Musing on food and cooking ...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Chinese Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

As you all know, I am interested in fusion food. So I recently made my version of Chinese spaghetti with meat sauce. The dish is similar to what one often finds on Chinese menus as "Marco Polo Noodles: This is the original spaghetti and meat sauce that Marco Polo brought back to Italy from China!" But is also plays a lot on traditional Singapore or dan dan fun.

1 pound ground meat (I use venison but it would be as good with ground chicken or even those Boca TVP crumbles. I would not use ground turkey unless you use an all dark meat version.)
1 T ginger paste (you can get this as Indian markets)
2 t dried minced garlic
1 t aleppo pepper (for heat)
1 small onion, diced fine
1 carrot, diced fine
1 stalk of celery, diced fine
1 t galangal powder
2 cups crushed tomato
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti noodles

Coat the bottom of a large pan or wok with oil and preheat. Add in ginger paste, minced garlic, and aleppo pepper. Cook until the aroma of the spices really smells great and then add in the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook just until the onion starts to brown. Add in ground meat. Cook this, stirring often, so that the result is very fine pieces of ground meat mixed with the other stuff. Then add the tomato paste, stir for a couple of minutes, then add in crushed tomato. The result should look a bit like a Bolognese sauce at this point. Then add in galangal and hoisin sauce. Cook pasta according to the manufacturer's directions. When pasta is done, serve it with a scoop or two of meat sauce. The sauce is can also be enhanced with chopped up green onion or the addition of frozen peas or corn. This recipe should serve 4 very hungry people.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Experimental Cookie #4

So this weekend while I was having a guest, I decided to try out experimental cookie #4. The guest had requested to become a guinea pig, so I figured why not? Our experimental cookie was Banana Chocolate Chip. The cake did not have enough banana flavor, but was otherwise tasty.

2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup Splenda
1 cup light brown sugar
4 T banana flavor
2 large eggs
1 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Sift flour with baking soda and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. Blend dry into wet slowly until you have a nice smooth batter, then mix in your chips. Drop by the tablespoon full unto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes,This recipes makes between 2-3 dozen cookies. The cookies are very moist and rich and somewhat cakey in texture.

My guest's take on the cookies: "Best cookies I've had today!"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Frozen Concentrated Winter

A reader brought to my attention that I haven't posted in a while, and he is absolutely correct. Instead, I have been participating in the latest round of frozen concentrated winter. Rather like frozen concentrated OJ, we are experiencing winter in such a concentrated form that we are getting a whole year's worth of it in 23 days. Insanity! Between the sub-zero temps, wicked winds, and massive snow falls, well, I am just exhausted. Too exhausted to write.

That being said, I did recently participate in the Three Questions meme. This is where you invite 10 friends to ask any three questions, questions you must answer absolutely honestly and then post the questions and answers to your blog. My friend Donna is the only one to ask me questions... here is our exchange.....

Her Questions:

1. Where do you ultimately WANT to settle down by the time you are ready to retire – still thinking about Jump river?

2. Are you glad you had the stomach surgery or are the side effects making it not worth it?


My Answers:

1. Where do you ultimately WANT to settle down by the time you are ready to retire – still thinking about Jump river?

This is a very interesting question and a discussion I recently had with the potential love interest. I have never really been drawn to any one place. There isn't anyone place that I consider to be home. I love the Jump River. Of all the places I ahve been that is the one I like best. Rather than places, I have always been attracted by the opportunities in any given place. Which is why I am inclined to stay put here for a while.

2. Are you glad you had the stomach surgery or are the side effects making it not worth it?

I think it was a good thing I had the surgery as I was killing myself slowly. but I am struggling now. I have increased side effects the longer out I go. And I still feel like a fat failure.


Only if I radically change careers. It is too hard to write all day long and then go home and write for 4 more hours....

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Another Sure Sign of Midwestern Insanity

I went yesterday to fill up my car's gas tank (always full during cold cold weather) and add a bottle of Heet to make sure it will start when needed. And it has been cold cold's 20 right now, which is as warm as it has been in days. Well, I am sitting at the pump, trying to get my gas tank open, as it has frozen shut and what do I see? A line of eight cars waiting to get into the car wash. The car wash! It is below freezing! They must all have heated garages at home.