Monday, February 16, 2009

Kalbi (Korean Grilled Shortribs)

Kalbi, or delectable Korean shortribs, marinated in a sweet-soy marinade and grilled to perfection, are a favorite in my house. I first had kalbi when I lived in Japan and then in NYC with my Japanese co-workers. When we moved out of the City, we occasionally had to brave Route 100 to go eat authentic Korean food in Yonkers.

Shortribs are often prepared in stews or braises, because they are known as a tough and stringy meat. However, Koreans slice it thin and grill it. And its marbled and textured meat is highly flavorful, just like skirt steak. The key is the technique of cutting the short ribs, which I show below. Alternatively, if you have a Korean market nearby, you can buy the kalbi pre-cut.

If you can't get shortribs or find they're not of the right quality, buy pork spare ribs and cut them horizontally (not vertically), so that are three or four bones in each strip.

For four servings, get 3-4 lbs. thick shortribs, as pictured here. Ask your butcher if you're not finding what you want in the case.

Trim any excess fat from the short ribs.

I've started the first cut here, just for the picture.

To make the first cut, stand the short rib on its side and start cutting down as close to the bone as you can. Cut near to the bottom but not all the way through. Cut enough so that you can open the meat like a book.

Open the meat like a book. One side will be the bone side and the other side is the meat side, which is still too thick too grill. Start the second cut on the meat side, as pictured here. Cut evenly through the meat until you can fold this out like a book too.

Here is the meat fully cut through. Now, pound it a little so it is flatter and more even. As you cut the rest of the shortribs, use your judgement whether you need to cut it once, twice, or thrice, depending on the thickness of the shortrib.

When you're done cutting the meat, make the marinade.

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup pear juice, 7-up, or Sprite
2 tbs. light brown sugar
2 tbs. rice vinegar
3 scallions, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs. sesame oil
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Ground pepper to taste

Put meat and marinade in a Ziploc bag and marinate overnight, or at least 3-4 hours, turning occasionally.

Heat grill to high, all burners on. Remove ribs from marinade and dry off with paper towels. Let come to room temperature (15-20 minutes).

Grill 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness, turning once at halfway point in cooking.

Let rest a few minutes and then cut into thin slices. Serve with red lettuce and gochujang, Korean red chili paste. For an individual portion, take a piece of lettuce, smear some gochujang on the lettuce, put some meat in, wrap up, and eat.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango, diced
1 jalapeno without ribs and seeds, diced
red onion, diced to taste
cilantro to taste
lime juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste

If you have them around, you can also add diced red pepper, diced jicama, or diced English hothouse cucumber for color and texture.
This goes very nicely with corn chips or grilled garlicky shrimp (

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Filipino Bisquick Puto (steamed muffins)

My kids have loved puto from the time they were small children. Every time they have a school event, they ask me to make this lightly sweetened and steamed Filipino bread. Grandma Rocha used to make this for me and my brother Edward when we were small, so I called her one day and she gave me the recipe from memory. I have changed it a little bit, but it has her secret addition of mayonnaise.

2 cups Bisquick
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tbs. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Red and green food coloring (optional)

Sift Bisquick together with baking powder and salt. Mix rest of ingredients with Bisquick mixture except for food coloring. If you want different colored puto, split the batter in thirds and put two drops of red dye in a third of the batter and two drops of green dye in the other. Mix well.
For mini-muffins, steam for 13-15 minutes. For regular muffins, 15-17.

Fennel Soup

The first cooking class I ever attended was at the Williams Club in New York City. Mark and I were the only 20-somethings in a group of middle aged people (like I am now). We learned to make rack of lamb, roasted winter vegetables, and this lovely fennel soup, which stole my heart. I even served it at my wedding, which was in the middle of the summer, so fond were my memories of this night.

4 large fennel, sliced
2 large onions, sliced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 stick butter (you can use less)
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in dutch oven. Add onions and cook slowly over medium-low heat for 20 minutes until soft and golden. Add fennel and cook another 10-15 minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cool, puree in blender, and adjust seasonings.

