Cacio e Pepe Recipe

Mario Batali makes some great tasting food. I’ve followed this Cacio e Pepe recipe before & it was delicious. It incorporates 2 things I love, Cheese & Black Pepper. This time, I added 5 more ingredients to the recipe just because I wanted to. They are not necessary, but boy was the pasta mmmm mmmm good when it was done. This is my interpretation of Cacio e Pepe mixed in with everything else I love. Come on, who doesn’t love more cheese & BACON!!! Oh yeah, and all the mushrooms add a delightfully earthy taste to the pasta.

Cacio e Pepeadapted from Mario Batali

Ingredients:
1 pound spaghettii
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 bags of Enoki Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
1 box of Beech Mushroom (cut ends off & wash)
3 Slices Muenster Cheese
5 Slices of Bacon
2 Plum Tomatoes (thinly sliced)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
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Boil a pot of water to cook your pasta. Follow instructions on the box to make al dente pasta. Reserve one cup pasta water. Drain the rest in a colander & rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Heat up a little olive oil into a large frying pan. On medium heat, add garlic & cook it down for a minute. Then add Enoki & beech mushrooms & sprinkle with sea salt to season. Cook until they are all soft.

Add the butter & pepper. Evenly mix until butter is melted.
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Add your pasta & mix. Then add your cheeses. The Muenster gets a little clumpy, so try to break them apart with your spoon. If the pasta is a little dry, you can add a little of the pasta water you had saved earlier.

In a separate frying pan, cook your bacon until they are cripsy. Drain all oils & blot excess on a paper towel. When it is cool to the touch, rough chop them.

Arrange plum tomatoes on top of pasta. Cover pan for 2 minutes to steam the tomatoes.

Finally, sprinkle bacon on top, and you are all set.

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ENJOY!

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Asian Marinated Baked Chicken Recipe

This was a really fast & easy recipe to follow. I only marinated the chicken for 30 minutes (while I prepped the broccoli & mushroom) & it turned out very tasty.

Asian Marinated Baked Chicken Recipe adapted from Chow.com

Chicken Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (I omitted this)
6 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds chicken thighs (removed skin & fat)

Veggie Ingredients:
10oz white mushrooms
1 lb broccoli crowns
1 package Beech mushrooms
2 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
5 cloves finely chopped garlic

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
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Place everything except the chicken in a zip-lock bag & combine.
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Remove the skin & fat from the chicken. Wash & pat dry with paper towel.

Throw the chicken into the zip-lock bag & lay flat. Flip the bag around after 15 minutes to ensure the other side gets marinated as well.
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While you are waiting, wash & cut the broccoli & mushrooms. Put into a foil pan. Drizzle with olive oil & mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper. Then, drizzle balsamic vinegar over everything. Sprinkle chopped garlic on top. Put into oven & bake for 25 minutes.
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After 30 minutes of marinating the chicken, pour all the contents into a pan. Ensure the chicken is in one layer.
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Bake the chicken for 20 minutes, then flip them over & bake for another 20 minutes until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees F.
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Pour the chicken sauce into a bowl. Use a spoon to skim off all the oils & fat. Serve chicken with broccoli & mushrooms with the sauce on the side.
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Enjoy!

Tender Pork Spare Ribs Recipe

I’ve never made spare ribs before, so this is totally an experiment for me (just like everything else I attempt to cook)! I bought the spare ribs & then decided to search for a recipe that included ingredients I already had on hand. This is how I cook. I don’t like to go out to buy more ingredients. I adjust the recipe to what I already have. If I don’t have it, I either omit it or substitute it with something else. Maybe this is the reason why my food never turns out looking like the pictures. :-/

Well, let’s see how these spare ribs turn out.

Ingredients:
Tender Pork Spare Ribs – adapted from All Recipes
1 rack pork spare ribs, fat trimmed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoons paprika
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

The original recipe called for fajita seasoning. I had taco seasoning on hand, but then took a look at the ingredients. It was filled with tons of crap that I would not want to serve my family, so I omitted it. All those strange chemicals really scare me especially when you are putting it into your body. I’m trying to be proactive about what I eat & how to cook healthier for my family. It takes more vigilance but it’s definitely not impossible. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. I really don’t want to be a preservative or monosodium glutamate (aka MSG).
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Wash your spare ribs & pat dry with paper towels. Trim off excess fat.
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Mix all all your seasoning ingredients in a bowl. Then, rub the mixture on both sides of the ribs evenly. Place into a foil pan & Cover with foil. Leave in the fridge 24 hours to marinate the meat.
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Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F. Cover the ribs with foil. Bake for 3 ½ to 4 hours until the meat is tender.
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Carefully take the pan out & pour the drippings into a saucepan. Set the ribs to the side. Cook the drippings over high heat until the sauce thickens 5-10 minutes. Brush the thicken sauce over one side of the ribs.
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Preheat oven to the broiler setting & set the oven rack to approximately 6 inches from the heat source. Place the ribs back into the over & broil for 4 minutes until the sauce is lightly caramelized.
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Take the ribs out of the oven & flip it over. Brush the sauce over the other side & broil for another 4 minutes. If you have remaining sauce, brush it on top of the ribs & you are ready to serve.

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Let the ribs rest a few minutes before cutting them.

Zucchini
Roasted Zucchini

2 large zucchini
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Paprika

Wash & chop the zucchini in half. Then slice them on the long side. Place them in a large bowl & add olive oil & season with salt, pepper & paprika. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer & bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
Serve Rib
Roasted Garlic Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes
5 cloves of garlic, minces
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

Wash & peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into little cubes. Place them in a large bowl & add minced garlic, olive oil & season with salt & pepper. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer & bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Very Quick BBQ Sauceadapted from Food.com

2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

ENJOY!

