Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: all (page 2 of 53)

PAPPARDELLE WITH SALMON

This is one of those spur of the moment recipes that garners accolades. You know what I mean. You check the cupboard and refrigerator, find out what ‘s available and create something magnificent. In this case it was pappardelle pasta and, yes, canned salmon. I know, here we go again, canned salmon. That’s right, the one that comes in tins. My wife, Holly and I, are partisans of wild caught Alaskan salmon. We usually get it fresh but, if we can find it in the canned variety, we scarf it up and buy as many as we possible. It comes in handy for a rainy day.

Now, the pasta we had this time was pappardelle, the ribbon-shaped pasta common in Italy’s Tuscany region. I like pappardelle because, as I term it, it’s a “manly-man” pasta. It’s thick, like fettuccini, or bucatini. Not a girly-man small pasta like angel hair or thin spaghetti. Holly disagrees. She prefers the fine pastas and pigs like me prefer the other stuff.  I answer that I am not a pig. I’m a piglet. Be it as it may, the salmon recipe can go with any pasta you have on hand, not just pappardelle; or any grain, be it rice or other. This dish is quick, has minimal ingredients, and it hits the spot. With some good Chianti and a crusty loaf, you have a feast.

PAPPARDELLE WITH SALMON

Ingredients:

1 package pappardelle (it could be 12 or 16 oz. pack depending on where you get it)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and slice into thin rings
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 (14¾ oz.) can pink salmon, preferably wild caught
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon melted butter

Instructions:

  1. Cook pappardelle as per package instructions.
  2.  While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add salmon and garlic, cook 2 minutes. Stir in mustard and cook about 3 minutes more.
  3.  By this time, pasta should be cooked to your preference. Drain and remove to a serving dish. Top with salmon. Drizzle with melted butter and serve.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.

CRAB BISQUE

This is my version of crab bisque. As we know, bisque is a creamy soup of French origin. The most common is lobster bisque. This time I decided to make crab bisque simply because I had some canned crab meat on hand. I know, the perfectionist among you are probably screaming, “Canned crabmeat? Sacrê bleu, what a travesty!” Well, get over it. The canned product can be just as good given the proper preparation and condiments.

This hearty soup is a bit on the spicy side. That’s  how we like it in our bailiwick. You can always adjust the seasoning as desired.  You’ll notice I do not use heavy cream in this recipe. Just milk and flour; and it comes out just as smooth and creamy. But if you want to make it half milk and half cream, be my guest. With some crusty bread and good Amontillado sherry to wash it down, you have a superb meal.

CRABMEAT BISQUE

Ingredients:

Half a stick of butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced small
1 cup flour
1 cup dry white wine (can substitute Riesling if you want a sweeter flavor)
1 gallon whole milk
4 cans (4½ oz.) crabmeat or 1½ pound fresh picked crab
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 lemons zested and juiced
Bunch fresh chives

Instructions:

  1. In a large soup pan, heat butter on medium heat. Add onion  and, with a wire or plastic whisk, cook for 4 minutes. The onion should be translucent. Add flour and mix well. The mixture should look like thin frosting. Cook for 5 minutes.
  2.  Mix in wine and cook until wine is almost gone.
  3.  Slowly add the milk in 3 different batches letting the milk return to a simmer each time. Make sure to add and whisk the milk slowly so you do not get lumps. Mix in the salt.
  4.  Add crabmeat, Herbs de Provence, paprika, cayenne, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well. Return soup to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Serve with fresh chives on top.
    Yield: 6 or more servings.

STEAK DIANE

This recipe is called Streak Diane Savola. I got it years ago and, honestly, I don’t remember from where. I do know that ‘Steak Diane’ is a dish in what is known as “Continental Cuisine.” According to Wikipedia, it was probably invented in London or New York in the 1930s. According to my research, the fancified Steak Diane contains varied ingredients such as Cognac, mushrooms, shallots, Dijon mustard and heavy cream. This version doesn’t have any of that. In fact, it’s a rather simple sauté with chives’ parsley, Worcestershire sauce and Amaretto Disaronno.

So, wanna really impress family and friends with something that is both retro and delicious? This dish is it. You can lie and tell them you slaved all day to create this majestic effort.

Ingredients:

4 steaks (rib, T-bone, sirloin or other cut)
5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons Amaretto Disaronno

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the steaks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Heat the butter in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  3.  Add the scallions and cook until soft. Add the steaks and sear on each side. Add remaining ingredients and sauté until desired degree of doneness.
    Yield: 4 servings.

