Corned Beef and Cabbage Pie

Corned beef and cabbage pie.

Corned beef and cabbage pie.

Pi Day, March 14, is not a favorite of mine; I don’t care for sickeningly sweet dessert pies and, to my mind, associating a significant achievement in mathematical understanding with a meaninglessly arbitrary calendar date smacks of numerology. (Consider Neil deGrasse Tyson’s take on it here.)

Still, I appreciate the frivolity of partying for no real reason other than the coincidence of a date and mathematical constant, so I’m up for a Pie Day this year and looking forward to the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day, at least the ridiculous way we observe it in the United States: with lots of beer and delicious corned beef and cabbage, but perhaps not the parades.

For this meal we decided to roll Pi Day and Saint Patrick’s Day treats into one: a meat pie. While corned beef and cabbage would be wonderful fillings for, say, cornish pasties, today’s pie should be as round as possible.

Corned beef brisket.

Corned beef brisket. (No, it wasn’t cooked this way, it’s just resting in the warm oven. :) )

To begin preparing the pie filling, we cooked a store-bought corned beef brisket (3 1/3 pounds including liquid in package) in a roasting pan in the oven. The roasting pan was filled to about 1 inch depth with a mix of water and beer (a bottle of Milwaukee Brewing Co.’s Polish Moon sweet milk stout), pepper corns, whole mustard seed and the random pickling/corning spices supplied in the package. Specifically, we cooked the brisket, fat-side up, for 2.5 hours, covered, at 350° F and then about 20 additional minutes, uncovered, at 375° F.

Corned beef brisket cubed for pie filling.

Corned beef brisket cubed for pie filling.

After resting for some time, about half of the brisket (perhaps a bit more than 1 pound), was cut into medium/large cubes. While larger than the vegetable filling ingredients (below), I wanted to retain the meat texture rather than turning it all into a fine mince.

Onion, carrot, potato, and cabbage for pie filling.

Onion, carrot, potato, and cabbage for pie filling.

To prepare the filling, we finely chopped or cubed savoy cabage (1/2 head), yellow onion (1/2 large), carrot, and a few red potatoes. These were then sautéed in fatty drippings from the corned beef, and seasoned with dill and thyme.

Sautéing vegetables for pie filling.

Sautéing vegetables for pie filling.

So that the filling would be moist, we added water and flour to thicken into a roux-like sauce.

Add water flour while sautéing to make a roux-like sauce.

Add water flour while sautéing to make a roux-like sauce.

Finally, the filling was seasoned to taste with the additions of ground black pepper, nutmeg, and mustard (e.g., Grey Poupon Country Dijon) and the cubed corned beef added; since the corned beef and its drippings are so salty, there’s definitely no need for added salt!

Preparing the pie crust dough in a food processor.

Preparing the pie crust dough in a food processor.

Now, on to the pie crust… not our area of expertise, but my partner volunteered to do all the work here; she prepared a wonderful flaky, cream cheese pie crust guided by this recipe and some tips from a Betty Crocker cook book.

If you’re not willing to make the pie crust from scratch, I’ve had good luck using Trader Joe’s pie crust, although it is sweeter than this and a bit sweeter than I like for a savory meat pie.

Making the pie shell.

Making the pie shell.

The pie shell was filled and the top piece cut slightly larger than the pie dish, so that it could be folded over the edge of the lower crust piece, and pinched closed.

Completing the pie shell.

Completing the pie shell.

Vent slits were cut into the pie top, and we baked it for about 45 minutes at 375° F, painting the top with an egg wash about half way through the cooking, and removing it when the crust was a beautiful golden brown.

Baking the pie.

Baking the pie.

From the oven, let the pie rest for a bit and enjoy a beer before digging in.

The finished, resting corned beef and cabbage pie.

The finished, resting corned beef and cabbage pie.

