Iki Marinade 2.0

Iki Marinade 2.0

1/8 C. olive oil

1/8 C. canola oil

1/4 C. light thin Thai soy sauce

2  1/2 T. light brown sugar

2 T. apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 T. ketchup

1/2 T. granulated garlic powder

1/2 T. onion powder

Dash red pepper flakes

The Story Behind Iki 2.0

For the story behind Iki 1.0 the original click here.

Ever wonder how two cooks can make the same recipe and they come out different?  One cook makes the dish and it tastes good.  The original cook makes the same dish and for some reason no one wants to explain, it doesn’t just taste good it tastes great.  Wonder no more!  The secret is simple.  The original cook uses certain brands of ingredients and also changes the recipe.  A digital cookbook is the perfect place to document such changes.  As always I leave the original alone and highlight what changes I’ve made.

What Changed

I moved away from all olive oil to a mixture of olive and canola oils.  The soy sauce I use comes from Thailand and is the Happy Boy Thin variety.  While I prefer this brand you may not be able to find it in your local Asian grocery.  Also be aware that MSG is listed as an ingredient so avoid if you have any sensitivity to this substance.  Both of these changes lighten the marinade.  Kikkoman which is found almost everywhere is an example of a dark soy sauce.  The amounts of brown sugar and ketchup are a little higher than in the original.  Thus, this version is a slight bit sweeter.  Finally, garlic powder subs for fresh garlic and I’ve added onion powder to the marinade.

Why Change?

Why not?

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter

4 large eggs

3 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Grease and flour a bundt pan.  Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Mix buttermilk and baking soda.  Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream butter, sugar, and salt.
  4. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each egg.
  5. Add half the buttermilk mixture and mix well.
  6. Add half of the flour and mix well.
  7. Add remaining buttermilk mixture and mix well.
  8. Add remaining flour and mix well.
  9. Add vanilla.
  10. Pour batter into your greased and floured bundt pan.
  11. Bake at 325° for one hour and 20 minutes.  Due to oven and atmospheric variations, check the cake after one hour and 10 minutes.

“Why do I always have to make dessert?”

“Because you are an excellent baker and all of your desserts taste wonderful.”

“Why don’t the neighbors ask you to make appetizers instead?”

“Because your desserts are better than my appetizers.”

Sometimes it takes time to decide what to make for a  neighborly get together.  Pound cake sounded good so we dug out this old recipe from the box.  Our first house was located on a cul-de-sac.  It was and still is a great spot to raise a young family.  A young family of four lived across the street and Rhonda was the source of this recipe.  I’ve not changed the ingredients but the instructions have been somewhat modified.

Don’t forget the strawberries and whipped cream.

pound cake

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins (updated)

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

1 stick butter

1/2 C light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 large ripe bananas smashed

1/4 C sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat some more.
  3. Add smashed bananas. Stir to mix.
  4. Add flours. Sprinkle baking soda and salt evenly.  Stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Do not over-mix.
  5. Place baking cup papers into a 12 cup muffin pan.
  6. Fill each cup 3/4 full.
  7. Bake 20-22 minutes.

 

Update 04.15.17

I’m at the point in life where I buy just 2-3 bananas at a time.  Since bananas conspire to all ripen simultaneously buying a small number of fruit also cuts down on the amount of muffins in the freezer.

The Boss ate the last one from the freezer this week.  So I had to make more.

Since recipes gradually change over time today was a good day to update my World Famous Whole Wheat Banana Muffin recipe.  As always I’ve left the original intact for all you purists out there.  The changes are subtle but they do make a difference.

Butter not margarine and sour cream instead of buttermilk or yogurt.  Two eggs instead of one.  I find these little changes make a softer, fluffier muffin.

And for non-family member readers this recipe is not Daughter-in-Law Approved (yet).

 

Semi-Organic Beef Vegetable Soup

  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots,peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced, skin on
  • 1 medium green squash, diced
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pound top blade roast
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 large white button mushrooms, thick dice
  • 1/2 C frozen corn
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pinch dried parsley
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 quart organic beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makes about four healthy servings.

  1. In a small stockpot heat olive oil until hot.  Salt and pepper the roast.  Brown the beef on both sides over medium high heat.
  2. Add the celery and onion.  Reduce heat to medium and saute for several minutes.
  3. Add garlic powder and thyme.  Add enough broth to almost but not completely cover the roast.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer slowly for two hours.
  5. After two hours, remove the roast to a cutting board and allow to cool.
  6. Add the rest of the beef broth and tomatoes to the pot.
  7. Add the potatoes and carrots. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes add the squash , mushrooms and corn.  Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  9. When the roast is cooled, trim any excess fat, cube and add to the soup.
  10.  Adjust your seasonings.  Add parsley.

