Day After Soup

If I feel like it. Sometimes I’m tired of cooking and I just throw the turkey carcass away.

Cooking equipment I used:
8 quart stock pot
8 cup Pyrex measuring cup
Strainer

For the broth:
Turkey carcass
1 large carrot roughly broken
2 celery stalks roughly broken
2 bay leaves
1 yellow onion quartered with skin on
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
2 sprigs of parsley

Put all ingredients in large stockpot add enough water to cover or just about cover the turkey. Bring to a boil then simmer for two hours or so skimming off any foamy stuff around the edge. Take out the big pieces and then strain into another pot or bowl big enough to hold the broth.

For the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion medium dice
3 carrots sliced thinish
3 celery stalks sliced thinish
3 cups turkey meat pulled apart
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (or half tsp each of sage, thyme, marjoram rosemary, pepper— I leave out the nutmeg due to allergies)
1 teaspoon salt—taste to adjust after a little while
3/4 cup Madeira wine
1/2 pound wild rice or mixed wild rice like Lundberg wild blend
All the broth plus water if needed

In a stockpot/soup pot add one tablespoon olive oil, teaspoon of salt and add onion, celery and carrot and cook on medium-high until softened. Add poultry season stir for a minute so it can bloom. Add 3/4 cup Madiera wine and turn heat to high and reduce about half. Add broth, turkey, rice and water if needed (I add water if needed to bring level up to about 4/5 of stockpot) bring to a boil, simmer for a few hours. Spoon off any foamy stuff around edge.

Copyright © 2018 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Summer Roll

I make 3 per person. Here I’m making 12. Sometimes the ingredients get a little tilted by the end. I usually run out of avocado first.

For this three person version, you’ll need:
1/4 of a 14oz package of rice stick noodles
36 shrimp peeled and deveined or frozen
1 carrot julienned
1 cucumber julienned
Rice vinegar
2 cups cabbage (Napa, Savoy, Green…) sliced thin
1 Avocado halved and finely sliced
24 sprigs of cilantro
24 basil leaves
12 25cm extra-thin spring roll wrappers (or 22cm look for Dynasty brand)
Sweet chili sauce for dipping
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Cooking equipment I used:
9×9 Pyrex baking dish
4 quart saucepan

2 cups boiling water in a 9×9 casserole dish or something close to that. Break up a quarter of a 14oz package of rice stick noodles and soak for about ten minutes then drain in colander. Cut up a bit with scissors.

36 shrimp. 3 for each roll. I buy frozen medium size wild-caught white shrimp and flash them in lightly salted boiled water for 3 minutes (turn burner off as soon as shrimp are in. Then drain in colander and remove tails).

On a big cutting board with prep bowls if needed:
1 carrot julienned (I have a hand-held Japanese Kinpira julienne tool thing)
1 cucumber cut lengthwise and seeded. Julienne half. Thinly slice other half and put in bowl with some rice vinegar.
About 2 cups of cabbage finely sliced (Napa, Savoy, green, or whatever)
1 avocado cut in halves and sliced thin
Cilantro leaves and tender stalk
24 or so basil leaves

12 25cm extra-thin spring roll wrappers.

With enough space on cutting board to roll and a 9×9 casserole dish with hot water next to it, rotate wrapper through hot water, place on cutting board and begin to load about a third of the way down the wrapper: basil leaves and shrimp next to each other and then everything else on top. Tuck in sides and roll.

Serve cucumber slices in small dishes topped with toasted sesame seeds and sweet chili sauce for dipping. I usually make sushi rice as a side.

Copyright © 2018 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Flu Prevention Diet

Worth the time. And the red stained hands.

6 medium or 4 large beets stems and greens removed
1 small yellow onion finely diced
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
4 to 6 cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Cooking equipment I used:
8 quart stockpot

Cut stems and greens from beets. Place in pot and cover with water and bring to a boil. Continue on a slow boil until knife pierces beet easily. Half hour or so for small/medium and sometimes an hour for big ones. When done, reserve 1 cup of beet water. Set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan, combine beet water, a small yellow onion finely diced, one cup white wine vinegar, quarter cup sugar, four to six cloves, teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for around five minutes.

Meanwhile, trim ends off beets, pull skin off, slice or dice beets however you want. Combine beets and sauce in covered container and refrigerate overnight. Pull out a few hours before eating to let them warm up a bit.

Serve with hot tea and an orange.

Copyright © 2018 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Holiday Beef and Peppers

…because it’s red and green.

For this four person version, you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or use garlic press
1 tablespoon curry powder (recipe at end because I have a fenugreek allergy)
1 pound ground beef
1 large yellow onion sliced into strips
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 green pepper cut into strips

Make rice. I bake short grain brown rice. Oven 375º. Bring 2 1/3 cups of water to a boil. I use a measuring cup in the microwave. In a covered baking dish or use foil, combine 1 1/2 cups rice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the boiling water. Stir. Cover. Bake for 50 minutes.

