I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A friend of mine in KC was telling me that he made HPB last weekend and loved it. It got me hungry for it so we made it again tonight with some Wanna's Wontons. All were pleased.


1 box tofu, cut into pieces and fried

3 eggs, scrambled

1 onion, cut into pieces

1 tomato, cut into wedges

1 T red curry paste

Thai red pepper hot sauce to taste

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely minced

salt to taste

1 T brown bean sauce

1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks

Wide rice noodles (if you can find them) I usually end up using some sort of egg noodle

a few basil leaves, torn up into small pieces

some finely chopped cilantro

Cut the tofu into pieces and fry until done. Set aside.

Scramble 3 eggs and set aside.

Saute the onion and set aside. (the goal is something that is sauteed but still slightly crisp)

Saute the red pepper and set aside. (the goal is something that is sauteed but still slightly crisp)

In a wok or large pot heat a little peanut oil. Saute the minced garlic and ginger just until it softens. Add the red curry paste and stir. Cook this briefly. Add the tomatoes and cook briefly, just until they start to soften. Dump in all the rest of the ingredients except the hot chili sauce and heat briefly. Taste the mixture. Add salt and the hot chili sauce until it suits your taste. I like mine HOT HOT HOT!
Tonight it was a little to hot for the little one and she said her tongue was hot so I made her a Nutella and banana sandwich.

Beer Bread

Last Sunday I wanted a little bread for dinner. The problem was I didn't have the time to make the bread with the rising etc. A real easy and fast bread to make in that situation is beer bread.

Barb’s Beer Bread

3 cups self rising flour

3 T sugar

1 can warm beer

Stir until it looks lumpy and horrible. Drizzle melted butter on top before baking. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I ate mine with fig preserves. The rest of the meal may sound a little strange but it is a classic meal in our house. Chicken picata, cheesy noodles, Brussels sprouts and corn chowder.
To make the best cheesy noodles I use Velveeta combined with an equal part of Cheeze Whiz.

Red Peanut Patties

The last time I was in Texas I flew into Dallas to interview for a Plastic Surgery fellowship at UT-San Antonio. It was cheaper to fly to Dallas and Rent a car and plus it gave me a little opportunity to see some people and some of the state.

I stopped off in Salado to buy my wife a piece of pottery. I also had a little lunch at a Texas Pit style BBQ place. After dinner I stopped for gas and bought a red peanut patty. It was a super tasty end to an excellent dinner. I forgot about them until just recently. On the way back to Dallas from the interview I stopped in Temple at Clem Mikeska Bar-B-Que. That was some tasty BBQ!

The other week one of the residents came in with a red peanut patty! I asked him about it and he said he has them shipped in from Texas. They looked pretty simple to make so I did a little research, found a recipe and made some.

Red Peanut Patties

3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups raw peanuts
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Few drops red food coloring

Lay a large piece of wax paper on a dishtowel on a counter.
In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, peanuts, corn syrup and water. Cook the mixture to soft ball stage (240 degrees F), stirring constantly over medium heat.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients, adding enough food coloring to get a very bright red shade. Stir the mixture frequently for approximately 20 minutes, or until it cools to about 125 degrees F. (I actually cooled it to about 145 and it worked fine). The mixture will become very thick and creamy opaque, and the peanuts will be suspended.
Immediately pour the mixture on the sheet of wax paper.

Let the peanuts sit for at least 1 hour before cutting them into circles using a biscuit cutter. I let mine sit about 2 1/2 hours and it worked very well.

Wrap them in plastic wrap for storage.

I had a little taste test this morning and got a big thumbs up from the Texas resident. I'm going to try the recipe with other nuts like macadamias and pistachios.


When I was out in Garden City I used to stop by a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant for a torta. A torta is like a sandwich with Mexican fillings. You need bolillo bread to make a torta (see the recipe below). For fillings, I like refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, avacado slices and some sort of meat. In the photo below I used fajita meat - steak, onion and green peppers.

Something similar served at Taco Tico is a Taco Burger. I always get the Tico Dinner with either a sancho or a taco burger on the side. Shear bliss.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bolillo Bread

You need this bread to make Tortas!


Recipe for 20 rolls


1 ½ packages yeast

¾ cups sugar

3 cups warm water

4 cups flour


1 T salt

6 T butter

3 to 3 ½ cups flour

1 egg white, beaten with 1 T water for glazing

  1. Prepare the sponge by proofing the yeast in the water with the sugar. Add flour and mix. Let sit, covered for about an hour.
  2. Add salt, butter and ½ cup flour to the mix and beat on speed of 2.
  3. Add remain flour ½ cup at a time, mixing until a soft dough forms and just clears the sides of the bowl.
  4. Kneed dough using dough hook for 5 minutes.
  5. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  6. Divide into 20 pieces and shape each into a piece of dough shaped like a bolillo. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the baking stone on the bottom rack.
  9. Score the top of each roll ¼ inch deep. Brush with the glaze.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes. Brush rolls again with the wash, reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until tops of loaves are golden brown.