My meals since Friday evening have been soup, cereal, soup, soup, toast/banana, soup, and soup.   The jeans are getting a little loose.  I cannot remember a weekend of such healthy eating ever.  Yes, The Boss is still sick.  Friday I made chicken soup.  Last night I made Vegetarian Vegetable Soup.  Today I decided upon Beef Vegetable for a change in pace.

A high quality beef vegetable soup is the end result of the right cut of beef and some high quality broth.  This recipe is semi-organic because most of the ingredients were organic but some were not.  The beef broth was hand selected store bought prepared organic broth.  I used top blade which IMO makes a big difference  due to the cut and marbling.

Tips

I remembered the mushrooms.   Use vegetables you have on hand.  I also decided to leave out peas because peas are not one of my favorite vegetables.  The corn adds a touch of sweetness.  Note the roast is braised whole for several hours, cooled, cubed and returned to the soup.  The beef stays tender this way.  You won’t end up with tiny hockey pucks.

A salad on the side and crusty bread would make this a meal.

So would a three pound top blade roast.  But with that much beef you might as well make Pot Roast.

Semi-Organic Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

  • 1 T minced sweet onion
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 small red potatoes, diced, skin on
  • 1 medium yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15.5 ounce can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pinch dried parsley
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 quart vegetable stock or broth
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste

Makes about four healthy servings.

  1. In a small stockpot heat olive oil until hot.  Add the carrot, celery and onion.  Reduce heat to medium and saute for several minutes.
  2. Add salt, white pepper, garlic powder, and thyme.
  3. Add the potatoes and continue sauteing for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the yellow squash and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add vegetable stock and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Add the beans, tomatoes, and spinach.
  7. Simmer until the vegetables are soft.
  8. Adjust your seasonings.  Add parsley.
  9. Serve this soup with grated Parmesan cheese on the side.

I typing this as fast as I can.  Before I forget.

The Boss is sick.  Last night I made chicken soup.  When you’re sick you have to have chicken soup.  There was enough leftover for lunch.  So we’ve had chicken soup, raisin bran, chicken soup for the last three meals.  The Boss has a sore throat.  As I’m typing I hear coughing.  Well, time for soup again.

A high quality vegetable soup is the end result of the ingredients you have on hand.  The other key issue is balance, hence the small amount of spinach leaves and just a half cup of diced tomatoes.  This recipe is semi-organic because most of the ingredients were organic but some were not.

Tips

I kind of tossed this together and surprisingly, it tasted fine.  Next time mushrooms.  I used low sodium organic broth.  The Boss didn’t add any additional salt but I added a dash and it really helped.  Use vegetables you have on hand.  I bought a green squash but didn’t use it.  I also decided to leave out peas and corn.  Try different beans.  Chickpeas or kidneys would work well.

A salad on the side and crusty bread would make this a meal.

But so would a nice ribeye.

Chickpeas Potatoes and Tomatoes

Chickpeas Potatoes and Tomatoes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, chopped
3 red potatoes, peeled & diced
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried red chili pepper flakes
3 C cooked chickpeas (or 2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained)
1 C diced tomatoes with chipotle, drained
1/2 cup organic vegetable stock (water is OK too)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (use dried, if fresh not available)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1.) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-heat.
2.) Add the onion, & cook until wilted, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).
3.) Add the potatoes, carrots, garlic, red chili flakes and coriander. Saute for 5 more minutes.
4.) Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, salt, & a few grinds of pepper.
5.) Cover & gently simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 – 20 mins.
6.) Stir in the cilantro and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning.

This dish started out as a lot of dishes start out.  I had some fresh cilantro that I originally bought for guacamole.  I was in the mood for chickpeas.  Last week I ate the last portion of my homemade bean soup supply from the freezer and needed another bean dish for quick lunches.      I went to my cookbook shelf and opened Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone in search of a chickpea recipe. This is what I found.

The changes I made to the original recipe were made to accommodate some ingredients I had in the pantry.  The only diced tomatoes I had on hand consisted of one tiny 10 ounce container that included chipotle.  Into the pool.  Red pepper chili flakes were added for a little more heat and flavor.  Organic vegetable stock replaced water from the original recipe to add depth of flavor.

Semi-Organic Vegan Split Pea Soup

You’re probably thinking to yourself what kind of parent forces this type of soup on their children?  Well, before you flame me in the comments section, my parents never fed this soup to me as a child.  As a parent, I never made or force fed my children with this soup.  The origins of this soup are simple.  It’s Sunday.  So what do you want for lunch?  It’s winter.  Soup.

