Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pork Lo Mein

Pork Lo Mein

     On another Asian kick and thought about going back to Chinese.  My friends at foodies+ are to blame right now for my obsession, lol. I decided to go back to a traditional takeout item; Lo Mein.  I thought; why not do pork lo mein with some traditional flavors you would hope to find in a good takeout lo mein.  I thought about what makes a good lo mein.  The noodles, the vegetables; like cabbage, mushrooms, and a good sauce. So here goes, my version of Pork Lo Mein



  • 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 package lo mein noodles
  • 1/4 white onion cut into strips
  • 1 tsp of minced ginger
  • 1 small zucchini cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup stripped cut cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs starch
  • 5 tbs soy
  • 3 tbs oyster
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar

     First cut up your pork tenderloin into thin strips.  Mix in a tbs of starch and 1/2 tbs of sugar.  Marinate with 1 tbs of soy for about half an hour. Meanwhile cook the lo mein noodles as directed and drain.  In a large wok over medium heat toss in the pork and cook until done.  Toss in the ginger, zucchini, cabbage, and mushrooms and sauté until cooked through.  Pour in 4 tbs of soy, 3 tbs of oyster, 2 tbs of sesame oil, and 1 tbs of rice wine vinegar.  Pour over the lo mein noodles, incorporate, and serve immediately.  Serves 2-4 in about an hour.


Monday, July 29, 2013

1-1/2 Cup Of Blues

     Summer is full of options to enjoy the outdoors.  Tubing, white water rafting, swimming, camping, fishing, etc.  You name it; it is available right in your own hometown I am sure.  Even in my little neck of the woods in WV we have quite a bit of different things to enjoy different times of the year.  One of which has been going on for the past five years.  I have attended every single year because it is just that much fun.  Only a half a block away from my apartment is a small street only a couple blocks long right on the river.  What sits here is an old two-story small schoolhouse that used to be the African American School prior to consolidation in 1954.  A local organization has been working on raising money to restore the school as a landmark along with the church next door.

      Each year for 2 to 3 days locals gather to support the foundation that has been created to restore, rebuild, and educate others about the community that built this area.  Bands from all around the country come to play their blues.  Artists, historical preservationists, food enthusiasts, etc., all gather to provide a wonderful weekend of food, music, and fun all in support of one cause; to rebuild the past to better educate society.  The weekend is usually comprised of the main festival on River Street with school tours, art/historical/food booths, music, and crafts and another day or two of gospel gatherings, etc.

     Live music is always a good "recipe" for the monotony that is life. Add in a good cause, charity, and good people and food, and you have a menu that anyone can enjoy. Even for just a quick weekend event or get away, a good festival full of laughter and fun can make any summer a good one. 

Dancing in the street

Singing the blues

 Friends catching up

Playing into the night
 Singing to your own soundtrack

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken

     What says summer more than barbeque on the grill, picnics outside in the hot summer air, and easy dinner plans when you don't want to be inside cooking?  So this one weeknight, it was gorgeous outside and I thought, why not just fire up the grill and cook some BBQ ChickenBBQ Chicken is a right of summer just like hamburgers and hot dogs. Everyone has their own BBQ that they enjoy or make themselves.  I make my own BBQ sauce that I use for ribs and pulled pork.  This night, I thought I would switch it up a bit.  I took a simple store bought BBQ sauce and added a little of myself to the mix.  Either way it is hard to put "amounts" on the ingredients that go into a delicious tasting BBQ sauce.  Below I give you a simple description to what I did to create a juicy, sweet but tangy, and spicy sauce for my chicken.  As for the amounts, start by "eye-balling" it.  Small palm fulls of each until you get the taste you are looking form.