Thankfully, this meat pie held together quite well and, thus, is the easiest thing in the world to serve… just deliver a piece or two, or three, per person. :)

A slice of corned beef and cabbage pie.

A slice of corned beef and cabbage pie.

This was a great dinner, and the leftovers look good too… so I’ll have it both for Pi Day and for Saint Patrick’s Day. This would make a fine meal for Saint Patrick’s Day itself or based on the leftovers from that feast.

Here is the pie crust recipe we used:

and some pie recipes that we didn’t use, but in which you might be interested:

Here are a couple related posts of mine:

Potato and Italian Sausage Salad

Potato and Italian Sausage Salad.

Potato and Italian Sausage Salad.

A fellow blogger that I’ve just begun following recently posted a winter potato salad that is different than most potato salads especially in that it contained sliced kielbasa sausage. While I’m happy to eat vegetarian dishes, this struck me as particularly satisfying to serve as a meal, so I considered what ingredients I had on hand and came up with this idea: potato and Italian sausage salad. My version is similarly of the season in that today is a cold, snowy New England day… the sort that dissuades you from running to the market for just the right ingredients.

For this salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • red potatoes, about 8 large, quartered or smaller (bite-sized)
  • Italian sausages, 3 sweet or hot, fresh (or uncooked from frozen)
  • yellow onion, 1 medium
  • baby spinach leaves, a few hands-full, fresh
  • Parmiagiano-Reggiano or other hard Italian cheese, cut into tiny pieces (about 1/4 inch cubes) or coarsely grated

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and, for the dressing:

  • mayonnaise
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fennel seed
  • black pepper
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • oregano (sparingly to taste)
  • Dijon mustard
  • apple cider vinegar

My dressing had a generous amount of fennel seed, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
As usual, I didn’t measure my ingredients; if you need hints on quantities, consider this recipe.

Dressing base ingredients. (Red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard, diluted with apple-cider vinegar, not shown.)

Dressing base ingredients. (Red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard, diluted with apple-cider vinegar, not shown.)

I originally meant this to be a potato salad with Italian flavors, but punched it up with Dijon mayonnaise, that of course goes quite well with sausage and potato.

To prepare:

Start by steaming the quartered potato; cook until tender. Meanwhile, cook the sausages. Mine were frozen, so I start by boiling them then, after cooked thoroughly (in a skillet of just-boiling water, over medium low heat, perhaps 20 minutes), poor out the water and brown them.

Boiling fresh Italian sausage and steaming red potato.

Boiling fresh Italian sausage and steaming red potato.

For uncooked sausages that are not frozen, you can also brown them first in a skillet, then boil them to cook through afterwards. (This latter method has the advantage of not risking the separation of fat in the casing, that sometimes results in the casing breaking and spewing hot fat all over.)

While browning the sausages in a pan, add the sliced onion and brown it as well.

Browning onions and cooked Italian sausage.

Browning onions and cooked Italian sausage.

When the potatoes are tender, remove from heat, but add the spinach to the steamer basket (and cover) to lightly steam the spinach.

Once all these ingredients are done, let them sit perhaps an hour to cool to approximately room temperature. This is a good time to prepare the dressing in which you’ll toss the aforementioned prepared ingredients.

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl to taste, to yield approximately 1/3 cup total; you might wish to use some water to dilute it to a consistency suitable for tossing.

A salad dressing of mayonnaise, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fennel seed, freshly-ground black pepper.

A salad dressing of mayonnaise, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fennel seed, freshly-ground black pepper.

Once cooled, toss the cooked ingredients and cheese in the dressing. I used a bowl scraper to turn and distribute the dressing ingredients.

Ready to toss the ingredients with the dressing.

Ready to toss the ingredients with the dressing.

Lastly, refrigerate the salad for a number of hours, tossing occasionally to redistribute the ingredients and dressing; also, taste test it and, if desired, add more diluted mustard, black pepper, and/or red pepper flakes. Letting the salad sit for a time also allows the fennel seeds and had Italian cheese to soften slightly before serving.