Sausage with Peppers Sandwiches

For a quick and tasty meal, I made up some sausage with peppers sandwiches the other night. For the sausage with peppers I followed my recipe posted here. I kept the sausages whole. I took the liquid from the sausage and peppers and combined it with 1 T cornstarch to thicken it. The rest was simple. I put the sausage and peppers onto buns with a little cheese, wrapped them in tin foil and baked at 350 for about 25 minutes to melt the cheese. I served the thickened cooking liquid as a dipping sauce. We loved it!

Rigatoni with sausage and red sauce

The other night I made one of my favorite dishes - rigatoni with sausage, red onion, capers and marinara. My wife makes this all the time but I decided to give it a shot. The first time I had this dish was at Carmine's in Chicago.

It is right downtown by the medical school so I used to go there for lunch. It was on my rotation with the sandwich trucks outside the medschool, Gino's, Frontera Grill, India Palace, Buhkara, Gaylord's and numerous Vienna Beef joints.

I do this dish a little different than my wife. I like to form the suasage into tiny meatballs and cook them separate from everything else. I saute the red onion until it is just done and add them in at the very end. I cook the meatballs for a bit in a 14 oz can of tomato sauce. At the end I add crushed tomatoes and all the other ingredients. I like the fresher taste you get by adding the crushed tomatoes at the end.

Rigatoni with Sausage, Red Onions and Capers

1 pound Italian sausage, formed into little balls
14 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t black pepper
salt to taste

1 red onion, cut into slices and sauteed in olive oil
about 2 T capers
about 1/3 cup cream
32 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 box rigatoni, cooked al dente

Brown the sausage balls. Drain off the grease. Add the tomato sauce, herbs and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, being careful not to let it dry out.

Next dump all of the rest of the ingredients in with the sausage and stir. Cook until heated through.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Chinese Pork Buns

I was paging through Gourmet magazine and I found an interesting recipe for Chinese Pork buns. Apparently they are all the rage in New York right now. The recipe I used came from Gourmet magazine but it was unusable as it was written. The original recipe called for pork belly so the first thing I did was modify it for use with pork loin. I also fixed a few other preparation issues from the article.

Chinese Pork Buns

Modified from the October 2007 Gourmet magazine

Prepare the pork:

2 pounds pork, cut into ½ inch slices

½ cup salt

½ cup sugar

4 cups water

Dump everything into a ziplock bag. Put in the fridge overnight to brine. The next day preheat the oven to 300. Discard the brine. The pork will be very salty! Rinse the pork and p in a shallow baking dish with 1 cup water. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake for 2 ½ hours. Cut into ¼ inch slices, return to baking dish, cover with tin foil and keep warm.

Make the buns:

1 cup warm water

½ t yeast

3 T sugar

2 T nonfat dried milk

3 ½ cups cake flour

Oil for brushing

Take ¼ cup of the warm water and add the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand until foamy. Whisk dried milk into the remaining ¾ cup water. Dump the rest of the ingredients except the oil into the mixer. Kneed until it forms a soft dough, about 5 minutes. You don’t want a sticky dough so you may have to add a little more flour. Place into an oiled bowl and let rise for 2 hours.

Next punch the dough down into a disk on a lightly floured counter. Sprinkle 1 ½ t baking powder over the dough and kneed for 5 more minutes. Return dough to the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit another 30 minutes.

Cut 16 4X4 inch pieces of wax paper. Form dough into a 16 inch long log. Cut into 16 equal pieces. Roll each of the individual pieces into a 6 by 3 inch oval. Brush half of the oval lightly with oil and fold over like a letter. Place the folded over piece onto a piece of wax paper. When all of the buns are prepared thus, cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 30 minutes.

Set a large steamer rack in a wok. Pour water in until the water reaches to about ½ inch from the bottom of the rack. Bring to a boil.

Place the buns on the wax paper, about 4 at a time, into the steamer. Steam until cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Keep warm.

Hoisin Sauce

4 T low salt soy sauce
2 T peanut butter
1 T honey

1 T molasses
2 t white vinegar
1/8 t garlic powder
2 t sesame oil
20 drops chinese hot sauce, habenero or jalepeno
1/8 t black pepper

Combine everything in a bowl and stir until well mixed and smooth.

To serve, heat the sliced pork in the oven at 350 until heated through. Brush the bottom of the bun with hoisin sauce, load in some pork and top with a thinly sliced cucumber and green onions.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sweet and Sour Pork

Tonight we tried another recipe from the book Potsticker Chronicles. I decided to try my hand at Sweet and Sour Pork. The origin of sweet and sour pork was 18th century Canton or earlier. A record shows that the renowned Long Family in the prosperous neighbouring Shunde county (of the Qinghui Garden fame, and the family was active in the 18th and 19th centuries), used sweet and sour pork to test the skills of their family chefs. It spread to the United States in the early 20th century after the Chinese migrant gold miners and railroad workers turned to cookery as trades.