  • 1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup store bought simple BBQ sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic powder
  • Honey
  • Pure chili paste
  • Liquid smoke

     Mix all above ingredients in a bowl based on taste and preferences. Gently coat the chicken in a bit of the sauce.  Over a hot grill sear the chicken on both sides to get those grill marks for about 3-5 minutes on both sides.  Move the chicken to a cooler side of the grill or over the section that does not have heat below it.  Continue to coat the chicken in more of the sauce and turn.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.  Serves 2.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chicken Pasta Puttanesca

Chicken and Pasta Puttanesca

      Puttanesca?  What does that mean?  I think I have heard that before.  Wait! My cousins at times call each other Puta or Puttana.... Ha ha,  It's a bitch, whore, prostitute, etc. (excuse my language). Pasta Puttanesca is a very good Italian dish that was supposedly invited in Naples by the ladies of the night as they served up a quick pasta dish with what little amounts of resources they could get their hands on.  Not an old traditional dish but something fairly new to the world.  You will find it in many restaurants as well. This dish is a great combination of salty, spicy, and just the right amount of tang. I enjoy it and think you will too.  It is simple to make and goes great with spaghetti.  A taste of the ocean is how one can explain the flavors and aromas that come from a nice plate of this.  Sit back, relax, and accompany it with a nice glass of your favorite wine.  Imagine you are sitting on the wall of the port in Naples during sunset and enjoy the meal.  Below I accompanied it with homemade spaghetti noodles.  So now when your sister or cousin calls out, "Putta!" You can proudly ask for seconds and not feel dirty for accepting it.  I made this dish with homemade pasta using my grandmothers chitarra.  So in actuality the pasta is "alla chitarra".  Enjoy!

 Chicken Pasta Puttanesca


     In a large skillet add a drizzle of olive oil.  Brown chicken on both sides and remove.  In same skillet sauté the garlic and add the anchovy paste and mix in.  Pour in the white wine and slowly simmer until reduced. Toss in the olives, capers, chili flakes, tomatoes, and oregano.  Mix and bring to a slow boil.  Dice up chicken and place back in skillet.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile cook your pasta on the side.  Drain and toss into the skillet.  Mix well and serve. Serves 2-4 people in about 45 minutes.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The "Menu" For A Family Reunion

     Life can be full of troubling times.  Whether it is a job you dislike, a routine of living that you are stuck in, or just plain boredom, you have to find something that can take you away from the monotony of life.  Family gatherings to some can be a horrible experience.  You sometimes hear others complain about having to go to their family reunion.  They hate having to have small talk with great aunt sally or listening to uncle jacks old war stories over and over again.  They hate the same covered dish that everyone ends up bringing.  The boring chit chat, picture albums, and family schemes all make for a nightmare year after year.  Not for my family.  We are completely different than any family you will find out there. We have perfected the art of "family reunion" and make it different each and every year.

     As I have previously mentioned in older posts on family, we are each other's best friends and worst enemies.  As much as we fight and argue we still get it together to have some of the best times anyone can imagine.  My family has been having reunions since even before I was born.  Each generation comes up with a different way of celebrating togetherness.  Coming from two different cultural backgrounds hasn't hindered the events one bit.  Both sides of my family love gathering together, cooking, eating, and overall having a good time.  Any reason to celebrate is a good enough reason for us.  So what might you be asking is a "menu" for a family reunion?  Or better yet, how does the "menu" read for a spectacular family reunion?  Well here goes.....

  • Decorations-- different themes each year
  • Costumes-- sometimes we like to dress up
  • Swimming-- whether it is in a river with tubes or in a pool
  • Bocce Ball-- have to have some field games
  • Hide and Seek-- what not only the kids will end up playing
  • Golfing/fishing-- some time away


  • Picnics-- days of BBQ and pasta night
  • Scavenger Hunt-- always fun to see the family split up into teams running around town like fools
  • Cook Off-- where the competition begins with cooking skills
  • Trophy-- always the best part
  • Bar hops-- you have to let town know you are all out for fun
  • Live Music-- talent at its best