Dill Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe

I was browsing Fairway market & came across some fragrant dill. I love the smell & taste of dill so I grabbed it & put it into my basket. Now what will I make with the dill? This is usually how I food shop. I never have any ideas of what I’ll be making until I see one ingredient that I love. Then, I go on a hunt to see what would go well with that ingredient. I know, I know, I’m not very efficient at this food shopping thing, but it is fun when you have time to wander. The supermarket is like the adult version of a candy store for me. I love supermarket shopping!!! I figured dill goes well with potatoes, but I chose sweet potatoes instead since they are a healthier option.

Dill Roasted Sweet Potatoesadapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:
4 medium Sweet Potatoes
5 whole Garlic Cloves
4 tablespoon Olive Oil
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
1 large bunch fresh Dill (lightly chopped) (~ ½ cup)
½ teaspoon Paprika (optional)
½ tablespoon Lemon Juice (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degree.

Line baking sheet with foil.

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Rinse sweet potatoes. Peel skin off. Dice into 1 inch cubes & place into large mixing bowl.

Mince the garlic & add to the bowl. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, dill & toss until everything is evenly coated. Optional: Add paprika & drizzle lemon juice & mix. I like the added lemony taste.

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Lay the potatoes on your baking sheet in a single layer & bake for 35-45 minutes until tender.

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Easy, fast & healthy. That’s the way I like my food.

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ENJOY!

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Summer Rolls

I made this recipe twice already. It’s so tasty & really easy to make. This is a keeper!

Pork Tenderloin Summer Rolls adapted from Corinne Trang

Ingredients
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves and tops removed, root ends trimmed, & stalks finely grated
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced (I used 3lbs because the marinade is salty)
2 bundles of Rice/Mung Bean Vermicelli
1 small carrot
1 small cucumber
1 small bunch of Thai Basil Leaves (optional)
1 bag (7oz) of Enoki Mushroom (optional)

Fish Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Cham – Recipe courtesy Corinne Trang, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, Simon & Schuster, 1999
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice (~1 lemon)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 or more bird’s eye or Thai chiles, seeded and minced
1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced, and rinsed (optional)

If you’ve never seen lemongrass before, this is what it looks like. It’s sold in Asian groceries. My mom told me they sell powdered lemongrass at the Vietnamese stores as well. Those are easier to use & stores better, but not as strong in flavor. Lemongrass, when cut, looks like green onions/scallions, but its texture is much rougher, even when you cook it down. It’s a little woody in texture. My MIL mentioned that if I crush the lemongrass, it’ll be even more frangrant. I’ll have to try that next time I make this recipe. The entire family enjoyed this meal, so I’ll be sure to make it again.

Cut off the tops & bottoms of the lemongrass & remove the outer layer (it’s probably a little dirty). Chop or grate it into little pieces. Add into a bowl with the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, olive oil & garlic. Mix to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved.

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Wash your pork tenderloin & dry with a paper towel. Cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Put the pork into a bag & add your marinade. You can marinate it for an hour or even overnight in the fridge for more flavor.

When ready, heat up a grill pan & brush oil so the pork doesn’t stick. When it’s hot, put your pork on top & grill for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip it over & cook for another 2-3 minutes until it’s done. This depends on your stove top, as well as what pan you use. You can also use a frying pan with hot oil & pan fry the pork. It’s just as tasty.

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Look at those grill marks & how juicy that pork tenderloin looks! YUMMY!

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I prepared the summer roll ingredients while the pork was marinating in the fridge. The ingredients can be found at any Asian grocery store.

Place 2 bundles of vermicelli into boiling water. Stir & make sure it cooks for a few minutes until tender (~2-3 minutes). Strain the water & cool the vermicelli with cold water to stop it from cooking.

Cut the dirty ends of the Enoki mushrooms. Wash them under cold water, while separating the strands because they tend to stick together. I seasoned it with a little salt, pepper & olive oil & cooked it in a frying pan. It will release a lot of water. When the mushrooms are cooked down (no longer stiff), they are ready. Discard as much water content from them as much as possible.

In a clean pot, boil 4 cups of water. This will be used for the summer roll skins (although they call it spring roll wrapper on the cover of the package). Turn off the heat once it starts boiling.

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Cut your carrots & cucumber into matchstick sized pieces. Take 10 basil leaves & chiffonade them into smaller pieces. Take 10 pieces of your grilled pork & slice them up (you will have a bunch remaining). Now all your ingredients are ready to assemble your summer rolls.

Ingredients
Remember that pot of hot water you had boiled? Pour that into a round shallow pan. A round pyrex dish would do, preferably slightly larger than your spring roll wrappers. Be careful, the water will be hot. Gently immerse the spring roll wrapper in the hot water, making sure water touches the entire wrapper. You’ll see it miraculously soften into a pliable sheet. Carefully pull the sheet out & put onto a dry plate.

Here, you will start building your summer roll. Add the vermicelli first, then carrots, cucumber, mushroom, basil & then your pork. Roll them up like a burrito, making sure you roll them tight. It took me a few tries to get better at this. I rolled the bottom over the filling first, then folded the right & left sides in, then tightly rolled the bottom up to the top. Put the finished product on another dry plate.

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For the Fish Dipping Sauce, just add all the ingredients listed above together & leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
Now you can enjoy your Pork Tenderloin Summer Rolls. Looking good!

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I made approximately 12 summer rolls until I ran out of vermicelli. You can definitely make more, but the remaining pork tenderloins are awesome by themselves, over rice, or over vermicelli. Don’t forget to add some of the sauce.

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I used the remaining pork tenderloins to make noodle soup, which was just as delicious. The possibilities are endless.

Pork Tenderloin Noodle Soup

ENJOY!