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a South American condiment that is used both as a marinade and a table sauce. With loads of parsley and garlic buoyed in a viniagrette, the sauce is very versatile and can be eaten with anything. It's paired particularly well with beef and other grilled foods.

6 cloves of garlic
Handful of parsley leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup vinegar and/or lemon
3/4/ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Process in food processor. You can also add cilantro, red pepper flakes, peppers, and/or cumin if you like.

Impress Your Friends Dutch Apple Cheese Muffins

These muffins are from Cook's Country Magazine, my favorite cooking magazine, and the recipe was contributed by a reader. They will knock your socks off. A little sweet, savory, and tart, these muffins are perfect to serve or bring to brunch. The thinly sliced apples and the glaze which caramelizes on top during the last few minutes of cooking are what take these muffins over the top.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 oz. cheddar cheese (buy shredded in package) or cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
2-3 apples (Macoun, Jonagold, Cortland, Empire or Granny Smith)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbs. water
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray non-stick muffin tins (12 muffins worth) with Pam.
Whisk egg and milk in the measuring cup.
In food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, cold butter, salt, and cheese until it resembles coarse meal. Pour in liquid and pulse until just combined.
Spoon batter evenly into muffin tins.
Core and peel apples, slicing thinly (use a mandoline if you want it uniform). Arrange apples in fan pattern on top, pressing down slightly. Bake 15 minutes, until edges are golden.
While muffins are baking, heat together glaze ingredients until the sugar dissolves. When the muffins have finished their 15 minutes, generously brush muffins with the glaze. Let cook another 10 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool a few more minutes. Enjoy.

Joyce's Hermits

My mother-in-law makes these delicious cookies every Christmas. It's something we look forward to every year.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 5 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together.
Cover raisins with water and boil a couple minutes until tender. Reserve 1/3 cup raisin water and drain the rest.
Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix.
Add raisin water and vanilla to creamed mixture, and then incorporate flour. Fold in raisins and walnuts.
Shape dough into narrow strips (about 4 inches wide and the length can be almost the length of the cookie sheet).
Bake for 12 minutes.

OuuO uah ahhh ahh - Clamoring for Monkey Bread

I have a cookbook journal that my friend Rob Gotti gave me when I was in my mid-20s. He probably bought it in a quaint country store on the Cape, as I was never able to find another copy when the original one was filled. I diligently wrote down recipes that people gave me and also recipes I developed -- an old fashioned version of this blog. Now the book is tattered and stained; the red-checkered front and back covers have fallen off and are now tucked in among the pages. It's one of my most prized possessions.

One of the recipes in this book is for my sister's Monkey Bread, which she recently made for Christmas morning breakfast. It's economical, easy to make, and a family favorite in her household.

Pillsbury 4 pack of biscuits
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 tbs. milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Walnuts and raisins if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In saucepan on stove, melt butter. Add brown sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Set aside.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Unwrap biscuits and dip each biscuit in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. You can cut biscuits into 1/2s or quarters if you want.

Pour half of brown sugar mixture into bundt pan.

Layer sugared biscuits in pan, distributing in raisins and walnuts if desired. Pour remaining brown sugar mixture over the biscuits.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and not "doughy."

Immediately turn over bundt pan onto plan after cooking. Eat warm.

Coleen's Jamaican Chicken Curry

Coleen is one of my best friends in the whole world. She epitomizes the spirit of this food blog, as she's got a big heart, a bold personality and is beautiful both inside and out. Coleen came here from Jamaica when she was in her teens and has taught me to make some of the food from her homeland, including chicken curry.

2-3 lbs. skinless bone-in chicken (thighs and breast)
6 scallions
1 medium-large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, cut in pieces
Couple sprigs fresh thyme
Goya Adobo powder
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Curry powder
Chicken bouillon (or chicken broth)
1 scotch bonnet pepper

Cut chicken into smaller pieces with a cleaver.

Put chicken in a big bowl. Mix in cut onion, garlic, and scallions. Season as desired with adobo powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and thyme, mixing the seasonings throughout. Add a generous amount of curry powder, enough to coat each piece. If you have time, let marinate overnight or for a couple hours. If you don't have time, it's fine to cook the chicken right away.