I removed this salad from the refrigerator for an hour or so and served it at about temperature for dinner.
It’s an unusual “meat and potatoes” meal, but perfectly satisfying all on its own!

Potato and Italian sausage salad.

Potato and Italian sausage salad.

Here are some recipes you might like; the first inspired me here and the other is a favorite from Mark Bittman:

Thanks for the inspirational recipe, Mimi! :)

Gua Bao with Five Spice Pork Ribs

Gua bau with five spice ribs and pickled vegetables.

Gua bau with five spice ribs and pickled vegetables.

One of my long-time favorite Chinese treats is cha siu bau: the tasty steamed buns filled with delicious char siu-barbecued pork that is common at dim sum meals.

The Taiwanese gua bao is a similar street food in which the ingredients are inserted in a folded bao after the flat bun is steamed; gua bao have become popular restaurant items in North America lately; for instance, I ordered them at Bahn Mi Boys in Toronto, where they offer a variety of fusion bao fillings.

For our version, we decided to prepare the steamed bao from scratch and dry-rubbed pork ribs and Chinese pickled vegetables for fillings.  As one friend said, ribs in the oven are pretty much “set it and forget it.” Along with the requisite time for pickled vegetables to take on the pickling flavors, there’s plenty of time to dabble in making steamed buns from scratch.

Dry rub ingredients.

Dry rub ingredients (salt and black pepper not shown).

Our sweet and spicy dry rub, inspired by Chinese five spice powder, consisted of: ground clove, cinnamon, whole star anise, fennel seed, dried chili peppers, along with dry rub staples: brown sugar, freshly ground pepper, and kosher salt to taste.  All these ingredients were ground together with a mortar and pestle until most of the ingredients were crushed finely, yielding about 1/3 cup of dry rub seasoning.

Dry rub ready to apply to ribs.

Dry rub ready to apply to ribs.

I used a colander to apply the dry rub evenly (and without large pieces that might be left from the dried chili peppers or star anise), half to each side of a rack of pork ribs, and placed it concave-side down on a foil-covered baking sheet in a 225° F oven for 2 hours, then lowered to 200° F for another 2 hours, (4 hours total) checking and turning occasionally.  (If need be, satisfactory results can be gotten in about 3 hours at 250-275° F.)

Ribs in the oven.

Ribs in the oven.

Next we prepared some Chinese pickled vegetables: matchstick carrot, sliced red onion, sliced cucumber, along with a sliced fresh serrano pepper and some pieces fresh ginger. These were soaked in a brine consisting of approximately half rice vinegar and half water, further flavored with some soy sauce, star anise, sugar, whole black peppercorns and a bit of sake.

Vegetables for pickling.

Vegetables for pickling.

The pickled vegetables where refrigerated for a few hours before use.

Pickled vegetables prepared as a condiment for gua bao.

Pickled vegetables: a condiment for gua bao.

Next, we prepared the dough for the steamed bao.  (My partner is the bread maker; see the sample recipes she provided linked below for details.)

Dough ingredients for steamed bao.

Dough ingredients for steamed bao.

Prepare dough for steamed bao.

Prepare dough for steamed bao.

Preparing bao for steaming.

Preparing bao for steaming.

Rolling out dough for steamed bao.

Rolling out dough for steamed bao.

Once rolled-out, the dough pieces were steamed atop cabbage leaves (to prevent sticking), some flat and some folded over, with a bit of oil on the top to prevent the folded ones from sticking closed.  We found steaming them (covered) about 10 minutes to be sufficient.

Steaming bao.

Steaming bao.

Once the rib rack was cooked, it was cut into individual ribs, with some served as-is and some having the meat stripped from the bone to top or fill the steamed bao with a bit of hoisin sauce and accompanied by a condiment of pickled vegetables.

Slicing ribs.

Slicing ribs.