SOY SAUCE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

In my young manhood, a close friend was Eddie Hor. Let me state that Eddie was bigger than life. He was a recontour, ladies’ man and an exceptional cook. Until I met Eddie, I was never a fan of brussels sprouts. But he made me a convert to the edible bud (which is considered a leaf cabbage). Eddie simply sautéed the vegetable in soy sauce. Something so simple and direct—and it changes the whole flavor of the sprouts. Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe by adding onion and garlic. It makes for a great vegetarian entrée or side dish to any meal. In the Rivera clan we prefer to serve it over steamed rice, either white or brown rice. It also goes great with couscous, quinoa, or even kasha.

SOY SAUCE BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Ingredients:

1½ pounds brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into rings
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup soy sauce

Instructions:

  1. Wash and trim the brussels sprouts. Run under cold water, removing any yellow leaves. Then, cut off the stems to help them cook.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts and onion and sauté, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until sprouts are golden brown. Add garlic and soy sauce and cook 2 minutes more, making sure the brussels sprouts are coated with the soy sauce. If the soy sauce starts to evaporate, you can add more sauce to taste. Serve immediately over rice.
    Yield: 4 servings.

SABLEFISH

Today’s recipe is a meal for a special occasion. It’s sablefish, that species of deep-sea fish common to the North Pacific Ocean. The fish is also known as black cod. Now, let me say it up front, sable is not cheap. It’s one of the kings of fishes in terms of price. Why? Well, another nickname for sable is “butterfish.” That’s because it’s fattier than Pacific cod or halibut, which gives a luxurious mouthful, but milder than salmon or tuna. It  has a creamy white flesh balanced by a black skin that gives the fish a rich buttery flavor and a smooth silky texture. Every bite is heavenly.

Given its pedigree, sablefish it’s best prepared by simple pan-frying. No fancy sauces, preparation or crusting for this sucker. Simple cooking lets you savor the depth of flavor in sablefish. The easiest way to cook is with a simple mix of garlic powder, salt, black pepper and oregano. For the recipe given, I still had some fresh herbs leftover from my summer plantings. They were tarragon, thyme and sweet marjoram, and that’s what I used. If you don’t have fresh, you can substitute dried. And it can be herbs of your choice. You can use sage, dill, rosemary, chives, whatever is available. Cooked in butter, or a butter/olive oil combo, and you have an easy but fabulous dinner.

SABLEFISH

Ingredients:

4 6-ounce sablefish fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh sweet marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons dry white wine

Instructions:

  1. Rinse fillets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  Brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season well on both sides of fillets with the tarragon, thyme and sweet marjoram. Sprinkle with garlic powder.
  3.  In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the butter and reaming 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sablefish fillets and cook about 3 minutes per side. In the end the fish should be golden brown on the outside but opaque white on the inside. Add white wine and cook over high heat, one minute more. Serve immediately.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

 

PORTOBELLOS AND POTATOES

I love meaty portobello mushrooms. Yet, to my experience, the basic portobello rendering is as in hamburgers, using the mushroom instead of hamburger meat.  Yes, nestled between a bun, or two slices of bread, or even a muffin, it is a satisfying meal.  But there’s got to be more to portobellos than just as a faux hamburger. And that gave me the idea of mixing the mushrooms’ with potatoes. The result: a good homey dish. Along with some good crusty bread to mop up the  garlicky mushroom juices, it makes for a great vegetarian entrée; one that even meat lovers will love.

PORTOBELLOS AND POTATOES

Ingredients:

1 pound portobello mushrooms (about 4-5 large ones)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced crosswise, about 1/8-inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound small red potatoes (do not peel)
1 cup water
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Instructions:

  1. Rinsed mushrooms under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 3/4-inch cubes.
  2. In an 8 or 9 inch skillet or flameproof casserole with cover, combine mushrooms, garlic and oil. Place over medium heat and when mushrooms begin to cook, stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Cover pan and let cook on low heat for 5 minutes, at which point the mushrooms should be quite dark.
  3.  Meanwhile, scrub potatoes and cut into pieces roughly the same size as the mushrooms. Add potatoes to the pan along with the water, salt and pepper. Cover pan and cook at slow simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes, until potatoes are very tender. Gently stir in the parsley and mint. Simmer, uncovered, 1 minute more, and serve.
    Yield: Serves 2 or 3 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer, side dish or omelet filling.

PESTO EGGPLANT

Even towards the end of summer, there’s lots of fresh basil around in every farmer’s market and greengrocer. Naturally, this brings pesto to mind. It happens we also had this beautiful eggplant fresh from a garden. So I got the bright idea of creating a Pesto Eggplant recipe. The result was nothing less than fabulous; and the recipe is given below. With some crusty bead and a good white wine, or light red (like a Bardolino, Gamay, or Valpolicella), this dish is a winner. You can also serve it over your favorite grain (like rise or couscous), or even over pasta. You won’t be disappointed.

