Category Archives: Mains

Fennel and Sausage Stuffing with bacon, wine, and good things

Fennel and Sausage Stuffing

Fennel and Sausage Stuffing with bacon, wine, and good things

I wasn’t going to post this, but I feel like I owe it to you.  This is the best stuffing I’ve ever eaten.  It’s the one I’ve been making for years, but this year it tasted especially good.  Was it the wine?  Was it my technique?  Doubtful.  It’s just a good recipe.  I follow it, don’t alter it…..

Simply put this is fantastic.  This is the stuffing you want to eat on the holidays, it will make you weep because it’s that good and because you’ve been making lesser versions all your life.  There’s no breakfast sausage, no sage, no apples, no greens, no dried fruit.  Thank goodness!  There’s Italian sausage, bacon, and fennel.  The fennel mellows, so even my fennel-ly challenged husband enjoys this.  Yes, there’s both bacon and Italian sausage, but not so much that it’s overpowering.  It’s the kind of stuffing you want the next day and the day after.  Then you remember, it’s not exactly health food, so maybe it’s best to only make it for the holidays.  Yummy holidays. Continue reading

Kimchi Pancakes with rice and dipping sauce - Kimchijeon

Kimchijeon – Kimchi Pancakes

This is my new football food go-to.  Kimchi pancakes.  Salty and crunchy and entirely addictive.  These are best enjoyed with an ice cold beer, hence my labeling them football food.  They can be made in small pancakes, as I did here, or one large pancake.  I like the smaller size because they can be turned into appetizers or in my case a bar-type snack.   Continue reading

Venetian Ghetto Taglietelle with Chicken, Raisins, and Pinenuts

Venetian Ghetto Tagliatelle With Chicken – Lovely Remnants of a Birthday Dinner

Venetian Ghetto Taglietelle with Chicken, Raisins, and Pinenuts

The other night I roasted two chickens for my birthday dinner with the idea to have lots of chicken for leftovers.  I normally stick extra chicken in a quesadilla or taco – a dinner I happily return to again and again.  Rarely do I put chicken and pasta together.  Most of the time, it reminds me of “family style” restaurants who’s food is always too…. much….too much cream, too much sodium, too much everything but taste.  It’s a lot of bland calories.

However, I was watching some “old” Nigella on TV, an episode where she tore apart a roast chicken with her bare fingers – and somehow made that look alluring and delicious.  When I tear apart a chicken, which I do often, it’s a bit more of a cavewoman going at a carcass.  But when Nigella does anything…. well you know.  She’s Nigella!  And she was talking about a Claudia Roden recipe she swears by called Tagliatelle Frisinal.  The ingredients are minimal; the dish is simple.  You do, however, need to roast your own chicken.  This is crucial because all those delicious succulent juices comprise the sauce.  Truly, the pasta dish is out of this world. Continue reading

Slices of Angel Food Cake

Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting For A Big Birthday

I had a birthday. A big one. The big 4-0. And I’m loving my new decade. I don’t feel older than I normally do. I’d say I don’t feel old, but my kids ensure I get no more than three hours of sleep a night…. so in that way, I feel oooold and tired. But, that’s it. I do feel wiser in a “screw what the world thinks” kind of way. Of course, I didn’t pay much mind before, but even less now. I already see myself turning into the batty old woman that others mutter about when they see me coming “Oh God, here comes Dana again. What’s that lunatic up to this time?” I love that feeling and I truly hope I’m the village nutter. Continue reading

Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice with Bacon Fried Egg

Kimchi Fried Rice

Have you ever had kimchi fried rice? For reasons unknown to me, I was hesitant to make this dish. I think it was because I thought I couldn’t work with fermented foods. I’ve eaten kimchi quite a few times before and loved it. In fact, banchan, the little dishes that accompany a Korean meal, are my favorite part of the meal. Plus, I would go so far as to say that kimchi is my favorite fermented food. But, could I handle working with fermented food?

As it turns out, yes! Kimchi doesn’t bite and kimchi fried rice is amazing and easy. Oh so easy. I worked up the “courage” because kimchi is sold at my farmers market as is kimchi fried rice. So, I not only had tried their kimchi before, but I tasted the complete dish. It gave my confidence a boost. Plus, the vendors are encouraging and helpful.  I can’t wait to tell them about this success.   Continue reading

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas with Chipotle Sour Cream and Asparagus Hominy Salad

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas with Chipotle Sour Cream and Asparagus Hominy Salad

