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Thursday, January 28, 2016

End of the Line

That's all she wrote, folks. I am finally officially retiring Alosha's Kitchen. I will leave the site up for a few months, but after that, it is likely to vanish into the ether. You can now find me (and all my old posts) on my new site over at Wordpress:

Hunt, Cook, Eat

Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from allrecipes

Ingredients
(makes 3 dozen)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature
1-1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Chill dough for 15 minutes in the refrigerator (this will prevent spreading during cooking), then drop by large spoonfuls (about 1-1/2 tablespoons each) 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden (they will seem super soft). Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTES

I made these completely out of the blue (that's what holidays + being housebound in bad weather will do!) and, as is so often the case, spontaneous baking is the best baking. Not only were these the first peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I'd ever made, they magically turned out to be the best cookies I've ever made, period. These are insane. Chewy, soft, absolutely heavenly. Steve won't even let me bring any to work. Stupid, stupid good. Go make 'em. You'll thank me later.

Ham and Potato Soup


Ham and Potato Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion, diced
2 large carrots, sliced into coins
2 large stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16-24 oz smoked ham, cubed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 leftover ham bone (optional)
1-1/2 quarts (6 cups) stock or water
1-1/2 lb Russet or red potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup half and half
Salt, to taste

For topping: scallions, crumbled bacon, crackers, tabasco sauce

Method

Heat olive oil and butter in large deep pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until just soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Add ham, thyme, oregano, and pepper, and stir to combine. Nestle ham bone on top, if using, then pour in stock or water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a hard simmer for 20 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat. Discard ham bone (if necessary). Pour in half and half and stir to combine. Taste and add salt, if needed (mine didn't need any due to the salt level of the ham). Serve hot, with desired toppings.

NOTES

Holy moly so good. We couldn't stop ranting and raving about it at the table. I was lucky to have my wild pig ham and bone to use for this (and BONUS, Thanksgiving turkey stock stored away in the freezer), but I'm sure it would be wonderful with deli ham any time of the year. What an awesome soup. Credit to my friend Amy at Very Culinary, who put the idea in my head in the first place.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Skillet Sausage, Beans, and Rice



Skillet Sausage, Beans, and Rice

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 12- to 14-ounce package kielbasa or smoked sausage (see notes)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white rice
2 cups stock or water
1 14.5-oz can pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed (see notes)
2 tablespoons dried herbs of your choice (see notes)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (see notes)

Method

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and onion; sauté until onions become soft and translucent (about 3 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.

Stir in the rice, stock, beans, seasonings, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20-22 minutes until rice is done.

Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley or cilantro. Serve immediately and enjoy!


NOTES

This is not a recipe, but a method.

First, I made the base recipe from my friend Amy at Very Culinary, with kielbasa, pinto beans, italian seasoning and parsley, topped with cracked red pepper. Then, knowing how our tastes run, I decided to try it with smoked pork-venison sausage, kidney beans, cajun seasoning, and parsley, topped with scallions and louisiana hot sauce. Tonight, I tried it with hatch chile smoked sausage, pinto beans, smoky honey habanero seasoning (plus cumin and mexican oregano), and cilantro, with fritos and chunky salsa on the side.

It all works. It's all freaking delicious, not to mention super easy and quick. The perfect recipe!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sausage, Potatoes, Peppers, and Onions Skillet



Sausage, Potatoes, Peppers, and Onions Skillet
slightly adapted from The Two Bite Club

Ingredients

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1.5 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 (12- to 14-ounce) package smoked sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (or dried herbs of your choice)

Method

In a heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron if you've got it), heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, around 10 minutes, stirring a few times to ensure even browning.

In a separate large, deep skillet, brown the sliced sausage for around 5 minutes in 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Add the peppers and onions to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the Cajun seasoning and stir to combine.

Add the cooked potatoes and kielbasa to the skillet with the onions and peppers and mix everything together. Serve warm.

NOTES

Oof. This is everything you'd expect it to be... and so. damn. good. We like ours with eggs and toast for dinner and with Fritos for the lunch leftovers. Or you could just stand at the stove and eat it out of the skillet with a giant spoon. I won't tell!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Keema Matar



Keema Matar
(literally: mincemeat and peas)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken or lamb
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 14.5-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup minced cilantro

Method

In a large deep skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden. Add garlic and ginger, and saute for another minute. Add meat, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon, and saute until meat is no longer pink.

Add the spices, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and salt. Stir well and simmer, partially covered, about 10 minutes. Stir in the peas, and cook another 2 minutes, until heated through.

Stir in the vinegar and finish with the cilantro. Serve with warm pita and/or basmati rice.