How about some split pea soup?  Rather than mine the internet I went to my cookbook collection.  After a few unsuccessful look ups I settled upon Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.  My recipe is adapted from Madison’s recipe.  After over 40 years of cooking I’ve finally figured out why I can never follow a recipe.  

I can’t follow a recipe because I usually don’t have all of the ingredients.

The reason why this soup is semi-organic is because not all of the ingredients are certified organic.  I’m pretty sure the organic portion is due to the fact those ingredients were on sale.  (I want a healthy soup, not the most expensive split pea soup ever made).  11:00 am.  Soup should be ready by noon.  My recipe gets posted only if it tastes good.

  • 2 cups split green peas, rinsed
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 quarts vegetable stock or broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Soak the split peas in water while preparing the soup ingredients.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onion, celery, and carrots.  Saute for around 10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and dried herbs, and fresh black pepper.  Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Drain and add the split peas.  Add the vegetable stock/broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Stir often so the peas don’t stick.
  7. Reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for approximately one hour.
  8. It’s yummy tummy time.

For the curious regarding semi-organic: carrots, vegetable stock and most of the herbs were organic.  The rest of the ingredients were high quality but not USDA certified organic.

 

Tri-Tip Beef Stew

My memories of beef stew growing up was that it came out of a can and tasted pretty bad.  My mother was not a very good cook.  She was however very good at opening cans.  Consequently, I never really cared much for beef stew.

This weekend we had friends over for dinner.  At first, we were thinking pizza.  No, we just did that a couple of weeks ago with this crew.  So I decided to cook but wanted to keep it simple.  I also wanted to clean out the freezer a bit since winter is coming and there might be some stuff in there that needs to get cooked.  I went rummaging.  I found tri-tip steaks.

“Am I going to grill these things before next summer?”

Probably not.  Stew.  Problem solved.

Tri-Tip Tips:

This cut makes a wonderful stew.  The packages of stew meat you find in the store consist of cubes from different cuts.  Some are very lean which makes for a healthier dish, but less flavor.  A good tri-tip is well marbled and the extra fat makes this stew quite tasty.  You’ll note no potatoes in this stew.  I served the stew over plain rice.  Add potatoes if you wish.  We had homemade cornbread and salad on the side.  A crusty bread works too.  Readers with a keen eye will notice this recipe is similar to Mike’s Pot Roast.  You caught me.

Update 01.07.17

As much as I love making this stew I have a confession to make.  I’ve been making beef stew with top blade steak.  I’m not going to change the name of this stew.  But I should.  Good tri-tip has been hard to find at the stores but one store always seems to have top blade steaks in their meat case.  Well marbled too.

If you decide to use top blade keep the steaks whole and brown on both sides.  The rest of the instructions are the same.  Prior to serving pull the steaks apart with two forks into bite sized chunks.  This particular cut will make the most tender beef stew you ever had.

A lot better than canned too.

Tri-Tip Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs boneless tri-tip roast,  well marbled, cut into one inch cubes
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T butter (optional)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, small dice
  • 1 carrot, peeled, small dice
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 lb white mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
  • 1/2 lb frozen organic green peas
  • 1/2 C Sweet Marsala wine
  • BIG Pinch dried thyme
  • 2-3 T tomato paste with basil
  • 1 C low sodium beef broth
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a cast iron enamel covered pot heat 2 T of oil on medium high heat. Brown beef cubes in pot, several minutes on each side.  You might need to do this in batches to allow a good browning of the meat.
  2. When beef is browned add the onions, small dice carrot, and celery to the pot and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, mushrooms and a pinch of thyme, and saute for another minute.  Add the Marsala wine and continue to saute until the alcohol evaporates.   Add tomato paste, beef broth and mix thoroughly.
  3. Cover and adjust the heat down to a low simmer.
  4. Cook for 2 hours, or longer.
  5. Approximately 45 minutes before serving add 1 T butter (optional) and the remaining carrot chunks.  Reduce heat back to low.
  6. Around 10 minutes before serving, add 1/2 pound frozen organic green peas.
  7. Simmer on low heat until peas are heated through.
  8. Adjust for seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

1 T olive oil
1 butternut squash (1½ lb.), halved and seeded
1 medium sweet onion, diced (1 cup)
1 4.5 ounce can diced green chiles
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp. )
3 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Enchilada sauce (homemade or canned)
8-12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squash cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool, scoop into a bowl and mash.

2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté until soft. Add chiles and garlic. Cook 1 minute.

