of ramen noodles to the hot water.
     Add 1 portion of ramen noodles
     Add 1 chicken bouillon packet.
     Loosely cover the container.
     Boil the ramen noodles in the microwave, till they are almost fully cooked.
     Step 2:  Drain most of the broth off of the noodles and only leave about 1/2 of a cup of the broth in the container.
     Add 3 ounces of thin sliced Greek Smoked Sausage.  (Loukaniko is best, but smoked kielbasa is a good substitute.)
     Add 10 marinated artichoke heart wedges.  (Marinated artichokes in a jar from a grocery store are fine for this recipe.)
     Add 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 3:  Cover the container with a loose fitting lid.
     Cook the ingredients in the microwave till they are hot.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 cup of finely grated Greek Kefalograviera Cheese.  Stir the cheese with the hot ingredients.
     Step 5:  Place the ramen mixture in a shallow soup bowl.
     Try to expose a few artichoke and sausage slices on the surface of the noodles.
     Step 6:  Place the bowl in the microwave.
     Heat the noodles for a few seconds, so the cheese softens.
     Step 7:  Place the bowl of noodles on an underliner serving plate.
     Place 3 tablespoons of Ajvar on top of the noodles.  (Ajvar is available in Mediterranean food markets.)
     Sprinkle a few thin slices of green onion over the noodles.
     As far as microwave ramen noodle bowl creations go, this simple one is rather tasty! 

Monday, July 11, 2016


     Japanese Omu!
     Omuraisu has been a trendy item in recent years.  Omuraisu is a petite omelette made with a fried rice filling.  The origins of Omuraisu date back to the early 1900's when a Japanese visitor became fond of American style omelets.  Many Americans were pouring ketchup on their omelets back in those days.  The Japanese visitor took it for granted that ketchup was a traditional topping.
     Soon American style omelets became a popular food item in the Tokyo Ginza district.  The omelets were made with Japanese ingredients and presented with Japanese style.  Of course the Japanese Omu were topped with ketchup and this tradition had continues to the present day.
     Japanese Omu can be served for any meal and they are a popular street food item.  The list of modern Japanese Omu variations is practically endless.  One of the most popular Omu is the Omutaco.  An Omutaco is an omelette stuffed with ground beef taco meat filling.  Since ketchup is a Japanese Omu topping tradition, Spicy Habanero Ketchup is a good choice for an Omutaco.
     There are several varieties of Perilla.  Perilla leaves are used as an herb and as a garnish.  Perilla leaves have a complex basil mint flavor that tastes nice with eggs and spicy food.  Fresh Perilla leaves can be found in nearly every Asian food market.

     Habanero Ketchup:
     This recipe yields a little more than 1/2 cup.
     Place 1/2 cup of organic ketchup in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Mexican style bottled habanero hot sauce.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Place the Habanero Ketchup in a plastic squirt bottle.
     Chill the Habanero Ketchup in a refrigerator till it is needed.

     Ground Beef Taco Meat:
     This recipe yields enough taco meat for 1 Omutaco. 
     This recipe yields a little extra.  It is better to have a little too much taco meat, than not enough. 
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 6 ounces of lean ground beef.
     Sauté the ground beef till it is lightly browned.
     *Stir with a wire whisk and break up any clumps!
     Step 2:  Drain off most of the excess grease.
     Return the pan to medium heat.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 cup of beef broth.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1 tablespoon of tomato puree.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ground ancho chile.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper or ground chile arbol.
     Step 4:  Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1 pinch of minced epazote.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 5:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the liquid evaporates.  Stir with a wire whisk and break up any clumps.
     Keep the taco meat warm on a stove top.

     This recipe yields 1 Omutaco.  
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of water.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Whisk the ingredients till they are blended.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.  (No butter for Omutaco!)
     Add the egg mixture.
     Gently sauté the omelette till the bottom half is cooked firm, with no golden brown highlights.  Tilt the pan occasionally and use a rubber spatula to even the edges.
     Step 3:  Flip the omelette.
     Sauté till the omelette is fully cooked, with no browning.
     Step 4:  Slide the omelette onto a cutting board.
     Mound the warm Taco Meat evenly across the center of the omelette.
     *Use your judgement for figuring how much taco meat is needed.  There may be a little bit leftover.
     Step 5:  Carefully roll the Omutaco into a cylinder shape.
     Trim the ends of the Omutaco, so they look nice.

