Peanut Curry Slow Cooker Ribs

If you are looking for something super easy to make, and really delicious (my boys loved this), then try this recipe!

Here’s what you need:

1 slab of pork ribs (about 2.5-4 pounds)

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon ginger powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.5 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup water

Here’s what you do:

1. Cut the ribs into three or four chunks so that they fit inside your slow cooker. Remove the membrane from the back if you want.

2. Combine all the remaining ingredients (except the water) in a bag or bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds to soften, and mix well. Then mix the ribs into the peanut butter mixture until they are slathered.

3. Place the ribs into the slow cooker, and add any remaining peanut butter mixture. Pour the water around the ribs.

4. Cook the ribs on the low setting for 9 hours, so they are falling off the bone. If you are around, change the order of the ribs (which chunk is on top versus the bottom) a couple of times.

5. When the slow cooker is done, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the ribs on a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes. Then set the broiler to high, spread some of the extra peanut butter sauce on top and broil about 3 more minutes.

Enjoy!

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Sesame Oil French Bread (with a bread maker)

Sorry, another bread recipe. Dough made in the bread machine, the rest in the oven. This is so delicious!

Here’s what you need:

1.5 cups room temperature water

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon white sugar

1.5 teaspoons salt

3 1/4 cups bread flour

1.5 teaspoons bread machine/active dry yeast

Here’s what you do:

1. Add all the ingredients, in the order listed above, to your bread machine. Set the bread machine to the “dough” setting and let it make the dough.

2. When the bread machine is done, lightly flour a surface and turn the very sticky dough onto the surface. Cover with a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.

3. Split the dough into two pieces, and form into two 3 x 14 inch ovals. (You might have to flour your hands a bit.) Place each one on parchment paper or a lightly floured cookie sheet, and score the top with three slits. Cover with towels.

4. Allow the loaves to rise for another 40 minutes, preheating your oven to 425 degrees halfway through.

5. Right before baking, remove the towel, rescore the loaf, and bake on the cookie sheet on the middle rack for 25 minutes. (I baked mine one at a time so the second loaf got an extra bit of rise time, which didn’t impact quality either way.) Remove, cool, slice and enjoy!

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Banana Sandwich Bread – In the Bread Maker/Machine

Recently, I thought making bread would be fun. The first recipe I tried, a no-knead focaccia, turned out great. The second, a maple buttermilk loaf, was a heavy, gummy mess that went straight from the oven to the trash can. And so, I realized that the chemistry of bread is a bit frustrating when you put a lot of time and effort and ingredients into something only fit for the trash. Thus, I decided maybe I should try a bread maker. Today, I made my third loaf. They honestly keep getting better. I got this recipe from the King Arthur Flour website, and never want to forget it.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup milk, lukewarm

2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, at room temp

3/4 cup chopped bananas (I used half of a very ripe banana, and half of a small, just yellow banana)

2 tablespoons honey

3 1/3 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

Note: There were nuances to these ingredients that eluded me. I love to cook, but baking has never been my strongest suit, and the world of bread chemistry is new to me. That being said, for the tips and hints, here’s the link to the original recipe (King Arthur’s Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread).

Here’s what you do:

1. Put all the ingredients into your bread maker, in the order listed.

2. Set your bread maker to basic/standard/white. Size is medium. Darkness should be medium.

3. Turn it on. Let it do it’s thing.

4. Remove and enjoy. Great with some peanut butter.

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Spanakopita Pie (with or without lamb)

Thanks to Costco, I had 2.5 pounds of spinach, and two 16-ounce blocks of feta in my fridge. And all I could think was SPANAKOPITA. But really, who has the time to layer phyllo dough? Instead, I came up with more of a casserole dish. The bottom is rice, with a nice brown crust thanks to the inclusion of plain yogurt, and the top is a thick layer of the filling in a spanakopita because really, that’s the best part. And in the one I made, there’s an intervening layer of ground lamb in half, for the meat eaters in my house.