Make sauce. In a measuring cup add a tablespoon of cornstarch. Mix in 1/3 cup soy sauce slowly. Then 1/3 cup water. Add 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or put through the press, 1 tablespoon curry powder.

Brown around one pound ground beef. I freeze ground beef for dishes like this. I use 90% lean grass-fed. In a large frying pan, add frozen ground beef. On medium high heat, turn and break up with spatula. Meanwhile, slice one yellow onion into strips. Add onion when beef is browned. While onion is browning cut red and green pepper into strips. Add peppers to the pan and about a half cup of water. Cover and steam until peppers are how you like them. Work in the sauce for a minute or so, adding water if needed. Serve over rice.

Done.

I’m thinking about trying this with a butter, Worcestershire sauce, and curry over mashed potatoes.

Curry powder: 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon tumeric, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Copyright © 2017 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Salmon and Vegetables Teriyaki

The same dish they have for takeaway at Whole Foods with better salmon and a less sweet teriyaki and also you can control the teriyaki here. Plus it hasn’t been sitting there all day.

For this four person version, you’ll need:
2 cups short grain sushi rice
3 cups water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 carrots
1 large red pepper or 2 small
4 cups broccoli florets
1 pound salmon
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 rice wine or sake
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Toasted sesame seeds

Rinse rice. Sushi rice in the rice cooker or heat 2 cups rice with 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. To make more or less rice: 1 teaspoon canola oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for every 1 cup of rice add 1 1/2 cup water. About 17 minutes. Or use rice cooker.

Mix teriyaki sauce: in a measuring cup add a heaping spoon of cornstarch, then stir in 1/2 cup soy sauce until you have a smooth slurry. Then 1/4 cup each mirin rice wine or sake, brown sugar. Add a teaspoon of grated ginger and fresh ground pepper to taste. Microwave a minute at a time until thickened or bring to a boil on stove.

Bake salmon however done you like (remove pin bones if needed). I use around a pound for four people. 350º for around 25 minutes usually works.

Steam Carrots, red pepper, and broccoli: start carrots first for a few minutes, then red pepper, then broccoli.

Garnish with teriyaki sauce and toasted sesame seeds. Maybe some thinly sliced scallions too.

Done.

Would work for chicken. Short ribs? All vegetables?

Copyright © 2017 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Cucumber

When life gives you cucumbers….

This is best made a few hours before serving. Start with this basic recipe and then see how it tastes. I usually end up adding a little more vinegar or sugar. You can also add chopped fresh dill or red pepper flakes for a different take. Or more garlic.

4 cucumbers, skins removed and seeds scooped out, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed or put through a garlic press
salt to taste

Copyright © 2017 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Tabbouleh

The first time I had this was in a Persian restaurant in Washington DC. A salad of parsley. It’s a bit of a pain to make, especially since I don’t like parsley stems, but foolproof.

1 1/2 cups bulgar wheat (medium or coarse)
2 big bunches of parsley
1 small red onion
2 large tomatoes
1 cup lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh or dried mint
Salt and pepper to taste

Start proofing the bulgar wheat. There are many ways to do this. I’ve settled on putting it into a mesh strainer fitted into a saucepan—shown above—and running hot water over it to wet the grains until the water reaches the top. I sit it by the sink and about 45 minutes later it’s all puffed up and you can just pick the strainer up and let the water run out.

While this is going on, get out a large bowl, the biggest one you have. Finely dice the tomatoes and put them in your bowl and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.

In a 2 cup measuring cup, add a half cup of olive oil and stir in the mint; finely minced if using fresh. Squeeze the lemons and add to the olive oil.

Now finely dice the red onion and add it to the olive oil and lemon juice mixture.

Now the parsley. I don’t like stems so I painstakingly pluck the leaves and then coarsely chop them. But you can do this however you want.

Once the bulgur is drained and ready, add everything to the bowl with the tomatoes. Add freshly ground pepper to taste or not.

Watch it disappear in less time than it took to make.

Copyright © 2017 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Winter Chicken and Tomatoes

Four small chicken breasts
2 pints of cherry tomatoes
1 or 2 heads of garlic cloves peeled
2 cups of orzo
1 cup of parsley leaves (I don’t like the stems, so I pluck the leaves)
1 lemon
2 tablespoons of capers
Sea salt flakes, ground pepper, olive oil

Arrange the shelves in the oven to make room for the baking dish with the chicken and the baking pan with the tomatoes to go in together— I put the chicken just below the middle and the tomatoes and garlic just above the middle. Get the oven going at 400°. Put the cherry tomatoes and peeled garlic cloves and capers in a bowl. Toss with a little olive oil, spread this out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with some sea salt flakes. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. If the baking dish doesn’t have a lid, cover with foil; I use an 11 cup Anchor Hocking baking dish with a glass lid which is good for up to four not too big chicken breasts. Put everything in the oven. The tomatoes will take around 30 minutes to shrivel up and get some brown spots. I usually just leave the chicken in until everything is done, but you can test it around 20 minutes; if it looks cooked through when you pierce it with a knife or the instant read thermometer says it’s 165º, it’s done. You can take it out and let stay warm on the stove.