NOTES

Another dish from my favorite Indian place that compelled me to try my own hand at it - and it only took me two tries to get it how I wanted it! Crazy good. Quick and simple, huge on flavor: the best kind of weeknight meal.

Both times I've made it I've used chicken, but I promised Steve I would try it with lamb next. Lamb is more traditional and I also think it would be a good testing of the waters to see if might like lamb these days. We shall see!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cajun Chicken Pasta



Cajun Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

12 oz. dried penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (pre-made or you can make your own, see below)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta for 9 minutes until just al dente. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a plate and set aside. Add onions and bell peppers to the pan and saute until just soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until they have released their moisture, about another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and salt and stir to combine.

Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the chicken back to the pan along with any accumulated juices, and let simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in half and half and parsley.

Stir in cooked pasta and serve immediately.

NOTES

I have been wanting to nail down a recipe for this dish for years, but for some reason, it always eluded me. The sauce would end up too thin and watery and bland and I just couldn't get the right balance of ingredients and flavors to come together as a whole - until now. This is IT. Twice tested and I nailed it: spicy, creamy, savory, cohesive. This is the perfect iteration. *Pats self on back*

To make your own Cajun seasoning, mix together:
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
5 tablespoons paprika (I use half hot, half sweet)
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

This makes about 10 times what you need for this recipe, and you can scale it down, but I always make this amount and store the rest. It's an awesome mix to have on hand in the pantry!

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake



Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

1 (15.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup sour cream
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups (12 oz bag) semisweet chocolate chips

For the glaze:

3/4 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (4 oz) chocolate chips for topping (optional)

Method

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil, and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate.

(Note: Let cake cool completely before pouring glaze on top.)

For the glaze:

In a small pot over low heat, combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then remove from heat and add vanilla.

Immediately pour warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then top with additional chocolate chips, if desired.

NOTES

I think this one speaks for itself. Yep.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pork Scaloppine and Mushroom Marsala Risotto


Pork Scaloppine and Mushroom Marsala Risotto

Ingredients

For the risotto:
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 oz dry arborio rice
1 cup sweet marsala wine
3 cups stock or water, heated to boiling, then set aside
2/3 cup frozen green peas

For the pork:
1 to 1-1/4 lb pork tenderloin
Herbs for seasoning: thyme, garlic powder, black pepper, and kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Method

For the risotto:
Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are well browned, about 4 minutes. Add the arborio rice and stir for another minute. Pour in the marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate any stuck bits. Simmer on medium heat for about 4 minutes or until mostly absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of the heated stock (or water) and again, simmer until nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue to add the stock or water 1/2 cup at a time in this manner, until the rice is cooked through (taste test a piece). Remove from heat and add in peas. Stir until heated through.

For the pork:
Butterfly the pork tenderloin, pound flat (about 1/4-inch thickness), and cut into four equal pieces. (If you're not sure how to do this, there is a simple three-step photo tutorial here.) Season the fillets on one side with thyme, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the pork tenderloin pieces to the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.

Serve pork over cooked risotto. Enjoy!


NOTES

Part inspired by a friend, part creativity, part happy accident, this turned into one of those ideal recipes: tasty, easy, impressive enough for guests but simple enough for a quick weeknight meal. And around here, perfect for our "nice Friday dinner" rotation.

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake




Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake
lightly adapted from userealbutter

Cake
8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
10.5 oz. (2 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp table salt
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest (from three small lemons), finely grated
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
12 oz. fresh blueberries, room temperature

Glaze
4 oz. (1 cup) confectioners sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (more as needed)

Method

Cake: Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Pulse the sugar and lime zest together in a food processor about 20 times until well blended (alternatively, whisk together with a fork until evenly combined).

Beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed for about a minute until it is smooth. Add the lemon sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes). While the mixer is running, add the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition and scraping down the bowl. Beat in the lone egg yolk and mix everything together on low speed. Slowly add the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl down and beat on medium speed for 20 seconds and then gently fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into bundt pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan on the counter to remove air pockets, then bake for 50-55 minutes or until it passes the clean toothpick test. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes and invert the cake. Let cool completely.

Glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. It should be just thin enough to pour. If too thin, add more sugar, if too thick, add more juice. Pour over the cooled cake and let the glaze set before serving.

NOTES

Ah-mazing. The only issue I've had both times I've made it is not getting the glaze a thick beautiful white drizzle. That should come with practice. But overall, like my regular pound cake, as long as everything is at room temperature and you patiently go through the steps, there is nothing even remotely complicated about this cake. So delicious. An absolute keeper.