Here’s what you need:

For the rice crust:

2 cups of dry rice (I did basmati)

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 glug olive oil

salt to taste

For the spinach layer:

1 yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt & pepper

about 2 pounds of spinach

1 block of feta (mine was 16 ounces)

the equivalent of 1.5 to 2 bunches of the following fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, and dill, chopped well with the stems

2 eggs

For the lamb layer (if you want it):

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 pound ground lamb

salt & pepper

For the top of the pie: 1/2 cup parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese (optional)

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. For the rice crust: Cook the rice per the directions or in a rice cooker. Then, in a cast iron skillet, mix together the rice, yogurt, olive oil, and salt. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Spread the rice in a nice layer in the bottom of the skillet and pat down.

3. For the spinach layer:

a. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat, and add the onions and garlic. Cook until they start to become fragrant and slightly translucent, a few minutes.

b. In batches, add the spinach to the onion mixture. Toss around with tongs until the spinach wilts. Then transfer to a large bowl, leaving any excess liquid in the pan. Continue until all the spinach is cooked. Make sure all the spinach and onions go in the bowl, and toss the excess liquid.

c. Add the feta and herbs to the bowl. Stir well together. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. (You probably won’t need much because the feta is nice and salty.)

d. Add the eggs to the spinach, and stir to combine.

4. For the lamb layer:

a. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat, and add the onions and garlic. Season with salt. Cook until they start to become fragrant and slightly translucent, a few minutes.

b. Add the lamb to the pan, increase to high heat, and cook, breaking up the lamb, until it is cooked through.

5. To make the pie:

a. If you are doing a lamb layer, spread the lamb evenly over the rice.

b. Then, spread the spinach evenly over the rice and/or lamb.

c. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese, and cover tightly with foil.

d. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

e. Uncover, and bake in the oven another 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Oven-Roasted Tomato and Feta Pasta

I came across this recipe in a roundabout way, even though it took most of the rest of the world by storm. On a quarterly basis, the CEO of our company holds an update meeting. At the end, he and other execs were asked about something fun they’ve been doing. He mentioned trying new recipes with his family at home, and that his daughter recently cooked the TikTok pasta that made it impossible to find feta. I had no idea what he meant, but did some research, and discovered an oven-roasted feta and tomato pasta recipe. I played with it a bit, made it last night, and could not stop eating it.

Here’s what you need:

4-6 cups cherry tomatoes, or mini heirlooms, halved

2-3 shallots, peeled and quartered, or, 1/4 yellow onion, cut in a few pieces

5 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly smashed with the flat side of a knife

1/2 cup good or decent olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

one block of feta (I used a 16 ounce piece of the Tnuva feta sold at Costco in double packs)

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 pound pasta, cooked al dente, plus 1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Optional: fresh basil, lemon zest

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a skillet, combine the tomatoes, shallot/onion, garlic, salt and pepper, and most of the olive oil. Stir to combine. Place the block of feta on top, then drizzle the remaining olive oil on the feta. Sprinkle the basil over the feta and tomatoes.

3. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, turning at 20 minutes, until tomatoes are bubbly and feta is turning golden brown.

4. In the meantime, cook your pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

5. When the tomatoes/feta are done cooking, remove the skillet from the oven and lightly break up the feta with a spoon. Add the reserved pasta water and pasta to the feta/tomato mixture, and stir to combine. Top with fresh basil, or stir in some lemon zest, or just enjoy as is.

Enjoy!

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Cheesy Leek Rice

Recipe adapted from Taste.

Here’s what you need:

3-4 large leeks

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/4 cup paella rice, or, risotto rice (aka Arborio)

1/2 cup white wine

4 cups broth or stock

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, or other herb of your choice (optional)

3 cups shredded gouda, fontina, gruyere, or a combination

4 eggs (or 2 whole eggs and two egg whites)

salt and pepper

Here’s what you do:

1. Trim the ends off the leeks. Remove any not great outer leaves. Then, cut the leeks in half, separating green from white. Starting with the green ends, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into 1/4 inch half moons. Submerse in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to allow all the grit to fall away.