Heat a 1/4 cup-1/2 cup of oil in dutch oven (a thin layer of oil on the bottom of the pot) over medium heat. Add chicken and lightly pan fry all pieces, turning and rotating pieces. Pieces shouldn't be browned per se, but the outside should be lightly cooked. Coleen calls it glazed. The pan will talk to you with a nice sizzling sound when the chicken is cooking properly. When the chicken is almost glazed, liquid will start accumulating on the bottom of the pan. That's when you know you're about done. Add water or chicken broth until almost covered. If you use water, add a piece of chicken bouillon Add the scotch bonnet pepper (optional).

Cover and simmer 30-40 minutes. Add potatoes 20 minutes into the process and cook until tender.

Completed curry with white rice.

Buffalo Wings

Blondies on the Upper West Side in New York City was a pretty regular hang-out place for us young and upwardly mobile people working and having fun in our 20s -- in the early 1990s. At Blondies, you got wings, beer, and waffle fries. In the company of good friends, there’s nothing better than that.

A deep fryer makes cooking the wings a snap. We have a DeLonghi deep fryer. It does the trick!

Chicken wings, cut in two pieces (the mini-drumstick and the “two-bone”)
2 Quarts of water
¾ cup of kosher salt

Dissolve the salt in the water to make a brine. Immerse the chicken wings -- however many you want to cook -- and let brine for one hour. If you need more brine, you can always make more; alternately if you need less brine, cut the brine recipe down. Rinse the wings well to get off the extra salt and pat dry.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Fry wings for 8 minutes. Do not overcrowd the wings in the oil; fry in batches if necessary.

Dry on a rack or paper towels.

Toss wings in sauce. If you want to bake in the flavor, you can put the sauced wings in the oven (350 degrees) for 15-20 minutes but this is optional.

Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dressing.

Frank's red-hot sauce (1 small bottle)
4 tbs. butter
1 tbs. white vinegar

Heat sauce ingredients together over low heat. If you have a big bottle of Frank's red-hot sauce, there's a recipe on the bottle. This recipe is very flexible so you can have more butter to make it less spicy or add more hot sauce to make it spicier.

1/3 cup sour cream
¼ cup mayo
1/3 cup buttermilk (or enough to thin out)
1 tbs cider vinegar (or lemon)
½ tsp sugar
½ cup blue cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced onion and/or garlic or
Onion powder and/or garlic powder canbe added too if you have it around

Note: if you like more of a mayo type dressing, add more mayo! You can drop the buttermilk too if you don’t have it around; your dressing will be thick.

SuSu Chicken Marsala

One gloomy winter week in January 2009, my friend Su swept me away from school for a restorative lunch at her favorite Italian restaurant. In addition to the main entree of friend therapy, I had a veal and shrimp piccata and Su enjoyed veal marsala. I've made this chicken marsala in her honor. Thank you, Su.

To make this an easy weeknight meal, I used packaged sliced chicken. Of course, you can take chicken breast, slice it yourself, and pound it so it's even. I also used packaged sliced mushrooms. This will serve 3 people and of course you can double or triple the recipe.

3/4 to 1 lb. prepackaged sliced chicken
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1/2 tbs. butter
2 slices bacon (or 2 oz. pancetta), finely chopped
1 8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. tomato paste (I use Amore paste in the tube)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Italian seasoning
1 cup sweet Marsala
1/2 cup chicken broth
Fresh chopped parsley
A tsp. of cornstarch mixed with a couple tsp. of water

Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides in flour, shaking off excess flour.Heat saute pan over medium heat.

Add 1-2 tbs. of oil and cook chicken on both sides, 4-6 minutes per side depending on the thickness. If cooking in batches put chicken on a plate, covered loosely with tin foil, in the oven.Add a little oil and little butter in the skillet. Add bacon and cook for one minute. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until bacon is browned and mushrooms are cooked, around 8 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and a little italian seasoning. Add tomato paste and cook with mushrooms until the tomato starts caramelizing. Take out mushrooms and set aside.