PESTO EGGPLANT

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant (about 1½ pounds), washed, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoons fresh leaf oregano, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried

Pesto Sauce

4 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
½  to 1 cup olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Drizzle olive oil over eggplant slices. Season with salt, pepper and oregano
  2.  Arrange eggplant slices in  large greased baking pan or dish (we prefer cast-iron). Note: If the dish or pan is not large enough, you may  have to layer eggplant slices on dish to accommodate all.
  3.  Bake until tender, about 35 minutes. Top with pesto and bake 5 minutes more.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

MAX’S TOFU

I’m always on the lookout for a good tofu dish. This one is from Max, an old friend of ours. He, like I, is a fan of tofu, and this is his go-to recipe. What’s interesting about it is that it calls for nutritional yeast. When I prepare tofu I either dredge it in seasoned flour or breading. Nutritional yeast is new to me. I imagine it makes for a healthy repast. The rest of the ingredients are common to any tofu rendition. It’s a quick easy meal that goes great with rice,  or any favorite grain.

Max’s version calls for the tofu to be pressed, a common preparation among tofu aficionados. This is done to remove the moisture content so that the tofu will hold its shape when frying or grilling. It’s an easy enough procedure: Place a block of tofu in layers of paper towels folded in half or quarters; place a weight, like large can or heavy skillet on top of the tofu; let it sit for at least 30 minutes—until paper towels stop absorbing moisture; slice tofu into strips or cubes and cook as directed. The dish yields four servings.

MAX’S TOFU

1 block tofu (firm or extra-firm, pressed)
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Coat tofu in dry ingredients and panfry in oil, turning until browned all over.

 

ASIAN COLLARD GREENS

We’re doing vegetarian today. And it came about due to experimentation. I’ve long been a fan of collard greens, ever since I discovered them during my young manhood in the South. Collard greens always remind me, in a way, of bok choy, the archetypical Chinese vegetable. Though some may disagree, I’ve always considered they share the same taste and texture. So I began thinking, why not cook collard greens the same way as bok choy? Guess what? It worked. Even my wife, Holly, who loves collard greens but hates boy choi, took a shining to this dish.

So here it is, collard greens Asian style. When I was in the Southland, a long cooking time for collard greens was the tradition. Subsequently, I discovered that, if you  cut the collards crosswise into thin slices, they can be done in 1 minute or so. They come out crisp-tender and the greens keep their color and full flavor. It’s the same method I used in this Asian innovation. Also, I’ve added all the ingredients used to cook bok choi. The results were marvelous. A whole new dish was created. Impress your family and friends with this one: Asian Collard Greens.

Added Note: as with bok choi, we served it with steamed rice. As mentioned, it made for a great vegetarian dish. You can also serve it as side dish, if desired. It’ll go great with fish, chicken, pork or beef.

ASIAN COLLARD GREENS

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 pounds collard greens, rinsed, leaves halved lengthwise with stems and center ribs discarded
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place sesame seeds in a large skillet or pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until you can smell the sesame seeds and they turn a bit golden in color, 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully that they don’t get too brown. Place seeds in a small bowl or plate and set aside.
  2.  Heat oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute until you can smell the aroma. Add collards and stir for another 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, soy sauce and chili sauce (if using), and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan or skillet and cook the greens for about 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3.  Transfer to a serving bowl with its cooking liquid and serve hot, with the sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
    Yield: 6 servings.

CRABMEAT POMODORO

This is one of those recipes that’s created at the spur of the moment. You look and see what you have in the fridge and cupboard, and create something—and give it a fancy name. Like “pomodoro.” Which, in Italian, simply means “tomato.” Nevertheless, some of the best meals are created this way. As the one given below. All you need is a couple of cans of crabmeat and some spaghetti or linguini, preferably whole-wheat.

CRABMEAT POMODORO

Ingredients:

1 pound package whole- wheat linguini (or spaghetti)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
2 (6-ounce cans) crabmeat, drained and flaked
¾ cup black olives, rinsed and sliced in half
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook linguini or spaghetti, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 9-11 minutes), or according to package directions. Drain.
  2.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in crushed red pepper and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir in crabmeat and cook until it’s incorporated into the sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in black olives.
  4.  Place pasta in a heated platter or serving dish, top with crabmeat sauce and garnish with basil. If desired, you can sprinkle the dish with  some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve hot with crusty bread and a good red wine, like chianti or cabernet—hell, serve with with whatever wine you like. My mom, of late memory, would enjoy all her meals with Gallo Sherry. And, if she couldn’t find Gallo sherry, it’d be Mogen David Heavy Malaga Red. In the Rivera clan, we never stand on formality. Just enjoy the dish.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.
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