The original meaning of the American term chop suey refers to sweet and sour pork.

Here is the Qinghui Garden.
In the book, he actually gives 2 versions of Sweet and Sour pork. I decided to try the Americanized version.

Sweet and Sour Pork

1 pound pork loin, cut into 3/4 inch cubes


2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 t baking powder
1 cup cold water


2 cups water
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 lime
Juice of1/2 lemon
1 T minced ginger
1 cup sugar
3 T ketchup
1/2 t salt
1/2 t red food coloring

2 green bell peppers, cut into 1 inch diamond shapes
1 large white onion, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup cubed pineapple, fresh or unsweetened canned

at the end:
5 T cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

1) Dredge pork in cornstarch
2) Combine batter ingredients and whisk until smooth. Let stand for 15 minutes.
3) Place the pork cubes in the batter.
4) Deep fry the pork cubes in 350 degree oil until yellowish white, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Wait 5 minutes and then refry the pork cubes until golden brown, about 1 minute.
5) Dump all of the sauce ingredients together in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and boil 15 minutes until reduced by half.
6) Stir fry the green peppers, onion and pineapple in a wok until softening but still crisp.
7) Add the sauce to the wok. When sauce comes to a boil add the cornstarch/water mixture and boil until sauce thickens.
8) Add the pork and stir to coat well. Serve with rice.
We also had some Wanna's Won Tons. Click to see the recipe!
Our little one really loved them!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Minute Steaks

Minute steaks have always been a favorite at our house. It has been a while since I made them but last night we cooked up a tasty batch. This is a slightly different recipe than I've made before but very tasty.

Minute Steaks

4 cube steaks
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
about a cup or so of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup wine
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf

at the end: 1 T corn starch

Brown the steaks in some olive oil and remove to a plate. Add a little more olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms and stir. Saute a few minutes until the mushrooms start to soften. Dump in the rest of the ingredients and the steaks. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes covered. Finally remove the steaks to their individual plates. Remove 1 cup of liquid from the pan. Stir 1 T corn starch into the cup of liquid and return to the pan. Cook and stir until the liquid thickens into a gravy. Pour over the minute steaks.
I like mine served on a bed of rice with some red bean sauce and green beans. Check out this junk plate:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Red Jello with Bananas

My grandpa told me on many occasions that his favorite desert, bar none, was red Jello with bananas. I think I was served this over 250 times at my grandmothers house. My wife called this last weekend to get the recipe. It is pretty simple and I highly recommend it if you enjoy the simpler things in life.

Muriel's Strawberry Jell-O with Bananas

1 pkg. strawberry Jell-O

1 cup boiling water

8 ice cubes

1 ½ bananas

Pour boiling water over Jell-O and stir until dissolved. Add ice cubes and stir until melted. Pour into a Jell-O mold or dish and add the bananas. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until set.

Mocha Cake

The other day my wife made a delicious cake from the book Let's Go Dutch. It was a yellow cake with a butter frosting. It is supposedly served in a lot of Dutch coffee houses.

Mocha Cake (Mokka Taart)

¾ cup unsalted butter

1 cup fine berry sugar (or confectioner’s sugar)

4 eggs

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup ground almonds

½ tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel

Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed. When the mixture becomes very light add the eggs, one at a time on the lowest possible speed. Mix in the flour, almonds, baking powder and lemon peel. Spread the batter into 2 small 8 inch pans or a pan of your choice that has been greased and lightly floured. Bake at 350˚ for 25-30 minutes.

Mocha Butter (Mokka Boter)

2 cups sweet, unsalted butter

1 ½ cups sifted icing sugar

4 T heavy cream

4 T very strong liquefied instant coffee (bring 4T water to a boil and add 2 tsp. instant coffee)

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar on high speed for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the cream, coffee and vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes on high. Set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until the mocha is thoroughly set. Ice cake when cool.

Gino's East Style Pizza At Home

I finally broke down and made a video of how to make a Gino's East style pizza. Its pretty self explanatory. For the written instruction you can click here.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Corn Bread

I've eaten a couple times at a soul food place in Harlem called Sylvia's. The last time I ate there my wife and I took the subway up to 127th and Lennox ave for lunch.

I got the smothered pork chops which were quite tasty. I bought her book Sylvia's Soul Food and we've made quite a few of the recipes. One of my favorites is her 'Cracklin' corn bread.'