3. Stir in mashed squash, cream cheese, cumin, and nutmeg. Turn the heat off and mix well.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 1 cup enchilada sauce over bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Layer tortillas followed by the squash mixture, then cheddar cheese. Repeat, ending with cheddar cheese as your final layer on top. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the sides start bubbling and the cheese is melted and gooey.

5. Serve with your usual Tex-Mex sides and condiments. Extra cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, green onions, jalepeno peppers, salsa, chips, beans, rice. Or a side salad works too but not as satisfying.

I sometimes forget this blog is about recipes.  I get off on a tangent like mislabeled seafood or nasty who knows what’s in them chicken nuggets from China.  FOCUS!  It’s about the food, the recipes, and the memories.  A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to make a squash enchilada  casserole when fall rolled around and the hard squashes started appearing in the market.  I was always amazed at how tasty this dish was without any meat in it.  Like all great family recipes this one exhibits the following classic characteristics.

The kids didn’t like it when they were little and I never wrote the recipe down.  I’m sure if I wanted to waste an hour or two I could find the original recipe yellowed and faded, taped to a 3 x 5 card somewhere.  I also know that when I find the original recipe it won’t be how I make it now.  Why bother looking? I do recall the original recipe called for some cooked potato added to the squash mixture.  I also recall the original did not have green chilies in it.  So here you go. This recipe is from memory.  I hope it tastes good.

I can’t believe this is my 100th post.

TIPS

 If you like (or need) an extra kick, sub a heartier pepper for the green chilies.  Need protein?  Add a can of black beans, rinsed and drained, to the middle layer of the casserole.  Monterrey Jack would be a nice sub for the cheddar.  Or Smokey Chipotle Cheddar might work too.  (I have a chunk of this in the fridge and it’s looking for a recipe).  But most of all, have some fun with this recipe.

Update 11.17.14

I know, two days after posting and I’m making changes already.  Step 4 –  for the middle layers, tortillas, squash mixture, cheddar cheese, repeat.  No enchilada sauce.  The red sauce goes only on the bottom of the pan and on the top layer of tortillas.  The final layer is tortillas, enchilada sauce, and shredded Monterrey jack cheese.  Yellow corn tortillas are fine but I used white corn tortillas.  I only needed ten tortillas.  You’ll get eight generous servings from this casserole.  I made some quick enchilada sauce with a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and some chicken stock.  You can leave out the chicken stock if you’re a picky vegetarian.  You can leave the cheese off too but I won’t take any responsibility for how your casserole turns out.

White Chicken Chili

“I’m not dressed.  Could you water the front patio plants?”

“Yes dear.”

It was rather cool outside this morning.  Fall is definitely in the air and the morning chill made me think of chili.  Since I had just finished breakfast, chili was not an option this morning.  We were leaving on a short road trip in about an hour.  No time to make chili.

I decided to add another chili recipe to the blog!  For years I’ve made a white chili culled from two different recipes.  One recipe definitely came from the NY Times while the source of the second is unknown.  One recipe called for tomatoes; the other recipe didn’t.  So in my grand tradition of never following recipes exactly I have had to pull out two separate recipes to make this chili.  Fading memories instruct me on what to put in and what to leave out.  Fearing the worst, I figured I better write this down before I forget.

Tips:

This chili tastes better without tomatoes but if you like tomatoes in your chili, add a can of diced tomatoes.  It won’t be white anymore.  It will be pink.  Pink chili???

I prefer boneless thighs to boneless breasts but either works well.  If you’re using fresh cilantro, add it as a condiment at serving time.

This chili, like most chili dishes, tastes better the second day.

This chili also tastes better when you drink a good craft beer while cooking it.

I’m serious.

White Chicken Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs boneless chicken cubed
  • 1/4 C seasoned flour (salt pepper)
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1 green pepper, diced (optional)
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 Tsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • red pepper flakes, dash
  • Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 1 16 oz can organic white kidney or Great Northern beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine flour and salt, and pepper in a gallon size plastic baggie.  Add the chicken, close the bag, and shake well until all of the chicken pieces are well coated with the flour mixture.
  2. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large stock pot over high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.  Lower the heat to medium high to avoid burning the chicken.  You will get pieces of flour and chicken stuck on the bottom of the pan.  This is OK.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add 1 T olive oil, onion, garlic green pepper, cilantro, cumin, and oregano.  Saute 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth and scrape the brown pieces from the bottom of the pot.
  5. Add chicken, green chilies and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes.  If the mixture starts to get too thick, thin out with more chicken stock.
  6. Five minutes prior to serving, add the beans.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the beans are warmed through.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, peppers, grated cheese, etc.