Monthly Archives: April 2013

New Mexico Chili Mac

Chili_Mac3 (1 of 1)While searching on-line a while back for an “American Chop Suey” recipe (a classic New England comfort dish), I stumbled upon this recipe for “Chili Mac.” I didn’t search any further, and ended up trying this — it is delicious! I highly recommend using New Mexico chili powder, as it has much more flavor than grocery store chili powder (thus, “New Mexico Chili Mac” — I believe Texas is the true origin of this dish!).

2 tsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
2 jalapenos, minced
1 Tbsp salt
2 lbs lean ground beef
5 Tbsp New Mexico chili powder
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes, well-squeezed with your hands (don’t strain out juices)
2 15.5-oz cans kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup water
1 lb dried macaroni
1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
Sour cream for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add onions and jalapenos, salt, and saute  until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add ground beef, chili powder, oregano and garlic, and stir, breaking up beef with the back of a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and 1/2 cup water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until chili is thick, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook macaroni according to package instructions.

Combine 1/3 of the shredded cheese with the chili and cooked macaroni in a bowl, then pour chili mixture into a 9 x 13.5-inch casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese, and place casserole in oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Garnish plated servings with a dollop of sour cream each.

Serves 6.

Southeast Asian-Style Salmon

Southeast Asian-Style Salmon3 (1 of 1)I don’t know how much salmon they eat (if any) in Southeast Asia, but Southeast Asian flavors sure go well with it! This is one of my favorite ways to make salmon, which I always have on-hand in the freezer (I like to buy the frozen, center-cut salmon filets, but it’s always a treat to prepare it fresh!). The salmon is coated in a wonderful coconut/panko/spice mixture, then pan seared. I especially like the sweetness of the sauce with this recipe, and the sour of the tamarind adds a nice balance.


1 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup finely diced onions
1 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup hot water
3 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 tsp brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp kecap manis
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil


3 Tbsp panko
3 Tbsp unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
4 6-oz center-cut salmon filets
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp canola oil

For the sauce, heat 1 tsp canola oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, and saute 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook 1 minute. Add 1 cup hot water, tamarind concentrate, brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the kecap manis and sesame oil.

For the salmon, combine panko, coconut and turmeric in a shallow. Sprinkle the salmon with the salt, coriander and black pepper on all sides. Dredge the salmon filets in the panko mixture.

Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon to the skillet, and cook 3 minutes. Gently turn the filets over in the skillet, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean SoupThis is another simple soup that I make at any time of the year. It’s a fusion of Caribbean and South Western (U.S.) flavors (because I love both!), which I think go together pretty well. I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1 tsp finely grated garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 15.5 oz cans black beans, undrained
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Sour cream as garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro as garnish
Red pepper flakes
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until onions are translucent (about 3 minutes).

Add the coriander, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Sauté for another minute.

Add the beans, chicken broth, bay leaf, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Serve with crusty French bread. Add a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro and red pepper flakes on top of each serving.

Serves 4.

Red Thai Curry with Chicken

Red_Thai_Curry_2013-04-14b When I have the time, I love to make Thai curry from scratch (which includes grinding my own chili paste in a mortar and pestle, etc.). When I don’t have the time, but am in the mood for Thai curry, I make this version. It’s quick and easy to prepare, and almost as good as the traditional version. Give it a try!

1 14oz can lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp store-bought red Thai curry paste
2 Thai chilies, seeded and cut into very fine julienne strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut lengthwise down the middle of the breast, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 Tbsp (packed) brown sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt
2 kaffir lime leaves, stem/spine removed, then very thinly shredded
3/4 cup thinly sliced Thai basil
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Heat 1/4 cup of the coconut milk and curry paste in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture has reached a boil, add the chilies and onion, and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken, sugar, fish sauce, salt and lime leaves and the rest of the coconut milk to the wok. Bring to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the basil and lime juice, and simmer for an additional minute. Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Nasi Kuning (Indonesian Yellow Rice)

Nasi_Kuning_2013_04_14Nasi kuning literally means “yellow rice” in Indonesian. On special occasions, it is served in the shape of a cone, or tumpeng, and some of my research indicates that this is a representation of the mountains of Indonesia. It has a wonderful, aromatic flavor, and I love to serve it as an accompaniment to a variety of Indonesian meals (and not just on special occasions). The method I use to make it is not completely traditional,  but I think it ends up tasting pretty authentic.