2. In an ovenproof pot with a lid, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Drain the green leek pieces and add them to the pot, season with salt, cover, and allow to cook for five minutes.

3. While the green leeks are cooking, prep the whites the same way. (Cut in half lengthwise, then in 1/4 in pieces, then soak in water.)

4. Add the white leek pieces to the green, stir, re-cover the pot, and cook another 5 minutes.

5. Remove the lid, turn the heat to high, and continue to cook until most of the leeks’ water has evaporated. Add the rice, and stir, allowing to toast for 1-3 minutes.

6. Add the wine, stir, and allow to simmer for a minute or two.

7. Add the broth/stock and herbs (if using), stir, cover and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat to maintain the simmer. Keep the pot covered, and cook about 5-7 minutes, until most broth has been absorbed.

8. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

9. Then, beat the eggs, and quickly pour about 1/5 of the egg volume into a little well before it closes in on itself again. Turn down the heat, cover the pan, and allow to continue cooking until eggs are set and liquid absorbed (about 10 minutes).

10. Turn the broiler to high. Uncover, sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top of the rice, and place the pan in the broiler about 5 minutes, checking ever minute or two.

When the top is bubbly and browning, remove and enjoy!

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The Best Pesto

When I saw basil at Trader Joe’s, I grabbed two packages knowing I could make some pesto. I found this recipe on Food52, and agree, it is the best pesto recipe.

Here’s what you need:

10 tablespoons good olive oil, divided

1/4 cup raw pine nuts

1 garlic clove, grated

1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano, or grana padano, or other good parmesan-type cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

5 cups loosely-packed basil leaves (about 4-6 ounces)

Here’s what you do:

1. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.

2. Toast the pine nuts: In a small pan, combine 4 tablespoons olive oil and the pine nuts over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally, until the pine nuts turn golden. Note that crossing over from raw to golden can happen quickly, so watch carefully. (The recipe I followed said this would take 3-5 minutes, but I found it took more like 7-10 minutes.) When toasted, pour the nuts and oil into the sieve and allow to cool.

3. Make the pesto: In a food processor, combine the nuts and their oil, the remaining oil, the garlic, cheese and salt. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down as needed. Add the basil leaves, and pulse until pesto is smooth (scraping as needed). Store in an airtight container or freeze.

Enjoy!

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French Onion Beef Soup with Vietnamese Aromatics and Noodles

I didn’t want to like the results of this recipe because it required a fair amount of work. But, it yielded a lot of soup, and it was so tasty, that I decided I had to like it. Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 pounds pot roast, or beef chuck roast, or brisket, or another cut that has a good amount of fat to break down during the slow cooking process

8 garlic cloves, peeled

4 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and cut into chunks

6 scallions, cut into large pieces

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup soy sauce

11.5 cups water

2 teaspoons Chinese five spice

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinamon

3 tablespoons butter

5 pounds onions, mixture of sweet and yellow

1 package mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

8-16 oz. cooked noodles (ramen, or pappardelle, or even fettucine)

Here’s what you do:

1. Cut the beef into 2-3 inch cubes, removing any tough parts or large chunks of fat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot. Season the beef with salt, and cook until browned, about 10-15 minutes.

2. Remove the beef from the pot. Pour out the excess fat. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil, and then cook the garlic, ginger and green onions until fragrant and browning, about 2-3 minutes. Add the spices and cook another minute.

3. Add the wine to the pan, scrape up any bits, and allow to cook for a few minutes.

4. Add the beef back to the pot. Add the soy sauce and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until meat is falling apart, about 1.5 to 2 hours.

5. In the meantime, make the onions. Thinly slice the onions. In a large pot, heat the butter over high heat until foaming. Add the onions and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until they start to turn slightly golden. Reduce the heat to medium-high, stirring occassionaly, until they are brown and soft (about 45 minutes). Turn off the heat.