Add marsala wine to skillet and simmer five minutes, letting it reduce and the alcohol burn off. Add back mushrooms and chicken broth, and cook until sauce is reduced, another five minutes. taste, add salt and pepper as needed, and add shot of lemon as needed. Add cornstarch slurry, and stir, letting it come to a simmer for final thickening and add parsley.Poor sauce over chicken and serve.

Lentil Soup with Lamb and Spinach

It's been a snowy winter 2009, and we've had more snow days this year than I can remember. One day, we had an early dismissal, and I made a delicious lentil soup with lamb and spinach. I felt like evoking Spain, so I used smoked paprika, saffron, and thyme as aromatics, but you could easily switch out and use Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese or give it an Indian flair with cumin and coriander.

This can easily be vegetarian, or you can use meat like bacon, beef, chicken, or lamb. You can add a starch like elbow macaroni or brown rice. You can use vegetarian, chicken, beef broth, or a combination of broths. That's why I call it versatile.I had pre-cooked brown lentils in the fridge from Trader Joes (found in the refrigerated case near the vegetables) but you could cook the lentils in the broth until they're tender, around 30-35 minutes, depending on what lentils you use.

This recipe serves 4-6.

¾ lb. lamb blade chops
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 large onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, cut in small cubes
2 celery stalks, cut in small cubes
Tomato paste (I use Amore in a tube; if you don’t have it, it’s optional)
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
Chicken and beef broth (or you can use just one type of broth if you want; I use Pacific or Nature’s Promise organic broth in the paper cartons)
Saffron, a small pinch
Smoked paprika, about 1 tsp.
Fresh thyme, a few sprigs or (1 tsp. fresh thyme w/o stems or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1 bay leaf
Fresh parsley, a few sprigs with stems
1 pack of Trader Joe’s steamed lentils (about 1 lb.) (or you can use dry lentils)
Lemon or balsamic vinegar
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Spinach, rinsed and torn into smaller pieces

Heat 1-2 tbs. of olive oil in pressure cooker or dutch oven over medium high heat. Salt and pepper lamb chops and sear on each side, until brown. Set aside. If making vegetarian soup, heat the oil and then move to the next step.

Lower heat to medium-low and add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add several squirts of tomato paste and mix in with vegetables; cook for a few minutes so the tomato paste caramelizes. Add salt and pepper to the veggies. Add can of diced tomatoes, with juice, and lamb chops. Cover lamb with an equal amount of chicken and beef broth, about 2 cups worth. If you’re not using a pressure cooker, you can add all the broth you want to make a soup (about 3-6 cups total depending on how stewy or soupy you like it), but if you’re using a pressure cooker, I use less liquid at this point so that the liquid is more concentrated to cook the lamb in. Add parsley and thyme sprigs, a pinch of saffron, bay leaf, and smoked paprika (1/2 to 1 tsp.). Once pressure cooker is fully pressurized, cook for 10-15 minutes or until lamb is tender. If not using a pressure cooker, cook in the dutch oven until the lamb is tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Unseal pressure cooker according to its directions. At this point, remove spent parsley and thyme. Take out lamb and set aside. Add cooked lentils, breaking them up to distribute them in the liquid, and more broth to make a soup. Make it as stewy or soupy as you like. Take out your blender and put about 1/3 of the soup (about 2 cups, depending on how much soup you have) in the blender and blend until pureed. Add back to the soup to thicken it. Cut lamb in small pieces and discard bones; add back to the soup. Add more broth if you want it soupier. Add a spoonful of balsamic vinegar or lemon. Taste and adjust seasonings.Before serving, add rinsed spinach and cook until just wilted. Add fresh chopped parsley and serve.