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
14 oz water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp coriander
2 salam leaves
1 clove garlic, very finely grated
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp canola oil

Heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Combine rice, water, salt, shredded coconut, turmeric, coriander, salam leaves, garlic and the sautéed onions  in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Stir well. Put the lid on and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Put the lid back on and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves about 4.

Gule Sapi (Spicy Indonesian Beef Stew)

Gule_Sapi_2013_04_14Gule Sapi is a spicy beef stew, simmered slowly in an aromatic coconut sauce. It’s called a “stew,” but it’s more like a curry, and I like to make it at any time of the year. It’s plenty spicy as is, but you can ratchet up the heat by leaving the seeds in the chilies (which is the way I like it), or you can tone down the heat by using less of the chilies and sambal ulek. This dish is delicious, so I hope you’ll try it!

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
5 candlenuts
5 red Thai chilies (aka bird chilies), seeded and minced
3 tsp sambal ulek
1/2 tsp white ground pepper
1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tsp (about 2 inches) fresh peeled, finely grated ginger
1/2 tsp Laos powder (or 1 tsp finely grated fresh galangal)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
2 whole cloves
2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp tamarind water
2 tsp peanut or canola oil

2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 additional tsp peanut or canola oil
1 additional tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
3 salam leaves
1 stem lemongrass — use bottom 6 inches; remove outer leaves, and pound the bottom end with the side of a knife
1 14-oz can lite coconut milk

Add first 15 ingredients (through peanut/canola oil) to a food processor. Process to a fine paste and set aside.

Heat 2 tsp peanut/canola in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and 1 tsp salt, and brown for 5 minutes. Leaving the juices in the pan, remove the meat and set aside.

Reduce heat slightly. Add the paste mixture to the pan and gently saute for 5 minutes. Add the meat back to the pan. Add the water, cinnamon stick, salam leaves and lemongrass. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, and simmer on low heat for 40 minutes.

Remove the lid, and add the coconut milk. Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for about an hour, until the beef is tender, and the sauce is very thick. Remove the salam leaves, lemongrass and cinnamon stick. Serve with white coconut rice, or Indonesian yellow rice (nasi kuning), and any Indonesian relishes or pickled vegetables you have on hand.

Serves 4 to 6

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash (1 of 1)I believe that paprika is underrated in the U.S. — people seem to only use it for adding a finishing touch (of color) to casseroles and deviled eggs, but it has such a wonderful flavor when used as a key ingredient in a dish. I keep three varieties on hand:  Sweet Hungarian Paprika, Hot Hungarian Paprika and Smoked Paprika from Spain. Chicken Paprikash is a dish that really shows off the Hungarian Paprika — I made this tonight (I make it regularly), and hope you’ll try it, as well. It is traditionally served with spaetzle, but I like to serve it with orecchiette pasta.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
1/4 tsp ground caraway seeds
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 2 Tbsp of the sweet paprika, 1 tsp of the hot paprika, the ground caraway seeds and 1 tsp salt.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, red bell peppers, remaining 1 Tbsp sweet paprika, remaining 1 tsp hot paprika and remaining 1 tsp salt. Saute for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Turn heat up to medium-high. Add the chicken mixture, and saute for 4 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes and stock, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Uncover, add the sour cream and cook gently for about 2 minutes. Season with a bit more salt, if desired. Serve with orecchiette.

Serves 4.