  • Booze-- a must have
  • Booze-- a must have that it requires a second mention
  • Fun and Sun-- the result of togetherness and good conversations

     Ok, so it is not a literal "menu" of food items or choices of cocktails to choose from but it is a "menu" for how to have fun.  Our family gathers for days of fun, picnics, partying, swimming, river time, bar nights, cook off contests, scavenger hunts throughout town, field games, bands, etc., all in the name of family.  It is something we all look forward to each and every year.  Now that I am older it has become my siblings, cousins, and my responsibility to plan the festivities and allow the elders to rest.  So sit back, relax, and take a look below at what makes a good "menu" for family fun.

One giant family
Some of the cousins
Some of the younger cousins
 Dress up and having fun
River time
Picnic and food
 Some bocce
Pinata for the little ones
 Scavenger hunt

More scavenger fun
Scavenger hunt
Bar nights
 Cook off and trophy
Pasta night

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Creamy Tortellini

Creamy Tortellini with Ham and Peas

     I have seen many versions of a similar pasta dish.  The combination of these three ingredients just goes well together.  This meal is quick and easy but full of flavor.  The perfect combination for a weeknight meal or rainy weekend evening when you feel like whipping something up. Not sure if I can consider this Italian as I don't know if they actually eat something like this in Italy.  All I know is that I'm part Italian and anything pasta shortly becomes a favorite.  So here goes, my combination of ham, peas, and cheesy tortellini all rolled into a great dish.   Creamy Tortellini with Ham and Peas.


  • 1 bag frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lg shallot diced
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbs ricotta
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Small handful basil

     In a large pot boil some water and cook tortellini as directed.  In a medium sauté pan melt butter over medium high heat.  Sauté diced shallots until softened.  Toss in garlic and sauté.  Pour in wine and reduce.  Mix in ham and peas and heat.  Next add in cream, the ricotta, and basil leaves.  Lower heat and let simmer.  Toss in drained tortellini and incorporate till mixed through.  A wonderful version of Creamy Tortellini with Ham and Peas. Serves 2-4. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Grilled Pork Chops With A Pineapple/Mango Chutney

Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Mango Chutney


     So I obtained these awesome large bone in pork chops the other day.  I haven't seen a pork chop this big ever.  I thought to myself, "What would go good with these hunks of deliciousness?"  So I thought, why not create a fusion of sorts of Asian/Hawaiian tastes into succulent chutney over the grilled pork. 

     Pork happens to be one of my favorites of the meat families.  Whether it is pork loin, chops, and of course bacon and sausage, pork is a great protein option with a lot of flavor. I always prepare them the same way.  Usually a little rosemary or garlic and typically broiled or grilled.  This time I thought I should change it up a bit and add some sort of fresh fruit salsa or chutney.  I've had pork with apples, pears, oranges, etc., but what about adding some flare to the whole idea of a fruit companion.  So here goes.  I took some of the flavors of Asian and Hawaiian and combined them into this delicious chutney compote kind of additive.  Hope you enjoy my Grilled Pork chops with a Pineapple and Mango Chutney.


  • 2 lg bone in Pork Chops
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbs diced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/2 cup diced mango
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • Black pepper

     In a small sauté pan pour in the soy sauce and bring to a slow simmer.  Add in the fresh ginger, brown sugar, pineapple, mango and grilled onion.  Stir together to dissolve the sugar then cover and slowly simmer for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile sprinkle some fresh black pepper on both sides of the pork chops.  Now on a hot grill over high heat place both chops and leave sit for roughly 5 minutes.  Then turn and grill on other side for another 5 minutes.  You can then switch sides again to get those crisscross grill marks if you like.  Remove from stove and let sit for 5 minutes.  Sever these perfectly cooked pork chops with the pineapple mango chutney drizzled on top. Goes good with a side of rice or your favorite vegetable. Serves 2. Ready in 30-45 minutes depending on the temperature of pork.