USING UNCOOKED LENTILS: If you're going to use uncooked lentils, add about 1 cup uncooked lentils to the vegetables after they've become translucent; add tomatoes, salt and pepper, saffron, thyme bay leaf, and parsley (add lamb back here if you're using lamb). Cook for about 10 minutes or lentils are darkened. Add broth at this time and simmer, partially covered, 30-35 minutes until tender (lamb should be tender too). Proceed with recipe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fennel with Navy Beans and Sausage

This is a variation of a dish I had at Centro’s, an Italian restaurant in the Glenville section of Greenwich. Centro’s was the site of the biggest behavior fiasco of my life. It was 1995 and I was pregnant and hormonal, and it was exactly the wrong time to meet our friend Dave Clawson’s girlfriend, Catherine. I always found excuses not to go to Centro’s (a way of avoiding memories of my awful social graces that night) until I went in seven years later to visit my friend, Impy Altznauer, who was temporarily working as a bartender. I had this wonderful appetizer and was redeemed. Catherine, who is now Dave’s wife and mother of two beautiful children, is nice enough to still talk to me.
2 links Italian sausage (or chicken sausage), sliced
3 tsp. oil
¾ cup onion, chopped finely
½ medium fennel bulb
1/3 cup chicken broth
15 ½ oz. canned navy beans, drainedParmesan cheese
Minced Parsley
Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. When it is hot, add sausage. Brown and remove.
Add onion and fennel and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add sausage back to the pan, along with beans and chicken broth.
Simmer for 15 minutes to meld flavors.
Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese.
Squirt with lemon if desired.
4 1-cup servings

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tortilla Soup

My husband first had tortilla soup when he was in Mexico and asked me to make it today. Since I had enchilada sauce that I had previously made in the freezer, I used it as a base, and it was a great success.The wonderful part about this soup is that it's super easy, delicious, and it can be vegetarian or meat-based. Using a blender to blend the ingredients is the secret to a vibrantly flavored, smooth sauce. I often use my blender to puree onions, jalapenos, garlic, and other spices/herbs to make marinades for meat or vegetables.
The original idea to blend ingredients for an easy enchilada sauce came from Cook's Illustrated; I just took it one step further to use the base for soup.
In blender, blend:

1 29 oz. can of tomato sauce
½ of one canned chipotle in adobo sauce (optional)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
½ medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 handful of cilantro

Chicken or vegetarian broth
Rotisserie chicken breast, shredded or Vegetables (corn, black beans)
Fried corn tortilla strips (see below)

Put puree in a pot with broth to your liking (about 2-3 cans). Simmer for ten minutes with crushed corn tortilla strips (about 2-3 tortillas that have been fried and crushed into small pieces in a ziploc bag). The tortillas will thicken the soup. Near the end of cooking add shredded chicken breast or different veggies (corn, beans) to your liking.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, diced avocado or guacamole and fried tortilla strips.

Fried Tortilla Strips
Corn tortillas, cut in 1/2 and cut into thin strips

Fry in oil that's around 370 degrees and crisp. Take out of oil and put on a rack or on paper towels. Salt immediately.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Japanese Pork Dumplings (Gyooza)

I have become known as the "Dumpling Lady" at school because the Asian Cultural Society, of which I am the faculty advisor, has successfully sold dumplings at school events for years. I've also auctioned off my cooking services for our Parents' Association and have taught people how to make Asian appetizers. Here's the recipe that I give them.

Japanese Dumplings (Gyooza)

1 1/2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped finely
3 Scallions, finely chopped
3 Dried black or shiitake mushrooms soaked in hot water til softened and minced
1 tsp. Ginger root grated
1/2 lb Ground pork (and shrimp—3 parts pork to 1 part shrimp is a good ratio)
[use beef instead for Korean style dumplings]
1 tbs. Rice wine (sake or Chinese cooking wine)
1 tbs. Soy Sauce
1 tbs Sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Gyoza wrappers
Bowl of water for sealing wrappers
Oil for pan-frying

Set water to boil for cabbage.

Put pork in bowl, with shrimp, mushrooms, scallion, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until thickened.

Add finely chopped cabbage to boiling water and boil for about two minutes. Drain in a colander and immerse in ice water to cool the cabbage down. Squeeze the cabbage dry in a kitchen towel or salad spinner, and add to meat mixture.

