From the category archives:

Pasta

Cod Braised in Dashi, Sake, Miso and Mirin with Enoki Mushrooms. OK this is a whim and a prayer kind of thing but it worked. I wanted some kind of Asian noodles and the Mother-in-law request was for seafood. I was on a conference call and somewhat daydreaming about dinner. So all in at once.

The flavors here are pretty light but complex. The Dashi adds a nice smoky note and the sake and mirin add just the right touch of acid. So now at this point many of you are going “What the hell is he talking about?” “Dashi? What?”

Dashi is a broth made from dried smoked shaved skipjack tuna. The shaved fish also called bonito. As a broth it has that great indefinable meaty and lightly smoky flavor that you will immediately recognize as Japanese. Well if you eat Japanese or even sushi. I do not make my own Dashi. I could but I am not crazy. I just buy the stuff in a box. Hon Dashi. Tastes great and it is always there. Just like the miso. The sake tends to disappear.

If you have not found your local pan Asian grocery start looking. All of the ingredients that you need will be waiting patiently for you to come and get them. Including the enoki mushrooms. Please don’t buy these at some high-end organic wholly overdone store. Save a few bucks and shop at the local Asian mart.

The technique: Braising a light flakey fish is this light broth is about as low-fat of a way that you could possibly cook. The key is to get the broth hot and just lightly bubbling. Braising is, well not boiling.

This is a delicate dish. But it is pretty simple to prepare. Just take a look at the links so you know exactly what you are looking for at the store.

Ingredients:

3 cups dashi stock
1 cup sake
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons miso paste

12 ounces enoki mushrooms
8 baby bok choy heads
1 LB cod fillets
12 ounces wonton noodles (wide cut)
Cilantro
Spring onions
1 Lime
Toasted sesame oil
Chili oil

Directions:

Add the dashi stock, sake, mirin, soy sauce and miso paste to a soup pot and bring to a low boil.
Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes.
At five minutes add the bok choy and cook for five minutes and remove to a plate.

Start heating a large pan with a lid.

Add the stock and the mushrooms and bring to a low boil.

Add the fish fillets and cook at as low of a boil that you can get out of your cook top for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the wonton noodles per the package directions and set aside.

To plate the dish, place ¼ of the noodles in the bottom of a bowl.
Place a fillet on top.
Add the bok choy on the side.
Add about ¾ cup of the braising stock and mushrooms over the top.
Top with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of green onions and cilantro.

Drizzle a bit of chili oil and sesame oil over the top and serve.

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The reason for meatballs in red sauce is not to top spaghetti. The real reason is the meatball sub. Growing up, I didn’t have many of these and I am not sure why. It was more likely that we would have meatloaf sandwiches. Mom made great meatballs but I guess my brother made sure that there was none left.

So this is a recipe as a work in progress. Over time, my mom’s recipe became closer to my Italian sausage recipe. And I adopted my sister-in-laws idea of finishing them in the sauce at a low temp for a few hours. I suppose that it will change further as my tastes change. But it has been stable for two years. That means I only messed with it for 30 years.

This will make a lot, but it will make two meals. Sunday spaghetti night and subs on Monday.

And as always, I am cooking for 4, but one is a fourteen-year-old athlete so he eats like two. It’s his favorite sub. I couldn’t let him think that Subway was good.

Ingredients:

1 LB Ground beef – 85/15 fat content
1 LB Ground pork
2 Eggs
½ Cup Milk
½ Cup breadcrumbs
¾ Cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Teaspoon red chili flakes
1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Teaspoon oregano
1 Teaspoon thyme
1 Teaspoon black pepper
1 Teaspoon salt
½ Cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Batches of marinara plus 1 cup of red wine

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, milk and spices and salt and mix. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Whisk in the eggs.

Whisk in the cheese and parsley.
Add the pork and beef.

Mix this by hand until combined. Both hands. In the bowl.

Cover a baking pan with either nonstick tinfoil or parchment paper.
(Or be prepared to scrub a pan).
Preheat oven to 350.

Roll the mixture into roughly 2-inch balls.
Place about ½ inch apart on the pan.
Start the tomato sauce.

Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes.

Place the baked meatballs in the sauce and lower the heat on the sauce to just below a simmer.
Cook for at least two hours – less would be OK but the more time the more tender the meatballs. I usually make this over lunch and let them cook until dinner.

At this point you could just eat them out of the pot. But the way we do it is like I said, Sunday dinner follow by meatball subs.

Cheers.

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Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Thumbnail image for Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon May 15, 2013

Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon. And don’t forget the hazelnuts. It’s been awhile since I looked at this recipe and the first draft was OK. The second was better and now this one makes sense. Actually it;s the fourth version. The first having been written in the little blue book of recipes. When you […]

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Artichoke Pasta with Shitake and Crimini Mushrooms

Thumbnail image for Artichoke Pasta with Shitake and Crimini Mushrooms March 25, 2013

Artichoke pasta with shitake and crimini mushrooms was less of a choice than a demand. Jan showed me picture of a pasta dish and said “I want that.”  I am not really sure what she showed me, but it looked like mushrooms and the evidence was the proof  as both mushrooms were on sale for […]

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Spaghetti Carbonara

Thumbnail image for Spaghetti Carbonara March 8, 2013

Spaghetti carbonara is a fairly easy dish and one that I needed. I am in the middle of a kitchen renovation and, well we have no kitchen. The counter guys broke the granite yesterday so now we are kitchen impaired for a few days. Everything had gone smoothly. I was feeling good that we would […]

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Mac and Cheese – The Gooey Version

Thumbnail image for Mac and Cheese – The Gooey Version December 20, 2012

About a year ago I had a request for a gooey runny mac and cheese. I was thinking about never having gotten around to the request. I decided to look up the last time I wrote about mac and cheese (recipe here). It’s not that. Not even close to the request. But, I figured it out. […]

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Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca

Thumbnail image for Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca November 20, 2012

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca or “Whore’s style spaghetti” in Italian. Sounds like an old and ancient dish harkening back to a whore’s dilemma of having few ingredients to cook with. But really, this was popularized by name in the 1960”s based upon many Southern Italian sauces. The recipe varies across Italy and really I think that it […]

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Asian Style Shallot and Garlic Pan Fried Noodles

Thumbnail image for Asian Style Shallot and Garlic Pan Fried Noodles November 11, 2012

I love Asian style noodles. Reasonably fast to make and pretty much good for you, its street food at it’s best. this Asian style shallot and garlic pan fried noodles recipe is the kids favorite. Ingredients: 1 lb. fresh lo mein noodles, Hong Kong frying noodles or even cooked spaghetti (look here for noodles) 2 tablespoons […]

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Fresh Green Bean and Bacon Pasta

July 1, 2012
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So Jan brings home a giant bag of purple string beans.  Her work mate, Angelia, has this absurdly large garden managed by her husband whose personality is as outsized as his garden. And generous! My guess is they gave us about one and one half pounds of twisty turny right off the vine goodness. I […]

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Pasta with Salami. Veggi Option Included.

March 1, 2012
Thumbnail image for Pasta with Salami. Veggi Option Included.

Just in case anyone ever wondered, I do cook from cookbooks, sometimes. I am just really bad at following directions. And  I am really bad at following directions. Did I mention that? Actually if I were not able to compartmentalize my arrogance about how to cook, I would probably have had a verbal disagreement with […]

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