Gua bao with five spice pork ribs and pickled vegetables.

Gua bao with five spice pork ribs, a dab of hoisin sauce, and a variety of pickled vegetables.

Both the five spice ribs and gua bao were delicious and we enjoyed making this asian treat from scratch.
The ribs and steamed bao reheat well in the microwave for some quick and easy subsequent meals.

Here are some related recipes that you might helpful if you decide to make gua bao yourself!
Enjoy!

Indian Omelette Breakfast Burrito

Indian omelette breakfast burrito served with curry salsa.

Indian omelette breakfast burrito served with curry salsa.

Yesterday, an Indian friend said this Indian Omelet recipe “looks legit,” so I decided to try it; the Indian omelette reminds me of the Chinese omelette, egg foo young, and is prepared quite similarly just with different spices and a lot less oil.

For my version of this omelette (2 servings), I used the following ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped napa cabbage
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh mushroom
  • fresh coriander leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (to taste)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • canola oil (1-2 tablespoons)

(I reduced the turmeric quite a bit from the original recipe because I’ve found that if I don’t cook it in oil in the pan first, it can taste metallic to me.)

To prepare:

As with any omelette beat the eggs, I added a bit of water.  Next whisk in all the other ingredients (except the oil for frying). Over medium heat add the oil to an omelette or other non-stick frying pan. When oil is hot, but not smoking, be sure it’s spread evenly over the pan surface and add the egg mixture, spreading it evenly. Cover immediately with a pan lid or serving plate, and cook for a few minutes, checking to see that it is solidifying, but not yet cooked through. (Expect the bottom to brown in the oil.) Before the egg is completely cooked on top, slide the omelette onto a plate that is larger than the pan, then place the pan upside-down over the plate and flip it over so that the omelette is back in the pan. Cook this other side for a minute or so and slide it onto a serving plate; garnish with cilantro leaf.

An Indian omelette topped with coriander leaf.

An Indian omelette topped with coriander leaf.

Despite all the ingredients and spices, I found my omelette uninteresting on its own (and I’m not really a fan of breakfasts dominated by egg), so as I’ve done before, I chopped the omelette into large pieces and used it to fill a large, warmed flour tortilla as a breakfast burrito.

As an additional burrito filling and flavorful accompaniment, I prepared a hot curry salsa by stirring about 1/2 teaspoon of Indian curry paste into about 1/4 cup tomato-based Mexican salsa.

Mixing up a curry salsa.

Mixing up a curry salsa.

I used less than half the omelette for the burrito and served it with additional hot curry salsa on the side.

An Indian omelette and breakfast burrito.

An Indian omelette and breakfast burrito.

This was a nice Indian-fusion variation of the wonderful Tex-Mex breakfast burrito. Another way to make it more Indian would be to use chappati instead of a mexican-style tortilla. I was first introduced to the frozen variety of chappati by an Indian housemate; they’re quite good, you just take them from the freezer right into the fry pan for a few minutes, but the frozen ones are smaller than burrito-sized tortillas, so would make for tiny burritos.

The Indian omelette is yet-another way to put some variety into your breakfasts of vegetables and eggs!

Here is the recipe I used as the basis for this omelette:

And some related recipes:

UPDATE (Feb. 2015):

I made an “egg roll,” (nothing like a Chinese egg roll) as in this video, with scallion, black pepper, scrambled egg, and a tortilla and that works out great too and is yet-another breakfast burrito variation!

Pupusas

Refried bean and cheese Pupusas.

Refried bean and cheese pupusas.

This afternoon we made pupusas, a traditional Salvadorian stuffed, soft tortilla.

As it happens, the east coast is currently awaiting a nor’easter blizzard that is expected to deliver 1-3 feet of snow and up to 60 mile per hour winds. Boston has a unique alert system for such winter storms: The French Toast Alert System, so called due to the propensity of area residents to stock up on bread, eggs, and milk with the likely prospect of being stuck at home during the storm. Instead, we prepared by making pupusas of masa de maiz, refried beans, and cheese… enough so there are some leftovers (even thought they’re likely best eaten fresh.)