If you want to cook all the filling in advance or use leftover meat that's already been cooked, that's perfectly all right. The texture will be a little different -- the filling that is not pre-cooked will hold together like a meatloaf whereas the cooked meat will be looser -- but it will still be delicious.

Place less than 1 tbs. of filling in the center of a circular wrapper (gyoza skin). Brush or use finger to dampen the perimeter of the wrapper with a little water (this will help seal the wrapper; you can also use egg white). Fold in half and seal, starting on the inside, close to the filling, and pressing air bubbles out as you seal. You can pleat edges so that it’s attractive, but that is optional.

Heat a ten inch skillet to medium/medium-high and put about 2 tbs. oil (or a light film of oil in the pan). Put gyooza in skillet (about 20 can fit in a ten inch pan), and fry til golden brown (about 1 minute). You can turn the gyoza if you like it crispy on multiple sides. Add approx. 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook until water has evaporated.

Uncover pan, add about 1 tbs. of oil down the side of the pan (so it will heat on its way down) and fry for another minute to recrisp bottom.

Serve with general dipping sauce.

NOTE: These dumplings can be deep fried, steamed, or simmered in a soup.

Fried Dumplings with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Dumplings in Quick Wonton Soup Broth

Broccoli Raabe with Sausage and Garlic

Why eat plain, boring broccoli when you can eat bold and assertive broccoli raabe?

Broccoli raabe with garlic and sausage is a classic Italian dish. It's a little bitter, so if you want to take the edge off of it, blanche the broccoli raabe as the recipe directs. If you like broccoli raabe's bite, skip the blanching but saute it a few more minutes in the olive oil and chicken broth. I use chicken broth and wine for flavor and to cut down on the oil, but you can just use lots of olive oil if you don't mind the fat.

Eat as is or serve with pasta or white beans. If you want to let the pasta or beans (if you're using canned, drain them first) cook a little with the broccoli raabe, add it when you add the chicken broth and add more chicken broth than what's suggested above so that it makes a sauce. Parmigiano reggiano is also a welcome addition.

Big bunch of broccoli raabe (broccoli rapini)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Chicken broth (optional)
White wine (optional)
Salt and pepper
Italian sausage, 3 links or if you can buy it, buy 1/2 lb. loose (substitute chicken sausage or do not add if vegetarian)

Fill dutch oven or pot large enough to hold the broccoli raabe. Bring to a boil and heavily salt water.

While waiting for the water to boil, cut broccoli raabe into approximately 2 inch pieces, unpeel four of the garlic cloves and mince two of them. Take sausage out of its casing.

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. When it's done, take out and set aside.

When the water is boiling and salted, add whole garlic cloves and parboil for 2 minutes. Take out, cut into 2 or 3 pieces and set aside. Add cut broccoli raabe and cook for about 2 minutes until the color is bright green. Immediately dump into a strainer and rinse with cold water, moving the broccoli raabe with a spoon or your hands until all the broccoli raabe has been doused with the cold water cooled down. If you have a salad spinner, place the broccoli raabe in the spinner and spin dry. If you don't have a spinner, shake as much water off as you can and put in a clean dry dishtowel and dry most of the water off.

To the pan you cooked the sausage in, add a couple tbs. of olive oil (or less) and heat over medium to medium-high heat. Add big garlic pieces and stir frequently until the garlic has turned a golden brown. Take out and put with the sausage. Add a couple shakes of red pepper flakes and minced garlic, stir quickly, and add broccoli raabe. Stir. Add a glug of wine (pouring the wine, pour it one turn around the pan). Stir. The pan should be hot enough that when the wine hits the pan it will sizzle and immediately start evaporating. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir. Taste to see if broccoli raabe is tender and add salt and pepper to taste. Squirt with some lemon to taste.

Welcome to Big, Bold, Beautiful Food

I've been writing non-professionally about food since the early 1990s, when the Internet was still only in the universities.  Starting as an avid contributor to, and now almost 20 years later, posting on the group "Ninette's Recipes" on Facebook, it seems appropriate to move to an official blog space.

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoy the journey of writing down my life and my memories through the lens of big, bold, and beautiful food.