While the tomatoes are roasting, start a pot for your orzo and bring it to a boil; salt the water if you wish. Orzo usually takes 10 minutes, so try to plot for it to be done when the chicken and tomatoes come out. While you’re waiting, finely chop some parsley for the orzo, and have some lemon wedges ready— I take out any pips that I can see. Set your bowls on the stove to let them warm up a bit.

When the tomatoes and garlic and capers are shriveled up and brown in spots, it’s ready. Drain the orzo and put it back in the pot; drizzle with some olive oil and fold in the parsley and maybe some salt. Take the chicken and tomatoes out of the oven and slice or dice the chicken in the baking dish or on a cutting board. Now it comes together: every bowl gets some orzo, a few slices of chicken, tomatoes and garlic. Then I finish the dish with a few capers and a splash of lemon juice. This might work with fish, maybe tilapia dredged and pan fried. The orzo could be any small pasta (little shells with fish could be nice) or even rice, quinoa, or couscous.

Update February 2016: I made this with quinoa instead of orzo and I like it just a much.

Copyright © 2017 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Hark! The Cookie

Common name: White chocolate chip mint chocolate cookies.

This was my younger daughter’s idea for a holiday cookie, based on her love of peppermint bark, that we cobbled together from various cookie recipes.

6.5 ounce bag of starlight mints or box of candy canes
8 ounces of butter (two sticks), I used regular salted butter this time because that was all I had
1/4 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2/3  cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 cups of flour (I used Gold Medal)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Guittard Cocoa Rouge)
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces of white chocolate chips (I used Guittard Choc-Au-Lait)

Get the butter and eggs out to soften and get up to room temperature (this usually takes a half hour or so).

Get the oven going at 350˚.

Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats (such as Silpat) if needed.

Bash the candy into something around the size of Red Hots or M&M Minis. Careful here. The first time I used a rolling pin and now it is covered in pock marks. I had better success placing the candy between two layers of heavy duty zip lock bags and using the flat side of a meat mallet on a plastic cutting board. I have also used a food processor, but that just turns it to mostly dust (it also gets the machine really hot and etches the bowl).

Combine 2 cups of flour, 2/3 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Set aside. I don’t usually sift the dry ingredients together unless it’s a cake or cupcake.

With a stand or hand mixer, cream together 8 ounces of butter, 1 cup sugar, and 2/3 cup brown sugar. Scrape down as needed. Add the eggs. Mix until all mixed together.

Scrape down the bowl and begin adding the dry ingredients in three additions. Scraping down between each addition. This is to help incorporate the dry ingredients and also to keep you from having a flour bomb go off.

Once everything is thoroughly mixed, fold in the crushed candy and white chocolate chips. Don’t worry if the batter seems ridiculously thick.

Now you can decide what size you want the cookie. I used a large ice cream scoop that holds a ⅓ of a cup. I baked 5 cookies at a time on a large baking sheet. This made a ‘monster’ size cookie between 4 and 5 inches across. I baked these for 14 minutes (17 in new convection spaceship range). I did one sheet at a time, although if I would have turned the convection on, I could have done three sheets at a time.

Makes 17 cookies.

Let cool slightly and eat.

Copyright © 2016 MRuesen • All rights reserved

Thai Beef and Basil

3 cups basil total

For this four person version, you’ll need:
1 to 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 cups Basmati rice
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup beef broth or water
2 cups basil leaves
1 tablespoon of canola oil (if cooking rice in pot)
1/2 cup rice wine
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of fish sauce or oyster sauce or hoisin
1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)

To finish:
1 cup basil leaves (torn if big)
2 or 3 carrots julienned or shredded (I use this Japanese julienne tool)
4 to 6 scallions
1 lime cut into four wedges
Chili garlic sauce

Cooking equipment I used:
10 inch frying pan for beef and basil
Pot for rice—I used a 3 quart saucepan, or use rice cooker

If using frozen beef, get that started in the pan, breaking it up as it browns. Then make the rice how you want. I usually heat the rice up in a tablespoon of canola oil, stirring to coat, and then add 1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of rice. Here, I used two cups of rice and three cups of water. Add salt to water if desired. Bring to a boil and cover for 17 minutes before fluffing. Put your bowls on the stove to warm up.

While the beef is browning, julienne the carrots, remove stems from basil, finelly slice the scallions, and take skins off garlic cloves. Stir the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar together. When the beef is browned, add the garlic. You can slice, finely mince, or put the garlic through a press and add to the beef. Let this work together for a minute. Deglaze the pan with a half cup of rice wine and let that almost burn off. Then add the beef broth and two cups of basil. When the basil is wilted and the sauce is bubbling, it’s ready! Put some rice in the bowls, top with the beef and basil, then divide the the basil and carrots, then drizzle over the sauce, and finally, sprinkle the scallions. Serve with lime wedges and chili garlic sauce.

Copyright © 2016 MRuesen • All rights reserved