I was introduced to pupusas a few years ago by an Indian friend, i.e., from India, while I was couch-surfing near Baltimore, Maryland, of all places. He took me to his favorite Salvadorian restaurant, a modest place called Bananitos, where friendly Salvadorian ladies were continually preparing pupusas by hand and other Salvadorian dishes for a stream of customers, many to take away.

To make your own pupusas, start by making a simple dough of masa and water, so that the dough is a bit sticky, but can be rolled into a ball yet still flattened without cracking at the edges. (We used Maseca brand instant corn masa flour.)

Roll dough pieces into an approximately golf ball-sized balls (or slightly larger), push each flat, then add a spoonful of filling in the middle, e.g., refried beans mixed with shredded cheese. (We used smoked mozzarella.) Next, wrap the dough around the filling back into a ball and then re-flatten it into a tortilla perhaps 1/4 inch thick. Try to keep the filling contained when pressing, but it’s OK if leaks a bit.

Preparing refried bean and cheese pupusas.

Preparing refried bean and cheese pupusas.

Next, simply cook the tortillas a few minutes per side at medium or medium-low heat on an oiled surface, e.g., a cast iron pan, until a bit browned and cooked through.

Cooking pupusas in an oiled pan.

Cooking pupusas in an oiled pan.

Pupusas are typically served accompanied by a mildly pickled cabbage slaw called curtido and a tomato sauce. We served our pupusas with a green cabbage slaw of the sort one might serve with fish tacos and a mole sauce, left over from last night’s mole chicken.

Pupusas with cabbage slaw and sauce.

Pupusas served with cabbage slaw and sauce.

Pupusas are a wonderful treat from central America that, whenever I see them, I’m reminded of visits with my exuberant Indian friend, a great citizen of the world, with whom I first shared them.

Here are some recipes I consulted that you might find helpful:

I found pupusas fairly forgiving to prepare, being able to add additional water to the dough (that I had originally prepared for dumplings cooked in the mole sauce) until it was possible to work (or rework) them easily into thick tortillas.

I hope you give them a try and enjoy them too!

I bet pupusas would be nice accompanied by scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Maybe we’ll be snowed-in soon and I’ll have a chance to find out, while the rest of Boston presumably enjoys french toast. :)

Steamed Dumplings and Potstickers

Steamed Dumplings with soy and chili garlic sauces.

Steamed Dumplings with soy and chili garlic sauces.

Here is a popular treat from Chinese restaurants that’s fun to prepare at home, especially if you’re interested in an exotic dinner and aren’t short on time; we spent a couple hours making about 30 dumplings. They can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, but I wouldn’t want to miss the pleasure of eating a few right to reward myself right after the prep work!

The vegetarian dumplings were filled with a mix of napa cabbage (finely chopped), carrot (grated), ginger (finely grated), spring onion (minced), shiitake mushroom (rehydrated from dry, then chopped), tofu (firm, crumbled), garlic (finely grated), and five spice powder. We also tossed the filling with some soy sauce and sesame oil; this is optional, but gave the vegetable filling more flavor and perhaps helped it to clump when wrapping.

The meat dumplings contained the same filling with ground pork sausage flavored with five spice powder.  We used the meat from two store-bought sausages (fresh, raw); any mildly-spiced, coarse sausage would likely work well, but ours were Italian sausage, often spiced with fennel or anise seed, which is commonly used to flavor Chinese foods too.

We wrapped the filling using a simple dough of all-purpose flour and water, about 3 cups flour to about 1 1/4 cups water, rolled into balls and flattened by hand into circular wrappers. Fill each wrapper right after you flatten it to avoid the dough becoming too dry to work with.