Well, this post is long overdue.  Overdue by at least two years, I think.  These sweet potato and black bean quesadillas are one of the cheapest, easiest, most satisfying, and tastiest dinners I make.  At least I think so.  And the fact that you can make the filling ahead of time and make enough for a few dinners, makes for a relatively fast weeknight meal. Continue reading

yogurt, blueberry, and oatmeal crisp

Earth Day Leftover Oatmeal Crisps

yogurt, blueberry, and oatmeal crisp

Today is Earth Day. However, I like to treat every day like Earth Day. Since moving to Hawaii the need to reduce my consumption and produce less trash has become even more evident. It wasn’t until I moved here that it hit home where “away” is. We throw stuff “away”…. where is away? Hawaii is “away”. Most beaches along the Pacific rim are “away”. Walk along the stunning beaches and you’ll quickly discover that the sand is littered with broken bits of plastic. It comes from every imaginable source – toys, bottles, toothpaste caps and floss, straws – anything that’s made of plastic is winding up on the beach. These gorgeous, ecologically diverse beaches….. It’s even more disconcerting when gigantic fishing nets wash ashore. They bring with them straggled marine life – each net weighs thousands of pounds. If you live some place landlocked you don’t see this, but you probably have a landfill near you and sometimes you can smell the refuse.   Plastic use and throwing away food are two of the biggest kitchen involved environmental blights we can easily diminish. Continue reading

A New Way With Broccoli – Rigatoni with Roman Broccoli Sauce

I’m not always a broccoli lover.  I certainly wasn’t when I was pregnant.  Too pungent.  But, I’m liking this broccoli dish – it’s subtle, but tasty.  Bright with added lemon zest.

I came across it in Milk Street, the Christopher Kimble spinoff of America’s Test Kitchen.  I have to tell you, I’m loving that magazine – it’s my current favorite food magazine and I was never a big fan of ATK. Continue reading

Nigella’s Orzotto with Peas and Pancetta (or Bacon)

You guys, this pregnancy is kicking my butt! I’m having a hard time managing to get dinner on the table. So, what’s a preggo to do? A preggo makes this. It’s easy, fast, delicious with a simple clean up.  It’s now on regular rotation at our house.  Let’s discuss: Nigella (one of my most favorite people to grace this Earth) takes orzo and treats it as risotto.  Then she adds peas, parmesan, and pancetta – bacon in my case.  It really is fast and easy.  And it’s husband friendly with the meat.  I’m sure you could substitute a sausage of your choosing if you liked as well. If I wanted to make this more Hawaiian I’d add Portuguese sausage in lieu of the bacon.

Nigella and I differ in one procedure only.  She fries up her pancetta and leaves it in the pan and adds all the rest of the ingredients, including the boiling water, on top.  But, that makes for floppy bacon – and I can’t abide by flaccid bacon.  So, I cook the slices whole, remove, and chop up.  Then add back to the pan at the end.  If you’re like some family members, Scott, and prefer flaccid bacon or pancetta, then by all means, add the water on top.  Possibly pancetta doesn’t get as floppy.  We don’t have pancetta here (even at Whole Foods!), so I don’t know.  I also fry up the bacon well ahead of time.  You could fry, chop, and refrigerate a couple days ahead of time if you wanted to.  I do this often for holiday recipes involving bacon.

So, if you’re looking for a simple meal, one that eases your weekday burden yet still treats you well, this meal is for you.  Also, if you’re Nigella, and for some reason you’re actually reading this – you’re the best and you’re well loved in this household.

Orzotto with Peas and Pancetta (or Bacon)

Adapted very lovingly from Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

Ingredients

2 Tbs. garlic-flavored oil (I use regular)

6 oz. cubed pancetta (I use 5-6 slices of bacon)

1 1/4 cups frozen petits pois

8 oz. orzo pasta

2 1/2 cups boiling water

Salt, to taste

1 Tbs. soft butter

2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Boil 2.5 cups water in the microwave – or I do it in a little pan on the stove.  Or if you’re feeling particularly British or ladylike, use a tea kettle!

Warm the oil in a heavy pan that will hold everything later. (Get that folks? One pan gets dirty!) A Dutch oven or saucepan of 10 inches diameter should be big enough – I use my big saucepan. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until crisp or if you’re using bacon, fry until crisp. I remove the bacon after it’s all crisped and then chop on the side. Add the peas and orzo.

Pour in the boiling water. Add salt (cautiously, the pancetta/bacon is salty, as is the Parmigiano-Reggiano later); then turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, though check on it a couple of times and give a stir or two, to stop it from sticking and to see if you need to add a little more water.

When it’s ready, the pasta should be soft and starchy and the water absorbed. Add the chopped bacon back in. Beat the butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano into the pan, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. (I’ve found it doesn’t need salt and I only pepper my husbands plate of food.)

Serve immediately in warm bowls. According to Nigella, this serves 2 hungry grown-ups or 4 small children. I’ve found that it feeds two hungry adults and provides a little extra for tomorrow’s lunch. However, if my toddler were to eat this with us (can’t figure out why he won’t) there wouldn’t be extra and might not be enough he was really hungry. So, for more than two people be safe and double it. I like to serve some sautéed greens with this meal. If I can be bothered.