Cracklin’ Corn Bread

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

3 c yellow corn meal

2 c all purpose flour

¼ c sugar

2 T baking powder

2 tsp salt

1 ½ c milk

4 beaten eggs

1 c cane syrup (or substitute dark corn syrup)

¾ c solid vegetable shortening, melted

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish or muffin tins. Stir together the dry ingredients until well combined. Beat the eggs, milk, syrup and shortening. Add the dry ingredients and the bacon bits and stir until just blended (don’t worry about a few lumps.) Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan or muffin tins and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Dutch Vegetable Soup with Tiny Meatballs

I continue to be amazed by the recipes in the book Let's Go Dutch. The other night we had pizza. I like a bowl of soup before pizza because then you don't eat as much. This soup is really tasty and easy to make. The recipe calls for Liquid Maggi which is a lot like soy sauce. If you can't find liquid maggi just substitute soy sauce.

Vegetable Soup with Tiny Meatballs

1 quart beef broth
3 cups water
1 leek, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup carrot, finely chopped
1 small can mushrooms
1/3 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
1/3 cup noodle pasta of some sort, crumbled
1/3 pound ground beef
3 T ground croûtons
1 T liquid Maggi or more to taste (substitute - soy sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 T parsley, chopped
3 T leaves from a stalk or two of celery

Bring broth and water to a boil. Dump in all of the vegetables. Cover and simmer 25 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer 5 more minutes. Combine the ground beef with the ground croutons. Roll into little meatballs about 1/2 inch in diameter. Drop the raw meatballs into the soup pot and simmer 10 minutes. Finally add the parsley and celery leaves and simmer another 5 minutes. Add the liquid Maggi, salt and pepper and taste. Add more as needed.

Paul Hornung Beef Stew

My Aunt Julie always makes this great stew named after Paul Hornung. He was born in Louisville of all places. He played for the Packers in the 50's and 60's. He is famously quoted as having once said: "Never get married in the morning - you never know who you might meet that night".

My Aunt Julie got the recipe from some cookbook but she can't find it. She knows the recipe by heart and was kind enough to communicate it to us. My uncle Jeff raves about this stew and for good reason.

For our Sunday dinner we had a salad, Paul Hornung Stew, Corn bread muffins and red Jello with bananas. All were very pleased!

The only way it could get better is if I was in my uncle's basement watching the Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones and his wood stove was fired up.

Paul Hornung Beef Stew

2 lbs. stew beef or roast beef, cut into bite-sized pieces

4-5 potatoes, cubed

2 onions, chopped

4 carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 stalks celery, cut into bite-sized chunks

28oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen peas

1-2 pieces bread, torn into small pieces

1 T sugar

1T salt

½-1 tsp. pepper (to taste)

¼ cup quick tapioca

Place all ingredients in a roasting pan or dutch oven and bake at 250 degrees for 5 hours. (Yes everything goes in raw)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Superbowl Food

We had a little superbowl party for the 4 of us last night. My wife made some guacamole and I made Garden City Salsa.
For dinner we had Chicago Style Hot Dogs and chili cheese tater tots.
To make chili cheese tater tots you just brown some tater tots in the oven. Then you top it with Hormel beanless chili that you doctor up a bit with some cumin and hotsauce. Finally add cheese and return to the oven for melting.

Big congrats to the Giants for knocking down the Patriots.

2 pizzas

Over the weekend I tried 2 pizzas from the pizzamaking.com website. There is a poster there named Loowaters who has duplicated Home Run Inn pizza. Home Run Inn is a Chicago pizza chain that started on the south side. Home Run Inn makes thin crust pizza.

I made a pepperoni pizza.

And a Sausage, mushroom, onion and green pepper.
Both were delicious!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hearty Goulash Soup

I was looking through my copy of the Gourmet Cookbook for a good soup and found a recipe for Goulash Soup. Goulash is a dish from Hungary made with beef, onions and paprika.
The authors said that they first had a bowl of the soup while driving down the Autobahn in Austria. No doubt they were driving very fast and wasting all sorts of gas. I'd like to drive on the Autobahn but I couldn't even afford to go to Mexico.

I know someone who was born in Hungary and from a huge line of Hungarians. To be more precise, she is actually from Transylvania! Can you guess who this famous Transylvanian is:

Hearty Goulash Soup

3 slices of bacon
1 1/2 pounds beef trimmed into 1/2 inch cubes
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T paprika
3/4 t caraway seeds
1/4 cup flour
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
2 T tomato paste
2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 t salt
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Brown bacon in a dutch oven. Remove from heat and crumble, leaving bacon behind. Brown the beef in the grease and transfer to a bowl. Reduce heat and add a little oil. Saute the onions and garlic. Add in the paprika, caraway and flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar and tomato paste and cook fore another minute. Stir in stock, salt, bell pepper, beef and bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Finally add the potatoes, cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Suggested listening music? What else but Kraftwerk - Autobahn!