Place whole cabbage leaves in the bottom of a steamer tray to keep the dumplings from sticking. After steaming the dumplings for about 20 minutes total (15 minutes is probably sufficient for the vegetarian ones), we served them for dinner along with a miso soup and froze about half of them to steam another time.

Our leftover steamed dumplings were prepared as potstickers the next day; from the refrigerator, they were rewarmed by microwave and then pan-fried in oil until browned on the bottom. I don’t think it’s traditional, but turn to brown the sides if you like – I did. :)

Potstickers.

Potstickers.

Here is the recipe that was basis for these dumplings and a recipe for the somewhat similar Polish dumplings, pierogi:

These dumplings were a fun project for two on a weekend evening and tasted every bit as good as many I’ve had at restaurants, even though this was a first time making them at home. Give them a try!

Mirza Ghasemi and Barbari Bread

Mirza ghasemi with Barbari bread.

Mirza ghasemi with Barbari bread.

This is a special recipe for me and one that I’ve been meaning to make for 10 years or more.

I was introduced to Iranian or Persian foods in the ’90s in Madison, Wisconsin at a wonderful restaurant called Caspian Cafe.  The restaurant has been closed for some years, but its colorful co-owner and chef, Mohila Nateghi, has a web site here.  She typically had a smile for guests and did a great job of pointing the neophyte to her best options on the menu that day, such as the crispy part of her lubia polow or her dill rice.

One of my favorites was, and is, mirza ghasemi, the wonderful dish of scrambled egg, eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic.  Mohila’s version was absolutely loaded with garlic; whenever it was on the day’s lunch menu, I knew I would smell of garlic the rest of the workday, but that did not dissuade… it was so good.

For preparation details, see detailed recipes linked below (at bottom of post). I used them roughly as is, except used a combination of canned and fresh tomato and added smoked paprika to the mirza ghasemi. Unusually, I also chopped the roasted eggplant length-wise and and width-wise with a chef’s knife to cut their skin into pieces; while atypical to include the eggplant skin in the dish (rather than peeling it after roasting) I didn’t find the skin in any way objectionable since I roasted the eggplant in the oven rather than over open flame (which would then add an undesirable burnt flavor if the skin were included).

Mirza ghasemi ingredients.

Mirza ghasemi ingredients.

The restaurant served all its entrees with a number of sides, one of which was a tasty flatbread that was likely a version of Tandoori or Barbari bread.
(Here’s an interesting video show how such bread is made in a Tandoori oven.)

Barbari bread ingredients.

Barbari bread ingredients.

For this meal, paired with Barbari bread, one must start preparing the bread first… perhaps 4 hours in advance.  I made the bread dough and had it initially rise in the refrigerator for a couple hours.
(Here’s a short video showing a similar preparation of the bread, but with different volumes, times, and temperature.)

Barbari bread dough after rising.

Barbari bread dough after initial rising.

Barbari bread dough.

Barbari bread dough final rising for about an hour.

Having previously attempted to roast eggplant over the open flame of a gas stovetop and having it be undercooked, this time I decided to bake them in the oven (40 minutes at 425° F) and then finished under the broiler to just begin to blister, but not burn, the skin.

Roasted eggplant.

Roasted eggplant.

Near the end of the cooking on the stovetop, I poured beaten egg (3 large) into 6 holes in the eggplant, tomato mixture, and continued cooking until the egg solidified, then stirred and allowed to cool about 20 minutes before serving.

Adding the beaten eggs.

Adding the beaten eggs.

The Barbari bread was topped with sesame seed and baked on a pre-heated pizza pan (500° F) for about 15 minutes, until it browned nicely.

Mirza ghasemi and Barbari bread.

Mirza ghasemi and Barbari bread with sesame seed.

I served the mirza ghasemi garnished with walnut pieces and accompanied by a piece of bread.

Mirza ghasemi with Barbari bread.

Mirza ghasemi with Barbari bread.