     Omutaco with Habanero Ketchup:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Place 6 perilla leaves on the center of a plate as a bed for the Omutaco.  Try to fan out the leaves, so the tips point outward from center.
     Use a long spatula to transfer the Omutaco to the bed of perilla leaves.
     Step 2:  Use a knife to poke 3 holes on top of the Omutaco, so they are evenly spaced.
     Gently insert 3 long thin bias slices of green jalapeño into the holes, so they stand vertically.
     Step 3:  Use the squirt bottle to paint streaks of Habanero Ketchup on the Omutaco.
     Sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of diced onion over the Omutaco.
     Viola!  A noodle house style Omutaco!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Five Spice Minced Pork Cattails with Sweet Chile Lotus Root and Seared Radicchio

     Tasty Ground Pork Skewers!
     Today's ground pork skewer recipe is street vender style food that is jazzed up a little bit, so it can be served as an appetizer.  Fancy presentations of street food have been trendy restaurant items in recent years.  All it takes is a little imagination to make something like minced pork skewers look good on a plate.      
     In a descriptive sense, the minced pork on the skewer does resemble a cattail reed plant.  As one can imagine, calling minced pork skewers by the name "Cattails" might send a mixed message when reading a menu.  On the other hand, the modern dining public has become somewhat accustomed to weird food names in eccentric noodle house style restaurants.  So, "Cattails" it is!

     Daikon Radish Thread Salad:
     This recipe yields 1 garnishing portion. 
     Step 1:  Use a zester or fluter tool to cut about 2/3 cup of long thin threads of peeled fresh daikon radish.
     Step 2:  Place the thin daikon radish threads in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 6 to 8 whole cilantro leaves.
     Step 3:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Place the salad in a container and chill till it is needed.

     Sweet Chile Lotus Root:
     This recipe yields 1 garnishing portion.
     Step 1:  Boil 10 to 12 thin slices of peeled lotus root in a sauce pot over high heat.
     When the lotus slices are cooked al dente, remove them from the pot and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Drain the water out of the pot.
     Place the sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add the blanched lotus root slices.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Korean style Red Serrano Chile Pepper Paste.  (sambal)
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
     Stir the ingredients.
     Step 3:  Gently simmer and reduce till the chile sauce clings to the lotus root slices.  
     Keep the sweet chile lotus root slices warm on a stove top.  

     Five Spice Minced Pork Cattails:
     This recipe yields 2 skewers.
     The minced pork skewers can be roasted in an oven or grilled on a cast iron griddle.
     Step 1:  Soak 2 long bamboo skewers in water.
     Step 2:  Place 6 ounces of ground pork in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese Hot Chile Powder.
     Add 2 pinches of 5 spice powder.
     Add 2 pinches of ground ginger.
     Add 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of flour.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of whisked egg.
     Step 3:  Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Refrigerate the minced pork mixture to 41ºF, so it becomes firm.
     Step 4:  Divide the minced pork mixture into 2 equal size portion.
     Roll each pork portion on a counter top to create a long thick cylinder shape that is about 1/2" thick.
     Step 5:  Press a bamboo skewer lengthwise into the minced pork.
     Roll the ground pork and skewer back and forth with your hands, till the skewers are sealed in the center of the minced meat.
     Even the edges of the minced pork, so the pork skewers look like a cattails.
     Refrigerate the skewers till they become firm again.
     Step 6:  Place the minced pork skewers on a roasting pan that is brushed with vegetable oil.
     Roast the skewers in a 350ºF oven.
     Turn the skewers occasionally, so they cook evenly.  (Use a spatula to free the pork if it sticks to the pan, so the skewers are not ripped out of place.)
     Roast till the pork is fully cooked and lightly browned.
     Keep the five spice pork cattails warm on a stove top.

     Seared Radicchio:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Cut a thick slice of radicchio from top to bottom, through the radicchio core.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil on the radicchio slice.
     Sprinkle a few drops of pure sesame oil on the radicchio.
     Season with sea salt.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Pan sear the radicchio on both sides till it is wilted and lightly caramelized.
     Five Spice Minced Pork Cattails with Sweet Chile Lotus and Seared Radicchio:  
     This recipe describes 1 appetizer presentation that can be shared by 2 guests.
     Step 1:  Place the seared radicchio on the center of a plate.
     Surround the braised radicchio with the sweet chile glazed lotus root slices.
     Set the daikon radish threads next to the braised radicchio.
     Step 2:  Place the Five Spice Minced Pork Cattails on top of the radicchio and the daikon radish salad.
     Place a few decorative dabs of Thai Peanut Sauce on the plate.  (Pre made bottled Thai Peanut Sauce is fine for this recipe.)  

     This is a tasty fun noodle house style appetizer!