6. When the beef is finished cooking, remove from the pot and spread out until cool enough to handle.

7. Run the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Discard any solids, and add the broth to the onion pot.

8. Shred the beef with your hands, removing any tough or fatty pieces, and add to the pot.

9. Add the mushrooms to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

10. Stir in the rice wine vinegar. Add extra salt and pepper as needed. Serve in a bowl with noodles and freshly sliced scallions.

Enjoy!

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Baked Manicotti

This was my post-Passover feast. I really couldn’t stop eating it. So simple but so delicious. Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Here’s what you need:

For the tomato sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 garlic cloves, minced or crushed

Two 28-oz cans diced or whole tomatos

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated (optional)

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

salt & pepper to taste

For the cheese filling:

One 15-oz container of ricotta cheese

1/2 of a 15-oz container cottage cheese

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella

2 cups (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

+ 16 no-boil lasagna noodles

Here’s what you do:

1. Make the sauce:

a. In a pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant and turning light brown, about 2 minutes.

b. In the meantime, pulse each can of tomatoes a few times in the blender or food processor. Then, add to the garlic.

c. Add the carrot (if using), the sugar, the dried herbs, and salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook about 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the noodles: Pour boiling water into a 9×13 inch pan, and submerge the noodles, one at a time. Add additional water if noodles are not fully covered. Soak for about 5 minutes, until noodles are pliable. Then remove, one at a time, separating with the tip of a knife, and lay out on a large towel to dry.

3. Make the cheese filling: Combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, half the mozzarella, half the parmesan, the eggs, the herbs, and the salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

4. Assemble and bake the manicotti:

a. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

b. Spread about 1.5 cups of the sauce evenly over the bottom of your 9×13 inch pan.

c. Spread 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture evenly onto the bottom three-quarters of each noodle, roll each into a tube, and place each roll into the pan seam side down. All sixteen of the rolls will perfectly fit snugly in the pan.

d. Top the rolls with the remaining sauce, making sure all pasta is covered.

e. Cover tightly with foil, and bake about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through.

f. Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and turn your broiler to high.

g. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top of the manicotti. Place under the broiler about 2-4 minutes, until cheese is brown and bubbly (but watch carefully because this can move fast, and the pan may need to be rotated several times).

Remove from the oven and enjoy!

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Roasted Miso Eggplant (aka Dengaku)

I bought three eggplants last week, and everytime I looked at them, I thought about this amazing roasted eggplant with a thick, miso sauce I ate with my uncle at least 20 years ago. I slightly altered the miso sauce recipe from my Soba Noodle Salad, and roasted the eggplant with the sauce on top. The result was soft, scoopable eggplant with a sweet, savory sauce. I mixed it with rice for a delicious meal.

Here’s what you need:

3 medium eggplants, halved

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup Mirin

4 tablespoons miso paste (I had red, so that’s what I used)

3 tablespoons sugar

freshly grated ginger

4 tablespoons peanut butter

4 tablespoons sesame oil

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Slice the eggplants in half. Then, score the inner side of each half with a diamond shape. Pour the olive oil on a large sheet pan, and use the skin side of one of the eggplants to spread it around. Place the eggplants, skin side up, on the pan, and roast for 20 minutes.

3. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Heat the mirin over high heat until the alcohol boils off, about 1 minute. Turn down the heat, and whisk in the miso. Turn up the heat again, add the sugar, and cook until slightly bubbly and thickened (a few minutes).

4. Remove sauce from the heat and stir in the grated ginger. Then, stir in the peanut butter and sesame oil.

5. Remove the eggplants from the oven, and turn down the temperature to 350 degrees. Flip the eggplants so they are skin side down, and spread a generous scoop of the miso sauce over the top of each one. (You will use almost all of it.) Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes.

6. Remove the eggplants from the oven, and turn down the temperature to 325 degrees. Squish the sauce into the eggplant a bit (and add more if you see any empty spots). Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven, and enjoy with a spoon, or mashed into rice, or with a fork and knife!

Enjoy!

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