Here are the recipes I consulted to prepare this dish:

I really enjoyed this meal that reminds me both of my introduction to wonderful foods of the world and friends from far-off lands; I hope you enjoy it too!

Turkey Chipotle Chili

Turkey Chipotle Chili with a dollop sour cream

Turkey Chipotle Chili

It’s a few days past Thanksgiving Day and, as usual, I’m already pretty sick of turkey.

Because I’m an idiot, I made a 14lb. bird for just two. Last year I did an even larger one for, essentially, just one. I’m sure I’ll do it again; I just like making the whole turkey including the neck (my personal favorite, when it’s cooked tender) and the giblets for the stuffing.  Still, for Thanksgiving dinner, we ate only the drumsticks, so there are a lot of leftovers, including nearly the whole turkey breast.

The goal with this chili was to have it taste as little like turkey as possible; it’s a twist on chicken chilis that I’ve had, significantly spiced with chipotle peppers and cumin. Ingredients include:

  • diced turkey breast
  • one medium yellow onion (small dice)
  • one green pepper (similarly diced)
  • olive oil, (generously, for sautéing)
  • soup stock (turkey)
  • crushed tomato (1 20 oz. can for two breasts)
  • black beans (I used rehydrated dried beans that had been frozen)
  • Mexican oregano (dried, crushed)
  • cumin (powdered, used generously)
  • chili en adobo (~1/2 can, minced; use sparingly to taste as these can be quite spicy)
  • chili powder
  • salt (to taste)

I found the tomato paste and fresh serrano pepper, shown in the photo below, to be unnecessary so didn’t use it this time.

Turkey Chipotle Chili ingregients

Turkey Chipotle Chili ingredients

Chili is an easy flexible recipe so I won’t bother with all the details, except a couple tips that I find useful. First, I like to sautée the fresh vegetables until tender and then stir them with the dry spices before adding liquid. Second, it’s best not to simmer pre-cooked meat (leftover, here) or beans too long as it can cause them to disintegrate due to overcooking and/or stirring.

Whole turkey breast

Whole turkey breast

I cut turkey breast into approximately 1/2 inch cubes.

Preparing Turkey Chipotle Chili

Preparing Turkey Chipotle Chili

Add the beans toward the end of the simmer and stir carefully thereafter to avoid mashing them.

Turkey chipotle chili

Turkey chipotle chili

That’s it: in about an hour, a simple delicious chili to dispatch with the leftover turkey white meat.

Turkey Chipotle Chili

Turkey Chipotle Chili served with a dollop of sour cream

I’m interested to know your Thanksgiving turkey leftover suggestions; I did the typical pot pie last year. one friend made enchiladas; I may try that with the dark meat.

Another friend posted this recipe for fritters made with stuffing: Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Fritters with Liquid Cranberry Core and Schmaltz Gravy.

Happy belated Thanksgiving and peace to you and yours!

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with Ginger and Sesame

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger, served with rice.

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger, served with rice.

When I was young, I was not  a fan of celery.  As a child, it was somewhat palatable when topped with peanut butter, but even then I preferred peanut butter on carrots.  Basically, I used to think celery was a great way to ruin things, especially soup or chili. (“What were they thinking?!”)

Today, however, I quite enjoy celery, especially in Chinese dishes. So, finding ourselves in the predicament of having two big bunches of celery in the fridge, we decided to make a dinner of it, a stir-fry of celery and mushrooms.  While any mélange of mushrooms, asian or otherwise, might work, we chose shiitake, for their rich, smoky flavor to compliment the mild celery.  Some fresh baby bellas add a nice texture contrast.

For the sauce, I prepared perhaps 2/3 cup total by mixing the following to taste:

  • soy sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • fish sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • honey
  • water (sparingly)
  • ground black pepper
  • bird peppers to taste (whole, dried)
  • sriracha or similar hot sauce to taste (optional)
  • corn starch (prepared as a slurry for thickening, added on heat at end)

Since the celery will release some water, the sauce need not be diluted much with water.

For the main ingredients:

  • celery, 1 bunch of stalks, leaves intact, coarsely cut, diagonally
  • shiitake, stems removed, caps cut in strips (from whole dried, reconstituted in warm water for a couple hours)
  • baby bella mushooms, fresh, cut into qarters or sixths
  • fresh ginger, finely chopped (a generous amount, e.g., 2 thumbs)
  • onion, cut in short strips, 2 small
  • sesame seeds
Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger.

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger.

While preparing rice in a rice cooker, we stir-fried the ingredients in a large cast iron skillet with a few tablespoons of canola oil, beginning with the onion, ginger and shiitake, and a fraction of the sauce; I also put all the bird peppers in the pan at this time to soften them while cooking.  Once those are somewhat tender, add the celery and more sauce progressively, stirring and cooking for desired tenderness of the celery.  I like it cooked, but somewhat firm.  Lastly, add the fresh mushrooms (so as they are only lightly cooked) and thicken the sauce with corn starch slurry if you like a sauce that clings to the ingredients.

When finished, add some dashes of sesame oil, and then sprinkle with sesame seeds; alternatively, you might do this on the serving plate instead.

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger.

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger.

We plated the stir-fry with white sticky rice.  This time I used Nishiki rice and found it nearly identical, prepared in a rice cooker, to the Calrose rice I usually use; both are grown in California, but Nishiki suggests it’s a Japanese sushi rice.

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger, served with rice.

Shiitake and Celery Stir-Fry with sesame and ginger, served with rice.

This turned out to be a delicious dish, with the shiitake and ginger being a nice complement to simple, some might say, otherwise “shitty” celery.

For taking this celery from shit to shiitake, I’ll dedicate this post to FoodIsTheBestShitEver. Check ‘em out if you haven’t already. :)

Here are some related recipes that might be useful, although I’ve not tried them:

Chipotle Pork with Peach Habanero Salsa

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa and Sautéed Kale.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa and sautéed kale greens.

While planning dinner for two, my partner and I realized we had a few too many ripe fresh peaches, so decided to make a spicy fruit salsa for meat, resulting in this nice summertime meal: chipotle pork tenderloin with peach salsa.

Preparing the salsa: fresh habanero, red onion, and cilantro.

Preparing the salsa: fresh habanero, red onion, and cilantro.

She prepared the salsa to generously serve two; the salsa consisted of three ripe peaches, pitted, and diced (medium, with skin intact), diced red onion, and finely chopped fresh cilantro, about 1/2 finely chopped fresh habanero pepper (seeds and veins removed), a touch of sugar and apple cider vinegar, and finally salt and a touch of powdered cumin and chipotle pepper, to taste.

Fresh Peach Salsa with Habanero.

Fresh Peach Salsa with Habanero.

I slathered a fairly small pork tenderloin with olive oil and finely chopped chipotle chile en adobo (from a can), browned it in a hot skillet, seasoned it with salt pepper and a bit of adobo seasoning, then placed the loin (whole) in a lightly-oiled glass baking dish and cooked in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes.  This typically yields a spectrum of doneness: from medium on the narrow end to medium rare on the thicker end, so plan accordingly with a few more minutes baking time, if you prefer it more well done.  We let the pork rest for about five minutes, then sliced it into medallions.

Our kale greens were simply sautéed in olive oil in a skillet (first covered, stirring occasionally, then uncovered for the final minutes to desired doneness) over medium low heat, and seasoned with salt and pepper.

We plated each serving with five or six pork medallions, a generous amount of the salsa, and garnished with a cilantro sprig.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Peach Salsa and sautéed kale greens.

Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Peach Salsa and sautéed kale greens.

There are a lot of variations on this pork tenderloin dinner for two that you might like to experiment with as well, such this nice Mustard and Black Pepper Pork Tenderloin.